Friday, September 5, 1980
False dawn tinted the sky
an indefinable grey. The moon had long since set, leaving the beach shadowed and colorless. The gulls were silent, and the
only sound was the rhythmic wash of the sea. If loneliness could be substantiated, given physical form on the earth, it might
look something like this.
David Starsky shivered and
pulled his jacket tighter across his shoulders. The damp had set in, hardening the sand and creating a chill that crept up
through his jeans. He knew his partner would have a few choice words to say to him if he saw him sitting here like this.
He winced. His partner;
he had to stop thinking like that. Hutch wasn’t his partner anymore.
He went over Dobey’s
words again. “Dave…”
He’d known the news
was bad the moment he heard his captain speak. Dobey never used his first name unless it was very bad. The first time he’d
heard him say “Dave” like that, he’d been dying. Morosely, he told himself this wasn’t so very different.
“Dave, I just read
the review board’s report…”
Starsky listened to him
stumble over his words, trying to put it as gently as he could, but there was no escaping the truth. He’d heard it often
enough from his own doctors. Gunther’s bullets had shredded his insides and nicked his spinal cord, causing irreparable
nerve damage to his left leg and his left hand; his gun hand. Dobey said something about how he could still work, and he heard
his own bitter laugh at that suggestion. He asked Dobey if he’d seen his typing skills. What good would he be behind
a desk? There was silence on the line after that, and Starsky felt a twinge of remorse. His captain was doing the best he
could. He didn’t deserve to get dumped on.
“Do you want me to
“No Cap, I’ll
tell him myself.”
That was ten hours ago,
and now here he was sitting on the beach. Dobey would probably call Hutch around seven in the morning, figure out pretty quickly
that Starsky hadn’t called him after all, and fill him in. Starsky could predict the rest. Hutch would be over, pounding
on his door, all sympathy and concern. Hell, he might even offer to quit the force.
Not that Starsky would let
him do that. Hutch had a wife and a kid on the way. He was studying for the Lieutenant’s Exam. He had a future, unlike
certain self-pitying beach bums. He shook his head in disgust, both at himself and at the turns life had taken recently. How
did Hutch ever end up married? And to her?
He knew the answer to that
one. Splitting long hours at work and the hospital, trying to take care of everyone but himself, Hutch had needed someone
to catch him when he crashed and Dawn had been there. She was certainly attractive enough to turn anyone’s head, with
her smooth brown skin and long dark hair, and legs that went from here to forever. She was also extremely bright, sharp, possessing
of a quicksilver wit… and a bitch.
Starsky wished he could
like her. She had her good qualities, and she certainly wasn’t another Vanessa. She really wasn’t. If he went
back to the house right now and called Hutch, he’d be over in ten minutes and Dawn would never say a word to stop him.
She didn’t play those games.
The problem was simply that
she didn’t like Starsky and he didn’t like her. It was better than it had been, though. A rueful smile crossed
Starsky’s face at the memory. They’d been down at the Pits trying to have a few beers, and Dawn had been trading
veiled insults with him all evening. Okay, hers were veiled; his were pretty plainly out there. What could he say in his defense?
She was just better with words than he was. Hutch had tried to lighten thing up at first, but after a while he gave up and
simply sat there with his knuckles turning white around his bottle of beer, and his head going back and forth between them.
In the back of his mind,
Starsky knew what he was doing to his buddy, but he was too pissed at Dawn to care. He suspected she felt much the same way,
because when Hutch finally slammed his bottle down, her head snapped over to stare at him with the same shocked expression
Starsky could feel on his own face.
There was a tense pause
as Hutch tried to gather his thoughts and speak without stuttering. With appalled fascination, they both watched him bring
his finger up. Very deliberately, he pointed at Starsky. “You are my best
friend.” The finger came around to zero in on Dawn. “You are the woman
I love.” His hand clenched into a fist and dropped to the table. “Stop it, both of you. You’re acting like
Starsky looked at Dawn and
read the guilt on her face. For once, he found himself agreeing with her. If he really loved his friend, he wouldn’t
force him to choose between them. “Sorry,” he had mumbled. He sort of said it in Dawn’s direction, but they
all knew he meant the apology for Hutch. And when she said she was sorry, it came out pretty much the same, though with a
lot more words. Since then they had tried to be civil to each other, for Hutch’s sake. Mostly they just didn’t
talk to each other at all.
