The Way Most of Us Must Go

by A. Molotkov

You approach the metal detector without giving it much thought: a harmless, pointless routine. The attendant waves you in.


You blink. Must be your belt buckle. You’re relieved to remove the belt. Now your pants are falling off. You’re a kid again, unencumbered by shame. The attendant waves you in.


What is it now? You wreck your brain. The coins. Loose change in your pocket. Indignantly, you toss the coins into a waste basket. The attendant waves you in.


What in the world could it be? With a sudden inspiration, you realize: it’s your gold tooth. You didn’t know gold was forbidden. You ask the attendant for a pair of pliers. It’s a painful job, but you can’t miss your flight. You swallow the blood. The attendant waves you in.


You begin to stress. It must be your pacemaker. The box cutter in your pocket will do. You make a careful cut. Is it safe to remove the pacemaker on its own? You take out the entire heart, which fits snuggly in the wallet dish. Now you hope to go through – but the attendant’s face turns pale. He stares at your box cutter as if it were a snake, a shark. “He’s armed!” Other passengers fall on the floor, covering their heads. A dozen armed men materialize, their automatic weapons trained on you.

“Think really hard.” The attendant frowns. “Are you carrying anything else metallic?”

“I think that’s it.”

The attendant waves you in. Buzz!

The armed men open fire.