Oubliette: Orientation – Part 3

Note: This story is a part of a larger series of short stories and flash fiction. You can find these stories on the Oubliette home page.

Mark studied the body language of the man in front of him. He had a poker face and did not give any clues as to his intentions. As the manager of the bank, Mark needed to be on the watch for crime. He saw the man a few times over the last couple years and saw him come in shortly after the bank opened. While Griswold Wilson, the name on the withdrawal slip, did not seem to be in hurry, he did not seem to be patient. Mark saw the eye rolls and deep sighs as the patron before him conducted a long transaction.

When Cindy called him to handle a large cash withdrawal and seeing Mr. Wilson waiting for him triggered his suspicion. As Mark approached him, he could sense something was not right. It was as if there was something dark and sinister about him. Mark noticed that Mr. Wilson did not look well. His face was pale and he had dark bags under his eyes. Mr. Wilson’s account history showed everything normal and his driver’s license checked out. If there was anything, it was that this was not a normal transaction for Mr. Wilson.

“I see here Mr. Wilson that you want to withdraw $7300?”

“Yes sir, I need it in cash.”

Obviously, Mr. Wilson anticipated his next question. Mark felt a tightness in his throat and coughed without thinking.

“Excuse me… I understand. We highly recommend that you take a cashier’s check. It would be more secure because carrying that much would attract unwanted attention.”

Mr. Wilson’s response was brief with an air of disdain, “It has to be cash.”

Marked looked up from the monitor and looked at Mr. Wilson. The tightness in his through got worse as Mr. Wilson explained.

“I found some computer hardware being liquidated through Craigslist and the seller insists on a cash transaction.”

Mark was going to respond but the tightness in his throat caused him to cough a couple times. He was going to warn Mr. Wilson that it sounded like a scam but he found that he could only excuse himself to get some water.

As Mark walked from Mr. Wilson to the water cooler, the tightness in his throat lessened. He filled a small paper cup with water and took a couple drinks. The cold water soothed his throat and he could think better. He went back to where Mr. Wilson stood. He felt a tickling in the back of his throat.

“Sorry about that again. I’m not sure if we have that much cash. Let me see what I can do.”

Mr. Wilson stared at him, showing no expression. He walked to the vault and went inside. There was a video monitor within where Mark could watch Mr. Wilson as he counted hundred dollar bills. He told a small lie to Mr. Wilson. Being the main bank for most businesses around Spartan Hills, his request was not too much. He wanted to see how Mr. Wilson would react.

In the video monitor, Mark saw Officer Green arrive for his shift. He saw Mr. Wilson look in his direction and when the officer acknowledged him, Mark saw a reaction. Mark saw was a brief glimpse of panic from Mr. Wilson. While not conclusive of anything, it made him even more suspicious.

Mark left the vault and returned to Mr. Wilson. He looked at Mr. Wilson who was now back to his expressionless gaze. He held the money and the withdrawal receipt and stood there.

“You know Mr. Wilson. When someone wants as much cash as this, it is a red flag that there is a crime involved.”

Mark felt a lump tightening in his throat. He struggled to keep from coughing.

Mr. Wilson answered, “I considered that and I’ll be careful and check it out first.”

“I think you misunderstand…”

Without warning, Mark found himself gasping for air. He choked on something that was not there. He was not sure but lights appeared to have flickered. He took a couple steps back gasping. He became disoriented and Cindy helped him to a nearby chair. He did not know how long it lasted but at one point Officer Green wrapped his arms around his chest and squeezed.

As quickly as it started, the choking sensation ended. As he sat in the chair catching his breath and Cindy and Officer Green checking him, he glanced at the counter. Mr. Wilson and the cash were no longer there.

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