City Hall. Mayor Royce, Burrell, and a character I plan on calling Flunky-in-Chief from now until the end of all time no matter how many letters I get are discussing Carcetti's antics at last night's subcommittee hearing. They can't seem to figure out what his angle is: his district's not getting shortchanged on things like repaving foot patrols and streetlights. Perhaps he's an elected official who's genuinely concerned about the state of his city? Bwah hah ha ha ha -- some of these jokes are just for me, people. Flunky-in-Chief wonders if maybe Carcetti harbors ambitions beyond his district. "Not my chair," Royce says dismissively. "Not in this town. Oh, no. If that guy came off any whiter, he'd be see-through." Everyone enjoys a good chuckle -- even Martin O'Malley scoffs at such a ludicrous notion. That's all well and good, Burrell says, but maybe the mayor can do something to keep Carcetti off the department's case? "Not a lot of favors we can call in on that side of town," frets Flunky-in-Chief. So they decide to buy off Carcetti with statistics -- a 4 to 5% drop in felonies, and keep the murder rate to under 250 a year. Burrell points out that they've already had 232 murders so far in Charm City; best-case scenario he can offer is capping it at 275. That 275 dead bodies is considered enough progress to neuter Carcetti on the crime issue speaks volumes about the age of diminished expectations we currently find ourselves in.
At Comstat, Burrell delivers the new statistical imperatives to his...well, if it's a murder of crows, and a pride of lions, what would a group of majors be called? A muddle of Majors? A tribe of top brass? An assemblage of yes-men? At any rate, the majors are told by Rawls that they will reduce felony rates by 5% or more: "Or -- and I've always wanted to say this -- let no man come back alive." The directive on keeping the murder count at 275 goes over less well. "Christ," Col. Foerster mutters under his breath; unfortunately, it's loud enough for Rawls to hear. "Feeling a little fazed, Colonel Foerster?" he asks. "A little dyspeptic?" "Dys-who?" says Foerster, before affirming somewhat unenthusiastically that he's good to go. "I don't care how you do it," Rawls continues. "Just fucking do it." Colvin can't help asking a pointed question of Rawls: "I think we all understand there are certain processes by which you can reduce the overall number of felonies. You can reclassify an agg assault or you can unfound a robbery. But how do you make a body disappear?" By Rawls's response, I'd say that there's a body he'd like to make disappear right now. Burrell stresses once again that these orders are non-negotiable, and that anyone who can't deliver on the numbers will be replaced by someone who can. Rawls has kept his murderous gaze on Colvin this whole time. "Jesus, Bunny," Valchek chuckles. "What got into you?" "Another six months to my thirty," Colvin says. "I'm out the door on a major's pension. The hell they can do to me." Yes, write it in the sky in forty-foot-letters: THESE WORDS WILL NEVER COME BACK TO HAUNT ME. It makes the inevitable denouement so much more poignant.