to be on the number

Tohdom

Member
Russian
"Bobo was as honest as the day was long. Generally a runner made plenty for himself, taking a chance that the dough he clipped wasn't on the number that pulled in the shekels". But Bobo was too simple to be dishonest."
(1940s)
I the Jury, by Mickey Spillane

I understand general meaning of highlighted text: "money was unaccounted", but can someone clarify it?
 
  • Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    Bobo is a runner in a numbers game.
    Numbers game - Wikipedia
    He goes around town and people tell them what numbers they want to play and give him money. He takes the money back to the people running the game . He's taking some of the money. If the money that he takes is money that was bet the winning number, he will get caught. I'm guessing because the winners will complain if their bet doesn't pay off, while the losers don't know that their bet wasn't even placed.
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    He is supposed to just be a courier. And he is just a courier, because he is not smart enough to do anything sneaky. But other people in the same job as him do sneaky things and cheat their bosses and make extra money.
     
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