It just doesn’t pay to get on a plane these days. Nightmare reports flood the newspapers all the time – passengers getting bolshie, support animals of outrageous proportions, nutters trying to open the back door at 35,000 feet. I’m telling you it’s just not worth the hassle anymore.

Then to top off any mid-flight drama, you’ve got the people who think they can smuggle all manner of stuff aboard, despite the fact there are clearly posted signs everywhere you look telling you what is a definite no-no.

Just this week I heard of three such creative individuals who were thankfully caught before too much mayhem ensued – but just imagine if these three treasures managed to get to their seats, their contraband so far undetected.

Our first miscreant tried to smuggle four kittens in his pants onto a plane. Now this gives rise to all manner of questions. A kitten, as cute and adorable as it may be, isn’t exactly a rarity, and if our smuggler gave it a nanosecond’s thought, he would have realized that pet adoption agencies abound worldwide and he could no doubt pick up as many of them as he liked for free once he got to his destination.

He was detected while waiting to get through security, as I’ll bet it was awfully difficult trying to explain away the mewing emanating from his trousers. As the Singapore Immigration and Checkpoints Authority quipped – “Trying to get past fur-midable officers? Impawsible.”

Our second rocket scientist in the fauna department was almost successful in smuggling 24 – yes, count them, two dozen – gerbils on a flight from China to Taiwan. Chinese officials didn’t notice she was walking kinda funny, but on arrival, the customs agents in Taiwan somehow realized she had the poor wee things in plastic bags – presumably with air holes – strapped to her legs. She was trying to bring them home to friends, but sadly the animals had to be euthanized.

One enterprising gent thought he could get away with his clandestine animal import/export business while traveling from Berlin to Israel, complete with a boa constrictor in his pants. I kid you not. This of course would give rise to many a saucy question accompanied by a wink in many circles. Questions such as, “Hey, baby, I have a snake in my pants” all the way through to that wonderful Mae West quote, “Is that a gun in your pocket, or are you just pleased to see me?” But of course, I am much too delicate a flower to mention others.

Now granted, this was obviously a baby boa, as it only measured sixteen-inches, but still – oh, I blush to think about it, really.

It’s probably a good thing all three passengers weren’t on the same plane. The boa, having busted out of its bag might have viewed Miss China’s offerings with a satisfying bit of lip-licking before deciding to chow down on his favorite appetizer – Gerbils on a Stick, following up with a rib-tickling German favorite, Puss-Puss Platter.

Annie Dear lives in Lee’s Summit. Email her at anniedearkc@hotmail.com.