‘Aren’t they beautiful Hutch?’


The blond smiled as he looked at Starsky’s upturned face. They had taken a small vacation and headed back to New York, to be with Rachael Starsky for New Year. And now, here they were stood in Times Square as the New Year was being heralded in, watching fireworks exploding in a myriad of colours above.


The air around them was cold – much too cold for two guys used to the Californian sun, but Hutch’s heart swelled as he saw the sheer boyish glee in his partner. Starsky’s face glowed as he laughed freely for the first time in oh so long.


How long has it been partner? Like the twelve days of Christmas – let’s see –


Twelve is for  the number of months it’s taken you to recover from Gunther’s bullets. At first I thought you’d never recover. Then I thought you’d never recover as well as you have. I was prepared in those early days to give everything up to look after you. It was a contract out on me, not you. You were just in the wrong place at oh so the wrong time. It hurt so much in those early months to see you looking so frail and in so much pain. You were always the one who bounced along; saw the world through a little boy’s eyes. I suppose having to grow up so quickly when your Dad died means you looked for joy everywhere and in everything.


You couldn’t move well to begin with, couldn’t walk any distance, and couldn’t even dress yourself at first. But slowly your body started to heal and one day I saw you climbing those steps to your apartment without any help. I couldn’t help shedding a tear then, partner. At that moment, I knew you were going to make it.


Eleven is  for the number of your friends who donated blood for you. When news went through the Metro that you’d been gunned down in the garage, I was besieged with messages for you, and questions – what could people do? I’d rushed into the ER with you, but phrases like ‘bleeding out’ and ‘massive loss’ got me thinking. I telephoned Minnie – needed somethin’ to do to stop going mad with worry – and told her you needed blood. Within an hour there was a queue of all your friends outside the blood bank, some waiting, some lying down with tubes allowing their life saving blood to drain into bags, and some with bandages on their arms. All wanting to help you – you have that effect on people buddy.


Ten is for the units of blood they had to replace. In those first few hours whilst you were in surgery, you needed all the blood your friends could give. You had all your blood replaced (and then some) in transfusions as you went through your own personal hell.


The bullets had torn through major blood vessels and it took the doctors hours to find all the tears and repair the damage those brutal pieces of metal had caused. It took more time to repair your lungs, your gut, your stomach, and then, later, your spirit. But there’s something about you. Something about your spirit which refused to give up. Sure, you had down days, when you told me to sod off, leave you alone. They were the days when the physio tortured your body to the edge of tears. But then, after, you’d smile that sad, lop sided smile and say ‘Sorry, I’m OK now. Sorry Hutch’ and my heart would melt all over again.


Nine is  for the number of days Gunther’s trial took, before the guilty verdict. They were the really dark days, when you had to endure the long days at court and the arduous evidence. I saw you pale when they exhibited your jacket with the holes in it. Only I realised just how hard it had been for you to witness the time when your identity and independence had been ripped away from you... I can’t think about that any more.


Eight  is for the number of the hospital room you were in for your stay at Memorial. God, how I hated that room! The bed sat in the middle, at first with all the monitors and respirators around it. Later the machinery was pushed away and each day, I would look into that room and see your lonely body, lying in that lonely bed – an island of Starsky in a sea of hospital.


You’d been in that room before, do you remember? You were in that room when you were recovering from Bellamy’s poison cocktail. I should be used to it by now. One of the nurses had even joked that it should be named the Starsky room – I never really saw the humour – it was too close to the truth.


Seven is for the number of meals Dobey missed whilst he waited for news. I’d never seen our Captain beside himself. Huggy tried to look after him – I was too concerned with you. Dobey moved his desk into the hospital and coordinated the operation from there. But he didn’t eat, just drank huge amounts of coffee. Of course, he’d never have starved, but even Huggy’s picnics couldn’t do anything to tempt him.


 Six is  for the number of surgeons it took to put you back together again. They worked on you for seven hours. Twice your heart stopped in theatre and twice they battled to get it going again. The team of surgeons included three chest specialists, two abdominal guys and a plastic surgeon, to try to keep the scarring as neat as possible. Although each time I look at those surgical scars crossing your chest, your abdomen, your back, my blood boils. Why couldn’t it have been me? Why did you have to be that side of the car?


When the chief surgeon came to see me and the Cap afterwards, he was amazed you’d made it so far. I think he expected you to die during the night, but he hadn’t reckoned with that indomitable Starsky spirit. Of course you made it, although there had been that horrible heart wrenching moment (quite literally) when you arrested. Don’t ever do that to me again pal.


Five  is for the number of nights I sat with you, waiting for you to come round after Gunther. Once the surgery was over, and you were reasonably stable, I sat with you hour after hour. Once Gunther had been tracked down and arrested, I could finally settle down to you.


It was so hard to see you day after day lay in that bed. No responses to my questions, no Starsky wisecracks, no……nothing. Just the respirator for company and the nurses coming in and out for interminable checks.


I talked to you non stop. Sang to you too – God, if that didn’t wake you, nothing would! Huggy and Minnie and Dobey came and took their turn, but I was always there. The nurses realised early on that I wouldn’t leave and even set up a little bed in the room. They were sweet, and fed me and brought me drinks. They held my hand and comforted me, just as I held your hand and talked to you.


And then there was that wonderful moment when I talked to you about the computer prints, and suddenly, I saw your eyes open. You didn’t say anything, just gave me a shadow of that smile. I went crazy. I danced with the nurse, I kissed the doctor, and I rang your Mom. My heart felt so light, I thought it would float out of my chest, just to see those beautiful indigo eyes again.




Four is for  the number of times you had to be readmitted with pneumonia. The road back to health hasn’t been free from trials has it, partner? The first time it happened, I could hardly hear myself for your wheezing. You collapsed at the side of your bed and I carried you to the car, too scared to wait for an ambulance. At the ER, the same doctor who had looked after you initially explained that your lungs weren’t working to capacity and that pneumonia was to be expected at some point.


Didn’t make it any easier, did it Starsk? God, the pain you were in with each breath was almost as bad as the pain from the initial shooting. I found it real hard to see your sweat soaked curls as you battled for each ragged breath.


But slowly, the antibiotics took hold and battled the evil buggers inside you, and you rallied, and came back into my world again.


It happened three more times, didn’t it, but you’re so tough. A lesser man would have given up, but not you. I remember the last time, when you looked at me with those pain filled eyes and asked how I was doing! Always thinking about others. That’s your biggest fault, Gordo, and the one feature that keeps you going. You don’t want me to hurt if you leave me on my own. Thank you.


Three is for the number of Gunther’s bullets. I still have them. Gory reminders of how close I came to loosing you. Each day I thank God that you’re still with me, and each day I vow I’ll do anything for you


Two is for the two of us. Always together. I couldn’t do this game without you to watch my back, to drive me crazy and keep me sane. Another partner? Forget it. Its Starsky and Hutch – kinda rolls off the tongue. They should make a film.


But most important


One is for you – partner, best friend, brother.