{ Paying My Debts to Society }
David C. Madden

take my money...pleaseAt the Library:
Clerk: I can help someone over here.
Me: Hi. I've got a bunch of books that are overdue that I've had out for a month and a half or so.
Clerk: [punches buttons]
Me: But I don't know for sure, so I have no idea how much I owe, but I'd like to pay the fine, if I could.
Clerk: [scans in five books]
Me: ...
Clerk: It comes to $16.80.
Me: Oh, is that all?
Clerk: Well these books are $7.25 but it's $16.80 overall.
Me: Oh. Okay. Can I pay by check?
Clerk: Yeah.
Me: [dates check]
Clerk: [stands with hand on receipt machine]
Me: So is the extra just other books I've returned late?
Clerk: Yeah.
Me: Make it out to Carnegie Library?
Clerk: Of Pittsburgh.
Me: Okay
Clerk: ...
Me: [signs check, tears it, passes it across counter]
Clerk: [hands me twenty-four-inch-long receipt listing nineteen overdue fines] Here.
Me: Okay. Thank you.
Clerk: Have a good one.


At the Video Store:
Clerk: What's the name on the account?
Me: Uh, Madden.
Clerk: First name?
Me: Dave.
Clerk: [punches buttons]
Me: Also I think have some fines I'd like to pay.
Clerk: Yeah. It's The Sopranos, season two, volumes three and four, both a day late.
Me: Yeah.
Clerk: So that comes to seven dollars.
Me: Okay.
Clerk: [takes The Sopranos: The Complete Second Season, Disc 4 and The Sopranos: The Complete Third Season, Volume 1]
Me: Is the secret word, "erotica"?
Clerk: Yeah.
Me: [smug with savings]
Clerk: It's $10.50 total.
Me: [hands clerk a twenty]
Clerk: [hands me change, holds up VHS tape] This one's due on...Tuesday, and [holds up DVD] this one's due on Friday*.
Me: Okay. Thank you.
Clerk: You have a nice afternoon.


On the Phone with the Parking Authority:
Clerk A: Parking enforcement.
Me: Yeah I am—
Clerk A: Okay, can you hold a moment? Two calls ahead of you, thank you.
Me ...
Clerk A: [three minutes later] Thanks for holding.
Me: Yeah I have several unpaid parking tickets, and I've lost a couple of them, so I don't know how much I owe and was calling to see—
Clerk A: I'm-a give you traffic court's number, 'cause the prices may have increased and we don't have record of that here.
Me: Okay.
Clerk A: So it's four-one-two.
Me: Uh-huh.
Clerk A: Two-five-five.
Me: Uh-huh.
Clerk A: Two-seven-oh-oh.
Me: Okay, thanks.
Clerk A: Uh-huh.

Clerk B: Traffic court, please hold, thank you.
Me: ...
Clerk B: Traffic court, how can I help you?
Me: Hi, I have several unpaid parking tickets and I've lost, I think, a couple of them, so I don't know how much I owe, so I wanted to call and get the balance?
Clerk B: Is it a Pennsylvania plate?
Me: Yes.
Clerk B: What is your license plate number?
Me: Oh, um. I don't know. Can you use my social—
Clerk B: Do you have a copy of one of the tickets?
Me: I think so. Hold on, one sec. [lays phone down, gets ticket]
Clerk B: ...
Me: [picks phone up] Okay um, is it the summons number?
Clerk B: Yes.
Me: Okay, one-one-six, four-five, six-nine.
Clerk B: The license plate number should be in the top right corner.
Me: Oh, yeah there it is.
Clerk B: ...
Me: Do you need that?
Clerk B: DVR, four-three-one-eight?
Me: Yeah.
Clerk B: I'm showing four tickets totaling one $179.26.
Me: $179.26?
Clerk B: Yes.
Me: Okay.
Clerk B: Are you paying all of those?
Me: Yes.
Clerk B: Did you want to pay over the phone?
Me: No, I'll pay by check.
Clerk B: Okay then send the check to the address on the ticket and we can take care of it.
Me: Do I need all the ticket numbers or anything?
Clerk B: No. Just send a total check and put the plate number on yer check.
Me: Okay.
Clerk B: Okay? And make sure that it's labeled as a Pennsylvania plate and we can look it up from there.
Me: Okay great.
Clerk B: Okay.
Me: Thanks.
Clerk B: Bye-bye.

[ * These were returned late. ]

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