Flash Fiction by Adam Kluger
Blake was pretty sure that he had not heard the last of the matter.
The morning started pretty normally for a Sunday. Financial disaster had wormed it’s way into Blake’s consciousness. There was no money left and nowhere to turn. The new client’s check had been stopped by the bank. Held for release under mysterious circumstances. The money was to solve problems and create breathing room. It was to be the miracle “Hail Mary” that Blake was counting on. But the bank he had banked with had invested $11 Billion dollars on new technology after paying Uncle Sam $13 Billion dollars for its part in the subprime bubble burst that cost 100 million Americans their homes and jobs while hurtling the U.S. Economy into a recession that heaped misery on the middle class including Blake who was still trying to recover.
“Mr. Schnellenberg we provide our customers with various tools to avoid these possible occurrences…you have an app on your phone that you could have used to see that you had a deficient balance in the account.”
“Usually, I get a low balance alert, Mr. Palumbo…I never got it and then all of a sudden, over the course of 24 hours, I had used the card on minor purchases…somehow, I got charged $500 in overdraft fees…15 $35 fees in a row…first time this has ever happened.”
” Mr. Schnellenberg … you could have gone online..”
“Mr. Palumbo, I had absolutely no idea that the account was overdrawn and would accrue 15 overdraft fees almost instantaneously in a row amounting to $500…I’ve been a loyal customer with this bank for over 25 years…”
” Mr. Schnellenberg…this is not the first time you have been charged for insufficient funds.”
” Mr. Palumbo, I’m asking for help here…this seems to be almost a predatory scheme by a Trillion dollar company to generate money on a technical oversight…”
” Mr. Schnellenberg…I’ve been with the bank for 20 years and as the branch manager I reviewed your record which is not a good one…one more misstep or baseless accusation and I will tell you to find another bank.”
” Mr. Palumbo, we don’t know each other–first time I’ve seen you in this branch that I have been coming to for a quarter-century and I’m sure this is just a case of two people getting off on the wrong foot…but I will tell you that my family has been banking here for probably fifty years and that typically If I am threatened in such a manner I handle a miscommunication like this by going directly to that person’s supervisor…”
Back and forth it went…both the banker and Schnellenberg were red-faced, intense and had hands that were shaking.
Ultimately an uneasy compromise was reached and half the charges were erased…still the $250 burned and stung and Blake was nowhere closer to getting the bank to release the $5000 check he had been waiting on. That money would buy breathing room. It was salvation and it seemed as though fate was conspiring against Blake and his meeting with the bank went as bad as possible. This was Friday and it was white knuckle time.
The nitty had hit the gritty. So, of course, what better time than for Mitzie Kefuffle to be blowing up Blake’s iPhone over the weekend with new nonsense about her never-ending feud with Sharkpool Social Media director Montgomery Morgenstern.
TEXT: [ Blake…this little prick did it again…I gave him a feature article I wrote on the Japanese Yen and how it reminds me of the philosophy of Ying & Yang in that it sounds similar and it’s all about karmic retribution and that because of Pearl Harbor and the evil of that attack that the Yen has hit a monthly low which I read in the Wall Street Journey…and this little fugazi mother-fucker totally ignored my article. ]
TEXT: [ Mitzie, it’s the Wall Street Journal not Journey and I have too much other stuff going on right now to get in the middle of more Montgomery drama…btw you do know that you need to run these story ideas through me and Ethel, right? We’ve discussed Sharkpool protocol a couple of times now]
TEXT: [ Blake with all due respect, everybody knows it’s the Wall Street Journey and that little fucker Montgomery is lucky I didn’t call the police when he tried to stick his weasely little worm up my behind…who does that? Total pervs do that …that’s who…If my family knew he tried to pump his tiny salami up my poop-chute he would have found his twerpy little body twisted like a pretzel on the streets of Carnarsie.]
TEXT: [ Mitzie, Google it. Wall Street Journal. I gotta go.]
TEXT: [I’m fed up with this shit Blake. I’m going straight to Bob about what I perceive as a lack of respect]
TEXT: [Knock yourself out, Mitzie. I’m out of pocket for the remainder of the day which is Sunday, by the way…good luck.]
