The Button Maker Murders - Chapter 2 - In the Land of Jealous Gods

December 12, 2017  •  3 Comments

The immigration officer held up Cat's passport. “Your head is shaven in this photo,” she said. “Why is that?”

“This is the second time I've had to show my passport to get into my own home country,” Cat replied. “Why is that?”

“You've been flagged,” said the woman. “Please answer the question.”

“I've been flagged? What does that mean?” said Cat. “I won a race? Someone dressed me up in Stars and Bars and neglected to tell me? I don't see any flag. Flagged for what?”

“I know you're tired, Ms. McCallum. It's a long flight from New York to here. So I will ask you again. Why is your head shaved in this picture? And I will warn you. Do not try my patience. It's been a long day here too.”

“I'm sorry, Ms. ... Barnum, is it? Like in the circus. Well, Ms. Barnum, I had thought the way I wear my hair was my own business. I guess the laws have changed. So I will tell you - and please don't get mad and hit me with a pie - when I went to get that photo taken, I was told not to smile, that I was not allowed to smile, that smiling distorts a person's facial features and makes it difficult for the authorities to identify them properly. So I thought, hmm, maybe my hair makes it difficult too. So I went home and shaved it off. That also expressed how I felt about having my smile taken away. I see they got yours too. But I guess you need the job real bad so you don't mind.”

In her life, Cat had regretted her outbursts of temper. Once or twice. She did not do so now, even after being escorted to a windowless room, deprived of her cell phone and left alone for an hour while the particulars of her identity were reviewed. Even after she was subsequently strip-searched. When she was finally released, she did not hesitate before asking Ms. Barnum, who had personally conducted the search, “Are you happy now?”

For her part, the officer did not hesitate before replying, with her first smile of the encounter, “Very. Happy as a clam. You have a nice day now, Ms. McCallum. Welcome to California.”


Granite Coast
Carolyn and Leslie, thank you both. A new episode due soon! Love, Jim
Carolyn Kennedy(non-registered)
Ah Jim left me hanging.Can hardly wait for the next one.
Leslie Knight(non-registered)
excellent! always looking forward to the next
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