Upon entering the Boone County Courthouse, there’s a scaled-down version of a TSA station — a metal detector, baskets for pocket contents, and an X-ray scanner for backpacks, purses, and such. A few days ago, when there wasn’t a line behind me, I got a kick out of looking at the scanned picture of my backpack, with my computer, chargers, and such.
But of course, in the nature of courthouses, there are less pleasant scenes as well. As I pulled into the parking lot, I saw a fellow sitting on the trunk of his car. I have to admit that my initial take on him — born of nothing but first-glance leftover jungle instincts — was that the guy was a small-time loser, a mope. Scrawny, kind of chicken-necked, weak mustache and a goatee like Shaggy from Scooby-Doo.
As I walked up the steps to the building, I heard him call out a woman’s name. A knot of three women hustled past me, with one of them calling back, “No, [Mope].”
I went in and emptied my pockets. The women were already through the checkpoint, as the mope rushed in with a bouquet of fruit from Edible Arrangements, crying, “I just want to talk.”
The best-dressed of the three women said to the guards on duty, “We’re going to get a restraining order. He isn’t breaking the law yet, but she doesn’t want to talk to him.” And off they went down a hallway while I walked through the metal detector.
As I gathered my pocket stuff from a plastic basket, the mope was putting his stuff in another, still holding his fruit basket. Wallet with a Maltese Cross, pack of L&M cigarettes, twenties in a money clip, car keys.
“I just want to talk to her,” the mope, still standing on the far side of the metal detector, told the guard.
“I don’t think she wants that, sir,” he said. “But you need to come through the detector if you’re coming in.”
“What about this?” he asked, bobbing his head toward the fruit.
One of the guards looked at the other. “I guess you can put it through the X-ray machine.” So the Mope did and walked through the detector, which promptly went off. A guard waved a wand, determining that it was the mope’s belt buckle that was the problem.
“She doesn’t seem to want to talk to you, sir,” the guard said as the mope refilled his pockets and picked up the now-irradiated fruit from the conveyor belt.
The mope disappeared down a hallway as I walked to the elevators and wondered what will happen to the fruit.