You could always count on
Hutch to grab you by the scruff of the neck and give you a good shake when you needed it. Which was exactly why Starsky hadn’t
called him yesterday afternoon; he wanted to feel sorry for himself and the last thing he needed was Hutch hanging around
trying to fix everything.
He shifted awkwardly on
the sand. The damp was causing the muscles in his legs and back to stiffen up. Much longer out here and he might not be able
to get up at all. But what better place was there for a good long wallow in misery?
The dog took him completely
by surprise. One moment he’d been alone with his thoughts and in the next, a giant brute of a creature was a foot from
his face, barking maniacally. Starsky fell backwards, automatically reaching for the service revolver he no longer carried.
Even in the terror of the moment, he couldn’t help thinking that it was remarkable how that reflex refused to quit.
He was scrabbling for his cane when the dog’s face was suddenly yanked back.
“Oh hey, I’m
really sorry about that!”
Starsky pushed himself up
on his elbows. A girl was straddling the giant slavering beast, with her arms wrapped around its throat, trying to pull it
back. “Monster, you quit it! Behave! Bad dog!”
The dog kept barking wildly,
and then lunged forward, dragging his owner with him. Starsky rolled to the side, feeling the muscles in his chest protest
against the sudden motion. He tried to come up onto his feet, but his left leg collapsed underneath him and he ended up on
one knee instead.
not trying to hurt you,” gasped the girl. “He’s a very nice dog. He’s just not very well trained.
Oh, shut up!” This last exclamation was directed at the dog. She threw her weight onto his haunches, forcing him to
sit down. Over his baritone barking, she said, “I’m sorry; I didn’t think there’d be anyone out here
at this time of the morning!”
Starsky eyed the pair of
them warily. The girl appeared to have gained some control over her pet. He had stopped barking, though he still strained
against her weight. He was a very large dog, with a heavy coat and a grey muzzle, which was now, Starsky noted, flecked with
foam. He had long yellow teeth. His owner was much easier on the eye, and a little older than he’d taken her for at
first. At best guess, he would place her in her mid-twenties. She was a bit on the short side, and her enormous dog made her
look even smaller. She had dark hair, and an apologetic smile.
His leg crumpled the rest
of the way, dumping him on the sand. He attempted to make it look as if he’d intended to sit down because, after all,
why not? It makes perfect sense to sit down three feet from a giant murderous dog.
Nearly synchronous with
his own descent, the beast collapsed to the ground and heaved a huge sigh. Mournful brown eyes regarded him from the massive
head that now rested on the sand. Starsky told himself it was probably just disappointed that it hadn’t been allowed
to eat him. The girl slid off the dog’s back and sat beside him, her hand still gripping the collar firmly. “I
really am sorry,” she said again. “He’s actually a very nice dog.”
“I believe you,”
Starsky lied. He wanted her to take her dog and keep on walking wherever they’d been headed, but she seemed to have
settled down where she was for the time being. He massaged the calf of his leg, eyed the cane which had rolled just out of
reach, and considered whether there was any graceful way he could get back up onto his feet without looking like a complete
“My name’s Becky,”
she said. “Did you come down to watch the sunrise?”
“I came here to think,”
Starsky said shortly.
She caught his meaning and
dropped her head in embarrassment. “Well,” she said, “the problem is I can’t really make Monster go
anywhere he doesn’t want to go. If I let him go right now, he’ll be all over you again…” She stopped,
catching Starsky’s reaction. “In a friendly way, I mean!” She smiled hopefully and added, “But if
you want to go somewhere else to think, I can make him stay here with me.”
Starsky’s sigh echoed
the dog’s. He looked at the cane again and then back at Becky. Finally, he said, “My name’s Dave.”
Even in the dim light, her
smile lit up her face. “Pleased to meet you, Dave.”
The sky was turning pink,
the horizon line still indistinguishable above the ocean, before the dog finally heaved himself up off the sand. It took him
several tries, and Starsky watched with interest and a certain degree of empathy.
Climbing to her feet, Becky
explained, “He has arthritis, so he’s a little stiff.” She
was fishing for something in her jacket pocket, when the dog abruptly yanked its collar out of her hand and took off running.
She threw up her hands and made an exasperated noise.
"Monster! Get your sorry
rear back here!"
Starsky surprised himself
by asking, “What kind of dog is he?”
