(An old post from the archives after a memorably traumatic experience at the Bank of China. If you’ve got any Bank of China horror stories (and if you have ever used them then I am sure you have), please share in the comments section.)
Freezing winds blasted down the alleyways of Pandemonium’s Ninth Circle, shattering icicles and throwing them down onto the frost-covered stones. Somewhere, beneath the tall gateway where the words “Abandon hope all ye who enter” lay hidden beneath an inch of thick ice, two lower-level demons huddled together beneath a thick blanket.
“I, I… I’ve never been so cold in my entire afterlife…” stuttered the first demon, a minor diabolical deity who was now rubbing his claws together for any warmth he could muster. “When will His Dark Highness do something about this?”
The second demon, a low ranking Demon of the Eighth Level who had once taunted Christians in the desert two millennia ago, pulled his scarf tighter around his neck and let out a loud sigh.
“The last I heard His Satanic Majesty was trapped in the Palace of Eternal Fire behind a snowdrift. It could be days before they fix the boilers.”
As the demon’s teeth snapped off his final word, the wind blasted again, and brought with it a scrap of paper that smacked right into the first demon’s horned face. The creature pulled the paper off with chapped claws and read it aloud.
“A short lecture on new 21st century ways to increase misery and despair amongst the souls of mortal men by the CEO of the Bank of China…” The demon’s claws shook as he read.
“Nah, not interested,” said the Eighth Level Demon, “We kicked those Financial Demons out of Hell years ago when they started boring the damned instead of torturing them. Most of them work for Goldman Sachs now. They’re as dull as the Grim Reaper’s party tricks.”
“…Hot drinks and refreshments provided,” the first demon continued.
The wind howled again and the screams of the shivering damned rose up from frozen lakes of sulphur.
“Right, let’s go”
The Great Hall of Evil was packed as demon after demon filled into the Hall to escape the bitter winds outside. On stage, a representative from the Bank of China stood awkwardly and fiddled with his tie.
“Friends, devils, fellow minions of evil; it gives me great pleasure to address you all today on the great benefits the Bank of China can bring to the unholy cause of human misery…”
“GET ON WITH IT!” shouted Beelzebub’s second cousin from the back of the room as he pushed lesser demons out of the way from the tea urn.
“Ahem…” coughed the Bank of China representative, “The Bank of China has devised and implemented a number of initiatives that optimizes feelings of hatred and emptiness within the hearts of customers, thus providing a firm supply base for Hell’s future damned souls.”
The rep continued. “Our policy of not linking individual bank branches is proving to be a continuing success. Though all our branches carry the name “Bank of China”, we have seen to it that it is virtually impossible to do business outside of one’s hometown. Clients cannot receive bank transfers on business trips, and we even charge customers a hefty surcharge to deposit money into their accounts when away from home. So far, this has resulted in at least 7400 cases of unfortunate souls being without money when they needed it most, and so they turned to a life of organised crime in order to get by.
“Our refusal to convert Chinese currency back into foreign currency has led to over 300,000 foreigners going crazy and being committed to government sponsored mental institutions. However, mere refusal alone is not enough to condemn a man’s soul for a hellish eternity. We have left open avenues to convert renminbi into dollars, but the bureaucracy and paperwork involved is so long and torturous that it will surely lead to the ultimate triumph of evil over good. Victory will be ours!
“Oh! I haven’t mentioned the diabolical queuing system that we have installed in our banks! We have filled our offices with the most incompetent staff this side of Armageddon, and crippled them with regulations so that they can only utter “meiyou” to all but the simplest of requests. Not only that, but we have given each teller demon a two hour lunch break! Imagine the cursed wretch who attempts to withdraw some money during his lunch break: wait and wait he will, but he will never reach the front of the queue for a million years! Oh, the puny mortal may actually think he can reach the teller’s desk in time, but we have hidden so many line-pushing farmers into every bank that his hopes will all shrivel and die!
“And our Financial Reich of Despair will reign for eternity in China, as we have seen to it that the foreign banks will be unable to provide competition. Oh, they can come to China and open offices, but the regulations we have enforced will ensure that the only thing the people in those HSBCs and Citibanks will be able to offer is a cup of tea and a boiled sweetie. As long as His Satanic Majesty is the major shareholder in the Bank of China, our government friends will guarantee that no foreign bank in China will ever be able to issue a bankcard, nor will they ever be able to open an account that can hold less than 2000 dollars. Just think of the sweet misery that will bubble up in the heart of Johnny Foreigner as he walks into the HSBC thinking he can escape the awe inspiring dread of the Bank of China! He will have no choice but to crawl back to us for his banking needs, and we will stand there waiting for him, waiting to twist his heart into a blackened shell. Evil will reign supreme – the mortal man is cursed, CURSED! All rise and hail the dark power of the Bank of Satan’s China! HAIL IT! EVIL, EVIL, EVIIIIIL!
The Bank of China representative looked up and saw that the entire room was empty apart from a janitor demon sweeping the floor. The janitor looked up and answered the man.
“The boilers are back on, I guess everybody went home.”
“Oh,” said the Bank of China representative, slightly disappointed. “I’ll let myself out then.”
If you enjoyed this post you may also enjoy my book Party Members – a dark comic fantasy that exposes the corrupt underbelly of modern China.