As I’m working on revising and cutting today, I keep wondering, what’s actually interesting? Does anyone care that my partner Errol at Met used to have dreams in 1981 that guided us when we played the numbers? Now that there are no numbers, and hardly anyone remembers Ching-Chow.
In the year of our Lord 1927, an inscrutable cartoon/entitled “Ching-Chow” appeared/in the New York Daily News.
We never actually hit, but we always came close. That was what kept us going. Some of the others guys at Met used Ching-Chow, but they didn’t have any better luck than us. I remember someone teaching me how to do it one night. It had to do with counting the horizontal lines.
For 63 years, Ching-Chow’s elliptical captions/graced those pages. If you knew what to look for/if you had the knack, you could predict the outcome/of the daily numbers game.
There was a place we would drive to, I think on 2nd Avenue, where you could put down money—for us, $3— and then periodically stop by to find out which number had come in. The first one, the second one, then by the end of the shift they had all three.
Everyone played the numbers./That brokedown brick road to riches.
We’d get the first two, then the rest of the shift we’d talk about what we were going to buy with our loot. Now that there’s the legal lottery games, no one plays the numbers. Is it interesting that we did? That it was so woven into life in the eighties, no one even thought about it? At some point, everyone who played the numbers will be dead. Then, will people want to know the details? Or will it just be like vacuum-cleaner bags. Like, who cares?