Chav takes a plane (IV) : X-rays

Security checks always made Chav feel guilty about something he hadn’t done, however cordial the agents were being. Maybe more if they’re especially friendly because then something doesn’t quite seem to fit, they should be strict in their mirror glasses and buffed black boots, then at least you can whip up hate for them in revenge for the humiliation of having to remove your belt and see your bags ravished. He always felt most relieved when they didn’t ask him to take his shoes off, and not just because he might have accidentally put on socks with holes in or ones that flopped about on the end of your foot like a spent johnny.

To while the time away and to cover for his nervousness Chav was just playing with the rollers on the ramp where your case comes out of the X-ray machine, surreptitiously spinning them backwards to see if he could slow the trays as they trundled down the ramp, when he saw that his own had been diverted from the main track and was now on a kind of parallel Suspect Luggage lane behind thick, bombproof plexiglass. A cul-de-sac, a blind alley, a roadblock, an end of the line.

Chav, more disappointed at finding his accoutrements slandered than annoyed at the setback, still harrumphed chastely to himself, knowing that it meant he would have to comply with the command to open his case and they might want to rummage in his dirty linen and then there’d be all the hassle of putting the Bourbon biscuit packs back in unbreakable, tidy rows. Ah, so it could be the biscuits that looked like bite-sized sticks of dynamite on the screen.

Wrong. The security guard must have had his lunch already and had no interest in the biscuits but wanted to know what the three metal objects were that he and his pals had seen on the screen. Chav smiled in relief and told him that it was just a set of glowplug sockets he’d bought to fix his niece’s car because it would only start reluctantly and when it did it coughed up great clouds of black smoke and purple haze.

Chav was a bit puzzled that even though the guard now knew that the objects were harmless, he still wanted to actually see the long, gunbarrel-shaped chunks of metal sitting in a pretty row in their blue plastic snapcase, and he foolishly assumed that the guy was a toolhead like himself and wanted to leer at a tasty piece of shiny chrome-vanadium, so he gladly complied with the request, only to feel totally perplexed when the guy dismissed them with absolute disinterest. Luckily the man wasn’t being too thorough and didn’t require him to pull out the phone charger he had jammed tightly into a spare shoe with a clean pair of socks. It made you feel safe to know they were doing their job, even if they do try to humiliate amateur mechanics by sticking the drugs and explosives sniffer probe into their dirty clothes bags. The guy waved him away.

Cleared of smuggling or otherwise, Chav repacked the case, put on his belt, slipped phone and wallet into the left front pocket of his trousers, pouch of tobacco into the back left, coins and handkerchief in the rear right, keys and lighter in the right-hand front, and put his reading glasses back on his forehead. If you wear your glasses on your head people look at you while still some distance away but when you get closer they look away for some reason best known to themselves. So maybe it works as a handy barrier to keep people at arm’s length, as might a woolly rasta hat, a Hell’s Angels grubby denim waistcoat or fluorescent pink tights.

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