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ECHOES OF THE PAST
Hutch was cocooned in his downy comforter having sweet dreams when the phone rang and woke him from his slumber.
"Hello?" Hutch groggily answered the phone.
"Ken dear, it is mother. Did I wake you?"
"Mom." Hutch looked over at his alarm clock it was 6:00 am. "Well I was due to get up in fifteen minutes anyway. Is something wrong?" He knew something had to be wrong for her to be calling him so early in the morning.
"Oh I always forget about the time difference. I'm sorry."
"Mom it's okay, what's the matter?"
"Well dear, it's your Cousin John's daughter, Elizabeth. She's missing, over two weeks now. At first John wasn't worried she has done this before, but not for quite so long. He thinks she is in Los Angeles."
Hutch was fully awake now. "Why does he think that?"
"Well she is a drama major at the university. But she was getting bored with college acting, you know young girl, dreaming of her name in lights. She had said she was going to go one day. John thinks that is just what she did."
"Hmmm. Well mom you need to send me a recent picture of her. I'll file a missing person on her with just a description for now. When I get the picture I can put out an APB. How old is she, 19?"
"Yes. Beautiful girl. Long blond hair, to the middle of her back. Blue eyes. Great little figure. I'd say she is 5'8" and 125 lbs."
"Yeah I remember, the face of an angel. Heart of a devil. That girl could sure raise hell. I will let you know as soon as I hear anything. But you said she has done this before?"
"Yes. Once she went to New York for a week. And other times it would be two or three days here and there. Like I said, this is the longest. Ken, John is very worried and frankly so are your father and I."
"Where was she last seen?"
"Well she went to Daytona Beach for a three day weekend with some friends. She called John a few times. He thought she returned to school, she lives on campus at the University of Minnesota-Minneapolis, but when he didn't hear from her for over a week, he went down there to check on her. Her roommate said she never returned to school. She left Daytona with some biker guy. Oh I shudder to think of...what if something terrible happened to her."
"Don't worry Mom. I'm sure she is fine. Just having herself a little adventure. If she is in this city though, I'll find her."
"I know you will dear. Now you take care of yourself. Your father sends his love. I love you."
"I love you too Mom. Tell Dad the same for me. I will call the second I know anything. Bye." Hutch hung up the phone.
Hutch got up and splashed some cold water on his face. He sucked down a cup of black coffee and went on his ritual mile run. When he returned he showered, ate a bowl of Special K and then waited in front of his apartment for Starsky to pick him up.
Starsky pulled up in front of Hutch's apartment and Hutch got into the car.
"Morning." Starsky said biting into a donut. "I got a jelly donut for you."
"No thanks. My mother called me this morning."
Hutch told Starsky about Elizabeth. It was obvious he was worried.
"Don't worry, we'll find her." Starsky assured.
"Zebra 3, Zebra 3. Come in, over."
Hutch picked up the receiver; "This is Zebra 3 over."
"Zebra 3 there is a 187 at 11 Commercial Avenue."
"Zebra 3 we are rolling." Hutch hung up the receiver and put the mar light on top of the Torino.
The partners arrived at 11 Commercial Avenue and a patrolman approached them.
"A young woman, blue-eyed blonde." The weary cop told them.
Starsky saw the panicked look in Hutch's eyes. He placed his hand on his shoulder and nodded to him. Hutch knew that meant for him to wait, Starsky would take a look first. He had met Elizabeth on a few occasions. He knew what she looked like.
Starsky slowly approached the body. His heart pounding, he looked at the lifeless beauty on the ground next to her car. It was not Elizabeth. He motioned for Hutch to come over; the slight shake of his head told his partner that it wasn't his cousin.
Hutch looked at the body. "Same as the other one Starsk, one shot to the back of the head, execution style." He winced at the familiar word carved into the chest of the victim, Nazi and a swastika carved into her stomach.
They walked back to the Torino and Hutch called for a coroner's team and a crime lab.
When the detectives arrived at the station, Hutch immediately filed a missing person's report on Elizabeth. Then got working with Starsky on the case at hand.
Detectives Abe Leibowitz and Joe DiBlasi had more bad news. "We found another victim. Same m.o., but this one was a male." DiBlasi reported.
"Well at least we know this psycho isn't a sexist." Leibowitz half-heartedly joked.
Leibowitz was a seasoned veteran; he had nearly twenty-five years on the force. He was short and overweight with brown eyes and light brown hair. Leibowitz and DiBlasi had only been partners for a year. DiBlasi was also a senior detective, several years older than Starsky and Hutch. DiBlasi resembled Starsky, (Starsky was more handsome) same height and build and he had dark piercing blue eyes and dark brown hair but it was curlier though, if he didn't keep it very short, he could have an afro.
"What do you got on this victim?" Hutch asked.
"It's all in the report. Shift is over. I'm outta here." Leibowitz threw the file at Hutch and headed for the door.
"Hey Leibowitz, sorry if this murder investigation is inconveniencing you." Hutch said with obvious annoyance as he collected the papers that had fallen out of the file and onto the floor.
"Look Hutchinson, I put in my time. Get off my back!" Leibowitz groused.
"Hey I just thought you could give us a few minutes to go over this case. This guy is up to victim number three now." Hutch calmly said and sat at his desk.
