It was an early morning flight, a nearly empty terminal. She was one of the very few people heading toward a destination even colder than the one she was in presently. But then, perhaps in protest of the cold, she lost her shoe at the airport security checkpoint and for a moment it was a near international incident and way too much excitement for everyone at this hour.

On the security camera overhead, she saw several smudgy gray security people sleepily hurrying toward her – well before she heard them – and she cringed at the unwanted attention. She hadn’t even brushed her hair yet and now she might be on camera because of a wayward shoe wedged in the vast airport security machinery.

Luckily, when the guards arrived, looking in real life as gray and smudgy as they appeared to be on screen, they saw her haggard features and tired frown and immediately realized she was simply too tired to have plans for mischief or destruction. They halted the wheels of safety and took turns crawling inside a big black box for a while before emerging with her shoe, chewed and mashed from a turn in the conveyor belt of national defense and civil protection.

They asked to see her passport and questioned her to make sure she was the rightful owner of the sad bit of leather. They donned rubber gloves and funny masks and swabbed the torn article with special liquids and held it at different angles for better examination.

When they were finally satisfied, they let her go and she limped toward the gate, one shoe ripped and moist, to catch her plane, her flight to frigid northern climes – which was already delayed.


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