“Hello, is this Janet Wu?” asked a pleasant sounding woman on the other end of the phone.
“Hi, um. Yes, this is Janet.” She replied, nervously. This was her third job interview in the last two weeks and she hadn’t had a call back on either of the other two.
“Hi Janet, my name is Marianne.” Chirped the other woman. “This is just a screening interview, so no need to be nervous.”
Janet felt a bead of sweat on her forehead. Do I really sound nervous? She wondered.
“It is a pleasure to meet you Marianne.” Janet said, trying to steady her voice.
“Why don’t you tell me a little about yourself to get things rolling?” Marianne asked.
Janet smiled, hoping it would disguise her nervousness. She hated talking about herself, or making herself the center of attention in any way. She has always gotten by through academic achievement, and avoided classes or environments that required her to step directly into the spotlight on her own.
The first two interviews were disasters because she froze up and refused to speak. This time, she prepared notes to focus on instead of trying to think on her feet.
She quickly sorted through the pile of notes to one titled, “About Me”
She then red verbatim as casually as she could muster:
My name is Janet Wu
I live in San Francisco
I graduated three months ago with a BS in Accounting and Business Management
I am looking for my first job in my new career
There was a brief pause after Janet stopped talking and Marianne chimed in. “Yea, I can read all of that on your resume. But why don’t you tell me about you? Do you have friends? What are your interests? Do you have any hobbies?”
Janet began sifting through the stack of notes desperately looking for a paper that she knew didn’t exist.
“Um… ah.” was all she could muster.
“Relax.” Marianne said. “This isn’t a quiz.”
Marianne’s voice was somehow comforting. Janet apologized, “I’m so sorry. I am very shy around new people.”
“Well there is something not on your resume.” Marianne said with a soft chuckle. “What caused you to be shy?”
“I… don’t know.” Janet said. “I’ve always been a little awkward around people until I have had a chance to know them.”
“Well,” Marianne replied. “Don’t worry. This interview is just a formality anyway. We already decided to bring you in for an onsite interview. I just like getting to know a little about my candidates before flying them across the country.”
“Really?” Janet asked excitedly.
“Yes, really.” Marianne responded. “Your friend Keiko recommended you so highly, we had to take a look for ourselves.”
Keiko was Janet’s college roommate. She had been working for Anderson Fitness for the past year and was the one who told Janet to apply for the job. She didn’t mention she was giving a recommendation though.
“Did you say fly me across the country?” Janet asked. “Isn’t there a business office in San Francisco?”
“We have a sales office in San Francisco, but our corporate Headquarters in located here in Charlotte, North Carolina.”
“I… how does this work then?”
“Well, if you are asking about the flight, we would have you book your flight and hotel, and then will reimburse you the day of the interview.”
“Oh, I meant, do I need to move to Charlotte if I take this job?”
“Probably.” Marianne said. “Commuting seems problematic, I would think.”
There were likely 1,000 concerns about this that should have registered in Janet’s mind, but in actuality only one thought occurred to her. She would be 2500 miles away from her mom. YES she thought eagerly.
“Yes what?” Marianne asked.
“Um, yes, I will be happy to come to Charlotte for an interview.” Janet said.
“Great” Marianne said. “I will email you the specifics. We don’t really care which airline you use, but you should book at the Grand Riviera Hotel. It is near our office and they have a shuttle bus from the airport that will also take you to the office for your interview. I will email you a package with the rest of the details.”
“Thank you so much.” Janet said, her excitement pitched in her suddenly squeaky voice.
“It was a pleasure meeting you.” And with that, Marianne was gone.
Janet felt shocked. She was hoping for a follow up interview, but never imagined that it would take her across the country. She had never even considered a job that wasn’t in San Francisco. The idea of living over 2,000 miles away from her mom made her smile. It wasn’t that she didn’t love her parents, and even her brother to some extent, it’s just that her mom is a very strong willed woman.
If she had it her way, Janet would be married by now with a couple of kids not far off. Janet wanted that at some point, but not now. Janet began to daydream about living her own life without her mom constantly criticizing every little decision she made.
