Jim was in a rush, otherwise he's never have made this mistake. A world traveller on both business and pleasure, James Aquiline VI was well aware of all the security protocols in a dozen countries and certainly within the U.S.A. So when he arrived Friday night at the Atlanta International Airport, he was prepared for standard procedures.
Still, the great-great-great grandson of the Earl of Aquiline was a bit nervous as he approached the Delta Self-service check-in, not because he had any problem with documentation, but because he was distracted by the five young girls in the line-up two rows down. They were all in their mid-teens, they were all in uniform, they were all pretty and sexy, they were all high school cheerleaders they were none of them wearing panties and they each took turns giving cunning and clandestine flashes to any man or boy within five yards.
The girls were obviously enjoying their daring stunt as they couldn't stop giggling and wiggling their cute little 'bare-beneath-short-pleated-skit' asses. Clearly, they'd done this before as they looked so innocent and casual and only flashed for the briefest of moments and in such a way as to avoid detection by women or security guards.
Not that Jim was a prude. Indeed, he came from a long line of Free Thinkers who had made their fortunes in advertising, publication and 'product-service' to meet the sexual needs of men young and old. James Aquiline, first Earl of that name, had turned his castle in the Midlands into a brothel for aristocrats which boasted service to members of the Royal House of Hanover. ( but then again, who didn't?)
But being sexually aroused and mentally distracted was why Jim forgot to put his computer memory stick in the scanner tray as he presented his gear and carry-on for metal detection. The female guard, wearing a bored look and too much make-up, was reasonably efficient as she gave Jim the usual order to step aside and remove any metal items.
Jim must have been confused, tired, irritated by his rushed drive out to the airport, or maybe just miffed that his cheerleader flash entertainment was disturbed. But he did the exactly wrong thing. In a grumpy and arrogant tone of voice, he told the guard he had nothing illegal and, anyway, he was sick of years of unconstitutional arbitrary searches. 'Did she know who he was!?' he asked with both question mark and exclamation point.
Jim, a libertarian but a sensible one, didn't actually object to governments protecting people from terrorist threats. Of course not. But he was in a rush, he was irritated, and he really wanted to see some more ass and pussy flashing. That's why he made that second big mistake. It wasn't his last, as things got out of hand and beyond his control in a Kafkaesque sort of way.
"Step over here, sir." Ordered the now less than polite security guard as she gently but firmly grabbed Jim's arm and guided him to one of the four security stalls hidden from public view by a three-sided draw curtain hanging some seven feet above the floor.
"I'll ask you once again, sir," said the young guard who, to Jim's eyes, was rapidly transforming from attractive female in uniform to officious bureaucratic bitch. " Do you have any metal objects or containers of a contraband nature on your person or in your belongings?" The words were recited from rote but her eyes were roving from Jim's face to his clothing, body posture and back again. She was doing a suspect-profile 'tell' detection.
The security staff, three men all over six foot three and built like linebackers, crowded around Jim. They probably felt protective of Jenny, their sole female co-worker who had, moments ago, pressed her silent 'alert alarm' summoning assistance in the face of clear and present danger. Jenny was only 20 years old and this was her first week on the job. Her superiors had drilled into her that safety of staff and passengers trumped any rights to privacy or dignity of a suspected terrorist or 'person of interest'. Both rights and security had to be assured, but safety first.
Jim would not be cowed but he was more or less cooperative as he explained how he had a flight to Chicago to catch and was a guest speaker at a medical convention and he'd be glad to follow protocol but could they please hurry it up. His tone was not deferential and struck Jenny as suspicious. She was trying to impress her fellow officers with how seriously she took her job and how thorough she could be in protecting the flying public. Being new to the post, Jenny took her time in examining this, to her mind, belligerent and suspicious character. Jenny was too young to get the humourous reference of her next question:
"We just have to make sure you have nothing to hide, sir. But tell me, what's that sticking out of your pants pocket? If that's a pen, it's the biggest flick-stick I've ever seen"
What was sticking out was not from his pants pocket, but between both left and right pockets. Jim blushed as he realized he was still hard... ( and it showed! ) he was still excited by the cheerleader peep show. The male guards smirked and one of them leaned over to Jenny and whispered something in her ear. Her face silently registered ' Eyyew ' but when she turned to look at Jim ( whom she now thought of as ' that perv-perp' ) her smile began to slowly grow wider and wider until she couldn't help herself and had to hide her laughter with her open hand over her mouth.
But then Jim made his next mistake. He was embarrassed and that made him seem clumsy and awkward ( two signs of concealment and illicit behaviour. ) He was exasperated and feeling increasingly helpless. In desperation Jim plunged his hands in his pockets and pulled them inside-out to show how empty they were; that's when his memory stick fell out and on to the floor. Jenny drew her taser and aimed. Jim froze and everything went very, very quiet.
Two of the other officers held Jim by his arms while the third picked up the computer devise and immediately closed the privacy curtain. All the time Jenny continued pointing the taser at Jim. She was deliberately aiming at his crotch. A strange smile crossed her face as she made a joke in her mind, " Come out with your glans up! " she thought to herself as she kept her eyes trained on the bulge in Jim's trousers.
The enclosed area was only an eight foot by eight foot area but it contained a short table, a computer hooked up to an overhead monitor that was tilted inward so only those in the secured area could see what it displayed. Jim was told to put his hands above his head and turn about facing the curtain, which meant he could no longer see the monitor screen. Then three more things happened that could be called Jim's mistakes or perhaps his coincidental misfortunes.
First of all, the senior security officer, Dan, was a bit of a prankster who delighted in embarrassing people ( usually the traveling public who were getting used to public humiliation, but sometimes fellow officers as well, especially female 'fellow' officers. ) Dan took advantage of Jim's next mistake which was to tell the officers he'd forgotten about the memory stick and it just had his power-point presentation for the medical conference and a few notes.
Dan had already begun downloading the stick contents and was reviewing the 'notes' He motioned to Jenny to take a look. Her face turned red at what she saw as her superior said in a loud voice, " I think we better make a more detailed search."