How to Succeed in Getting Detained Without Really Trying

Scene One

 Three girls stand in line in border control after disembarking from a ferry that brought them from Holland to the UK. In this scene, Brittany, has joined two Cambridge students, Dana and Victoria.

Dana: Do you think I’ll need my papers proving I’m a Cambridge student?

Brittany: No, I think you’ll be okay… if anyone needs to worry it’s me. I don’t have a flight booked home; I don’t think I can prove I’m leaving.

Dana: I thought you said you were going to do that on the boat?

Brittany: The wifi wasn’t the best… I’ll be okay right?

Dana and Victoria look at Brittany with a combination of worry and doubt.

Brittany (internally): I’ll be alright.

Scene Two

Brittany is standing at the Immigration Officer’s desk.  Immigration Officer looks like a young Rod Stewart.

 Rod:  Passport please.

She hands him her passport.

Rod: How long are you planning on staying in the UK?

Brittany: About 3 weeks.

Rod: And then?

Brittany: Then I’ll head back to continental Europe for the rest of my trip, leaving June 10th.

Rod: And what’s the purpose of your trip?

Brittany: Tourism- I’ve been traveling Europe since January.

Rod: Hmm, and have you booked a flight back yet?

Brittany: No…

Rod: You haven’t booked a flight yet?

Brittany: No, I figured I’d just book an EasyJet flight, or something simple. But I promise I’m going home. I have to go to a wedding on June 15th; I really can’t miss it. (Looks at Rod, pleading with her eyes to let her into the country)

Rod: Okay miss, I’m not really sure I have enough information to let you in the country. I’m going to hold on to your passport for awhile, can you please go sit over here until I finish with the rest of the line so we can get this sorted out?

Brittany walks to a bench off to the side.

Brittany (internally): Oh shit, oh shit, oh shit. You’re being detained. Oh shit. Okay, it’s going to be okay. You haven’t done anything wrong, and you are planning on leaving the country. Just stay calm and be honest, it’s going to be okay.

She sits anxiously on the bench, trying not to be frantic.

Scene Three

 Brittany and Rod are in a room with an x-ray machine and bench.  Brittany’s luggage is strewn all over the bench, where she sits.

 Rod: Now, you understand I have to ask you all of these questions because it is unclear on why you are entering the country and when you will leave. I’m not fully convinced you’re not here trying to find work.  What did you do in the States?

Brittany: I worked in finance.  I saved up and have been traveling.

Rod: You must have saved up quite a bit.

Brittany: Enough to travel for an extended period of time. (smiles)

Rod: And how do you have access to this money? Do you have it on you? Credit cards? Debit cards?

Brittany: Ummm, definitely credit and debit cards. (internally) Who carries enough cash for six months of travel on them?

Rod: Okay, miss, I’m going to have to go through your luggage now. You know it’s illegal to bring weapons, firearms, drugs, or child pornography into the UK? Do you have any of these items?

Brittany: No!

After a long pause and intense eye contact, Rod goes through Brittany’s luggage slowly, zipping and unzipping pouches, looking for weapons, drugs, and child pornography.

 Rod: You’re very organized.

Brittany: Thanks? (internally) I’m so glad I’m boring and we get to talk about suitcase organization instead of smuggling child porn.

Rod: Okay, well, nothing here.

Brittany: Right.

Another Immigration Officer with a shaved head walks in the room.

Shaved Head: Miss, your mates are just waiting down at the train station for you, don’t worry about that. (smiles)

Rod: Your mates? You’re here with friends?

Brittany: Yes… they study at Cambridge. I’m visiting them.

Rod: Well, why didn’t you tell me that earlier?

Brittany: Umm… I don’t know… I thought you’d seen us in line together. (internally) And heard me say, “Guys, don’t get on a train without me” when you decided to detain me!

Rod: Oh, well, that changes everything, you should have led with that; we could have squared this up at the desk.

Brittany: Lesson learned, I guess.


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