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_POSTEDON 2003-05-15 13:14:52 by jimmyd

Tales of Pornography jimmyd _writes "

Anyone thinking about traveling somewhere with Robert Lombard ought to rethink their plans—especially if it includes air travel! Who would have thought the kindly looking Silver Fox—the Mr. Rogers of Porn--would draw the attention of airport security forces. And not just in one airport, but in two of them!

On Sunday I flew to Las Vegas with Lombard. We had a late afternoon flight out of Burbank Airport. No, this wasn’t a gay retreat for two middle-aged porno guys, this was business--important business-- porn business. As usual, I screwed up by forgetting to print out my travel plans which Robert had emailed to me. So as I was driving to the office to print out the email that included the time I should get to the airport—with what I thought were hours to spare—I received a frantic call from Robert.

“Where are you?” Robert asked. (I sensed the urgency in his voice.)

“I’m on my way to the office to get a copy of our travel plans which I forgot to...” Robert quickly cut me off in mid-sentence.

“Jimmy, our plane leaves in less than forty minutes!”

“Oh.” I said. “I guess I better get there.”

“How far away from the airport are you?” Robert asked, sounding more anxious by the second.

“About fifteen minutes,” I lied.

“Don’t screw around parking,” he said. “Go right to valet parking. It’s right in front of the terminal!”

“Valet parking? You know valets don’t like parking my ’85 Burb,” I said.

“Fuck the valets,” Robert shouted. “Just tell them to park the damn thing!”

What about my ticket?” I asked.

“Don’t worry about your ticket. Just get here!” He shouted into the phone.

I sensed Lombard was losing it. I decided to stretch the truth again-- just to calm him down. “Ok, I’ll be there in less than ten minutes.”

I clicked my cell off and veered into the fast lane, putting the pedal-to-the-metal of my ’85 Suburban. I figured I could get there in 20 minutes. And I figured if anyone could hold that plane, Robert could.

I arrived at Burbank Airport at about 5:10. Our plane was leaving at 5:25. To my surprise the valets didn’t make a fuss about parking the Burb. I could see Robert waving frantically to me from the terminal’s front door. I grabbed my overnight bag and moved fast. I started to jaywalk across the traffic lane, but some cop yelled at me so I ran over to the pedestrian crosswalk. As soon as I got to where Robert was waiting, he grabbed my arm and started pulling me into the terminal. Burbank has an express check-in if you’re not checking bags and already have a paid ticket reserved. Luckily, there was no one on line at the express check-in. It only took about two minutes for me to have my ticket in hand and we ran to the security area everyone has to go through to get to the departure gates.

I put my overnight bag on the little conveyor belt that takes it through the X-ray machine, then began removing my jewelry and whatever metal stuff was in my pockets. I placed all my stuff in the tray so it could also go through the X-ray machine. I then walked through the metal detector machine. Every time I’ve done this I can’t help but wonder what people who have metal plates in their heads do at times like this. How do they convince the security people that the reason the metal detector’s alarms are sounding is because of a plate in their head? Do they carry a doctor’s note? Do they carry a magnet and prove the plate’s there by demonstrating the attraction of their cranium to the magnet? How about people who have stainless steel screws holding bones together? What about pacemakers? Do they have metal in them? I don’t what they do with those people. Anyway, I breeze through the metal detector with no problem.

But as I glance to my left, I see that two, burly security guys have Lombard with his arms over his head in the ‘surrender’ position, and they’re running one of those metal detector wands up and down his body. Robert doesn’t look to keen about this invasion of his privacy. I continue watching this process, noting the detector wands aren’t beeping, but for some reason, these guys aren’t satisfied because suddenly they start frisking Robert. Now I’m starting to wonder—could Lombard be a suspected terrorist? Maybe he’s a drug smuggler?

Lombard’s frisking continues for way longer than you’d expect. I can tell he’s starting to get annoyed, but I hope he doesn’t decide to voice his outrage as I’m pretty sure that kind of behavior isn’t tolerated too well by these security types. Finally, they decide Robert’s clean and let him gather his shit together and we head for the gate.

“What was that all about?” I ask.

“I don’t have a clue,” Robert answers.

We both shrug it off, chalking it up to random sampling of passengers.

The flight to Vegas is uneventful. When we arrive, the guy we were going there to meet is waiting for us with a limo. Soon, we’re heading into Sin City in the comfort of a big, black, stretch limo.

I’m not going to go into details about our trip to Vegas. It was a working trip. Like I said, we were there on business--important porn business--assuming porn business can ever truly be important. And we weren't there to have fun either, although we did get to spend some quality time in a six-bedroom mega-suite with a 24-7 butler on duty. The richly furnished suite was on the 29th floor—make that the penthouse floor--of Caesar’s Palace. We also ate a sumptuous meal at The Palm Restaurant, and we stayed in a corporate condo in an upscale Vegas neighborhood. We were only going to be there for one day, and that day was spent in some corporate offices where we took care of the important porn business.

Our flight was leaving Vegas at 9:00 Monday night. We were taken back to the airport and dropped off. We secured out tickets at curbside and headed for the gates.

Ok, now we’re going through the security area again, and once again Lombard gets pulled out of line! Again, they do the thing with the wand. Again, he gets frisked. And this time the security guys start going through Robert’s bag. I’m thinking, “What the fuck’s going on here?” Suddenly, the security guy asks Lombard to step back. He pulls this small, black leather thing out of Robert’s bag and asks him what it is. Robert tells him it’s his manicure set. I’m thinking, “We’re here for one freaking night and one freaking day and you need a manicure set?” The security guy opens the manicure bag and pulls out this teeny-tiny little knife-like thing used to clean the shit out from under fingernails.

“What’s this?” the security guy asks in a very serious, suspicious voice. (You'd think he found an AK-47 in Lombard's bag.)

Robert tells him it’s a little knife-like thing to clean the shit out from under his nails.

“We’ll have to confiscate this,” the security guy says. "It could be used as a weapon," the guy adds.

I’m thinking, “A weapon? To attack what? Dirty fingernails?”

“No problem,” says Robert, "Keep it, throw it away, I don't care what you do with it," and, just like that, we’re cleared to go to our gate.

Now I know all this doesn’t sound like much, but I’m still wondering if these security people know something about Robert Lombard that I don’t know. At least the whole episode gave me something to write about, even if it’s less interesting to most of you than it is to me.

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