I made it to the airport and waited in a long line to be checked for security purposes before my flight. I made sure I wasn’t hungry by eating just before at a Mexican food chain inside the airport. I removed my shoes, belt, and most of my pocket items and threw them in a gray tray and sent them on their way to be inspected by a screener. I walked into the full body scanner and held my arms over my head and felt violated to be subjected to this whole process just to travel.
When I took my first step out, I was surrounded by a six foot-four, black, TSA agent who must have been some ranking officer because of some extra brass on his uniform, and a less ranking black, female uniformed officer who never spoke and just observed. They moved me off to the side.
“I want what is in your pocket;” he ordered.
Shit, I realized I had forgotten to take out my dead mother’s rosary beads that I carry when I travel. Not that I am such a pious or religious man, but I have seen her miracles in my life and just like to keep it close to me and have any loophole in this crazy world I can use to keep me safe. In my mind I immediately thought they must have seen the metal cross and the beads and knew what it was, so why all the fuss?
I pull it out of my pocket and opened my palm for him to take it to inspect. The female officer looked up at him and not directly into my eyes. He never reached for it or looked at it.
“I want what’s left in your pocket.”
I had just over five hundred dollars in my pocket and surely travelers carry cash, and paper is not a weapon, and I was not going to put it in a gray tray and walk away from it, so I was a little confused?
“It’s Cash.” I said politely
“You have already violated the law by not removing everything from your pockets.”
“Not sure that forgetting to pull out rosary beads is against any law?” I replied.
Then he taps my left pocket and says to remove my cash.
I hand him my cash and he proceeds to count it.
“You do know you can be fined for not removing everything in your pockets?”
Now I’m beginning to think I am in a third world country. I’ve been to Mexico and seen the police behave this same way. This son of a bitch is going to make the same play.
“How about I take your fine out of this?” he says while the female officer says nothing. Her face is showing that this situation is wrong and getting out of hand.
I look him directly up into his eyes while standing in my socks. Now, I’m not playing this game anymore and say; “It is obviously all up to you.”
He hands the cash back and says have a good flight. As I tuned to go put my shoes on I noticed some people had been watching but not close enough to hear the exchange. One was a Middle Eastern man in his twenties and he just smiled at me as I began to pull my belt through the loops.
I boarded the flight, sat in my window-seat, buckled my seatbelt and we began pulling out to taxi on the runway. That’s when the Mexican food started to kick in. Terrible gas pains began tearing my stomach linings. I was squirming in my seat hoping we could quickly get into the air and I could use the bathroom.
The pilot announces a short delay, while waiting on the runway. No one could move because take-off could be at any time. That Mexican food was mixing with acid and was going to blow out in my pants. This is turning out to be a flight from hell. Thirty minutes goes by and with one hand on my stomach and the other on my mother’s rosary beads I’m praying for a miracle. “Please don’t let me shit myself.”
For the love of God get this plane in the air! I look at the older lady next to me reading her magazine and I am squirming my lower extremities trying to keep the gas in but was only making it worse. It is going to be rank, like a squirrel died and rotted in my stomach when this is released.
The plane started rolling down the runway, and I was looking out the window while taking off praying; “Please god, don’t let me shit on this lady.”
The plane started to level in the air and the seatbelt sign went off. I unbuckled and ran back to the rear bathroom with sweat dripping from my forehead and sat on the water-less aluminum toilet. I created a six inch deep mud pie that I thought no human could produce. The lack of water made the smell more toxic as I cleaned myself up. Four flushes and I exited and returned to my seat.
I looked back and about three rows of heads were moving about. I saw the stewardess around the door. The co-pilot walked pass my row and joined the stewardess in the rear of the plane. I have no idea what they were discussing, but I know, outside of the toxic smell and a few looks toward where I was sitting, I had an idea, and I had my miracle.