When I got up this morning, full of enthusiasm for the day's tasks, I did not expect to be standing in just my underpants having a gun poked my way.
Well, not before lunch, anyway.
It's midday. I'm at the American Embassy in London, and most of my clothes are folded neatly on the table.
Five minutes ago, I'm putting all of possessions in the x-ray inspection basket. I know the form, and I'm not carrying a single electronic device - phones, car keys, cameras - these are never permitted.
So, this should be a piece of cake.
After the first failed attempt to get through the metal detector, I remove my shoes; these always set off the detectors at the airport. I make desultory chitchat with the efficiently-friendly security guard, and pop my dark suit jacket in the basket too; it's a hot day, and I'm glad to be rid of it.
After the second failed attempt, I remember I'm wearing braces to keep my trousers up. I unclip these apologetically after removing my waistcoat, and then reluctantly remove my trousers too; apparently holding them up with my hands while walking through the metal detector is not permitted.
As I pass unsuccessfully through the metal detector for the third time, a marine in combat fatigues enters the room and eyes me suspiciously. I glance at his insignia; three stripes with a single curved lower bar.
Ah, Staff Sergeant. I nod, straightening and cranking up my arrogance a few notches. It amuses me that the marine starts to salute without thinking, despite my lack of trousers; he catches himself, but these little things can raise a day immeasurably.
I am relieved of my cufflinks by an increasingly tense security guard, and the sergeant - now embarrassed - unclips his sidearm.
The fourth attempt meets with a suggestion to remove my shirt; the collar stiffeners are small, thin metal, and are sewn in. The tie goes with it.
The sergeant's pistol is now in his hand.
And I am in my underpants.
As the fifth failure occurs, and I start to wonder about the metal fillings in my teeth, the sergeant's gun starts to raise.
Back in the now, the consequences of this fifth-time-unlucky are interrupted by the door opening behind us.
A lion steps into the room; he's tall, suited, with an immaculately-coiffed mane.
Yes, it's King, the lion who lives in my house. He looks magnificent. I recognise the tie he's wearing, in fact; I still have no idea how he unlocks the wardrobe.
Mister Ambassador! blusters the security guard, and the sergeant snaps and holds a salute; King is Ambassador to a small-but-important African nation, and very recognisable.
And for once, I'm relieved to see him.
King! I say, delighted, Thank goodness you’re here! Can you help me out here?
The security guard regards the lion curiously. Do you know this gentleman, Sir? Can you vouch for him?
King's smile is dangerously incisive.
Do I know him? Well yes, I suppose I do. He brushes imaginary dust from his lapel, but it looks like you're almost done with him, so perhaps it's best you complete your duties without my interference?
The guard nods and returns his gaze to me in my underpants. The sergeant's gun returns to cover me. King stoops and steps through the metal detector without a hitch, and turns to regard my dumbfounded expression.
I'll make my way to furious later.
Besides, he does so like to write about these little adventures.
My heart sinks as he steps from the room and into the Embassy.
I sense a future full of rubber gloves and pliers.
And I was only here to talk to the IRS about tax.
This blog entry is protected by copyright © Indigo Roth, 2013
The picture of King is protected by copyright © Indigo Roth, 2013