It was one of those muggy, fuggy days where morning rainstorms have given way to baking sun that boils the wet ground until it steams. I was in my office, camped next to the AC, watching those poor suckers slogging through the fetid miasma outside when in walked this dame. She was unsure of herself, hesitant, like they all are when they fetch up at my door. I put on my very best shark tooth smile and the seduction began.
Me: Hi there toots, what can I do for you?
Her: Oh, it's just that... Is there where I come for a loan?
Me: This is the very place. Come in, come in.
Her: It's just that the rent's due and I need something to tide me over until -
Me: Of course, of course you do. Hey we all need a little something from time to time. Come on in. Take a seat.
Her: Yes well... I'll admit to being a little uncomfortable about this -
Me: You wanna drink? Sure is warm out. I can get you something cool.
Her: No thanks. As I was saying, it seems silly to borrow more money when I already owe so much, but -
Me: Hey, there's nothing silly about wanting to improve your lot, doll. Nope, that's straight up smart. You wanna new rug? Okay, so you get a new rug. Got your eye on a couch? Jeeze, go for it! And surely you're not going to deprive the kids of those new roller skates?
Her: It's really only -
Me: Well of course you're not. Hell, what kind of mother would you be?
Her: Really it's only the rent, you see, and -
Me: Rent schment! The whole world spins on credit. You don't think that guy driving round in the Aston Martin has actually earned it? Hell no. Why should you wait, eking out your life earning every penny so you might eventually get what you want when you're too old to enjoy it? Get it now.
Her: But I'm not sure I can afford to take out a loan.
Me: Hey, you're a beautiful lady, you know that? Your fella sure is one lucky guy. Heck, you deserve to treat yourself every now and then. Don't you? Hey?
Her: Well, I don't know. It's just that I'm worried -
Me: Life's too short to worry. Worry won't get you nowhere, cupcake. See?
Her: Yes. Of course. I see. But can I really afford a loan?
Me: Afford it? Of course you can't afford it. If you could afford it you wouldn't need it. And you do need it, so why fight it? Listen, you pay it back within seven days and it will hardly cost you anything at all. How's that sound?
Her: When you say it will cost me hardly anything at all, exactly how much -
Me: Exactly! Hardly anything at all! It's easy.
Her: Yes but what if I can't pay it back?
I'll give her her due, this doll wouldn't give in so easily. Sometimes you get 'em like that, but it's all part of the same game. You just have to play it a little smarter, that's all. So I got up, sat myself on the edge of the desk and looked deep into those cool blue eyes.
Me: You know lady, you remind me of my mom. You worry too much. So you don't pay it back within the time - it's no big deal. There's just some stuff about interest and fees and stuff. It's all in the paperwork, if you're really that interested, but trust me toots, it ain't no thrill-a-minute potboiler. So you let us worry about all that. The bailiffs will explain it all to you anyway.
Me: Yeah, they're just some guys. Nothing for you to worry about.
Her: You're sure?
Me: Sure? Sure I'm sure. Listen - look at this suit. Cashmere, made to measure. See this Rolex - that's the real deal, ain't no fake. I'm no schmuck. You think I'm doing pretty well for myself, yeah? Well I figure you can too if you follow my advice. So how much you want?
Her: Erm, two hundred, I think, should cover it.
Me: No way, doll. Two hundred - it's chicken feed. You gotta start thinking bigger. Make it a grand. No, even better, two grand. No point in cutting corners, huh?
Her: I really don't know.
Me: S'okay. You don't have to know. We know. Have some faith in us, yeah?
Her: Okay, if you think so.
Gotcha! Now there's nothing left for me to do but reel her in. But you gotta move fast while they're still wriggling on the hook. So I zipped back behind my desk and whipped out the contract, real quick.
Me: Great! Sign this. And this. No, not that - this. Beautiful. Now all we need is your pancreas.
Her: My... sorry, my what?
Me: Pancreas. Pancreas. It's about yay big, sort of browny colour, kinda slimy. It's in the contract.
Her: What contract? Where?
Me: The contract you just signed, lady. There, see?
Her: What do you want my pancreas for?
Me: I don't want if for anything. Jesus, that would be nuts. But I gotta have some, uh, collateral from you. I mean, you're borrowing money from me. I gotta know that you're committed to paying it back. So we take your pancreas, see - just to prove to us that you're serious about the whole deal. Don't worry. It's just what we do.
Her: So you demand all your customers' pancreases?
Me: No no no. It's not always pancreases. Sometimes a spleen, sometimes a liver. Hell, we even got one guy's bladder. He was cool about it - kept making jokes about us taking the piss. Funny guy.
Her: But that's monstrous.
Me: You think? I thought it was kinda witty. Oh, you mean the whole collecting organs thing. Well yeah, if you must know, I think it's pretty shitty. I mean, I've got to find somewhere to put them all. I've got drawers full of kidneys, a filing cabinet full of lungs and the smell from the broom closet is enough to make your eyes peel. Heck, I've even got a bunch of appendixes in the trunk of my car. Or should that be appendices?
Her: But, to take my pancreas...
Me: You get it back when you've paid off the loan.
Her: But surely I can't just hand you my pancreas. Don't I need it?
Me: Do you? What for?
Her: Um... Ah... Well yes, I see what you mean. Okay then, when do you want it?
Me: Well hey, there's no time like the present, toots. Now then, you go behind that screen there, and when you're done you can just slip it into this padded envelope. Okay?
And so she sashayed behind the screen and came back moments later with this bulging envelope, just like I asked. I think I noticed a new confidence about her as she coolly sat down, adjusted her blouse and brushed the hair from her eyes. Sweet. I put the envelope in my drawer and handed her the check.
Me: Hey that's wonderful. Nothing to it, was there? And here's your loot - a beautiful thing, ain't it? Enjoy, and don't spend it on anything I wouldn't.
Her: Thank you.
Me: The pleasure's all mine, toots. Oh and hey. I almost forgot, this is yours as well.
Her: A paper bag?
Me: Take it.
Her: What is it?
Me: Take it. Look inside.
Her: Inside? It's... It looks like someone's kidney.
Me: Yeah. Cashback. Now get out of here you tramp.
And she went. No messing. The deal was done and I kicked back and waited for the next mug to call.