So while I was ranting there, Bubbles got his HIV test results back. They're negative. Bubbles doesn't look too pleased. "Negative means," Walon begins, but Bubbles snaps at him, "I know what it means." And as far as Bubbles is concerned, the test result must be wrong. "All the shit I've done?" he says. Say, I'm beginning to think this isn't so much about HIV concerns and more about survivor's guilt. Got any opinion on that, Walon? "This is about you trying to make the past be everything, mean everything," Walon says. "You don't even want to think about the here and now. Sorry, Bubbs -- shame ain't worth as much as you think. Let it go." And with those wise words, Walon is out of here.
Over to the Sun offices, where Templeton is revealing the details of his "phone conversation" with the "serial killer" Oh, goody. His audience includes McNulty, Klebanow, Gus, and a white-haired, suspenders-wearing fellow whose humorless demeanor suggests that he is the paper's attorney. The rundown: the killer says there will be 12 bodies before he finishes, that the killer will go somewhere else after he kills 12 people, that the victims wanted him to bite them, and that he didn't care for the slant of the Sun's coverage. McNulty wonders how the killer got Templeton's cell phone number -- Templeton notes that he was handing out his card to homeless men, so maybe the killer got it off there. Sounds plausible enough to me. "I think this is the guy," Templeton insists, quite plausibly and totally convincingly because he's not lying at all. "I mean, Detective, a chill ran down my back." The way McNulty is regarding Templeton, it looks like he doesn't know whether to laugh or...well, laugh harder, I guess. But I get the distinct impression that McNulty has just realized he's dealing with a bullshit artist. Takes one to know one, and all that.
McNulty asks what the killer sounded like -- Templeton plausibly offers that he "sounded like a white guy, not a deep voice, but calm. Almost monotone. He sounded older. I would say, forties." Wow -- that's totally believable! McNulty asks if he could have the notebook, which is when Whitey McSuspenders, attorney-at-law, weighs in with an emphatic no: they'll type up the notes and make sure McNulty has a copy, but the notebook itself is the Sun's property. McNulty would like that copy. "Now," he says. "So are you saying this could be the killer?" Klebanow wonders. And it's clear at this point that McNulty has figured out the solution to the earlier problem about how to get a wiretap for his serial killer. "The homicide unit received a phone call this morning from a pay phone from the same neighborhood," McNulty lies. "And based on Scott's voice description and the use of the number 12, well, let's just say we need to find whoever it was that made both those calls." "He made another call?" Templeton asks, partly with wonder, partly with dread. And for a moment, he and McNulty stare at each other, trying to figure out if the other one is as big a fibber as he is. Klebanow wants to run a story about these calls, and asks McNulty if it would negatively impact the investigation. Hey, knock yourself out, McNulty says. "But you can't say he contacted the police," he quickly adds. "You can't print that part of it under any circumstances." Because then my elaborate tower of lies will topple over, and Landsman will eat me while leering at MaidenForm ads.