Relationships are complicated things; they can either evolve and grow over time or they can fall apart in an instant. People can see things differently, change direction, or want something different from what is currently on offer. Unlike a contractual obligation, a relationship can be ended by either party at any time. One moment, everything seems to be chugging along just fine and it’s pure bliss, but the next thing you know, you’ve been kicked to the curb and you’re out on your ass. Welcome to apartment hunting, homeless-style. In this game, you try to win by tracking down the best appliance boxes to live in and remember, location, location, location. Location is everything. Steam grates and fast food restaurants with an accessible dumpster are prime pieces of real estate in the homeless community, as well as an indicator of social status. Still, it’s a cold, cruel world out there and in the long run, it’s probably best to keep that miserable fucking bitch or bastard happy. I say that because having shit like electricity, running water, food, toilet paper, pornography and all of that other civilized crap are good things. At the very least, it sure as shit beats waking up covered in cat piss and pigeon shit, wondering where your next hit of Robitussin is going to come from.
As an aside, Walgreen’s is open twenty-four hours a day. Aisle 5.
Yeah, breakups are hard. Breakups are brutal, soul-killing and savage; a betrayal, a dagger through the heart. And while there’s no such thing as a good breakup, a truly bad breakup is devastating, leaving you adrift, lost and alone.
My bank broke up with me today.
I’ve been crying for hours, binge watching movies about bank robberies and eating Ben & Jerry’s. I even went through an entire box of tissues watching one movie. That one wasn’t about robbing banks.
Not really, but I was pretty pissed off. I’m not pissed off anymore, though. Nope, now I’m just humiliated.
It all started with a letter and it wasn’t the letter ‘P’ from Sesame Street.
I couldn’t believe the words as I read them, my bank was breaking up with me. I was stunned and heartbroken as I read the impersonal words contained on that single page of fine, vellum paper. No explanation, just a cold and brief note in the mail, informing me that the bank was closing my accounts and terminating our relationship. I couldn’t understand the reasoning behind their decision, I’d been a good customer, I’d never had an overdraft or bounced a check. Hell, I don’t even own a check, I do all of my banking online. I’d even been faithful, sort of. I had been seeing another bank. I had accounts elsewhere, but my bank already knew all about that. I thought we had an open relationship. As far as I knew, I had never done anything to incur their wrath. Could this be as simple as jealousy? A bad case of asset envy, perhaps?
Still, the questions nagged at me. Why? What the hell had I done? Deep down, I didn’t really give a shit about what I may or may not have done. I do all kinds of fucked up shit, so one more accusation of fuckery doesn’t really surprise me. Honestly, all I really cared about was my money. And that begs the question, what about my fucking money?
The letter from the bank informed me that Chase was closing my accounts because continuing their relationship with me created a possible reputational risk for them. In other words, Chase was politely saying the equivalent of, “It’s not us, it’s you,” and “We need some space.” I must admit that the form letter went to great lengths to show empathy for me, further informing me that Chase knew that this was not a decision that they made lightly and that the account closures might cause difficulties for me.
Difficulties. Yeah, no shit. Fuckers.
Chase also wanted to let me know how magnanimous they were and that they were willing to help me through this difficult time.
It would “help” me, if I would destroy the debit and credit cards for all of my accounts.
Any checks that were written on the account would be returned as unpaid, because the account was closed.
Direct deposits and recurring payments would be rejected.
Hey Fuckers, what about my money?
Oh, there it was, hidden in the middle of the fucking Dear John letter.
Funds may not be withdrawn from this account at this time.
You dirty cocksuckers…
So, when do I get my fucking money?
After those motherfuckers verified all deposits and payments, I’d get a check in the mail for any remaining funds and that it would be ten days, before I’d get my coin, which is no problem, of course, because I’m independently wealthy and live a life of such fucking leisure that I was absolutely certain that the $4.37 that I had in my change jar would carry me through the next week. Oh, and sorry kitty, but that can of Fancy Feast belongs to me now, so back off, bitch.
Chase also let me know that they valued me as a customer and I’ll tell you, nothing could make me feel more like a valued customer than that letter did. Truly, it filled my heart with sunshine, happiness and joy. Assholes.
