We go to commercial because Wallace's Snickers got caught in the vending machine and things took an ugly turn.
The next day -- or is it? -- Wallace telephones Beth and blathers at her answering machine until she stops screening her call and picks up the phone. "I need a ride," Benton says. Beth delays her response, overcome by nausea at the sexual implications of his demand. She sputters that he's so antisocial, he has no one else to ask. "I just don't like that many people. But I like you," he says quickly, and gets her to agree. So Wallace is a quirky prima donna with an unhealthy dependence on his students. And he's nursing a gin and tonic. And he's standing in a silk robe. And his hair's greased up to -- oh, good God, he's Fat Elvis.
Walter drops by, to Benton's amusement, and asks the reporter to guess who pulled a pop-in at his own office earlier that day. "Uh, Zbignew Brazinski?" Wallace asks. Eh? Walter giggles, because Wally said "bra" and that's the only word he understood. No, it was Detective Klein -- that's Sammy Klein to you -- who visited, toting "Sing Sing [prison] All-Star cards." Benton asks, "Are you gonna trade them? Four Bradford and Washingtons for two Tyrell Jacksons?" Walter shakes his head and stares at the ground, because he didn't even look at the pictures -- he just wanted to chew the free bubble gum. "Amazing that a guy who makes three hundred grand a year shining light into the darkest recesses of the human heart -- am I quoting the Pulitzer panel right? -- is a lousy judge of character," Walter says. Benton won a Pulitzer? Huh. Mental note: drink self into oblivion to win major awards. After all, Benton puts the "lit" in "Pulitzer." Neither Walter nor Klein has changed his opinion about B&W's innocence, and this perplexes Benton's bow-tie, which twists and sticks straight up into his chins. He guzzles a drink. Walter notes that Benton seems rattled by everything, to which Wallace replies he's rattled because no one else is. Beth honks the horn outside. Walter and Wallace walk out, chatting pointlessly. Beth is all dolled up, quite clairvoyant considering Wallace didn't tell her they were going to the ACLU fundraiser. Perhaps she arose that morning with renewed, single-minded focus on mounting the pastiest whiskey-sodden reporter she could find and riding him like a drunk bronco in heat. Or, her jeans were in the wash.