Scene from a bank, circa 2004

[A man arrives into bank dressed in blue overalls and dirty sneakers. He greets a waiting official at a desk near the door and hands him a mortgage application form filled out in crayon. ]
Man: I need a mortgage.
Official: Can you tell me more about yourself please? Let’s start with your current health, shall we?
Man: I am 64 years old, cannot use the entire left side of my body since a severe stroke in 1990, my heart condition renders me unfit for anything but office work, but my claustrophobia prevents me from working inside. The good news is, my schizophrenia is finally under control. So the aliens tell me anyway.
Official: Fine, you meet our criteria quite comfortably actually. I see here [looking at his application form] that you’ve recently been incarcerated for mugging, extortion with a deadly weapon, fraud, and, eh, second degree murder. Is that correct?
Man: Yes
Offical: Uh, ok. I guess we all can be a bit naughty. [Throws smile at man].
Man: I would have been let out sooner if it hadn’t been for the two guards I put in hospital.
Official: Quite! And, now, what down payment can you provide?
[Man hands over brown paper bag with slightly soiled edges. Official grimaces as they sift through the contents.]
Offical: Ok. Let’s see now. One blue biro with chewed top. One used bus ticket stub. A half-eaten apple, two soggy beer mats and a copy of Time magazine from 1987.
Man: Give me that! (grabbing the Time magazine…)
Official: [Adjusting his coat collar]. Ahem. How much do you need?
Man: One million dollars. In low denomination, used notes. I have a bag to put it in.
Official: Of course, you do realise that we need to evaluate the property that you intend to buy. It has to be worth what you intend paying for it.
Man: I can assure you, hand on my heart, it is a fine, fine trailer. One of the best.
[Long pause as man stares directly at official].
Official: We’ll give you two million dollars sir! Zero interest for two years, followed by whatever you can afford.
Man: Done!
Official: Another satisfied customer!

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