#261 – One Cash Advance Too Many

My sister-in-law possesses an almost preternatural sense of hearing. Time and again, Gina intercepts whispered communications from near and far. Two more unwary victims fell prey to her auditory prowess today: her husband, Giuseppe; and, of course, yours truly.

The only attribute exceeding Gina’s heightened sense of hearing is her suspicious nature. It’s a known quality though and one for which Giuseppe thought he’d fully accounted. Thus, upon returning from last month’s business trip to Nevada, he volunteered that he’d lost two thousand dollars gambling. This unsolicited confession drew grudging praise from his wife and partially cushioned her ire at the blow to their savings.

Giuseppe also had readied himself for Gina’s inevitable seizure of his monthly credit card statement. When she presented the opened envelope to him today, he helpfully directed her attention to a two thousand dollar entry pertaining to his gambling loss, listed as “Lake Tahoe Cash Advance.”  

Much to his surprise, my brother-in-law’s identification of said cash advance did not close the issue. Just the opposite, after peering at the item intently, Gina went ballistic. In a profanity-laden harangue worthy of a Mafioso enforcer, she cited a notorious whorehouse in Nevada which lists its customers’ credit card payments under the same nondescript heading appearing on her husband’s VISA statement.

Facing such invective, a more timid soul might’ve admitted his indiscretion and begged forgiveness. Not Giuseppe though. In an Oscar-worthy display, he adopted an expression of pure astonishment and exclaimed: “I’ve been defrauded!” He proceeded to contend that some unknown miscreant “must have misappropriated my card numbers to charge his disgusting brothel visit!”

After listening to her husband’s unlikely story, Gina matter-of-factly responded: “Well then, you better call the fraud protection department so you can cancel the card, and that charge too!”

Displaying nerves of steel, Giuseppe reported the unauthorized expense to the credit card company and canceled his card, while his doubting wife stood by. She had no choice but to accept his claim of fraud by the time the call concluded.

If not for Gina’s incredible sense of hearing, the matter probably would’ve ended there. A few hours later, however, my brother-in-law snuck outside and, from the farthest edge of their backyard, placed a second call to his credit card company. No sooner did he instruct a representative to reinstate the challenged charge which, “on further reflection” was “legitimate,” than he heard his irate wife screaming from an upstairs window: “I knew it, you bastard!”

Where do I fit in this debacle, you ask? The answer should be: “nowhere.” It would’ve been too, had the woman with the ears of an owl not overheard my whispered remark to Sophia an hour ago, after we heard the sorry tale: “Two thousand for a whore?! That’s outrageous, especially since Giuseppe could’ve paid a hundred or two and still traded up!”

The “Lake Tahoe Cash Advance” is not, in fact, a gambling loss.

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