'You must give me €20,' he said, looking as if an invisible had a gun to the back of his head.
'Morning to you too, Gus,' I said, telling him to come in. I quickly closed the door over on the rain pissing venom on anything that dare enter the world.
'The bank. It not give me my money,' he explained as we walked through to the kitchen. It was 10am on a summers morning. It was dark. I flicked the light switch. That was better. Gus looked ill.
'What you mean?' I asked.
I haven't had a bank account in over three years. I wonder if they're charging me for abandoning it. But what's a guy to do with nothing to filter through it to be nibbled at by those pesky banking flies. Gus told me he couldn't access his account via the bank machine.
'That happens a lot in Ireland,' I said, memories of such events rushing back. A trigger I think they call it.
'You never understand,' he said. 'The wages, they not go in so no bills come out. This is like worst nightmare.' I'd hate to see him on Elm Street or in conversation with an English aristocrat.
Seemingly there had been a little IT trouble at his bank which rendered its systems useless. Account holders unable to access their own money. Tran-suctions not taking place. Way to much Cyber for me. I could see his frustration all the same.
'When they say it'll be fixed?' I asked, the kitchen lighting up from a sky strike outside.
'Maybe next week,' he said. 'That's why I want the money from you. If you can be kind.'
I felt warm. A headache coming on. Sweat needling me. Thunder rolling. Clamorous. Fuck this weather.
'Sure,' I said, reaching for my gold-plated wallet on the table. It turned to worn leather as i touched it. I peered inside. A twenty and a ten.
'I'm kinda like your bank,' I said, taking out the ten and handing it to him. 'Short on funds.'
'It must do,' he said, almost tripping over the leg of the table in a bolt for the door. 'I must go. I not eat since yesterday morning.'
'No problem,' I said, taking a more Saturday-ly approach to the front door. No need to say thanks.
'I call soon with it back,' he shouted. I watched as he walked in a hurry toward the shops. Waiting. Another growl. Spit-Spat. Spit-spat. That's as far as it sounded warning, before the heavens opened - once again! Poor Gus. When it rains - it pours.
You'd wonder about them banks though, wouldn't you? Access to all those deposits upon which they can profit from in any which way they can. Then the access to cheap credit - which they then lend out nine-times over at extortionate interest rates to willing folk who want a bigger slice of life. Some slices bigger than others, I should add. The debt cycle begins.
With so much opportunity - opportunity never afforded the ordinary man - it does beggar the question. Just how did they screw it all up? And why are they not held to account? Why are they allowed to continue? Fractional reserve, they call it. But did they keep the fraction? Do they even have your money at all?
It's a flawed system, yet the cheerleaders are many. They are influential. They care little for society - less for those who make up its parts. A peak to trough - boom to bust - ponzi scheme that may very well go pop. Crazy, when you think about it. Crazy, that her top-practitioners work with world governments watching their backs. Paying themselves salary increases directly from the proceeds of austerity. So the heist can continue. For a little bit longer. In Casino Pon-zi.
I hate filling out forms. Particularly official ones. That come down from the top. It's part of the joyous world bitches to systems must endure throughout the year. So files can be updated. Giving people something to do.
What have you been doing to find ...
I never like the wording. At least the banks hide their terms and conditions in the ultra-fine print that no-one can read. Not that people do in any case.
Housing this time. Fill out forms provided. Return to sender.
Never really bothered me before. Mitch was here a lot then. I got him to fill them out mostly. Mum was here, incapacitated as she was/is. She should have filled them out as she was the renter.
It was the only trouble I'd ever had with them. I had to provide proof of her incapacitates. Doctoral. Apart from that it was home. For over thirty years now. I think herself got the chance to buy it once. The rent was cheaper. It fitted her philosophy. Back when she had one. Was never as full as it was a few years ago. Hardly ever lightly to be again. A constant. Apart from myself - my only real one. And it doesn't talk. That's always good.
Number of residents?
For once the silence got me. There was no-one else here. Didn't really bother me. It was the question that did?
'Just stick down three,' I could hear Leon sneer. This was no time to be funny. I could put Mitch down as resident - he being kin and all. He still pops in. Every few months. The last time he was up from Dublin he told me he had spent the whole bus trip wondering if sometime he'll walk in the door and find me rotting there, akin to a beautiful girl from a film he'd seen. I told Mitch he should have himself checked out.
I put the forms away for a day. But the question kept reminding me to answer it. It wouldn't go away. Like a constant ringing in the ears, it plagued. Until I returned to it.
Fifteen minutes later it was falling into a box dressed in a stamp and an address. Waiting for the postman. Damn postmen.
It's not often it happens. You open a door just as someone is stood there. Nearly jump out of your skin - though the skin doesn't move.
'Just the one,' he said, as he handed me my mail. Been delivering here for years. I still don't know his name.
'Thanks,' I said. I knew by it, it was official. I shouldn't have been too disappointed. It's not like people write personal letters anymore. Not to me anyhow.
'The state are everywhere,' he said, beady eyes, trying to take in everything. In an instant. Relaying to me all the times in the past few days he had come across checkpoints, speed cameras, customs and welfare officers. The list was long. I half-expected Lord Lucan to get a mention.
'Soon, you won't be able to shite. I used to be finished by now,' he scolded. I'm sure filling me on the nations development wasn't helping his cause much with that. I'd heard it had become like that. From someone...
'I'll motor on,' he said. 'While I still can.' The poor hoor. Wonder if he has ever been bitten?
'No sense worrying about it,' I keep thinking. So why can't I see the sense. Not going to look good though. Me. Here. On my Tod. Hopefully they'll see my name on the form and just slip it over to the pile reserved for the familiar without going past it.
I'm sure it would make some small family happy. Starting out. Three-bed house in quiet area. One previous occupant. Recluse! Shifted to a granny flat in an area riddled with kids. Meanwhile, down in Longford...
Maybe I'm reading too much into it. They'd hardly evict me to smaller quarters. Not that I'm into big places or anything. It's just this is home. I'm sure its been paid for by now. Twice-over.
No, I'm right. As usual.
No sense at all.