Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Nancy Drew & The Mystery of the Exploding Thong

A *New* Nancy Drew/Hardy Boys Mystery

It is the year 2007 and when Nancy Drew – intrepid Girl Detective - flies, she makes a concerted effort to wear nothing that hasn't been woven from a plant and isn't held together with bits of raffia or hemp. Gone is her perky flip hairdo (aerosols are banned from carry-on luggage) as are her leather buckled pumps (her shoes
are now made of metal-free man-made fibres). She even has to check her flashlight. No longer the teen fashion icon, she now looks like someone who, once firmly back on the terra firma, will make hugging a tree rather than solving a mystery her first order of business.

Why the change? A quick study, Nancy didn’t want to suffer the ignominies of travel that Cat in
Rabat did last autumn when she was unduly man-handled by the security staff at Montreal's Pierre Elliot Trudeau International Airport. Cat's crime? – her bra’s underwire bra had triggered the metal detectors. So in the face of rising international terrorism and what with transportation/aviation agencies doing their best to strip humankind of every jot of metal, Nancy has conceded defeat and now looks like a Druid when she travels. Or Druidess (if they make such fine distinctions). This is the Nancy Drew of the 21st century. Not a pretty sight.

So yesterday, while Nancy and co-teen super sleuth Frank Hardy are awaiting their turn to pass through the metal detectors at Madrid Barajas International Airport, they watch in hubris-imbued amusement as a Young Moroccan Woman of a Decidedly Sluttish Ilk passes through the gates, setting off every bell & whistle (and raising a few eyebrows), and is ordered back through again and again in various stages of undress. She is instructed to remove her fashionable silver lamé belt but again - poor thing - she sets off the alarms. Then she is compelled to remove her canary-yellow pumps which - because they have perilously high 6-inch stiletto heels - instantly renders her a dwarf. As she stoops to remove her shoes, her already spectacularly low-waisted thong-revealing jeans ventures further south and reveals to all who have the stomach to see her prodigious Continental Divide. This time though she passes through effortlessly - which in truth isn't very effortless since, bereft of her stilts, she has to regain her land legs - and teeters precariously through the gate into the arms of her awaiting boyfriend.

Then it's Nancy’s turn through the gate.

Smugly confident that her cotton Thai fisherman pant-ensemble will see her effortlessly through to The Other Side, she too sets off the security gate. Ordered to remove her metal-free buckle-less non-leather sandals, she passes through the gate in a sulky silence. Frank, who never seems to aggravate the metal detector gates in any of the world's airports, is secretly disappointed that there will be no sighting of Nancy's thong. Which he knows has been woven from a plant and is held together with bits of raffia or hemp.

As she retrieves her sandals from the conveyor belt, Nancy turns t
o see the Young Moroccan Woman of a Decidedly Sluttish Ilk sitting astride (astride being the operative word) while her doting boyfriend, or more accurately Her Handler, draws her belt through the loops of her spectacularly low-waisted thong-revealing jeans and then fastens it for her. Then he bends down on one knee and not only places each sluttish precious foot into a canary-yellow pump with a perilously high 6-inch stiletto heel, but fastens the buckle of each shoe. It is, quite simply, a disturbingly astonishing sight. And equally astonishingly disturbing.

An hour later and Nancy and Frank find themselves at the Departures Gate. So too are the Young Moroccan Woman of a Decidedly Sluttish Ilk and Her Handler. In his practised hand is a camera and – look! – the Young Moroccan Woman of a Decidedly Sluttish Ilk is posing for him, laughing her deep-throated lusty laugh, tossing back her abundant mane of hair, but nonetheless a little unsure of how to maintain her vertical stance as her legs are clearly accustomed to being spread open wide in front of a camera. The other passengers watch on in a state of horror, amusement, or arousal. Or all three.

Fi
nally, they are requested to board the plane. If the Reader has ever flown EasyJet into or out of Morocco, s/he will know that the announcement to prepare for boarding is not unlike throwing a porterhouse steak into a den of Christian- starved lions but that's for another Nancy Drew-Hardy Boy novel (‘The Case of the Passengers Who Cannot Read Their Boarding Passes'). Each passenger’s boarding pass has a letter imprinted upon it which determines the bearer's order in boarding the plane. No matter, the desk is swarmed by all.

