Dobey had tried hard to keep to the speed limit on his way
to San Elmis. Going on a prison visit didn’t exactly rate the mars light and sirens, but that’s how anxious he
felt. When the receptionist had mentioned that Starsky was unavailable for visits, his heart had sunk into his boots. Just
what had his curly haired detective gotten himself into this time? He sighed. Starsky in trouble was bad enough. Having Hutch
in there too should have comforted him, but instead it seemed to heighten his anxiety. And as Dobey couldn’t take a
weapon into the prison, visitor or not, he felt naked and defenceless for himself and his two men.
As he drove he tried to give himself reasons why Starsky should
be in the hospital wing. Maybe he’d gotten food poisoning, or the flu?
Yeah, about as likely as the Pope not being
Catholic! C’mon Harold!.
Stories of how prisoners had been abused within the prison
system came unbidden to his head. A story of a guy being found naked and dead outside his cell, almost a pint of semen still
in his stomach. Another starved so badly that he couldn’t take solid food for four months after his release. Tales of
beatings and rape were commonplace and although the big black man knew Starsky could hold his own in a fight, prison wasn’t
the sort of place where friends would put themselves out to help. And the brunet had no flaxen haired partner to watch his
back every second of the day. Because Hutch had his cover as a guard, he had to be seen to be doing a real job, and that did
not entail hanging around Starsky’s cell. And what if Hutch was found out? If there really was something dodgy going
on in the jail, Hutch’s life was as much on the line as Starsky’s was
OK OK Harold. Enough with the scary stories.
Just get in there and find out what’s going on.
As he drove out through the open scrubland south of Carson
City, the flat, treeless plain stretched before him - the perfect place for a prison. Anyone trying to escape would be seen
for miles and any visitor to the facility could be observed on their approach. It sent a shiver down the big man’s spine
just thinking about it and as he drove up to the sentry box at the first layer of mesh and barbed netting, he drew his dark
blue car to a halt. A fresh faced young man in a sand coloured uniform ducked out of the small booth and shouldered his rifle.
He looked in through the open window and Dobey gave his name and who he was visiting. The boy asked him to wait and made a
telephone call to the main block, coming out a moment later and lifting the barrier across the road. Dobey carried on through
the second layer of fencing and found himself inside a barren and flat complex. He pulled his car up beside a set of other
vehicles and got out, making his way to the entrance marked “Visitors”.
The women who’d obviously answered the telephone to him
that morning looked up as he entered.
‘Harold Dobey’ he announced. ‘Here to see
The woman gave him an evil look, not happy that he’d
gone over her head and organised a visit when she’d told him he couldn’t.
‘Wait here’ she said sullenly and went into the
back office. Dobey heard her talking to someone, then came back out. ‘The guard will be with you shortly’ she
said, going back to filing her nails.
The big man paced the small reception room, looking out through
the grimy dusty windows at the bright sunlight outside. It seemed wrong somehow. It should be dark and stormy, rain lashing
down outside to match the all pervading air of gloom and doom inside the prison. He was shaken from his dark thoughts by a
door opening and a uniformed guard entering.
‘Mr Dobey? I’ll take you through to the interview
rooms. Do you mind if we search you?’
Dobey shook his head and submitted quietly as one of the guards
patted him down thoroughly and then he followed the same man through to a long narrow room. It was split down the middle by
a partition made half of glass with the lower half being masonry. Small walls projected out from the central partition making
small booth-like areas with chairs and he pulled out one indicated by the guard.
‘You have 15 minutes’ he announced and left.
Dobey drummed his fingers on the flat, chipped formica top
and waited, his heart hammering in his chest. He looked carefully around the desolate, uncompromising room, searching for
any surveillance equipment. Seeing nothing he breathed a sigh of relief. They’d be able to talk openly. Suddenly the
door on the opposite side of the glass opened and he got his first look at his detective.
Starsky shuffled into the room escorted by the two armed guards.
The chains around his ankles stopped him from taking his usual strutting steps and as he got closer Dobey could see the damage
done to the handsome face. He walked bent over slightly and the black man could see that it wasn’t just the chains that
kept him that way.
The whole left side of the face was bruised and swollen, the
left eye swollen shut. The lips were smashed and split and a trickle of dried blood wound its way from his nose to the top
of his lip, an older injury which hadn’t been cleaned up properly. As the brunet sat down with a wince, the open neck
of the coveralls parted and revealed the sight of other bruises extending down behind the thin material. But the thing that
angered Dobey the most was that Starsky had obviously had his arm broken, but it was still trapped behind his back, strapped
to his uninjured left wrist.
The guards pushed the curly haired cop towards the chair and
heavy hands pushed him down onto it, connecting the chain from the belt to the back of the chair. Rattling the fastening to
check, they left the two men alone without looking up at the blond.
Dobey waited until the door had closed fully then leaned forward
to the bandit screen, his hand up at the glass as though he could reach through and somehow touch the smaller man.
‘What the hell’s happened to you?’
The indigo eyes, the windows to his man’s soul refused
to meet his stare, instead shielding themselves from the deep brown gaze behind the thick black lashes.
‘M’fine’ the brunet muttered, looking down
at his feet. And he’d probably have pulled it off if it’d been anyone else at the other side of the screen but
Dobey. But just the fact that he wouldn’t meet the steely gaze told the big man all he needed to know.
‘Yeah sure you are! The blue is supposed to remain in
your eyes, not decorate the rest of your body. Don’t give me that bullshit Starsky. What happened? When did it happen?
Who did this to you?’
Starsky raised his head and grinned painfully.
‘Hey, good to see you too Cap’n’ he said
tightly, trying to change the subject and stop the uncomfortable, piercing look.
‘Answer the goddamned question Dave’.
‘Which one? There were three?’
Dobey sighed and balled his hands into fists. ‘Ya know
if you weren’t so beat up, I’d do it myself. Just tell me’.
The brunet had come to the end of his diversionary tactics.
‘Needed to get the Warden’s attention. I didn’t like the accommodation and I wanted an upgrade’ he
‘Needed to…..shit Starsky! You mean you made this
happen so that you could…..What’m I gonna do with ya?’
‘I kinda made it happen. I was gonna pick a fight, but
then the guards decided to take the decision outa my hands’ he mumbled almost shyly.
‘When? When did this happen. You’ve been here less
than 24 hours!’
‘Not long ago. I went out for exercise this mornin’.
An’ then the guards got to me an’ I woke up in the hospital a few hours ago’ Starsky said simply.
‘And you think you got what you wanted?’ Dobey
asked carefully. Starsky looked so alone and vulnerable all he really wanted to do was take hold of the injured man and soothe
away the hurt.
‘Well it's….erm….I haven’t heard yet,
but I guess I’m gonna be up for punishment as soon as’.
‘Punishment huh? Well that’s one way to get to
see the boss’ Dobey grunted.
‘Ya think you could think of sumthin better at short
notice? Besides there are plenty of nice blonds to keep me company. Ya know how I love a nice blond’.
Dobey snickered at Starsky’s double edged comment. So
Hutch knew about his partner’s injures. That at least was something.
The guard came back though the door. ‘Times up’
‘You be more careful’ Dobey fixed Starsky with
a steely glare.’Don’t do nothin’ stupid huh?’
‘Hey, where can I go? They got me on max security. I
can’t breathe without someone pointing a semi auto at me’. He grinned again, trying to reassure the grey haired
man that he could care for himself. But deep down, Starsky was scared that this was going to be bigger than he could cope
with. He’d been undercover enough times in the past to know that to do it well, he had to eat sleep and breathe the
part. He’d pulled off being Snake with the bikers and had even gotten a perverse sort of pleasure out of riding his
Harley along the coast road, the wind rushing through his curls. But the idea of playing a dealer! It didn’t sit well
with him at all. The very idea was so far outside every value that he held dear that he wondered when the fašade would crumble.
The door at the back of the room opened and the two guards
reappeared. Without any comment, they descended on the brunet, detaching the chain from the chair and shackling his arms behind
him again. As Starsky stood, dwarfed between the two uniformed men, he managed to wink cockily at his Captain before being
pushed out of the room and out of sight.
Dobey let out a shaky sigh and stood, marching swiftly to the
door. He felt suffocated and needed to get out to pull fresh air into his lungs. He had no idea how Starsky could stand being
locked up in the place and he yanked at the door handle slamming it closed behind him. The bored receptionist looked up as
the black whirlwind passed her on his way outside and once his freedom had been gained he lent against the wall feeling sick
to his stomach.
The big black man got back into his car and sighed. So, Hutch
had met up with his partner and Starsky was making damned sure he got the attention of the Warden. But it was a helluva way
to go about it! OK, well, now all he could do was brief Bear, Anise and Tony, sit back, and wait.
As he got back to the car he sat for a moment, collecting his
thoughts. He started the engine and was about to pull away from the parking lot when something caught the corner of his eye.
There was a movement at the corner of the low grey building and as Dobey looked closer he saw a man putting what looked like
a chiller box into the back of a white van marked with a green cross. What would a Medicare van be doing here? It wasn’t
as though any of the prisoners would get private medical treatment. They seemed to get very little medical treatment at all
if Starsky’s treatment was anything to go by.
Curiouser and curiouser he thought as he slowly began his drive
back to the airport and then to Bay City.
Hutch stood at attention in front of the Wardens’ desk
as he and Charlie, his other guard waited for Eli Long to finish whatever it was he was doing. They’d been summoned
to the office a while ago and this was the blond’s first good look at Long and his domain.
The Warden himself was a small man of perhaps 5’ 6”
but what he lacked in height he made up for in bulk. He squatted behind his desk like a predatory bullfrog. His 200+ pounds
stretched the buttons of his white shirt almost to destruction and the gaps between the fastenings showed pale, hairless skin
beneath the fabric. Long’s fat neck overflowed the collar of his shirt and rolls of flesh hung over the stiff white
material. The neck supported a bald head with just a few greasy strands of pale brown hair that were slicked over the top
of his head from just above his right ear in one of the most extreme comb overs Hutch had ever seen. Pale watery blue eyes
peered out from the puffy, lightly sweating skin of his face and his wide, almost lipless mouth appeared to be nothing more
than a slash across his countenance. Hutch almost expected a long tongue to come shooting out at one of the many flies bussing
lazily around the room.
