Packing Heat

So I’m in line for the Toyota Congressional oversight hearings at the Rayburn House Office Building in my part time role as professional line stander. I’m there with about 150 others: homeless dudes, people sleeping in various positions, slumped against a wall, on rolled up mats, with bags and tents. All kinds of crap around and shady looking characters.

Anyone can enter a Congressional office building if they pass through the metal detectors, but there are no real security checks like identification or anything.  

OK. So, amid all that line-standing clutter, FOUR Capitol Hill Police Officers zero in on ME and say can we talk to you. I’m behind a velvet rope, like in a club or movie theater that they had set up to guide the line. I say sure even though I am a little nervous since there are four of them. What else am I going to say? Plus I know a lot of these guys and they know me. I have been coming in and out of these building for years as a bike messenger.

They say, “No, over here….” (pointing) So I go over the rope and say, OK. They say “No, walk with us.”

Now I’m getting a little more nervous because I have no idea what they want and we have to walk a while before we get out of crowd range. I’m not sure if they will lead me to the proverbial ‘black van’ and that will be the end…..

Then we stop. Four of them and me. They are acting kind of tentative like they have something to say but don’t know how to approach it, which makes me more nervous. Finally one of them says, “What’s up with your leg?”

I’m dressed in bike stuff. Tights shorts. Lots of layers.

Me: “What do mean??”

Officers: “Well it’s kind of big…”

I deduce that they are suspicious/curious and try to diffuse and provide answers.

I explain that beside being a cyclist and already having big quads I had major surgery on the leg in question and the cuts into muscle sheath, which is called facetious, disfigured the leg and make it look even bigger. I have to peel back my tights and show them the evidence (in the hallway…. right where they were questioning me!) The spot where the bone came through the skin. The scars from ankles to hip. The whole deal, which is pretty convincing and I think the more I go the more embarrassed they get.

Then I say “Since I answered you, now answer me. I know all you guys and there are all these questionable characters here today. You know, what gives?!”

They said “Someone said something.” I understand they have to follow up and indicate that. Then I ask, “Who/what?”

They said it was just some “citizen” who had never seen a leg like that. I said “What do you think I could have here. It’s all lycra.”

They’re kind of laughing (kind of) but one says well we never know what you could be “packing.”

I guess they hadn’t really seen a cyclist before or at least paid close attention. I say “The only thing I’m packing is a mean-ass sprint.”

(Disclaimer: Before there are any comments from local cyclists who know me, I realize I don’t quite pack a “mean-ass sprint” exactly, but I couldn’t say I can accelerate repeatedly and I recover well day-to-day. The ‘packing a’ thing just sounded better.)



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