They board. Because the flight is rather full, and they are among the last to board, Frank a
nd Nancy are only able to find seats together three rows from the back. As they settle into their seats, they watch with hubris-imbued amusement as the Young Moroccan Woman of a Decidedly Sluttish Ilk negotiates the aisle on her perilously high 6-inch stiletto heels, dragging an uncooperative carry-on suitcase. Why so slow? She is checking the seat numbers against the numbers on her boarding pass but - alas - her search is for naught for there is no assigned seating on EasyJet flights and therefore, there are no seat numbers printed on boarding passes, only the flight number. Her frustration is palpable.

When she realizes that
she won't find flight number seat number 7881 without boring a hole through the plane's tail, she decides to take a seat in the last row. But where to put her suitcase? All the overhead bins are full. No worries, she decides to leave it out in the middle of the aisle. But where is Her Handler in all of this? Why is she consigned to carrying aboard her own hand luggage when there is one among them who clearly wants to serve her in every conceivable manner?

Puzzled by this anomaly, Nancy and Frank nonetheless titter at her discomfiture. In all likelihood, it is at this point that The Aviation Gods decide to punish the detective duo for their hubris.

Suddenly they see The Handler. He is at the front of the plane and is trying to get his charge's attention but there are still passengers in the aisles looking for seats. He is calling her and waving his arms about wildly and finally she sees hi
m – mere moments after every other person on the flight does. He mimes to her that he has a phone call to make and disappears. She looks at him confusedly, effectively raising her stockpile of expressions to two - the other being complete vacuousness. Admittedly his gesture of raising an invisible telephone to his ear and speaking into it was awfully cryptic.

Time passes. They are not moving. Frank’s keen eye notices that the senior cabin crew is speaking with the Captain at the door of the cockpit. There is some animation in the manner that they converse.

Time passes. They hear the Captain's voice tell them that there has been a breach in security and that there is an unaccounted passenger. They must retrieve their luggage and deboard; the Captain is very sorry for their inconvenience and Frank and Nancy do not doubt his sincerity.

At they make their way up the aisle,
Nancy turns to Frank and confides her suspicions to him, that the culprit is none other than the Young Moroccan Woman of a Decidedly Sluttish Ilk 's Handler. And the Young Moroccan Woman of a Decidedly Sluttish Ilk may be in on it.

Frank says, "You're right
Nancy! I bet he left the plane!"

"Joe," Nancy asks, "we have to tell the ground crew our suspicions!"

"Nancy," he says, "That's a swell idea but first let's make sure that he's not waiting with the others at the Departures Gate."

So when our sleuthing teens re-enter the airport, they quickly confirm that The Handler is indeed absent. Nancy approaches the first EasyJet employee she sees and tells her that the cause of the security breach is none other than the boyfriend of the Young Moroccan Woman of a Decidedly Sluttish Ilk (whom Nancy helpfully points out since she is directly behind them). The employee sighs and nods her head, "We know". Clearly, all of the now deboarded passengers who were staring at the Young Moroccan Woman of a Decidedly Sluttish Ilk with death rays shooting out of their collective eyes have already imparted their likeminded suspicions to the ground crew.

The Handler's charge is taken aside and asked about his whereabouts. She avows no knowledge of his identity. Her display of recalcitrant attitude is formidable. Nancy and Frank stand by in mute helplessness - why won’t EasyJet avail themselves of the teens' expertise? Have they not read “The Secret of the Old Clock?”

"She's lying!" whispers Nancy vehemently. Frank nods his head in agreement and mutters a one-syllable word that Nancy doesn’t know but conscientiously jots down in her notepad to look up later. The Young Moroccan Woman of a Decidedly Sluttish Ilk is asked to write something on a piece of paper and is then released into the Mob who receives her with open arms jeers and deprecating terms of abuse. Nancy jots down a few more new terms. The Young Moroccan Woman of a Decidedly Sluttish Ilk returns with her own sally of presumably foul language and, turning her back to them, pulls out her cell phone.