Then a thought occurred to her that jarred her back to reality. What do I need to bring?
Interview clothes were not a problem. She had a cute skirt suit and heals she wore to the last interview. She needed to get it pressed, so she would have to take a trip to the dry cleaners today to get it ready. Her bigger concern was the flight.
She had flown a long trip a few years ago, when her family went back to Taiwan to visit relatives. She remembered her mom making everyone put on sweat pants and a loose fitting shirt, since you needed to be comfortable for such a long flight. She intended to do the same for this flight.
Her fear was the new security scanners at the airport. She saw some images that got uploaded onto the internet that showed some rather revealing images. No way am I letting those pervs at me to their collection!
In 4 years of high school and 4 years of college, she had never undressed in front of anyone. No boys, no girls, heck, not even her own mother. She certainly wasn’t going to let some random strangers break her streak. No pun intended. She thought wryly.
Janet turned on her computer and began researching. She was looking for some protective clothing to get past the x-ray scanners. She began reading horror stories about people getting strip searched at the airport.
One entry was the story of a woman who tried wearing a lead lined dress that she was forced to remove so they could inspect it. How humiliating! Janet concluded.
Janet could see some of these links were sending her to the wrong part of the internet, as she ended up on more than one adult site.
Finally, she found what she was looking for. A man who claims to work at an airport responded to a question about how to avoid getting naked pictures of yourself taken by airport scanners. He said some passengers have taken to use a small amount of metallic paint in just the right spots. It allows the scanners to detect any weapons, but blurs or blocks the naughty bits from getting exposed.
Jackpot! She thought.
Janet began making a to-do list to get ready for her trip.
• Take suit to Dry Cleaners
• Print extra copies of resumes on good quality paper
• Go to art store to buy metallic paint
• Book flight
The last one stopped her in her tracks. She hadn’t had a paying job since… well ever. She always relied on her parents to help her out with her day to day expenses, but this could be several hundred dollars. She currently had about less than $40 in cash and just $150 in her savings account. Normally she would have asked her dad to book it for her, but he was out of town on a business trip. That meant talking to her…
Just then her door swung open. Her mom was never shy about barging into her room whenever she wanted. Often just coming in to berate her about not having a job or a husband. Sometimes she seemed to act like the two things were interchangeable. Other times she made it clear that a job cannot give her grandchildren.
This time her mom was just bringing in a load of clean clothes fresh from the laundry down stairs. No wonder I haven’t heard her stomping around the house recently.
“Have you found a job yet?” her mom asked sarcastically.
Not waiting for an answer, she poured out a bundle of clothes onto Janet’s bed and turned to go.
“Mom, wait.” Janet said calmly.
“What now?” her mom asked, seeming to sense that Janet was about to ask a favor.
“I just had my phone interview with Anderson Fitness.” Janet continued. “They want me to come in for an in person interview.”
“So? You know how to use the bus.” her mom stated, dismissively.
“I do. But the interview is in Charlotte, North Carolina.” Janet said cautiously.
A moment passed as that statement sank in.
“How do you expect to get across the country?” her mom exploded.
“They’ll cover the cost of the ticket.” Janet said.
“They will?” Her mom asked suspiciously. “Then what do you need from me?”
“They are going to reimburse me for it when I get there. I need to borrow some money for the trip until I get back.” Janet said softly.
“There it is. Always come running to us whenever you run into a problem.” Her mom boldly stated. “Why didn’t you look for jobs in the city? What’s so great about Charlotte?”
Janet held her tongue. This was the part that normally got her into trouble. When she was backed into a corner her instinct was to attack. But this time, she switched lanes.
“I thought the job was in the city. They have a business office downtown on Jefferson. Keiko works there sometimes, when she is not traveling around the world. That is where I thought the interview was going to be.”
“So why are you going to Charlotte?” Her mom pressed.
“The business office is just for sales. Their corporate office is in North Carolina.” Janet said, intentionally keeping her frustration out of her voice.
