All three of them ended up on the terminal floor, slightly rattled, when the young man got up and hurriedly stated, “I am so sorry, madam and sir! Forgive my clumsiness at having run into you both. Please accept my apologies, and let me help you back up on your feet.”
Once everyone was back on their feet again, the young man sheepishly extended his hand and said, “My name is Travis. I am running late to my plane that will take me back, from my on-site oil field job, to my home where family awaits. Again, my apologies, and I hope you are no worse for wear by running into me at the airport. Here, let me collect your things that were scattered.”
Once everything was back to its original owner, Travis added, “Well, I must be off to catch the last flight home, but this time I’m going to watch more carefully. Bye!”
EZ and Quip watched him leave and then looked back at each other.
Quip said, “Brother! The things that you have to endure when you fly commercial. Well, EZ, if he can go through the security checkpoint cheerfully, then I guess I can too. Shall we?”
Once inside the checkpoint area, events seemed to deteriorate for them rather dramatically. Both of them were invited to go over to the personal screening areas where their luggage was seized and also given extra attention.
After a few tense moments of not knowing why they were being detained and given extra attention, Quip asked, “Folks, are you about done? Can we finally get to our plane, even though you have made our end user experience all the more painful?”
The TSA personnel was vexed about something and finally interrogated, “You want to tell us what you and your companion have in mind? You and your luggage have just failed every security test possible. You weren’t able to hide the residue on your hands or luggage so you are going to wait right here until the emergency response team gets here. You aren’t going anywhere near our aircraft with that much explosive residue still on your person. Thought you could pull a fast one, huh, with your female in tow.”
Quip, now thoroughly vexed, remarked sarcastically “Oh, so it’s the land of the free and the home of the new Nazi terrorists parading as gate security? What are you talking about? Explosive residue on us and the luggage? Someone must have planted it on us and our luggage! We are not demolitions experts, you clown! Are you sure you know how to read the output of the machinery your mommy put you in charge of? No wonder no one wants to travel through this dysfunctional and paranoid security trap…”
At this point, every alarm that could go off signaling an emergency condition commenced, and a booming voice echoed through the terminal. “This is an emergency fire alert warning! All passengers are ordered to evacuate the terminal area immediately. Leave all personal belongings and leave the building through the now opening emergency exits in an orderly fashion. This is not a drill!”
At that point the TSA alert phone rang, and the guard quickly answered it, expecting information on the fire alarm status, only to hear the words, “Anthrax alert! Close out your position and put on breathing supplements now!”
Simultaneously Quip’s fruit phone prompted him with the message:
Please head for the emergency exit with EZ and everyone else, now that your exit strategy has been enacted. Your next travel support group is waiting for you.
Quip and EZ took full advantage of the situation and briskly moved out along with everyone else. They were promptly met outside by a limo driver holding a sign up with their names on it. Quip and EZ briefly exchanged glances and were rapidly loaded up to leave the airport property.
As they left the airport chaos behind, EZ lamented, “Crap! All our luggage is back there. What are we to do for clothes and, most importantly, my makeup?”
The driver opened the sliding window between the two compartments and offered, “I didn’t get a chance to tell you folks, I was instructed to retrieve your luggage from the carousel before all the turmoil began, and I have it in the trunk.
“We should arrive at the small commuter airport I am contracted to take you to in forty minutes, so you have time for some refreshments from the on-board bar. I believe we stocked the appropriate adult beverages for both of you.”
He then closed the sliding glass and continued to drive. Quip and EZ both stared at each other for a few seconds and then scrambled to pour their drinks.
Once at the regional commuter airport, the driver slid back the glass and commented, “Your jet is being fully prepped and staged for takeoff. I will handle the luggage, and you will be pleased to know that there isn’t any security scanning when you fly the charter flight company, Jump-Jets.”
The limo pulled through the gates to the ramp where the chartered jet was waiting. As the driver opened the door for Quip and EZ to leave the limo, a friendly lady with a nice smile and warm personality greeted them.
“Hi. I’m Cathy! Welcome to Jump-Jets, and we will leave as soon as you’re settled.”
Once on board and the aircraft had retracted its wheels after take-off, Quip noticed another SMS text message waiting for him.
All the camera footage has been erased, your carryon luggage was retrieved and also put on the Jump-Jets plane. The nice young man that accidently ran into you before you tried to go through the security check point is an oil field worker that uses explosives in his line of work. The fire and Anthrax alerts were used as diversions for your unencumbered departure, Dr. Quip. The TSA agent you were exchanging words with has a history of physical violence, and there was a risk to you and EZ if the conversation had continued.
Quip slowly lowered the cell phone and said to no one in particular, “Thanks, ICABOD.”
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