The office itself was decorated in stark contrast to the functional
stark areas of the rest of the prison. Out there amongst the inmates, the walls were white fading to grey, the floors hard
and uncompromising stone and tile, mottled and cracked with use and flecked with grime that had long since penetrated the
surface of the floor covering until no amount of scrubbing would get them clean.
Inside Long’s office, however, things were much different.
Hutch and Charlie both stood on deep pile deep green carpet that reflected colour up onto the pale green walls, giving the
office the appearance of a gentleman’s club. Long sat behind a heavy mahogany desk on a matching heavy wooden chair
upholstered in dark green leather and the room was lit by several lamps which cast pools of amber light on strategic areas.
The dark wooden sideboard held a crystal decanter filled with a rich jewel brown liquid and six matching glasses. These however,
were not in use now and Hutch’s shoulders were beginning to ache from the tension of standing stiff and still.
Finally Long put down his pen and looked at the two guards.
‘I hear there was some trouble this morning. Want to
tell me what it was all about?’
Hutch remained quiet. He was still seething at the “welcome”
treatment his partner had received at the hands of some of the guards and couldn’t bring himself to explain to the Warden
the phoney circumstances. He was even more angry at himself for not being there to protect the smaller man, even though if
he had been witness to the beating he doubted he could have done anything to stop it without blowing both their covers. Charlie
recounted the “facts”.
‘It was the newbie. Nate Sanna. Caused a bit of trouble
for the guys so they decided to take him down a peg or two’.
‘And what injuries did he sustain? Long asked coldly
‘Cuts bruises and a broken arm’ Hutch said quietly,
through clenched teeth.
‘And where is he now?’
‘Back in his cell. He had a visit from his attorney this
afternoon so we took him back “home” afterwards. He’s a cocky little bastard. He needed snapping back into
line. I think….’ Charlie shut up at a glare from the Warden.
Long held up his hand. ‘You aren’t paid to think.
Leave that to the experts’ he snapped at Charlie who stood even more rigidly to attention. ‘I have his file here.
Seems Mr Sanna is pretty well connected on the outside. He’s dealt with some big names in the drug world and established
some important links. I think he’s the sort of man that might listen to reason don’t you? The sort of man who
might not want to pass up on a business opportunity? It would be a shame if he was to lose his contacts out there just because
he’s had an enforced change of address. We could put some business his way maybe, on my terms of course’.
‘Make him an offer he couldn’t refuse boss?’
‘Exactly. Maybe I should make an appointment to see Mr
Sanna. Tomorrow, when his injuries have had a little time to argue with him. We wouldn’t want him to come to any snap
decisions. Can you arrange for him to be here at say, 10:00 o’clock?’
‘Sure thing Warden Sir. I can see to that’ Charlie
grinned. Hutch was reminded of a little terrier dog who was pleased to have his back scratched after he’d brought the
ball back from being thrown.
Long picked up his pen again and bent back over the sheaf of
files on his desk and Charlie and Hutch saw that as their dismissal. Turning on their heels they exited the office and walked
back down the stairs to the main wing.
‘You want for me to do the rounds?’ Hutch asked
casually. In the week he’d worked with Charlie he’d found the guard to be lazy enough to make it into an art form.
Knowing he could use the laziness to his advantage, the big blond played on it whenever he could. In the past week it had
given him a chance to have some time alone, to either make a phone call back to Starsky or Dobey, or just to get away from
the guy. Hutch had rapidly found that it was too easy to get too much of Charlie.
The guard nodded curtly, not needing the offer to be put a
second time. As he headed back to the guards rest room for a cup of coffee and another chance to tackle the crossword he’d
been working on for a month – he was still stuck on 5 down – Hutch walked off in the opposite direction, back
towards the wings. His back and shoulders ached with the tension he’d felt all day, that tension not being helped by
the knowledge that he couldn’t watch Starsky’s back 24/7. His cover was as a guard, if he was to start hanging
around any particular prisoner, he was going to blow his cover for sure.
Hutch made his way down the main wing, nodding in greeting
once or twice to a couple of the inmates who were half way civilised and recognised a fair guard when they saw one. The blond
had always managed to have a rapport with the snitches on the street and the guys in here were no different; still human beings
but with different drivers and motives in their lives than Hutch’s own. He refused to judge them for that.
Walking on, he came to the big steel gate that segregated maximum
security from the rest of the wing and pulled out the large silver key from the bunch on his waistband. He inserted it into
the lock and heard the massive tumblers falling away to allow him access. Pushing the gate open, he walked through and clanged
it closed behind him, rattling it to make sure it caught. He walked down the line of cages (he refused to honour them with
the term “cell”) until he reached the end one, and bracing himself he put his hands on the bars and looked in.
Starsky was laid on the narrow bunk on his side, facing away
from the door. His shirt had ridden up and Hutch winced at the large expanse of blue/black bruise that covered the smaller
man’s lower back, across his spine. The brunet had his curly head cushioned on the bright white cast of his right arm
and seemed to be asleep, and for a moment, Hutch allowed his mind to go back to the last time, five months ago when he’d
seen Starsky injured. Then, like now, Hutch had been unable to do too much to help, but for entirely different reasons. Having
been shot in the head by a Northern stars member, the blond hovered between life and death, given a chance by some heavenly
being to save Starsky’s life and live himself, or for them both to die together.
Hutch saw Quinn standing at Starsky’s side, leaning
casually against the wooden table, his ankles crossed. ‘How many lights are there?’ he asked softly.
‘What the fuck does it matter?’ Starsky
mumbled as he looked up. Ryan once again had a hold of his head. The hands on the sides of his head tightened their grip and
Quinn’s face appeared above him.
‘I asked a question. How many lights are there?’
he rested a heavy hand on the brunet’s chest further impeding his breathing.
‘Three’ Starsky muttered, counting them
in his mind. Yeah three. One. Two. Three. That’s it. Just the three.
‘Wrong there are four. Look again. How many
lights are there?’ the voice ground out in his ear.
Starsky felt disorientated. Lack of oxygen made his world
wavy at the edges. He felt sick to his stomach and his head ached like nothing he’d ever felt before. If only they’d
stop asking him questions he might be able to think. But they just kept plugging away, asking the same damned thing. He sneaked
another look. One. Two. Three. There were definitely three lights.
‘Three lights’ he panted trying to roll
his head away. Why wouldn’t they just let him rest a moment, then he could answer their questions better. He just needed
to sleep. Just for a while to let his body heal a little. But it wasn’t to be. Dispassionately he watched as Quinn showed
him the small gun and held it against his side.
Starsky closed his eyes, waiting for the shot. At least
it would be quick, he thought to himself, flinching as he saw Quinn’s finger squeeze the trigger. Ryan took his hands
away from the curly head as Quinn fired the Dry Taser against Starsky’s side. He held it there a moment watching in
satisfaction as the brunet body arched against its restraints on the table.
Starsky felt his whole world sparkle in pain as the voltage
ripped through his body. He couldn’t breath; couldn’t think. His head felt as though it would explode. The pain
was indescribable and he felt the skin on his side blister. A scream was ripped from his throat and he thought he heard Traff
yelling at them to leave him alone……………….
Hutch bent down beside his partner’s body and desperately
put his hand inside the fevered forehead. Again there was the murky mist, but this time, instead of the cool sea mist of the
Martha’s Vineyard headland, he was standing on the edge of a fiery maelstrom, looking down into the boiling caldera
of the erupting volcano. White hot lava spurted up from the depths, mirrored in the blue eyes as Starsky turned to see his
flaxen haired partner.
‘Hey buddy, I missed ya’ the brunet said,
seemingly unsurprised at the presence. ‘I’ll be with ya soon. Wait for me?’
Hutch felt tears burning in his eyes. He draped his arm
around his partner’s shoulders. ‘You’re not gonna die pal, and I’m real. I’m really here Starsk
and I’m gonna get ya out of this hell hole’.
‘Yeah sure’ the smaller man replied sadly.
‘I’m really loosing it Blondie. They just keep asking me about the lights and there are three, I know there are
but whenever I tell ‘em three, they hurt me. They really hurt Hutch and I don’t know how much longer I can do
this. I always thought I was pretty tough, but it hurts so damned much’ he took hold of a handful of Hutch’s shirt
and buried his head in the blonde’s chest as Hutch rubbed his partner’s arms. They stayed like that for a while,
giving and receiving comfort. Eventually, he pushed Starsky gently away to arm’s length and looked into his indigo blue
eyes. ‘I’m gonna go now, Starsk. I need to get you out of here, but I need you to hang in there for me. Can you
do that…..for me?’ (--see Another Chance - by this author)
Hutch shook his head clearing his mind of the nightmarish thoughts.
He wasn’t in a hospital with a bullet in his brain, he was here, in the flesh, and now he could help his partner, not
merely watch as some unknown punk tore into him.
‘Starsk’ he hissed quietly through the bars. ‘Hey
The brunet groaned softly and tuned so that he lay on his back.
He turned his head to the noise and as he saw his visitor he grinned and got up, stifling another groan as his bruised muscles
protested. He limped over to the bars and put his hands up to grasp them, brushing his fingers over Hutch’s in a split
second of comforting touch.
‘How’re ya doin’ there buddy?’ Hutch
asked, searching the handsome face for answers that he knew would never be spoken truthfully.
‘You look like shit! Here. I managed to get you these.
They should help you sleep too’. Hutch unfolded his hand and dropped the silver foil package into Starsky’s waiting
hand. The brunet took the two Tramadol and dry swallowed them.
‘How’s life on the outside? He asked lightly. His
24 hours of incarceration had creeped him out to the extent where he didn’t know if he really wanted to sleep. All he
really wanted to do was to have the comforting blond presence close by, watching his back.
‘Well, you got your wish. Tomorrow at 10 you have an
appointment with the Warden. Seems he wants to cut you a deal. He’s pretty interested in your business, partner’.
‘Yeah?’ Starsky grinned and waved the white cast
at Hutch. ‘Ya mean all this got their attention?’
‘Uh huh. But couldn’t you have thought of some
‘Nah. You know me. I prefer the direct route’.
‘That’s your trouble Gordo. No finesse. I gotta
go. Don’t want to draw any more attention. Are you gonna be ok?’ Hutch studied his partner.
‘Oh yeah. I got all the comforts of home. Um, are you
gonna be there tomorrow? Ten o’clock, ten…ten…damnit shuddup!’