“He’s a mutt,”
she said, still frowning at her pet. “He’s got a lot of Chow in him, and I think there’s some German Shepard
in there, too.” The dog was running straight for the ocean, giving every appearance of not having heard her shout. “I
take him for his walk in the morning, because he gets too hot during the day.”
“You should have taken
him to obedience classes,” commented Starsky, as she called again to the dog without success.
“Well, certainly someone
should have,” Becky said without defensiveness. “But his original owner was an old man. After he died, the dog
came to us un-neutered, and un-trained, and much too old for us to do anything about either condition. He’s not adoptable,
so rather than have him put down, I took him home with me. He’s actually a very nice dog.”
“You said that before,”
said Starsky. He thought about her words. “So, you work for the animal shelter?”
She nodded. “I do
clerical work and keep records, that sort of thing.”
“What are you going
to do if he doesn’t come back?”
“He will, when he’s
ready. He’ll decide to come and check on me, and then I’ll snag him with this.” Becky reached into her jacket
pocket again and this time she withdrew a neatly folded leash. “Normally, he’ll walk with me without it, but he’s
all excited today because he’s met you.”
Starsky looked down the
beach towards the stretch of ocean where the dog was now pouncing on the waves. The animal stopped abruptly and streaked back
up the sand at them. As he came closer, Becky made a lunge for his collar. She missed, and landed on her knees as the dog
danced backwards. Starsky was convinced he saw it laugh, silently. The dog was showing no signs of stiffness now.
“You big brat!”
said Becky in exasperation. She rocked back onto her heels and sat back down on the sand with a thump, watching as her dog
ran off to play with the ocean waves once more. After a moment she looked over her shoulder at Starsky.
He saw the speculative look
in her eyes, and he returned her gaze steadily.
She said, “Can I pass
you your cane?”
He searched her face for
pity and saw none. “Sure,” he said.
She jumped to her feet and
handed him the cane. Without waiting to see what he would do with it, she ran down to the ocean. She did not look back as
he began the laborious process of climbing to his feet. Starsky found himself wondering whether she was uncomfortable watching
him, or if she had rightly guessed he’d be uncomfortable with her standing around. Watching her, he rather hoped it
was the second, though he could just imagine her reaction if she ever saw the railroad tracks crossing his torso.
This was one aspect of his
recovery that he had yet to put to the test. At first he’d been too sick, and then the opportunity simply hadn’t
presented itself. Flirting with nurses was very nice, but outpatient physical therapy was not exactly the ideal venue for
romance, never mind all the jokes he’d shared with Hutch.
Becky had some trouble catching
her dog. By the time she came back up the beach with the leash clipped on and a woebegone dog trailing after her, she was
soaked and tousled and grinning widely. Starsky had been standing watching her for several minutes and he couldn’t help
laughing at the giant mutt’s expression.
“He hates the leash,”
said Becky cheerfully. She stopped in front of Starsky and said, “Thank you for putting up with us. I’m really
sorry if we bothered you.”
He shook his head. “Don’t
apologize. I don’t mind.” He was surprised to find that he was telling the truth. A pretty girl, a sunrise on
a beach, it was amazing how little it took sometimes to make a person feel better about life. “Do you always walk that
dog before dawn?”
she said, and he could easily read the interest in her eyes. “Maybe I’ll see you again?”
“I hope so,”
he said, returning her smile and thinking to himself that the sunrise tomorrow might be well worth seeing. It wasn’t
much of a plan for the future, and there were many things he still needed to figure out, but it was a start.
On the road above the ocean,
a lanky blonde man watched them through the open window of his battered brown car. For a moment, he could almost forget how
much things had changed. Starsky’s cane was hidden by his leg, and he was standing with that familiar hipshot attitude
that always signaled so clearly his interest in a new girl. He should turn now and walk away with a cocky swagger…
The pain Hutch felt at the
sight of his friend’s deliberately careful gait still lingered, despite the passing of the months. The careless bounce
that had so defined Starsky was gone, ripped away in a hail of bullets. The man that remained behind was more thoughtful,
more cautious, and slower in his movements.
Hutch started his car. He’d
seen enough to reassure himself that Starsky was fine. His friend didn’t need to know that someone had been surreptitiously
keeping an eye on him. He would call when he was ready to talk, and Hutch would
be there to listen, as always.
