LONDON Karen was saying wouldn’t it be funny if my bag got searched in Gatwick, considering?
‘Pardon me, Madam,’ beamed the security dude. ‘Would you mind terribly if I was to search your bag?’
I grimaced at him. ‘I don’t imagine I have much of a choice,’ I ‘laughed’, and he ‘laughed’ and proceeded to spread my stuff all over the table behind the X ray machine.
He tried to make small talk whilst he tossed my knickers about, but it was as excruciating as you’d expect. He went through the front pocket— harmless wallet, innocent day book, anodyne steno pad— and unzipped the middle pouch.
Faux-pashima scarf— unthreatening. Bag full of beads— assumed to be sweeties, a joke is mooted about confiscation, ha ha. And then a plastic carrier bag, which he opens, looks inside.
‘This,’ says he, ‘Is a horse.’
‘It is,’ I reply. A palomino, in fact, Mr Rucksack Rapist, purchased in TK Maxx as a birthday present to my inner pony mad child. Flaxen mane and tail, light caramel coloured coat, a very practical but feminine light blue plaid rug, Daisy is my dream horse, right down to the blaze on her forehead. How could I resist? And at £3.99?
Karen and I had constructed a dialogue about this very thing. I decided to follow it.
‘Is it for someone, or is it yours?’ That’s rather open-minded of him, I think, then it occurs to me that if it’s mine, it’s more likely to be stuffed full of cocaine.
‘It is mine.’ I resist the urge to say ‘she’. ‘Today is my birthday.’
‘And how does it feel to be twenty?’ Oh, Mr Funny Man.
‘Gets better every year.’ And I was let re-pack Daisy myself; my knickers, however, clearly required the attention of a professional.