Hutch caught the slight hitch in Starsky’s voice as the
numbers repeated, a legacy of Quinn’s treatment and smiled, risking putting his hand through the bars to rest it briefly
on the smaller man’s shoulder. Starsky pulled himself together and winked.
‘Aint goin’ nowhere. See ya’.
‘Sure, See ya’ Hutch said lightly although his
mood was anything but. He walked away, fighting the urge for a backwards glance because he knew Starsky was still stood at
the bars looking at his departing back.
Hutch slipped out of the prison and got into his hire car wearily.
He hated leaving Starsky on his own inside, but he’d already pulled a double shift and to hang around more would bring
suspicion down on his and Starsky’s heads. Tiredly he slipped the key into the ignition and backed the car out of the
parking space, turning it towards the small motel he was using as his base.
Ten minutes later, the blond eased his aching body out of the
car and fumbled with his door key to the small, impersonal room. He went straight to the phone and punched in the number for
the Metro, asking to be put through to Dobey. He waited, sitting on the edge of the bed, a deep furrow of concentration and
worry between his eyes marring his handsome face. He felt so much older than his 30 odd years and desperately needed a vacation.
‘Cap’n. Hutch. He’s in. Got a meet with the
Warden tomorrow morning. Tell Bear and Tony to have the snow ready by lunchtime. He’s gonna make the deal, so he’ll
‘Is he ok?’ Dobey asked tightly.
‘Yeah, kinda. He’s pretty much banged about, but
nothing he can’t handle. I just….well, I’ll be glad when this ones over’.
‘I hear ya. Keep close and keep tight. Bear will be with
Hutch put the phone down and sighed. He was getting too old
for this! Disconsolately, he started to strip off the hated guards uniform as he headed for the shower. The smell of the disinfectant
in the prison, the pent up emotions of the pace that were like a palpable being clung to his clothes and hair and each night
he’d come home with just the one thought – to get into the hot water and scrub himself clean.
Ten minutes later, he emerged from the small bathroom. He poured
himself a bourbon from the miniature bottle in the fridge, stripped the damp towel from his waist and climbed, naked into
bed. Slowly he drank the fiery amber liquid in the glass, set it down on the small stand next to the bed and lay down. But
sleep didn’t come easily to the blond. His mind was still back in San Elmis with his partner, re-running the plans they
had for the next day.
Starsky fell asleep almost immediately after Hutch ad gone.
He’d found the whole process of getting into the prison to be difficult, painful and draining. Now, with the pain of
his injuries dulled and the Tramadol in his system, he dreamed dreams of walking with a beautiful girl down a deserted beach,
or across some mountain meadow. Anywhere where there was space and fresh air and freedom. Anything to stop him from thinking
about the 12’x12’ cell and what he needed to do tomorrow.
Morning came remarkably quickly and the lights were put back
on in the wing at 6:00am precisely. The brunet groaned at loud and eased his body up off the hard bunk. He longed for his
big, soft bed and chuckled to himself.
Jeez, Davey boy. Ya getting’ soft or sumthin? You
used to be able to sleep in a telephone wire without feelin’ the pinch!
Breakfast came and went and although Starsky was hungry, the
unappetising, stiff and grey oatmeal didn’t tempt him enough to break his fast. He longed for a root beer and a slice
of cold pepperoni pizza with extra anchovies and his mouth watered at the thought.
In readiness for his meeting with the Warden at 10:00 o’clock,
he busied himself washing at the tiny silver coloured sink in his cell, splashing the cold water onto his face to get rid
of the lingering effects of the pain killers in his system. He needed to be clear headed to get through this, get out in one
piece and bust the Warden and his elaborate operation out of the water.
And once he’d washed, pushed the oatmeal around and handed
the cardboard tray back to the prisoner who was playing waiter today, he sat on his bunk and waited. With no watch, and no
clock he had no idea what time it was and the absence of a time piece drove him mad. He’d always relied on his watch.
He liked to know exactly, to the second what time it was. Dobey had once told him he’d always thought of him as a clock
watcher and Hutch had been unable to comprehend how he could spend two month’s salary on his Yashimoto Reflex, but his
years in the Army had drummed it into him. Be punctual. Be on time and things won’t take you by surprise.
So Starsky sat, trying to calculate what time it was but failing
miserably, so that when Hutch finally appeared at his cell door, he was, indeed, taken by surprise.
There was no way they could communicate properly with each
other as Charlie had accompanied his “partner” to collect Nate Sanna and bring him up for his meeting with Long
but the brunet could read the unhappy expression on his partner’s face as Charlie ordered him to stand at the back of
his cell facing the wall. He too wanted some quiet time with Hutch, just for reassurance that they could do this; that he
could play the part of a high powered drugs dealer. He’d played Camille in high school hadn’t he? How much more
difficult could this be? Apart from the fact that this time his and his partner’s lives depended on his performance.
Starsky gave Charlie a black look, turned very slowly and walked
to the back of his cell, turning his back on the two guards as he heard the gate clang open. He felt them walk in and come
up behind him and then he felt familiar hands looping the thick leather belt around his waist and buckling it at the back.
The hands lingered fractionally longer than necessary as both men accepted the touch as a small measure of comfort.
‘How’re ya doin? Hutch whispered as he leaned close,
ostensibly to check the belt was secure.
‘M’fine. Quit worryin’.
As Starsky turned for Hutch to buckle the leather wrist cuffs
into place, their eyes locked.
You really ok partner?
Yeah m’fine, honest. You?
With his wrists and ankles secured to the waist belt, Hutch
stood to one side as Starsky shuffled towards the corridor. Charlie grinned coldly at him, but the brunet ignored the big
guard and followed meekly as they made their way out of the wing and up to the third floor. They stopped outside the warden’s
office and Charlie knocked. There was a muffled ‘Come’ and at the invite, all three entered the green, plush office.
As Charlie and Hutch stood at the back of the room, Warden
Long looked up from his desk and appraised the prisoner in front of him. Starsky’s face was still badly bruised and
his lip was cut. His right eye was still slightly swollen and it was hard to miss the white cast on his right arm. Although
the brunet tried to stand up straight, the bruises across his back made it difficult and Long saw the occasional narrowing
of the eyes as flashes of pain lanced through his prisoner’s body.
Long nodded at Hutch. 'While you’re both here, we can
do without the restraints.' As Charlie set about unbuckling the belt and cuffs and unlocking the ankle chains, Starsky stared
unwaveringly at the large bulk of the Warden, his gaze steady, his bidy standing tall but relaxed and his head slightly on
one side - ready; cocky; almost amused.
Long sat back in his chair, hands loosely on the desk in front
‘Welcome to San Elmis, Mr Sanna. I’m Eli Long.
I run this place and I own the prisoners here. Which means I own your ass too’.
‘The pleasure’s all yours’ Starsky answered
‘The pleasure could be yours too’ Long said. ‘I
hear you have a business out in the city. A business you might find you want to share?’
‘Depends on who’s askin’ an’ who wants
to share it. And more important, what they’re willing to pay to do it’.
Long smiled coldly and shuffled a buff file on his desk allowing
Starsky to see that it was headed up Nathaniel Sanna. ‘Well the sharing would be with me, but I don’t pay no-one’.
‘Then I aint gonna deal’ Starsky snapped back.
The Warden gave an imperceptible nod and Charlie stepped forward
with amazing speed and rammed the end of his baton into the brunet’s back. Hutch balled his hands into fists as he watched
his partner gasp and his knees buckle. It took a superhuman effort for the flaxen haired man not to rush to his friend’s
side, but he remained where he was, rooted to the spot. Starsky staggered forward, but amazingly remained on his feet. It
took him a moment to compose himself. Chin on chest, he sucked in air as he dealt with the new pain overlaying the existing
ones. Finally he looked up and straightened, still panting slightly.
‘Ya wanna reconsider your decision?’ Long asked.
‘Well when ya put it like that…. Just what deal
did ya have in mind’ the brunet grunted through clenched teeth.
‘What do you have to offer?’ the Warden countered.
Starsky sighed. Now was the time to play Sanna to the hilt.
Make or break time. He got his thoughts in order. ‘I can set you up with a stand up distributor on the outside. I’m
talking about enough doh to feather everyone’s nests – nice comfortable livin’ ya know? I aint been in here
too long but I already heard mutterin’ Seems like you got business well and truly sewn up inside. But if you think you’re
big in San Elmis, you’re nuthin on the streets. Your business out there’s run by amateurs’.
‘So enlighten me. Tell me what ya got’.
‘What I got is a chain of distribution. Four star service.
Whatever goes on in here ya can take care of yourself. Run it however ya want. But on the stuff I bring in, I run it my way
an’ you can skim off forty percent. In return you take care of me. Kinda protect your interest huh?’
Long regarded the prisoner with greed in his eyes. ‘That’s
it? You’re gonna trade in my jail an’ your gonna give me forty percent? Wow! Mr generous! Forty percent huh?’
‘No deal punk. I give you forty percent. My home, my
rules. I have people here. They expect me to pay ‘em. Sixty percent or no deal an’ you can go back to your little
cell for the remainder of your….ooh twelve years’.
Starsky glared back, defiance shining in his indigo blue eyes.
He was lost in the cut throat world of Nate Sanna now. No longer a cop undercover, Starsky was Nate Sanna, hard nosed
drug dealer and Hutch realised just how good his partner was at getting into his cover roles.
‘Fifty percent plus some comforts. Shall we say I’d
like a few more amenities?’
Long lit a cigarette and blew blue, acrid smoke towards the
prisoner. ‘Who’s the distributor?’
Starsky chucked to himself. He knew he had the Warden hook,
line and sinker now. He only needed to name his price and pretty soon Long would be the one behind his own bars.
‘Someone needs to meet with him. I gotta give him one
name. One phone call, that’s all it’ll take’.
Long stared at him for one long, long moment, as though making
the most difficult decision of his life.
‘Charlie. Give him Charlie’s name. He’ll
meet. 2 kilos. Your 2 kilos. When? How soon can you set this up?’
‘Like I said, one phone call is all it takes. Now. What
about the amenities?’ Starsky pushed.
At his back, Hutch closed his eyes. How could the brunet be
so cool? How could he push like that for every last little concession? God, he was good!
‘First off, a little protection. I don’t want no
more “accidents”. Starsky waved the plaster cast at Long. ‘Better accommodation, better food, music, TV.
Oh, and my woman’.
