Friday, August 11, 2006

The Fresh Prince of Terrorism

I couldn't believe it. Dad called last night around 11pm to say he was home safe and sound. Phew. Great stuff, I thought, oblivious to the knowledge that he had just been among the passengers who helped prevent one of the worst terrorist attacks in Irish history.

As soon as he said "There was a bit of an, um, incident, I suppose you could call it", my heart started thumping. Apparently check-in was delayed by about 90 minutes, so there were alot of grumpy, aggressive passengers queueing. Dad was standing next to one guy - he said he appeared Muslim, but had a British accent (English, he thought). The guy looked really tense and furtive, kept glancing around him as he waited to check in, and of course, Dad was a bit worried to be standing next to him, given the current situation. In Dad's words "I couldn't exactly ask the lad if he was a terrorist, but I thought, feck it, I better keep an eye on him".

Eventually, after X-raying his shoes, his belt, his wallet, his keys, and his jacket, and doing a five minute pat-down, Dad was safely through the security checks. All the shops on the other side had been closed down as a security precaution, so there was absolutely nothing to do except head for his gate, even though it was a full two hours before his flight, and he wasn't allowed even so much as a magazine to flick through. Security was unreal. He saw a woman refuse to taste a bottle of her baby's milk, and they were taking it off her until she backed down, grimaced, and tasted the stuff. He said normally it would be funny, her reaction as she almost puked from tasting the milk, if things weren't being taken so seriously be everyone. I guess the staff's attitude rubbed off on the passengers - Dad said there wasn't much laughter or smiling in the departure areas.

It may sound strange to some of you cosmopolitan folks, but you don't get a whole lot of non-whites flying to and from Galway. Therefore any blacks, Asians, whatever, tend to get noticed more. It's not a racism thing, it's just a fact that you stand out if you're unique in a crowd, in the same way that I stood out that time when I was staying at Columbia University in New York and I got drunk and ended up lost in Harlem.

I say this to highlight why Dad immediately spotted the Muslim-looking guy sitting at the departure gate for his flight - everyone else was milk-bottle white, and there's this clean shaven, completely bald, well-dressed middle-eastern-looking guy waiting to fly to Galway. I told Dad on the phone last night that I had read somewhere that these guys shave off their beards before they commit any of these acts. He just sighed and said "My God..."

So, time passes, the flight is on time, and everyone boards. Dad sat about 8 or 9 rows from the back. He watched the guy take a seat halfway up the plane. He said the guy was in the back of his mind, and he was trying to be wary, but he couldn't help it; he dozed off just after take off.

If this sounds strange to you, let me explain: my dad continually falls asleep at inappropriate times. Just yesterday in my house, Linzi's mother and her friend May came over to visit, and Dad (who, bear in mind, sees Linzi's mother maybe twice a year) proceeded to fall asleep on the couch not long after they arrived. Linzi said she was mortified. About a year ago, he fell asleep on a bar stool on a night out, and of course came crashing to earth - he ended up needing 12 stitches. I think he's either narcoleptic or seriously deficient in some vitamin or mineral.

Anyway, he woke with a fright when he heard a woman's shriek from further down the plane. The Muslim guy was just standing up from a kneeling position (Dad found out from the other passengers that the guy had been praying just before he woke up). The guy, still standing in the aisle, started to take off his suit jacket, folding it neatly on his seat. Then he started to unbutton his shirt. Dad watched a stewardess walk past him and then run (not walk; run) back in the opposite direction as she saw what the guy was doing.

Here's how they use liquids to cause crashes: you take a container of inert liquid A, and a container of inert liquid B. Conceal them on your person and smuggle them onto the plane. Liquids A and B are completely safe on their own, but when you mix them...boom.

The guy had these foil bag-things taped to his chest. Have you ever seen those gel-filled things that you stick in the freezer and you wrap around a can of beer to keep it cool? Dad said thats what these things looked like.

Everyone just reacted, in a flash. One second, there was nothing, quietness after that woman shouted, and then it was like a starter's gun had been fired. Four, five, ten people unbuckled their belts and crushed together from either side of the guy. Dad couldn't see anything, but he knew they'd been successful in restraining the guy when someone started shouting out "Got you! Got the fucker!". The captain's voice came on, obviously alerted by that stewardess, but Dad couldn't make out what he was saying over the rumpus.

Less than fifteen minutes later, they had landed. The Irish police (Gardai), who have probably never been trained for this type of situation, were waiting in their dozens and actually boarded the plane to get this guy off, before allowing Dad or anyone else off.

They took the man off the plane in handcuffs, and my Dad whistled for a cab, and when it came near, the licence plate said "Fresh" and it had dice in the mirror. If anything, Dad could say that this cab was rare, but he thought, "Naa, forget it, yo homes, to Bel-Air". He pulled up to the house about 7 or 8 and he yelled to the cabbie "Yo homes, smell ya later". He looked at his kingdom - he was finally there, to sit on his throne as the Prince of Bel-Air.

Just kidding folks. Did I get you going? :-)


Summer blathered this crap:

Why did you have to start with that silly song? I was just about to go to bed and it's all I can hear in my little brain now.

Glad your Dad was safe.

Kav blathered this crap:

summer: That's the thing about that song, isn't it? It was stuck in my head all morning, and I needed to share it. I figured parody would be the best way...

Beckie R blathered this crap:

That was really mean. . .Glad Dad's ok, though.

Kav blathered this crap:

This post is officially a failure. My friend texted me to ask if my dad was ok. Was I really being that subtle?

CP blathered this crap:

You are such a tardmuffin!!! *LMAO*


Kav blathered this crap:

Coming from you, CP, that's high praise indeed...