DiBlasi looked over at his partner. "Come on Leibowitz, ten minutes."
Leibowitz grudgingly agreed.
Starsky went over all the evidence they had so far. "The same m.o. was used to kill all three victims. They were all found next to their cars in the warehouse district. All the victims are blond blue-eyed Germans." Starsky read the names of the victims, "Heidi Pfaff, Petra Wilhelm and Wolfgang Schultz. They all worked in the Hobart Building. Pfaff and Schultz worked for The Kohler Corporation and Wilhelm worked for Schneider Medical Company. Schultz had a German passport."
"So the killer hates Krauts." Leibowitz snidely remarked.
Hutch rolled his eyes with disgust at the derogatory slang word for Germans. "It would seem so. Considering what he carves into the bodies."
"So I guess you figure the killer would have to be a Jew." Leibowitz said angrily.
"I didn't say that, but it's a possibility." Hutch replied.
"You know nearly all serial killers are WASP's, Hutch. I think it is more likely some psycho is trying to make it look like a Jew is committing the murders." Leibowitz said it like that was the fact. "Blame the Jews for everything." Leibowitz's resentment was clear.
"I don't think that is the fact Leibowitz. I'm Jewish..." Starsky was cut off before he could continue.
"You're Jewish Starsky? I hear you singing Christmas carols. You celebrate Christmas. I doubt you own a menorah or a yarmulke."
"Leibowitz you have no right to comment on my spirituality!"
"Did I hit a nerve Starsky?"
Starsky just shook his head.
"Could we keep our attention on the case right now please?" Hutch said trying to keep them on track.
DiBlasi added his two cents. "Or the killer could have something against the company that owns the Hobart building. All the victims worked in that building."
"The Hobart building is owned by The Kohler Corporation a German Company. The company occupies the entire twelfth floor." Leibowitz informed him.
"You know that for sure?" DiBlasi asked.
"Yeah, I work at the building, part-time security. The Kohler Corporation is the name on the paycheck."
"Well the anti-German sentiment seems to be the motive." Hutch concluded.
"Hey I'm outta here. You guys got it all figured out. Why don't just go round up the Jews Hutch." Leibowitz said tersely.
Captain Dobey entered the squad room. Leibowitz almost knocked him over as he bolted out the door.
"What's with him?" Dobey asked.
"Never mind him." DiBlasi said. "If we are done gentlemen, I'd like to go home."
"Yeah go on home DiBlasi." Starsky said.
"What's going on? This have anything to do with the Pfaff murder?" Dobey asked.
"Well Captain, now it's up to three. Same m.o., two women and a man." Starsky answered.
"Oh no. So what do you guys think?"
"We think that the motive could be revenge against Germans. Leibowitz didn't like the implication that the killer could be Jewish." Hutch informed him.
"I think you boys better go back to The Kohler Corporation and ask some more questions." Dobey instructed.
"We're on our way." Starsky said giving his captain a salute.
The detectives arrived at the Hobart Building.
"Look at this Starsk." Hutch said drawing Starsky's attention to the building's directory. "Pfaff and Wilhelm are on it, but not Schultz. Schneider Medical is on eight."
"Let's stop there first." Starsky pressed the button for the elevator.
They entered the offices of Schneider Medical and walked up to the receptionist.
"Good morning, I'm Detective Hutchinson and this is Detective Starsky. We would like to speak to whomever is in charge of this office."
"Well that would be Petra Wilhelm, but she is not in yet. She is the head sales representative."
Hutch looked at Starsky, he was not happy to be the bearer of bad news, but it was part of the job. "Well Miss..."
"Just call me Gayle." The pretty African American woman responded.
"Gayle, Ms. Wilhelm is dead, she was murdered."
"Oh my God no! First Heidi. Now, oh God no." She became hysterical.
"What's going on out here?" The tall blond blue-eyed man asked with a noticeable, but not heavy, German accent. "I'm Hans Rommel, I'm a senior sales rep." He extended his hand and shook hands with both detectives and they introduced themselves.
Hans Rommel didn't say anything, but he couldn't believe he was meeting Detective Kenneth Hutchinson. He heard so much about him. Hutch was a tough act to follow. Hans knew that Hutch had a piece of his wife's heart that he would never have.
"Mr. Rommel we are investigating the murder of Petra Wilhelm, she was found this morning." Starsky informed him.
"Oh dear God. Shot like Heidi?" He knew Heidi had been shot that was public knowledge, what was carved into the victims had not been released to the media.
"Yes, I'm afraid so. And also Wolfgang Schultz was murdered last night." Starsky continued.
Hans was now visibly upset. "Heidi, Petra and Wolfgang. Who, why?"
"Well sir, we were hoping you could shed some light on this. Did Petra ever have threats made against her or any threats in general made against this office?" Hutch asked.
"No, no, nothing like that at all. I just can't believe this."
"We will need to look at the personnel files." Hutch told him.
"You think someone in this office committed these murders?"
"It's possible, we have to check into it."
