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Entry 4. A Funny Thing Happened at the ATM

Title: A Funny Thing Happened At The ATM
Entry Number: 04
Author: rsn_studios
Fandom: Original Fiction
Rating: PG
Genre: general fiction
Spoiler Warnings:
Word Count: 2141

A Funny Thing Happened When I Went To The ATM

By John Thomas Hill

It was a rainy day, and the bank looked to be crowded on this Friday afternoon as everyone was getting their checks cashed and doing the stuff one does in a bank at the end of the week. I didn't have time for this, as I had things to do, so I pulled beside the ATM and endured the downpour to get to the machine to get some cash for tonight's activities. I, for some reason, opted to get a receipt, which I normally didn't do since my bank has an app for my iPhone already, so I can track it that way.
I was about to get in my car when I decided to scan the receipt to see just how much I had in there. It was then that I saw something in my account that stopped me in my tracks: 20 million more than I should have had. “What the hell?” I said, then decided to brave the crowds inside and find out what was up.
After twenty minutes, I approached the teller named Savannah, who looked like she came out of central casting for the part of a bank teller. “Can I help you, sir?” she said with a polished smile.
“Yeah, something funny happened when I got a receipt for my ATM transaction outside, so I want to let someone know that there is a glitch in the system!” I said, handing over the receipt.
Savannah looked at it, and her eyes shot up, “Yes, sir, I can certainly see that it could be a glitch! Let me bring it to the attention of a manager!” She walked away from the counter and went back to talk to her manager. Before the people behind me could grumble too much, a manager in a sharp three piece suit came up and said, “Mr. Dillon, I'm glad you brought this to our attention! If you'll come with me, we'll check this out!”
“Sure thing! I don't want to get into any trouble in spending money that's not mine!” I said as I followed the manager back to an office in the back. It was nicely furnished for a bank office, and the chair I sat in was rather comfortable.
“Could I see your bank card, please?” said the manager, whose nameplate stated his name was Langston Marshall, and he looked more like a literary professor than a bank manager. He typed in some information into his computer, then leaned in to look closer when my bank information came up. “Do you know of a Linus Phillips?”
“Uncle Linus?” I shook my head. “He's my mom's oldest brother. I hadn't seen him in years until my mom's funeral a few years back! He runs a used car lot and garage in Dallas, Texas. She wasn't close to him, so I've only seen him a few times in my life. Why do you ask?”
“Because according to our records, he deposited twenty million into your account!” Marshall said.
I shook my head. “I don't know how because he doesn't know my account info!”
Mr. Marshall said, “Well, he has no wife or any kids, and since you're the only relative he has left alive, the money's yours!”
I still didn't believe it. I only withdrew the two hundred dollars I had planned on getting to begin with, thinking that somehow, this was an elaborate prank or something. Then I realized that it wasn't quite five o'clock yet, so I called up the lawyer that my Uncle Linus had used in his will. Luckily, Francis McCormack was in her office, and she explained that it was all legit.
“Your uncle sold the business years ago and didn't exactly spend money like a rich man would, so it's all yours, free and clear!” McCormack said in a soft Texas twang.
I sighed and then said, “I just don't understand why he would leave it to me!”
“Technically, he left it to your mother, but since she's passed, you were next in line. According to him, he thought you a likeable fellow, so he added you onto the will.” she replied.
I still was baffled after getting off the phone with her. Me, of all people, suddenly a millionaire! I was just a tech guy at the local high school, lucking into the job because the principal at my old high school liked how I dealt with him when he was shopping for a computer at MegaMart, where I used to work in the Media Department. I was making good money, nothing spectacular, but a hell of a lot better than I did working in retail.
That night, I spent time at the local Moose Lodge, where I hung out with my old friends. I didn't drink, so that meant that I was the designated driver, something I didn't mind doing for my pals. Bubba Holtzclaw, my old teammate when we played high school football together years ago, tapped me on the shoulder and said, “Hey, Donna's looking at you again!”
Donna Branham was a buxom blond who had a body to die for, but she wasn't exactly someone known for holding intelligent conversations with. It also didn't help that she was well known to sleep around, so I avoided her gaze. I hadn't told my friends about my new fortune, nor did I plan to, and I certainly didn't want such an obvious gold digger getting her claws into my money.
“Nah, she doesn't interest me, Bubba!” I said, adding, “I'm more into redheads anyway!”
“Then why don't you shag my ex wife then!” Bubba retorted with a drunken laugh. Catrina was a good woman, but she had gotten tired of Bubba and his drinking, so she moved away with their two kids, and Bubba rarely got to see them these days. He rarely talked about it, and I knew not to broach the subject myself.
“Nah, I'm very careful when it comes to dating.” I said, drinking down the good ginger beer that the barkeep kept on hand for me. Paula Pounder was a good looking woman and a damn good bartender, but I knew she preferred the ladies, even though not many others knew her secret. That didn't keep Paula from tempting the lads from tipping well with her looks.
