The Wire
All Prologue

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"It Don't Matter That Some Fool Say He Different..."

Outside the courtroom, Nathan strides up to Omar, Bunk, and McNulty, delightedly asking, "Was it good for you too?" Pleased chuckles all around. Nathan opens her portfolio and produces a business card, which she hands to Omar, saying that it's a one-time-only get-out-of-jail-free card, good for any charge "up to aggravated assault." Man, that's a pretty good offer. I can think of a few people I'd assault with great aggravation if I thought I could get away with it. Omar, all courtly, thanks her, and Nathan thanks him back: "A rare pleasure." She takes off to go have a celebratory white wine spritzer. McNulty et al are still standing there all smug when the bailiff leads Bird out of the courtroom, and as you might expect, he is not that psyched to see the architects of his destruction enjoying their afterglow right in front of him. "Time for the ceremonial eyefuck," says McNulty, as Omar picks up the end of his tie and waggles it cockily at Bird. "Come see me down the Cut, you punk-ass snitch," yells Bird. "I'll shove a shiv down your cocksucking throat!" "You think on it, Bird," says Omar calmly. "You think on Brandon while you doing that time, you heard?" "I'm gonna see you, man, I swear to God!" screams Bird. "Fuck that, I'll do you like a dog!" As Omar watches him go, McNulty finally gets curious about the foundation of his case, and asks Omar, "You really see him shoot the man?" Omar blinks and turns to McNulty: "You really asking?" McNulty decides he isn't, and slinks off. I guess he'll just have to wait for Omar's posthumous autobiography like the rest of us.

Prison library. Several cons are being led in a discussion about The Great Gatsby, and as we pan over the group, a guy sitting next to the leader says that Gatsby did everything for Daisy, and in the end, "it ain't amount to shit." The moderator -- who, I have to say, clearly lost his passion for this work a long time ago -- listlessly recites that Fitzgerald said there were no second acts in American lives: "Do you believe that?" "Man, shit, we locked up," says a guy at the other end of the table. "We best not believe that, right?" Everyone chuckles except D'Angelo, sitting next to him with his arms folded; after a moment, D'Angelo pipes up: "He's saying that the past is always with us. And where we come from, what we go through, how we go through it -- all that shit matters." He gets sheepish, looking down the table at the moderator, and mutters, "I mean, that's what I thought he meant." "Go ahead," the moderator encourages him. D'Angelo leans forward: "Like at the end of the book, you know? Boats and tides and all. It's like, you can change up, right? You can say you're somebody new -- you can give yourself a whole new story. But what came first is who you really are, and what happened before is what really happened. And it don't matter that some fool say he different, 'cause the only thing that make you different is what you really do, or what you really go through. Like, you know -- like all them books in his library." The leader actually seems engaged as D'Angelo goes on: "Now, he fronting with all them books, but if we pull one down off the shelf, ain't none of the pages ever been opened. He got all them books, and he ain't read near one of them. Gatsby -- he was who he was, and he did what he did, and 'cause he wasn't ready to get real with the story, that shit caught up to him." He slides back in his seat. "I think, anyway." Man, I certainly sat through many an English seminar much less illuminating than that. But my classmates were a bunch of book-not-reading punks even WORSE than Gatsby because they'd crack the spines to try to fool the prof.

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The Wire

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