Once again, Chase informed me that they were reaching out to let me know that they were there to help in this difficult time and that if I needed to talk, if I had any questions or concerns, I should give them a call and we could hug it out.
Maybe sit in a big circle, holding hands and singing fucking “Kumbaya”.
Yeah, fuck that.
I had lots of fucking questions and concerns and I was just about to call those motherfuckers when I noticed a sentence that I hadn’t read, buried near the bottom of the letter. The sentence read, “If you are calling from outside of the U.S., please call us collect.”
You’ll never guess what I did.
I walked right out to the car and I drove off, in search of a pay phone. I didn’t have to search very long, as I came across one almost immediately, at a 7-11 that’s just a few blocks from my house. You bet your ass I called them collect.
Fuck that, let those bitches pay for my call. They were going to pay alright.
But pay they didn’t. Those motherfuckers didn’t accept the charges for the call. Wtf? Lying fucking liars.
And now I had to pee.
More than a little pissed off, I returned home, walked passed the bathroom and called the bank from my mobile phone.
Fuck. I forgot to pee. No worries, how long could the call take? I could wait it out.
The phone was answered with a chipper, “Good morning,” by an equally chipper gentleman and I feel the need to point out that I am nowhere near chipper, nor am I a gentleman in the morning and I most certainly do not say motherfucking chipper things, no matter what the time of day. Okay, that’s kind of a lie. I happily tell people to go fuck themselves all of the time, so I guess you could call that chipper. Anyway, more often than not, I’m just a heartbeat away from assaulting and killing chipper people who say chipper things and I want to kill them even more, when they do their chipper shit first thing in the morning. I smiled as I pictured disemboweling that chipper fucking bastard with my righteous anger.
And I really had to pee.
Anyway, the guy droned on…
“Thank you for calling Chase…” and whatever other scripted bullshit he was forced to say and that I didn’t pay attention to. He droned on, “My name is Richard. How may I be of service to you today.”
Gremlins were jumping on my bladder and I felt like I was about to explode. All I wanted to do was hang up the phone and run for the bathroom, but instead, I introduced myself and told Richard about the letter, telling him that I didn’t understand what was going on and asked for an explanation.
A very quick explanation. My kidneys were about to burst.
“I’ll be happy to be of service to you in that matter today. If you’ll give me just a moment, I’ll look into that,” Richard said. “I just need to verify your identity and access your accounts.”
My back teeth were floating. I started fidgeting like a spastic monkey, all whacked out on crack.
We went through the whole rigmarole and Richard accessed my account. Richard had kept a running banter of small talk going up until this point, but suddenly, he was silent.
“Oh…” he said. “You’re that guy. One moment, please.”
Well, that sure sounded ominous. What the hell had he meant by ‘that guy’?
I found myself on hold, trapped listening to what I’m sure was supposed to be soothing music, but I’ve always found the strains of “Afternoon Delight” to be somewhat enraging. Like, shank a bitch, enraging, but I digress.
I couldn’t hold it any longer, I was about to wet my pants.
It only got worse when Debbie Boone started singing, “You Light Up My Life.”
I was losing my fucking mind. I ran for the bathroom and made it just in time. No one’s calling my Pauley Pissy Pants. I let out a sigh of relief, and then Debbie Boone cut out in mid-caterwaul just as Richard came back on the line, which saved me from going apeshit and strangling someone with the telephone cord. Just kidding, no one has a landline anymore.
“Mr. Marandola, are you using the restroom?” Richard asked.
I had forgotten that the phone was on speaker. Oops.
I stopped peeing and held that shit. I was really dying now. Do you know how hard it is to stop peeing and hold it in midstream?
“Um… no?” I answered. “What? No, I’m not. Who does that? That’s disgusting.”
I couldn’t believe it; I’d just been caught with my dick in my hands. Again. This was the entire situation that I’d been trying to avoid in the first place and instead, I’d grabbed the bull by the horn, so to speak, not once, but twice.
Not that it’s any consolation, really, but at least my bad decisions are epic.
“Sir…,” Richard began.
Uh, oh. That sounded even more ominous than the last thing he’d said, which had been as ominous as fuck.
