And The Angels Smiled

'Honestly, you'll thank me' Starsky looked down at his blond haired partner who was sat on the sidewalk nursing his ankle. Hutch had rolled his jeans leg up and was staring mournfully at the blossoming bruise.

'Ya think? Just let me get this straight. You knocked me out the way. I fell off the sidewalk and broke my leg, and I'm supposed to thank ya?'

Ah, come on Blintz. It ain't broken; it's just bent a bit. An' yeh, you'll thank me when nothin' nasty happens. You were headin' under that ladder. That's bad luck ya know'. Starsky's face was earnest.

'Starsk, enough already! Somethin' nasty is about to happen. I'm gonna take that book of yours and stick it somewhere real dark, if ya know what I mean. I've had it up to here with ladders, black cats and mirrors. It's superstition buddy, nothin' more. Abandon the subject, Ok?' Hutch pulled himself to his feet, wincing as his foot touched down on the ground.

'See?' Starsky's face cracked into one of his lopsided puppy dog smiles. 'Knew it wasn't broken'.

Hutch glared and limped round to the passenger side of the Torino. Opening the door, he huddled into the passenger seat. It was the end of what had been a long, hot and ultimately unproductive day. They'd both been meant to give evidence at Bay City County Courthouse, and had waited there from ten in the morning, only to be told at three in the afternoon that they weren't required. The courthouse had been hot and stuffy, the air con. having broken earlier in the week. The water cooler ran out half way through the day, and they were out of quarters for the soda machine. Although he dearly loved his partner, all he wanted was a shower, a cold beer and to lie down in the cool of his apartment.

Starsky had bought another of his books. Given, as he was, to getting engrossed in random subjects, Hutch was used to his partner's sudden bursts of enthusiasm. But this superstition thing was driving him crazy. In the last 36 hours, they had avoided a black cat, narrowly missing an oncoming truck in the process; Hutch had got salt in his eye after standing behind his partner. Asking what throwing salt did, Starsky had muttered something about spilled salt needed some thrown over the left shoulder into the eye of the devil. Hutch had retorted that the devil would strangle Starsky if he did that again. And now there had been the ladder incident.

Starsky trotted round the back of the car to the driver's door gunned the engine and set off down the road. They drove in silence for a few minutes, Starsky humming tunelessly under his breath, seemingly very pleased with himself that he had saved his partner from a devastating run of bad luck.

Finally they pulled into Venice Place. Starsky stopped the car.

'You coming up?'

'Na, hot date with Debbie tonight. Gotta get ready' Starsky wiggled his eyebrows.

'Mind the mirror, then' his partner countered. 'Wouldn't want it to break, with your ugly mug reflected in it — seven years bad luck you know'. He dived out of the car, to avoid the blow he knew Starsky would land, forgetting his sore ankle. Swearing quietly, he peered in through the open car window. 'See ya later then, stud'. He banged on the top of the car, and Starsky once more sparked the engine, and drove off to his own apartment a couple of miles away.

Ten minutes later he arrived at his driveway. Getting out of the car he bounded up the steps, opened his front door and went inside. He poured himself a cool beer from the fridge, then went into the bathroom, turned on the shower and started to get ready for his evening out.


Starsky had got back to his apartment about 1.00am, after dropping Debbie back at hers. He had reluctantly refused the invite to go in for 'coffee'. He knew he had to be up for work the day after and couldn't face Hutch's wrath if he was late again. They had had a lovely evening; an Italian meal, dancing in the candlelight and conversation. Starsky felt mellow and relaxed.

Tired as he was, he folded his jeans and laid them on the chair in his bedroom, followed by his shirt. Socks went into the laundry basket, and his favourite Adidas sat together under the said chair. He smiled, knowing his partner would laugh at him for his neatness, but national service will do that to a guy. He padded over to the bed, pulled on his blue pyjama bottoms, and pulled the sheet over him. In no more than five minutes, he was asleep.

Starsky didn't hear the approach of the man. He didn't see the hypo as the needle glinted dully in the moonlight in the room. He wasn't aware of the man bending over him. He was, however, very aware of the cold pointed metal being forcibly rammed into the muscle of his upper right arm, and felt something cold creep under his skin.

He tried to swat the man's hand away, but whatever he had been given was fast acting, and his arm felt as though it was made of lead. Hell. Where did he come from? What's he doin? Ow! Come on arm, move....., nothing. What the hell's going on? Try again Davey. One, two, three...nothing. His vision too was becoming a little blurry around the edges, and his breath seemed to catch in his throat. Minutes seemed to stretch into hours. Screwing up his eyes did nothing to help his vision. He tried to shout, but his mouth wouldn't form any words, and only a hiss of air escaped.

