They called him “Frosty the Snowman”. He didn’t know
they called him this, and only a few people gave him this
name. Some of his micro-loans ended up in the income
stream of low level cocaine or meth dealers, and these folks
knew about this but they didn’t really care much one way or
another. Their business model involved a certain amount
of cash flow, and they knew that he loaned money to people,
who didn’t really use it for the reasons they gave to him in
order to secure the loans. So he had a small reputation
held by only a few of those that used his services.
Among the cocaine folks he was the snowman, because blow was
sometimes called snow. Among the meth folks the same
words meant something different, in that some borrowers gave
him a snow job in order to get their micro-loans. The
two ideas combined after a time, so among the lower level drug
culture in his former home town, a culture he was only
indirectly a part of, ... in that culture he was for a while
called the Snowman, and then ultimately he was called Frosty.
So folks might say, when asked about payment obligations, “oh,
I’m going to get a loan from “Frosty”, and everyone knew who
was being talked about. That wasn’t his real name, or
even the name most people in town knew him by, ... it was just
the cute name that got made up by people who didn’t know him
personally. Usually people got their loans too. So
if you said you were going to Frosty”, then your dealer might
say: “okay, you can have a couple more days to take care of
Hardly anyone knew how Frosty got in the micro-loan business
in the first place. He had left this town when he was
eighteen, and joined the Air Force. A couple of
marriages and a half dozen children later, he was a old man
living alone in a far away state, who won about $75 million in
the lottery. His girl friend at that time had just died,
and he was at a loss about what to do next. He was not
close to his children, who mostly had needs for some of the
lottery money, but their relations were cordial, if not
So he decided to try to do some good.
He moved back to the town in which he had been born, a place
he had not been in for over 60 years. Only a few people
remembered him, and mostly they didn’t care. That he had
won this lottery money had never made the local News, and it
was easy for him to sort of be a nobody in a way.
Except he had this idea.
He went to a lawyer, and discovered that it was possible to
become a private bank. No shareholders. Just
incorporate and file the right papers, and put his lottery
money into the bank in the right way, and then he could loan
money out. His bank wasn’t going to have any
checking accounts, or savings accounts, nor did he plan to do
any investing. He actually wasn’t in this business to
make money, for he already had money. But he wanted to
be legal, so he filed the papers and opened a small office, on
a side street, near the main downtown area.
The door had a brass sign. It said: “The Pharaoh
Foundation: a private bank.” Below that was a smaller
wooden carved sign that gave business hours and days open and
so forth, but also it said: “by appointment only".
Then he ran some classified ads in the local paper, three days
a week, including Sunday, which said: “micro-loans, call the
Pharaoh Foundation,” and gave a number.
The inside of the bank wasn’t fancy. It had a waiting
room, a few nice comfortable chairs, some magazines, which
including hunting and boating and football and women’s
stuff. He figured his customers would be housewives and
people maybe out of work. People who wanted to start a
small personal enterprise, and might need a sewing machine or
Yes, he was an idealist and a bit of a fool. There was
also a secretary’s desk in the waiting room, and a nice flat
screen TV, with cable, and even a refrigerator, a microwave,
some coffee and tea machines - kind of like a continental
breakfast room in a mid-sized motel. And, he had a nice
office for himself. Not too big or fancy, but it had its
own TV and other amenities, including a large sofa on which he
could nap when there was no business. He liked to
read novels, so after a while there were bookcases with
hardcover and paperback books collecting in them.
There were also two bathrooms, one for the public, and a nice
one for his secretary and himself. In addition a large
closet or two, with space for a good copy machine.
Several computers too.
Nor was he stupid - foolish isn't stupid. He sought out
and hired a retired police detective who had worked in this
town for decades, who then took up the role of looking into
applications, and/or doing research on the Internet to find
out stuff about the applicants.
So there were three of them. Him, the secretary, and the
detective. He had a bank and they had salaries with nice
benefits. The detective worked from home. People
started coming in. They would call the number at all
hours, and leave messages and the secretary would come in on
weekdays and set up appointments. People would show up,
fill out an application, and he would interview them.
