This next scene we can just call Michael K. Williams Should Have an Emmy By Now, and it's dedicated to all you Wire fans who are in no way annoying as you smugly insist on the superiority of your chosen television program. So Chalky is in the interrogation room with Cyclops, and no one else. Cyclops looks like he just made a master race in his pants. Chalky goes on to deliver a monologue about his daddy, who was so skilled in working with wood. He was hired by a rich white man in Texas named Purcell, who was building himself a mansion and needed bookcases built for his library. After 10 months of work, Chalky's dad brought Chalky by to see his work ("walked through the front door," Chalky describes in mock-haughty tones), and he describes how the intricate detail of his father's work moved him. "It was the most beautiful thing I'd ever seen." Then he leans forward, tells the rest of the story. Of another rich white man who approached Chalky's dad some months later with another job. Only this one led him to the edge of town, where six men were waiting to hang him from the closest pepper tree. Chalky then unfurls the satchel in front of him, containing his father's woodworking tools. He pulls out a rusty pair of bolt-cutter-looking things. Cyclops trembles and asks what Chalky's going to do with those. "Well," he says, pausing for Emmy-clip effect, "I ain't building no bookcase."
At the cabaret, Gillian is performing as the centerpiece of some high-minded piece of topless stagecraft. There are Romans and goddesses and ritual bathing. See, this is what's missing from today's strip clubs: the theatricality. Anyone can grease up a pole and spin around it. Give me Topless Antigone and I'll be impressed. Anyway, as Gillian goes through the motions with a bored look on her face, Lucky Luciano stares at her from the crowd with a somewhat less bored look on his face.
Back at the police station, Chalky emerges to give Eli an update: It wasn't the Klan who hung his driver. Eli is incredulous that Chalky would just take the Cyclops's word for it. "There's a point which if a man still sticks to his story," Chalky says, all wise and worldly, "that's a man who's telling you the truth. We passed that point about ten minutes ago." Heh. He hands Eli a piece of purple cloth, folded over. Eli un-folds it and finds a freshly severed pinky finger, its signet ring still attached. Ha ha, Grand Cyclops! Try drinking tea without looking stupid now!