Otsu was catching a flight to Zamboanga. At the baggage X-ray machine she was approached by two airport security personnel.
“Ma’am, could you please open this suitcase?” said the female security officer, briskly but politely.
“Is something wrong with it?” Otsu asked as she mentally went through its contents.
“Ma’am, you have ammunition in this suitcase.”
“What!” said Otsu, who opened the suitcase to prove that there was no ammo inside.
“There,” the security officer pointed to a small black bag tucked among her clothes.
That’s when Otsu realized that she did have ammunition in her luggage. The last time she had used that black bag, she had gone to a talk by the Karmapa Lama. She had a souvenir from that talk: a blue Buddha keychain. Afterwards her boyfriend had taken her to a gun show and presented her with a second souvenir: a bullet casing that had been turned into a keychain. The keychain had turned up on the X-ray, hence the search for ammo.
Our friend is really not the type who gets mistaken for a gunrunner. She was impressed that the security check managed to detect a small, ordinary .22 caliber bullet. The security officers examined the evidence: a bullet keychain next to the Buddha keychain.
“Sorry, Ma’am, but you cannot take this bullet onto the plane,” the security officer declared. “We have to confiscate it.” Under different circumstances Otsu might’ve been hustled off to a holding cell and interrogated about the one bullet, but the officers decided that she did not represent a threat to national security.
“Take it,” Otsu said, “As a reminder of how I didn’t shoot my boyfriend when I had the chance.”
The security officers stared at her for three seconds, then burst out laughing. “Si Ma’am naman.” They were still chuckling and repeating the story as she proceeded to the gate.