Friday, February 26, 2010

Show Me the Knife

On one of my deployments to SW Asia I had the opportunity to fly to Germany and catch a civilian flight from there back to the states. Sounded pretty good to me so I jumped at the chance.

In Frankfurt, the military terminal is on one side of the airport and the civilian side is on the other. When we landed I checked the time and realized that I had about 4 hours before I had to be at the civilian side. So I went and got a room at billeting because a nap and a shower sounded like a pretty good idea.

So I get to room, unpack some stuff, shower and get in bed. Setting the alarm to allow me about a couple hours of sleep, then time to get something to eat and make it to the airport on time.

Sounded like a great plan. Except for the fact that I forgot to turn the alarm on. I wake up with about 45 minutes to get to the airport. I start shoving stuff in bags and get it all together and make to the airport on time.

I check in and get my boarding passes and my carry on bag and head for security.

The airport isn't that busy at this time of the day, so I'm looking around and noticing nothing out of the ordinary I proceed to the security check point.

Maybe it was the fact that the lady that was operating the x-ray was drop dead gorgeous, or her English was a little off, but our exchange was a little strained.

She scanned my bags, and I get to the other side of the metal detector. She looks at my bag and looks at me and says something in German.

I look at her funny, and say "Excuse me?"

"Could you take the knife out of the bag?"

"Uh..excuse me?"

"The knife. In the bag. Could you take it out?"

Now I remember that I had been shoving stuff in bags not too long before this exchange. Did I put my knife in my carry on? What was I thinking?

I open the bag, and it's still just me and the security lady who is intently watching me go through my bag.

I finally find the knife and take it out. It's a neon orange knife with about a 4 and half inch blade, and a parachute cord cutting blade. The way it was supposed to operate was you push the button on the side and the parachute cutting blade pops out. Since our stuff is made by the lowest bidder, what actually happens is the blade comes out.

That's right I had a government issued switch blade.

In my carry on bag.

In a foreign airport.

"Open the knife." the pretty security lady tells me with a slight smile on her face.

"Excuse me?"

"Open the knife." slight smile now gone.

Pretty lady tells me to do something, I'm a little frazzled because I running behind. I do what she tells me to do. I push the button.

The blade pops out.

I'm standing there holding a knife on the pretty security lady now. She takes a small set back and I can still remember what happened next just like it was yesterday.

The first thing I notice that is a little odd is a slight pressure in the small of my back. Then I notice a guy in black standing just to my right. And another to my left. Somehow two more of these guys have appeared on the other side of the security table from me.

Then I realize that the guys that I can see are all holding small semi-automatic machine guns. And they are pointing them at me.

Then my mind recalls the fact that there is an unexpected pressure in the small of my back. That is most likely a gun also.

I glance at pretty security lady, trying really hard not to pee on myself at this point. She again has that cute little smile on her face.

All of this happened in the time that it took my brain to register the fact that these guys were serious, and I needed to drop that knife right now. I'd say about 3 seconds, maybe 5.

I drop the knife on the table, and the pressure in my back lets up. But I know that guy is still there. None of the security guards say anything. They just keep looking at me, and pointing those guns at me.

Security lady steps back up to the table, still smiling at me. She looks at the knife, then back at me. That cute smile never leaving her face.

"Ok, pick up the knife."


"It's ok, pick up the knife."

"No, you can have it."

"It's really ok, you can pick it up."

"No it's alright you keep it. I never liked it anyway."

I smile at the security lady. She smiles back.

I'm still trying not to pee on myself.

Then she waves the security guards away, says everything is ok.

In the time it took me to put a couple things back in my bag, and pick it up..all those security guys, and their guns have disappeared again. Like they were never there.

I look around and don't see any of those guys all the way to my gate.

Get on the plane and have no more issues on the way home.

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