Tiffany Maxwell Freelance writer and editor


You know you’re meant to be an entrepreneur when…

Cross-posted from the Lyrical Press blog

You accidentally commit bank fraud in your first week.

Give me credit, when I do something stupid, I really shoot for the 99th percentile. I don't just walk into things, I collide mid-air with a glass wall. I don't just forget some things for planning a party, I'm pantsless with bed hair and nothing but dog food and baking soda in the house when the first guests show up. Hell, when I went to the emergency room after my rat bit me, the doctor gave me a little pamphlet saying that domestic rodent bites made up only 2% of domestic animal-related emergency room visits.Everyone has a talent.

Risking your joint bank account being frozen in your first week of no steady income and about a half hour after you wrote your rent cheque sets a new standard, however. Though feel free to correct me here, there are times when I'd like to be wrong.

I emerged, hissing and smoking, into the evening sunlight last week, my legs wobbling after wasting away sitting at the dining room table all day. I stumbled down to the bank, intending to deposit a few cheques. I clutched the sheaf of them in one hand, and carefully entered the information for the top one into the ATM, then fumbled it into an envelope, and let the machine gobble it up.

Why yes, I would like to perform another transaction Mr. ATM, thank you for asking.

Imagine my surprise when I looked down to start entering the information for the next set of cheques, only to see the one I just deposited still sitting smugly in my hand.

Frantically I counted the cheques. The number in my hand corresponded with the number I had left the house with.

I looked at the machine. I tried to recall if vandalizing an ATM was more or less than five years in prison. I looked at my reflection in the window and calculated my odds of attracting the attention and protection of the biggest prison guard on the block. Not liking my chances, I shoved the cheques in my purse, and sprinted home.

An entirely swift and not-at-all agonizing thirty minutes later, I got through to a human voice at the bank.

"This is Trevor at Bank, how may I help you this evening?"

"Hi, I just did something really stupid at the ATM that will probably put me in line for Moronic Customer of the Year."

"Hahaha! Well, don't say that."

"Don't say, 'Don't say that,' until you've heard what I'm about to tell you."

"Okay, what did you do?"

"I just deposited some sort of mystery paper in the ATM in place of an actual cheque."


That particular, "Oh," coming from the mouth of someone with control over your bank account was about as comforting as your neurosurgeon saying, "Huh, that's different," when looking at your MRI.

"So what do I do?"

"Hope they don't charge you for fraud. Also hope you have enough cash to last for a couple of days, since they'll probably freeze your account."

"That's interesting. I just gave my landlord my rent payment."

"Did you give them a cheque?"


"Then actually you just gave them a slip of paper with your name on it."

"Fantastic. Is there any way I can avoid this? My boyfriend's laid-back but I'm pretty sure eviction would be one of his dealbreakers."

"I'm going to write down the situation here, and hopefully that will head them off, since it was an honest mistake, but if I were you, I'd go to your branch first thing tomorrow and explain everything to them."

"Much obliged."

It wasn't until I hung up the phone that my mind skipped back to the mystery paper.

I did put a piece of paper in that envelope, I know I did. I really wrestled it in there. Whatever it was, by god, it was going to go in the machine, and it was going to like it.

With my luck, it was probably a shopping list that started something like this:

1. Trojans, family pack

2. Monistat 7-day, GOD not using the 1-day treatment again

3. Suppositories, bubblegum flavour

And progressively getting worse from there.

Or perhaps it was the McDonald's napkin on which I scribbled the detailed outline of my erotic Phantom of the Opera/West Side Story crossover fanfic novel.

Perhaps it was the last letter from my grandmother.

Or perhaps it was a map to Aztec treasure, or my coffin.

Whatever it was, godspeed, Mystery Paper. I await the day when we shall meet again, and I will come to know your secrets.