“Good afternoon sir, may I please have your passport please?”
The boy, probably in his mid-teens, hood up, a pair of Beats around his neck, begrudging pulls his passport out of his pocket. The boy doesn’t hand it over to Jesse. Instead, he lays the passport flatly out on the ledge for Jesse to pick up.
Jesse takes the passport, “What brings you to Canada?”
“The plane,” says the boy sarcastically.
“Duh, I am not asking what transported you from one place to another, I was asking for the reason why you are here,” explains Jesse.
“Because I like cold winters and wide open spaces,” says the boy impatiently.
“Ok, weirdo,” Jesse reads the passport, frowns, and mumbles, “Batman Superman?”
“It pronounced, Bate-man Supper-man,” whispers Batman.
“Your eyes are kind of shifty,” observes Jesse, “Are you trying to hide something?”
“What, no,” says the Batman, who starts shifting his eyes even more just to mess with Jesse.
“Are you by any chance on any prescription?” asks Jesse.
“You mean, drugs?” says the boy with a sly grin.
“That’s it asshole. Your eyes are shifty. Your name sounds made up. You have a pair of headphones around your neck. You better be ready for scrutiny, because I am going to ask you a series of harsh and probing questions, and you are going to answer it!” Jesse begins to suck air into his stomach. His facial expression turns and becomes constipated. His face turns from red to almost blue.
“Dude, what are you doing?”
“Expanding,” grunts Jesse. “Succumb to me!” Obviously, watching Rutting Red Deer with bigger antlers scaring off other lesser deer with smaller antler on National Graphic last night made an impression on Jesse.
Batman starts to perspire.
“ARE YOU DOING DRUGS!” screams Jesse. Of course, males in the animal kingdom with a loud booming voice also have a higher chance of protecting his territory and courting the females.
“Uh…no,” sweat trickling down Batman’s face. “No.”
“WHY ARE YOU SWEATING!”
“It’s hot. God, it’s hot in here,” says Batman.
“THIS IS CANADA! PEOPLE DON’T SWEAT IN HERE! HAVE YOU EVER SEEN CANADIANS SWEAT IN CANADA? I AM NOT SWEATING!” screams Jesse.
Beads of sweats fall from Batman’s face. It’s working, thinks Jesse.
“Now, Batman, do you use drugs?”
“No! I swear! I don’t!” Batman has heard a lot of things about Canadians, but never in his wildest dreams did he imagine Canadians to be like this. Contrary to popular culture’s depiction of Canadian, this Canadian that is sitting in front of him does not seem at all like the easy-going rugged outdoorsman that he is expecting. They are more like batshit crazy. Jesse starts to foam in the mouth slightly. Batman winces, this one is off in the deep-end of insane.
“WHERE WILL YOU BE STAYING HERE?”
“At…a hotel,” Batman whimpers.
“HOW LONG WILL YOU STAYING HERE? AND FOR WHAT?”
“Four days…for a Starcraft gaming conference.”
“ARE YOU BRINGING ANY SEEDS AND FRUITS IN THE COUNTRY?”
“No sir,” says Batman, picking a spot on the floor to look at, avoiding eye contact.
“ARE YOU SURE?”
“Yes sir,” says Batman.
Jesse squints his eyes at Batman. Batman uncomfortably exchanges a glance with Jesse.
“Have a nice day,” says Jesse, wiping foams from the corner of his mouth. He hands Batman’s passport back to him.
“Thanks,” Batman darts past customs.
Great day at work, thinks Jesse. He does his end of the shift stretches. He managed to get through three visitors in the past hour, a significant increase over his two visitors per hour work rate. This has been an area of concern for his colleagues who are always complaining that people in Jesse’s queue eventually give up and shift to their queues. As a result, total queue time has increased. On this topic of debate, others have ridiculed Jesse on his ‘thoroughness’ and his taking too much time on each person. However, Jesse does not share their concerns. A person can never be too thorough. His colleagues call him crazy, but Jesse would rather see a one thousand innocent men locked up in jail than to see one guilty man roam free. Still he made compromises, he let the last one go easy.
