How Now Finally Started

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic
dystopian story of a security risk at an unnamed airport.

Submitted: August 06, 2014

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Submitted: August 06, 2014



How Now Finally Started


I never liked airports. I tried to get to the front, but I was too small, so in the end I crawled. Crawled through the stumps of legs, swaying ever so slightly, as the other ends tried to get a better view of what was going on about fifty feet away.

Ever since the dirty bomb at Heathrow - now we have to pass pre-approved criminal records checks to get in and out. Now we can’t take anything onboard. Now we all have to walk through six x-ray machines.

There’s a baby crying. In a box, with wires coming out the top, and something flapping on the front. Our security cannot wait, no longer having the luxury of time.

They say it is perfectly safe.

Their planes are still taking off, but these passengers don’t move - eager to be able to say they were there when “it” happened. Even though “it” might kill them. It’s getting harder and harder to be involved in anything these days – all the easy stuff has long been discovered or invented. Everybody wants to claim fame. And insurance. Everybody thinks they can outrun an explosion.

Ever since the baggage handlers set the all-time record out of Hartsfield-Jackson with 19 - now you have all those questions to answer. Now you have to be at the bullet trains 6 hours early so all your bags can be searched by hand. Now you have the Contamination Tests.

We are told we are perfectly safe.

Soon, the robot arrives. The assembled security forces look reticent to act, especially since fear of restitution shackled the decision makers on a global scale. And, apparently, this is a very expensive robot.

An oblivious dog is brought forward as another option. Hushed discussions about babies, safety, bombs, duty; the all circulate through the crowd. Airport noise is slowing - just occasional dying turbines, information announcements and assorted evacuating traffic. Instead the air is replaced with radio static, bleeps, birdsong, barks, far-off sirens... They punctuate the air constantly, in a random order, no one sound able to consistently hold the line itself.

Ever since the boarding cards were covered with Novichok-5 at Charles De Gaulle - now you have finger printing & retinal scans. Now you have travel partners and families separated between the locked trains taking us to the airport and boarding the plane. Now you have our children fly alone.

Someone says it’s perfectly safe.

A camera is placed around the dog’s head, with the explosive charge and blast-ball strapped to its middle - to explode and contain at once. Another marvel of progress.

The passengers are pushed back. Further back. No one goes to leave. What have we all become willing to sacrifice? A man with a remote control checks the dog and gives him a pat. He looks like he would have preferred the robot. Apart from the birdsong there is no sound. Suddenly, we are a controlled environment in the middle of an empty desert.

The dog runs up to the box.

The dog jumps into the box.

The dog, very gently, removes the thing flapping on the front of the box.

The dog jumps out the box.

And back to his handler.

Sound resumes with a collective sigh. But the danger…

Ever since that young family made the whole of Terminal 2 sparkle in Duty Free at Frankfurt - now we have increasingly vague laws. Now we have inconclusive “Independent” Inquiries. Now we have absolution of responsibility in times of potential crisis. But mainly, now, we have fear.

Statistically, you are always perfectly safe.

The handler takes the flapping thing from the dog - it’s an envelope. In broken English, it says:

“This my baby, and I can not look for after him. I thought this would be safest place. Please take care of him.”

And as long as you never do anything, you will die perfectly safe.

The relief on the operatives face releases the tension in the crowd who disappointedly begin to chatter amongst themselves. Sound resumes. Several other agencies crowd around the envelope nervously laughing and congratulating each other on another catastrophe averted. Talking, distractedly, a man in a grey suit takes the envelope and opens it dismissively.

No one within a five mile radius that day hears it.


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