At the Tunnel Bar, the Daily News began to disappear. As this happened late in the afternoon, it was just a nuisance. If this happened in the morning, it would have been a disaster. The paper was a necessity early as the Numbers (illegal lottery) players came in then to see if their interpretations of dreams and other omens had worked. (The winning number was the last three digits of the total daily take of a major race track, as reported in the Daily News.)
The paper was on the bar until well into the afternoon. When I’d look for it around 7 or so — to see what was on TV for the evening — it was gone.
I didn’t say anything, but began to keep an eye on the post noon to and fros of the journal. A regular customer was a Heights resident and longshoreman — one Jungle Juice Willy. While marinating with his many vodka and tonics with lemon juice, he’d read the Daily News. Once he felt well-informed, he’d parade the paper to a magazine rack at the end of the bar. Willie would then stay for another half hour or so, talking and watching TV. Getting ready to leave, he’d put on his trademark light blue windbreaker and head to the rest room, near where the magazine rack was located. Out of the corner of my eye, I watched as he came out, grabbed the newspaper and stuck it under his jacket.
As Jungle Juice was a good customer, I kept quiet, The only thing I needed by time he came in was the TV section, so the following day I took that out at lunch time. When Willie left later on, again the Daily News walked out with him.
The next day Willy came in feathers a-ruffle and announced in a heated tone “Some skunk stole the TV page out of the paper yesterday!”