Lilly Jean sat on
the couch outside the branch manager’s office. She’d been waiting for the past fifteen
minutes, staring at the sign on the office door. Frank Liebowics, Branch Manager. What the hell was the man doing back there
all that time was what Lilly Jean wanted to know. Likely taking a nap, she mused, crossing her
legs and drumming her fingernails on the arm of the chair.
A woman entered the bank and strode to the manager's door. "Frank, I’m kind of in a hurry here.”
Lilly Jean looked
up. Frowned. Nobody barged in front of Lilly Jean Jacobs. She opened her mouth to speak. Closed it just as quick. Lilly Jean suddenly regretted her decision to
stop putting on makeup; to stop doing her hair of a morning. This woman was drop dead gorgeous. She wore a
wool suit, red. An ivory scoop neck
shirt beneath. Gray pumps. A pearl necklace and matching earrings. Her nails—fingers and toes—wore shiny red
polish. Her long blonde hair was
pulled back into a casual but neat bun.
“What’re you starin’ at?”
Lilly Jean felt
her skin grow hot; she looked at the floor.
She felt awkward in her postal uniform.
She felt ugly and unbalanced and uncoordinated. She wished she’d at least put on a spot of
lipstick that morning.
The woman opened
the manager’s office and stepped in.
“Good morning, Miss Jackson.”
Ellie’s name was Jackson. Lilly Jean tilted her head. Pretended not to listen.
“You used to call
me Neala, Frank.” The woman gave a
sultry laugh. “Remember that?”
“May I help you,
This was getting
interesting. Lilly Jean pulled a book
from her purse—some science fiction thing Howard had loaned to her. She held the book to her face and strained
“I’d like to make a withdrawal from my
“Did you fill out
the proper paperwork?”
“I have all the
paperwork I need. Remember these? I saved every last one of your letters,
“You said you
destroyed them.” The man was whispering
“I say a lot of things, Frank.”
A drawer opened and then closed. “This account is in
your daughter’s name, Neala. Are you the
“Well I ought to
be, don’t you think? I am her mother,
Lilly Jean heard
some keys being pressed on the computer.
“You’re not listed.”
“Why don’t you
just list me then, Frank?”
“I can’t do that…”
“Ellie needs to
make a deposit at Ohio
State. If she doesn’t, she’ll lose her place.”
in. I’ll be happy to help her with
“I want to
surprise her, Frank. I’m trying to turn
my life around; do something right for once.”
can’t. It’s against bank policy. I could lose my job. I’m sorry, but I just can’t…”
telling you, if you don’t put my name on this account, the entire town will
know about us.”
I’m a married man. I have children.”
“You were married then. And your wife was pregnant. I saved more than the letters, Frank. I never destroy anything. You don’t help me out, I’ll cook your
ass. You’ll lose your job. And your family.”
“You wouldn’t do
again. “Try me.”
“All you have to
do is list me as the custodian, Frank.
I’ll take care of the rest.”
“You can have
“The other stuff?”
“Good as gone.”
squirmed in her seat. She brought the
book closer to her face. She listened
harder than she’d ever listened in her life.
“You’re now the custodian of Ellie’s
account. I hope you’re not screwing with
“Oh, I’m not
screwing around with you Frank. You are a
married man, after all. Here are you
letters. Don’t worry. I’ve got copies at home.”
The woman emerged
from the office and walked up to the counter.
“I’d like to make a withdrawal.”
Lilly Jean turned
a page. Looked up over the top of the
book. Yes. She could definitely see the resemblance. This was the famed Neala Jackson.
“All of it.”
The teller looked
up. “That’s quite a sum.”
dollars is nothing.”
there’s over sixty-five thousand dollars in this account.”
Lilly Jean grasped
the edges of her book tightly.
“Still want to take it all out?”
Lilly Jean watched
Neala Jackson consider. “All but five
hundred. I want to transfer the rest to
a new account. In my name only.”
Branch Manager finally decided to haul his ass out of his chair and make an
appearance at the door. “May I help
you?” The man looked about as bad as
road kill. His face was red and
sweaty. His hair stood up in the
front. His tie was loosened and his suit
jacket was rumpled.
paused. She’d wanted to see how this
played out. But…She glanced at her
watch. “I’d like to open an account,
please.” Reluctantly she stood and
followed Frank Liebowics, Branch Manager into his office.
Labels: Fiction Medford