Here is a sneek preview of my latest novel that deals with survivng child abuse and dealing with TSA abuse and what I discovered when I sought out profesional help. Chapter One
The last 6 months had been the best of times and the worst of times, the good was 6 months on The sunshine coast of Queensland Australia.In Australia There’s a sense of humour the Aussies have, Shorty is really 6 feet tall, tiny weighs 400lbs and as we found out all too late sunshine was in hiding for most of summer 2011 on the sunshine coast!.
The distance between rural Australia and main street USA was never more apparent as we rolled off the Qantas flight from hell qf 108,actually it came from Sydney. But when you’re on a flight for 14 hours and they forget to board any vegan food, and they give away your upgrade to 3 seats to yourself then They put you a wheelchair using disabled person not in your own aisle, but in a group of 5 squeezed between a Hasidic couple with screaming toddlers and smelly businessman who Thought showering is a fad that will pass you quickly forget the harbour bridge and opera house. You start to think you flew over a ferryman on the river Styx with the faint lyrics to Chris de burghs “don’t pay the ferryman playing in your ears.
We were met by a very apologetic agent from Qantas special services dept, who swore the food was arranged and the seats were guaranteed .The short Mexican woman was cute and no more than a 100lbs and had an annoying habit of texting and never making eye contact but she managed to efficiently get us through customs and get our luggage on the way to a routine (or so I thought) TSA check point. I had survived 9/11 and my wife and sister in-law were right there, so I know what the worst bad security or no security can let happen is but the TSA is a gangly half trained group that is as far as security goes as useful as sending a seventh grade quarter back out to face William the fridge Perry for all the good they do. Despite my misgivings my audience before them was demanded, so I rolled into the cattle yard of a line up and proceeded to put my shoes laptop, and jewellery in the plastic boxes and waited to be pushed through into a special area where wheelchairs and their occupants were routinely checked.
As I approached I noticed small aisles similar to a Pathmark checkout line, and immediately realised none were wide enough.”Excuse me officer. yes over here um the aisles which one?” SHUT UP AND WAIT TILL WE SPEAK TO YOU the Tom Sellicks wanna be barked. “But sir the aisles” I SAID SHUT UP AND WAIT The wannabe commando yelled, finally I blurted “the aisles are not wide enough for my chair”. He shouted over his shoulder “can we get this loudmouth through and out of my hair”? A short Hispanic man in blue pushed me around the office style dividers and back in the front end of the conveyor belts. all through this my special services agent was busy texting someone who made her smile. As I was imagining her conversation, a tall African American, or possible Jamaican women in her twenties said in a barely literate sentence “can y’all stand up”? To which I replied no I’m in a wheelchair. “Yeah but can ya stand?” ,again I said “as I said I’m in a wheelchair”. She then knocked the wind out of my sails as she blurted loudly “I need ya’ll to git over in the corner and stand there for about 5 minutes while we all search ya chair” . I laughed and said “are you serious” she just mechanically repeated herself to which I replied I cannot .She then spoke onto her shoulder microphone and said “we have a suspicious passenger, I’m requesting a private room for a full search” as I heard her words my stomach jumped into my mouth, and I asked why? She informed me I had refused a reasonable request to stand up and walk over to the corner, I said loudly “you cannot be serious do you not understand disability?” To which she replied “what I understand is none of your business I gave an order and ya’ll refused so you’re getting private and getting searched”. Just then the same short Hispanic gentleman walked over and enquired why a room was needed, and a short discussion ensued and I was pushed to the door of a occupied room and told to wait, when I asked what the room was for I was told this is where full body and cavity searches were carried out.
A sweat broke out I started to have shakes, I fought back the tears of fear remembering my brother a soldier used to say “if you cry you give the bastards the satisfaction “.
I started to beg, Memories of child hood molestation filled my head and I pleaded loudly for a full 15 minutes and I thanked the universe that whoever was in the room was either guilty as hell and being held or taking their time dressing because it allowed me time to plead my case. The man in blue came over, I bit my lip to keep my composure and explained the stupidity of her request and that the only way I could comply was after neurological surgery because walking was impossible. He seemed to ignore me, and I heard the ignorant guard responsible for my plight tell him “she didn’t know what disability meant and thought wheelchairs were what rich white folk rode in when they got rich and didn’t want to walk any more”! I was almost into full seizure at the impending search, and then out of the mist a woman who looked like sweet mrs C from Happy days came over. Evidently she had overheard the ludicrous statements regarding why people used wheelchairs. She apologised and proceeded to conduct a quick wanding and I was on my way to the plane.
As we flew back to NYC the hours ticked over the mist and fog got heavier, outside it was blue skies but the inclement weather was in my head in my life and no sign of it clearing anytime soon. By the time we landed at jfk, they may as well have invaded every orifice and felt my most personal places because the combination of the flash backs to childhood molestation combined with my wild flying thoughts of what they could have done had me almost catatonic. As soon as we arrived back on the upper east side in our apartment, using the guise of jet lag I retreated further and further into the darkness of my mind and stayed that way until dirt and odour would pry me from my sheets.
I would arise only long enough for a shower a bed change and the smallest required meal I could find. At an age where I would never see fifty again I thought the horror of my childhood was long gone, but in those early weeks my poor Ella barely slept. I woke up screaming so often curled in the foetal position, that the few hours she didn’t spend at her magazine were spent wearily assuring me the monsters lived only in my head and my past.