"Well we are just a sales office. Schneider Medical is a subsidiary of Kohler. Our main office is in Bonn, West Germany, which is where the Kohler headquarters are. Kohler has offices upstairs; they are the main office for US operations. That is where the personnel files would be. Heidi was the office manager. Now it's my wife, Jeanie, she was Heidi's assistant. We just returned from our honeymoon yesterday, and hear such horrible news. Jeanie is the one you need to speak with. I really would like to come up with you to tell her these things, but I have a car waiting downstairs to take me to the airport. Business as usual I'm afraid, despite the awful occurrences."
"Yes we know how it is. Thank you Mr. Rommel, if you think of anything, anything at all, no matter how insignificant, please give us a call." Hutch said.
The detectives headed up to the twelfth floor. They approached the receptionist; she remembered them from a few days ago when they had come by to ask some questions when Heidi was murdered. They asked to speak with Jeanie Rommel. The receptionist rang Jeanie and told her that two detectives were here to talk to her about Heidi's murder.
The receptionist then directed them to Jeanie's office, down the hall, the last office on the left.
Starsky and Hutch entered Jeanie Rommel's office.
"Hutch." Jeanie's blue eyes were wide with surprise and joy to see him.
"Jeanie." Hutch was stunned but happy to see her.
Jeanie had long blond hair that framed a very pretty face. She hadn't changed at all since the last time he saw her, four years ago, at Ben Forrest's home when he and Starsky went to arrest him. Arrest him for the torture he had put Hutch through. Seeing her again brought back the memory of the beatings and being blindfolded and the voices asking over and over, "Where's Jeanie Walden?" When he refused to tell, they forced heroin into his veins. And the voices continued, "Where's Jeanie Walden." He still wouldn't tell, but heroin is a monster so powerful, that when it possessed his body, and then it was taken away, he broke. He told the voices where she was. When it was all over, after Starsky had found him and reclaimed him from the monster's grip, and Jeanie was safe again, she left because there was too much between them. They couldn't go back to the way it was before. Forrest made sure of that.
"Hutch you look great. You haven't changed a bit. I'm so happy to see you." Jeanie walked towards him and she took hold of his hands.
"You look great too. I met your husband, Hans. He said you just got back from your honeymoon, congratulations."
"Thanks." She said and a wistful smile crossed her face. She got lost in his sparkling blue eyes. He got lost in hers.
Starsky spoke up, "Jeanie."
His voice plucked her from a wonderful place and time in the past that she had gone to as she gazed upon Hutch's handsome face and beautiful smile.
"Yes." She turned to look at Starsky but still held on to Hutch's hands. "Starsky, I'm sorry. Hi, how are you?"
"I'm fine. We need to talk to you about Heidi's murder..." He paused and looked at Hutch who took it as his cue to break the bad news to her about the other two murders.
"Jeanie, Petra Wilhelm and Wolfgang Schultz were also murdered."
"Petra and Wolfie. Oh Hutch." She broke into tears and threw her arms around his neck and cried on his shoulder. Hutch put his arms around her and tried to soothe her. After a minute she regained her composure.
"Jeanie have any threats been made against the company. You were Heidi's assistant, did she ever tell you that she was being threatened?" Hutch asked.
"Wolfgang Schultz had a German passport. He was from the headquarters in Bonn?" Starsky asked.
"Yes. Wolfie is the CEO. He would come here several times a year; a few days each visit, to see how things were going. He is also the grandson of the late owner Wolfgang Kohler."
"Really. That's interesting." Starsky thought how this added a wrinkle to the anti-German crime theory. "Did he ever say anything was wrong or mention any business problems?"
"No, nothing at all. I worked with him just last night. We worked late; he was in a very good mood. I don't understand and Petra. She was such a sweet, happy lady."
Hutch questioned, "Jeanie any disgruntled employees? Anyone that left the company on bad terms?"
"No. Everyone here gets along. No one has been fired since I've been here, but I've only been here a year."
"We need to see your personnel records." Starsky said.
"You think it's an employee?"
"It could be, we don't know, but we have to investigate all possibilities." Hutch told her.
"I will have all the files sent over to you by this afternoon. Is that good enough?"
"That's great, thank you." Hutch replied.
The duo turned to leave when Jeanie touched Hutch's arm and he turned back and looked at her. Starsky waited by the door.
"Hutch, I just want to well, thank you, thank you so much." Jeanie said her voice trembling.
"Jeanie, you don't have to thank me."
"Oh yes I do. You saved my life; you gave me my life. Because of what you did for me, your selflessness, for the way you loved me, I learned to love myself. No one ever did that for me. I love you Hutch and I always will."
Hutch simply responded, "Jeanie I am very happy that you are happy. You deserve all the happiness in the world. Now promise me you will be extra careful. Don't let your guard down, okay? And if anything at all seems suspicious to you, call us."
"Oh I'm not worried, you're on the case. You'll protect the damsels and slay the dragons."
Hutch chuckled, "Slay dragons huh, I guess I better find Excalibur, I'm always misplacing that sword." He placed his hand on her cheek just has he had done when they said goodbye four years ago. She turned her face into his palm and gently kissed it. And then he was gone.
Hutch was quiet as they rode down in the elevator and walked to the Torino. When they got into the car Starsky had to say something. "You know Hutch she is right, you gave her, her life. What you did was a selfless act."
"Starsk, I never regretted it. If I had it to do all over again, I would."
