Monday, 28 November 2011

82) Imigration

    We’re at a crowded airport terminal, high ceilings, beige vinyl floor and people in a queue snaking back and forth for hundreds of yards in front of bored agents sitting in their booths.
    The man that walks up to the available booth is bald and a little hunched over carrying his meager luggage. Something subtle is wrong with him, maybe a spinal problem or simply a hard life. He doesn’t use a cane or a walker, but maybe he did at some recent point and he’s trying to be strong, trying to be self sufficient. He makes eye contact with the agent and they both smile wearily.
    Before the agent can say anything the man pulls out his papers and lays them down on the counter for the agent. The agent scans them and says, “Welcome to New America Sir, what is the nature of your visit?”
    Betraying his weakened body his voice is strong and almost lilting, “Just here to visit family for Christmas. Got a young niece in London. Going to stay with her family for two weeks.”
    The agent ignores the old man for a minute and pours over his computer monitor. He frowns and says, “Says here you have a mechanical animal, mister Simmons.”
    Simmons says, “Yup.” and pulls out a small white package from under his arm and places it on the agent’s counter.
    “Would you mind activating it for me, sir?”
    “Aaup, no problem.” Simmons presses something on the back end of the wooly pile and it shudders awake. A set of stumpy black legs curl out from its side, a round black head pops up out front, and it emits a weak bleat. The agent smiles and says, “I used to have one of these as a kid. Where’d you get it?”
    “Mmm, s’been in the family for a while now.”
    “Ok, sir, I’m going to have to scan it just now. Has it had any modifications that might interfere with the scan?”
    “Mmm, nope.”
    “Thank you, sir.” The agent scans the mechanical sheep with a circular wand. A little red light pops up and he investigates. He pulls out another wand, this one has branching limbs on the end.
    Simmons isn’t interested and leans against the agent’s booth.
    The agent finishes up and smiles, “She’s clean Mr. Simmons. And you’re good to go. Have a nice stay.” He stamps the papers and hands them back. The man gathers them up awkwardly and shuffles off into the airport. The sheep baas woefully under his arm.

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