Time passes and presumably the plane is swept for explosives. Mindful that the ETA has recently reasserted their commitment to blowing Spain up into a million little pieces, the passengers are compliant, understanding and patient. Except for one Moroccan gentleman who, in protest, rips his boarding pass up into a million little pieces.

Time passes and security staff appear and look for the Young Moroccan Woman of a Decidedly Sluttish Ilk. The Mob obligingly points her out to the authorities ("there she is!" in seven different languages) and propels her in their general direction. She is taken aside and questioned. Then she is removed from sight, hopefully, Frank muses, to be strip searched.

Finally, they are requested to board the plane. The one Moroccan gentleman who, in protest, has ripped his boarding pass up into a million little pieces, is given Scotch tape to repair the pass. If the Reader has ever flown EasyJet into or out of Morocco, s/he will know that
the announcement to prepare for boarding is not unlike throwing prime rib into a den of Christian- starved lions but that's for another Nancy Drew-Hardy Boy novel (‘The Mystery of the Passengers Who Are Unable to Line Up in Orderly Queues’). Each passenger’s boarding pass has a letter imprinted upon it which determines the bearer’s order in boarding the plane. No matter, the desk is swarmed by all.

Aboard the plane, everyone takes their original seats – such are we all creatures of habit.

Time passes. They are not moving. Frank’s keen eye notices that the senior cabin crew is speaking with the Captain at the door of the cockpit. There is some animation in the manner that they converse.

Time passes. They hear the senior flight attendant’s voice tell them that take-off has been delayed because they are waiting for one last passenger to board. Nancy and Frank look at each other. Surely it won’t be her? Surely the Young Moroccan Woman of a Decidedly Sluttish Ilk won’t be allowed to reboard the plane?

Time passes. Nancy and Frank are jolted from their reminiscing of how Nancy solved ‘The Clue of the Whispering Bagpipes’ by a series of random then growing jeers and boos. The Young Moroccan Woman of a Decidedly Sluttish Ilk has entered the plane and is running – as fast as her uncooperative carry-on suitcase will allow – to her former seat. She is crying. She is crying presumably because the security staff at Madrid Barajas International Airport ran out of Vaseline during her several deep and thorough cavity searches. The Mob hoots and hisses her progress down the aisle.

The plane leaves over two hours late and arrives over two hours late. Frank and
Nancy arrive in Casa too late to catch their train for Rabat, too late for work. Fortunately, their supervisor Mr. N is a super neat guy. The silver lining is that the Young Moroccan Woman of a Decidedly Sluttish Ilk is still being given a hard time by Moroccan police as Frank and Nancy breeze through security.

“Well,” said Frank. “I don’t what happened to The Handler but I guess there was no bomb on board.”

“I’m not so sure Frank,” puzzled Nancy. “Did they check her thong? Sometimes the answer is right under your nose."

9 Comments:

Blogger Morocco Time said...

Wow, awesome story - I completely thought you were kidding at first, then got caught up in it.

9:06 p.m.  
Anonymous Mr. Cat in Rabat said...

Hi, Frank Hardy (aka Mr. Cat) here. Yes, this story is true. In fact, there are other little details that have been edited out to keep the blog on one page. It was a very strange flight to say the least. The Mystery of the Missing Handler has yet to be solved!

9:19 p.m.  
Blogger Morocco Time said...

It almost deserves its own blog!

12:46 a.m.  
Blogger taamarbuuta said...

That is an incredible story. Tell me this, did the Moroccans on board applaud when the plane landed? Did anyone listen to music on their phone during the flight?

1:06 p.m.  
Blogger Cat in Rabat ( كات في الرباط) said...

Why Taar, however did you know? You must be psychic!

1:35 p.m.  
Blogger knarf said...

How was the flight itself?

4:00 p.m.  
Blogger lady macleod said...

what a tale!

8:06 p.m.  
Anonymous ByronB said...

Er...I'm afraid I got the stars of this story completely mixed up - (probably due to my earlier readings of this blog) - and was therefore extremely surprised when the true identities of Nancy and Frank were finally revealed. Great mystery!

12:39 p.m.  
Blogger Cat in Rabat ( كات في الرباط) said...

How clever of you Byron! That indeed *was* the mystery!

4:07 p.m.  

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