But I have a more recent Needle in the Haystack story.
Oooohh... I have one of those....
Some years back, I was working for Verizon in midtown Manhatten. One days, I had a recently acquired tanzanite and diamond ring in my pocket. It was in a cotton lined film cannister. Unfortunately I was wearing a pair of pants with extremely shallow pockets. At the end of the day, I noticed that it was no longer there. Frantically looked around for it, and then asked one of the cleaning crew, if they had seen a film cannister around my desk. They said that they had thought it was just trash, and it probably went downstairs with the last batch of trash.
After many internalized obsceneties, I went down to the security desk and asked where the trash was gathered. I explained the situation and they let me back into the dock area where all the dumpsters were. As I climbed into one of the dumpster the security guard asked me what I was doing. I explained that I was going to find my tanzanite and diamond ring and asked him what he would do in my situation. He thought about it for a bit and finally relented. He said I couldn't make a mess and that the garbage trucks would be coming around midnight to haul stuff away. Oh goodie.... now I had a deadline.
The average size office building tower in midtown Manhatten generates an obscene amount of trash in a given workday... honestly I don't think most people think about it past the little trash bin underneath their desk. It's certainly a different proposition when you look up at the mountain from the loading dock and the end of the day.
For the next 6 or 7 hours, I methodically dismantled the company's daily offering to the trash gods. As I searched, I was also looking for clues as to what floor and department's trash I was working through, hoping I could work my way back to the trash from my floor. Shortly, after midnight, I became more and more worried I would soon hear the groan and strain of the large doors letting the garbage trucks in. I was sweaty, tired, and a tad more odorous than when I had I started. Then, like some cheesy movie, I started recognizing discarded mail addressed to my floor (small internal "yip"), then mail addressed to co-workers (larger internal "yip"). At that point, I was pretty much in dog-after-a-bone mode.
Wait!!!... was that a flash of black & gray? Does black & gray actually flash? No... it could just be someone else's film or empty canister, but then there wouldn't be a happy ending. I climbed back on the dock. Opened the canister, and verified it was in fact mine (big "Yeeeeessss!!" echoing off the walls). Instead of my pocket, the canister and it's contents went immediately into the internal pockets of my knapsack. I double-checked that there was little or no evidence of any havoc on the docks or in the dumpsters(?!?!), before I went up to the security desk to let them know that I had found my ring (they were a little shocked and all wanted to see it). Then I headed off to Port Authority to catch the last bus home.... it had been a long day.