"I know." Starsky squeezed Hutch's shoulder.
On the way back to the station the partners responded to a 211 at a jewelry store. The Pinto the thieves were driving was no match for the Torino and they were apprehended.
After lunch the personnel files were delivered to the station as Jeanie had promised. It would take the detectives all afternoon to go through them all. Unfortunately nothing seemed amiss.
Dobey called them into his office.
"Okay, what do you guys got?"
Hutch began. "Captain, we found out that Wolfgang Schultz is the CEO of Kohler and grandson of the late owner of the Kohler Corp., Wolfgang Kohler. We think it's possible that the other two victims were killed to make it look like a serial killer and the swastika and Nazi added for good measure."
"Yes maybe. It's another possibility." Starsky said.
"You guys gotta do better than maybe."
Starsky continued, "Okay we do know all the victims were killed in the warehouse district. The Hobart building is located on McKinley Blvd, which is a block away from there. Commercial Ave. intersects McKinley. Pfaff and Wilhelm were found on Commercial Ave. Schultz was found on Industrial. We should put extra patrols over there."
"The warehouse district is huge, and it's not like I got extra manpower lying around. I can probably come up with a few extra patrols. Is that all you got?"
"Unfortunately Captain, yeah. Whoever is committing these murders isn't leaving us much to go on." Starsky replied. "There is also the question of how the killer is getting the victims into the warehouse district."
"He may know the victims, but so far the personnel records haven't yielded anything." Hutch added.
"Well, if you are right and the two women were murdered to cover Schultz's murder, he could be done."
"That would be great Captain, but I don't think so." Hutch opened the door and his partner walked out and he followed.
When Starsky and Hutch arrived at the squad room the next morning, Hutch was pleased to find an overnight delivery from Duluth on his desk. His mother had sent many recent pictures of Elizabeth. He asked Minnie to make sure every precinct in the city got a few pictures. He put an APB out on Elizabeth.
Leibowitz and DiBlasi came into the squad room to write up their reports. They told Starsky and Hutch that they were happy to report it had been an uneventful night. They had patrolled the warehouse district and all was quiet.
DiBlasi picked up a picture of Elizabeth. "Whoa, what a fox. Who's the babe?"
Hutch grabbed the picture out of his hand. "She is my nineteen year old cousin. She has been missing for over two weeks. Her father believes she is here. I put an APB out on her."
"Sorry don't get mad, but she is a babe."
"You're old enough to be her father DiBlasi."
"Come on partner, let's get going." Starsky grabbed Hutch by the arm and hustled him out of the squad room.
It was a quiet morning. They patrolled the warehouse district and then headed to The Pits for lunch.
"Hey how are LA's finest doing today?"
"Fine Hug. Lemme have a cheeseburger deluxe." Starsky said licking his lips.
"I'll have the same. Huggy have you seen this girl around?" Hutch showed him Elizabeth's picture.
"No Hutch, who is this pretty girl?"
"She is my cousin Elizabeth. She is nineteen and she has been missing for over two weeks. Keep a look out for her okay Huggy."
"Sure. I'll spread the word."
After lunch the detectives were back on patrol.
"All units, all units in the vicinity of Seventh Ave. and Broad St., there is a 211 in progress at Buy-Rite Liquors, suspect is armed, shots fired, proceed with caution."
"That's around the corner." Hutch picked up the receiver. "This is Zebra Three we are responding."
The detectives entered the liquor store; the owner was wounded, shot in the arm. "I'm fine. They got almost $400.00. They went out the back. "
"They?" Hutch asked.
"Yeah, yeah a guy and a girl. Hurry, maybe you can catch them."
Starsky and Hutch ran out the back door and headed down the alley. They spotted the suspects. A young biker guy was dragging the girl, she was screaming for him to let her go.
"Police freeze!" Starsky yelled.
The biker spun around and held the gun to the girl's head. The partners looked at each other; the shaking and sick girl was Elizabeth. "I'll waste her, I will." He screamed.
"Look at me, talk to me, don't make this worse for yourself." Starsky wanted the guy focused on him so Hutch could slip into the building and make his way around behind him. "Right now it is just robbery. If you let the girl go and surrender it won't go down hard on you. I promise."
He was shaking and sick too. He and Elizabeth were obviously junkies. "Yeah, yeah sure. I need some help. I need help." He cried.
"I know, you need a fix really bad. That's why you robbed the store. Well the DA will take that into consideration, you're sick."
Hutch managed to get behind them. But the young man still had the gun to Elizabeth's head.
"That's right. I'm sick and so is she. She needs a fix real bad too."
"I didn't want to rob a store!" Elizabeth cried.
"Just where did you think I was gonna get the money for a fix you stupid bitch. I should've dumped you as soon as you ran out of money. You useless piece of garbage."
Hutch threw a can across the alley. The noise startled the young man. He moved the gun from Elizabeth's temple and Hutch was able to make his move. He placed the gun to the gunman's head and told him to hand over his weapon. He did. Starsky placed the man under arrest and took him to the Torino. Hutch stayed with Elizabeth. She looked like death warmed over. Her eyes were wild; she didn't recognize her cousin. She was shaking and sweating. She told Hutch she felt sick. She begged him for some help.
