He swabbed my palms

He swabbed my palms and then the backs of my hands. Then he swabbed my belt buckle. He took the swab off its stick and put it into the machine. We both looked at the machine and waited. The light was late-night bright and the air stung your eyes. A few belts over there was a commotion as a fat man in a suit refused to take his shoes off. My swabber looked up quickly,saw it was a heavily flushed white man causing the fuss and looked away again. “They take the piss, you know,” he said. “They take the piss.”

The machine pinged and he waved me on. He was putting another swab on his stick. I scurried after my backpack before it disappeared forever. I was visitor 21,868. I could tap the green face, the amber face or the red face to show my satisfaction. I thought, briefly, and tapped green. Perhaps that would cheer up the man with the swab at his team meeting in the morning.

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