Jesse checks his email. And that was when he saw what he saw.
“Is this your penis?” was something that Jesse never thought he’d ever have to say in his life. Taken out of context, it could have been meant that a man, tending to his day-to-day business has misplaced his penis and Jesse has simply stumbled upon his penis, sir, is this your penis?
Or maybe a man’s penis needs further identifying or confirming in a rhetorical way. Like a man waking up in the dead of the night rethinking his life’s decision, wiping residues of ice cream off his face and asking is this my life? Did I just eat two buckets of ice cream at 3am?
Or maybe a man and a woman have switched bodies (for example, both were peeing a fountain during a lightning storm), and the woman woke up the next morning to see what’s between her legs in surprise asking is this my penis?
None of the situations applies to Jesse. He sighs at his slightly pixilated photo of another man’s penis, enlarged 150% larger than its original size for easy identifying. As if the owner of a penis would be confused by a smaller photo oh no, actually now that I have taken a better look at it, this one’s not mine.
Some guy in the office emailed a picture of presumably of his own penis to Jesse. Jesse screamed a little when he first saw it. He has never seen another man’s penis other than his own. Anyhow, the email address email@example.com cannot be identified. Under the permission of Michael, Jesse has taken up a task force (consisting of only himself; Tom gracefully turned down the invitation) to identify the penis.
The penis photo has been sparked the interest of his colleagues around the office, one that has been desperate for new juicy gossip for some time. There is only so many times that you can discuss how Janet from HR forces literally everyone to ‘like’ her daughter’s recital on Facebook. Naturally, everyone converge in on Jesse’s penis photo like swarms of houseflies converge in on houses, assuming houseflies are attracted to houses and not because those said flies that has been domesticated.
Jesse demands all men to strip from waist down. The women scream in disgust, interest, and excitement. Men scream in protest except for George from accounting, whose pants were already down by his ankles. The crowd dissipates to go for lunch. Jesse stopped the crowd from leaving, commenting that murderers almost always return back to the crime scene and the penis-creeper is amongst the crowd. Again, Jesse volunteers to inspect each man’s penis. Again the men protest. Again, George’s pants were down by his ankles.
So far, only George has been ruled out.
During lunchtime, Jesse put up a ‘head’ shot of the office phallus up on the bulletin board, caption – Wanted: If you think you have seen this penis, please contact Jesse at extension 1238. The poster was taken down almost immediately. So good old interrogation is the only way to go.
“Is this your penis?” says Jesse with confidence.
“Ew, why did you enlarge it?” says Maria, “That’s like, so gross. And I am like, a woman! Are you like, serious?”
“Yes, so, are they yours?” asks Jesse. “I don’t want to leave anything up to imagination, you know. I saw you offloading that crate of paper, quite strong.”
“I am so offended!” says Maria.
“So is it yours?”
“Sorry. My mistake.” says Jesse sheepishly. “Next!”
Tobias from custom walks in. Berkley graduate. Thinks he’s too good for everyone.
“Is this your penis?”
“No, it is not,” says Tobias.
“Are you sure?” says Jesse.
“Are you saying that I am lying?” says Tobias with a I-can’t-believe-he’s-asking-this smile on his face.
“I am not saying that, I am just confirming.”
“Ok, and my response is – no.”
“Are you saying it’s absolutely not yours?”
“Yes! What do you want me to do? Show you?”
Jesse doesn’t speak.
“Well, you offered it.”
“No, it was rhetorical question. That question was not meant to be taken literally!”
“Well, if I don’t see it, you are still on this list.”
“Fine, leave me on there.” Tobias crosses his arms.
“Come on now,” says Jesse, motioning his hands back and forth.
“No, what ‘come on now’ business? Don’t you ‘come on’ me,” laughs Tobias in disbelief, “And what is this douchey motion that you are doing with your hands?
