Friday, July 11, 2008

Busted, TSA-Style -

So there's this guy Mike Daisey, a professional storyteller. Not like the lady telling fairy tales at the library. More like Garrison Keillor, but dark, or like Jerry Seinfeld with one really long joke. Had an off-Broadway hit a few years back with "21 Dog Years," a one-man show about his hellish job at He's 35, lives in New York.

So anyway, Daisey was heading down to D.C. to do his new show here next week at Woolly Mammoth for the Capital Fringe Festival. "It's about the sort of secret history of homeland security," he told us. But it's also about a trip he took to Los Alamos, N.M., and the Trinity site, where the first atom bomb was tested.

Anyway, there's one key prop that he uses in the show. It's a small portable safe, kind of a heavy-duty little suitcase with a serious lock on it. And here's the ironic thing, for the guy telling the story about homeland security: He had to get this fishy-looking suitcase through airport security.

But Daisey knew this might be a problem. So he told us that before he packed the safe in its box, he left it unlocked, with the key in the lock. He taped a note saying it was open. And "tied the key with a bright ribbon to make it look not so scary."

So he checks the box at JFK and flies to D.C. on JetBlue. And when he gets here he picks up his safe . . . and it's been busted open. With a hammer! (He thinks.)

"Had they simply opened the box, they would have seen that it was unlocked and empty," he says. "Of course they suspected a bomb. I know when I suspect a bomb, I often attack the box the bomb might be in with a HAMMER."

The prop was ruined; Daisey had to get a new one. (How will he get that one home? "I'll just carry it on and look all suspicious.") A Transportation Security Administration rep, still looking into what happened, noted that the team only has brief possession of bags in transit. (Daisey said there was a TSA sticker left on the box, no note of explanation.) Will he file a complaint? "The monologue is like its own 90-minute complaint. So I don't know if I'm going to go to the trouble."

7:36 AM