Cassius, Goodbye!

By Elliot Andreopoulos

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            Cassius O’Haloran was a loyal customer of Matlock Savings Bank.  He opened his first account as a youngster to deposit the pennies he found in the street, the same account seventy years later holding over one million dollars.  In the interim he opened numerous checking and savings accounts, personal lines of credit, credit cards, investments, a safe deposit box and a home equity loan that nearly caused him to lose the house his father built.  Safe to say, Matlock Savings Bank made a great deal of money off him.  He didn’t have a family and he enjoyed going to the bank and talking with the tellers, whom he treated like the grandchildren he never had. 
            Cassius took a trip to the bank to order checks and sat with the new banker whose upside down nametag read Alana.  She was an attractive twenty something with makeup caked on her face.  Her approach for a simple check order was a shock because she tried to sell him every product, practically holding him prisoner at her desk.  The one service he didn’t have was online bill pay, and though he repeatedly reiterated he wasn’t interested, she set it up for him, inputting his two credit cards to be paid. 

            A week later he got a phone call from the bank saying he was overdrawn.  He figured it was a mistake because he never overdrafted his account before.  He went to Alana, who explained he was overdrawn because his bill payments went through and caused seven checks to bounce.  He argued that he never authorized the bill payments and became enraged when she said she could only refund one of the $35 dollar fees he incurred.  He asked to speak to the manager and waited for twenty minutes, only to get the same explanation.

            Cassius left the bank insulted and enraged.  He was going to close his accounts, but that wasn’t punishment enough.  Then again, there was nothing he could do to hurt a multibillion dollar corporation.  He thought in the parking lot and came up with nothing other than petty vandalism crimes that he didn’t have the strength or desire to commit.  The homeless looking man who peddled the streets with freshly caught fish in a rolling cooler walked past.  Then it struck him.  He could stuff a fish into his safe deposit box.  It would smell putrid after continual enclosed rotting and would kill business for sure.  It wasn’t illegal to put in, but it was illegal for the bank to force it open without his authorization.   

            He returned to the bank holding the fish in a black plastic bag.  He told Alana he wanted to go to his safe deposit box and in her poor customer service she directed him to the teller line instead of doing it herself.  He was taken to his box by Mae, a teller he was usually friendly with, however she practically threw his safe deposit box at him, like she was under orders to mistreat him.    

            He went into the private room where he removed the papers he kept and slid in the fish.  He exited the private room and Mae returned the box to the vault without noticing.


            A week passed without word from the bank.  It was riveting thinking about the damage he was causing, he hadn’t felt any emotion for years.  He looked for menial jobs to pass the time and combat his loneliness, but he was never hired, a combination of the poor economy and his age.  Maybe things would have been different if he got married and had children.  Sadly, the fake camaraderie he built with the staff at the bank was all he had.  He failed in life.  Some days he fooled himself into believing that was everything was fine, he was a millionaire after all, but money wasn’t enough.  He craved interaction and love and had none of it, and the sad part was he never would. 

            His phone rang, a rare occurrence.  “Hello?” he answered.

            “Is this Mr. O’Haloran?”


            “This is Curtis Stapleton, District Manager of Matlock Savings Bank.  Let me level with you Mr. O’Haloran, you put something in your deposit box that is causing an appalling smell.  I know you received terrible customer service and I’m sorry.  I’ve removed all the fees charged to your account so please remove whatever you have in there.”

            The bank was showing what a weak position it had.  They didn’t have a key for his box, so they were playing the waiting game, hoping against hope he would come in.  He wouldn’t back down.  They couldn’t take advantage of him and get off so easily.  They were dealing with Cassius O’Haloran, a gunnery sergeant who valiantly fought in the Korean War, earning a Bronze Star at Heartbreak Ridge.  He was not to be intimidated! 

            “I’m very busy,” he replied.

            “We are getting a court order.  I hate to see a situation where you get in trouble with the law.”

            “I’ll think about it,” he said and hung up the phone with no intentions of going.


            Cassius ran out of pocket money two days after the phone call, so he went to the bank because he had no other source to obtain cash.  He shunned modern technology, especially debit cards.  He walked to the bank where the branch manager and distinguished looking gentleman were waiting outside.  The branch manager snickered at the distinguished looking gentleman and nodded his head.

            “Cassius!  I’m Curtis Stapleton, I spoke to you a couple of days ago!”

            “Yes,” Cassius replied.

            “We should be getting the court order any minute now, so to avoid problems how about you just remove what you have to remove?”

            “Why should I?”

            “Because you are worthless and better quit while you’re ahead.  You’re a damn hood rat who is lucky cameras are here to stop your smashing in your skull!”

            “Why do care so much about the bank?  You didn’t start it.”

            “I take everything personally.  Shit balls like you can’t go into the business I am responsible for and boss me around.”

            “You’re right.  I’ll open my box.  You’ve convinced me.”

            Curtis looked at him oddly, but took him at his word and opened the door to the branch.  Cassius entered the lobby and his stomach heaved.  It smelled worse than the dead bodies he bulldozed into a mass grave in Korea and the overpowered air fresheners only exacerbated the smell.

            “Box number 245,” Cassius said and handed his key to Curtis.

            Curtis opened the safe deposit vault with the smell getting even stronger.  He handed the box to Cassius, who was choking back vomit.  He opened it and saw the dead fish had turned into a liquid.  He took the box and flung the contents at Curtis, getting it all over his suit, causing a chain reaction of puking by all three of them.

            “I’m not a damn bum you pompous horse’s ass!” Cassius screamed and ran out of the bank, laughing like he was a child again.   

Elliot Andreopoulos