We sold our house. Verbally, anyway.
Also, I’m opening the Wire thread early, because the season finale’s tonight, and I fear the next few days will be wack, work/chores-wise.
So to get you started, here’s a snippet from the David Simon Answers Your Questions thingie on the HBO website:
This is amazing. True story:
In December 1984, Melvin Williams – a lgendary player in the Baltimore drug
trade — was arrested by Det. Edward Burns as a result of an investigation
of more than a year that included cloned pagers, wiretaps, undercover
reverse buys of drugs, etc. Because of Little Melvin’s long history, I was
assigned to write a longer piece on his life, a profile so to speak. Over
two years, I gathered string on Melvin — meeting and getting to know
Detective Burns in the process — and ultimately, I wrote a long, five-part
series about Melvin that ran in January 1987. During the reporting for that
series, I was able to talk at length with Melvin at Lewisburg Penitentiary.
Less than a year ago, after winning his release from federal custody on a
parole, Melvin Williams, Ed Burns, myself and Norris Davis (who plays Vinson
on the show and has a lot of street history of his own, I must say) met for
lunch in Little Italy, enjoying each others company, reflecting on things
past and possible futures. It was a remarkable lunch, one of the strangest
and improbable gatherings to which I have ever been a party.
At one point, Melvin handed me a business card with his cell number and Ed,
dry as dirt, looked up from his salad just long enough to say, “What I
wouldn’t have given for that twenty years ago.” Melvin smiled at that, and
later, he gave Ed — the man who had run the wiretap that finally caught him
talking furtively at city payphones, who had brought about his last
conviction and longest incarceration — a little tease back. Professing that
he was now retired from the game, Melvin declared that he was grateful that
he was now free, that he had some good years left and that he still had a
little money to spend.
“We didn’t find much of the money, did we?” said Ed.
“No,” said Melvin, smiling slightly. “You didn’t.”
I genuinely admired the way these two guys handled that lunch. Like
professionals. Nothing personal, just two men with a lot of shared history
accepting each other on present terms.
Melvin is now very active in Bethel A.M.E. church and outspoken against the
drug culture. It seemed perversely appropriate to cast him therefore as the
Deacon. He seems real and credible to me in the role. Having paid his debt
and served his sentence, I wish him well and look forward to getting an
expensive lesson in billiards from him.