Maybe I had done something wrong, but for the life of me, I couldn’t figure out what it could have been. I mean, I do a lot of shit. I made a mental list of all of my recent wrongdoings and while there were a shit ton of fuck ups, there wasn’t anything that involved the bank, or that would cause them to terminate their relationship with me. Not in recent memory, anyway. I use the term recent memory very loosely. As I mentioned, I do a lot of shit, so recent memory only encompasses about a week; anything longer than that counts as the remote past, because ain’t nobody got time for all that. Life with me is like living in dog years.
Meanwhile, I’m still holding my pee. Not cool. So totally not cool.
“The bank has closed your account based upon your personal behavior at one of our branches,” Richard continued.
What? What kind of fuckery was this? Personal behavior? While I’d never doubt that my behavior might cause a ruckus, I hadn’t even been inside of a branch for months. Something to do with my general loathing for humanity.
“Have to pee. Have to pee. Have to pee.” I thought. It had become my mantra.
“I’m not sure that I understand,” I said. “What exactly do you mean by personal behavior?”
“Mr. Marandola,” Richard replied, “Do we really need to get into all of that?”
Well, since only one of us seemed to know what the fuck ‘all of that’ encompassed, we sure as shit did. So clue me in, motherfucker.
Agitated, I responded, “Richard, I’m not sure what you mean. Dick. I haven’t been inside of a branch in months. Dick. I can’t think of any type of misbehavior or faux pas that I may have committed that would cause the bank to terminate its relationship with me. So, Dick, perhaps you could explain it all to me. Oh, and do you mind if I call you Dick?
I think I might have rubbed Dick the wrong way. So to speak. I thought I sensed a little anger in what he had to say next. Poor guy, maybe he has anxiety, or something.
“Sir, I would have preferred that you saved yourself the embarrassment, but on Tuesday night of last week…” Richard started.
Tuesday night? Wtf?
And in a flash, it all came back to me. Fuck me, but I was fucked and I knew I was fucked, because I was guilty as charged and I was pretty sure that there would be no way for me to talk my way out of this one.
Fuckity, fuck, fuck, fuck.
Last Tuesday night.
Of all the fucking things…
Last Tuesday night, I had worked until after midnight. It had been a long day, I was tired and I was trying to bust out the door as quickly as possible, because I still had shit to do before I could go home and all I really wanted to do was get my ass home and into bed as soon as possible. I ran out the door and into a downpour, jumped in my car and peeled out of the parking lot. That was when I remembered that I had to pee and it wasn’t just a memory, either. In my haste to get out the door, I had forgotten that I really needed to use the restroom before leaving and now my bladder was reminding me quite forcefully. I thought about going back inside, but dismissed the thought, thinking, “No worries.” I only had to stop at the convenience store and the ATM and then I was home free. It was only 25 minutes, or so. Surely, I could hold it that long.
Except, I couldn’t.
I wasn’t even a mile down the road before I started squirming in my seat, sort of bouncing in place, not to the music, mind you, but to the beating of my bladder. I thought about pulling over, but it was raining, it was late and I was tired, so fuck it. Plus, the road was a busy one and the last thing that I wanted to happen was for me to get caught on the side of the road with my dick in my hands. It just wouldn’t look right. It’s unbecoming, frankly.
And so is having to register as a sex offender.
Besides, I’m like a fucking camel and I can hold my water.
I made it into 7-11 without pissing myself and I asked to use the restroom and was refused. Fuckers. I really, really had to go and briefly contemplated pissing on the side of the building, but again, there was that whole getting caught with my dick in my hands thing, so that ruled out that bright idea. After that whole unfortunate incident with the lamb at the petting zoo, I just can’t go through all of that again.
Anyway, while I was in 7-11, I also bought myself, of all fucking things, a Big Gulp, because as badly as I had to piss, I also needed a drink, because my mouth was drier than a fucking desert. It was a fucking conundrum, let me tell you. I thought that I was going to piss that liquid out just as soon as I drank it in. I stopped drinking.
By now, I was pretty frantic, but instead of finding relief, somewhere, fuck, anywhere, I drove myself over to my local bank branch to use the ATM. My paycheck is a direct deposit into a credit union account that I still have in PA. The ATM at my bank not only dispenses cash, but accepts cash deposits, so every two weeks I withdraw money from my PA account and deposit some of it into my WA account. It’s fairly simple, if a bit of a pain in the ass. I arrived at the bank and jumped out of the car, running to the ATM and I inserted my debit card, keyed in my PIN and withdrew some cash. As I waited for the machine to reset so that I could begin my next transaction, I had to pee so badly that I started pacing back and forth, growing more frantic as the moments dragged on.
