The Wire
Collateral Damage

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Wing Chun: A | 1 USERS: A+
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"They Can Chew You Up, But They Gotta Spit You Out"

I.B.S. hall. Inside, Horseface is crabbing to Frank about getting busted for taking a couple of cases of vodka out of a container he claims had already had its Customs seal broken when it was up on the crane. Frank smirks, "I didn't come to the union hall today on the back of no bread truck." Horseface insists, "We grabbed a couple cases at the end -- after every one of them sailor boys damn near raped it." "A couple of cases?" asks Frank. Horseface evasively says that it was four, and Frank starts cracking up. Sure -- if Frank's learned anything this week, it's: what's a little lost or damaged cargo here and there if it's for the greater good? Just then, some other guy comes to the door, bitching about the cops: "They're stroking tickets on every goddamn car!"

Outside, we get to catch up with another old friend from last season: Carver. Who's apparently been busted down to traffic cop. He's standing on the curb next to some parked cars, writing parking tickets with a smoke hanging out of his mouth. I guess you do what you can to keep warm in what still looks to me like one ass-cold Baltimore winter. He puts a ticket on one car's windshield and tosses his butt away, at which point he's accosted by Frank: "'Rear tag not entirely visible'?" Ha! Carver calmly tells him that he's "got the tow bar set high." Frank reads another ticket, which charges that emergency access was blocked: "We've been parking this side of the building since the fucking ships had sails!" Carver starts to walk away, Frank spitting after him, "Come on, pal, what the fuck?!" Carver finally takes pity and turns back: "It ain't me, it's my boss." Frank angrily demands to know who Carver's boss is, and Carver reveals, "Valchek. Southeast District." Frank knows the name: "That sawed-off piece of shit. Why the hell is he fucking with us?" Carver doesn't know, of course, but says that, whatever it is, Frank & Co. have "definitely got the man's attention": "Word comes down this morning from my shift lieutenant we're supposed to ride past your union hall twice a day and paper cars." Frank, shaking his head, tells Carver, "You work for a gaping asshole." "More than one, actually," sighs Carver. Hee. Frank tells Carver that he and his guys intend to take this ticket business "downtown," and Carver shrugs, "Take it all the way to the mayor's office. I can't blame you. But leave me out of it." He opens his car door, and as he tosses his uniform hat in, he adds, "It's chain of command. I mean, I gotta live with the son of a bitch too, right?" Frank chuckles mirthlessly, and Carver gets in his car. Carver in a uniform. I swear, I never thought we'd see that until the funeral when Herc eventually had a heart attack chasing some Project kid through the sewers or something.

In prison, Wee-Bey's getting his cell tossed by some hard-on guard. The guy uncovers a couple of contraband stroke mags under the mattress, and then starts tearing down posters: "Who told you to decorate, nigger?" One poster for a band (I guess) reveals a centerfold, underneath, depicting a girl with such an impressive arch in her back that it's sort of a shame she isn't teaching yoga instead of getting her photo taken in a pose where I can practically see her colon. Eh, I suppose she could be doing both. Anyway, the guard tears down the centerfold as well, abusing Wee-Bey as he goes. Wee-Bey sullenly mutters, "I ain't done shit," at which the guard gets right up in his face, really so aggressive about all of this that it's like this is his very first day on the job. As he's roughing up Wee-Bey, we also see that there's a little tiny aquarium on the desk, aw. It seems like the guard notices at exactly the same moment I do, and thinks he's busting Wee-Bey for having "pets, too." Wee-Bey protests that they're plastic -- "They got little motors and all" -- but the Hard-On Screw dumps it all out on the floor anyway, telling Wee-Bey to clean it all up before lockdown. Somehow, the abandoned plastic fish and related sea life are even more poignant a symbol of where Wee-Bey has ended up than live fish would have been.

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The Wire

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