TEXT: [ I want Montgomery shit-canned and I want Bob to pay me what he promised. I charged a full wardrobe of reporter’s outfits and shoeson my one credit card and I need to be reimbursed.]
TEXT: [ Did Mr. Beauregarde authorize that?]
TEXT: [ As a matter of fact, I saw Bob last night at a charity event my friend Peregrine Marsatz III invited me to. Bob was there with a new floozie, drunk as hell and making out in front of everybody…he saw me on the dance floor and asked me why I looked so familiar…I told him I was his lead financial reporter and he laughed and said if that was the case I should dress like a lead reporter …I was so pissed off I went home humiliated and maxed out my credit card on a high-priced fashion site. $1500. He needs to pay me and cover that expense or I am hiring a lawyer and suing him for mental cruelty.
TEXT: [ Oy…I don’t know Mitzie…I wasn’t there…but it doesn’t seem like he authorized you to make a $1500 purchase. Can you return the clothes?]
TEXT: [ Blake I need you to have my back here.]
TEXT: [ If Mr. Beauregarde said that to you on the dancefloor I agree that on the surface that wasn’t nice–but maybe he was just giving you advice?]
TEXT: [Blake why are you always taking sides against me? Do you realize that Montgomery tried to stick his tiny pencil up my Hershey highway? Gross! Except for you and Ethel I am done with this fucking shit show BS financial paper. I’m going to go find a job at the Journey. I bet they pay their reporters a hell of a lot more than Sharkpool.]
TEXT: [OK- I gotta go…talk later in the week. Wall Street Journal, not Journey. Google it]
Blake plugged his phone into the wall charger then went to the basement to swap out the laundry. On his return he surveyed the empty fridge and decided to make some iced tea with a teabag and water and ice. Filling. He knew without looking there would be a message on his phone.
TEXT: [Call me back. Bob Beauregarde]
(On phone) “Hell Mr. Beauregarde, I got your text is everything ok, sir.”
“No Blake, I just got a call from a Mitzie Kerfuffle, who I presume is that waitress we offered an internship to, claiming that I owed her 1500 dollars. Do you know anything about this Blake?”
“Yes, sir…she texted me earlier today claiming you authorized her to dress like a reporter when you saw each other at a charity event Mr. Beauregarde.”
“Now listen here Blake, I’ve had enough of this crazy waitress. She’s like a bad penny. Fire her today or don’t report to work tomorrow. Do you understand?
The publisher hung up.
TEXT: [ Hey Blake, just got off the phone with my cousin’s daughter’s friend’s attorney and she says given the #metoo revolution going on that I have a good shot to sue Sharkpool for sex discrimination and harassment… that shit-stain Montgomery is going down down down and so is Bob Beauregarde if he doesn’t reimburse me $2500 and apologize and promote me to Senior Financial Editor.]
TEXT:[Mitzie… You’re fired… I’m sorry but you were warned multiple times not to harass Mr. Beauregarde. He called me just now and told me to fire you because of your phone-call today.]
TEXT: [That mother-fucking prick. Poison my eyes! Madone! You’re kidding right Blakie? You’re pulling a gag on me right because I’m always such a pain in the ass, right. I’m sorry Blake sometimes I have too much wine cause I’m stressed about boo boo kitty and that piece of shit Montgomery always trying to fuck me in the ass. You’re kidding Blake, right? Please tell me you’re kidding. I told everyone from the neighborhood I’m a reporter. I can’t go back to waitressing…I promised myself that I was better than that..please Blake…you’re kidding right?]
(Calling her on phone) “Mitzie?..”
(Sobbing) “Blake please don’t fire me this job is all I have…”
“I’m sorry Mitzie …Maybe you could call Mr. Beauregarde and…”
“Fuck that, Blake…my fucking lawyer is going to call Bob and handle this matter…”
“Ok Mitzie, good luck.”
Blake put the phone down and poured himself an iced tea. It was another shit-show of a Sunday and the one thing he knew as well as he knew anything was that…
…his iPhone was going to ping with a new message from Mitzie.