The man was still there, above him. What's he doin' now? Not another? Starsky could only watch in horror as the assailant produced another hypo from his pocket. Crap, what's he doin' now? What is it with this guy? Is he a needle freak or somethin'?. God, I hate needles. Coming back into Starsky's line of vision, Starsky realised the man had a stocking over his head. He tried hard to distinguish features, but the nose was mashed against the material, flattened to the face, the rest of the features distorted too. He seemed to be average height and Starsky was convinced he was white. He almost seemed familiar.

Fluid squirted from the end of the needle, as the man made great play of expelling air from the barrel of the syringe. Ok, that's right....wouldn't want an oxygen bubble to kill the man you're tryin' to kill. The needle came closer and closer. Starsky made one more valiant effort to move, to try to hit out at his assailant. Come on arm, now would be a real good time, pleeeeease. Not a twitch. Sweat beaded on Starsky's forehead and he gasped 'No, I can't, I can't', managing to thrash his head from side to side. Satisfaction. Hey look, I can move my head! Great, what ya gonna do Davey, bite the guy?

The needle was hovering over his immobile right arm. Looking at the face above him was like looking at a face in an amusement fair hall of mirrors. It floated in front of him, insubstantial, as the needle was once more plunged into his flesh, searching out his waiting vein.

A dismembered voice .....'You have 24 hours to live pig. Count 'em Twenty four hours'. And then the dirtiest laugh he had ever heard as the man backed away and made for the door.


Starsky couldn't remember if he blacked out at that moment. He did remember looking over at his clock and registering the time. His main thought, though, was Hutch. Hutch'll know what to do. I can do this if he's here. God it's cold. Using up every bit of willpower, Starsky managed to roll onto his right side, to try to get to his phone.

With a superhuman effort he brought his left hand from under the sheet and tried to reach for the receiver. Just a bit further........bit further.....shit, that hurt. Over-reaching, he lost his balance and the top part of his body took a nosedive to the floor. His legs were tangled in the remaining bedclothes, so he ended up half in and half out of the bed. Looking up, he willed his hand to reach for the telephone still on the bedside cabinet. That's it, hand, one, two, three, and reach. Nothing. Hm, too difficult for ya eh? OK, change target. Try the wire. Now, careful. One, two three.....gotcha.. He pulled and the telephone toppled onto floor, narrowly missing his head. OK, dial Hutch's number. Well done, finger, ya can do it. He stabbed at the buttons on the phone, screwing his eyes up to try to focus. Fortunately, he could dial his partner's number in his sleep.

The ringing tone was replaced a moment later by Hutch's sleepy voice.


Starsky tried to form words, but none came out. Brilliant. What ya gonna do now — mime? For God's sake get it together shmok!.

Again 'Hello......who is this?'

Finally Starsky managed to breathe 'utch' into the receiver, before allowing blackness to overtake him.


Hutch was out of bed and dressing before his partner had got the whole of his name out. Starsky sounded ill — no, more than ill, and it wasn't like him to ring in the middle of the night. Wait. Scratch that. It was like him — nightmares of his experiences in Vietnam often shook his partner awake, and although he wouldn't talk in detail about his experiences there, Hutch was always ready to listen to anything his partner wanted to say. He offered any support and calm the curly haired man needed, before the final 'S'OK now Hutch. Sorry. Go back to sleep'. But this was different, and as Hutch dived for the door, he just hoped the smaller man would be OK till he got there.

Never one ordinarily to drive recklessly, Hutch ran every red light, the mars light on the top of his brown rust bucket flashing urgently. He covered the distance between their two apartments within three minutes, and screeched to a halt in front of Starsky's apartment. Without waiting to close the car door behind him, he bounded up the steps two at a time and pushed open the front door. Drawing his gun, he checked the clip and thumbed off the safety. Cautiously he shouldered into the dark apartment He knew it as well as his own, and, finding the main living area free of intruders, he hurried into the sleeping area.

He noticed the rumpled sheets on Starsky's bed, but no Starsky. He walked cautiously round the side of the bed and found the lean body of his partner half lying on the floor, still clasping the telephone receiver to his face, but now unconscious. Hastening to him, Hutch knelt and felt for the pulse in the curly haired man's neck. Thank God. He's alive. Pulse is strong, but slow. What've you done now, Gordo?

