Somewhat softening the blow of the upcoming, abbreviated season of The Wire being its last, HBO is offering short "prequels" featuring Wire characters for free right now on, beginning Dec. 15 on and its On Demand service, and each will air at the close of a fifth-season episode, starting with the third installment. Creator David Simon produced the vignettes concurrently with working on the show's finale, although they don't have any bearing on the season's story lines: Two focus on Proposition Joe and Omar as children (!) and the third follows McNulty and Bunk on McNulty's first day on the job, making them something akin to David Simon's Wire Babies. For people who love The Wire (there are a few of you out there, right?), shiiiiiiiit….Christmas just came a little early.