"It's okay. It's gonna be alright. Elizabeth it's me, Ken. Your cousin Ken."
"Ken? Is it really you?"
"Yes honey it's me. I'm going to take you back to my place."
"I need some help!" She cried.
"I'm going to help you. Don't worry. You are going to be alright."
Starsky came back to the alley.
"What did you do with him?" Hutch asked.
"A black and white showed up. I turned him over to them. Hutch what do you want to do with her. I mean buddy she was involved in an armed robbery."
"No, you saw how he took her hostage. She said she didn't want to rob the store."
"I know that, but I'm not sure the storeowner is gonna see it that way."
"He will. Take her to the car. I'll be right there."
Hutch went into see the storeowner. Paramedics had treated him for a flesh wound. He refused to go to the hospital; he had no one to cover for him. He would not close his store.
"Did you get them? And my money?"
"Yes sir, but the girl was really his hostage. She wasn't a willing participant in the robbery." Hutch's tone was calm and polite.
"I don't know about that."
"I'm telling you sir, that is the fact."
"She looked like one of those junkies. They all belong in prison if you ask me."
"Junkies need help sir. They are victims."
"Victims. The lousy creep robbed me."
"Sir, the gunman is in custody. I sincerely believe that the girl was his hostage not his accomplice."
The storeowner was still unmoved. He knew Hutch was right, but he wanted him to make it worth his while. Hutch reached into his pocket and took out all the money he had, $82.00. "Sir does this make a difference." He handed him the money.
"Being bribed by a cop. Ain't that a kick in the head. Yeah I guess you could say she wasn't a willing participant."
"You will say that in your statement?"
"Thank you sir."
Hutch got into the backseat of the Torino with Elizabeth and Starsky. Starsky had been holding her, to let her know she was safe. "So what did the storeowner say?"
"He said that Elizabeth was a hostage."
"How much did it cost you to get him to admit it?"
"Starsk just take us to my place."
Starsky didn't like it. But he wasn't going to get into it here and now. He got into the driver's seat and did as he was told.
Upon reaching Hutch's apartment, Hutch put Elizabeth in his bed and covered her with blankets. He called his mother and Elizabeth's father and told them that she was fine and she would be staying with him for a few days. He came out into the kitchen to make a pot of coffee. Starsky was now going to have his say.
"Hutch, you're asking for trouble. She was involved in the robbery, hostage or not, and Dobey is gonna wonder where the hell she is. Never mind that she is strung out, hurting really bad. She needs medical attention. We should take her to a hospital."
"No Starsk. She has dreams of being an actress someday. I bring her to a hospital and there is a record of this. I don't want this mistake coming back to haunt her years down the road. I can help her kick it. You just cover me with Dobey, okay?"
"Hutch I don't know."
"You of all people should understand, remember when you helped Sharman dry out?"
"Okay, I understand you want to keep it quiet but Hutch, Sharman was kicking booze. This is heroin. You don't know what you are in for."
"What? I don't know? Did you hear what you said?" Hutch was incredulous.
"What I mean Hutch is, well you went through heroin withdrawal as an addict. But pal, when you see someone you love so sick, hurting so bad and begging you and I mean begging you for help. It's really tough. I'm just afraid it's gonna be really hard on you."
"Really hard, as in I'm gonna weaken and want to join her in a fix?" Hutch was upset.
"No Hutch. That thought never crossed my mind. I'm just warning you, the next 48 hours are gonna be hell for both of you."
"I know. But I have to do it for her."
"Okay. But if you need me, you call me."
"I will, thanks Starsk."
Starsky opened the door to leave then remembered something, "I'll be back in few minutes with some candy bars."
Hutch brought Elizabeth some black coffee with lots of sugar. "Come on you got to drink it. Easy not too fast." She managed to drink the coffee and keep it down. He sat on the bed with her, holding her and trying to keep her warm.
Starsky came back with the candy bars, when he entered Hutch's bedroom and saw Hutch holding his cousin who was shaking and begging him for some help, Starsky shuddered, the sight of them brought back the awful memory of him holding Hutch in his arms as he went through withdrawal. "I got the candy bars. I'll just leave them here on the table. Oh uh how's your ankle doing?"
"Huh?" Hutch asked confused.
"The ankle you twisted when we were chasing that guy?"
"Oh, right. It hurts."
"Well I'll tell Dobey you should be fine in a day or so. I'll check in with you later."
Starsky was right. Hutch wasn't fully prepared to help Elizabeth through her withdrawal. There were moments where he thought he wasn't going to make it. She was a wild child. She hit him, begged him, and cursed him. He held her hair back and rubbed her back when she vomited. He put cool cloths on her head. He tried to keep her as warm and as comfortable as possible. He held her and soothed her. He kept telling her that with each hour that passed, it would get easier. There was one point, however that he had a moment of weakness.
"Ken!" Elizabeth cried out in anguished pain. "Please help me. I can't make it! Please you must help me."
"Elizabeth it will be alright. You will be okay. It will get better." He was trying to convince himself as much as he was trying to convince her.
"No. It hurts. I need some help, please. Just a little something, to take the edge off please, please." Her body convulsed in his arms. It was more than he could bear. He knew what she needed and he decided to get her just a little.
