Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The wizard of the airport

By Matthew Dexter

Ever since we lost our son, my wife won’t let me touch her sexually, so I have to satisfy my urges with pat-down body searches at the airport. Grabbing men’s junk all morning makes the hours pass so fast, like delicate flowers hungry for sunlight; I peel back the layers of each petal, longing for the peak holiday travel season as grown men bitch and moan about not using the metal detector instead. Ever since the TSA implemented these fancy machines that show the contours of the naked body, the number of daily searches has multiplied exponentially. This makes me more than happy to come to work on time.

I’m that creepy guy watching you take off your shoes and place them into a plastic bucket. Don’t forget that watch, I might remind you. TSA is a decent job, with good health benefits and manageable hours. The salary for airport screeners is not great, but I do the full-body searches. My standing is a step above those cretins. Stretch out your arms, I tell them. Advising passengers about the procedures often doesn’t make it any easier. There are rainbows and butterflies between their legs.

Sometimes little boys are a necessary part of my job description. They need to be patted down too. I’m not a pedophile. This doesn’t interest me. Only the older men do. I check under their arms, running my hands against their shoulders and backs. Lower, I creep, my hands upon their ankles, in the waistband of their pants sometimes, always running my palms up their inner thighs and I go nuts when I get the center of paradise.

Those new scans are real bad for your health. The radiation is harmful. My hands are innocuous, always clean and ready to go. I’m a professional. As soon as I snap on those blue rubber gloves, you know I mean business. Those x-ray machines are intrusive, but the person reading your results in that little room can’t touch your scrotum through the computer like I can. Sure, he can see whether a man is circumcised or a woman is menstruating…but so can I.

I’m the airport wizard waiting for you at the airport. My name is invasion of privacy. My name is lonely hardworking man whose wife is recovering slowly. I’m the future of air travel. See you inside.

Copyright ©2011 Matthew Dexter. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce in any form, including electronic, without the author’s express permission.


Like a nomadic Pericú, Matthew Dexter lives on a hunter-gatherer subsistence diet of shrimp tacos, smoked marlin, cold beer, and warm sunshine. His short fiction has been published in hundreds of literary journals and dozens of anthologies. He lives in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

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