Anton's Bad Day
by Merrilynn Bougourd
If any of the girls took note of the new teller, it was to shake their head in dismay at her bumbling. She’d been hired to help, and they had to help her. The relentlessly busy day had the care of a child added to it. The girls were nice to Christi, and she was nice to them, but her slow, deliberate use of the computer, the counting of money… well, it was hard to watch. Customers in a hurry dreaded being called to Christi’s line. The bank manager who had hired her, and the Head Teller in charge of her continual training, watched constantly. One for an excuse to fire her, the other for the opportunity to help build her skills, her confidence, her comfort level. Christi was a worker of good attitude and great promise - she just needed a break.
Anton had been a troubled kid his whole life. All his guidance counselors wrote just that in all their reports for his school records. There was no socioeconomic, domestic, psychological, sociological source to explain Anton’s profound sense of entitlement bigger than the biggest ego. If you had it and he wanted it - he found a way to get it. The older he got, the better he became at taking what he wanted. This negative attribute worked in his favor in his job. Negotiating supply, purchasing and materials contracts for large construction firms, his debonair countenance made the suppliers want to do business with him, even when he cut their profit margins to the bone. But what happened to him today, the whole day start to finish, pushed Anton over the edge.
From the time he stepped out of bed, working in his mind completion of the contract for gypsum board. You know, sheetrock he told his wife. Her answer: I hope it makes you a bonus honey, because we’re pregnant. Funny, his girlfriend said it just the same way when he got to her apartment an hour later. Mr. Todd Wynne, biggest supplier of gypsum, now in short supply, and prices only increasing refused to complete the contract at Anton’s price, regardless of the volume. Anton had sounded edgy to him, not as smooth, not as nice and Todd was not willing to lose money just for future contracts and bigger supply orders. The call finished as both men hung up cursing. One for losing the contract and the much needed bonus; the other hoping he wouldn’t rue the day he declined business with Anton and Lee construction. Todd was resolute, ’let the wag go with the dog’ and moved on to his next piece of business. Anton sat quietly then, unable to move on.
His face was tight, growing purple in the fluorescent light of his office. All that work, and no result. How dare that fool thwart his objectives. Glancing at his Rolex watch Anton decided he’d skip out for lunch now. The 2 clients waiting outside could wait another hour. Hey, if you want to talk to the man, you bide your time.
Squealing the tires of his Lexus out of the company parking lot, Anton stops at the bank on the corner. He needed money and this wasn’t a drive thru transaction, he needed to go inside. Greeted at the door, he condescended to look at the Lobby Leader, but did not reply. She was not worthy and no concern of his. The line was short, but every second of delay completing his important business burned his fuse shorter and shorter. When it was his turn next, he stepped up to Christi’s window scowling at her smiling face and turned his prepared deposit slip over to reveal his real intentions. She looked down and read: Give me the 100’s and 50’s in your drawer now, and be quick about it. Christi had just taken a large $50,000 cash deposit, and contrary to policy, put it in her second drawer, not her back vault.
Instantly she thought she’d lose her much needed, much liked job AND money for the bank. Grabbing a paper bag used for coin exchanges, she scooped up the few bills in her top drawer including her bait money as taught and handed it to the man. Seeing the small amount Anton viciously hissed at Christi it wasn’t enough, where was that previous customer‘s big deposit?
Something about it all, made Christi feel different. Not afraid, not brave, just different. “Look” she answered “I’m the new teller. My till is kept low, this is all I’ve got in big bills. That deposit? Dropped into the vault in my bin until verified under dual control.” it was a lie, but he didn't know that. Anton blinked and raged, “I’m going to kill you”. Narrowing her eyes to evil slits, she leaned close, “Good.” she hissed back. “I’d like to die. Take my life, you think you’re entitled to it. My husband, he likes to kill people, and he’s been itching for it. You could help me give him a hell of a Christmas present….” This entire exchange took less than 1 minute and by the time Anton grabbed the paper bag storming out of the bank, the Head Teller had called 911 and corporate security. The Lexus never left the parking lot, but it’s owner did. Surreptitiously handcuffed and escorted to the Police cruiser, the public never knew what had happened. “Anna, how did you know we were being robbed?” the bank manager asked his Head Teller.
Preparing to congratulate her on a job well done “I saw Christi leaned in close to him, her hands behind her back waving the orange emergency form, it was a no-brainer.” Then she added, “I told you she’d work out if we gave her time.”
Christi methodically completed the written company statement, talked to security and police and went back to her station when they opened up again. Two minutes of robbery, two hours of fuss and paperwork. They told her she had taken a terrible chance not complying fully. Christi smiled her customary smile and said nothing. Anton could hardly believe this had happened to him. He’d never had bad luck like this before. Christi thoroughly enjoyed telling the story to her husband and wishing him Merry Christmas early before he went to work at the local jail..
The other tellers looked at Christi differently now and the universe was never the same.
Merrilynn is previously unpublished, but ever hopeful. After 25 years in the insurance industry, I've converted to the financial world, hence the inspiration for this short story. Usually, I couldn't make a long story short if I tried, but wonders never cease. As a budding author I am: a Rose in Bloom.