The daily prompt : Gone
Sometimes against all odds the bad guys win the day. All the white hats are Gone.
Mitchell pulled the small plastic red card from the beeping machine and looked at the thing in puzzlement. He examined the back and could still faintly read the outline of his signature. It looked perfect. The numbers on the front were worn away in the right spots. This had to be his card. Although he didn’t doubt those identity theft people couldn’t fake an exact copy. But the ATM accepted the card, so it had to be the genuine one.
Mitchel raised the card to the feeder once more when a very annoyed voice behind him said, “Look old man, would you hurry up. Some of us actually have to work. We do have jobs you know.”
He smiled humorlessly. “I had a job too. It was called saving your ass from the Japs in 42 and the Commie’s in the fifties and the Cong in the 60’s and 70’s. I was a front line solider. And when I came back with only one leg the jobs were suddenly gone and there was no work for me.”
He tucked the red card back in the worn leather wallet and looked at the rude woman once more. “What’s more those sons of a bitches trying to kill me and end our way of life had better manners than you. I guess common decency is a thing of the past.”
He heard the woman mutter ‘whatever’ as she took his place at the machine. If he weren’t half the man, he was he would have knocked her on her ass and taught her a thing or two about the word whatever. But he was raised in a generation that didn’t hit women. He looked at the three other people standing in line and found that they wouldn’t meet his eye.
Choosing not to fight this battle he propelled his wheelchair forward. If he could talk to someone in the bank maybe, he would get some answers. This Bank of America didn’t have sliding doors and when he leaned forward to pull the door, he almost fell face forward into the glass. The door was heavier than usual. Again, he was at someone’s mercy and would wait until someone came out.
The door swung open and before he could put his hands down on the wheels, he felt himself being pushed forward. He turned and looked over his shoulder at the young man who couldn’t be more than sixteen with sandy blond hair hanging around his shoulders.
“Sorry about that I figured we needed to catch it before it closed. Maneuvering a wheelchair is difficult.”
Mitchell just grumbled.
The kid chuckled. “Don’t let them get to you. They were probably embarrassed about the Commies comment. We call them Russians, Japanese and Vietnamese now. It’s more PC.”
Mitchell’s false teeth clicked audibly as his mouth snapped shut in anger. When he found he could talk and tell the boy where he could put his political correctness, he found he was alone in the middle of the doorway. He rolled himself forward and saw the twerp standing at the far counter talking to one of the tellers.
He watched the two of them walk in his direction. When the boy drew up next to him, he said, “I found someone to help you. I am sure you could have done it yourself, but everyone could use some support. My gramps served and grumbles about asking. So don’t sweat it.” The kid started to walk away and said as if a second thought, “by the way thanks for your service.”
Just when he thought all manners were gone someone showed him how easily he could be wrong.
“Welcome to Bank of America. I’m Chad the General Manager. Why don’t we go down to the lower window around the corner and I will be glad to assist you?”
Mitchell’s arms trembled as he pushed the wheels on the carpet. The boy could have asked if he needed help before just jumping in and pushing him. But right now, he wished the kid were still here. He could use some ump to get on to tiled floor. The manager would stop and wait for him looking at his watch each time but failed to offer to help.
When Mitchell finally rounded the corner and wheeled up to the counter, he took a moment to rub his gray bent hands together before pulling out his wallet. “I think one of those of those criminals stole my card.”
Chad was only half paying attention the old man was taking so long he could have helped two other customers by now. “Hmm. Oh right. Why do you think that?”
“Cause there’s no money in the account,” Mitchell said trying to hold on to his temper.
If Chad noticed the tone of voice and the irate look on Mitchell’s face he promptly ignored and chose to be patronizing. “Are you sure there was money in there before. Let’s slide the card and look up the account.”
“I know there is money in it; you idiot. I just deposited the insurance check four days ago to bury my Michelle. The funeral home contacted me this morning about not having the service because the check bounced.” He angrily pulled the card through the reader with more force than necessary.
Chad scowled just another lousy customer calling him names. It wasn’t going to be much longer, and he kiss this place goodbye. He’d ride off into the sunset and live the life he was supposed to. He just needed to think about that beach dealing with jerks like this. He took a long-suffering breath and scanned the column of transactions. And paled slightly. “Well sir, are you sure you deposited it with our bank? I show no deposits within the last thirty days?”
“What the hell do you mean; No deposits. My disability goes in here on the first of every month. And my Social Security on the third,” Mitchell was so angry his voice was beginning to carry.
Chad looked around and noticed several of the tellers giving him looks mixed between pity and questioning. If he weren’t careful this would blow up in his face. “Sir please; give me a moment and let me see what the problem is? But you need to calm down.”
“How calm would you be if it was your money. Did you check the card? I told you I thought it was hacked or whatever they call it.”
He looked back at the screen and then at the man standing there. “Sir those deposits are different. Right now, I am looking at ATM or manual deposit. Are you sure that you deposited into this bank and this account?”
Anger wasn’t a strong enough word he was seeing red literally. Hell, he was so mad his chest hurt. “Of course, it was with this bank. I’ve had an account with you since before you were Bank of America. I’ve been coming to this branch for the last ten years. I have a deposit slip. It’s right here in my wallet.”
Those were the words Chad was dreading. He could erase all transactions on the computer but could do nothing about the printed paper. The trash can was full of them because no one looked at them let alone keep them. But this guy, how dare he ruin months of careful skimming. Okay he needed to take some of the blame. He misread Michelle for Mitchell and though it was him who died. No one was going to notice deceased people’s cheeks bouncing. Everything he worked for was gone.
“Chad. Chad, look at him. I think he’s having a heart attack.”
Chad had to bite the end of his tongue to keep the happiness out of his voice. “I think you’re right. Call 9 1 1, now. “The old man would be gone, and no one would be the wiser. Maybe it was time to cut and run before another narrow escape. Tomorrow he would turn in his resignation by email and be in the wind before the autopsy was completed. If they did autopsies on heart attack victims.