Long looked around the prisoner to Hutch. ‘He’s
gonna make a phone call. After that, have him moved up to the third floor, give him what he wants, and make sure he has a
conjugal visit tomorrow’. The Warden looked back at Starsky. ‘You’d better be as good as you say you are
Starsky grinned. ‘I’m better’ he said as
he went to sit down in the chair Long had just vacated. As the Warden walked out of the room, followed by Charlie, Starsky
leaned back, put his feet up on the desk and started to dial a number.
Hutch waited until the coast was clear and Starsky had made
contact with the Metro. He gave the coded message that the plan was under way, in case the line was tapped, then put down
the phone as he heard Tony Conti agree to the meet.
Putting the phone down, Starsky looked up into troubled crystal
blue eyes. ‘Some day, you’re gonna push just a little too hard Starsk’.
‘What d’ya mean?’ the brunet grinned back.
‘Jeez you drive a hard bargain! What if he hadn’t
gone for it? What if you’d pushed him just that bit too far?’ Hutch asked, his eyebrows narrowed to a worried
‘Will ya stop belly achin’! I didn’t push
too hard did I? Its all underway now. Just try an’ relax Blintz. I might even let ya watch my TV when it arrives!’
Starsky said with a wink as he submitted to Hutch putting the chains back in place. As he shuffled to the door, Hutch snickered
to himself. Even in full lock down gear, the brunet could still strut his stuff.
Chapter 9 - and warnings for sex - yup...even in prison
Starsky, now free of the restrictive restraints walked behind
Hutch towards a line of wooden doors on the third floor of San Elmis. On the other side of the corridor was a line a large
windows looking out onto the sparse countryside around the prison. Not the most devastating view in the world, but better
than the three grimy walls and bars he’d had earlier.
‘Where are we goin?’ he asked.
‘It’s called administrative segregation. Cells
for prisoners who don’t exactly get along with others. You’re classed as a “walk-alone”. Here’.
Hutch opened the door and Starsky walked inside.
The room was about three times the size his cell had been and
comprised a proper bed, a sofa, television and music centre and another door to a small but perfectly adequate bathroom. The
brunet grinned. ‘Suits me’.
Hutch pointed up quickly at a corner of the ceiling and disguised
the action as scratching his head. The smaller man followed his hand and looked away, nodded briefly. He understood. CCTV
installed in the room made sure the inmates still behaved themselves. One foot out of line and they were back on the wings
with the rest of the lags.
The blond made to leave, relieved now that his partner had
a few more comforts, even if he was still walking slightly bent over. He wanted to check out Starsky’s injuries, but
both men knew that was out of the question. Instead, he satisfied himself with a curt nod which the brunet returned. The action
spoke volumes in their silent method of communication and without a backwards glance, Hutch closed the door and locked it
behind him. With a sigh, Starsky limped over to the bed and eased his aching body down onto the mattress. Not the softest
he’d ever had, but one hundred percent better that the one he’d just relinquished. He’d got stage one out
of the way. He’d gotten himself into Long’s pocket. Now they just needed to nail him actually getting the snow;
nail him with his hand on the package and they could bust him and his associates there and then. Not bad for a days work!
At the office in Carson City, Dobey had joined Bear, Tony and
Anise as Tony took the phone call from Starsky, They’d waited tensely all morning for the news, hoping that things would,
for once, go smoothly. And now, Tony put the phone down and grinned.
‘He’s in. Seems like he’s one cool customer.
He’s just ordered food, clothes, his music and um….his woman. Anise, looks like your cue. Are you up for this?’
The blond haired woman nodded. ‘So, I take the bag with
the snow, they take it from me. I meet with Starsky long enough for ‘em to think I’m Mrs Sanna and they take the
drugs to the “distributor”? Right?
‘Yeah honey. Bear will be back up. He’ll deliver
Starsky’s little grocery basket, stick around and bring you home. I’ll be waitin’ ready for the meet with
the goon from the prison’.
Anise shrugged her shoulders. ‘Seems simple enough. How
hard can it be?’
Bear took hold of her shoulders. ‘Don’t get complacent.
This is tough and this is your first undercover assignment. Take it easy an’ be careful. There are always things in
these jobs that take ya by surprise and sometimes ya just have to roll with the blows honey’
She smiled at him. ‘I know. I may not have been in the
group long, but I know my stuff. I can deal. When do we go?’
The black Caddy with the blacked out windows drew up outside
the guards station and Anise got out. She’d dressed carefully to catch just about everyone’s attention and now
she shimmied over to the uniformed guard, her purse over her arm as he appraised her appreciatively.
‘Uh huh’ she pulled her fake driving licence out
of her purse and flashed it at the man. It could have been a stick of dynamite for all the guy cared, his eyes were fixed
on Anise’s cleavage which showed beneath the taut white cotton of her blouse. The fine material was almost see through
and he could tell she had no bra.
‘Straight up the road. The guard up there will show you
to Sanna’s cell. You got 30 minutes. If I were you I’d make every one of ‘em count’ he leered.
The woman flicked her long blond hair over her shoulder and
walked past the guard and into the prison, feeling his eyes boring into her back as her short denim skirt barely covered the
tops of her legs.
The walk up to the main prison building was long and by the
time she got there, Anise was having some doubts about whether she could carry this off. It was true she’d never been
undercover before and now that the chips were down, she felt out of control and scared. But she put a brave face on it and
stepped brazenly into the reception hall. Another tall, black guard was waiting for her.
‘Mrs Sanna. This way’ he grunted and she followed
him to a flight of steps leading up. He indicated that she should go first and self consciously walked ahead of him aware
he could see clear up her skirt. She tried to step up with her legs closed together and was relieved when she got to the landing
on the third floor. A large, fat man in a white shirt waited there and as she paused he smiled at her, the humour never entering
his eyes. His gaze fell on her bag and he stepped forward.
‘I’ll take that’ Long said and unhooked the
strap from her shoulder. She let him take it without argument and without a second glance he walked away.
Anise walked behind the guard to the wooden door half way down
and he inserted a key into the lock, opening it for her to enter.
Starsky was waiting for her and he grinned as she walked in.
‘C’mere baby. God I’ve missed you!’
She played her part to the hilt and ran into his arms as he
enfolded her in a huge embrace and whispered into her ear. ‘There’s CCTV. We can play this two ways. We either
have an argument now and you go, or we stay for a while and um…let them know we’ve missed each other’.
The brunet felt her stiffen for a moment, indecision thrumming
through her body. ‘We need to give the Warden time to get the drugs to his fence’ she said hesitantly.
Starsky snorted. ‘Who’re ya tryin’ to kid?
Ya just can’t resist me. We got 30 minutes. Allow me’.
Anise let herself be led to the bed and she sat down besides
her “husband” on the mattress. Looking at him for the first time properly, she winced at the blue and purple bruises
showing darkly on his handsome face and traced a gentle finger down the cut on his lip.
‘Oh my god! Do they hurt as bad as they look?’
Starsky hissed at the pressure over the injuries and caught
her hand in his. ‘Yeah, some. Occupational hazard’ he drew her to him and with his hands entwined in her long
blond hair he kissed her deeply.
Anise was startled for a moment and her first instinct was
to pull away. But there was something about the man. Something she hadn’t seen in the first meetings she’d had
with him and his handsome blond partner. He must have gone through hell in the jail on his own to get those kinds of injuries,
it’d take a lot of force to break his arm like that! And something stirred inside her as she thought about the guards
holding him down and beating him. His lips were still on hers and she moaned softly into his mouth, returning his kiss.
Starsky pushed her back onto the bed, very much aware that
the CCTV in the corner would be focussed on any action. He ran his fingers down the line of her neck and she shivered slightly.
Dipping his head Starsky whispered into her ear.
‘You don’t have to do this. We can make it look
good without…ya know’.
In answer she pushed her body against him and her hands ran
down the line of his spine through the thin blue cotton shirt he wore. As she came to the waistband of his pants and tried
to insinuate her hand he yelped and she froze.
‘Nuthin. The guards got a little overexcited with the
Anise sat up and pulled at the shirt until it came free and
looked at the enormous black bruise across Starsky’s lower back. Gently she pulled of the shirt and pushed him down
until he was laid on his belly. He hissed again as he felt her warm breath on his back and she started to kiss warm, wet kisses
over the injury, her hands sliding down his sides and dipping beneath his body. She continued to lavish attention on the bruise
and then started to work further up, tracing her fingernails over each scar on his side, the remnants of the Taser burns from
his last big assignment and up to the bullet scar on his left shoulder.
‘So many hurts’ she whispered into his ear. ‘So…’
‘So c’mere’ he said savagely and reared up,
pulling her down until she was on her back and he was leaning on his arms above her. Her hands felt so good on his skin; so
warm and sensual. His own body responded and he started to unbutton the tight blouse, her breasts springing out from their
prison to tantalise him. He bent and kissed down her cleavage and on to each pert nipple. He licked gently at the sensitive
nub, feeling it harden beneath him. She gasped and the small sound drove him on, all thoughts of the CCTV forgotten for the
moment as Anise responded to his advances. As he pinched the other nipple gently between his finger and thumb, she pushed
her hand down to the swelling in his pants, fighting with the button and zip until she could gain access. He shuddered as
he felt her hand circle the rod of flesh and start to stroke it gently at first and then with more rapid movements.
Anise felt her heart start to beat more rapidly as Starsky
put his hand on her thigh and moved her skirt upwards, discovering to his satisfaction that the bra wasn’t the only
item of clothing she’d forgotten. He always appreciated a girl who came prepared and now his left hand started to rub
small circles at the top of her legs. She parted them allowing him access and he plunged into her, his fingers exploring and
feeling her readiness for him.
Kneeling, he kissed her neck again as she pushed the denim
jeans down his from his hips and whispered ‘Last chance to say no Honey’.
In answer, Starsky felt the woman pull the centre of his body
towards her and he answered, pausing at her entrance briefly before plunging himself into her. She shuddered and sighed and
he remained still for a second before starting to move. Picking up the pace, he continued to dot kisses on her face and neck
as she grabbed at his back, wrapping her legs around his waist as she pulled him deeper.
Starsky buried himself in the woman, allowing himself for a
brief moment to forget the job, forget where he was and take pleasure in the girl’s body after she had offered it unconditionally
to him. On and on they danced to each other’s tune until her breath was ringing in his ears and he could feel the familiar
tightening in the centre of his body. With a final thrust, he let fly, the release being almost painful in it’s intensity
and then he collapsed onto his side beside the blond and closed his eyes.
