At the Sun, Gus watches as Templeton gets all buddy-buddy with Whiting and Klebanow. Then, a woman passes by, and Gus asks her if she put in some numbers from a port story they're working on, and she says she forgot. Gus asks her for them, because he'll just put them in. "Overall cargo is down twelve points, but roll-on roll-off gained six-point-four percent last year." Gus thanks her, and she warns him about the approaching boss-man. "Whiting?" "Worse: Klebanow." She's outta there just in time for Klebanow to call Gus's name. "Who's the lead for opening day tomorrow? Not the game story, but the color piece?" Gus responds that he thought it was McGuire, and Klebanow says he thinks Scott could do it. Scott, who has rolled up with the Klebster, says he wants to do some piece on an "old-timer, who'd rather die than miss the year's opener." Klebers says it sounds good: "Put your special touch on it, like you did with your Preakness piece last year." Gus wishes Scott luck in a very sportsmanly manner.
Lester again. A car rolls by, and it catches his attention, so he busts out his binoculars. Well, what do you know? Looks like Marlo and Chris and Snoop are getting pretty comfortable without their surveillance team around, and are already getting a little sloppy with their meets. Hmm...
Gus is in bed, and sits up, saying, "Fuck." His wife asks what's wrong, and he tells her to go back to sleep. He grabs the phone and hits a speed-dial, which calls the Metro Desk at the paper. Jay Spry answers, and Gus asks if the night man is still at the copy desk. Spry tells him he is, and asks if he wants to make a change. Gus says he just wants to check on the port story, because he's afraid he got the numbers wrong. After checking the numbers, which are correct, Gus says he "woke up in a cold sweat because I thought I fucked it up." Jay tells him all is well, and Gus thanks him and hangs up. Now that's dedication, folks. I like this Augustus guy. He's good people.
Down at the morgue, Jimmy steps in to check on his lady, and the coroner tells him it'll be a while. McNulty says he's heading "across the street for breakfast," and as he heads out, he hears a guy losing his shit: "Oh, come on, bullshit! This is not a murder! He overdosed! Look, we found his gear on the bathroom floor!" The assistant coroner is irate, and she says that even if they find heroin on the tox screen, it'll be listed as a secondary COD: "I've got petechials, I've got bruising around the neck. My preliminary is homicide by mechanical asphyxia." The guy, clearly a cop, is red in the face, and says he'll bring the paramedic in and he'll explain it. McNulty's been watching this whole interaction, because apparently the guy's partner is someone he knows. The coroner and the other cop each busts out in a huff, and the woman says, "Hey, Jimmy!" "Nancy, how's tricks?" "Heard you were working murders again." "Yeah. How's life in the county?" "Worse every year," she replies. "You guys can't keep all your dirt on your side of the line." McNulty asks what Kevin (I guess that's the other cop) is all hot about, and Nancy explains that some "new cutter's dug her heels in, says it's a murder. It's not, but I can see why she thinks strangulation." They walk over to the body; it's a young man, around thirty, with lots of tattoos. Nancy explains, "If I weren't there to see it, I wouldn't believe it myself. It's all post-mortem. He fires up a speedball, then blacks out, and falls between toilet and bathtub, manages to get himself wedged back pretty good." McNulty gives her a look. "I couldn't make this shit up. Medics come, pronounce him right then and there. But, get this: they can't pry the guy out without grabbing hold of his neck for leverage. We watched them do it, this Dundalk medic and the morgue guy. They just grabbed his neck and started yankin'." Jimmy seems fascinated by this whole story. "Finally, they get him out, he comes down here looking like a strangle job." "They can't tell that it's post-mortem?" "On a fresh body, no one can." She explains that if you're rough with the body soon after actual death, enough of the processes are still in place to result in bruising and petechia. Nancy asks Jimmy to buy her some scrapple at breakfast, and he obliges. He owes her for the good info.
At Jessup, Marlo walks into the visitation room, and the guard tells him to go to number two, which he does, and sits down, holding a picture of Malatov. But Sergei is not the man who emerges from the door; it's Avon! Yes! Back again! Marlo smiles faintly, clearly thinking, "What the fuck?" just like the rest of us. Barksdale slowly makes his way over, and sits. "Surprise!" he says mockingly, and laughs a little bit. "My man Sergei thought we should talk first." "Talk about what?" "That's on you, young'un. Whatever business you tryin' to do through the Russian, you gotta go through me first." "Yeah?" "Yeah." Yeah! "'Cause up in this bitch here, I'm what you might consider an authority figure. You know, e'erybody gotta get my help, or ask my advice, like, on all kinds of shit. Sergei stepped to me the other day sayin' this nigga Marlo, who he don't even know, just be sendin' him cash money to get on his visiting list. So, then he asked me if I know Marlo, and I said, 'Hell, yeah, I know Marlo! Real well.' You know? Over Westside, e'erybody know e'erybody, right?" Marlo looks unamused, but remains silent. "Let me help you find your tongue: you tryin' to get to the Russian so you can get a line to his people. You tryin' to get to the Greek mothafuckas because if you can, you wanna cut Proposition Joe and them other Eastside bitches out the connect." Avon says he understands, but he wants his taste, too. "Figured that," says a stony Marlo. "So, send my sister a hundred large, and the next time you come to Jessup, it won't be my grill talkin' at you." It seems they have an understanding, so Avon asks what's good with Marlo. "You know, the game is the game." "Always," is Avon's reply. Indeed.