They then had to wait three days before the loan decision
would be made, so that the detective could look into their
situation a little. They were not told about the
He did not deal in cash. He had another account in a
regular bank, and people could go there and cash the checks he
wrote for them, after they had signed the papers, and after
the three day period of fact checking. The loans were
nearly interest free, only 2.3% annually. Payment
schedule’s varied according to need.
Most people were decent, and had troubles, which he
tried to help them with. People who wanted bigger loans,
because of insane medical demands or home loan debacles, he
did not help, unless they wanted to file for bankruptcy and
start over again. Then he would loan money for the
bankruptcy and support the start over plan.
His accountant said he was losing money. Local bankers
knew of his business, and since they were not competing for
customers, they ignored him. For the most part no one
knew about the lottery money that stood behind the whole
enterprise, for he lived modestly, although he had acquired a
taste for the affections of women his age and perhaps a bit
He told the women right from the start that he was going to
have multiple girlfriends, if he had any girlfriends at all,
and that they should just get used to it. He’d had his
fill of the emotional work required to maintain a
relationship, so sorry no thanks. He joined a local
country club to have a place to take his “dates”, and he was
not a bad lover. He’d learned a lot over the years.
Through conversations with the detective, he came to
understand that he was also supporting, through some false
loan applications, certain members of the drug underclass of
the town. The detective advised caution, and our
lottery winner, having seen some interesting movies, had
decided that he needed an exit plan, just in case something
went suddenly south. The movies in various ways had
shown that when times looked particularly ready to go way out
of control, it was wise to just be able to walk away at a
So he devised his plan, and included some severance packages
for the secretary and the detective, if he were to suddenly
disappear. Mostly he thought of this plan as a kind of
fantasy, but one never really knew. His main foolish
mistake turned out to trust those closest to him.
The detective ran up some gambling debts, and the secretary
acquired a boyfriend who liked cocaine. The detective
and the secretary, who didn’t really know how much was in the
bank - they never saw the details of those accounts, did
conspire with members of the drug underclass to get him to
write a bunch of loans that were fake right from the
start. The total amounts got a bit large, even for the
low level dealers, and someone higher up in the food chain
took an interest.
The result was a visit one day from some very bad men who made
some very clear threats. They wanted to go so far as to
take over the bank in some way. Like a lot of criminals
they hadn’t thought the thing through, or really looked into
the man from whom they were trying to steal.
He left his office allegedly to get some cash to show good
faith, and to start to be their victim. They followed him in a
separate car. He went into an office building that had a
bank on the lower floor, whose entrance was inside the
building’s first floor. They did not notice that he did
not go into the bank, but out the back door of the office
building, through a parking lot there, and then into an
alley. Halfway down the alley was a small locked garage,
and he had the key for the lock.
He entered the garage, and closed the door. In the car,
which was a bit old and rusty looking, was a change of
clothes, a passport and other materials that he had set aside
for his escape, should it be necessary. In a few minutes
he drove out of the garage, in disguise, and drove five hours
to the Canadian border, where he easily entered, telling the
guards a kind of truth, which was that he was facing death and
wanted to visit the Canadian Rockies, a place he knew from his
youth, one last time.
His money was easily moved to Canada, and he decided that he
had had it with the banking business, although finding a way
to continue to discover the delights of widows and recently
divorced women was a hobby he could pursue easily in some of
the larger retirement communities. His money helped him
change his name, and lose his prior identity.
In the town he had just left, while it took a few days to be
noticed, it became clear to those who had wanted him as their
prey, that Frosty the Snowman had melted completely
away. Various ladies received nice gifts, and a lawyer
came to see the detective and the secretary, but of the man,
nothing more was heard, and he eventually died of old age, in
the bed he was regularly sharing with a well endowed widow,
and two divorced sisters, sometimes all three at the same
time. Frosty had never really been frosty at all.