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Missing Scene: Sweet Revenge
Elizabeth MacIntosh

    The shrill squeal of the heart monitor suddenly sounded amid the underlying buzz and beep of the medical equipment in Station 1. The nurse on duty leaned in close to the still form lying on the bed and felt for a pulse in the neck. There was nothing....


    It hurt. Oh God! It hurt so bad. And it was dark and it was cold and he was so afraid. And there was no light anywhere. The darkness was like a shroud hanging all around him and he couldn't tell if he was standing or lying down and he couldn't move!

    He wanted to call for Hutch, but even his voice betrayed him and he remained quiet. He could only exist, silent and alone...cold, afraid and lost somewhere in the depth of darkness.


    "Code Blue...Station 1!"

    The call came and Dobey's head jerked up. This is it! We've lost him.... He stared in through the huge glass window and vaguely realized that Huggy was beside him. From somewhere, people he didn't even know had gathered to watch what might be the last fight of Starsky's life. How am I gonna tell Hutch? What is this gonna do to him? Please don't die, Starsky! Please...don't die without Hutch here.

    Inside the glass room, the medical team swam around the still body. The doctor entered and approached the bed. A nurse straightened and murmured, "Doctor, there are no vital signs. We've lost him...."


    Light! There was light! And it didn't hurt anymore. People were all around. He could see them below him and it was like a dream. But their bodies were real. NOT a dream! He was sure of that much. Somehow he knew that if he put out a hand, he would not be able to feel them. Just for his own satisfaction, he tried. Sure enough, there was no sense of touch. His hand disappeared into the shoulder that he had reached out to grasp. And as he watched the frantic efforts of the people below, Starsky suddenly realized that the body lying so still on the bed was really HIS body.

    So, what was he doing up here, floating around like some big helium balloon? He could see the people working. He could hear them talking. He knew they were trying to help that mutilated body that was stretched out on the bed below, but he was so tired of fighting...and he remembered how much it had hurt...and he just wished that they would stop and let him go.

    But then he looked out the glass window across from that still body. Hey! There's Dobey...and Huggy! Ain't that somethin'? Here to the very end! But where is...? And suddenly he was outside and he saw Dobey take the phone that the nurse had offered him.

    "I think you better get down here right away, Hutch. Hutch?"


    God! Why doesn't he get a better car? How many times have I told him? This heap isn't gonna last another year the way he's been driving it lately. And if I'm not gonna be around to keep after him about it, there's no tellin' how long he'll hang on to this piece of junk. Looks like it's gonna fall apart around him if he doesn't start keeping an eye out for something a little more reliable!

    Hutchinson ground the key in the ignition and the motor grated. In panic, he slapped the steering wheel and shouted aloud, "Not now! Oh God, not now. Please! I've got to get there. I can't let him die alone! Please start!"

    Reaching over, Starsky pressed his transparent hand over Hutch's as it frantically turned the key in the ignition. The car roared to life.


    "Stop! Give me the defibrillator."

    Starsky looked around the room again. Well, at least Hutch would make it. He would probably beat himself up if he thought he'd missed this one. Couldn't have him spending the rest of his life feeling guilty just because he hadn't been here. After all, there was nothing he could have done anyway.

    He heard someone whisper, "Cut faster," and he watched the scissors cut away the heavy gauze bandage that covered a big part of the body that lay on the bed. Was that really him? Funny, he really didn't feel much kinship with it right now. He saw the body jerk as electricity shot through it, and suddenly everything was quiet.

    It was dark again, but not so scary any longer. In fact, for the first time in a long while, he felt safe. And then there was someone else with him.

    "Pop? Pop, is that really you?"

    His father was sitting next to him and the joy of seeing him again felt like it might burst Starsky open. "David." It wasn't a question. It was a welcome.

    "Oh, Pop...I missed you so much. Why did you have to go away when you did? I was just a little kid. I needed you. And you were gone and my whole world changed. Why did you have to die?"

    "Davey, I've missed you, too. But we don't always have a choice in the things that happen in our lives. You know that now, don't you? Sometimes life can just seem like it's full of nothing but shit and there's no hope. But Son, you've just got to remember that everything does work out for the best. And a lot of the time, we don't even realize that the bad things are working to better what happens in the end. You've just got to do the best you can while you have the chance. That's all that anyone can ask...just do the best you can."


    The doctor checked the monitor, then leaned back over the still body on the bed. "Stop!" he ordered, and the chest compressions halted. "One more time!"

    The electricity jolted the body once again.


    The scene had changed abruptly. Suddenly it was just so beautiful. And the light was streaming all around her. A feeling of total peace washed through him, and Starsky thought he would cry with joy if he had been capable of doing anything like that here. "Terry?"

    Her beauty seemed to surround him and he wanted nothing more than to slowly become a part of that radiance. He could actually FEEL the love that seemed to flow from around her. She didn't say a word. She didn't have to. He knew the choice was coming, and he wanted to stay with her and be part of this glorious 'whole' that beckoned to him. He was tired of fighting and he was tired of the pain. Most of all, he was tired of doing the 'best he could' and never feeling like he was getting anywhere.

    But her smile made him stop and he knew she wanted him to take one last look. She wanted him to be sure that the decision was the one he felt was right for this time and this situation. Almost against his will, he was at the little glassed-in room again.


    "Stop! One more time!"

    The electricity blasted the lifeless form.

    NO! He couldn't! It was so beautiful, and he missed them both so much...

    And then suddenly, he saw his partner burst through the doors! The corridor erupted in fury as Hutch pushed and swam through the sea of people in his way, keeping him from reaching Starsky. And Starsky knew he could make no other choice. Hutch was the other part of his soul. How could he leave without his soul?