Crossing the dunes was easier
now. Yesterday evening the sand had been dry and soft, rendering Starsky’s cane useless and forcing him to pick his
way with painful slowness down to the beach, all the while grumbling under his breath that his mother ought to have named
This morning, however, the
heavy dew had dampened down the sand until it had a consistency approaching cement, and Starsky was able to make good time
heading back to his car. His improved state of mind also added a lift to his step that had not been there the previous evening.
A pretty girl will do that for a guy.
As he came around the last
dune, he spotted a familiar brown LTD turning off at the end of the beachfront road.
Hutch! You rat!
It was clear Hutch knew
about the report, and had tracked him down in order to make sure he was all right, and not… what? Throwing himself into
the sea? In any case, now that Hutch had reassured himself on that account, he undoubtedly thought he could just drive back
home and pretend he hadn’t been doing the damned mother hen thing again.
Starsky broke into an awkward
imitation of a trot for the last few paces. As he reached the car he tripped, but managed to save himself from a fall
by grabbing onto the roof of his Torino.
Opening the passenger side door, he tossed his cane into the back and swung himself inside, sliding across the bench into
the driver's seat. Starting the engine and throwing the car into gear, he peeled out in pursuit of his friend, kicking
up a large plume of sand in his wake.
Down on the beach, Monster
heard the roar of the engine and barked once. Becky looked back over her shoulder, incuriously, and told him, “Hush,
it’s only a car.”
She hummed happily as she
walked back to her cottage. Dave seemed like a nice guy, and she hoped she would see him again. When she’d first seen
him, she hadn’t thought of him as particularly good looking. His face was too long, and his eyes were almost half-closed
as he glared at her from under the lids. He wasn’t very friendly, at all. But that first time he’d smiled, her
appreciation of him had changed. And when he laughed…
Becky’s roommate liked
to go beachcombing, and their small house was cluttered with her finds – ocean smoothed rocks, and sand dollars, horseshoe
crab shells, and brightly colored fishermen’s floats. Her roommate sometimes tried to turn it into a competition, claiming
she could spot the best stuff a mile away. However, she’d only ever brought home shark’s teeth and mermaid’s
purses, never a curly-headed guy as cute as this one. Becky grinned, thinking that if this worked out she would definitely
have the monopoly on beachcombing bragging rights.
Starsky accelerated around
the corner, sliding into a showy skid for no reason other than the sheer joy of it. The recently tuned Torino was responding perfectly,
and the feeling of power and speed thrilled him. Perhaps he wasn’t so quick on his feet anymore, but when he was behind
the wheel of his car, it didn’t matter. He was in control.
The LTD was nowhere in sight,
but he could easily predict where it was likely to be by now. Hutch was nothing if not a creature of habit, nearly always
following the same routes whenever he drove anywhere. Starsky turned onto a side road, paying no attention to speed limits.
If he timed it just right, he could make it to the intersection just before his friend. He laughed, anticipating the look
on Hutch’s face.
Hutch had just pulled up
to the light and was patiently waiting for it to cycle through, when he caught a flash of red in his peripheral vision. Glancing
to the right, he was shocked to see a station wagon pulling out to pass a transport just as a familiar red and white striped
car came barreling down the road behind it. The Torino swerved into the oncoming lane, directly into the path of a blue Pinto.
Aghast, Hutch braced himself for the inevitable collision, but miraculously the Torino slid past the nose of the Pinto and up
onto a sand dune at the side of the road. The car angled sharply to the side, seeming momentarily to defy gravity as it popped
up onto two wheels.
Sand sprayed into the air
and the Torino dropped back onto all
four wheels with a jarring thud as it turned back towards the road behind the Pinto, which in turn had come to a screeching
halt next to the shocked driver of the station wagon. Bouncing over a series of small humps by the edge of the road, the Torino was briefly airborne
before regaining asphalt. The driver of the transport leaned out of his window and hollered something that was answered with
a careless wave of the Torino driver’s hand.
The Torino skidded around the corner
and came to a stop perfectly parallel to Hutch’s LTD, the driver’s doors no more than four inches apart.
Looking into Starsky’s
elated eyes, Hutch found himself completely infuriated by his friend’s expression. He had driven with insane recklessness,
endangered others, and he’d almost killed himself, and yet there he was grinning as proudly as if he’d done something
“Of all the stupid,
irresponsible, childish stunts…” Hutch pulled in an unsteady breath and saw the smile slip off of Starsky’s
face. “What were you thinking? You could have been killed!”
