The Bank Teller
By Jerry Guarino
Joey handed the customer one hundred dollars in crisp twenty dollar bills. “Here you go Mr. Jones. You might want to try the new brew from Costa Rica.” Ever since the merger of coffee shops with banks – my readers may remember the story Starbanks – the public has been clamoring for more services within the bank. In addition to bank teller, Joey also spent time serving coffee in the morning and waiting tables at the new Italian Bistro, Soldi Facili, in the afternoon. Not that Joey minded his new multi-tasking job description; he was able to double his salary without an extra commute.
Of course, the building layout for these businesses had to change. Even though the Café and Bistro were in the lobby of the bank, they had to be separated from the bank vault. Then there was the artsy cinema, providing foreign films and fancy appetizers in the evening. All in all it was quite an incredible business venture. You could start the day with morning coffee, do your banking, have lunch in the bistro and catch the latest film from Italy at night. The dry cleaner will be moving in next week.
And who would be providing loans for all the construction and new business accounts? Why, the bank of course. In fact all the employees of all these businesses supported each other because they had 25% discount cards for in-house purchases.
A tall woman limped over to Joey’s station. “Excuse, me. Do you know a good doctor in town?”
“Just visit our clinic, around that corner in Red Level C. Tell them Joey sent you.” (Joey got discount points for referrals)
A short, rotund man wearing a rumpled black suit waddled over to Joey. “I’m new in town and I’d like to open an account.”
“Certainly sir. We just have to fill out this form. Where are you coming from?”
“New York. Around Niagara Falls.” That was the wrong answer. Suddenly
everyone on the platform focused on the new customer. In unison, they performed the
old vaudeville skit. They walked menacingly toward him.
“Niagara Falls. Slowly I turned. Step-by-Step. Inch-by-Inch.”
Just when the stranger feared for his life, they all gave him a smile and pat on the back.
“We try to keep our theater skills up to date. You never know when you’ll be called on
for a song or a skit.”
“Whew. I was worried. I think I’ll take this application over to the bar and have a drink while I fill it out.”
“Certainly” said Joey. “You can give it to the waitress when you’re finished.”
As the bank was closing for the day, Mrs. Mariani, the branch manager motioned over to Joey.
“Joey, please sit down.”
“Yes, Mrs. Mariani.”
“I noticed how helpful you have been in cross-selling our customers to other in-house businesses. How would you like to be promoted to Floor Director?”
“Why, yes. That would be great. Thank you.”
Mrs. Mariani flipped a switch under her desk; the branch was transformed into a stage with lighting and seats. From the left wing, a dozen Indian dancers appeared and performed a Bollywood song in celebration of Joey’s new job. Naturally, this drew a crowd that joined in the dance like a flash mob.
The next day, Joey came to work in a tuxedo, with spats, a whistle, and a mustache (it must have been fake), looking very much like the ringmaster of a circus. “Joey. You look great. Everyone will know that you’re in charge here,” said one of the tellers.
“Thanks. It’s not too much, is it?”
“Not at all. As long as you don’t set up a trapeze and high wire act.”
So Joey wandered among the crowd, answering questions.
“Excuse me sir. Do you know where I can find a caterer?”
Joey paused a moment, looked at his iPhone, then looked up. “Yes Ma’am. We have a new caterer on level 2. Appetites To Go. They cater parties for the Food Network. I’m sure they can help you.”
Well, it wasn’t long before Joey was approached by the owner of Soldi Facili. “Joey, we are going to remodel our bistro into an elegant evening restaurant, prendiamo più soldi. Would you consider being my maître d?”
Joey was taken aback. “I certainly would. When will it open?”
“Within a month. All the construction is being done at night, so it won’t disrupt the other businesses.”
Joey shook the restaurant owner’s hand. “Thank you. I can’t wait.”
It was Joey’s first night at prendiamo più soldi. A sophisticated couple was seated at the best table, adjacent to the opera stage. As the tenor was preparing, Joey approached the couple. “Welcome. My name is Giuseppe. If there is anything special you need, please call on me. Your waitress will be here in a moment.” Joey snapped his finger and a lovely young Italian woman glided into position.
“These are very important patrons Soriana. Only your very best attention will be expected.”
“Yes, sir. I will treat them like family” said Soriana.
“Very good. Then I will leave these dear people to your care” said Giuseppe, and he motioned for the tenor to begin his concert.
The tenor had a magnificent voice and delighted all the restaurant patrons with arias from Italian operas. By the end of the night, the owner was convinced that Joey was the best hire he had made.
“Joey. A perfect first night. How do you feel?”
“It is a dream job sir. I couldn’t be happier. Thank you again for giving me the opportunity.”
“Well, get on home now and get some rest. Tomorrow is Friday night and with the reviews we are going to get from tonight, it should be packed.”
“Very good sir. See you then.”
As Joey was walking out, he noticed a light on in the bank. Hmm. The cleaning crew would have been gone hours ago. I better check this out. Joey peeked into the vault area and saw two men putting cash into bags. Joey reached into his pocket, dialed 911 and waited for the police to arrive.
The men finished sooner than expected and headed out the back exit. Joey knew he had to do something. That was his bank and no one was going to rob it while he was there. He rushed out the side exit and confronted the robbers. He put his hand inside his jacket pocket in the shape of a gun.
“Stop right there. Put the bags down and walk away and you won’t get hurt.”
The robbers weren’t afraid, but cautious. “Who are you? You’re not a cop.”
“Never mind what I am. The gun will do all the explaining if you don’t leave now. Police are on the way.”
“Look at this guy Al. Looks like a waiter”
“Yeah, he probably has a sausage in his pocket.” The two thieves laughed at Joey.
Joey pulled out the object from his pocket, pointed it all the robbers and gave one last request. “I warned you. This is your last chance.”
The robbers saw that it was no sausage, but some sort of weapon, like a space gun. One of them surrendered, but the other one turned to run with the bag of money.
“You asked for it,” said Joey and he blasted him with 20,000 volts of electricity. It was a Taser gun. Joey had apprehended the men and all the cash. Then the police rolled up with sirens blaring.
“He tried to get away, but I zapped him.”
“Good work son. Say what are you supposed to be anyway?”
Joey stood tall and straightened his tie. “I’m a bank teller.”
The next day, Joey returned to the bank and of course, worked evenings at the restaurant.
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Jerry Guarino’s short stories have been published by dozens of magazines in the United States, Canada, Australia and Great Britain. His latest book, "50 Italian Pastries", is available on Amazon.com and as a Kindle eBook. Please visit his website at http://cafestories.net