If I look you in the eye, it’s for what I need to know. You’ll learn nothing. All you need to know is this uniform and the benevolent authority it represents. The more you fidget and try to persuade me, the solider I stand in these black shoes. I position myself between you and trouble and hope for your sake you respect that. As time goes by and I do not react, you’ll either comply or cross a line. I’ve been trained for both. Do you want to do this here? There’s a place we can go. I haven’t let a bomber past me yet and those I’ve detained will choose another airport next time to visit their families, or drive. The markers vary: too much engagement or too little, or the wrong kind. They smell like trouble; I pull them out of line. Usually, they’re not surprised. Now you, you want me to believe you’re distraught over your wife’s death. We’re checking on that. We need to verify that. No, we can’t just wait. You could be part of an ongoing plot. So, let’s review. Why, when I opened your bag, you went pale and collapsed to the floor, yes, that’s what I want to know. Yes, I noticed they were women’s clothes. I see this is hard. Listen, you have time for a quick story? No, your flight’s long gone. Buddy of mine, academy washout, takes a security job at a bank. Who goes into a bank these days? Little old ladies with social security checks. Turns out one of these customers is a young guy with a walker and a wig, robbing old ladies! How is that relevant? I don’t think that’s your real hair. Sit tight. I’m going to go looking for your dead wife.

Copyright © March 7, 2008 David Hodges