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The Turkey Sandwich Terrorist

I spent this past weekend in Colorado. I was able to visit with some friends, I saw some Shakespeare at the Colorado Shakespeare Festival, and I went to my dad’s house to sort through and decide what should be done with all of my childhood memorabilia. This last bit was the main reason for the trip, and it was one hell of a journey down memory lane. There were things like my baby blanket and my childhood Christmas stocking. There were also things like every greeting card I ever received and the keys to my diary. The diary itself was nowhere to be found, but by gum, I have the keys safe and sound!

I quickly realized that it was going to be easy figuring out what should be kept – baby blanket – given away – collection of trolls, numbering over 200 – and what could be recycled – greeting cards and shoe box full of folded up notes that were passed between my friends and me in school. By the way, Cassie, you and I talked A LOT about RyFi and KiFi, and I can’t decide if it was adorable or kind of stalker-ish. As we had figured out their class schedules, I’m leaning toward the latter.

Greeting Cards

The coolest finds were all of my grade school writing projects and my middle and high school art projects. I’m debating whether or not some of the writing should be shared. The Great Computer Hunt is so ridiculous, my friend Ruth and I were almost crying we were laughing so hard. 2nd grade Kat had quite the vivid imagination. For that matter, high school Kat wasn’t exactly lacking in imagination either. One of my art projects was a ceramic sculpture of a turkey sandwich and French fries on a plate. I’m fairly certain that the genesis behind this project was because I could.

At any rate, this and everything else I decided to keep, got packed up in my suitcases for the trip home to LA. I decided that the sandwich and two other sculptures would go in my carry-on. Clay isn’t exactly the lightest substance in the world, but I didn’t trust baggage handlers to handle my bag carefully enough to protect them. So the sandwich got lovingly wrapped in a huge wad of bubble wrap and placed in my suitcase. What had not occurred to me, is that when sent through a baggage x-ray machine, an oddly shaped ceramic piece that is thoroughly wrapped up, has the same profile as say . . . a bomb. A rather large bomb.

So when my suitcase went through at 5:00 in the morning the TSA agent reading the screen, all of a sudden became very awake. Then everything screeched to a halt, as she called over someone else to look. The two of them conferred, then called over another agent. Between the three of them they called over a supervisor, who then called over another supervisor. No one was saying anything to any of the passengers, but it was more than obvious that there was something going on. At this point, we didn’t even know whose bag was causing the hold-up, and everyone started to get frustrated, as more agents were called over and the conveyor had been parked for over five minutes.

Finally, everyone got quiet and they reversed the conveyor so that they could remove the offending bag. They carefully walked it over to the three of us waiting for our bags to come out and asked whose it was. It was mine, I said so. It was then whisked away by a supervisor and I was curtly told to gather my other belongings and report immediately to the inspection area. It was while I was putting on my shoes, that I remembered the sandwich. And I giggled.

Turkey sandwich

Shoes now back on, I grabbed my purse and walked over to the inspection area where I was curtly asked if there was anything sharp in my bag. I told her that I didn’t think there was, and she started to swab down the outside of my suitcase to test for explosive residue. It was at this point that I informed her that I had a ceramic sculpture in the bag, and I could see the tension release from her body as her shoulders dropped about an inch. Then she opened the bag, and pulled out the wrapped bundle. Everything got wiped and tested for explosive residue, then she meticulously started to unwrap the sculpture. I don’t know if she believed me and was being so gentle to protect my piece, or if there was a part of her that was still expecting to see a bomb, but she was much more careful then I would have been with it! Finally, she got it unwrapped to the last fold, took a breath and flipped it over. The anticipation was delicious as it registered just what she was looking at, and then started laughing.

She stood there and laughed for a few minutes, then folded it back up in its wrappings, handed it to me and said, “I’m going to let you pack it, I don’t want to break one of your fries. Take your time honey.” Then, laughing again, she walked over to the other agents who were looking at us bewildered. Somehow I think that the TSA agents at DIA are going to be talking about the turkey sandwich bomb scare, for quite some time, because I walked away towards my gate to the sounds of quite a few chuckles behind me.