We head over to a homeless encampment somewhere in Baltimore, where McNulty and Freamon are apparently going to interview real-live homeless people about the real-made-up serial killer who's apparently terrorizing them. McNulty is as dubious about this whole business as I am, but Freamon has just as much sage advice about working on pretend investigations as he does on real ones: "Work it like a real case, it will feel like a real case. And more important, it will read like a real case." See, McNulty doesn't just have to worry about convincing Landsman; if this case takes off, Freamon notes, other higher-ups will want to take a look at their act of make-believe. "We get sloppy," Freamon says, "we get cuffed." My money's on sloppy and cuffed, so long as McNulty's running this operation.
Anyhow, McNulty reluctantly shuffles off into the belly of the homeless encampment, and what a Dante-esque journey down into the layers of hell it is. There's a guy washing his pants in a basin, declining to talk to McNulty because he's go to get ready for work. There's a bunch of sullen-eyed guys gathered around a campfire who have no interest in talking to McNulty whatsoever. Another homeless guy finally flags McNulty down, asking for a card -- when McNulty produces one of his cards, the homeless guy takes it, studies it with growing irritation, and then produces a lockbox full of cards -- I can't tell if they're cards of the tarot, Topps, or Bicycle variety, but he seems very proud of them and very resentful of McNulty's card. Somewhere in all this , we apparently see Johnny Fifty from The Docks in Season 2, though I confess to not recognizing him. I have a hard time recognizing anyone unless they've got a "Hello, My Name Is" tag pinned to their shirt, and that includes relatives. McNulty's expression through all of this suggests that he does not think this is a valuable use of his time, no matter who discovers that he's been faking things.
Slim Charles is walking up the stairs to his apartment, his head on the proverbial swivel. Apparently, he wasn't alert enough, though, because the second he stops looking around to concentrate on unlocking his front door, Omar slips in behind him and puts a gun to the back of his skull. Omar would like to know where Joe is, and he'd like to know now, please. What he would not like is for Slim Charles to start protesting that Joe had nothing to do with Butchie's demise, because the second Slim Charles starts doing that, Omar conks him over the head with the butt of his gun. That does not look like it tickles. Nevertheless, even when dealing with a cracked skull and the sight of a gun-totin' Omar, Slim Charles keeps his cool: "Ask yourself, dog -- why would Joe give Butchie up? If Marlo could make him talk, he puts Joe inside your big score." It's a fair question, Omar. And by the expression on his face, Omar seems to have figured out who's to blame for the Butchie business. "Finish it," Slim Charles pleads. Not today, Chuckles -- Omar takes his leave to go sort things out, leaving Slim Charles to sit there in the hallway of his apartment and bleed a little while.