Leaving Cali

There are three toilet stalls in the men’s room of Cali’s Alfonso Bonilla Aragon International Airport’s international departures terminal, none of which have toilet seats. But one of the police rooms just beyond security has a state of the art x-ray machine through which one can see virtually every orifice of the human body. From my very unscientific study, about one in seven men who passed through security last night wound up in that room, where they quietly stood side-by-side watching images of each others’ bone structure move across a 21-inch computer screen.

“Robert,” the police officer calls out, as he hands me my passport and bids adieu without a nod or another word.

It didn’t occur to me until much later, when sipping my last cortado of the day, that they could probably create a decent income stream by making drug screening x-ray prints available for sale. I wouldn’t buy one, but I’m sure others might.

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