    The tiny dot on the monitor jumped, and then jumped again. The nurses exchanged looks of amazement. The doctor glanced quickly from the monitor to the man on the bed. His eyes couldn't mask the surprise that he felt, but his words were calm, tinged with just a hint of relief. "Okay, we...we got him back."


    Hutch stood silently and watched the steady rise and fall of his partner’s chest. That chest was still covered with a large white bandage. The hospital staff had replaced the bandage after the original one had been hastily cut off, when the emergency team had been trying so desperately to bring Starsky back to life after the cardiac arrest.

    Now, each morning a nurse would come in to check this dressing, cleaning the terrible wound that had nearly cost the detective his life and changing the old bandage for a new, sterile one. They had removed the breathing tube and moved him to his own room even before Starsky had finally stirred and regained consciousness.

    Hutch had to smile when he thought of the first words that his partner had finally managed to mumble. Something about a burrito and a beer, if he remembered correctly.

    Starsky still couldn't remain awake for very long periods of time. And even now, Hutch shuddered to remember the nightmares that the previous days in ICU had brought. But now his partner was safe. Somehow they had once more managed to slip past death's door without it slamming behind them. Somehow they were both still alive, even though the odds had been against Starsky.

    Without a sound, Hutch slid into the chair that was sitting beside the hospital bed. For the last week, he had spent all of his free moments in this chair. It seemed like an old friend. His back gave a twinge, reminding him that he needed to shift from the position in which he had first settled. He shifted as quietly as possible so as not to awaken his partner. As he moved, his eyes came to rest on Starsky's sleeping face.

    Visions from only a few days past surged into his mind. Standing over his partner who lay huddled in a fetal position beside his car, trying to hold his guts in his belly.... Grinding the key in the ignition of his old car, cursing until it suddenly roared to life.... Turning around to find Starsky's eyes open but still weak and dazed, staring at him after having been clinically dead during the cardiac arrest. The nightmares slowly poured through his brain like molasses on a cold morning, making him relive each episode from beginning to end.

    He shivered and a single tear escaped the corner of his eye. Hutch let it slowly trickle down the side of his face, too tired to even wipe it away.

    "God, Starsk...what would I have done?" He never even realized he had spoken aloud. "If you had died...what would I have done?" Another tear followed in the same track as the first.

    "Hutch? Don't." It was soft, but demanding. Starsky's groggy eyes met his.

    "I'm sorry, babe. I'm so sorry...."

    "Why? You don't have anything to be sorry for."

    "I wish it had been me."

    Starsky looked at his partner and struggled to push himself further up on the pillow that lay beneath his head. He was still too weak to get far without help, and Hutch leaned over to help him into a more comfortable position. "And if it had been you...then I'd be sittin' right there sayin' I wish it had been me."

    "Starsk, I almost lost you! You almost died! I don't think...I.... God, Starsk! It was just too close this time."

    Starsky drew in a breath and tried unsuccessfully to still the tremble in his own voice. "Hutch...I did die."

    Saying it brought all conversation to a halt. Their eyes met and locked.

    "I know you did, buddy. I know."

    Starsky let his eye break the connection as he looked down to stare at his own hands. "Hutch, I remember some things...things I'm not sure about, really. But I remember some things that have been bothering me since I...came back."

    "What sort of things, Starsk?"

    Starsky took another deep breath, and then continued. "Well, I remember floating up somewhere really high and watching everything that was happening in that little room where I was. I remember watching all these nurses and doctors working over that body that was on the bed below me, and I remember wishing they'd just stop and let it be."

    Hutch was silent, scarcely breathing. His eyes were locked on Starsky's face, but his partner's eyes had remained lowered, refusing to make contact just yet. "Then I remember Dobey telling you to get back here fast. But after that...I don't know, I think I talked to my Pop, Hutch. I think he was tryin' to tell me to just do what I could, and not worry about things any longer...and then...oh God, Hutch...then...then I remember Terry.... And she was so beautiful.... And I really didn't want to come back at all. But then you came through those doors, and I knew I couldn't go yet. I knew that I had to come back and do the best I could...."

    Hutch immediately moved to take Starsky's hand, as his partner groped for something or someone to hold on to. Their eyes locked again.

    "It's okay, buddy. Really, it's okay. It's all over with now, ya know? Everything is going to be okay now. Even the doctor says, with the right therapy and a little determination on your part, things will be back to normal in no time. I'm sure that what you remember was just...some sort of hallucination caused by...well...caused but the cardiac arrest."

    Starsky looked at his partner and saw the panic that was running through his eyes. He was still tired. He knew that he was dropping off to sleep again, and he really hadn't meant to upset Hutch like this. Smiling, he squeezed Hutch's hand. "Sure, partner. Sure. And I'm a little tired now. I think I'm gonna get a little more shut-eye."

    "You do that, buddy. Listen, I'm gonna go down to the station for a little while. I'll be back later tonight, okay? You just do what these nurses tell ya to do. Don't give them any hassles, and maybe I'll bring a little something to put some strength back into you when I come back tonight. Okay? Maybe we’ll have a party or somethin."

    He helped Starsky slide back down into a comfortable position in the bed. Starsky's eyes were nearly closed, and Hutch watched his partner dropping off into a restful sleep. The panic that Starsky's words had caused was settling down now, and he stopped at the door to the room. Starsky snuggled down just a little deeper under the covers and smiled as his eyes closed completely.

    Hutch turned the doorknob, but then froze as he heard the words that his partner murmured next. "Gotta look for another car, partner. Ya know, that one just might not start for ya next time...."

    Hutch whirled around to stare at his partner, but Starsky was fast asleep. How could he know? No one knew! No one had been in the car but Hutch! How could he know...?