“How much do you need?” her mom asked, finally.
“I don’t know. I am waiting for them to email me the instructions and then I will need a credit card to book the flight.” Janet said.
Her mom sighed. “I need to think about whether I want to fund this or not.”
“I told you, they are paying us back for it.” Janet pleaded.
“I heard you. But you still need my credit card, and I don’t know if I want to give it.” She said.
“Why?” Janet asked
“North Carolina? Is that even safe for an Asian?” she asked.
“Keiko goes there all the time. I am sure it’s fine.” Janet concluded.
“Why do you want to live so far away?” her mom asked.
“You want me to get a job, don’t you?” Janet said in a tone angrier than she meant.
“What if I want you to get married instead?” she said. “I still want grandbabies, you know.”
“One thing at a time, mom.” Janet said. Not this again.
“I’m okay with one thing at a time. Marriage first, then children, and then career.” She said.
“Mom!” Janet said.
“How about the Chiang family? I heard their boy Eddie is doing really well.” She offered.
“He’s 16!” Janet shouted.
“Fine, he’s too young for you. Then tell me who you are interested in and I will talk to his mother for you.” Her mom said.
This conversation was going the wrong direction. Janet needed to reign it back into her going to Charlotte.
“Mom, please! I just want to go for a job interview. I will pay you back as soon as I get back from the interview!” Janet pleaded.
“How about this. If I loan you the money, and you don’t get the job, then you will agree to let me set you up with a husband.” Her mom offered.
Husband? “How about I agree to go on a date.” She countered. What am I doing?
“Three dates.” Her mom continued.
“Fine.” Janet said sullenly. “But only if I DON’T get the job.”
“Done.” Her mom said, offering her hand to shake on it.
What did I just agree to? Janet wondered.
The process was pretty straightforward. They wanted her to start her interview at 9:00 AM Local time. She would interview until 3:00 PM and then could fly back that night. Janet thought their intent was for her to fly out the day before, but her mom only agreed to pay for the flight, not a hotel.
So she decided to take the redeye. Maryanne said they would send a driver to fetch her from the airport and take her back later for her return flight. This way, she could sleep on the flight, and change in the airport for the interview. It wasn’t ideal, but she never wore much makeup anyway, so she thought she could wing it.
In college, she found ways to change and even shower in privacy, even when most of the showers and toilets were multi-use facilities. She learned to change in closets and even under her bed once in a pinch. She could make this work.
The night of her flight came quickly. Janet had made all of the preparations, including giving her bra and underwear both a thorough coat of metallic paint. Can’t be too careful. She thought ferociously.
Janet had packed her suit in a large roller suitcase. It seemed kind of ridiculous to have such a large piece of luggage for one suit, but she wanted to make sure that it didn’t get creases or wrinkles during the flight. She stuffed her resume in the side pocket of the suitcase and loaded it into her dad’s car.
“Dad, it’s time to go.” She yelled to the open window in front of the house.
Standing on the curb, Janet waited for her dad to come down to help her put her bag in the car and drive her to the airport. Her underwear felt itchy with all of that paint on them. She did her best not to scratch. She had packed an extra bra and panties for when she landed. No need in being uncomfortable for the interview.
“Ready to go?” she heard her dad say with a start. She had let her mind wander a bit thinking about pulling her space undergarments out of the suitcase so she could change on the plane instead. Too late, as he had already lifted it up and tossed it into the trunk of the car.
She had given herself plenty of time to get to the airport. It was a good thing too since there was a ton of traffic on their way to the airport. She noticed that a lot of people driving were wearing Giants hats and honking. There must be a ball game getting out or something. It took almost 90 minutes to drive the 12 miles from her house to San Francisco International Airport.
Janet impatiently watched the clock as the extra time she allotted to get to the airport disappeared. She had intended to get a bite to eat in the airport before the flight, but at this rate she would have to go straight to the gate.