Hutch reached for the telephone and called in the request for an ambulance. Taking a cursory look around to establish that there didn't seem to have been a struggle, he set about getting Starsky into a more comfortable position.

Heart still hammering in his chest, Hutch carefully unwrapped Starsky's legs from the bedclothes, and levered the boneless body back onto the bed. He rested the chocolate brown curls against the white pillow, and started to check out the body of the man who had been his closest friend for so long.

Starting at the top, he carefully felt around Starsky's skull. His hands came away clean and he felt no lumps. He looked into his unconscious partner's face. His skin was paler than Hutch would have liked, but he seemed to be breathing OK. He felt cool to the touch, and absently, Hutch traced his thumb over the left cheek, feeling the tiny nub of the small mole there.

Carrying on further down, past a couple of knife wound scars on the upper chest, which peeked out from the forest of dark hair there, and on to the flat muscular abdomen, he could still find no marks. What the hell's goin' on buddy? C'mon, Gordo, wake up and give me a clue.

Only when Hutch got to Starsky's arms did he notice a tiny trickle of blood on his upper right arm, from a small puncture wound, and lower down on the same arm, another puncture wound surrounded by raised and rapidly bruising flesh. His mouth suddenly dry, he was relieved to hear the sounds of the ambulance. Within thirty seconds, the door to the apartment flew open and two paramedics appeared. Finding their way into the bedroom, Hutch recognised them from homicide sites and RTAs.

'Over here, Keith. Its Starsk. I've checked him. No apparent major injuries, but he's got needle marks on his right arm'.

The paramedic smiled at Hutch and, as the blond man moved to the other side of the bed, Keith sat down beside Starsky's body. Doing the normal checks, he raised Starsky's eyelid, shining a pen light into his left eye, then his right, noting the pupils were dilated. Starsky stirred a little, but remained unconscious.

'We need to get him down to Memorial now. He's obviously been drugged, but we need to establish what he's been given, and why'. Standing and motioning for his partner to come in with the stretcher, Keith looked over to Hutch.

'I know you two well enough to know you'll want to be with him'.

Hutch smiled tightly. 'No way I'd leave him at a time like this Keith. You got any idea what it is?'

'Not so far. I'd say a narcotic of some kind, but it's puzzling there's two puncture wounds'.

Keith and his partner gently lifted Starsky's limp body onto the stretcher and wheeled him towards the door. Hutch picked up Starsky's keys, locked the door to the apartment behind him, and took a seat in the ambulance next to his sleeping friend. The vehicle started to move as Keith strapped a cuff round Starsky's left arm and connected the sphygmomanometer. He applied an oxygen mask over Starsky's face and leads to his chest, attached to the cardio monitor.

Immediately, the trace started showing a wavy PQRST line on the monitor. Seemingly satisfied with what he saw there, Keith busied himself with form filling and the like.

Suddenly the monitor gave a little blip and Starsky's body went rigid. Immediately Keith was back by his patient's side, feeling for a pulse and adjusting the oxygen level. Starsky moaned, but his eyes remained tightly closed. Slowly, the beeps on the monitor returned to what Hutch hoped were normal.

The ambulance drew up outside the emergency entrance to Memorial, and the trolley was unloaded from the back. Hutch, by now beside himself with worry preceded it into the Emergency room shouting 'Where's the doctor, where's the doctor?'

'David Michael Starsky, 32, suspected drug ingestion. Unconscious at scene. GCS 6 — E1V1M4. Pulse 55 but strong, BP 100/60, respiration normal. No detectable external injuries, other than two puncture wounds upper and lower right arm', Keith informed the ER staff.

Doctors and nursing staff appeared and one of the nurses was about to order Hutch from the room when Keith shook his head. Pushing the blond haired man gently out of the way, a tall thin man in a white coat approached the supine detective. Repeating all the basic tests done by Keith, the doctor asked that the nursing staff undress the patient.


Starsky was dreaming. In his dream, he and Debbie were laid on a big sheepskin rug in front of a roaring fire. There was snow outside the window but inside was warm and cosy. Shadows from the firelight played against the stone clad walls of the chalet. Starsky leaned over to Debbie and kissed her gently on the lips. She responded and started to unbutton his shirt. He could feel her warm hands on his chest, moving down to the belt of his jeans. He smiled as he felt the button being undone, then the zipper.........and a male voice saying 'Can we get a move on, please'.

