I enter this airport, this city where nobody lives, suburb of nothing, a specious, spacious, cynical gateway with walls of steel and glass, a pass-through place pulsing with fragile, firefly lives and echoes of the droning voices of salesmen and consultants, bankers and real-estate experts and seminar-attendees who carry complex solutions to nothing.
A highly-paid, arm-waving, finger-pointing businessman cuts before me, failing to notice anyone with skin darker than his as he gesticulates his carefully rehearsed bullet points and negotiates his fifth big deal of the month via Bluetooth headset, until much later tonight he'll call his family from a hotel room in Orlando or LA or Philly for their previously scheduled Skype videoconference.
A fat old woman waddles past, gorged on American bounty, her blue-veined legs infirm, the memory of her dead husband fading faster than the 401k retirement fund he left behind; her solemn-faced pug named Rufus stares at me uncomfortably beneath her fleshy dimpled arms, wedged in beside a bulging handbag bearing candy and incontinence pads and a senior-fare ticket.
There goes a ten-gallon hatted urban cowboy with soft hands and pointy boots, dreaming red, white, and blue wet-dreams of roping and calving and driving his Ford F-150 over dirty rutted roads until the day he finds a smiling round-hipped woman who will take his name and bear his children and wash his stiff blue jeans.
A harried mother in skin-tight spandex pants bounces past, pushing her two-point-three American children along in a super-sized, name-brand baby stroller outfitted with plastic Sippy-cup attachments and knobby off-road tires, her husband’s rigid work schedule having once again surrendered not a moment to spare for a quick visit to the in-laws or a trip with the kids to Knott's Berry Farm.
With these mothers and children, divorcees and tanned vacationers, I make my way to the airport security line, I am swallowed up by the American snake, stand near its twitching tail and watch these tired travelers dozens deep before me, weaving slowly through legions of orderly tensa-barriers so they can hurry home to their loved ones, their steely-eyed cats, empty two-bedroom apartments and low-fat frozen dinners cooked in modern appliances to be eaten on the couch before fifty-two inch plasma TV sets while their two-thousand-dollar purebred Bassett Hounds and Yorkshire Terriers bark unheard on the step, their owners too busy lamenting their unused health club memberships to hear them.
We shuffle up, up, up to the checkpoint, remove our Doc Martens, our Abercrombie Fitches, our Zappos and Gucci’s and Banana Republics, disrobing before lazily vigilant FAA employees who pretend to look busy for their secret government agency bosses, standing about wondering when this country’s corrupt congress will cut their forty grand a year salaries and take their undeserved government pensions, worrying over dimly remembered combat training as they contemplate death at the hands of dark-skinned men who kneel five times a day on Mecca-pointing rugs, praying to a stern Islamic god before they take up chattering Uzis, strap bombs to their chests and stuff box-cutters in their shoes all in the name of Allah.
The machine surrounds me, its lethal rays pass through my flesh, imparting cancer, baking my brain, beep, beep, beep, my fingers crossed overhead in a diamond shape as I smile into the camera; I smile at Uncle Sam, knowing he will never find it, my gift from the Imam, the ultimate ticket home buried deep within my purified flesh, because they are fools: let this drooling dreadlocked Jamaican idiot inspect all he will my perfect body, my muscled torso, my highly trained arms, my virgin Middle-Eastern prick.
I slip through security easily, it is nothing, America is nothing, a land of white-skinned, muffin-topped cowards, and beyond me lies a comfortable and safe Threat Level Orange as defined by the Homeland Security Administration, where I walk to the mouth of the escalator, coast up its sharp-toothed metal staircase, walk down a vast sun-filled hallway at the top and hurriedly enter a high-speed railcar only to sit inside and wait while it runs round and round and round, carrying me and my fellow glaze-eyed passengers quickly to nowhere that we couldn’t easily have walked, then spews its busy contents onto gleaming tiled passageways to dodge motorized honk, honk, honking carts gliding rubber-wheeled down dead-end, no-name highways.
The Imam takes no chances, I have hours to spare, I kill time, wander these busy corridors lined with their false advertising mounted on sexy backlit plastic and metal boards, consider credit card offers and low mortgage rates and frequent flier programs I will never use; come back to Dallas, the sign extolls: Live Large, Think Big, and I laugh, rejoicing in my overachievement. The fast food, bars and restaurants: Bennigan's and Chili's, Fuddruckers and Dickey’s, the Cowtown Bar, McDonalds and Taco Bell - these Americans are never hungry, they never want, would refuse to stand in line all day for a loaf of bread or a litre of rehydrated United Nations milk. I order a pink lemonade from the Vietnamese woman who serves fake Asian food to servicemen whose fathers destroyed her country and I think: rise up you losers, you defeated soldiers, take back your lands, your heritage, destroy these perpetual do-gooders and go home to your villages, your hamlets.
I thank her, leave a dollar in the jar and sip my lemonade, stopping to peer in the Best Buy kiosk with its Made in China electronics, the Apple iPods and Sanyo DVD players and Bose noise-canceling headphones, these Americans love their technology, they drop their bombs, their ordnance: daisy-cutters and cruise missiles and sleek Patriot missiles, destroying neighborhoods and houses where once I slept, broke fast, loved and prayed. The American bombs, burning away the secret flesh of my mother, my sister, their faces and hair, their smiles, the American bombs destroy the pride and disintegrate the memories of a country that was ancient long before this place called America was ever conceived by the vomitous leftovers and chronically white castoffs of European royalty, spewed from the diseased loins of imperialist Britain.
I stop to empty my bladder, my pink lemonade, and dodge a cart-pushing black man whose parent’s grandparents knew slavery, whose mother knew segregation, whose son wears gang colors while his black father cleans the floors, scrubs the toilets, empties the trash of the abundantly white. I approach the gate, but stop: I must first buy a gift, Americans love to give gifts, and I find them on sale at JP’s Dude Ranch with its two-for-one specials on overpriced, cheaply-made jewelry and stuffed animals and refrigerator magnets imported from Brazil or Costa Rica or Taiwan, these Americans produce nothing of their own except bombs and I purchase a white t-shirt with the words God Bless America on the front and I Love Texas across the back, but the gift is for me, only for me, so when they find what’s left of my perfect nineteen year-old Iraqi body in that t-shirt the Imam will know me and nod his respect for what I’ve done.
I change in the men’s room and walk slowly down to the gate, forty-five minutes to go and I am calm, I wait and pray, watch the world news, the local news, the national news and Oprah, how the Americans love to know what’s going on, to stick their noses in to everything, to see what's going on outside their little world so they can feel safe, and soon the loved ones of those sitting around me, their grieving family members, will look up at their big screen TV sets, hear the voices of reason from the familiar faces of CNN and Fox and CSPAN as they discuss how the suspect, a young man with an Iraqi passport and a window seat and a shaped charge made from five pounds of C-4 explosive in his abdomen, was wearing a cheap white t-shirt with a longhorn cow and the Texas state flag across the tattered back, purchased on sale from an airport convenience store.
Kip lives in Arizona, where he wastes time blogging at Mister Ass. He's been published here and there, but this is his first appearance at Clockwise Cat, for which he is most grateful. Kip writes to keep the flying monkeys away.