Phoenix, Arizona, USA. 2011.
In a bulky badass stride, a muscular police officer with a military precision haircut approaches the security scene at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. He wears a flak jacket while pepper spray, handcuffs and extra clips adorn his gun belt. Clearly, this guy is packing heat.
Moments earlier, a group of TSA agents had clustered around a confiscated item. Redirecting everybody but us, one agent shut down an entire row of security and called in the cop.
Travelers shoot withering looks our way while my husband Kurt and I, along with our kids Eddie and Kasey, stand at the end of the conveyor belt. Returning from Mexico, we need to make our connecting flight to Denver.
Although no one actually informs us, Kurt and I know exactly what is wrong. I look over at Kurt, who rolls his eyes. Then our six-year-old son Eddie asks the all-important question:
“Am I going to get my marshmallow gun back?”
Months earlier, Kurt had made Eddie a marshmallow gun out of PVC piping after he had seen one at a carnival. You can actually fire marshmallow “bullets” from the toy by blowing them through any of the pipes’ openings. Like a veteran SWAT team member, Eddie assembles the entire thing, which sort of resembles a white sniper gun, in about 29 seconds.
So now we wait at the Phoenix Airport for the marshmallow gun to either be cleared or confiscated for good. Apparently, due to the Transportation Security Administration’s protocol, a professional must inspect the contraband — especially when it’s material that people use to make bombs.
“I don’t know, Bud.” Kurt answers.