Nov 28, 2004

Je suis desole mais...

Barbara needed to see the doctor; he wrote out a prespcription. We went to the pharmacie. They didn't have the exact medicine, but close. It was expensive. I pulled out a credit card.
"Je suis desole," the pharmacist began, 'mais nous n'acceptons pas les cartes."
Why is that?
The pharmacist shook her head and smiled.
But this card is from the bank that's just around the corner. Banque Populaire...
The pharmacist would not stop smiling.
Well then a check...
She shook her head and threw up her hands like a magician, as though to say, you see I made it disappear.
I don't understand, I said.
She explained that the bank won't take a bad check.
Of course, I thought, but when you take the check you don't know if it's good or bad.
I said, How many bad checks have you had?
She shrugged.
I pressed. Many?
A few, she said.
In the last year, she said. And she smiled, that endlessly shielding smile.
But this is such a small town, all the bad check writers must be well known.
Je suis desole, she said.
We are not like that, I insisted, stupidly. I went on about how ridiculous this was. And the distance between the bank and any local store is less than 100 yards. Don't you see, I said with a Billy Budd stutter. Don't you understand?
Then suddenly, for no apparent reason, like the rabbit out of the hat, she changed.
Of course, she said, well just come in next week. It doesn't matter. Pay next week. Pas de problem. It doesn't matter. Pas de problem.
And with that we left.

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