Hey, speaking of which, we find McNulty stopped at a traffic light and lost in thought about how to squeeze more blood out of this particular stone. That's when he notices a homeless man begging for change at the intersection -- the man is, to put it mildly, not in very good shape at all. He's having a great deal of trouble moving, and what looks to be even more trouble holding on to what remains of his mind. McNulty pulls over his car to the side of the road, gets out, and regards the homeless man with growing fascination. From the looks of it, he's just gotten a very terrible idea, not that a lot of his ideas have been of the four-star variety lately.
Back to the Sun, where Templeton is busy composing his "I Walked Among Baltimore's Unfortunates" story, while Fletch speaks in sotto voce to Gus. "I'm not looking to shit on another guy's copy," Fletch says. Hey, if it's about Templeton, shit away, friend. Fletch is at a meeting where someone apparently took issue with the accuracy of Templeton's reporting. The heck, you say. Anyhow, the story in question -- literally -- is the one about the woman who died from an allergic reaction to blue crabs. The story the Sun ran made a lot of money for a scholarship fund set up for the deceased kids...but the dead woman's sister has a history of fraud, and most of the money donated to the fund was then allegedly donated by her to casinos in Atlantic City. Gus heads over to Templeton's desk and asks him to check with the family "and see if we don't get took on this, huh?" From the way Templeton looks at Gus and grabs the piece of paper with the phone number from his hand, there look to be about 243 other things Templeton would prefer to do. Say, wouldn't it be a hoot if after all that Templeton's pulled -- including but not limited to writing a story about a phone call that never took place from a serial killer who does not exist -- that this insignificant little trifle is the thing that ultimately brings about his downfall? And by "hoot," I mean "nearly as satisfying as a mind-blowing orgasm."
We're back at the Detail Office with Freamon and McNulty...and the homeless guy? Yeah, he's there, too. Uh-oh. "This is kidnapping," Freamon protests. Uh-oh times two. McNulty points out that the guy came with him willingly after McNulty offered a hundred bucks to do so. A thousand times uh-oh. Freamon asks if the guy will be able to find his way back home, and McNulty says yeah, probably, but by the time he does, they'll have collared Marlo and everyone will write off whatever happened to the homeless guy as "some fraternity prank." Uh-oh times infinity. And don't worry about him fingering you as a cop, Lester -- the guy's out of his mind, as the anti-psychotic prescription medicine McNulty just lifted off him clearly indicates. Head-shaking, fist-slamming, eye-rolling uh-oh at the top of my lungs. McNulty plans to take the homeless guy's I.D., scratch his name off the medicine bottle, and remove any other form of identification before handing the guy a Cleveland-based identity card lifted off one of the homeless bodies that was too far gone to use in the serial killer scheme. Uh. Oh. "You need P.C. to intercept cellphone photos," McNulty explains to a dubious Freamon. "Well, here it is, right here. We send photos of this guy all ribboned up from a dry cell phone to that goofy reporter along with a message bitching about his stories. 'I ain't no pervert.' Whatever. Now, the killer says, 'You ain't gonna find no more bodies, only photos of the victims.'" I don't think this can be said enough in enough ways about this latest plan -- uh-oh. Freamon takes one last look at the homeless guy, whose head is lolling back and forth, and can barely contain his self-contempt: "I don't believe we're going to do this." Don't think about the troubling moral and ethical issues of exploiting your fellow human being, McNulty insists -- just think about nabbing Marlo. Freamon glances at the homeless man once again; McNulty grins at him eagerly. Freamon groans and leaves the room. Gotta side with Lester on that one.