I held him
in my arms, catching his body as it fell to the ground, slipping down the stone lintel of the door. The heat radiated from
him, the sweat slick on his face as his eyes fought to keep open, as though he wanted one more good look at me.
buddy. What d’ya have to do that for?’ I asked him, my own limbs still shaky from dodging Bellamy’s bullets.
‘He was the only guy that knew’.
his hand with an effort and the merest shadow of that achingly familiar grin flashed for a split second across his face. ‘Seemed
to be a good idea at the time’ he gasped. And then they light went out of his deep indigo blue eyes and he collapsed
against me, his head falling forward.
in a deep breath. ‘Don’t go Starsk. Not now. There’s still time. C’mon ya big lug. Help me out here’
I told him as I tried to stand him up. But his legs were rubber and although his eyes flashed open again, he had no strength
left to be able to help me. All his reserves had gone on his last weary, agonising climb up the stairs to try to protect me
from Vic. That’s my Starsk, I thought. Thinking of everyone else first.
I bent down
and put my hands under his arms and with every muscle cracking, I stood up and wedged him over my shoulder, holding him there
with my left arm as I made my way slowly down the four flights of stairs and back to ground level. I’d carried him once
before. That time he’d had a slug wedged into his back and we were surrounded by gun wielding psychos who got us involved
in a gangland hit. Now it was an invisible devil we were fighting. One that was coursing through his veins and wreaking havoc
with his body.
Hollies song rang through my head. ‘He aint heavy, he’s my brother’ and I laid him carefully down on the
sidewalk, panting heavily. I was gonna go get the mic and call for an ambulance but he rallied. I saw the flash of indigo
and he coughed, his legs jerking reflexively. I put my hand on his shoulder. What else could I do?
buddy, easy. Easy. That’s it, just breathe huh?’
here buddy. Just rest easy. I need to get ya to the hospital’.
amb’lance’ he tried to raise his arm to stop me, but he was rapidly losing all sensation.
I need to get you back to the Doc Starsk’.
but not amb’lance. Go….car’.
‘You and your damned car. What’m’I gonna do with ya?’
coughed and turned his full gaze on me, his eyes hooded with pain and exhaustion. ‘Humour me…..dying man’s…..last
We’ve still got time. Don’t talk like that. Here. Work with me, lemme get you up’. I bent down and took
hold of him again, pulling his dead weight up into my arms and I carried him over to his candy apple red baby.
to lever him into the passenger seat, lifting his legs into the car. He had no use in them now and he sat, slumped in the
familiar surroundings. Somehow he seemed at home and his eyes closed as his chin fell to his chest. I panicked and rubbed
my hand on his chest.
Hey buddy, stay with me huh?’
floated up from the depths of his brown, worn leather jacket. ‘Aint gone yet Blintz’.
at my own fears and his courage. No, he wouldn’t go anywhere till I gave him permission. He’d ride this out to
the bitter end with me by his side until I told him he could go. An’ if I didn’t tell him, there was no way he’d
disobey. I tried to convince myself of that. Starsk wouldn’t go anywhere without me at his side, not even into the jaws
I ran round
the front of his car and got into the drivers seat feeling odd. He was supposed to sit here not me. I gunned the engine and
floored the gas pedal, screeching the tires on the blacktop just like he used to do. A car pulled out in front and I put my
right arm out as I hit the break to catch him as he fell forward.
gonna kill us…..slow down’ he whispered.
took lessons from the best’ I replied, trying to keep the atmosphere light. I ran a red light and heard the screech
of tires behind me. I looked in the mirror and saw two cars slewed across the road. Dammit! Concentrate Hutchinson.
hear his breathing, laboured and shallow now, sweat spiking his eyelashes and beading across his cheeks and forehead. He looked
small, young, vulnerable. Too young to die, especially like this. It was such a meaningless death. He should have lived to
be a hundred, at least. My heart skipped a beat. Life without Starsky. I couldn’t contemplate it. Wouldn’t contemplate
it. Not gonna happen. Never.
sideways at him, willing my health into him, challenging his heart to keep on beating inside his chest and he seemed to feel
like the car?’
Yeah, course I like it. Why?’
You’re not giving up on me now, ya hear?’.
being practical. Mean it….want ya t’have it’.
‘Aww Starsk, its your car. You still need your wheels buddy. Besides red isn’t my
huh….Merle can re-spray’.
there is no way I’m having your car. It’s yours and you’re gonna drive it again. Hear me? Starsky? STARSKY…..DO
YA HEAR ME?’ I yelled.
a soft snort and let out the breath I’d been holding.
in silence for a few minutes as I concentrated on looking at the road as I pushed the car though the almost deserted streets
and kept glancing sideways to make sure he was still with me. My partner.
‘Its always hardest on the ones left behind’
‘Yeah? I’ll believe that when I hear it from someone who went first’.
in the front seat, groaning suddenly as another set of pains coursed through his guts and with relief I saw the hospital in
on buddy. Almost there’ I urged him, although I didn’t know whether he heard me or not. He seemed to be sinking
into a dim world of his own and as I touched his hand it felt cold – too cold.
up outside the ER and put my hand on the door handle.
he slurred, his voice barely more than a whisper.
partner. We’re here now’.
We don’t have a minute buddy. What d’ya want?’
know….when I….will ya ring Ma?’
rose into my throat and I nodded, not trusting myself to answer. He didn’t see and with an effort he raised his head.
I will Starsk, but it’s not gonna happen. We’ve still got time. We can still beat this. I’m not letting
you go, ya hear?’
to smile, but the effort was too much.
it when you’re masterful’ he grunted and I smiled. His sense of humour wasn’t dead yet.
we go in there….’
we’re going in now’.
we go…..promise me sumthin?’
I ran my
thumb down his cheek. ‘Sure buddy, anything’.
we….ya know….don’t let ‘em lose my pants’.
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