Arriving at the airport itself was pretty straight forward. Fortunately, all of those people were going home and not to the airport. Her dad unloaded the car and helped her check the luggage at the curbside luggage check-in counter. She had printed her ticket before leaving, so merely kissed her dad on the cheek and headed to the security line.
As Janet approached the security line, she let out a long sigh. It was much longer than she had hoped it would be. She checked the clock on her phone and saw that she had 30 minutes to go before her plane started boarding. She stood in line and waited as it slowly moved forward. She could hear other people muttering about being late but decided to focus on being patient. Worrying wasn’t going to make the line go faster.
Slowly, everyone moved forward. It took 15 minutes to get to the security counter. She had her ticket in hand, but had to fumble for a minute when they asked for her ID as well. She then walked up to the conveyer belt. Popping off her shoes, she set them in the tray along with her purse and walked lined up for the scanner. Two people to go. She wanted to check the time again, but her phone with in her purse. She thought maybe 10 more minutes to boarding.
“Please step forward, ma’am” said the female security person at the far end of the scanner.
Her turn. With a small smirk, she walked into the scanner. There were 2 yellow feet prints painted onto the floor of the device, which she instinctively lined her feet to match.
“Raise your hands above your head, please” came the same voice.
Janet complied and waited as the scanner came alive. A large vertical bar moved from left to right with a mechanical noise.
“Please wait here” the woman said, pointing to a line on the floor outside of the scanner. Janet stepped forward and waited to the instruction to go ahead.
Instead she heard the woman sigh. “I need to scan you again.” She said.
The woman was a 6’ tall black woman who was on the heavy side. Her name plate said Tanya Jackson and just under it, there was a yellow badge that said Trainer.
She approached Janet with a handheld scanner. As she waved it in front of Janet’s chest, it made a loud squealing noise. She lowered it and as it passed her crotch, it made the noise again.
“Ma’am, do you have anything under your clothes?” Tanya asked.
Confused, Janet asked, “My underwear?”
“Anything else, ma’am?” Tanya continued. “Anything Metal?”
Embarrassed, Janet said, “I, ah, might have sprayed some metallic paint onto my bra and underwear.”
Tanya gave her a flat stare. “Ma’am, I am going to need you to follow me.”
“My flight is about to board.” Janet burst out in a panic.
“Then I suggest you hurry.” Tanya said, already walking away.
“Can I get my purse at least?” Janet asked.
The security woman gave her a flat stare, but didn’t stop her from plucking her purse out of the plastic bin before following her barefoot to what amounted to an office cubicle at the edge of the security screening area. Let’s just get this over with. Janet thought impatiently.
Janet raised her hands and spread her legs slightly and waited for Tanya.
“What are you doing?” Tanya asked.
“Aren’t you going to pat me down?” Janet asked.
“No Ma’am.” Tanya replied. “I need to run your clothes through the x-ray machine.” She continued.
Janet flinched as she noticed that Tanya was holding out a gray plastic security tray.
“Wait, you want me to undress? Here?” she asked, with the last coming out as a squeak.
“Yes Ma’am.” Tanya said patiently.
“Can’t you just wave a wand or pat me down or something less embarrassing?” Janet asked.
Tanya gave her a sympathetic look before continuing.
“I’m sorry, Ma’am, but you took steps to conceal under your clothes, so regulations are very clear. We must ask you to remove the clothes and have then scanned.”
Janet looked around the room and began to process the situation. She suddenly realized that there were no doors. If she took off her clothes here, anybody could walk in on her. Why didn’t I take my at least take my shoes?
In a panic, she asked. “What if I refuse?”
Sympathy left Tanya’s face and it became stern. “Well, first of all, you won’t be boarding your flight.”
My flight! She screamed inside her head. She checked the clock on her phone. Boarding was scheduled to start in 5 minutes. Janet realized that Tanya was still talking. Did she say police?
“… will have to take you to the police station for a statement and they likely would do the same search of your persons and clothes there.”
With a sigh, Janet asked, “How long will this take?”
“Place your clothes in the tray and I will scan it. If everything checks out, maybe 5 minutes at most.” Tanya assured her.
