Questions and Answers

Questions and Answers

A Story by Ni1408

A small bit of story


A crowd of mostly hungover tourists were collecting bags. I breezed past with only my hand luggage, a leather laptop case with a broken handle, under my arm. There was a pleasant burst of cool from an air conditioning unit above, alongside another hand.

Yet again on my shoulder.  

This time it was not perfumed. It was dark and rough and scared the frozen s**t out of me.

Sometimes, you imagine your situation in a worst case scenario. A parent waiting for their kid to come home from school when they knew a slight element of bullying was taking place in the classroom. It taunts you. Eats at you and will not stop until you know the truth. The minutes that past by are your slowest recollection of units of time in your entire existence. All that matters is that they get home from school.

How I remember those days.

The touch on my shoulder is an influential mix of gentle and firm, casual yet serious.

Doomed scenarios are entering my mind at full speed, taking over my thoughts and sweat glands like a communist leader. The only thing that matters now is I get the f**k away from the airport without a police escort.

I slowly blink and breathe in.

A tall black security guard is chewing pink gum authoritatively at my face.

“Please come with me Sir, I’d like to ask you a few questions.”

That sick feeling returns to me for an impromptu visit fresh from Vegas.

Trying not to appear panicked was fun. Surely word hadn’t already gotten out. There was once a time when it took a couple of days for the cops to clock onto a chase. I forget which decade we live in. One that allows you to video call with your boss from your bed to prove just how sick you really aren’t, or make endless status updates about the progress of your laundry cycle.

Thoughts begin to accumulate and flash into my brain at wicked speeds. I feel like I’m sweating underwater but everything is stuck in fast forward- my heartbeat included.

Do they know/ they must know/ how do I explain this one / is there anywhere to run / do nothing and shut up.

I am taken to a stuffy holding room where another guard sits at a desk, tapping her pen rhythmically on a stack of paperwork. She stands up speaks to me.

“Could you put your bag on the table please Sir.”

I oblige, attempting to discreetly wipe off my sweaty palm prints on the leather as I do so.

The questions begin.

Q: “What is your purpose of travel here today?”

A: “I have come to stay with a friend of mine in Long Beach”

Q: “What is the name of the person you are coming to visit and what is their occupation?”

I take a moment to answer.

A: “Clark Starling. He is a retired correctional facility officer.”

I realise that I am biting my lip and stop at once. No one has ever asked me what Clark does for a living and it catches me unaware. I am expecting questions about the previous 24 hours, not my old friend. 

Q: “What is in this bag?”

A: “My laptop, cigarettes, mobile phone.”

I pause again. I haven’t thought about what I was carrying. It was just the usual. No drugs, I only ever help myself to everyone else’s.

The black man fires up the scanner and puts my bag through it.

He looks at a screen for approximately four seconds and places my bag back onto the table.

“The reason why we have stopped you today is because of the manner you were carrying this item. “

To laugh at this point would be highly inappropriate so I bite my lip again, this time deliberately to stifle one.

“Usually, laptop bags are carried by hand or on the shoulder. Your unique approach aroused my suspicion that you could be bringing something delicate with you, or more to the point, extremely valuable. We are advised under national ruling to carry out a stop and search to any member of the public that seems to be executing excessive care over their belongings. Scanning is port protocol. However, I have just noticed that there is no accessory strap on this article and that the handle is broken, so I bid you my sincerest apologies Sir and welcome you to LAX. Have a good day.”

I leave the room and go to find a place to pee. The relief is heavenly.

© 2010 Ni1408

Author's Note

Thank you :)

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After reading this I was under the impression that he was smuggling something am I correct? I loved the tension and the peeing at the end was spot on for symbolically releasing his anxiety.

Posted 12 Years Ago

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Added on August 23, 2010
Last Updated on August 23, 2010
Tags: airport



London, United Kingdom

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