In the green carpeted room along the corridor, Eli Long stood
watching the monitor, his own hand working furiously at his body through the lining of his pants pocket as he watched the
show from Starsky’s room. and at the back of the office Hutch stood with fists balled in fury that his partner had been
made into some sort of sick side show.
Anise walked out of the jail 30 minutes later and stalked past
the guard at the sentry post as he leered at her.
‘Had a good time did ya?’ he asked as she walked
past. She gave him a withering look before running her fingers down her cleavage and looking at him from under hooded eyes.
‘More ‘n you’ll know sugar’.
‘Aint much ya can get done in 30 minutes’ the sentry
Anise looked him up and down contemptuously. ‘Maybe not
much you can do. But I got myself a real man’. She blew him a sultry kiss and walked slowly back to the waiting car.
Inside it, Tony and Bear were watching the woman’s show.
They’d seen Charlie come out of the jail minutes earlier carrying her purse and they chuckled as the sentry now surreptitiously
adjusted his clothing and walked disconsolately back into his small office.
‘That’s one dynamite broad’ Bear said appreciatively.
Tony tutted and looked heaven wards. ‘Broad? Is that
any way to talk about a female colleague?’
‘Well what d’you wanna call her?’
Tony grinned. ‘Fuckin’ amazin’ man!’
he got out of the car as Anise got to them and opened the back door. She got in, took off her black sunshades and let out
a deep breath.
‘Thank God that’s over. How did I do?’ she
Bear and Tony exchanged glances. ‘Not bad’ they
Tony reached for the door handle and grabbed the large picnic
basket from the well of the car beside him. ‘My turn’ he muttered as he got out of the car and walked back to
the sentry. The young guard looked at the approaching man. He wasn’t half so attractive as the woman and the sentry
ignored the Italian for a few moments, exerting his authority before coming to the door of the sentry box.
‘Mr Sanna’s food parcel. The Warden said we should
deliver it to the gates and you’d see he got it in his room’.
‘Cell’ the guard corrected and took the basket
from Tony’s outstretched hands. ’Wait there’ he muttered as he started to unbuckle the lid of the basket.
Tony waited, trying to act casual in the midday heat. He hated
waiting around. He wanted to be in and out of there, and the more he waited, the more edgy he got; the more things that could
go wrong. He looked around, willing the guard to tell him to go, but the young guy was intent on going through every piece
of fruit, bottle of beer and tin of caviar.
A plume of dust rose over the small rise on the road leading
to San Elmis and as Tony watched, a car hove into sight, driving slowly towards the jail. As he waited, the car finally reached
it’s destination and stopped by the gates. The passenger side door opened and an older man got out. He was dressed in
the standard denim blue uniform of the prison and had long, straggly pale brown hair and thick, horn rimmed glasses. The car
waited until it’s passenger had got to the sentry box, then started it’s engine and drove away, it’s job
of delivering the “trusty” prisoner back from his job in the nearby town now over.
The man walked towards the sentry box and paused, waiting to
be ticked off the guard’s list before he entered the prison. He looked around him. He’d had a hard day at work
and wanted only to get back to the cool of his cell. Tony stiffened. He recognised the prisoner from a while back. Someone
he’d busted for a series of domestic burglaries. Shit!
The small Italian turned his back on the prisoner as he waited
impatiently for the sentry to finish, hoping that time might have dimmed “Greasy Ted’s” memory. He put his
hand up to his head, as if he had a persistent itch, trying to shield his face from the other man and for a brief second he
thought he’d pulled it off.
As the sentry continued (what was the guy finding so interesting
about a kiwi fruit anyway) Ted recognised Tony.
‘Hey, what’re you doin’ here man? Come to
put some other innocent guy away?’
Tony pretended to ignore him but Ted put his hand on the cop’s
shoulder, pulling him round. The sentry had forgotten the fruit and caviar now and was looking at the prisoner intently.
‘You got me mistaken for someone else man’ Tony
blustered, backing away from the sentry.
‘Mistaken? Like you were when ya put me in this stinkin’
The young guard, now alert, picnic basket forgotten, put his
hand on his gun, expecting trouble.
‘What’s up Ted?’ he asked.
‘He’s a cop. What’s he doin’ here?’
The guard looked at Tony, who shrugged, backing away. ‘Hey,
don’t look at me man. The funny farms that way. He should be in there, not here’ he muttered, turned and made
his way back to the car. Getting in he cursed.
‘Wassup?’ Bear asked.
‘We’ve been made, that’s what’s up.
Get us outa here now. We need to tell Dobey’.
As Anise hung on tight in the back seat, Bear turned the car
around swiftly and drove hurriedly back to the Metro to inform the big black man of their problem.
Charlie sat with Anise’s purse on the floor of the car
next to him. He checked inside it, seeing the two reassuringly well wrapped packs of coke and grinned to himself. Two kilos!
Some haul. Now all he needed to do was to meet with the distributor that Nate Sanna had set up, agree a selling price and
he’s be coining it in. He and the Warden and the two or three other guards who were into the racket inside would be
retiring, rich and comfortable by the end of the year. And there wasn’t a man on earth who could stop them. Easy money!
Could life get much better?
He smiled and started to sing to himself as he switched on
the ignition and set the car in motion, driving slowly, enjoying the breeze coming in through the open window as he headed
back to town and the rendezvous.
‘So, you think he made you?’
‘Oh yeah. He knew me alright. I tried to make out he
was one of the Looney tune brigade but I don’t think the guard bought it’ Tony said, head in his hands as he broke
the news to Dobey.
The big black man paced the room. ‘OK, damage limitation
time’ the Captain said. ‘It’s fair to say that they’ll be on the Starsky by now. Lets hope Hutch can
keep him safe enough until we can bust ‘em outa there. In the mean time….’
‘We saw the guard with Anise’s purse. He has the
snow. Do we still connect with him?’ Bear asked.
There was a moments silence as they all considered the poosibilty.
Anise’s blood ran cold as she thought of the curly haired cop still in the jail with the guards now knowing he wasn’t
who he at first seemed. The injuries Starsky had received so far were bad enough, but she didn’t want to think of what
would happen to him now that the Warden was about to find out that his ticket to easy money was, in fact, the law.
‘We’ve come so damned far’ Tony said. ‘Whatever
is goin’ down inside that jail, we’re within a midge’s whisker of nailin’ ‘em and I’m
sure Starsky and Hutch would want us to keep on. If we can do this, we can nail the Warden and get ‘em both outa there
Dobey considered. He hated the thought of his men being in
so much danger, even though he new that they could look after themselves. It came with the territory. And if he was in their
shoes he’d be madder than hell if his boss pulled the plug before they’d gotten a result. He sighed deeply.
‘Here’s what we’re gonna do’ he said
leaning forward and beginning to explain what he wanted to happen. Bear, Tony and Anise listened carefully to his instructions,
nodding their agreement at the end.
‘Ok people? Let’s make this work huh?’ Dobey
said at the end of the briefing.
They grinned. ‘Just one thing Cap. Does it have to be
you? One of us could get in there just as well’.
The black man shook his head. ‘Anise is um…well
she’s ruled out of a men only prison. And the two of you have already demonstrated you’re too well know. We do
it this way an’ things’ll be fine. Now. go to work’.
At that moment Bear’s radio chirped into life. He pressed
the receive button, listened and muttered an acknowledgment into the mouthpiece. ‘He’s here. Ready?’
Charlie got out of the car and looked up at the brand new office
black. As yet it wasn’t occupied, but this was where the distributor said he wanted to meet and the guard approved.
It was quiet, out of the way and they wouldn’t be disturbed during their transactions. Charlie’s heart hammered
in his chest as he thought about the hundreds of thousands of dollars he could make from such a small amount of work. Being
a prison guard was in no way well paid and he’d have had to slog his way through his entire life just to be able to
afford his small apartment and maybe a few days in Santa Monica each year. This way, he figured he’d be able to retire
within a couple of years and maybe get himself some smart pad in Rio with a nice little chick to keep him warm and cosy.
Snagging the bag wth the drugs in it, he got out of the car,
glancing around him. All was quiet and he made his way round to the back of the building as he’d been instructed. Pushing
the big glass door open, he walked into the marble tiled entrance hall and looked around. The instructions had said to go
to the door on the right and knock. He fixed the door with a glance, walked towards it and knocked, one, loud, forceful knock
which left his knuckles stinging. Wouldn’t do to let them think he was nervous, even if he was.
He heard a muffled “come in” and opened the door
onto the bare, unfurnished office. Walking in he saw a huge mountain of a man waiting for him, and as he crossed the office
to say hello and hand the bag over, he was suddenly shocked out of his senses to have a crowd of three other people all come
out of nowhere and all with guns pointing at his head.
Bear grinned, reached behind him and brought his own gun round
so that it was levelled at Charlie’s chest.
‘Boo’ the big Alaskan said, but there was no mirth
in his voice.
Charlie dropped the bag into the floor and stood with his hands
in the air, his eyes flitting from one gun to the next. He had no idea who these guys were, but suddenly Sanna’s explanation
that they would be playing with the big league rang true. His throat went dry and he felt dizzy and sick.
‘What d’ya want?’ he asked in a shaky voice.
‘Your co-operation’ Dobey said, stepping in front
of the big guard and flipping open his shield.
Charlie looked at the gleaming silver badge and his heart plummeted
into his shoes. What was worse than being scared by a group of dealers? Being made by the cops!
‘We have two men inside and we want them out. We think
their cover has been blown and you can help’.
‘Yeah? And what do I get in return?’ Charlie asked,
surprising himself with his own calmness.
‘A fair trial and my gratitude’ Dobey grunted.
‘And a few years inside’ Charlie spat. ‘No
‘I can speak to the DA. With luck you’ll be looking
at months rather than years. That’s as good as it gets’.
‘And in return?’
‘You ring the Warden, tell him you’re on your way
back, an’ get me into the jail. Take me to my men, no funny business, and I’ll do the rest’.
The guard considered. His future had just dwindled from a life
living off drugs money in Rio, to months sharing a cell with the same guys he’d guarded for the past 6 years. But months
was better than years, and he knew that’s what Eli Long would be facing. His mind worked the numbers, but came up with
the same answer each time. Help the cops and look after himself.
‘Ok. Gimme a phone. And you’ll need a uniform’
he said to Dobey.
