She walked down the steps and off the plane; her poise was so perfect that she could have been mistaken for a model. The long skirt swished around the top of high-heeled boots and the glitzy, kitsch ear-rings dangled onto an exquisitely tailored jacket and shirt. She bypassed the luggage reclaim, her bag always stayed with her on the plane. As she entered the terminal, the security cameras swivelled around to get a clear shot of her face, as they did for everybody who passed through the revolving doors. The camera caught her eye and she sighed.
This was the tough part of the job, although secretly she adored the adrenaline rush. With purposeful, yet delicate strides, she moved towards the exit. The throngs of people, greeting returned brothers and sisters, meeting their aunts and waiting for their beaus aided her passage. The door was looming, she quickened her pace; ahead of her, the guards’ security radios were crackling with mystical instructions. Instinctively her hand reached into her bag and found a pair of sunglasses that covered most of her face.
With beads of sweat forming on her perfect hairline she headed towards the sunlight. A guard barked some reply into his radio and moved towards her, she caught his movement in the corner of her eye and with her eyes down she tried to lose herself in the crowd. The guard from the other side of the door started to stride in her direction, caught in between the two guards the woman desperately ducked down behind a big potted plant, counted to three, and then set off with a group of foreign tourists in an attempt to reach the door and thus escape apprehension.
The attempt failed. She felt a heavy hand on each shoulder and the dreaded words, ‘We would appreciate it if you would come with us, Ma’am’. The game was not yet up, the woman replied in perfect German with a stream of questions, curses and arguments. One guard looked uncertainly at the other, ‘You sure that she’s the right gal, sir? ‘. She played on his confusion and attacked him with another stream of expletives. The other guard was nonplussed, ‘Yep, I’m certain, they said she would try to confuse us. This is definitely our lady. ‘.
The first guard shrugged in submission as if to say that he didn’t really care and that if she wasn’t the right one then it was in no way his fault. Keeping up a steady stream of German, she was led towards the airport police offices. The room into which she had been gently nudged was large and featureless, there were several piece of modern art on the pale yellow walls, the room was furnished with the table at which she was sitting and a worn old sofa. There had been a definite click as the door was closed and she knew that the door was locked.
Just to make sure though she sauntered over and tugged on the handle, it wouldn’t budge. This was serious, they evidently knew who she was, and were intent on closing down her syndicate, and if possible landing her in for a hefty jail sentence. It was going to be tough to get out of this one. Her heart was pounding, however she forced herself to sit down, compose herself and breathe deeply. She could hear the messages over the tannoy announcing flight this that and the other to Mexico, or kindly requesting that passenger Smith should proceed to gate number 32.
She yearned to be out there in the crowds, with people who cared about her ready to meet her in the car park, but instead she was locked up in this room, waiting for the chief inspector. Eventually he came, her Cartier watch told her that only 15 minutes had passed, however it felt like hours. The heavy tread outside the door and the click of a key in a lock betrayed his arrival. It gave her enough time to compose herself in a nonchalant pose on the settee. She was pretending to examine her nails as he entered the room. With a loud cough he signalled his presence and desire to be acknowledged, she did nothing, ignoring him completely.
He tried again, and failed. He finally resorted to words, ‘erm, Miss Bristow, you are Miss Bristow aren’t you? I presume that you know why you are here. ‘ ‘I have no knowledge of why I am being detained here against my will, Inspector, However if you are arresting me I require my lawyer before any interview takes place. ‘ He was somewhat flustered by her cool and arrogant air. However he managed to keep his wits about him as he replied that she was being held on suspicion of smuggling, and that he would be much obliged if she would submit to a voluntary baggage and person search and not create the problem of obtaining a permit.
From previous experience she knew that a permit could be obtained without much difficulty so she submitted gracefully submitted to the full search. Her confidence was such that she wasn’t scared of the searches imposed by airport security. What she dreaded was that a federal agency would be called in. She tried to pretend that this was just an inconvenience, but really in her heart she knew that it could be much more. The bag was handed over with a great show of agitation, however almost good grace. ‘Am I allowed to know what I’m being accused of smuggling, inspector? the light hearted in her voice irritated him greatly. ‘You are being accused of smuggling approximately i??5,000,000,000 worth of diamonds over the past three years. If you are found with any illegal diamonds on your person or in your baggage today the CIA will go ahead with its prosecution. The only thoughts that she could sustain at the time without a feeling of nausea was ‘Actually its i??6,500,330. ‘. Her stomach felt as though a herd of rhinoceroses was charging through it. She took a deep breath and let them search her.
Luckily for her the searcher was a young man and when she removed her expensive jacket to reveal the very low neckline of her shirt, the guard became a lot more uncertain about his duty and only performed a perfunctory search of her person. She made a big show of asking after her bag every five minutes. Her obsession with diamonds had begun during her childhood. Her grandma had owned a set of cut glass decanters, as a girl she used to stay enthralled for hours watching the rainbows whisk around the room as she moved the decanters here and there.
When her mother remarried, at the ceremony her new father placed a diamond ring onto the finger of his wife, to her mind the most memorable part of the whole day was watching the newlyweds dancing, with a rainbow, contained in the small ring of the bride’s finger, following their every move. With the body search over, she replaced her jacket and untangled the earrings, comprised each of a stone with gold tassels attached, from her hair. This had been happening all through the flight but she bore it patiently, and never got frustrated, just untangled them delicately each time.
Finally the inspector returned with her bag, ‘Although we have not found anything as yet,’ he paused and her heart first leaped, and then sunk, knowing that there would be more to come. ‘I have obtained an order confiscating it until such time as we see fit to return it. ‘. She looked as if her heart had been cut out, ‘B. b. b. but you can’t do that. ‘. she stammered, but in reality she knew that they could. He nodded his head grimly, inwardly rejoicing at her obvious despair. ‘If we find anything you will be notified; with an invitation to court, however as of now you are free to go.
With mock courtesy he opened the door for her, she staggered out. This time she made it to the exit, she knew they were watching her but didn’t care. She picked up a taxi and gave him a random address. Standard procedure, never give the first cab driver the home address, only let the second or third take you home. She carried out the procedure even though there was nothing else that they wanted of her. As she stepped onto the lawn in front of her block of flats she looked side to side to check that there was no one watching and allowed a grin to spread across her face like wildfire. She carried a rainbow under each ear.