The Friendly Stranger – former bodybuilder, former mental patient and Tae Kwon Do black belt – spent summer Sundays in Central Park. Wandering off the path a bit, he stretched out on the grass. Using his back pack for a pillow, he just watched the clouds pass by overhead.
Every so often people would stroll or jog on by. One day, something out of the ordinary occurred. A hippy-esh guy, certainly no weekend warrior, appeared in a full-blast run. As luck would have it, passing by the Friendly Stranger’s spot, the sprinter despite himself threw a cough drop tin off to the side. The man in motion then disappeared around the bend. Just then, something like six uniformed NYC police moving at a quick clip followed in the first man’s steps. After about fifteen minutes, the whole little crowd in blue proceeds past on a return trip, now with the hippy in handcuffs.
The Friendly Stranger remained in the same spot for a couple of hours. He then got up and retrieved the metal container, opened it and looked inside: hits of LSD. Putting the chemically shrink-wrapped fireworks away in the back pack, The Friendly Stranger began to walk to 33rd Street to get the PATH to Hoboken.
From the Hoboken train station, The Friendly Stranger headed to Henderson Street and then to White Rose Frozen Foods, where he worked nights as a checker. Stopping by the office to clock in and to get a cup of coffee, all of a sudden he remembered the acid in the candy can. Without a thought, The Friendly Stranger dumped all the hits into the coffee urn.
Men who had worked in the warehouse for years got lost in the freezer and had to be rescued before becoming frost bitten. Tough, On the Waterfront sorts broke out in sobbing fits of tears. The entire work force was to one degree or another dazed and confused.
Arriving to work on Monday night, The Friendly Stranger saw management huddled with Don Nagle, Karate Master and Jersey City police officer on the narcotics squad. Staring directly at The Friendly Stranger, Nagle said, “I got a good idea who did it, but just as long as it doesn’t happen again, I’m not going to say anything.”