the journey of Saint Chris in hospital shoes made an appearance in my neighborhood during the early days of summer, when he showed up at the local suburban equivalent of the “corner store”, wearing government issued flip flops from the state mental health inpatient facility, possessing a Vape pen, Newports & a 20 Bahrain dinar, a foreign currency which converts to $53 American dollars.
These events unfold at 3:39, too late to patron my local bank. And, having no bank account of his own, we do the atherton street shuffle, asking for American money from banks, while Chris, a wristband shy of looking like a fresh released mental patient, gathers candy like it’s Halloween.
Paranoia tells me that we probably impressed the bank tellers as drug enthusiast, possessing a foreign bill which had been swindled from some random senile old lady via telemarketing fraud as part of an elaborate embezzlement scheme of the federal government’s insurance funds in a manner reminiscent of professional bankers.
Yet, while staring at his shower shoes, they said, “no account, no service.”
The second bank said more of the same.
By the third bank, he convinced a teller to begin processing him for a bank account.
Waiting in an empty office, as explicitly instructed, I begin performing mathematical conversions on an iPhone calculator app in accordance to the algebraic formula suggested by Google, confirming our inclination that Bahrain has more valuable paper than America. At that moment she enters abruptly, simultaneously announcing an inquisition,
“You’re not just doing this to get the bill exchanged, are you?” She asks.
He gives an immediate, pauciloquent reply:
while Synchronously unwrapping
a jolly rancher from a fistful of amalgamated bank candy as the bank manager recites the corporate monologue.
During the ATM fees portion of her soliloquy, in order to demonstrate his sincerity, Saint Chris interrupts her performance to inquire about applying for a personal loan, despite the fact he has abysmal credit, no job nor utility bills nor any other legitimate reason for needing cash on loan with interest.
“Well, that’s a completely separate process,” she stammers, dubiously.
We wait in silence for minutes, excluding the vociferous clamor of keyboard typing, until she stops to look up with an expression of relief.
“I’m sorry,” she begins, feigning words of empathy, “your credit is ummmm… Not approved by the Chex system & I cannot approve an account at this time.”
“That’s cool,” sT. Chris replies, looking out the window, while Opening an oversized tootsie roll. Neither of us get up to leave, coercing gaucheness into the room.
Further embracing the discomforting ambiance, I turn to sT. Chris, who begins unraveling a tootsie pop this time, “yo, we still got all that candy though.” I slur, exaggerating every syllable to extend our time in the air conditioned executive office. “And you still got your $53 dollars worth of Bahrain dinar or whatever it’s called.”
“Yeah, man,” he confirms, crunching on lollipop & tootsie roll. “We should have went to your bank.”
Ignoring the bank manager keeps her in a hostage situation as I shake my head in agreement, staring out the window with existential enlightenment.