ISSUE 59

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 We noticed some suspicious charges on your credit card, including a whole lot of bling, three cars that go vroom-vroom instead of put-put-put, and a grande whipped mocha from Starbucks. These expenses may mean you have embraced a rampant hedonism, or someone has stolen your card.
 If it’s the first, party on! Just remember that we have a fifteen percent fun charge that applies to anything not contributing to a base existence (e.g. water, potatoes, a one-man tent, burlap sack clothing, and shoes made of wood).
 If it’s the second, we are sorry for your loss and regret to inform you we have a twenty percent not-so-fun charge whenever someone takes you for all you’ve got. This is a service we provide to all of our customers. It also means our board of directors—who wouldn’t know the real world if it threatened them with a prison sentence for tax evasion—can all buy new yachts. It’s essentially a win-win situation, by which we mean a win for our bank and a win for the yacht company.
 If you fail to respond to this message within five to ten minutes, we will cancel your card regardless of your situation. This might leave you stranded in a foreign country where the only thing separating you from one of those Americans on the news with a black bag over their head is a ninth-grade-level Spanish and the hope that your jokes with Eduardo weren’t taken the wrong way. Just think of it as a way to test America’s foreign policy abroad. How quickly did you go from being called “amigo” to hastily scribbling out a ransom note to your sister?
 You will be glad to know that canceling your card is a free service (except when you are in a foreign country). It’s our way of saying, “We love you and wish to continue doing business with you forever and ever” while actually saying, “You will never be able to pry your money out of our cold, dead bank vaults.”
 You may be wondering why we monitor you so closely in the first place. Let’s just say it’s a government thing. Those terrorists aren’t going to catch themselves—certainly not if Big Brother doesn’t know you bought three liters of vodka, five packs of Oreos, pajamas, and a guide to getting your shit together.
 Mostly, however, we take fraud prevention so seriously because it’s our money on the line. Expect us to take weeks piddling away time processing your loan or squeezing your account with miserable fees, but stray from a spending habit and we will be on you like the FBI on 7-Eleven employees with strange accents.  
 Should these charges be fraudulent, simply call 1-800-UR-SO-FKD to talk to a customer representative. They should be able to send you a new card in one to three years along with a list of terms and conditions regarding your new line of credit. We recommend not reading these, seeing as they entail your legal rights should we decide to sell your first-born and what happens when our bank gets a boo-boo (i.e. indicted for fraud).
 Under no circumstance should you visit one of our banks to talk with a real person. Under recent budget cuts, we have replaced humans with interchangeable robots who have not yet learned basic human emotions such as kindness, gentleness, or humor. They can, however, count cash really fast.
 Eventually, we plan to phase out humankind completely, instead substituting a mix of computer algorithm and grocery checkout stations to control your money and drive the United States’ stock market into a swamp. On a completely unrelated note, we highly recommend learning Mandarin. Soon.
 After you contact our helpline, play a testy game of he-said, she-said with our suspicious representative, and finally resolve your claim, we hope you take a moment to review your experience. Please don’t use profanity or refer to our representative as a “no-good lowlife with the sniveling rasp of rat with lung cancer.” All calls are monitored for “quality assurance purposes.” We’re not sure what that means, but our lawyers say it’s so we can sue you.  
 We thank you for your time and patience in this stressful time. You will re-enter America eventually, but until then, make sure to say “buenos días” to our friend Eduardo and his testy posse of poverty-stricken mexicanos.   

          
There is a book.
It is cheap.
It is wonderful.
   
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