His tirade crashed into
a blank wall. Starsky stared at him stonily. Hutch let go of his steering wheel and reached for him, but Starsky had already
turned away and was hitting the gas, pulling away. Hutch had to snatch his hand back into the window of his car quickly, or
he would have been clipped by the side of the Torino.
Damn it, Starsky!
He didn’t try to follow.
He knew Starsky would only attempt to lose him if he did, and Bay City didn’t need both of them
driving recklessly. Instead, he turned at the intersection and continued on his previous route towards Starsky’s place,
fuming the entire distance. Of all the idiotic…!
He was not surprised to
see the Torino already parked in the
Hutch pulled in behind the
car and took the stairs up to Starsky’s apartment two at a time. He tried the doorknob, and found it locked. The doorbell
brought no response. His temper already well frayed, Hutch resorted to pounding on the door with the side of his fist.
“Starsky! Open up
or I swear to God I’ll kick this door in…”
The door opened and one
blue eye glared at him. “Hutch.”
“What?” he snapped.
“Shut up, you’re
scaring the neighborhood.”
Starsky threw the door open
and crossed the living room to stand at the balcony windows with his back to the entrance and his arms crossed. Behind him,
he heard Hutch close the door.
“Don’t you have
a job to go to?” Starsky’s voice was neutral, giving away no clue as to which he intended of the many loaded meanings
that simple question could hold these days.
Hutch absently straightened
the striped blanket on the couch before sitting down. The adrenaline and anger he’d felt earlier had drained away, leaving
him feeling a little unsteady. He answered simply, “Dobey told me to take the day off.”
“Yeah? What about
Oh hell, now that was a loaded question, and Starsky had no idea of just how loaded it was. Hutch wondered if there was any
beer in the fridge. A beer would be just fine right now. Or even something stronger… Yeah, this might be a hard liquor
moment. “I don’t have a partner.”
Starsky still stood at the
balcony door, but he was not seeing the view on the other side. His focus had turned inwards. With a twinge of regret, he
realized that this whole situation had to be nearly as hard on Hutch as it was on him. He turned around and moved a little
closer, leaning on the back of the overstuffed beige chair. He tried to remember who Hutch had been partnered with last. “What
about that new kid, the one with the huge ears? Looks like Howdy Doody? Isn’t he your partner these days?”
“He asked to be reassigned.”
He hadn’t been subtle about it either. Hutch vividly remembered the words, spoken loudly enough that most of the squad
room had heard. “I want another partner. No, not another partner; a real partner.
This guy acts like I’m invisible! He’s gonna get us both killed if he can’t learn to work as a team.”
Hutch was still embarrassed to think about it, and he fervently wished the topic hadn’t come up. Wasn’t he supposed
to be rendering emotional support to Starsky, not the other way around?
Starsky moved around the
chair and sat down. “Aw, Hutch…” He felt like the world’s biggest heel. Here Hutch had just been dumped
by yet another partner, and what was the man doing? Trying to make sure Starsky didn’t feel too bad about getting kicked
off the force and worrying because he was pulling some damned reckless stunts on the road.
Hutch made a gesture as
if to say that it didn’t matter. He wasn’t very convincing.
Starsky patted him sympathetically
on the knee. “What does this make him? The third rookie you’ve gone through?”
to think they’re using me as the precinct’s version of a hazing ritual.”
“Want a beer?”
Hutch in a small voice.
As Starsky pushed himself
up out of his chair and made his way into the kitchen, Hutch followed him. The fridge was well stocked, and Starsky retrieved
a bottle from the back. He turned and eyed his friend with some concern. If Hutch thought he was doing a good job of hiding
his emotions, he was severely deluding himself.
Hutch accepted the beer
Starsky handed him and said, “I didn’t expect the report to read like that. How can they just give up? I mean,
you’ve made so much progress… Some… Somehow I always assumed you’d be back. I – I - I c - can’t…”
He clamped his mouth shut, cutting off the cluttered syllables.
A firm hand clasped Hutch’s
shoulder, took the beer out of his hands and steered him back towards the couch. He dropped down onto it and pressed the heels
of his palms into his forehead, trying to stave off the tension headache that was building behind his temples. He felt the
cushions shift as Starsky sat down beside him.
“I already knew,”
Starsky almost smiled at
the bewildered expression on Hutch’s face.
