How did I get off track? Oh, yeah, it was the thing with the little kid. Where was I? Last I recall we had just left Miami International, and I was already in trouble with the stewardess. If you don’t know it already, Miami is one of the biggest shit holes south of Atlanta. It is not so bad if you are making a connection, but if you have to go through customs you might as well forget about making the connection or having your baggage on the return flight. If the delays and bad service aren’t bad enough, you still have to contend with the temperature of the damn place. It’s in the tropics, but the air conditioning is turned down so low that it feels like the Arctic Circle. There are times when you can actually see your breath.
Fortunately, we didn’t have a delay, and boarded the plan on schedule. I knew we were in trouble when the pilot came on the PA system and told us our co-pilot was named Wisenheimer. I said, “Right! Sure! Like that’s a real name!” Unfortunately, I said it loud enough for the stewardess to hear me and it was the guy’s real name. Too much alcohol! Not only did I get a harsh glare from the stewardess, who was probably banging Wisenheimer on the side, but I was also informed that she wouldn’t be able to serve me any more booze during the flight. Good thing I had brought my own!
The ride into Gran Turk wasn’t so bad. It’s a short jump over the water from Miami, and the sea has a nice blue color. Customs, however, will remind you that you are in a country where the bureaucrats have three speeds: slow, slower and stop. They lined us up in the hot, Caribbean sun, and made us wait until all the officials are seated at their desks. By then, half the group was bombed out of their gourds they couldn’t stand: they’d been slamming down rum punch since we left Miami International. The other half of the group was made up of whiny kids that wanted to be carried. Even the little kid that I let up in first class was starting to snivel and ask for his mommy, the thankless little shit!
Unfortunately, I was the first one off the airplane, and as soon as the airport officials saw me, they went on red alert. Like the stewardess in first class, they singled me out. Of course, they leave my wife in her matching Prada purse and ballet slippers alone. They don’t even mess with my two teenage daughters: one’s hair is colored half-flaming pink and the other wears a belly-button ring. But once they see my beard, airport security goes ape shit. For them, the beard is the sure sign of a drug-trafficking terrorist. And, I must tell you that the sight of a large-black woman strapping on the latex gloves, no gel, is enough to make you lose your water right there. I figured it was going to be the old rectal-colon exam right on the tarmac.
“Sir, we are going to have to check your bag,” she said.
“No problem,” I replied. I figure it’s best not to be a pain. Then, she starts unpacking all of my bags.
About then, my wife barked, “Tell them not to poke around in my bags. The last time they did that someone did that they stole my bag of eyeliners!”
Obviously, the lady overheard my wife, and she said, “Sir, collect your things and come with me!”
I brought wheeled the four large suitcases into a small office and was told to sit down and wait for the customs chief. After fifteen minutes, another agent came in and began to interrogate me. He asked, “So, I hear that you don’t want us to inspect your bags. The stewardess also reported that you were causing problems on the plane. Are you a trouble-maker? Are you aware that we can hold you, indefinitely? We don’t even have to inform the embassy for a couple of days!
By then, I was starting to get nervous. I told him that there had been a little misunderstanding, and that I wanted to cooperate fully with customs officials.
He asked, “Did you pack these bags yourself, Sir?”
“No,” I replied.
“Ah, my wife.”
“Is she here with you on the island?”
“Ah, well, yes.”
“Why isn’t she with you right now?”
Now, I had started to sweat. It never fails with me: I arrive at customs and I immediately feel guilty for major crimes, some of which I didn’t commit. Did someone slip something in my bag? Maybe I left something in them? Would the customs official pull out a little baggie, shout “ah, ha!” and would I barely have the chance to say, “I’ve never seen that before,” before having the mortal piss beaten out of me by police? Within the hour would I be behind bars, in the Caribbean Shawshank, begging the warden to call the embassy? Then, I would have to tough it out in a jail cell full of bull queers all waiting for me to hit the shower.
“Sir, where is your wife?”
“She’s right over there; she’s the one with the Prada purse and slippers.”
“The one with the Prada purse? How’d she end up with you? You look like a slob. Usually, we don’t even search the bags of those people. You must have been the first in line. Well, you can go!”
To be continued…