The bank guy said, “Sir, we may not have all those bills, and even if we do, you’ll have to fill out a form for the federal…”
“That doesn’t concern me, Mr. Bummel.”
“It’s Hummels, sir. And I would advise…”
“I’m not looking for advice Mr. Bummel. I’m looking for my cash.” JJ corrected his posture, pushing himself up from slouch for emphasis. He felt this leather bank chair was pulling him under, sucking him in. “My cash,” he said.
“Sir, I’ll need to talk to the manager. But, I need to ask. It’s uncomfortable but, are you intoxicated, sir?” Hummels looked at him, steady and professional, which JJ kind of respected through the fog of his binge.
“Mr. Hummels, sir, that’s neither here or there. I just need my cash.” Hummels considered, looking at the specimen across his desk. A clock was ticking in the office, a small glassed-in space right off the main lobby. JJ thought of a reptile cage in a zoo, though no one was looking in. The reptiles usually just sit there anyway, dignified and bored, until feeding time. “Komodo dragon,” he thought and snickered a little.
“How much did you say, sir?”
“Well that’s where I need your help a little. How much cash will fill a bath tub?” A pause. “It can be a mixture of demona…demomma…denominations.”
“You’re putting this cash in a bath tub?”
He drew himself up again, fighting the slouch, dignified. “I intend to bathe in my money, yes.”
“I’m sorry, sir, but may I ask why?”
“You may ask,” JJ said and paused. “I want to feel it all around me. Beyond that, we’ll see.”
“Are you going to put water in the tub?”
“You must think I’m an idiot! I don’t want to ruin my money!”
“Sir, keep your voice down, please. I’ll see what we can do.”
JJ watched Hummels walk to the bank guard near the entrance. They shared a word and a glanced back at the glass office, then Hummels headed to the larger office in the corner. Something told him it was time to leave. The air was going out of the balloon, the idea bulb above his head dimming. This bank, this sucking leather chair, was killing momentum. He stood and listed toward the lobby, but the exit seemed far away. Komodo dragon, trapped in the reptile house, its enclosure door suddenly left open by a careless zookeeper. You read about escaped zoo animals sometimes, on the internet. It was now or never.
The bank guard watched him walk out, took a step, but then let him pass through the lobby. “Tell Bummels to forget it,” JJ said as he passed the guard. “I will not be caged.”
“Yes, sir,” the guard said. JJ went out into the cold and headed across the parking lot. He was on foot, which was a good thing, considering. Glancing back, he saw the guard watching him from inside the door. The stifling bank behind, JJ headed toward home without his cash, transformed from caged reptile to some poor antlered beast, still captive in the zoo, but with room to roam within its habitat. Liquor store first, then back home.