“Fine.” Janet said.
“Well?” Tanya asked, giving the empty tray a small shake.
“Turn around.” Janet demanded.
“Ma’am, this is a search of your person. Not just your clothes.” Tanya warned her.
Janet cursed softly and quickly stripped off her lose fitting top and sweatpants. She instinctively folded them before placing them gently into the tray. She again raised her hands and spread her legs to be searched.
Tanya cleared her throat and waited a second before saying, “The rest.”
“What rest? That’s everything.” Janet insisted.
“I am going to need you to give me your shiny underwear and bra.” Tanya said.
Janet froze. Maybe if she stopped moving long enough, Tanya would go away. No, she was patiently waiting for Janet to get completely naked.
“There is no door!” Janet whispered.
“Don’t worry, Ma’am. I have placed a sign that this area is occupied. Your privacy will be respected.” Tanya whispered back.
Janet turned around and faced the wall. She quickly undid her bra and pulled it off, still covering her breasts with the other hand. Then, in one motion slid her panties down and reached behind her. She felt Tanya press the tray against her wrist and she reluctantly let go.
“Please hurry.” She said, still whispering.
Janet heard footsteps behind her, and when she turned she saw that Tanya had left.
Time seemed to slow. Janet was standing naked in the middle of the airport behind a 6’ high cubicle wall with no door. She stared at the entry way hoping that Tanya would return with her clothes, but nobody was there.
She could hear the people passing through the security gate as they chatted with each other. Every few seconds she heard someone get instructed to step forward, then the familiar whoosh sound of the body scanner followed by a follow up, “Wait here.” And “You may go.”
She listened intently, hoping to hear some indication that Tanya was done and on her way back with her clothes. How long has it been? Janet wondered. She checked her clock. Two Minutes! She thought excitedly, expecting Tanya to come in and end this nightmare.
She could hear the people running the scanner too. There seemed to be two people working together on the computer monitor. One was a male voice and the other a female.
One, the female, would give instructions, like “Stop there.” Or “Go back.”
The male would just ask the same question over and over. “Clear?”
She would occasionally reply with “Clear” and the process would start again.
Janet tried paying attention to them, hoping for an indication that would tell her that her clothes were clear and on their way back to her.
Instead, she heard the female say, “Is that a gun?”
The male replied, “I can’t tell.”
“Go back, I need to see another angle” the female ordered.
“Clear?” the male said.
“Pull it.” Came the reply.
It took a second for the word gun to register in Janet’s mind. Who would bring a gun onto a plane? She thought as she continued to listen intently.
“Ma’am, is this your bag?” asked Tanya’s familiar voice?
“It’s my bag.” Responded a raspy woman’s voice. “I’m in a bit of a hurry if you don’t mind.”
“I’m going to need you to open it, please.” Said Tanya.
Can’t someone else handle this? Janet wondered as she suddenly felt especially naked. What if she pulls the gun out and starts shooting people?
Janet felt a bead of sweat roll down her back. She realized that she was starting to get scared of the raspy voiced woman with a gun coming in here to take her hostage while she was naked.
“What’s this about?” demanded the woman. How much did she smoke?
“Our X-Ray detected a weapon in your bag. We need for you to remove each item one at a time until we can determine what exactly it is.” Tanya calmly explained.
“You’re crazy.” Shouted the woman. “I don’t own any weapons!”
“Slowly.” Tanya replied.
“Fine. I am about to miss my plane.” The woman all but grunted.
Janet was listening to intently, she didn’t realize she had taken three steps toward the entry way to hear better. One more step and I would have been visible to the entire airport!
“See!” exclaimed the woman. “Just a hair dryer.”
“My apologies, ma’am.” Tanya said. “Our team is still in training.”
“That’s not going to help me if I miss my fucking plane!” the woman continued.
Janet heard some shuffling of clothes and the whoosh of a zipper. Good, she’s done. Now bring me my damn clothes! Janet thought
She could still hear Tanya speaking. This time it sounded like she was consoling the trainees. “You made the right call. When in doubt, check it out.”