"Okay, okay. Take it easy. I'll get you some. Just hold on."
He laid her on the bed. "You just stay here. I'll be back in about half and hour. I don't want you to be sick. I know how you feel." Hutch was remembering too vividly how it felt to need a fix.
He got up to get his jacket when the phone rang.
"Hi, partner, how's it going?"
"Uh okay. She's really sick Starsky. I'm afraid." Hutch's voice was weak and strained.
"Hutch listen to me. She will be all right. She will be fine. You are halfway there. You have to be strong Hutch."
"Starsk, I'm trying. She's so sick. I know how she feels. I thought maybe just a little something."
"No, Hutch don't. Now just go back and sit with her. Keep her as comfortable as possible. Try to get fluids into her. She will get better. You just gotta hold on. You have come too far to give in now. You can do it Hutch. You did it before, you can help her do it now."
"Okay, you're right. I don't know what I was thinking."
"You were thinking you don't want her to suffer. But sometimes you gotta be cruel to be kind. I'll be there as soon as possible. You gonna be alright now?"
"Yeah. Thanks Starsk."
Starsky got him through it. It didn't happen again.
Elizabeth frantically paced the living room. She glared at him like he was the cause of her agony. She hated him.
"You bastard. I need help and you won't help me."
"I know it's hard, but you will feel better soon."
"I need a fix, dammit!" She bolted for the door. Hutch stopped her. She pounded her fists into his chest. "I'll kill you, get out of my way! I need some help!" She broke into tears. He pulled her into him and hugged her.
"It's going to be alright. I promise, you'll live through this."
She looked up with him with pathetic eyes. "I can't Ken. Please just a little bit. A small fix, please."
"No. I know what you are going through. It will get better, trust me."
"You know? You don't know anything about what I am going through. You just don't know how it feels." She doubled over and ran into the bathroom. Hutch was right behind her to hold back her hair and rub her back as she heaved what little stomach contents that were left in her stomach. When she was finished, he led her onto the couch and sat with her, a comforting arm around her.
She continued to beg. "Please, please help me. You just don't know. It hurts Ken. It hurts so bad."
"I do know." He cleared his throat. He decided he would tell her.
"What? You know what?"
"I know exactly what you are feeling. Because I was addicted to heroin."
"You're lying." She looked into his eyes and realized he wasn't lying. "You were addicted to heroin?"
"Yes." He told her all about how Forrest kidnapped him and forced him into heroin addiction.
"But that wasn't your fault."
"True, but I was addicted just the same. Just like you. I was sick and I was hurting. I know what it's like to need a fix so badly that you think you will die without it."
"That's right. So you do understand then why won't you get me some help?"
"Because you can kick this. You're a Hutchinson. Hutchinsons are tough."
"Well I know a Hutchinson that is just downright mean, you." She gave a weak laugh.
"That's better. See you're getting better every minute. But if you think I'm mean, you should see Starsky."
"Starsky helped you kick it?"
"Yeah. I couldn't have done it without him. When you have someone that loves you to help you, there's no way you can't beat it."
By midnight Elizabeth had fallen asleep, a fitful sleep but it was sleep just the same. Starsky showed up about 1:00 AM.
"How's it going?"
"It's going. She's getting better, she's gonna make it, if it kills me." Hutch laughed.
"Glad to see you still have your sense of humor. Hey you look dead on your feet. Take a nap. I'll keep an eye on her. You need your rest too pal."
"Okay. Thanks." Hutch lay down on the couch and was asleep in minutes.
Starsky checked on Elizabeth she was tossing and turning. She woke up when a wave a nausea hit her. She heaved into the wastepaper basket next to the bed. There was nothing left in her to throw up.
Starsky rubber her back. "I'm right here. It's alright."
She turned and looked at Starsky. "Where's Ken?"
"He getting some sleep."
She nodded. "You know, he told me he was addicted to heroin."
"He told you about that?" Starsky was a little surprised that Hutch told her.
"Yeah, I guess he wanted me to know that he knew, knew what I was going through. He had a really rough time?"
"Yeah, but he did it. And you will too."
"That's what he said and he also said it was all thanks to you."
"Hutch gives me too much credit. He did it. I helped a little."
She pulled the blankets around herself. She was still shaking pretty badly. "I need a fix, please?"
"Don't look at me."
"I knew you'd say that, Ken said you were mean. But you can't blame a girl for trying."
"He told you I was mean?" Starsky laughed.
"Yeah. He also said that when you have someone that loves you to help, you can beat it."
Starsky smiled. "He's right. And you got us."
After about an hour, Elizabeth fell asleep. Starsky sat in a chair and read. Hutch woke up at 3:30 AM.
"How is she?" Hutch asked rubbing the sleep from his eyes.
"She's hanging in there. She's sleeping."
"That's good. Starsk you better go so you can get some sleep."
"Yeah, I'll call you later."
"So uh did Dobey buy the ankle story?"
"Well I don't think he bought it exactly, but he accepted it."
"She should be out of the woods tonight. I'm gonna give Huggy a call. See if he'll keep an eye on her. Anything on the murders?"
"No. But no new victims either. Talk to you later." Starsky left.
Starsky entered the squad room. DiBlasi and Leibowitz were on their way out.
