The Bank by Bentley Little

The Bank

The Bank by Bentley Little
English | 2020 | Fantasy > Horror | ePUB | 455 KB

“We know who you are! Can your current bank say that? We pride ourselves on providing unparalled service to all of our customers. We’re looking forward to banking with YOU!”

In the small town of Montgomery, Arizona, Kyle Decker’s book shop is barely breaking even. When a bank opens in the empty storefront next door, he hopes the new establishment will bring in more foot traffic.

Trouble is, nobody has ever heard of The First People’s Bank, and the local branch has appeared mysteriously overnight. Their incentives for new customers seem reasonable… at first. But is it a coincidence when Kyle’s wife has her identity stolen, and his son receives emails that seem to know his private thoughts? Or when the manager of a competing financial institution dies a gruesome death?

Soon, if people in Montgomery, Arizona, want to buy a new car or home, or if they need a small business loan, they have no choice but to work with The First People’s Bank. As The Bank makes increasingly bizarre demands on its customers, it becomes clear the town may be in too deep… and the penalty for an early withdrawal is too terrifying to imagine.

With his latest original novel, Bentley Little’s dark, razor-sharp satire takes on the worst practices of our banking industry, and you’ll never look at your loan officer the same way again.

Theo sat next to his dad on a hard seat in the bank president’s office. He had never been inside the bank before, and the surroundings were intimidating. The walls of the high-ceilinged room were paneled in dark expensive-looking wood, and the space was larger than their entire house. The president’s desk before them seemed the size of a small boat, and the man himself was big and fat and didn’t look as though he’d ever had a hungry day in his life.

The president gave a cursory glance to the papers Theo’s dad had given him, then dropped them on top of his desk as though he found their touch greasy and unappealing. “I’m not sure what you want me to do here, Mr. Gianopuolos. My loan officer thoroughly examined your case and provided you with the reasons why he didn’t think it feasible for our bank to lend you the money you requested.” He spread out his hands expansively. “I’m not sure what you expect me to do here.”

“Overturn his decision.” Theo’s dad leaned forward in his chair. “This is a good idea, Mr. Jones.”

“Times are tough, Mr. Gianopuolos, as I’m sure you know. The bank is not in a position to take irresponsible risks.”

Theo could hear the frustration in his dad’s voice. “This is hardly irresponsible. And it’s barely even a risk. Yes, times are tough. But that’s exactly why this sort of business has such potential. The location I’ve chosen is down the block from the movie palace, on the same side of the street as the First Baptist Church, the biggest church in town. People will be walking by the restaurant constantly. And, as I explained in my interview with Mr. Thompson, I plan to leave the front of the restaurant open, no wall, like a grocer’s. That’s the way they do it in Europe, although they have tables on the sidewalk. They call them cafés.”

“As I indicated, there’s really nothing I can do here. If I start overruling the determinations of my staff, they’ll lose confidence in their ability to make decisions, and our entire system will cease to work. I have to trust my employees to do their jobs, a sentiment I’m sure you can understand, since if you had your own business, you would have to trust and believe in your employees as well.”

“But this is a good investment!”

“Be that as it may…”

His dad took a deep breath. “I understand that you might not believe in this idea, but if I could just show you—”

“Oh, we believe in the idea, Mr. Gianopuolos.” The president leaned forward. “We don’t believe in you.”

His dad was taken aback. “What?”

“That name. Gianopuolos. What is it? Greek? People aren’t going to want to buy food from a Greek. Not in this town. We want real food here. American food. Now, while the bank could not support an establishment that had tables on the sidewalk which would impede pedestrian traffic, your idea of a restaurant with an open front is intriguing, and if the right man came along, we might see fit to invest…”

Theo tuned out the president. Next to him, his dad had slumped in his chair, and when Theo hazarded a glance in that direction, he saw a look of humiliated defeat on his father’s reddening face. He wished his dad would jump up and punch that fat banker right in the nose. But his father was not that kind of man, and such an action would only get them kicked out of the bank, possibly arrested. As he’d learned already, even at age eight, rich people had power and poor people didn’t, and if you didn’t stay in your place there would be trouble.

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