At first, the business is a success, but soon the local narcotics squad comes after Malcolm, and he begins to lose time and money trying to avoid them.Eventually, Malcolm has to move weekly to avoid being arrested on planted evidence.
Later in the autobiography, Malcolm discusses his friend West Indian Archie’s photographic memory and quick math skills, pointing out that these skills could have served him well in school, but Archie is instead locked into defending his gambling territory and his reputation, which eventually gets him killed.
Even Malcolm’s younger brother Reginald, a bright and gentle young man, needs to deceive his fellow Harlemites with a hustle in order to make ends meet.
With his tips, Malcolm begins to invest a lot of money in the numbers racket, the popular unofficial lottery in Harlem.
He learns the names and faces of the young numbers runners as well as those of the “old heads,” black gangsters left over from the With permanent employment, Malcolm moves to a rooming house run by prostitutes.
Malcolm makes a trip to Boston, where Shorty is trying to get his band off the ground.