"The APB on your partner's cousin was stopped, I guess that means she was found? And she's okay?" DiBlasi asked.
"Yeah. She's fine."
"So where's your partner? Babysitting?" Leibowitz asked, out of nosiness more than concern.
"His cousin is staying with him, but he hurt his ankle during a bust yesterday. He'll be in tomorrow."
"Right." Leibowitz didn't believe the ankle story.
Dobey came out of his office; he wasn't in a good mood. "Starsky in my office now."
"Later fellas." Starsky went into Dobey's office.
Leibowitz turned to DiBlasi. "Those guys are what partners should be. They wouldn't think twice about covering for each other."
"What are you talking about, I covered for you when you took off to go be Mr. Mom."
"My wife was really sick. But Williams told me that when he saw you and asked you where I was, you told him, that ain't exactly covering."
"Ah get over it. Dobey doesn't know. I'm outta here." DiBlasi threw Leibowitz a wave and headed out the door.
"Alright Starsky what's up with Hutchinson?"
"I told you Captain, he twisted his ankle during that liquor store robbery."
"Uh huh. Where's the girl that was the hostage?"
"Well Captain she was uh really shook up. She needs some time..."
"Just tell me that first thing tomorrow morning Hutchinson and the girl will be here."
"Hutchinson and the girl will be here."
Hutch managed to get a little more sleep. When Elizabeth awoke, she was much better.
She came into the living room. "Morning. Mmm. something smells good."
"It's cinnamon pancakes. But it's not morning, it's 1:00."
"Wow, I guess I passed out. The pancakes sure smell good, don't know if my stomach is ready for them though."
"Try to eat a little. But why don't you take a shower first. It will make you feel a lot better. Starsky brought you some clean clothes."
"Sounds like a great idea."
"And then we can talk about what happened."
"I was afraid you would want to talk. I like long showers."
"I'm not going anywhere."
Elizabeth emerged from the bathroom wearing a Lakers tee shirt and sweats. She joined her cousin at the kitchen table.
"So what happened?"
"What can I say. Roger seemed like a fun guy. He said he was headed to LA. I'd been wanting to go to LA."
"Roger is the guy that robbed the liquor store."
"Elizabeth how did you get started with heroin?"
"Roger, he was really into it. I tried it, but before I knew it, it got out of control. He liked to do it all the time. The more you do it, the more you need it." She said her voice thick with shame.
"You are going to have to come into the station with me tomorrow and sign a statement about the robbery."
"I know. I will. And no more heroin, ever."
"Glad to hear it. But don't think its going to be easy. There will be times when you will get the urge to use again."
"Did you, get urges?"
"A few times, and I never took it willingly. I didn't really have a mental addiction, but heroin is a powerful narcotic."
"What did you do?"
"I called Starsky. You need someone you can call."
"Can I call you?"
"Of course you can."
She picked at her food. "I don't think my stomach is quite ready yet. I'm going to lie down. Still really tired."
"Sure. But call your dad first."
"Okay. Ken this is our secret, right?"
"Yeah. It's ours."
The detective stood in front of the mirror admiring himself. He always liked how he looked in uniform. The brass buttons shined. The creases in his pants were straight and even. He adjusted his hat and put on his gloves.
He took the worn picture down from the mirror. He ran his fingers over the smiling faces. He cherished this picture. It was the only one he had of his family. The last time his family was together. How it survived the war was a miracle. How he survived was a miracle. He could remember it like it was yesterday. The day his childhood was shattered forever by the Nazi's. They came to his house; they came to all the Jews' houses to bring them to hell. His father would never even get on the train though. Maybe he was lucky. He remembers his mother holding her three children close as they were led away from their home. She pleaded with her eldest child not to look back, but he did, he couldn't help it. He wanted to see his father. He saw his father on his knees and he saw the soldier shoot him in the back of the head.
He remembered arriving in hell. He was separated from his mother and his two sisters. He would never see his sisters again. When he was reunited with his mother, she was a shadow of the woman she once was. It took years but he was finally getting his revenge.
He read for the umpteenth time the article about Wolfgang Schultz, the heir apparent of the Kohler Corporation. He remembered how it was believed that his grandfather, Wolfgang Kohler, was really Wolfgang Schneider, a war criminal. But it could not be proven. He stared at the picture of Kohler with his wife and two daughters. He would make them pay.
He placed the revolver that he had gotten from a drug dealer and placed it in his holster. He would park at his usual vantage point and waited for his next victim to emerge. He would listen to his police radio so he would know where the cops were. No slipups.
Jeanie had worked late. There was no rush to get home since her husband was out of town. She couldn't get Hutch out of her mind. I Will Always Love You, by Dolly Parton came on the radio. The words touched her heart. It was that song that most reminded her of Hutch, actually gave her the strength to walk away all those years ago. She turned up the volume and sang along:
If I should stay, well I would only be in your way
And so I'll go and yet I know
That I'll think of you each step of the way
And I will always love you. I will always love you
Bittersweet memories, that's all I have and all I'm taking with me
Goodbye, oh please don't cry
Cause we both know that I'm not what you need
I will always love you. I will always love you
And I hope life will treat you kind
And I hope that you have all that you dreamed of
Oh I do wish you joy and happiness
But above all this, I wish you love
I love you, I will always love you
I, I will always, always love you
I will always love you. I will always love you...
