Mustapha laugh

With the first half of the Berlin job done, I fly back to Australia for my brother’s wedding. I’m the best man. This makes me very uncomfortable.

Not for Tony; he’s marrying his life long love and I couldn’t be happier for him. But there’s nothing like a wedding to make you wonder where the hell you are on the settle down with a nice guy front. I’m also in the middle of some insane rewrites on Diary of a Superhero that I’m trying to do at night when I get home from a full day at the agency. Rewrites that are going to continue well into the trip home.

For all the above and because I really didn’t want to be back in Australia again so soon, I decide to pull a stunt.

Ever since I was 21 years old, I get stopped and practically stripped searched every time I come through Sydney airport. I have no idea why, but it’s a ritual now.

My record is six different officials asking to see my passport and interrogating me on the purpose of my trip from the time I get stamped to the time I wheel my suitcase out to the open arms of my parents, who are usually the last people waiting to pick up their kid from detention.

I don’t know if it’s the beard, the wrong side of brown I go when I’ve been in the sun or just that they want to say they knew me before I was famous, but it’s getting a little old now.

So I decided for my own amusement, to dress it up a little for my arrival. I’ve got a hefty whack of facial hair, shaved head, white t-shirt, combat pants, impregnable Gaddafi mirrored shades on, and the piece de resistance, a kind of Middle Eastern kaffiyeh scarf wrapped around my neck. I bought it in a fashion store in Amsterdam and was saving it up for the perfect occasion.

Bedecked, I venture into what should be a bit of a giggle. But what seemed pretty funny in the mirror of my Berlin apartment, seems a lot less cool in the cold florescent light of day. However, I’ve chosen my role today and so I have to commit to it like any great actor would.

I line up. The guy with the stamp gives me a once over. Without even a question, he stamps me. Wow, ok. Now I’m walking to the carousel, no looks at all from the airport staff. Did I put on a scarf of a cloak of invisibility? Waiting by the carousel…still waiting…a beagle walks by, doesn’t even bother sniffing…um, hello?…bags start coming out…an official asks to see the passport of the guy next to me. OK, here’s where we get this party started. The guy gives me a look up and down…keeps walking…my bag comes out…I take it…walk to the nothing to declare…slowly…c’mon people…a once over by the quarantine bloke…take that line…meet the official…she looks me over…and then waves me through without even a question.

You’re kidding.

Unless the woman at in Duty Free wants to put me in a cold room under a hot lightbulb, I’m done.

Reverse psychology dressing. Who knew?

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