The ATM reset and I inserted the card for my local account and keyed in the PIN, hit the right buttons for the cash deposit, inserted my cash and started doing the pee pee dance. The dam was breaking, the water was rising and it wouldn’t hold for much longer. Desperate, I headed for the shadows; I needed relief and I needed it right then. I turned my head back to the ATM and it was in the process of spitting my money back out and that shit was flying everywhere, because, oh, you know, fuck me.
I ran back to the ATM and scooped my money up from the ground and attempted the deposit again. The machine accepted the cash and I couldn’t hold it any longer. I ran over to my car, which was parked in a pretty inconspicuous spot and I unzipped and just let it fly. I felt so relieved that I just wanted to cry tears of fucking joy and I figured that any second now, some cop was going to pull up and catch me with my dick in my hands and that might prove to be somewhat embarrassing. But it didn’t happen.
Honestly, who was going to see me?
Instead, while I was in the midst of pissing out what felt like 1,192 gallons, I turned my head back to look at the ATM and that’s when I noticed “it”. “It”, in this case being a very large and prominent security camera that was pointed directly at me.
Fuck. Caught with my dick in my hands and on camera, no less. I always knew I’d be a star, one day.
I did the only sane and logical thing possible.
I turned, looked up at the camera, smiled and then waved. Like a grinning fucking fool.
Seriously. Okay, the bank might have security footage of me pissing all over the place, but who the fuck would ever see it? Unless something happened at the ATM and they needed the footage, no one would ever see it. No one, watches this shit live, right? So, I should have been in the clear. Should have been.
The only problem was that I wasn’t. Oh, fuck no, I wasn’t anywhere near the clear. It was a bit more fucking opaque than that.
Who watches that shit? Why? Fuck me. Did they count how many times I shook it too?
All of that shit flashed through my head in the space of a couple of heartbeats and I realized that Richard was still talking.
Why was he still talking? What the fuck was he talking about?
Oh, yeah. That…
“And I’m sorry, sir, but the bank feels that it is in our best interests not to have a relationship with a customer who urinates all over our property,” Richard finished.
Well, why the fuck not? I didn’t ask him that, of course, but I really wanted to.
The way I saw it, I was just an innocent victim, caught up in the chaos and the bank was making me out to be the bad guy. I mean, there I was, innocently answering a call of nature, one that couldn’t be left unanswered by that point, if I may remind you and was it my fault that the bank did not provide restroom facilities for their customers? How is the bank’s lack of foresight and lack of concern for the well-being and kidney comfort of their customers my fault? Why do people always blame the victim?
Richard was still talking. Why? Why was he still talking?
“Is there anything else that I can help you with today, Mr. Marandola?” Richard asked.
Help me with something else? What the fuck did you help me with the first time, you pompous little fuck? Oh, and stop with the fucking talking. Stop. Stop it. Sit down and shut the fuck up, I need to think, here.
I couldn’t think of shit, but then I thought about begging for another chance, but I didn’t think it would help and I wanted to keep my dignity intact. In my heart, I realized that it was really and finally over between us and there was nothing I could do that would fix things.
I remember sighing, resigning myself to my fate and then a great feeling of fuck it all, I mean peace came over me and I relaxed. And started pissing.
“Mr. Marandola, you’re doing it again,” Richard complained.
“No, I’m not,” I replied.
“Mr. Marandola, I can hear you quite clearly,” Richard accused.
“I am not,” I said in self-defense.
“Yes, yes you are,” Richard accused once more.
I hate people who point fingers. Where was his proof? It’s not like he had me on video. Again.
“No, no I’m not. It’s not what you think,” I lied.
“Sir…” Richard started, the exasperation evident in his voice.
But I didn’t want to hear it. I didn’t know what else to say or do at that point, I was at a complete and humiliating loss. Instead, I just ended the call. What the fuck else could I do?
I consoled myself with the thought that the bank might have rained on my parade, but at least I’d pissed on theirs.
I have to pee.