Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Vice President Dick Cheney 1, Chuck 0.

The original title of this post was “The Vice President is a thief.” But, that’d be libel. He is responsible for me sitting in the Nation’s capitol without my luggage. You see, if you create such a distraction to others that your actions are causal factors for others getting hurt (even suffering emotional trauma, punitive damages, or anxiety), well, you’re at fault. It’s the whole calling out “fire” in a crowded theater idea. Something tells me I should explain…

The VP was visiting Fort Riley as I left today. His C-17 was already at the Manhattan Regional Airport in Manhattan, Kansas. Not exactly a hub of aerial commerce or transportation, the locals were noticeably impressed, by the number of employees standing around gawking at the airplan as it sat, and sat, and sat on the runway. I suppose nobody had the heart to tell them that Air Force Two is not a cargo plane. Even if it were, the Veep probably wouldn’t sit on it for an hour after he’d landed. So, while all the employees stood around with more slack-jawed awe than usual, and roughly a hundred or so local, county, and state peace officers stood around looking like the Reno-911 cast but imagining themselves as the cast of Walker, Texas Ranger; obviously securing the Manhattan Regional Airport, and the 10 miles of road to the post from terrorist threats (I can see it now, “No Ahmed, the other Manhattan. We’re working on a theme here!”) More than anything else, they pranced back and forth looking like Deputy Barney Fife on a secret mission. Verily, the yokel’s locals were impressed by an empty plane.

In all the commotion (The C-17 flight is 33% more traffic than the Manhattan airport handles in a day, bringing the total to four flights.) I managed to check in with the other dozen folks, about an hour early. Plenty of time to take two bags to the airplane parked 100 feet from the terminal. (The Beechcraft 1900 puddle-hopper.) The plane loaded and took off on time, and arrived a bit earlier than expected, giving me almost a two-hour layover. That’d be even more time to get the bags where they needed to be, without the distraction of the Vice President’s empty airplane.

Fast forward to 7:30 PM (EST), about 5 hours after leaving the empty plane in Manhattan, Kansas. I’m standing at a US Airways ticket counter being told that they’ve no idea where my luggage is. Neither suitcase. No one in Kansas City has seen it, an no one’s answering the phone in Manhattan—probably because of “security.” They wouldn’t want to give the evildoers any “unsecured info” by answering the phone.

I should have them by noon tomorrow. Which would be groovy, except for my appointment with the plastic surgeon tomorrow at 10 AM, the one to remove shrapnel from my face, and my 4-inch thick medical records are somewhere between here and home. It goes without saying that I also would like a change of socks, perhaps a toothbrush and razor, maybe even a clean shirt… oh who am I kidding. If I wanted any of that stuff I’d have packed a suitcase, right?

So, my luggage getting lost is Vice President Dick Cheney’s fault. Since leaders are responsible for everything their subordinates do and fail to do, it is, ipso facto, President George W. Bush’s fault. Well Mr. President, I may serve at your pleasure, but you work for me. I’m a voter! Now get to work and find my luggage! (Oh yeah, then fix immigration, social security, Iraq, Iran, the French, Islamofacists, taxes, welfare, stop hurricanes, build a space elevator, land a man on the sun, make fuel by squeezing rocks together, and make everyone like you while you’re doing it.) But first, find the luggage. One Large black bag, and small green bag, both had my address cards in them, and had wheels and the little handle thingies that retract.


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