Chapter 3 – Extract 2 from The Paradise Induction!
Chris moved inside, feeling his heart-beat increase as the door slammed behind him. There was no seat in this glass prison like there had been in JFK. He looked out at the security guards as they grabbed his bag, then at the other people travelling to the Pharisee Islands, who passed through untroubled.
“This one yours?” the moustached man said from outside the glass box.
Chris nodded. A male and female staff member joined the moustached man and opened his bag.
He watched as the strangers’ hands began to shovel through his belongings. His flight documents, personal qualifications, several pairs of boxer shorts, a camera, and cosmetic products were all on display while he stood trapped inside a glass cabinet. People peered at him like an exotic, endangered species caged in a zoo.
He clenched his jaw and waited.
“Okay,” the other security guy said as he opened the glass door. “Come this way.”
Chris followed the younger-looking man as he ushered him over to a secluded booth at the side.
“Please take a seat,” he said as he examined Chris’ flight papers. “Why are you travelling to the Pharisee Islands?”
“I’m going to be working there.”
“What’s your profession? ”
“I’m going to be a bartender.”
“What bar will you be working for?”
“Five O’ Clock Somewhere Beach Resort.”
“Okay, that’s all. Thank you for answering my questions in this random screening.”
Chris frowned, stared at the ground, then back at the security employee. “This isn’t random though, is it?” he said.
The security guy grinned.
“Come on,” Chris continued and forced a tight-lipped smile. He saw the moustached security guard chuckle as he listened in. “We both know that I’ve been selected because I fit some criteria. All I’m asking is that you tell me what that criteria is, so I can avoid this in the future. If it’s something I’m wearing or doing—anything physical, I’ll change it.”
“Man, that’s deep,” said the younger security employee.
“Well, as you can imagine, it’s a little irritating to be called up like this.”
“Man, I would say it’s a little more than irritating. It’s a damn pain in the neck, an invasion of privacy, and it’s humiliating. I got called up myself this year and I work for Homeland Security. But when you’re called, you’re called. There’s nothing you can do. I mean, you can go on our website where it explains all about it but-”
“But that won’t have the criteria, will it?”
“No. When you’re called up, that’s it. It could be your flight ticket number, it could be…” He paused. “Okay, what were you doing just before this?”
Chris took a second. “I was sleeping in the airport. I had an eleven-hour connection time before this flight.”
“Well, it could be that you’ve been spotted for security purposes.”
“Alright.” Chris squinted. “So you’re saying it can be anything that happens during a person’s flight? For example, if a set of security personnel select a guy for screening in another airport, does that mean their entire journey is flagged?”