some October day: On the Banks of the Insane

We had to borrow some money from Charlie's mom for the first time ever to pay the gas bill, among countless other things to choose from to pay. But the gas bill was a shut-off notice for last Wednesday. Charlie asked to borrow 800 dollars and she said she would write the check, drive it to the post office, and we should have it in the next day or two. (Charlie was hoping she would get our point that we were BROKE and make it for 1000.) This was last Tuesday night. She told him NOT TO PAY ANYTHING until the check came.

Well it didn't come Wednesday and Charlie did a CHECK BY PHONE with the goddamn gas company anyway, we had to, but the payment was too large (700?) and he had to split it into two payments, each adding an additional fee FOR PAYING. We were hoping that his mom's check would come Thursday before any of the charges actually went through. Well it didn't. He got REAMED with FOUR fucking overdraft charges of 38 dollars each, which put his account at negative almost 200 dollars.

SO - Charlie calls his mom and discovers that she mailed it to 99 Thames instead of 999 Thames.


And she says she'll mail a new check.

A new check arrives on Saturday, I don't know where the hell the one addressed to 99 Thames went, and the new check is for 900 (?) Charlie can't deposit it because 200 would immediately be eaten by the overdraft fees and we would be dead broke and still in debt, LOTS AND LOTS AND LOTS AND LOTS AND LOTS of fucking debt!

SO - Since I'm trying to close my Keybank account due to their criminal charging of overdraft fees I just reinstated my Fifth Third account and switched Tri-C's auto-deposit just in time to avoid having just under 200 dollars also eaten by fees I really don't owe when the paycheck is finally deposited. We decide on Saturday afternoon that Charlie will sign his mom's check for 900 over to me, I'll deposit it at Fifth Third since my account there is positive 4 dollars and 41 cents, then I'll write him a check to cover the gas bill, and we can see how much cash we can withdraw without overdraft fees, because we're flat broke. I call them and they say I can withdraw 100 dollars against the check, and also that it will not credit fully to my account until Tuesday night at midnight (tonight). Fine.

So Saturday morning we drive clear up to the closest Fifth Third branch on 222nd and Lakeshore. I go in the lobby and ask again if this policy described to me on the phone is right. The teller says yes, you can take out 100 on an uncleared check.

SO - that's what we do, and decide that we might as well wait until today for me to write Charlie the check because there will be no overdraft charges on the holiday weekend and today would be the soonest it would matter anyway. We were also hoping that today's mail would contain another check for Charlie for writing something (several people owe him for reviews), because now the 800 that's left in my account from his mom's check isn't enough to cover all of the overdraft charges and the gas bill, too, that will be taken out of his account.

Surprise! A small check comes today. Charlie comes home from teaching for lunch just to deposit the checks. I write him one from my Fifth Third account for 700 - then both the check his mother sent that we deposited on Saturday and the one I'm writing him against it today should clear tonight at midnight at two different banks! Voila!

Well, after Charlie goes to the bank and back to school, later, around quarter till four, a teller from Fifth Third, Lisa, calls and tells me that Charlie's mom's check cannot be deposited in my account because Fifth Third has a policy that they don't accept third party checks.

WHAT? Are they the only bank that DOESN'T?

I wanted to say but your name is Fifth THIRD! It's a good check! Please believe me! It's from my lover's mom and she's loaded! (Like that's gonna work.)

And I wanted to say, WHY did you wait until THE END OF TODAY to call me? Didn't anyone NOTICE THIS on Saturday when I deposited the check?

I tell her what I've gone and done - taken out 100 on Saturday and written a check which has already been deposited for 700 today! OH NO!


She says the only thing that I can do is to come there immediately and pick up the check, take it to a National City branch, the bank Charlie's mom's check is from, cash it, and bring the cash back to her. Well now it's ten to four so I drop everything and race to the phone book and call the branch of National City that happens to be just about a mile up Lakeshore from Fifth Third.


The woman tells me I can access an actual teller until four-thirty.

So I jump in the van which has no gas and I have not a shred of cash and somehow manage to make it all the way up there. Fifth Third is open until five-thirty (now that actually makes sense! 5:30! Fifth Third!) so I just have to get there and then up to National City before four-thirty and all will be fine!

Sweating and panting I race up to Lisa ahead of everyone else in line and grab the check. I have fourteen minutes to get to National City!


But the doors are locked.

And they are clearly marked that FOUR is the closing time.

So I race back to Fifth Third, all the while driving and getting directions on my cell to the National City branch way out in Mentor, although there's no way I can make it there and back to Fifth Third by five-thirty. AND ANYWAY, I'm informed that I will need two forms of ID and to be fingerprinted by the bank in order to cash the check, and that it will cost 10 dollars.

So I just return to Fifth Third and beg. Lisa says she'll ask the manager if he'll accept it. Hope springs eternal! But NO - of course the guy is a BIG FAT DICK about it and he also reminds me of the song "Piggies" the way his tie is choking his fat little criminal body.

I've been trying to call Charlie this entire time, over and over, but he has his cell phone off because he's teaching. He finally calls me back (what's left of me that isn't a complete basketcase) and we don't know what the hell to do and time is counting down fast. He drives straight up to Fifth Third - he has his checkbook on him! - and meets me, where we decide in a panic that the only thing to do is for him to write me a check back for the full 900 - it's the only way to avoid overdraft charges on my account, and then we'll deposit his mom's check, that I've been holding in my hand this whole time, that's already been stamped by Fifth Third, into HIS Keybank account, and HOPE for no NEW overdraft charges. There's a CLOSED Keybank right across the street!

Lisa tells us if he puts it in the NIGHT DEPOSITORY they will probably have it and clear it before Fifth Third opens tomorrow.

So I'm totally lost now and wondering if we have 900 dollars at all and especially if we've done anything illegal. If I could figure all of this out it would certainly work somehow as a scam!

I won't even mention that since Charlie had his wallet stolen after the Quanta show downtown last Friday night he has not had a shred of ID or any bank cards or credit cards and the inconvenience that this little delight has added to all of this. I won't mention how all the slimy details of banking made me have to shower the minute we got home. I won't mention that we've already paid more in overdraft fees than in bills. I WON'T MENTION THAT I'M LOSING MY FUCKING MIND! I won't even say ALWAYS LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER because if we had done that we wouldn't have any hot water


Terry Durst