Society of Distrust

Published 9:18 am Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Flying home from his “Gramps,” 16-year-old Kevin Coker stepped into the airport and found himself placing his coat, cell phone, watch, belt, wallet and shoes on a moving conveyer that seemed to swallow his possessions.

Striding through the arch, a beeper sounded and Kevin was escorted aside by security. An electronic baton was whisked over his body.

The culprit?

His high school ring, still in his pocket. “Forgot about that,” he muttered, embarrassed. Like a movie rewinding, he reassembled his belongings back to their proper places and headed to Gate C, passing three security police en route, one with a dog, before boarding the plane back to his hometown of D.C.

Upon arrival, he picked up his blue suitcase and checked the lock for any tampering. Walking to his car, Kevin hit the remote “unlock” button and the blinking headlights signaled his success.

Sliding behind the wheel, the smell of his vehicle was like home as he shifted into “D” and all four locks clicked.

Pulling into his driveway, he glanced at the familiar, but empty house and a warm feeling rolled over him. Though his parents were at work, it felt good to be in familiar surroundings again.

Kevin walked past a “This House is Protected” sign in the yard and unlocked both the regular and dead bolt.

In the hall, he punched in 6-9-4-3-2-8 within the allotted 20-second time period. Turning, he relocked the front door.

Next day, Kevin drove to his school, pushed the button that signals the office to unlock the door, stepped inside, walked past the corner mounted video camera and through the metal detectors toward his first class, dreading a whole 50 minutes of European history.

After school, Kevin headed to Beaverbrook Mall. Stepping out of his car, he put on his coat and, unbeknownst to him, out slipped a $10 bill, fluttering to the pavement.

A stranger, passing by, noticed the incident, ran over, scooped up the bill and yelled to its rightful owner, “Hey buddy! I think you dropped something!”

Kevin turned around, glanced at the bill in the unfamiliar hand and, with skeptical eyes, stared at the stranger.

REX ALPHIN of Walters is a farmer, businessman, author, county supervisor and contributing columnist for The Tidewater News. His email address is