She said, before saying in a louder voice, “Next in line. Raise your arms above your head.”
What? Did she forget about me? Janet wondered angrily.
Janet checked the time again. The plane had already started boarding. How long before Tanya remembered to return her clothes.
Panic turned to fury and Janet finally shouted “Tanya!”
It was the first sound that she had made since Tanya had left. A small voice in her head warned her, what if someone else comes to check out the noise? But she didn’t care. She was pissed. I screwed up by spraying my clothes with that stuff, but that is no reason to leave me here naked to miss my flight!
Janet was about to yell again, but Tanya peeked her head around the corner. “You’re still here?” she asked.
Janet looked down at her now partially exposed body, and covered her breasts again. “Of course I am here. Where would I go like this?”
Tanya scanned the small empty room. For the first time since Janet first say her, the calm presence she had was replaced with what Janet assumed was panic. It was just a hair dryer. Janet thought, her fury slowly being replaced with sympathy.
“I’ll be right back.” Tanya said.
Janet wanted to scold her, since that is pretty much what she said last time, but her flight was boarding and she absolutely could not miss it.
What if I do? Janet wondered. She had made a promise to her mom about her getting married if she didn’t get this job. She had only agreed to three dates, but she knew how persistent her mom would be once she got her talons into that process. By the second date, she would up the ante and by the third date there would be a ring and a commitment.
Almost as bad, she had borrowed the money for the airfare and could only get it back if she showed up for the interview.
I am NOT missing this flight no matter what! Janet concluded.
Just then, Tanya returned.
Janet started to sigh in relief, but stopped short. “Where are my clothes?” she demanded instead.
“Ma’am, I must apologize. It appears that another passenger may have picked them up by mistake.” Tanya told her sullenly.
“So find her… get them back!” Janet screamed.
“I’m sorry…” Tanya began, but Janet cut her off.
“Sorry? My flight is already boarding!” Janet said, using every bit of self-control she could muster to keep from screaming at the woman.
“I’m sorry, but the woman’s flight has already disembarked. We checked the manifest and verified that she already boarded. She’s gone.” Tanya finished.
“What am I supposed to do? I can’t miss this flight!” Janet said.
“Do you have any other clothes with you?” Tanya asked.
“Yes, but I already checked them in.” Janet said, her fury starting to build again.
Tanya paused to think, finally saying, “It is possible to have them pull the luggage off of the flight.”
“Can you do that?” Janet asked. “Is there even still time?”
“If you hurry, there is a chance.” Tanya told her.
“Okay great. Wait, what? If I hurry?” Janet asked, fury turning into confusion.
“Well, I have no authority to ask them to touch your bag. You would need to go.” Tanya said plainly.
“How can I go?” Janet pressed. “I’m fucking NAKED!” the last came out with a shout. Embarrassment returned when Janet realized that she said that loud enough for other passengers to hear her announcement.
“I realize that you are standing in front of me naked. Please try to keep your voice down.” Tanya said, as if she hadn’t just instructed her to walk through the airport bare assed naked.
As calmly as she could muster, Janet repeated, “How can I go? I’ll get arrested if I step one foot outside of this cubicle.”
“Arrested? Not likely. Whistled at for certain, but it’s not like nudism is a crime, at least not anymore.” Tanya told her.
“What are you talking about?” Tanya started to answer but Janet interrupted. “Never mind, what about taking someone’s clothes and not returning them? Is that a crime?”
“The airport will reimburse you for the clothes, I can assure you.” Tanya said, and then, “What I am telling you is that it is not a crime to walk nude through the airport, or anywhere else in the country.”
“Since when?” Janet asked, incredulous.
“Since almost a year ago, when the US Supreme Court decided that Nudism constitutes a genuine religion.” Tanya informed her.
“What does that have to do with me? I am not a nudist.” Janet demanded.
