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LAYNE JACKSON AFTERWORD BY TOM McCLELLAN “We’re happy to help!” Dear Mr. Swale, Thanks so much for opening an account with us! Your original deposit of $972.28 less $200 cash, your first paycheck on your new job, we warmly appreciate. Although we measure our services to the business community in billions of dollars, it is the individual depositor, such as you, whom we value most highly. So, welcome to the URBANC system, and congratulations on your new marriage; we hope it works out better than your last one. And thanks for checking Comp-U-Sery on your account application. It has allowed us to get to know you through your previous employers, banks, creditors, and schools, as well as cooperative Federal agencies such as the IRS and the FBI. \(Recall that posh civil service job you applied for when you received your BBA from the University of helpful also, as did a private detective in Miami, representing a woman who claims you left her stranded in Tampa back during that wild, wild summer of ’71 when you sought, as many college freshmen do, a path to self knowledge. Your former wife’s attorney has also provided assistance and wishes to inform you, through us, that child support payments will be expected as soon as you get back on your feet. We understand the tragedy of divorce: the dilatory payments, the unpaid DWI ticket, the differences with fellow Tom McClellan is a writer and teacher living in Dallas. workers and supervisors that herald a career change; and we feel that your move from management trainee at IBM Chicago to manager of Bags ‘N Stuff at Downtowner Mall was wise. Kudos also for holding on to your Sears and Mobil accounts. And we feel satisfactory arrangements can be made with the MasterCard people, who wish to chide you for neglecting to inform them of your address change, and to remind you, through us, that you may have forgotten those weeks spent with your wife-to-be vacillating between the Holiday Inn and Tony’s Bar, but MasterCard has not and really does expect payment. But we wish to reiterate: We understand. And with the help of your therapist’s commentary matched with psycho-social and economic profiles of men your age, in addition to our arrangements with AT&T and selected merchants who allow us to monitor your consumption patterns, we feel we know you in some ways better than you know and, we imagine, sometimes understand and forgive yourself; certainly better than your Mom or your five-year-old might understand and forgive the woman in Miami, who claims, we feel a bit precipitously at this point, that you owe her $500 “in money and drugs,” as she puts it. She has sent copies of a photo collection she says you once promised to buy, and we must admit the bearded youth in the resemblance to the clean-cut businessman we videotaped here last week depositing his first paycheck. But enough about Comp-UServ. . Thanks again for joining our evergrowing group of small depositors. Your deposit of under $1,000 automatically includes you in our Low Balance Service, which you may not have noted when you signed your account application. Low Balance Service allows us ‘.0 charge a fee, in your case 25 percent of original deposit, for a dangerously low balance, in your case 21.5 percent of original deposit: $166.04. When your account became less than that with your last grocery purchase \(You went home with two liters of bloody mary mix, one large bag chips, and one 10-oz. can bean dip, and $18.58 cash, as you may leaving you $32.68 overdrawn. Today the check from Happy’s Liquor came: $43.00. We are holding it, not wishing to cause you the embarrassment of a bad check for at least 48 hours from your receipt of this registered letter. Our $30.00-per-diy check-holding fee we consider slight in comparison to the opportunities we offer our small depositors. If your new wife opens an account with us, you are eligible for certain credits; any other new depositors you gain for us acquaintances from your apartment-warming party, for instance will earn you further considerations; and your signing over power of attorney to us will bring you even greater benefits. Not only do we understand you; we want to help you and help you more as your relationship with us becomes even more deep and meaningful. Please call, Fred. Just punch in the last three digits of your account number, plus HELP, and we’ll be in touch. We can work it out Fred. We can work it out. THE TEXAS OBSERVER 23