Pat-down to Sitka

The trip had begun so smoothly, his housemate, always conscious of time’s place
in the scheme of things, had delivered him to the bus station on schedule.

While the bus ride to the SeaTac airport was slow, it was steady, and reassuring.
There would be time to spare.

Even the herding of passengers through the endless security lines proceeded apace
until a TSA officer stopped him cold.

He stood in the clear plastic scanning booth, arms raised, with his hands clasped
to his head. No alarm there.

It was after a gentle pat-down, a request to extend his hands toward the officer,
palms up, that the fun began.

The officer then took a small, white-coated rectangle of thick test paper and ran it
across his fingers and palms, and inserted it in a nearby machine.

The screen on the machine flashed red and immediately it was a different game.
He was pulled out of the line of foot traffic to a separate spot with his belongings.

and a second pat-down began, this time much more thorough snd deliberate. This
time he had to take off his shoes and hold on to the belt loops of his pants

to keep them from being pulled down as the officer’s hands searched down each
leg, both stockinged feet and inch-by-inch around the waist.

Again palms extended. Again the small test card across the fingers and into the
machine. This time the machine’s screen turned green. He was home free, not a

threat to security after all. A lingering question., though. Where would the residue
on his hands have come from to set off the alarm to begin with? The only thing he’d

touched with open palms was the back of his housemate’s jacket as he hugged
her goodbye. He’ll have to remember to tell her that her explosive energy and

fiery passion may be contagious. A good friend, he can’t wait to tell her, with a
twinkle in his eye, just how dangerous she might really be.


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