“I know the way you look at me. The way you were eyeing me in the elevator last week? You gave me the creeps!”
“What do you mean ‘eyeball’ you! We just exchanged a social eye-contact. You were the one that lingered! So I looked back to you!” Tobias scowls, “By the way, I don’t know if you are doing this on purpose or what, there is only one person that this penis belongs to – Drake. He’s the only black guy in the office.”
“Oh great, now you are just being racist!”
“Now, I am not commenting that’s what black people do but that’s obviously a black penis. And now you will have to deal this. Good luck.” Tobias storms out.
Jesse looks at his photo again. Do black people really have black penises? The only penis that he has seen in his life is his own.
A little Google search wouldn’t hurt, thinks Jesse. He screamed a little when the search results showed up.
“Yo homie! Give it to me where it’s at!” Jesse nods towards his outstretch palm, showing Drake that his palm is where ‘it’s at’.
Drake takes Jesse’s hand awkwardly. Jesse takes Drake’s hand and flips it around, trying to coordinate a special black handshake but to no avail.
After a bit of straining and twisting, Drake takes his hand back out from the tangle, “We don’t have to do this.”
“Oh, no problem, brother, can I call you brother?”
“Uh, I would be more comfortable if you go back to calling me Drake,” says Drake uncomfortably.
“Cool, respect, Drake,” Jesse rubs the tabletop with his index and middle finger as if he’s DJ-ing. “I feel ya!”
“You don’t have to do this Jesse,” says Drake rigidly. “I am from Ontario. My family has been living here for three generations.”
“Ok,” says Jesse with relief. Acting black is hard. “Now I am going to ask you a question that is not based any social or racial stereotypes, and those stereotypes are probably untrue anyway, but is this your penis?”
Drake came into this room dreading this question. He did send the photo to Jesse, only by accident. He is going to get fired for this and he knows it. The only surprise is that it took so long for everyone to realize that he sent out the photo.
Suddenly Drake has an idea.
“Why do you say that? Is it because I am black? Someone sent out his penis to his colleagues and it must be the black guy who did it!”
“Whoa, no!” Jesse reacts as if there is a ticking time bomb. “But…”
“But maybe, just maybe, this penis does belong to you. Because you know, you are…of African descent, and this penis seems to belong to a person…of African descent, and you are the only person…of African descent in this office.”
“Basically you are saying that because a black dick must belong to the only black dude in the office!”
“No,” says Jesse, “But…yes? It is?”
“What do I like fried chicken and drink grape juice? Do I smell like olive oil?”
“I ain’t speak with no improper grammar, double negatives or nothing right? Jesse?”
“Then why you say that dick is mine? Jesse? Why? I thought we are bros…dawg!”
“Well, maybe it isn’t.”
Drake stands up to walk out.
“Wait,” Jesse holds Drake back, “Just take off your pants, just once. I take one look, and if it isn’t, I won’t bother you again.”
“What? You tripping fool? You ain’t get to see no black cock. Black guys don’t that, it’s…”
“It’s…what?” says Jesse with a smile. Countermove.
“You know, that.”
“Hell no, I have many gay friends.”
“Are you saying that taking off your pants is uncool, and that uncool thing is gay?”
“Are you homophobic?” says Jesse maybe a little too loudly.
“Do gay people disgust you?”
“Do you think gayness can spread?”
“Do you hate gay people?”
“Then why do imply that taking your pants in front of another men is gay?”
“Because that doesn’t happen in a normal social context?” Drake ventures out a guess.
“So you are saying that being gay happens outside of the social norm? That they should hanged?”
“Well then take off your pants! We are just two men trying to get to the bottom of this case. There’s nothing gay about this!”
“Right, there’s nothing gay about this!” agrees Drake.
“Right! Take it off!”
Tearful, Drake unbuckles his belt.
Jesse finally finds his the matching penis to his penis photo – the glass slipper to Cinderella’s story except perhaps a million times more vulgar.
He screamed a little when Drake did take off his pants.