Writing Fiction posted October 2, 2012

This work has reached the exceptional level
Man feels betrayed by bank.

Bank Owned


As soon as Donnie Nilsson stepped out of the bank he realized two things. One that it was about a hundred degrees in the shade and two, that he'd left his hat in that cold-hearted bitch's office.

Now the hat wasn't expensive or valuable and he could pick up a new one next time he stopped by the Feed and Seed. Yet he knew what Ms. Doreen Harker would do with his hat the minute she discovered it. She'd toss it in the trash, just like she'd done with his pride.

Donnie wasn't a greedy man. He, his wife Lori and their two sons tried to live within their means. Nothing was taken lightly and he and his family thanked God for the little bit they had.

He drew in a lungful of the hot, humid air and started for the bank door.

"Back again?" Curtis Haywood, the security guard said. They had known each other since high school and Donnie wondered if Curtis knew what had transpired in Ms. Harker's office just minutes before. If he did he hid it beautifully.

"Just have one more question for her," Donnie said, stepping into the short hall that led to her office.

The door was slightly ajar and Donnie knocked lightly on it. "Ms. Harker, just one more thing."

He saw her flinch, then quickly recover and give him the "anything to help our customer" smile.

"Mr. Nilsson, as I told you before, since the restructuring of the banking system we cannot give out unsecured loans."

"How is it unsecured, Ms. Harker? I've been banking here since I was fifteen."

"I realize that. And we value your, uh," she said as she glanced down at his paperwork which still lay in front of her."Your three hundred and ninety three dollars. But loans like you're asking for, the kind we used to give out before, are no longer. We need some sort of security."

"My word, that's not good enough?"

"Unfortunately, Mr. Nilsson, the day of the good old handshake are no longer. You have nothing of value for the bank to repossess should you default on a loan."

"Nothing of value? What about the farm itself?" He wiped the sweat from his neck as he tried to maintain control.

"You have a mortgage and a fully extended equity line. There is nothing left after that."

He slumped against the door frame. "Ms. Harker, I'm begging you. Please give me this loan, any loan. I won't default, I swear," he said. "I've had loans with you before, look it up. There's never been a problem." He could hear the words catch in his throat and wondered if she could.

She reached down into her spotless trash can and pulled out his hat. "I believe this is yours."

Without a word he took the hat. "This is a mistake, Ms. Harker. People like me who pay their bills, jump through your hoops and try to do the very best they can are what built this bank. One day you'll see just how these new rules affect your customers." He said his words with as much dignity as he could.

He walked back down the hall and stopped in the lobby. He saw his neighbors, people from church, friends and some who he wouldn't classify as friends.

"Excuse me," he said, clearing his throat. "This bank used to be our friend, our ally. This bank used to care about our community. Not any more. There is a new way to deal with people like us. If you truly need the bank, you had better pray that you have something they want or need. I've been doing business with this bank for over twenty four years. It holds the title to my truck, my wife's car, my farm. Everything we own is tied to this bank."

He looked around. All eyes were on him. He had never been shy but laying his whole private hell out for the world to see was humbling. "I came here today for a nine thousand dollar loan. I was denied. If I don't get it, if I don't have the money to hire pickers I lose everything." Again he heard his voice crack. "Everything will rot in the fields. So instead of letting that happen I'm telling you to come take what you want. Tell others. Just come get it." He saw that most looked down now, not wanting to see his obvious pain and humiliation and for that he was thankful.

He didn't bother Lori with the details of what had happened at the bank. Just said that some people might be stopping by and let them take what they wanted.

The boys didn't notice but Lori, he knew, could see there was more to the story.

"What happened?" she asked as she picked a soapy plate out of the sink and washed then rinsed it. She handed it to Donnie.

"Nuthin' much. Just didn't get the loan."

"The boys and I can help you. Call your brothers, they'll help."

"It doesn't matter. Things have changed all around us."

"Things change all the time. The Donnie Nilsson I married used to roll with the punches."

He set the still damp dish in the cabinet and turned to face her. "The punches hurt too bad now."

Saturday Lori and the boys got up early and followed Donnie out into the fields. They all worked non-stop until the light in the sky was too dim and the mosquitoes were too bad.

"Come on inside," Lori said, wiping her dirty face on her sleeve.

Donnie nodded. He gazed out at the fields that lay before him. All his hard work, his pride, his way of life looked like one giant betrayal. "I'll be in a bit. I just need a minute."

"Don't be too long, okay?" she said. She walked over and kissed his sweaty cheek.

He never did come inside. Lori dropped the strainer of spaghetti noodles when she heard the blast.

"Stay in here," she said as her sons started to run after her across the porch. "Call 911!"

Donnie Nilsson had tied a string around the trigger of his grandfather's old hunting rifle and ended it. He left his wife and sons to carry on as best they could.

After the funeral, when the casseroles and visits stopped coming Lori and her sister sat down to start the many thank you notes. Two hours into the thank you notes her sister held up a small card. "You remember that beautiful bouquet of flowers, you know the really big one."

Lori nodded. Vaguely she remembered it. It had been huge and quite lovely.
"What about it?"

Her sister smiled as she held up the card. "The bank sent it. It must have cost a fortune."

Lori felt her insides turn to jelly. She struggled not to vomit. "Here, hand that to me." She read the small piece of card stock. "From your family at Town and Farmers Bank. Our deepest condolences." Lori looked away, drawing in a deep breath. "I'll do this one. I know just what to say."


This is a state of the country piece. Feed back and feelings. Great bug thank you to Old Redeye for the wonderful picture.
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