• Melinda Dubbs (she/her)

Security Theater

Please prove your identity and existence with a laminated card. Only state-approved booklets. Only state-sanctioned photos with no glasses, no smiles, neutral background. Let me ask you some questions: Where are you from? Where are you going? How long? Business or pleasure? What will you do and how will you do it? No jokes, no funny stuff, that’s how you get on the no-fly list.

Now let’s move along. Herd into roped lines. Remove all objects from your pockets. No hats or jackets. Take off your shoes, remove your belt, strip yourself of extra clothes, yes, that’s included, sir, ma’am, miss, you, that’s not allowed. Please move along.

STOP. Step to the side. What’s this in your bag? What’s in this purse? No liquid, no drinks, no breast milk, no sharps—yes, that is considered a sharp. Please step through the machine. No canes or walkers or strollers allowed. You have to walk by yourself. Your child, too. Go through again.

Come over here. Remove all metal objects from your body. Tell me about all the metal objects inside your body. You’ve been randomly selected. We’ll need to pat you down. Don’t mind my touch. Don’t mind this wand.

You’re clear. You can go. Quickly gather your belongings. Re-dress. Re-organize your bags. Move out of the way. Move to the side.

Thank you! Enjoy your flight, enjoy your trip, enjoy your freedom! God bless the USA!


Cover Photo by Madison Case. Edited by Caitlin Andrews.