As Bear went out to make the arrangements, Dobey listened as
Charlie rang through to Eli Long and told him that when he’d gotten to the destination, there were too many cops around
and he’d hightailed it out of the before they could spot him. He still had the drugs and he was making his way back
to San Elmis. Completing the phone call, he looked up at the big black man.
‘He bought it. But what’s gonna happen to your
man on the inside? The Warden is gonna be mighty pissed at him now’.
Dobey started strapping a small webbing holster to his leg
below the knee, inserting his gun into it and pulling down the pant leg to cover it.
‘You’ve done your part. Let me worry about the
rest. An’ it's men, not man. There are two’ he grunted as Bear came in to tell him they had a prison uniform on
The young sentry looked at the fleeing black car and ran into
his small office. He dialled a number and asked to be put through to the Warden.
Fifteen minutes later, the door to Starsky’s cell opened
and Long, two large guards and Hutch walked in. the brunet was laid on the bed and he opened his eyes in surprise.
‘Take him to the punishment block. He’s cop’
Long told them. ‘I’ll be waiting’.
Chapter 11 - the description of the lock down
facilities and the punishment cells in this chapter is genuine and as accurate as possible
Starsky took a step backwards, his back pressed against the
wall as Long and his two goons approached him. In the background Hutch tried desperately to think of something he could do
to help his partner. Nothing came readily to mind and he winced as the two big guards took hold of the brunet’s arms
and pinned them behind his back, holding them in place with thick leather restraints. They frogmarched him from the reasonably
comfortable room and down the corridor.
The punishment block was where the usual inmates were sent
for moderate to severe infractions of the prison’s rules – usually for something involving violence. It wasn’t
unknown for some of the longer serving prisoners to become violent at the drop of a hat and when that did happen there were
special cells to accommodate them. In the punishment wing, each cell was soundproofed and consisted of a concrete sleeping
block in the corner of the cell, the room being perhaps 10’x10’. Nothing else. Anyone who was to remain there
for longer than the usual few hours was given a set of furniture made from dense corrugated cardboard – a rudimentary
stool and a small functional desk were the norm. There were no slop facilities other than a pail in the corner. This was,
after all, meant to be a removal of all privileges.
Hutch followed closely as Long directed the two guards and
their prisoner to the wing, thankful that for once his partner was managing to keep his hot temper under control. In fact,
the smaller man was still clinging to his alter ego, playing the part of Nate Sanna to the hilt.
‘What’re ya doin’? Where are ya takin’
me? What’s this all about Long? I thought we had a deal? Wassup? Your friend Charlie turned chicken? Couldn’t
deal? Or has he done a runner with the snow?’
Starsky’s questions went unanswered as he was propelled
down the corridor and finally brought to a halt outside a small door. The Warden opened it and the small group went inside.
The brunet blinked in the brighter austere light of the small
cell and looked around him. The room was painted the same sickly grey colour as the rest of the prison seemed to be. It was
devoid of furniture. The two men guarding him pushed him forwards so that he skidded to a halt by the far wall and stared
at them as they hissed “kneel down”.
Not wanting to make life too easy and realising that the game
of playing Nate Sanna was finally over, Starsky gave his two guards a withering look.
The man closest to him grinned at him and bent down, whipping
a thick black baton across the brunet’s shins. With a hiss of pain, Starsky crumpled forward until he was on his knees
on the hard concrete floor. He cast a glance sideways to see that Hutch was looking around as if looking for help. He looked
up at the Warden expectantly.
‘So cop. I’m so glad you decided to give our little
complex a visit’ Long said smoothly.
The curly hared cop gave a forced grin. ‘Wouldn’t
miss it for the world’. The man at his back cuffed him sharply around the head catching the still fresh bruise on his
face and he winced, but kept quiet. Long was continuing.
‘As an officer of the law yourself, you will appreciate
that places like this must have rules, otherwise there's anarchy. You’ve broken one of San Elmis’ most important
rules. You’ve not been honest with us. You told us you were someone you weren’t and that you had a deal for us.
Plainly that was a lie and I need to know who else is in on the game. Indiscretion is a sin. For that you’re gonna suffer.
Think of it as breaking a law’.
Starsky looked around him at the two guards and his blond partner
in the background. Hutch didn’t like the way this little game was going and desperately he looked for a way out.
‘A crime huh? Why do I get the impression I’m not
gonna get away with a caution?’ Starsky asked calmly, seeing the Warden grin at him.
‘Misdemeanours get cautions. Your crime is more of a
felony in our eyes. One of the most serious. There’s only one penalty for your crime cop’.
‘Don’t tell me, you’ll ride me out of town
and hope never to see me again’ the concrete was biting sharply into his knees now and his thighs burned with the strain
of kneeling all that time. He felt the annoying start of pins and needles in his left foot and he was feeling altogether pissed
at the situation. Who’d told them? Who’d blown his cover? It wasn’t Hutch and he was pretty sure Anise was
Long laughed out loud. ‘Would that it was so simple!
If that were to happen, you’d just go back, get a warrant and our pensions would go up in smoke!’
‘Jeez I hate long explanations. You’re beginning
to bore me’ Starsky grunted.
The guard at his back brought his baton down on the brunet’s
right shoulder. Starsky screamed, unable to stop himself as he felt his collarbone crack with the force of the blow. Pains
flared down his chest and arm and up into his neck, fireworks exploding in crimson brilliance behind his eyes. Hutch took
a step forward. He couldn’t let this happen. Couldn’t let his partner take any more pain. Desperately he wondered
how long he could hold out before someone came to stop this.
Starsky forced himself upright, his head held to one side to
alleviate the pressure on his arm and shoulder. The pain was agonising and his indigo eyes automatically sought out the crystal
blues of his partner. He saw Hutch lurch forward and shook his head imperceptibly.
M’ok buddy, I can handle this for a while longer.
Just hold on huh?
Hutch closed his eyes, his whole body stiff with tension as
the Warden knelt down by Starsky’s side.
‘Tell me who ya told’ he hissed.
‘The Mormon Tabernacle Choir, the senate select committee
and the guy who came in to deliver my breakfast. There's a little guy down in records who hasn't heard yet, but it's only
a matter of time’ Starsky ranted, his temper now stretched to breaking point.
Hutch winced. Why the hell did the brunet always have to come
back with a smart assed comment? Couldn’t he keep it zipped and just go with the flow? Well, no. Silence was not Starsky’s
forte. And the brunet was never one to take the easy route.
Eli Long’s temper snapped too. He stood in front of the
bound, kneeling man and drew back his booted foot, kicking full force at Starsky’s ribs. The force knocked the curly
haired man onto his side and he screamed again as the shock jostled his broken collarbone and the foot returned for a repeat
Hutch couldn’t bear the sight any longer. He’d
waited as long as he could stomach for help to arrive, but he couldn’t handle the sight of the three men beating up
on his partner any more. With a roar he launched himself at the nearest guard, knocking the surprised man to the ground. Long
looked around in surprise as the big blond grappled with his adversary on the ground. The warden turned back to Starsky with
a leer. The brunet was lying on the ground, his breath wheezing through his teeth as he fought to remain conscious. This beating,
coming so soon after his meeting with the two guards yesterday had eaten up his last reserves of energy, the pain of the additional
broken bone sending him over the edge. In desperation he opened his eyes and saw the Warden’s face.
‘Oh now I get it! Not one cop. We got ourselves a brace
He leaned down, almost sitting on Starsky’s side, using
his body weight to anchor the tethered and semiconscious cop to the ground as he yelled for the other guard to help his companion.
Both uniformed men struggled with Hutch on the ground. At first
the flaxen haired cop had managed to hold his own with the guard, who was younger, taller and heavier than he was. However,
once the second guard joined in, the fight became distinctly one sided. Guard #1 lifted Hutch to his feet, his arms wrapped
round the blond’s neck in a passable full nelson wrestling hold as the other stood in front of him. Guard #2 grinned,
‘I never did like you Gibb, if that is your real name’.
he drove his fist into Hutch’s taut belly and crystal blue eyes closed as Hutch’s breath was driven forcibly from
him. The fists continued to pound at him, sometimes on his body, targeting his belly and sides, and sometimes veering north
to hammer into his face.
Starsky struggled weakly on the ground, unable to get rid of
the Warden’s weight holding him down. With his hands still fastened behind his back, he could only watch in mute horror
as his partner was steadily beaten to a pulp in front of him.
There was blood covering the handsome golden face now. The
guard’s fist had managed to break Hutch’s nose and ruby red fluid coursed down his chin to spray droplets onto
the grey concrete floor. The flaxen haired cop’s right eye was swollen shut and there was a large cut from his right
eye down, over his cheek almost to the corner of his mouth.
Starsky could hear the breath gurgling in his partner’s
throat and struggled harder to get to Hutch. The blond’s struggles were weakening fast, his body giving up the unequal
struggle until he hung limply from his assailant’s grip.
On the floor by the side of him Starsky moaned into the concrete.
‘Utch….no. Don’t. No more. He’s had
‘nough. You’ll kill ‘im’.
Long seemed to come to his senses. As guard #2 wound up for
another crushing blow, he held up his hand agreeing with the cop he was using as a sofa.
‘That’s enough’ he told the two guards. ‘Let
go of him’.
They did, and Hutch sank to his knees, his hands braced on
the floor as he bent forward, sucking in great lungfulls of air. He looked dazedly over at his partner and their eyes locked.
Neither man had the breath or the strength to speak. The Warden leaned down and squeezed at Starsky’s broken collarbone
almost playfully. The brunet’s body arched at the brutal touch and he groaned low in his throat.
‘You sure you’re not gonna tell us who else you
told?’ Long asked.
There was silence, neither cop dignifying him with an answer.
Long got up from the floor and looked at the two panting dishevelled guards.
‘Call an exercise break. Then take ‘em outside,
give ‘em a weapon and let the sentry shoot ‘em. We can’t have prisoners fighting each other. It aint good
Charlie drove up to the sentry box at he entrance to San Elmis,
his face a picture of haste and panic. The young guard stepped out and looked in through the window.
‘Hiya Chuck. How’s things?’
‘Fine. Need to get back to see the Warden. Let me through
man’ Charlie blustered. ‘Quick’.
