The Eighth Page

TSA: Thousands Standing Around

A middle-aged business traveler named Mr. Blankenship is standing in line at airport security. Unknown to Mr. Blankenship, Features Airlines holds security as the top priority for their passengers. Yomar, a longtime airport employee, helps guide Mr. Blankenship along his maiden voyage through Features Airlines security checking. Yomar: Step up to the line, sir. Please remove your shoes and any jewelry that may set off the metal detector. Mr. Blankenship: That’s actually kind of funny. I haven’t worn any jewelry since I was a young angst-filled teenager. Yomar: What’s that, sir? Mouthing off to an airport official? That’s it. You’ve been randomly selected for additional screening. Mr. Blankenship: Excuse me? Yomar: I’m sorry, sir. You’re going to have to remove all of your clothing. Company policy. Mr. Blankenship: Wait, hold on just one second. I’m really not comfortable with this. Yomar: Well, I’m afraid that if you want to make it to Timbuktu by midnight, you’re going to have to take off that cute little bowtie of yours. Mr. Blankenship: Wait, what about that guy? (points to a scruffy-looking man in front of him) He’s got a gun in his pocket! Why aren’t you stopping him? Yomar: Oh, him? That’s Joe. Don’t worry, he’s a frequent flier here at Features Airlines. (waves to Joe) Hey Joe! How’re the wife and kids? Joe: Oh, you know—Same old, same old. I try my best to keep them in line these days, if you know what I mean. (Joe pulls out his handgun and begins to twirl it around with a big smile on his face. After a few seconds, the gun flies off his finger and lands a few feet from where he’s standing. He walks over to pick it up.) Whoopsie daisy! It’s a good thing I remembered to put the safety on. Sorry, Frank. Won’t happen again. Yomar: Oh please, Joe. Don’t sweat it. Save the apologies for someone who cares. You’re family here! Joe: Awww… shucks, Frank. Yomar: Now get out of here, you big goofball. Have a good flight! Joe: I will. Thanks, bud! Yomar: (now speaking to Mr. Blankenship) Anyways, as I was saying—Joe over there has been flying with us for years now. We used to make him abide by regular airport rules and regulations but now we just let him do as he pleases. He’s our best customer, after all. Mr. Blankenship: You can’t be serious. He’s walking around the terminal with a loaded gun! Surely, that’s some sort of problem. Yomar: Lighten up, dude. He’s only fired it twice in all the years he’s flown with us—once at a passenger who stole his bag of mini pretzels and another at this bird he thought he saw out the plane window. He’s really quite the character. Anyway, back to business. Pants off, please. Mr. Blankenship: Fine. Yomar: Nice belt! (a sheepish grin spreads across his face) Now if I’m being too rough, just let me know. I can do this however you want it. Just a bit of warning—if you’ve got any weapons on you, I can guarantee you that I’m going to find them. —Lawrence Dai