“I’m sorry ma’am. We need to search the case.” Border Patrol had been arguing with her for forty minutes on the sidelines as cars full of overweight average Joe’s and families returning from getaways whizzed by her. Definitely the wrong day to take the bike.
“I already explained to you- Can I talk to your superior?” she had progressed from glib to impatient.
“I am the most superior officer here Ms. Donovan.” The man kept flipping through her identification papers like they were leaflets from The New York Times, “I don’t know why you are fighting me. We have no reason to believe that you are anything more than impertinent except for the case.”
“Listen,” she struggled, almost visibly, to remain composed, “I don’t know what’s in it. I’ve opened it for you. You can see it’s not explosive, it’s not drugs, why do you have to take time out of both our days and plug it in?”
“Because these things you think I worry about aren’t the threat to our citizens anymore, Ms. Donovan. I would expect someone with parents like yours to understand that.” He raised his eyebrows at her and they stuck up there.
She meant her response to be matter-of-fact but it didn’t come out that way, “We don’t speak anymore.”
“Ohhhh…” he started flipping through her documents again, “well then I guess you wouldn’t know.”
She rubbed her eyes with the palms of her hands. Inside the small guard station two other officers were standing over the opened case pointing at it, saying a few words, and then stroking their chins as they nodded. She wasn’t sure she’d seen them even reach to touch it. Whatever it was Brisbane had her collecting.
Her phone rang, “Speak of the devil,” she clicked open the receiver, “I know. I’m stuck at Borders because you didn’t tell me what it is I’m carrying.”
“Do not let them play with it. That’s our toy.” Brisbane’s rough voice resonated through the phone.
“I don’t really have a choice,” she answered, “I can build a home here and live on the shoulder of the highway or you can figure this out.”
“Have they opened it?”
“Yes,” she answered, “but they haven’t plugged it in. Don’t ask me why.”
“Okay just give me a few.”
The line went dead. She opened her wallet and pulled a couple dollars out and crossed to the obnoxious vending machine attached to the station.
“Trust America, buy Coca Cola! The only way to demonstrate your patriotism everyday…”
“Coke.” She ordered and inserted the cash. A chilled can was handed into her open hand.
“Ms. Donovan?” The big shot officer was standing behind her, her case in his hand, “You may cross.”
She rolled her eyes as she sucked down half the Coke, “Yeah. Thanks.”
She took the case, mounted the bike and crossed the largest bridge on the east side of the continent. The sun rested on the horizon directly in front of her and she could barely see the silhouette of the affluent cliffs.