January 6, 2010
The security lines at the D and E gates were light, typical of the mid-day traffic at Portland International Airport. Evan tapped his fingers on the straps of his backpack. Audrey took it as a sign: hug time.
“‘Bye, honey. Love you.”
“‘Bye, mom. Love you, too.”
“Don’t forget to take pictures—”
“—of granddad. I know. And now I’m getting out my quart-sized bag of essential liquids and gels so you won’t remind me about that, too.”
Carl gave his son a good pat on the back. They exchanged “see ya, dude” chin lifts, and Audrey hugged him one more time. She watched Evan make his way to the TSA screeners. Carl nudged her and almost succeeded in tugging his wife away when she froze.
“What are they doing?”
“The screeners!” Evan was taking off his belt in front of the metal detector.
“They amped up security last week. The underwear guy.”
“But Evan’s only fifteen!”
“Rules, dear. Let’s go.”
As Carl scrutinized the payment machine in the parking garage, Audrey’s cell phone chimed. She pulled it out quickly and read the text message. She gasped.
“They took his toothpaste! His toothpaste!”
Carl fed his credit card into the machine. “Huh.”
“They made him take off his belt and then they took his toothpaste! What’s wrong with people? Why—” She cringed with a realization. “Oh, my God, it was over three ounces. I told him it was okay.”
“Well, I guess Homeland Security didn’t know that.” He fended off her rueful little glare. “He’ll survive, dear. He’s going to his granddad’s house, not basic training.”
The machine spit out the receipt. “And he wears tighty-whities. Not diapers.”
Audrey thought a moment, then replied to Evan’s text:
“IOU 3 lbs of cure. :^)”
© 2010 Pam Wells