Felt Up By the TSA

The Second Essential Scary Truth

The line to get through security at Memphis International Airport was moving quickly.  Three people through the metal detector, three through the new full body scan.  I took off my belt, took out my laptop, pulled out my toiletries and emptied my pockets into the gray tubs provided to ferry these personal items through screening.

I went through with all of these preliminary safety precautions with ease.  To my mind they were just minor annoyances on the way to the bar for a needed dram of bourbon to calm my nerves before I got on the plane.  However Ray, the TSA agent in charge of going through my belongings, was holding my contact lens solution up so the Homeland Security supervisor could read the bottle.  Somehow I knew my path to the Jim Beam bottle was going to be delayed.

The bottle wasn’t the travel 7 to 8 oz variety.  It was a large CVS brand economy size I had managed to get past security in Phoenix after the nice woman checked my hands for residue of other explosives other than the peroxide in contact lens solution.  I asked if I should throw the bottle out before my return flight.  “No.  They’ll probably just swab your hands like I did,” she told me.

Ray and his supervisor had other ideas.  “Sir, we’re going to need to you to go over and stand on that black mat.  We need to do a further check,” Ray said.  Busted, I thought.  I knew I should have thrown the bottle out before I got on the plane.  Now, I was going to be patted down and felt up in the middle of the largest airport in the Delta all because I didn’t follow my intuition.  Maybe I can blame the ducks at the Peabody Hotel, I thought.

The black mats faced the area where the foot traffic between the gates was the heaviest.  The display of being frisked by the TSA appeared to be calculated to increase the attention from those trying to make their flights.  I flashed on the stocks in the middle of a New England village in the late 1600’s.  This was my punishment for being too cheap to get the Lasik.

Ray was efficient and thorough, explaining each step in the feeling up process before he began.  Yes it rather embarrassing but what can you do, bitch moan and complain?  The poor guy certainly didn’t want to be running his hands up my ass and over my cock.  A job is a job and these are tough economic times.  Plus, TSA agents are like the cops of the airport.  The more cooperative you are through the pat down, the faster you are through.  The more you complain the more likely you are to miss your flight and maybe the next due to national security concerns.

My shock came when Ray swabbed the interior the zip lock bag that passed as my toiletry bag and found another banned substance other than the peroxide.  He swabbed the interior three more times and ran them through the computer with each result being the same.  He re-booted the machine and had another guard repeat the test three more times, each with the same result.

At first I thought it was nothing.  Computer error.  What could they have found, some clove from my cologne, another chemical in the contact solution?  What won’t the pharmaceutical industry do for a buck, I wondered.  However, when the Homeland Security supervisor brought over the DHS explosives expert, I began to believe there was something else amiss other than a faulty hard drive.

“Alex, we’re finding traces of something other than the peroxide,” Ray said.  “We need to do one more exam in that room over there.” Ray pointed to a small 16 x 16 room with frosted windows off to the left.  “Gather your things and follow me please.”

Ray led me into the room and two other guards joined us.  Once inside, Ray explained he would need to swab my crotch six more times – three horizontally and three vertically.  As he swabbed me, I wondered if this had anything to do with being from Detroit.  This time, the computer cleared me to fly although they did take my name and phone number.

20 minutes after my pat down began, I was on my way to the bar and then to the gate.  Moral of the story: never carry the economy sized contact lens solution through airport security.






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