The sentry nodded, wondering what the panic was, but he stepped
back inside his box and pushed the button to swing the automatic gates open so that Charlie could drive through
Dobey was wedged on the floor behind the drivers seats, a blanket
pulled over his head to disguise his bulky frame. A trickle of sweat ran down the line of his nose, tickling and annoying
him. With the cover over him he felt disorientated and claustrophobic and hoped he could still trust his driver to keep up
his end of the bargain. He felt the car set off again, turn a couple of corners and come to a stop. There was a rustling noise
and then the back door of the car opened and Charlie pulled the blanket off of him.
‘Coasts clear’ he mumbled as Dobey fought his way
out of the confined space. The black man patted himself down and straightened the thin denim “uniform” he wore.
In deference to Charlie being the guard, he walked a few paces behind the big man and entered San Elmis by a back, staff entrance.
Inside the air conditioned atmosphere cooled the sweat on Dobey’s
body and made him shiver involuntarily. It had been a while since he’d been undercover and although he used to be pretty
convincing, there was too much riding on his performance now to let anything slip. He moved to the side of the corridor and
followed as Charlie started to make his way towards a central atrium with steps running up it.
‘Stay behind me, head down. Don’t look up and don’t
acknowledge no-one’ Charlie ordered. Dobey flicked his hand in understanding and walked quietly behind as they started
to climb the steps. The holster around his lower leg felt good, the gun which had warmed to the temperature of his skin had
a reassuring bulk to it and Dobey’s heart rate eased very slightly now that the operation to retrieve his two men was
They walked up the steps to the third level and took a sharp
right down a corridor that looked just like every other corridor in the place. It was like a labyrinth or a rabbit warren;
so many passageways leading off the central point and all looking alike. But Charlie knew exactly where he was going and Dobey
followed behind, meekly, like a lost little lamb.
At the end of the corridor, the big guard stopped in front
of an impressive heavy wooden door. As Dobey stayed a respectful five paces behind, Charlie knocked once, opened it and stepped
through. Dobey was about to follow when suddenly the door was slammed in his face and the Captain heard the tumblers of a
lock roll into place.
Cursing Dobey threw his considerable weight against the door,
trying to gain entrance. He threw his shoulder into it, receiving nothing in return but a large bruise. Without giving it
a second thought, the black man cast around looking for another means of gaining access. There was another door to his left
and he tried that, not surprised that it too was locked. Pulling his gun from the concealed holster, he fired at the lock,
opening the door which led to another corridor and thankfully ssaw teps leading down.
Eli Long and one of the guards bent and took hold of Starsky’s
limp form, pulling it to his feet. The pressure on his broken collarbone was too much to bear and he screamed out again, the
pain too much to ignore. At this side, Hutch staggered to his feet too, swaying drunkenly from his own beating as he saw Long
had a gun placed against Starsky’s head.
‘We’re gonna walk nice and quiet down the steps.
We’re not gonna make a noise and we’re gonna make our way outside. Is that clear cop?’ he grunted at Hutch.
Without waiting for a reply, the two injured men were forced
from the small cell and half led and half dragged towards a door leading to the exercise yard. A bell started clanging through
the halls and they could hear prisoners getting ready to be let out for an unexpected, additional exercise break. There was
a quiet hum of conversation from the various cells.
Long opened the door and the two cops were literally thrown
into the yard. Starsky fell, skidding along on his chest in the dirt while Hutch managed to keep his balance just, and staggered
towards the brunet. As he looked back at Long, the guards threw down two small blades. No more than rough steak knife blades,
their ends were wrapped around with tape to make a rudimentary handle – the sort of weapon a prisoner might make on
the inside, hoping for a time to defend himself or use it in the heat of battle.
Hutch ignored them and set to unbuckling the thick leather
straps from round Starsky’s wrists. The brunet was semi conscious now, the sweat of pain beading on his forehead as
his body trembled.
‘Hey, easy partner. How’re ya doin’ huh?’
the blond asked, throwing the restraints away as though they were poison. Gently he took hold of Starsky’s uninjured
shoulder and tried to turn him over. Indigo eyes flashed open as the brunet moaned.
‘Utch….remind me…..never to listen….to
‘Yeah, sure buddy. Here. ya wanna sit up?’
‘No, wanna stop hurtin’.
‘I know. Just lie there a minute huh?’
Hutch looked up at he two guards. They grinned wolfishly, then
left. Leaving Long to say his final goodbyes.
‘Shame I have to report that a prisoner started a fight
with a guard. Can’t happen in prison ya know. We have to take precautions’. He looked up at the armed guard on
the roof and backed away.
‘They’ll still come for ya Long’ Hutch ground
out. ‘they’ll still come an’ smash your sordid little ring into the ground. Why add the death of two cops
on to your score huh? What’s that gonna achieve?’
Long looked back at him. Disbelief shining over his face. ‘Achieve?
Vindication. That’s what it’ll achieve’. And with that final statement he walked back towards the door,
leaving the two injured men in the dirt and the bright sunlight.
‘’s he gone?’ Starsky mumbled.
‘Uh huh. It’s just me and thee and Hawkeye up there’
Hutch said looking up at the prison marksman, who had his gun raised to his shoulder, ready. Taking off his uniform overshirt
to pad under his partner’s head, he let his hand linger on the curly hair. Starsky always seemed to get the raw end
of the deal. The fresh bruise overlying Starsky’s already bruised face had cause his right eye to swell closed again,
and despite the fact that Hutch’s own body was aching like nothing he’d ever remembered, his overriding drive
was to make sure that the curly haired cop was as comfortable as possible. He rubbed the back of his hand over his face and
it came back slick with his own blood. Hutch grunted. Great! Just great! He looked around the exercise yard. Twenty foot high
walls topped with razor wire glared back at him, the only route out of the desolate place being back through the door they’d
Dobey heard the clanging of the bell and the announcement that
all prisoners were to report to the exercise yard and smelled a rat. He set off down the steps to the ground floor, his bulk
moving with surprising speed and agility down the hard concrete steps as his gun pointed forward, ready, in his hand. It had
been a while since he’d been alone in this sort of danger and the adrenaline flooded his system now, the world sparking
into crystal clarity. He heard the smallest sound, saw the tiniest movement, his senses on hyper alert.
At the foot of the steps he looked left and right, before seein
the door at the end of the hallway, a thin strip of light shining around it’s perimeter.
Cautiously now, the big black man gheaded that way, hugging
the wall, the finger of his right hand resting next to the trigger. Quietly he whispered into the wire attached to his chest.
‘Bear, Tony, call help and get your asses in here right
now. Trouble an’ I mean with a capital T’. He heard a muffled acknowledgment, gripped his gun an little tighter
and gently opened the door.
Starsky groaned again and opened his eyes, squinting up at
‘What went wrong?’ he grunted. ‘Can ya tell
‘Dunno partner, an’ for the moment, I don’t
really care. We need to get outa here, like now’.
Very slowly, Starsky managed to get himself up, leaning heavily
on the blond’s shoulder. The glint of bright white metal in the afternoon sun caught his attention and without thinking,
the brunet reached for the small knife on the floor as Hutch yelled at him
It all happened in a second.
As the brunet made to reach for the knife to examine it, the
prison marksman took that as his cue to shoot. He raised his rifle higher, sighting the crosshairs onto the man on the ground
and squeezed the trigger. Dobey burst through the door into the exercise yard as the other prisoners started to file out into
the dusty yard. The report of the rifle sounded loud, echoing around the high walls as Hutch saw the movement above them.
Dobey saw it too and dropped to the ground in typical marksman
pose as he held his gun with both hands, levelling it first at the marksman and then at the other blue clad prisoners who’d
stopped in their tracks. For one split second that seemed to last an eternity there was complete silence in the yard, the
sudden impossibly loud noise taking everyone unawares.
And then all hell broke loose. The lead prisoners started to
run into the centre of the yard looking up at the marksman as the prisoners at the back of the group targeted the retreating
back of the Warden. Like a coiled pride of lions ready to strike, they moved as one, grabbing hold of the fat man by his collar
and waistband as they hauled him back out into the sunlight.
Dobey heard a strangled yelp from the big man as he was surrounded
by a sea of blue denim. The prisoners, some of whom had been a resident of San Elmis for years and had learned to hate the
big man and his petty rules and regulations, surged forward, baying for the Warden’s blood like a pack of hyenas and
Dobey saw the big body disappear under a wave of humanity. He looked up at the roof, but the marksman had gone, the first
to hear the wailing of sirens in the distance. As the noise of salvation came closer, more guards, this time dressed in standard
black flack jackets and toting helmets and batons flooded into the melee, wielding their sticks at the backs of the prisoners
kicking at the Warden on the ground.
A few inmates had stood back and now they were beginning to
circle the two cops on the ground and Dobey moved in their direction, gun still held out as he ordered the small crowd to
back off. Reluctantly, the circle of men parted and Dobey had his first clear view of the detectives. Both Starsky and Hutch
lay still, blood covering the two of them and beginning to pool on the ground around their bodies. Starsky lay beneath his
partner, eyes closed, the bruises showing up ugly and dark on his face. Above him, Hutch sprawled. Having seen the gunman
move, he’d reacted quickly and without thought for himself, throwing his body in the way of the bullet to protect his
partner. Now, laying face down over the smaller man’s torso, Dobey could see a bloom of red over the white tee shirt
on the top left of Hutch’s back, the blood from the wound at the front trickling down onto his buddy’s shirt front.
Both men were unconscious.
The police Captain knelt by the side of his men, the fingers
of his left hand searching for their pulses as the right hand held his gun tight, pointing at the ring of prisoners surrounding
him. As the riot guards dealt with the other inmates, Dobey stayed knelt by Starsky and Hutch’s bodies until finally
Bear and Tony appeared. They went straight to the trio and knelt down by their sides. Dobey’s eyes never left the surrounding
men, his hand never wavering from it’s aim.
Gently Bear tried to take the gun from his hand.
‘Hey Cap’n. S’ok. We can take it from here’
he said to the statue. Dobey’s eyes remained focussed in front of him and he tried again, taking both hands to pry the
fingers from around the Beretta. ‘Dobey….Harold. C’mon man. It’s over. See the ambulance is here’.
Slowly Dobey’s eyes refocused and he looked at Bear as
if seeing him for the first time. ‘Help them’ he said.
‘We will. S’ok the paramedics are here. You ok?’
