• Cheyenne Saturday - Richard Jessup
  • The Bloody Medallion - Richard Jessup writing as Richard Telfair
  • Chuka - Richard Jessup
  • The Cincinnati Kid - Richard Jessup
  • The Branch Will Not Break - James Wright
  • Roadmap Through Bullying: Effective Bully Prevention for Educators - Julie Nicolai
  • The Definitive Brother Juniper - Father Justin 'Fred' McCarthy
  • Portrait of an Artist with 26 Horses: Empty-Grave Vanilla Edition - William Eastlake
  • The Tales of Yot - Adam Nicolai
  • The Shaggy Man of Oz - Jack Snow
  • The Magical Mimics in Oz - Jack Snow
  • The Silver Princess in Oz - Ruth Plumly Thompson
  • Armchair Locomotion - Jen May
  • Grin and Bear It - George Lichty
  • The Strange World of Mr. Mum - Irving Phillips
  • Brother Juniper - Fr Justin McCarthy
  • Brother Juniper at Work and Play - Fr Justin McCarthy
  • Brother Juniper Strikes Again - Fr Justin McCarthy
  • Battle Cry - Jen May
  • Inside Brother Juniper - Fr Justin McCarthy
  • More Brother Juniper - Fr Justin McCarthy
  • Well Done, Brother Juniper - Fr Justin McCarthy
  • The Whimsical World of Brother Juniper - Fr Justin McCarthy
  • The Ecumenical Brother Juniper - Fr Justin McCarthy

On Why ATMs Need Rabies Shots

by Nicolai on April 2, 2012

The drive-up Chase ATM opens its maw, awaiting my meager meal. I stuff in a small stack of twenties and the metal doors snap closed. The beast digests in a flurry of whirs and clunks.

Its pleasant blue face betrays its indigestion—a flashing “ERROR-Some of your bills could not be read. Please reinsert bills.” The machine opens its mouth and spits a lone twenty out—on the ground.

I look out my window and see the bill at the bottom of a six-inch-wide crevasse dividing car door from ATM belly. The little bugger is fluttering in the breeze —waving up at me. In a gust, it’s off and flying.

I whip open my car door and—CRACK!— it slams into the ATM, leaving me about two inches to get out. I pull up just enough to open the door and watch in the rear-view as my bill loses its lift and lands ten feet away, behind the car.

I cautiously push the door into a gentle kiss with the yellow concrete pylon and hop out. The cash catches another draft. I run toward it, calculating where it might blow, and—THUD! —I am wedged between the side of my car and the front of the ATM. It’s laughing at me—screen flashing, “Deposit Bills Now.”

By some divine lubrication I squeeze through the gap. I leap at the rogue bill and  snatch it out of midair. Then I look around. No witnesses.

When I return to the ATM I see it’s preparing to write off the whole transaction. I look at the gap. I look at the open car door. I imagine the ATM with the wind at its back horking a stack of twenties to see how far they’ll go. I suck in the gut and shimmy my way back into the crack.

I jam the twenty in the beast’s mouth in the nick of time and it grinds it up, swishes it around, and spits it back out—right into my hand this time. The screen recommends I try again.

I smooth the ornery bill out on my back windshield and attempt to arrange it “just so” in the machine’s gaping rectangular mouth. —SNAP! —Without warning, the jaws clamp down on my fingers. I yank my hand back, leaving a layer or two of skin between the fiend’s lips. It munches away—flesh and all—then spits at me again.

I crumple the twenty a bit—so it won’t fly off on me—and make a few futile attempts to ‘toss’ the money into the receptacle. I give up.

Stuffing the rejected deposit back in my pocket, I gingerly extract myself from the gap, hop in the car, and redirect my anger at the car door—the finicky ATM’s whipping boy.

I throw the car in drive and inch forward, making sure no other cars would obstruct my dramatic, tire-squealing exit, when I see my debit-card on the passenger seat. I throw the car in reverse.

Cancel?“  Yes…

Buzz, click? Buzz, click?

Deposit more cash? NO!

Make another transaction? NO!

Would you like a receipt? Yes…

—Whir, flip, flip, flip, ding!—

I wad the receipt into a dense ball and drop it in my cup-holder—my impotent, unecological attempt to “show them.”

As I drive off, I try to recall the date of my last tetanus shot. And I wonder if someone will get rich posting the bank’s surveillance footage on Youtube.

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