Border Services

(The America Canada Border Crossing at Blue Water Bridge. I drive the car into a booth. The BORDER AGENT is an Aryan Archetype with a mole that accentuates his perfection. He has progressed beyond politeness and is exempt from eye contact.)

BORDER AGENT: Why are you visiting Canada?

ME(A schoolboy happy to know the answer): To see a friend.

BORDER A.: What’s this friend’s name?

ME: Brant. (Pause. Amiably American) I don’t know how to pronounce his last name.

BORDER A.: How did you meet this friend?

ME: Through couchsurfing.

BORDER A.(Disgusted with humanity): Through what?

ME: Couchsurfing? It’s an online network of travelers who stay with one another when they travel. (Does this sound suspicious?)

BORDER A.(This sounds suspicious): Have you ever met this person before?

ME: Yes. (That is a lie! I just lied!)

BORDER A.(Resembling a Doberman Pinscher): When?

ME: A year ago. (I lied AGAIN!)

BORDER A.: Where?

ME: In the states. (I LIED AGAIN!)

BORDER A.: Where in the states?

ME: In Milwaukee. (I can’t stop pulling lies out of my mouth! I’m like a magician with a colored scarf!)

BORDER A.(With deeply internalized rage): Take this paperwork and pull under that blue canopy.

ME(If I don’t take the paperwork do I have to pull under the blue canopy? Taking the paperwork): All right.

(I pull under the blue canopy and promise the car that nothing is wrong, but it can feel my sweaty palms on its steering wheel; it begins to panic. BORDER AGENT 2 and 3 arrive; 2 searches the car and 3 asks all the same questions, adding a few of his own.)

BORDER AGENT 3: Step out of the car please. (I do.) Is this your car?

ME: No, it’s my mom’s.

BORDER A. 3: Does she know you have it?

ME(No. I told her we were going to the zoo, but instead I stopped at a street corner, snatched her purse and kicked her out. She’s probably wandering around offering her wedding ring to strangers for a ride): Yes.

BORDER A. 3: Do you have your own car?

ME(I also have my own middle finger. Would you like to see it?): Yes.

BORDER A. 3: Who has your car?

ME: My mom.

BORDER A.3: So you switched cars.

ME(And we switched minds. I’m her right now.): Yes.

BORDER A. 3: How long is your stay in Canada?

ME(You tell me.): Until this Monday.

BORDER A. 3: When do you go back to work?

ME: Tuesday.

BORDER A. 3: Which Tuesday?

ME: This Tuesday.

BORDER A. 3: Well it comes every week. (Huffy and handing me paperwork) Take this to the inside office.

ME(Are you sure I shouldn’t shoot myself first?): All right.

(I enter the office and walk towards the roped line when I am interrupted by BORDER AGENT 4.)

BORDER AGENT 4: Just come up here.

ME(But I love roped lines. Ever since I was a kid.): All right. (I hand him the paperwork. He asks all the same questions and adds a few of his own.)

BORDER A. 4: How much money do you have?

ME: $9 in quarters.

BORDER A. 4(Laurence Olivier doing Shakespeare): $100 IN QUARTERS?

ME(Disoriented): No, $9?

BORDER A. 4(Disappointed): Oh. (Victorious) How are you going to pay for anything?

ME: I have a debit card.

BORDER A. 4: Oh.

ME: Yeah.

BORDER A. 4: Do you live with your parents?

ME: No.

BORDER A. 4: Who do you live with?

ME: My roommate.

BORDER A. 4: Oh. (Handing me the paperwork.) Take this to the agent outside.

(I exit the office and hand the paperwork to BORDER AGENT 3.)

BORDER A. 3: Thanks. Welcome to Canada.