Shakily Dobey rose to his feet looking a little shy. He cleared
his throat self consciously. ‘Yeah. Yeah, I’m good. Now lets get this mess cleared up’
The waiting area of the hospital on the outskirts of Carson
City was just the same as the waiting area of every other hospital that Bear and Tony had had the misfortune to visit. At
the moment they had just arrived, having spent the last hour cleaning up at the prison and handing over to the local police
and prison services.
In the general confusion of the riot the guards at the prison
had spent their time in quelling the unruly inmates and it wasn’t until they’d managed to get to the centre of
the main group that they found the bloody and dead body of the Warden, kicked and beaten to death. His features were so mangled
that had it not been for his distinctive bulk he would have been unrecognisable.
Now the two detectives paced the carpeted relatives room waiting
for news on their three friends. Dobey had been taken to the ER room to check him over. While there had been no physical injury
to the police captain, his emotional state when Bear had found him indicated that he was in shock. The paramedics loaded him
into a car with instructions to take him to Mercy hospital while thy worked over the two detectives.
Gently they moved Hutch’s body from it’s resting
place overlaying his partner. His body was limp and his eyes closed and they struggled to find a pulse. The gunshot wound
was perilously close to his heart and as one medic placed a pressure bandage over the wound and started to check out the other
minor injuries, his colleague started to check out Starsky.
The brunet was injured badly, but not as badly as his blond
buddy. Although he had several breaks, nothing was life threatening and so as they loaded Hutch into one ambulance and set
off, sirens and lights blazing, Starsky was gently placed on a gurney and placed into another ambulance to follow on.
Tony sat with his head in his hands as Bear looked at the clock
on the pale green painted wall for the hundredth time in the last five minutes.
‘What’s taking them so long?’ he asked again,
and again Tony shook his head, but remained silent. They stayed that was for some time until the door opened and a slightly
paler, but much recovered police Captain walked through. Dobey’s collar was undone and his shirt still bore the blood
from his two detectives, but his eyes were once again alive and focussed and he smiled at the two visitors.
‘Thanks guys, you did good’ he said as he sat down
on the small sofa.
‘Tell me again when we know how they are an' you might
convince me’ Bear ground out. He went to the door and snagged a passing nurse. ‘Hey honey. Can you tell me how
are two friends are?’ he asked. The woman smiled encouragingly and pointed behind the man. At that moment a door swung
open and a doctor dressed in scrubs, with a mask hung around his neck walked through and came into the room. He sighed, pinched
the bridge of his nose and leaned against the wall with his arms crossed. Wearily he looked at the three men.
‘You the guys here with the two detectives?’
‘Uh huh. Detectives Hutchinson and Starsky. I’m
their Captain’ Dobey said, sitting up straighter. ‘News?’
‘Detective Starsky is in the OR now having his fractured
collarbone reduced. He has some major bruising across his abdomen, but we’ve checked and there’s no internal injuries.
He’s had a fractured wrist, which was set earlier. We’ve re-cast that and stitched up some cuts across his sides,
face and back. He should be back in his room any time now’.
‘As for Detective Hutchinson. I’ve just come from
the OR. I’ve handed over to a cardiac specialist. The bullet came perilously close to his heart. A couple of centimetres
lower and……well. He’s lucky. He should be fine, but he’ll take longer to recover than his partner.
He had several other minor injuries – a broken nose, fracture cheek bone. But he’ll mend. He'll just need time.
He has strength and youth on his side. If he hadn't been so fit initially, I'd be more worried’.
Dobey smiled his thanks at the medic. ‘When will you
be done with Hutchinson? Can I see Starsky?’ Dobey asked.
‘Mr Hutchinson will be in the OR for another hour at
least. as for Mr Starsky...Well, he’s sleeping now. He came round remarkably quickly from the anaesthetic and started
asking about his partner. Got quite agitated so we had to sedate him, just so as he got some rest. I suggest you all go home
and get some rest too. If there’s any change, I’ll get the nurses to phone you if you leave a number’.
Calm indigo blue eyes opened to see a pretty face above them.
Starsky attempted a smile which turned to a grimace as the powerful pain meds and anaesthetic caught up with him and with
a groan he turned onto his side and was violently sick into a container the nurse held.
Wearily he flopped back onto the bed and wiped the back of
his hand over his mouth. He groaned again at the bitter taste in his mouth and opened his eyes to check out his surroundings.
Glad to find that there were no lines running into his arms, he surmised that he couldn’t be too badly hurt, although
his body told him differently. His shoulder felt stiff and as though it didn’t belong to him and his face felt twice
it’s normal size.
The nurse was wiping his forehead with a cool damp cloth and
Starsky looked at her properly for the first time, grimacing at his pain and the fact he'd just lost the contents of his stomach
over the pretty girl.
‘M'sorry. I don’t usually throw up on pretty ladies’
he said, finding his voice surprisingly strong.
‘Well I don’t usually make my more handsome patients
sick’ she responded. ‘How do you feel? Do you have much pain?'
'Some' Starsky reported. He'd had worse, but there again, not
many men had as much to compare against as he had.
The nurse smiled encouragingly at him, stunned by his blue
within blue eyes. They held her transfixed for a moment and she shook herself, chiding herself for acting like a child. 'Lie
back and relax. I’ll let the doctor know that you’re awake. He can give you something for the pain. You've certainly
been in the wars.'
Starsky wasn’t for letting her go so easily. ‘Where’s
‘The man who was brought in at the same time as you?’
‘Uh huh. Where is he? Is he ok?’ The brunet’s
last memory was of a flash, a sound like a clap of thunder and Hutch’s pained grunt as he threw himself forward. Then
there was a terrific weight across his middle and chest, holding him down, and then nothing.
The nurse’s smile faded a little. ‘He’s in
the next room. Don’t worry, he isn’t too far away. He came back from the OR about an hour ago. He's comfortable
‘But is he ok? I need to see him’.
‘You need to see the doctor and stay put. You have broken
bones and a concussion. I'm amazed you can even think straight at the moment’ she admonished. ‘Lay still and I’ll
go get the doctor’.
‘No, you don’t understand’ Starsky persisted.
‘I need to see him. I need to be with him. He saved my life. He needs me...I need to be with him’.
‘But he’s got to rest too. He isn't going anywhere
and he's out of danger. You need to look to your own healing before you worry about anyone else’. She whisked out of
the room in search of the doctor.
Starsky sighed, frustrated. In all the times they’d been
sick, they were always there for each other. In fact it was almost a joke at Memorial, back home, that if one was injured,
the other would need a second bed in the room. Cautiously, he flipped the sheet back, thankful that the staff had at least
had the decency to give him a pair of scrubs pants to cover his modesty. How civilised! Not an open backed nightdress in sight.
Gritting his teeth against the pains in his shoulder and arm, Starsky stood by the side of the bed and waited until the room
stopped spinning. He took a deep breath, trying to get his stomach to obey his commands and stay put and then slowly shuffled
to the door. peeping out, he felt like a schoolboy sneaking downstairs for a midnight feast and he looked left and right.
His room was right next door to the nurses station on the left,
so he turned right and, hugging the wall for support, he staggered to the next room, pushing open the door.
Inside, the room was dimly lit and quiet, the only occupant
being the sleeping blond. Starsky made it to Hutch’s bedside and hitched a sob. The flaxen haired cop looked incredibly
fragile, laying on his back with tubes in both arms, an oxygen mask over his mouth and nose and leads from his chest attached
to a heart monitor which gave an insidious bleep with every heartbeat. White bandages swathed his upper chest and left shoulder
and there was a small blood stain at their centre, marking the bullet’s path through the golden body.
Starsky looked round, but the room had been cleared to make
room for the machinery surrounding the bed. Finding no convenient chair, Starsky perched on the very edge of the mattress
and took hold of Hutch’s hand. He watched for an age as the sleeping man breathed evenly and deeply through the mask,
thinking for the umpteenth time that Judith Kaufman’s observation had been right. He did look like a little boy. But
this little boy had been in the wars and the handsome face was covered in blue bruises, a line of stitches down a cut from
eye to mouth and with one purple swollen eye. Swelling marred his jawline too and Starsky reached out and gently traced a
line down the side of the flaxen bangs, skirting the oxygen mask and tubes.
The brunet didn’t know how long he stayed there watching
and counting the slow steady breaths, but slowly, as he rubbed circles into the back of the blond’s hand, Hutch’s
eyes cracked open. He smiled and leaned forward.
The eyes moved slowly and focussed on Starsky’s indigo
blues. A small pained smile played over the golden face.
‘Heeeey’ he whispered.
‘How’re ya doin’ buddy?’
‘Enjoy it while ya can Pal’ Starsky grinned and
then his face turned serious.
‘What did ya do it for?’
‘Huh? Hutch’s eyebrows creased in concentration.
‘Why d’ya move in front of the shot? You could’a
‘Hutch you’re supposed to grow old with someone,
not because of ‘em. You didn’t have to do that babe. I need you here, with me. You watch my back. I can’t
do this without ya’.
‘Is that all ya can say? I’m here, baring my soul
to ya, tryin to say thanks for saving my life and all you can do is say shuddup? What kind of a reaction is that?’
Pained crystal blue eyes regarded him calmly. ‘You don’t….like
‘Sssssoapy ... ssssscenes’ Hutch’s voice
was failing and he felt tired, but in a good way. His body was aching to float off into a cloud of pain meds and not reappear
for a few hundred years, or until the pain in his back and chest had gone, but he concentrated on his partner, not wanting
Starsky to go.
Starsky grinned. ‘Might’a changed my mind’.
‘Hutch?’ Starsky stood up so that he could lean
over his partner better. The blond forced his heavy eyes open once more.
‘Thanks buddy. Now go to sleep’.
'Hate...prrrrisons. Gonna go ssssstraight.'
As Hutch drifted back into a relaxed sleep, Starsky stayed
by the bed holding the blond hand. It had been a long couple of days, packed with adrenaline for both men. The strains of
being undercover were enormous, the penalty for things going wrong almost too much to bear. Starsky fought hard to stay awake
to watch over his buddy but his pains also argued with him and he found it difficult to keep his eyes open. Slowly he allowed
gravity to take charge and slid down the bed as he closed his eyes.
When the doctor and nurse finally found their errant brunet
patient in Hutch’s room, the blond had managed to get himself onto his side and one hand dangled over the bed as if
reaching for his buddy. Starsky was curled up on the floor, head pillowed on his bright white cast and eyes closed as together
the two started to sleep themselves back to health.