I enter The Charlotte Douglas International Airport. I show my boarding pass. I am ushered into the TSA Pre-Check line. Existence unfurls before me. I claim my birthright, destined for me since the birthing of The Void. My shoes remain on.
I bypass the teeming throngs of commoners, powerless to save their oversized toothpastes and contact lens solutions. There was a time when I would mourn with them… but that life seems ages ago.
For what are travel-size fluid regulations to a god?
I clear security: My laptop still packed, my belt still fastened, my thermal fleece still zipped. No peon eyes dare meet mine, for they know that before them strides eternity. And they tremble.
The Terminal C Baja Fresh sign gleams like living flame. I feast. The salsa bar is limitless. The refills overflow. I browse John Grisham courthouse thrillers within Hudson Booksellers for 15 minutes… or was it a millennia? Time is a breath to me now.
I choose Rogue Lawyer. I haven’t read that one yet. A “Kevin” says I must pay, but I am TSA Pre-Check. Money — the laws of men mean nothing to me now. I free myself of clothing and ascend to a higher spiritual plane.
I hear cries unto me of “Oh God!” — but the prayers of the ants are drowned by the symphony of the cosmos that only I and my known traveler ID may hear.
I am now pure consciousness. I bathe in the infinite. I drink from the sun.
And yet… it does not burn. Why?
If I am the fulcrum of existence… the heartbeat of all that is… why do I feel nothing? Is this the price of efficient business travel?
I return to my throbbing, naked form — surrounded by worshippers. They scream for my removal. The ants have turned on me. And what the ants do not understand, they crucify.
Guards seize me, like Christ. I am carried away to face judgment, also like Christ.
Upon my Via Dolorosa, I gaze upon the Terminal C Baja Fresh sign, but it does not gleam. All is gray. All is silent. And I am lost.
I weep. I beg them to strip me of my godhood. No business traveler should wield such power. They oblige. I ask for a refund of my application fee. They refuse. The knife twists deep. I leave the airport in disgrace. I vow to never fly again.
Two months later, I have a job interview in Tampa, which is probably too far for a Greyhound. I re-enter Charlotte Douglas International Airport, a mere worm. I unpack my laptop. I unfasten my belt. I unzip my thermal fleece. My contact lens solution is confiscated. I do not resist.
And yet… I am not broken. I feel newfound strength within my fellow passengers. We struggle. We claw. And when we emerge from the Valley of the Shadow of TSA, we soar. I look upon the Terminal C Baja Fresh sign. It gleams. I weep. A TSA Pre-Check business traveler breezes through security and brushes my shoulder. I pity him.
For I know that gods soon envy the small.