“That doesn’t matter. The ruling allows anyone to walk around nude in any environment that a clothed person could walk.” Tanya said calmly. “Trust me, it caused quite a stir around here when it first went into effect. Now we are used to seeing naked people come through security 7 or 8 times per day. They even get to bypass the body scanner, since they obviously are not carrying any concealed weapons.”
“But I’m…” Janet started and then stopped when she realized where Tanya was going with this.
Instead, Janet said, “Wait. I am not going to walk naked through the airport!”
“That is your choice. You can stay here until someone brings you a change of clothes. Is there someone you can call?” Tanya asked.
“No! And I cannot miss this flight!” Janet said.
“It’s your choice, either way.” Tanya told her. “I suggest you hurry to make the decision or it will make itself.”
Janet felt her jaw drop. How can she expect me to do THAT?
She thought again about the type of man her mom would be introducing her to. “Is there any other way?” Janet pleaded.
“Not that I can think of.” Tanya told her.
I’M NOT MISSING THIS FLIGHT Janet concluded.
Janet firmed her jaw before announcing, “I’ll try.”
With that, Janet could only watch as Tanya walk out of the cubicle and disappeared.
Janet peeked out of the cubicle. She could see the line of passengers going through security screening. Being sure to keep herself as covered as possible, she slowly began to move forward. She had taken three steps past the doorway of the cubicle and into plain view of everyone in line before she felt the first bead of sweat trickle down between her breasts.
She wanted to badly to cover herself, but thought that she should at least “act” like she has done this before. If they think I’m not a nudist, will I get arrested? She wondered.
This is crazy she thought as she peered around to get oriented with where she needed to go. She also realized that she had lost track of Tanya and wasn’t sure who she could even ask. Spotting the screening area where this nightmare began, Janet quickened her step to try and catch up with hopefully Tanya was waiting.
Sure enough, Tanya was there and nodded toward her as she approached. “You’re being very brave about this, are you sure you are not a nudist?”
Janet didn’t know how to answer that… she did not want to confess in front of everyone that she was actually not covered by whatever weird religious belief nudists convinced a judge was their right to hold. Instead, she asked, “What do you mean brave? I am scared out of my wits right now!” trying to keep her voice low so only Tanya could hear her.
“I think if I had to do what you are doing, I would use anything I could find to cover myself as much as possible. I couldn’t imaging just walking around like you are.” Tanya responded.
“But don’t I have to act like a nudist?” Janet asked frantically, but still keeping her voice as low as she could manage.
“There are any rules on how you have to act. The only thing that changed is that you can’t get arrested for being naked in public.”
Janet froze while that sunk in. After a few seconds, she calmly but quickly held her purse up against her chest to cover her exposed breasts with her left hand and cupped her vagina with her right hand. Doing so, she became aware of the fact that she had shaved her pubes off that morning as she was afraid the paint would have gotten stuck in her hair and given her an unplanned waxing when she went to take them off the next day. I just need to get to the plane so I can get my clothes back on and this will all be over!
“Please step back into the scanner and place your feet on the mat and raise your arms above your head.” Tanya instructed as she arrived.
“Excuse me?” Janet said. “I already did this.”
“Yes, but we never got a clear scan, if you remember.” Tanya said.
“But you just said nudists are exempt.” Janet pleaded.
“I’m sorry.” Tanya insisted. “You were truly trying to conceal something from the scanner, so it is either this or a cavity search.”
“What do I do with my purse?” Janet asked.
Tanya held out a plastic security tray so it could be scanned one more time.
Hurry. Janet thought to herself. Janet had been holding one arm over her breasts and the other over her pubic area. Realizing that she was going to need to expose herself completely, she thought the same word again, but for a different reason. HURRY! Janet slowly spread her legs to shoulder width and winced as she raised her hands over her head.
Until tonight, nobody had seen her naked body, at least not as far back as she could remember. Certainly her parents had seen her as a baby, but she had been bathing alone since she was three.
It felt like an eternity waiting for the whoosh noise as the scanning bar passed by her.
“Please step forward.” Tanya instructed.