What the hell. What's he doin here? Starsky started to surface from his warm and comfortable dream. He cracked his eyes open. A bright light shone down on him, and people dressed in white surrounded him. It took him a moment to recognise the impersonality and clinical smell of the ER, and for a second wondered how and why he was there.

Realising that his patient was awake, the doctor leaned close. 'David, you're at Memorial hospital. Your friend is just outside. My name is Doctor Franklin. We need to get you undressed to see what's happened.'

Starsky nodded slightly as hands removed the rest of his clothing and draped a white gown over him, his initial disappointment that he and Debbie weren't in a snowbound chalet receding to be replaced by anxiety.

'Can you remember what happened, son?'

Starsky took a moment. Yeh, what has happened? Come on, Davey boy, get it together. Realisation hit.

'I need to see my partner'. His voice sounded croaky and soft.

'Not yet. He's just outside, but we need to find out what's happening to you. You have two puncture marks on your right arm. Do you remember how they got there? Asked the doctor.

'Guy came a callin'. I was asleep till he stuck me with a needle at the top of my arm. Then I felt like I couldn't move, an' he stuck me with another further down'. Told me I had 24 hours to live, so I'm guessin' it wasn't a vitamin shot'. Starsky smiled grimly, as he thought back to his bedroom. Was there anything else? A look of panic flitted across his face.

'Hutch. I can't tell him. I hate soapy scenes. If ya find out this guy did give me somethin nasty, will you tell him? Starsky pleaded.

The doctor returned to his examination. Looking at the wound on the lower part of Starsky's arm, he pressed on the surrounding bruise very gently.

'How long ago did this happen?'

'What time is it now?'

'Four thirty in the morning'

'Then just under an hour ago, I think. Why?'

The doctor was already giving orders. 'Small bore syringe please......no, the orange one.......thank you. Now'. Starsky looked away as the doctor carefully inserted the needle of the syringe into to dark blue bruise surrounding the puncture wound. He poked the needle in against the skin, then carefully pulled back on the plunger. Fluid filled the barrel of the syringe, and the clearly defined bump around the bruise deflated somewhat.

'Take this down to pathology now', he gave the syringe to one of the nurses. 'Tell them it should contain a foreign substance. I want it analysed and a print out of the composition along with a possible antidote within an hour'.

The nurse nodded and hurried away. The doctor took a tourniquet from his white coat pocket and tightened it around Starsky's arm, just below the elbow. 'I'd like you to remain there quite still until I get the results back please. Try not to move around too much, and its imperative you don't sit up, or exert yourself. Your partner will have to wait outside just for the moment, but we may have news soon', and with that, he turned and left.

Starsky tried to remain calm, and with the remains of the initial drug still dragging him towards sleep, he found it relatively easy to keep still. As the minutes wore on, though, the hard metal table began to dig into his shoulder blades and hips and the cold metal leeched away any warmth he had once felt. He tried to amuse himself watching the nurses, but the anxiety of the last hour was taking its toll, and all he wanted was answers.


Outside the ER, Hutch was pacing up and down the corridor. He had tried desperately to get back into the room, but his way had been blocked. He had seen a nurse hurrying out with a metal dish containing a syringe, and wondered if that had something to do with his partner, but no one was around to give him answers. Finally, there being an absence of chairs in the corridor, he leaned against the wall, and sank down to the ground. He put his head in his hands and ran his fingers through the tangled blond hair. In his haste to get to his partner he hadn't brushed it and it was still bed-tousled.


The same nurse hurried back down the corridor, this time carrying what looked like a computer print out. She pushed open the door to the ER and Hutch caught a glimpse of Starsky's body, still lying on the examination table before the door wafted closed.

Inside the room, the doctor was pouring over the print out. He took his time, muttering occasionally and conversing with one of his colleagues. Finally he looked up and over to Starsky.

'Well, son', he said slackening the tourniquet; 'I think we have good news'.


Hours seemed to have gone past and still Hutch waited for news. Since the nurse had gone hurrying back inside with the print out, things seemed to have gone very quiet. Hutch didn't like quiet. Quiet might mean nothing more could be done.

He sighed. Come on, Gordo. This isn't happening. I'ts still me and thee against the world. I can't do this without you.

The door opened and Hutch levered himself to his feet to meet the doctor.

'Can I see him?'

