The Wire
The Buys

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"The King Stays The King"

Pit. Nothing's happening, because they still don't have a package of "red tops," and won't until the next day. Bodie, playing chess with Wallace, notes that their usual clientele is still shopping, though: "They're buying twice as much and only getting half as high." Sounds like the kind of thinking that made Cadbury shrink the Creme Eggs this year! Wallace makes a move, and D'Angelo tells him that "castle" can't move like that. Bodie says they're not playing that; they're playing checkers, with chess pieces. Huh. Bodie says they don't have any checkers, and D'Angelo, sitting between them, tells them that chess is a better game. He starts to reset the board, and though Wallace is interested in learning, Bodie doesn't want to quit in the middle of their game -- probably because he's winning, if he's anything like me (a poor winner, I mean -- not awesome at checkers, which I am not). Bodie relents, and D'Angelo starts the lesson with the king: "He the man." He explains that you win the game if you get the other guy's king, but that he's trying to get yours too, so you have to protect it. The king can move in any direction "he damn please," because he's the king, but only one space, because he's got "no hustle": "But the rest of these motherfuckers on the team, they got his back. And they run so deep, he ain't really gotta do shit." "Like your uncle," says Bodie, in case we weren't getting it. D'Angelo agrees, and then holds up the queen: "She's smart, she's fierce...She is the go-get-shit-done piece." "Remind me of Stringer," offers Wallace. Yeah -- call Stringer "The Queen" to his face; I bet that after he knocked your teeth out, he'd totally let you explain the analogy. D'Angelo picks up "the castle" and calls it "the stash," demonstrating how it can move. Wallace protests that the stash doesn't move, but D'Angelo impatiently asks, "How many times we move the stash house this week? And every time we move the stash, we gotta move a little muscle with it to protect it." Bodie agrees that that's true, and asks about "them little bald-headed bitches right there." D'Angelo says that the pawns are "like the soldiers," and can move only one space forward at a time, except when they fight: "And they like the front lines. They be out in the field." Wallace, still thinking of checkers, asks how you get to be the king. "It ain't like that," says D'Angelo. "The king stay the king, all right? Everybody stay who they is. Except for the pawns." He explains that if a pawn makes it all the way to the other side of the board, it gets to be a queen: "And like I said, the queen ain't no bitch. She got all the moves." Bodie thinks that if he makes it to the other side of the board, he wins, but D'Angelo corrects him that winning involves trapping his opponent's king. Bodie's still not quite getting it: "But if I make it to the end, I'm top dog." Look, Bodie. No matter what happens, you're never going to be Avon Barksdale. TRUST ME. D'Angelo tells him that the pawns in the game "get capped quick" and are out of the game early. "Unless they're some smart-ass pawns," says Bodie. D'Angelo's like, "Um, sure. Just like how I'm still on a Tower after going to jail."

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