By Anthony Wetmore (@TheMisterPipes, GhostConch)
Something a little different for Monday afternoon: Sheer Terror.
You know that sinking feeling you get when walking past a bank. Walking into your own is enough to send you into a fury of snot and spittle, rendered useless until you can find the nearest teddy-bear stand. They may cause grief, but of course they’re here to stay.
Stage one: Crying All The Time.
Does this look familiar? You’ve just left a halfway decent dinner party with Cheryl, your sort of new girlfriend, and suddenly you get a text: Hey! We just charged you nearly double for those drinks you chose to charge, you fancy bastard. “Oh no,” you think to yourself, “I’m about to lose it in front of my very new Cheryl girlfriend.” You try your damnedest to keep it together, but you cannot. It’s too late. Waterworks. You think she’ll ask what’s wrong, but instead she spies your phone screen and she’s off to the races too, both of you inconsolable wrecks. Cool sun-glasses and bucket hat are uncomfortable, but offer awkward glances, unsure how to interact with human people correctly.
Stage Two: Sleep It Off
So you’ve found a way to calm yourself, and Cheryl thankfully. You part ways and cannot stop thinking about the money that’s been ripped from you so swiftly. You slip into something more comfortable when your phone rings, it’s Gerald. He’s restless and unable to sleep, much like you, and you both decide to go sleep outside of the Chase to face off with your bank mano a mano, once and for all. Gerald, being your only true friend in this world organises an event and rallies several throngs of similarly pajama’d people to support the cause in this time of great need.
Stage Three: Premature Celebration
The tellers and managers walk into the parking lot and are prepared to work when they see the masses of pajama’d people sleeping and cooking on camp-stoves, lying in wait for the Confrontation of the Century. They shuffle past nervously, quietly as to not wake the sleeping. You, in your half awake stupor see this as a sign of victory, albeit a small one. As the oppressors file into the workplace, you don your party hat and pop your emergency champagne, drinking deeply. Your rally friends, all now dressed for the day turn away in shame as you clearly have lost the vision and your mind absolutely.
Stage Four: Ignorance Is Bliss
“Matching pajamas, beds and group sit-outs and camp ins are too esoteric” you think, after Gerald pulls you down from the roof and helps you sleep off your unearned celebratory drunkenness. “Simpler.” he whispers gently into your upturned ear. “Signs” you growl back, not in an unfriendly manner. Gerald sets off for glitter and glue and poster board and the entire third grade class at Polly Williams Elementary. Soon your signs are constructed perfectly and you stand in the impromptu picket line, next to Cheryl, not your Cheryl, a different girl all together. You’re going to make it.
Stage Five: Performance Art
Nothing you do seems to have any effect. You remember once in college you had a friend, Peter. Peter was so cool, remember? He used to write poetry, smoke orange peels and sometimes appear naked in the quad, decrying the works of Shakespeare as clear deconstruction of the lyrical stylings of N.W.A. “You make no sense.” you told your friend in confidence over cups of Darjeeling. “It’s art. Nothing makes sense.” He retorted, sipping on the too hot tea and staining his pants, much to your delight. So, you take to the basement and mix up some latex paint in the shade of every credit card you’ve ever had. You drench yourself in it and crawl slowly toward the bank vault. You get about half-way when they ask you to leave. “This place is a prison, you pirates!” you cry in a shrill voice before quietly leaving, asking if you could please have your hat back, it fell off in the minor scuffle.
Stage Six: Kiss a Fish, Asshole
The bank is now taking a note from your book, it seems. You get several varieties of dead, cold fish in the mail, sent Priority Post. No other indication other than the address, a Pier near to your home. You know it’s them, and you’ve had it. Bank fees – Bank Feesh – Bank Fish – Scales – Fins. It’s all starting to make sense.
Stage Seven: Quarantine
You’ve come this far, you’ve eaten most of the fish they’ve sent directly to your mailbox and are at a loss for how to proceed, if at all. “If I’d never gone to the party….if I’d never bought those drinks…if I’d never met Cheryl and fell deeply in love. I might have a better life, I might have saved so much money.” You reminisce about life before. The freedom. The feeling of sun on your face. You resign to the fact that this is in fact your fault and lock yourself inside your apartment, cut the phone line, smash your computer and swallow the small pieces of your credit card you have fed through the shredder again and again. You close your eyes.