What do you do when you find out your husband, the man you trusted your entire life to, has not only been cheating on you, but then cleans out all your accounts and leaves you broke and destitute?
If you’re like me, you get busy and make plans to take the son-of-a-bitch out. Quickly.
Seeing the look on the bank teller’s face as I waited for her to post my check made my stomach turn into a knot. It’s automatic as you see them look at your account, frown, do a ever-so-slight head tilt, and then look up at you with a plastered smile. That smile that they make them practice to give an air of calmness while waiting for the incoming screaming that they were afraid would happen.
“I’m sorry Ms. Caldwell, but your accounts have a zero balance,” she said. Her smile grew wider and stiffer.
I blinked. I blinked again and then did my own head tilt. “That’s impossible. There was plenty of money in there the other day. Are you sure you have the right account?” I asked and leaned over the counter to look. She quickly moved the monitor screen away from me.
She rattled off my information. It was correct. She had the right account but there was no way my checking and savings accounts were empty. A thought began to form in the back of my mind. I pushed it away quickly.
“What the fuck happened to my money?” I asked. “Where did it go?” I knew I shouldn’t have sworn and I knew she hadn’t done anything wrong, but this was the worst news I could have heard. I had managed to haul myself out of bed, get dressed, which was a stretch for me that day, and drive down to the bank. The fact that I had even put on a bra was a huge accomplishment for me with the way I was feeling and the shit my life had turned into.
She looked around the bank quickly and then signaled someone to come over. Her smile was back. She said I should talk to the Branch Manager. Another woman walked over with the same smile and said she could help me. She said “I can help you. Come with me and have a seat and I’ll get him for you,” but it sounded like “Oh-please-don’t-make-a-scene-and-be-a-psychotic-bitch-so-just-come-with-me-and-shut-the-fuck-up.”
I followed her into an office. She asked if I wanted anything to drink.
“Yes, gin if you have it. If not, vodka will do,” I said and sat down.
She chuckled “Oh that’s funny….”
“You think I’m kidding? Do I look like I’m kidding?”
“Well?” I asked.
“I can get you some coffee or water…”
“Water, please,” I said and waited while she got it.
The office wasn’t very big but it was like every other bank office I had been in. Immaculate, efficient, and sparsely decorated with one oil painting and a few brochures on the table.
The branch manager came in within a few minutes, shook my hand, and sat down. “It’s nice to see you again, Susan. How have you been?”
I didn’t feel like smiling, but I couldn’t help it. Brad had been our banker at work since day one. Most of the employee’s, including myself, banked here and he was always willing to help.
“Not so good, Brad. Long story short, my husband and I split up and now I find out that all my money is missing. That’s how I’m doing,” I said. I could feel the tears coming but I refused to cry anymore. I had cried for 3 days. Enough was enough.
“Oh, I’m sorry to hear that. All of it. Well, let me take a look at your account,” he said. I gave him all the information and prayed that while he looked, my money would magically appear and we would laugh about the mistake and how stupid computers were.
He frowned. We weren’t going to be laughing after all.
“Yes, I’m afraid that it’s true,” he said and moved the monitor so I could see it. He pointed to the transactions. One in my checking and one in my savings. Both accounts had been cleared out 2 days ago.
“Someone must have forged my signature!” I said. I knew that someone hadn’t, but I had to say it.
“No, I don’t think so. Look at this. This is the record of each transaction. Sam came in and cashed out each one. Here, right here, are his signatures. You see those?” he asked. His voice was full of sympathy and pity. That made me feel worse.
After going back and forth with Brad, I knew it was true. Sam had cleaned out everything and it was perfectly legal. It wasn’t right but it was legal. He was a co-signer on both accounts. He had taken all my money. He didn’t even leave me $1.00. It was insult added to injury.
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