Sixteen and a half months
after the shooting, it should have been obvious to anyone that Starsky wouldn’t be hitting the streets again. The only reason he hadn’t already been forced to retire and accept a disability pension was because
canning the hero cop would have looked bad politically, and the Chief of Police was up for re-election.
The solution had been clear. Delay until the media circus surrounding the Gunther trial was over, wait for the
final conclusive reports to come in from the medical experts, find the injured cop a desk job and keep him out of the way,
and then expect him to be damned grateful you’d bent the rules that far for him.
It had been a good fight,
but now it was over. Gunther hadn’t killed him, but he’d taken him
off the streets, which was in itself a victory for the bad guys.
It was perfectly obvious
to everyone… except Hutch. That big blond Viking had never learned to accept
defeat. He charged ahead on the assumption that if he just tried hard enough, he’d inevitably win the conflict. He didn’t
realize that sometimes the field of battle had to change, and sometimes you were forced to retreat whether you liked it or
Starsky tried to explain.
“I didn’t need that report. The doctors have been telling me for months that my leg and my hand aren’t going
to come back. Not a hundred percent, anyway. I can feed myself and write, but my gorgeous handwriting will never be the same.”
A ghost of a smile crossed
Hutch’s face. They both knew Starsky’s penmanship had never been anything to write home about.
Starsky continued, “I
might be able to walk someday without needing my cane, but I’m never going to chase down anything faster than an 80
year old granny with emphasis…”
asked Hutch, momentarily jolted by the non sequitur.
“Yeah, you know. No
“Oh, you mean emphysema.”
Starsky didn’t care
whether it was emphasis or emphysema, but he was pleased to hear Hutch sounding a little more like himself. He helped himself
to some of Hutch’s beer, and continued. “Plus, you know, I’ve never been such a great shot with my right
hand. Though I have been reading that book you gave me.”
Hutch blinked. “Not…”
“Yep. The one on how
to become right handed. See?” Starsky grinned. “You got me a good gift after all; it was just about four years
too early, is all.”
Hutch snagged the bottle
of beer out of Starsky’s hand and leaned back, stretching his legs out in front of him. He took a long swallow and relaxed,
looking up at the ceiling. “Have you thought about what you’re going to do now?”
The smile left Starsky’s
face. “Thinking’s no good. I’ve done too much thinking, and I don’t like any of it.” He paused.
“My mom wants me to move back to New York.”
Hutch’s head came
up quickly at that one. Alarmed, he asked, “Will you?”
Starsky shook his head.
Under different circumstances it could be fun to string Hutch along for a while, but not today. “I don’t want
to go. Bay City is…” He shrugged again. He seemed to be doing a lot of that
lately. The right words were hard to come by and getting scarcer all the time. “I’m not going anywhere.”
He took the beer back from Hutch. He really should go and get his own bottle. “I could drive a cab.”
Hutch said, “Your
fares would have to be suicidal to get into a car with you.”
There was no sting in the
words and Starsky was well past his earlier ill-humor anyway. He rubbed the back of his neck, embarrassed. “Okay, you’re
right. That was a dumb stunt I pulled today. Happy?”
“No, damn it,”
said Hutch. “I’m not happy. But I’m not angry at you anymore, either.” He paused and then asked, “Are
you up for a game of Monopoly?”
Starsky, heaving himself up off the couch. “You set up the board, and I’ll get some more beer from the fridge.”
Over the years it had become almost a rule; when in doubt, play Monopoly. For the two of them, it had the comfort of familiarity,
and of old discussions revisited. This time, however, Starsky doubted Hutch would be trying to sign them up as football players.
Perhaps they could consider a career as Bolivian bank robbers? He could be the getaway driver. Or maybe he could hit the high
seas, being just shy of a peg leg already. All he needed was the parrot and one less eye.
In the kitchen, pulling
the bottles out of the fridge, Starsky sighed to himself. Hutch burning out yet another partner was a very bad sign. With
the first two, they could have fooled themselves into thinking that it wasn’t Hutch that was the problem, but with this
third it was impossible to ignore the obvious any longer. Starsky realized too, with a sinking feeling, that Hutch hadn’t
mentioned the lieutenant’s exam in several weeks. He should have noticed earlier, but he’d been too caught up
in his own problems.
Buddy, we were supposed to be partners forever, going out together in a blaze of glory. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance
Kid, remember? What happened to us?