The magician stepped into the walk-through metal detector and a loud bell sounded. A uniformed man twice Danny’s size came towards him. The man had a long truncheon attached to his belt. ‘Put your watch and cash and any metal objects on the tray,’ he said. His manner was not polite. He didn’t seem to be happy in his work.
Danny put his watch and his cash on the tray.
‘Hold out your arms,’ the security guard said. ‘I want to pat you down.’
Danny spoke quietly. He said, ‘I’m wearing something under my trousers.’
The big man reached for his truncheon. He called over an assistant. ‘What do you mean: something?’
‘It’s a talisman,’ Danny said. ‘It’s made of silver.’
The two men escorted him behind a screen, one to each arm. They took him along a corridor into a small room. They must have thought he’d strapped explosives into his groin area and was waiting to make a dash for the runway and blow up one of their planes.
‘Show us,’ the big one said.
Danny unzipped and let his trousers fall around his knees. He lifted his shirt and waited while the guards took in the two bulges at the front of his underpants. The man with the truncheon pointed it towards the magician’s crotch. ‘Ease them down. Slowly.’
Feeling anger welling up through his fatigue Danny Mann lowered his underpants to reveal both his own penis and the erect surrogate with Hanuman the monkey god perched upon it.
‘What do you call it?’ the guard asked, reaching for a pair of latex gloves.
‘It’s a Palad khik,’ Danny told him.
The guard knelt in front of the two ganglia. He took the silver one between forefinger and thumb. ‘You called it something else before.’
‘An amulet,’ Danny said between his teeth. ‘It’s a penis amulet. It’s not against the law.’
‘What’s it for?’ the guard asked.
‘It’s a charm against evil. It keeps you safe. It attracts women.’
The assistant guard spluttered for a second before he got it under control. The main man looked over his shoulder at him, gave him a long stare before turning back to Danny.
‘And does it work?’ he asked.
The assistant doubled up and turned away. He was through the door, slamming it behind him. But his roar as he cracked up and split his sides in the corridor outside couldn’t be disguised as anything but derision.
Danny dressed himself and the guard with the truncheon gave him his bag and winked at him. ‘Have a good flight, sir,’ he said.