'Detective Hutchinson, there's some things we need to discuss. Your partner has been poisoned. He asked me to tell you because he said he doesn't like soapy scenes. We can go back in there now, but Mr Starsky mustn't be excited in any way. Things are very delicate just at the moment and any excitement could exacerbate the amount of drug your partner's body has assimilated'.

Hutch followed the doctor into the ER to see that his partner was sitting up, bare legs dangling over the edge of the examination table, a slight smile on his face.

'Hey buddy, What happened, can you tell me?

'Guy got into my apartment and wanted to use me as a pincushion. Doc says he gave me a shot first. Somethin' to make me fuzzy so that I couldn't protest'.

The doctor looked up from Starsky's medical records. 'David was given a shot of Pentobarbital — Nembutal - initially. It's a fast acting barbiturate, which is why he has been unconscious for a while. He was then given a second compound containing amongst other things Bromo acetone, Benzyl Cyanide and Diffanilamide which, if left to take it's course would no doubt be fatal. It's a lethal combination and the attacker's time estimate was quite right — 24 hours would prove fatal'.

Hutch tensed, his world turning upside down.

'Starsk. What aren't ya tellin' me buddy?'

Starsky smiled. 'Its OK Hutch. Doc here managed to get a sample of the compound from the second puncture site on my arm, and cooked up an antidote. I'm gonna be fine'.

Hutch's knees turned to jelly. 'Honest? You're going to be OK? How?

'When the second hypo went in, it was meant to be given intravenously, only the klutz shoved it under the skin instead — missed the vein completely. It wasn't absorbed — or at least not a lot of it — something about it being suspended in an oily substance. So doc here managed to extract it, get a sample and cook up the good stuff. I'll be a bit shaky for a while, but other than that....You kept tellin' me my superstitions were rubbish. Well, I've avoided ladders; got a phobia about black cats an' I've never broken a mirror. So.................hey, Hutch?'

Hutch had, however, fallen to the floor, the emotions of the past few hours catching up with him. Doctor Franklin was immediately issuing orders to get the blond detective up onto a bed next to his darker partner. Within minutes, Starsky was relieved to see Hutch's ice blue eyes opening a fraction. The blond man looked up into the face of the pretty nurse holding his wrist to monitor his pulse rate and smiled. She smiled back as Starsky lay back on the bed and watched the beginnings of a fine romance...........................


Six hours later, Dr Franklin came back into the double bedded cubicle with the latest results from Starsky's blood works.

'Well, David' he smiled over the top of his glasses, 'the antidote is working well, and I think, so long as you promise to take things easy, you can go home. No exertion, no alcohol for 48 hours, and I want to see you for a check up in 2 days time, please. In the meantime, if you have any symptoms such as double vision, sweats or tremors, I want you to come straight back'.

'Terrific, Doc' Starsky levered himself off the bed and padded over to the blond in the next bed. 'Is Hutch OK to go too?'

'I don't see why not — he passed out from fatigue and shock. He too should take it easy, but I think that won't be a problem!'

Starsky looked fondly at his partner who, for the fifth time in an hour was having his pulse checked by the same nurse. He leaned over the side of the bed and blew into the taller man's ear.

'Hey, Blondie, Doc says we can go. Where's my pants?'

Hutch reluctantly drew his gaze from the pretty blond nurse. Distractedly he said 'Hm? Pants? Well, I got your watch buddy'.

'My watch? You forgot my pants? You want me to hit the streets with no pants, no badge, no gun...............no dignity?'

'Gee, well Starsky, you're right. I should have spent time deciding which pair of your equally crummy blue jeans to pack', but as he said it, he was smiling. 'Just glad you're OK buddy. Glad it's still gonna be me and thee'.


And so, ten hours after the initial flight to hospital, Starsky, now clad in a pair of borrowed white scrubs, and Hutch clutching a telephone number on a piece of paper, made their way out of the ER, caught a lift with a passing black and white and found their way back to Starsky's apartment.

Opening the door and going back into the dark interior, Starsky threw himself down on the settee.

'Hutch? Hey Hutch' he called from his seat on the settee. 'You OK buddy?' He looked over to the blond who was busy pouring water into the kettle to make tea.

'I don't know, Starsk. Tonight was too close. I nearly lost you there Pal'.

Starsky gave one of his goofy grins. 'Well, ya didn't. I'm still here. Large as life an' twice as scary. And besides, I saw ya having that little tete a tete with the pretty blond nurse. It's not all bad. Today's gone. Tomorrow's another day. At the end of it, who've we got, eh?

And in unison, they agreed 'Me and Thee'.