After dropping my friends off at their homes, I made my way to the local Denny's for some late night grub before heading home. I tried my best to look at the world as it always had been, but inheriting two million dollars was changing the way I looked at things, no matter how hard I tried. I had tipped Paula too well, I knew, but I excused that because Bubba had been too much into the sauce to realize that no matter what he tried, or how hard he tried, Paula wasn't going with him for any kind of reason.
The food was okay, nothing special, but I hadn't expected it to be. The place was packed on this Friday night, so I ate my meal and got out of there as soon as I could. For some reason, being around other people was bothering me, as if they were suddenly leeches mentally extending their suckers out to scoop out cash from my wallet. I got out of there, leaving a good tip again because I didn't want the change from the twenty I had put down.
I lived alone in a two bedroom apartment, having lost a roommate to a better job somewhere else. I dutifully made my rent payment online, then went to bed after a wave of fatigue washed over me like a wave upon seeing it was two in the morning and I had been up over twenty hours already.
The weekend was spent at home, save for a brief trip to the grocery store to stock up on essentials. I just needed time to figure things out, because the idea that I had so much money after living paycheck to paycheck all my life was seemingly incomprehensible. I did splurge for some Domino's because I was too much into the college football game to want to actually fix something.
Monday dawned and I went into work, not wanting to expose my secret. Principal Malcolm Andrews came to my office to speak to me. “We have something that has come up.” he said solemnly.
“What is it?” I asked.
“Nancy McFarland died last night in a car wreck. I just got off the phone with her husband. We need to break the news to the students during morning announcements.” he answered in a sobering voice. “I've got a substitute in for her today, but lord knows what we're going to do for an English teacher as good as she was!”
I shook my head and said, “Of all the people, why'd it have to be her?”
“God only knows!” Andrews replied. “It could go tomorrow, for all we know!”
I somehow managed to get the announcement made, but the news of her death shook me to the core. She had three young kids with her real estate broker husband, whose family was rather well to do as it was. Yet, despite their wealth, it did her no good when her car blew a tire and wrecked into a ditch. Doing my usual work was a help, as it distracted me, but all too soon the day was over and I was off again home to my apartment.
As I checked the mail, I came across a brochure for a travel company pushing European tours. I had always dreamed of going there, but I had never had the money. Now...now I did...and the thought, along with the realization that someone roughly my age had just died, prompted me to make a decision.
“I'm sorry to see you go, but I would at least like to know why?” Andrews said Friday when I finally told him I was planning on leaving.
I shut the door before I replied, then said, “Can you keep a secret?”
“Sure. What is it?” he said curiously.
“Last week, I inherited two million dollars from an uncle I hardly knew. He was my mom's only brother and, as far as I know, my last immediate living relative. With Nancy's death...well, I decided to live a little before I die.” I said.
Andrews nodded, then said, “I understand completely. I'm thankful you're staying on until we find someone new, thank goodness!” He then stood up and shook my hand, adding, “Just don't spend it in one place!”
Because of bureaucracy, it wasn't until the end of the calender year before they finally hired someone, so I stayed on until the end of the semester to help the new woman get up to speed. As far as everyone knew, I was getting a sweet gig out of state. I hated keeping a secret from them, but I just didn't want them thinking I was some hot shot rich guy.
They threw a going away party along with the usual New Year's Eve celebration, and thankfully Donna wasn't there. Paula wasn't either, as she had recently left for a good paying gig at a club in Charlotte, so Gene was her replacement, and while he was wicked good at tending bar, things just weren't the same.
“Sorry to see you go, bud, but when you've got a sweet paying gig...” Bubba said, toasting me with his Samuel Adams bottle shakily in his hand, “how can you turn it down?”
“I can't. Not for what they're paying me!” I said. I knew my friends would be okay. They'd find some new guy to drive them home at night, but the honest thing was, this was all they had. I was glad to be moving away from this sleepy small town, because it just didn't have enough to keep me interested.
Months later, I was packing up my suitcase and leaving my condo outside of Atlanta, heading to the airport to catch a flight to Europe, when it hit me: no matter what, I was happy. I didn't need a woman in my life, nor a ton of money, to make me happy. Even with my fortune, my apartment was relatively modest and I still had the same sedan as I always had. But this was the chance to travel like I'd always dreamed, and once everything was ready, I headed off towards what would be a long adventure, starting out in Madrid and going all over Europe.
As I settled into my first class seat, I leaned back and relaxed, thinking of what awaited me. Soon we were in the air, headed nonstop to Madrid and to whatever lie ahead of me!


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