Sunday, November 05, 2006


EXTERIOR: Manhattan Warehouse District. Apartment dwellers live above boarded up shops. A row of grimy windows with chipping paint line the third floor.

A man stands by a door leaning on the buzzer.

A woman's voice over the speaker approves the visitor

The window opens and a woman's hand reaches out and tosses a set of keys down. The man catches the keys with a one-handed scoop.

How many times have I seen this scene in movies? More than a cliche it is a defining mood-setting essential for all city folks living in walk-up apartments.

That being said...I now live in a walk-up, and having walked up (and down) and up to greet a visitor, receive a package, retrieve a newspaper..I was looking for an alternative. I could toss the keys down, but had to go down to lock the door behind anyone leaving.

A friend of mine (let's call him "McGyver") constructed a clever weighted device; a long stretch of fishing line, with a weight at both ends (a screwdriver attached to the bottom end, was a place-holder for the test run).

I waited anxiously as McGyver lowered the screwdriver down to street level. But just as it reached the desired level, he felt a tug. "I've got a big one!" he cried. But before the words left his lips, the fishing line fell lifeless.

Someone had stolen the screwdriver!