You know those irritating junk mail cheques which tell you that you are entitled to a vast sum of money? Well have you ever wondered what would happen if you actually tried to cash them. Well, Patrick Combs in San Francisco did exactly that as a prank with a cheque valued at $93,093.35 ($4OO,000 In today’s monetary values) –the exact value is very important to the tale- and was shocked and elated when the bank actually cashed the cheque and had not a legal leg to stand on when it came to reclaiming it. It is a fascinating tale and one which Combs relates enthusiastically and coherently to an audience made up of people who just love to see someone getting one over on the banks; as if there is any other type of person in the current financial climate.

The bulk of this one man monologue centres on Combs’s disbelief at the situation he found himself in. His mother fears for his safety and his brother tells him that there is no way the banks will let him away with it. Seeking legal advice he manages to contact an expert who tells him that as sufficient time has lapsed he ‘has the bank by the balls’ and the money is now legally his.

The bank have other ideas however and rather than acquiescing by writing a letter claiming the fault lies with them engage Combs in a protracted legal argument which would be solved if they merely admitted blame, apologised and paid him the five dollar reward they automatically pay out to any customer who proves them wrong. As banks seldom-if ever- admit they are wrong this results in some highly amusing tactics on Combs’s part including fooling them into writing a cheque for the exact amount- very important fact- and shifting this to a safety deposit box.

At this juncture the bank really turned the heat up and to draw attention to the situation Combs contacted the media who jumped on the story and it immediately became world wide headlines. The story doesn’t end there but it would be wrong to divulge anymore as this would spoil it for anyone going to see it.

Man 1, Bank 0– just one of the headlines attributed to this tale- is an entertaining seventy five minute show. Combs obviously loves performing and narrating his taleall the while throwing himself around the stage gesticulating with gusto whilst using t-shirts as a means of indicating his rapidly changing status and moods. It is definitely one up on the banking system which ultimately is there to protect itself whilst doing us over at every opportunity. It is a heartening tale of a prankster who took on the system as a bit of as jape and subsequently found himself being taken very seriously indeed.


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