“Why not? It’ll be in the hold. It’s not as though I’m trying to carry it in my cabin baggage, is it? I know that’s all hand-searched. I’m not completely stupid, you know.”
“Nobody’s calling anyone stupid,” I interjected, assuming my customary role of mediator, “Joe’s just worried that there may be trouble if it’s found. You know what they’re like about that kind of thing.”
“I know,” Toni agreed, “but they’re not likely to find it, are they? I mean; they only hand-search hold baggage when they think there might be something in there. That usually means they have seen something on the x-ray, but what are the chances of this showing up?”
Our two families’ holiday in the Caribbean had introduced us to a range of novel experiences, tastes and sensations. Naturally enough, we all wanted to bring something of the island back with us. My husband, Algie (I know; sounds like something I found floating in the sea, but it’s short for Algernon) being something of an amateur photographer, keeps all his memories on a memory card. I always bring back postcards and silly little trinkets that speak to the character of wherever we’ve visited; even if they do all have ‘made in China’ stamped on their bases. Joe, being something of an intellectual, collects books; he always arrives with an almost-empty suitcase so he has enough weight allowance to bring back several volumes. Toni is; well, let’s just say that Toni is more adventurous, less conventional in what she chooses to bring back from holiday.
“All I’m saying,” Joe said, “is you know what customs are like about that kind of thing; bloody paranoid, they are.”
I had to agree with Joe. “Remember what happened last year, when I ordered that tea from England? One of the packs I ordered had pieces of fruit in it, and customs seized the lot, the whole order. I never did see any of it, and I never got my money back.”
“Yeah, but for chrissakes, Mary,” Toni said, exasperated, “half a dozen belly-ache bush seeds wrapped in a couple of layers of kleenex. What’re the chances they’ll find that; and if they do, where’s the harm?”
“The harm,” Joe said, “is that they are likely to hold us; well, hold you; until they find out what the seeds are, which could take days—”
“I’ll tell them exactly what they are.”
“And of course, they’ll take your word for it, straight away,” he said. “For all they know it might be opium poppy seeds, or seeds of something that’ll run amok, like Japanese knotweed. And when they do find out, do you think they’ll just tell you you’re a naughty girl and let you go? More likely they’ll charge you with something.”
“God, you’re so boring sometimes, Joe.”
“And you’re infuriating.”
And we all had a very quiet flight home…
I wrote this in response to Kreative Kue 24, issued on this site earlier this week.