Janet walked forward and waited on the line, still feeling the shock of suddenly being naked in front of hundreds on gawkers. She felt a tiny bit of relief when she realized that everyone had to put their phones in their bag while they passed through security.
“You can put your hands down, now.” Tanya told her.
“What? Oh.” Janet said, not realizing that she was standing there with her hands still hovering over her head and her entire body on display. Janet quickly covered herself and waited for Tanya.
After what felt like an eternity, Tanya said, “All clear. Have a safe flight.” And with that Janet quickly retriever her purse and proceeded to sprint toward her gate. She smiled to herself at the shocked noises people she passed by made when they realized a naked Asian girl just ran by. Her mirth faded as she suddenly became aware of a strange clicking noise being heard from all directions that she knew distinctly was the sound a cell phone makes when it takes a picture. This caused her to run faster.
Janet reached a T in the hallway with a sign that had arrows pointed left and right indicating that gates 41-59 were to the right and 60-80 were to the left. She pulled out her phone again to check the ticket. Gate 74. Turning left she began sprinting again as she had stopped long enough for several passersby to get a clear shot of her with their cameras.
She did her best to keep herself covered, but nearly tripped over someone’s suitcase and had to grab a handrail to keep from face planting on the floor. Janet realized that she had forgotten to grab her shoes and looked to see where she was at. Janet cursed. The next gate was 70, and it was too late to go back. Hopefully I can buy some shoes when I get to Charlotte. She thought as she began sprinting, no longer trying to cover her vagina and just barely keeping her breasts corralled.
As Janet neared her gate, she started to slow up. There was still a line of people waiting to board. She double-checked the sign to make sure it was the correct flight and then walked calmly to the gate attendant.
“Hi, excuse me.” Janet began.
The woman at the smiled at Janet and didn’t flinch at the naked Asian woman standing in front of her. “How can I help you?” she asked.
Janet held out her ticket, and said, “I am on the flight, but I need to get something out of my suitcase before I board.”
The gate attendant looked at the ground past Janet before asking, “Where is your suitcase?”
“I checked it. It is on the plane.” Janet told her.
“You will need to get it when you arrive in Charlotte.” The woman said, still smiling. Janet noticed that the name on her badge said Heidi Clark.
“You don’t understand, security lost my clothes and I need to get dressed before my flight. Please help!” Janet pleaded.
“You’re right. I don’t understand. Why did you take your clothes off at security?” Heidi asked.
“It’s a long story. Can you please help me?” Janet asked again.
Heidi’s head tilted slightly as she considered the situation. Finally she plucked a walkie-talkie off of the counter and said, “Hey Jimmy, are you done loading the bags on this plane?”
“Almost.” Came Jimmy’s reply. “Whatcha need?”
“I have a young lady who needs to get something out of her suitcase.” She said.
“Are you nuts? This thing is about to leave!” Jimmy said.
“I promise it will be worth your while.” Heidi told Jimmy.
“Is he rich?” he asked.
“Better.” she replied.
“I’ll see what I can do. What’s the bag look like?” Jimmy asked.
Heidi looked expectantly at Janet. Better than rich? What is she talking about? Janet was wondering before realizing that she hadn’t told them what the bag looked like.
“It’s a powder blue roller bag with a red ribbon tied around the handle.” Janet said.
Heidi relayed the description and they waited. Janet noticed that the line to get on the plan was gone. Hurry up Jimmy. Janet thought.
As if in response, Jimmy’s voice broke the silence. “I don’t see anything. It must have been loaded.”
“Ask him if he can look inside the plane.” Said Janet.
“I’m sorry, but if you want your clothes back, the only thing you can do at this point is get them when you land.” answered a sympathetic Heidi.
“Gate’s closing.” Came another voice across the walkie-talkie.
Heidi answered, “Hold the gate, I have one more passenger.”
Before she could respond, Heidi had grabbed Janet by the hand and started pulling her down the boarding bridge to the airplane. Janet didn’t resist and the two of them ended up running to the plane.