At the register, I took out my checkbook and driver’s license.

“Sorry, Ma’am,” said the checkout clerk. “Cash, credit, or debit. We don’t take checks anymore.”

“But I always pay by check,” I said.

“I’m sorry.”

“I don’t carry cash. I don’t own a credit card.”

“What about a bank card?”

“I’ve forgotten its PIN.”

“Lady, lots of stores don’t take checks anymore. Checks are dying out. They’re too easy to bounce. Get yourself a credit card. Get your PIN reset.”

“But what about now? You’ve already checked me out. This is my dinner. The banks are closed.”

I pointed at the BOA counter to the right of the front doors. The lights were off behind it.

“You could try the Cash and Carry,” the clerk said.

“That’s on the other side of town. I’m on foot. You needed to warn us in advance about this.”

“Do you have any cash at home?”

He was just a kid but he was trying to help.

“Is your manager here?” I said.

The boy looked around.

“He’s over in produce,” he said.

I walked over to produce. The manager wore a name tag. Harold Brown. He had some gray in his hair. I explained my predicament.

Mr. Brown walked with me back to the register and we waited for the boy to finish with the customer he was ringing up. My groceries were back in a cart behind him.

“Tom,” said the manager, “we’ll take a check this time.”

“Thank you,” Tom said, relieved. He bagged the groceries and settled the bags in the cart.

“Thank you both,” I said. “Tomorrow I’ll go and make arrangements for a credit card and a new PIN for my bank card.”

We all parted friends.

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