Chapter 1 – Extract 9 from The Paradise Induction!
Alighting from the plane and arriving in New York, the smell in the air was different from London; almost sweet, like fresh Krispy Kreme doughnuts. In the huge, spacious, and high-tech airport, Chris knew from experiencing American flight security before to remain calm and collected, no matter what they said or how aggressive they appeared.
Reaching the head of the Arrivals queue, a muscled security-screening officer with a buzz hair cut wearing a short-sleeve shirt called him forward with the flick of his thick, vein riddled forearm and chunky finger.
“Come on, we don’t have all day,” he said as Chris reached his booth.
“Hi,” said Chris.
“Passport, boarding pass, immigration form.”
Chris handed him the documents.
“Reason for your stay?” said the militant-looking man as he continued surveying the documents that Chris had handed him.
“I’m in transit.”
“Where are you headed?”
“The Pharisee Islands.”
“North side of the Caribbean.”
“Never heard of it.” He looked Chris dead in the eye. “Where’s your next stop?”
It’s on my tickets, Chris thought.
“Put your fingers, then your thumb on the panel when I tell you to, then look at the camera-” he said and paused with a clear intention to ask another question. Chris waited for his signal and placed his fingers, then thumb on the green-lit panel of the booth. He looked at the camera that was facing him. “-and what’s your reason for travelling to the Pharisee Islands?”
“What do you do?”
“I’m going to be a bartender.”
“You mean you are a bartender.”
“No, I’m going to be a bartender. I’ve never been one before.”
The officer looked Chris in the eyes, shrugged his lips, and nodded. “Why are you wearing a suit?” he continued as he reviewed something on his computer.
“I always wear a suit when I travel.”
“It’s a smart suit.”
“Well enjoy your new life,” he said, smiling faintly, and handing back the documents. “Next!”