The melody filled the car; she could feel his arms around her. A tear fell down her cheek as the song faded. She heard a siren and saw lights in her rearview mirror. She wiped her face and pulled over.
"Good evening ma'am." The officer said leaning into the driver's side window. "Do you realize that your left rear parking light is not working?"
"Uh no officer, I didn't."
"Well ma'am I've got to write you up for it. And you will have to follow me, I have to give your car an inspection, it is a new department policy, when we see a vehicle that has any part not in working order we have to inspect the car."
"You know I am very good friends with Sergeant Ken Hutchinson." She said demurely.
"Oh you know Hutch. Well then I think I can forget about the ticket, but I will have to give the car a quick once over. It will only take a minute, just follow me."
He pulled ahead of her and made a left turn on Commercial Ave. She followed him to a parking lot behind a warehouse located on the end of the street.
"Please get out of the car ma'am."
Jeanie did as she was told, she felt a little uneasy. It was deserted and dark.
He pulled his gun on her and pulled her by the hair and pushed her down on her knees.
"Oh my God!" She cried, but there was no one around to hear her. The Officer put a silencer on his gun and fired one shot into the back of her head. Then he took out a penknife and carved his hatred into her body.
A patrol car making an hourly pass of the area found her body.
Hutch had come into work bright and early with Elizabeth. He typed up her statement and she signed it. Dobey was pleased.
DiBlasi and Leibowitz were making small talk with Elizabeth. Hutch didn't like it, but she was holding her own.
"So you want to be an actress, you sure are pretty enough." DiBlasi said.
"Thanks. I'm going to transfer to UCLA in the spring. Just have to prove to Dad that I can be trusted." She looked over at Hutch who nodded in agreement.
"So how long you gonna be in town?" Leibowitz asked.
"As long as my cousin will tolerate me as a houseguest."
"A week, then it's home young lady." Hutch informed her.
"Thanks. I was just hoping for a couple of days." She whispered to the detectives.
"Elizabeth, Huggy is expecting you at The Pits. He'll find stuff to keep you busy. You can take my car." Hutch threw her the keys.
"Okay, see ya later." She waved goodbye.
"We'll walk out with you." DiBlasi smiled.
Elizabeth looked over at Hutch and gave him a look that told him he didn't need to worry.
Starsky entered the squad room. He was finishing his second jelly donut.
Dobey called them into his office.
"There was another murder."
The detectives were not happy to hear this.
"A young woman, Jeanie Rommel. We haven't been able to reach her husband. We will have to call in a co-worker to make a positive ID."
Hutch's face went white. He was trembling. Starsky put his arm around him.
"What's wrong?" Dobey asked with concerned for his obviously shaken detective.
"Hutch knows the victim Captain."
Hutch could feel the tears building in his eyes. "I'll go, I'll identify... " He couldn't continue.
"You sure?" Starsky said feeling his partner's pain.
"Yes." He was barely audible.
Starsky had to help him up from the chair. When he did stand he thought Hutch's legs were going to fall out from under him. Starsky had to hold him up.
The coroner led the detectives to the body of Jeanie Walden Rommel. He pulled back the sheet. Hutch tried mightily to maintain his composure. "That's Jeanie." He was filled with grief and rage as he looked at her body and what was carved into her flesh. He let out a mournful sigh and walked away. Starsky wanted him to break down, to let it go. But Hutch was silent as they headed to the Torino.
Hutch slumped in the passenger seat. He stared out the window, fighting the tears until he couldn't fight anymore. "Starsk, I was supposed to protect her. She trusted me to do that. And what do I do, I take off for a couple of days, in the middle of a murder investigation. Jeanie's dead because I didn't do my job."
"Hutch I am not going to let you blame yourself for one second. You were helping Elizabeth. It's not your fault. Stop it right now."
Intellectually he knew Starsky was right. His heart was another matter. "I wanted to protect her. She had come so far Starsk, you saw her. Oh God, just married. Her husband..." He cried.
Starsky knew Hutch was still thinking about Forrest. Hutch always felt terrible that he broke down and told him where she was. It was ridiculous. They had him strung out on heroin. It was amazing he held on as long as he did
"It's okay. You did protect her. She knew it. But there are things that are out of our control sometimes. It's gonna be okay." Starsky held Hutch in a tight embrace.
"We're gonna get this guy Starsk. We have to."
Starsky and Hutch combed the area between the Hobart building and where Jeanie's body was found. They went into every store, office building and apartment. No one saw anything.
"You know what Starsk, we will have to come back later, hopefully we'll catch the people that weren't home. We have to make sure we talk to everyone." Hutch noticed the bus stop. "You know Starsk we should talk to every person that comes off that bus."
"Hutch the people on the bus is a long shot."
"We got nothing to lose."
They sat in the Torino and waited. Every person that stepped off the bus was shown pictures of the victims and their vehicles and asked if they saw them or anything suspicious. No one saw anything.
"Zebra Three, this is Captain Dobey."
"This is Hutch, Captain, go ahead."
"I got the trip sheets from all the cab companies. No fares were picked up or dropped off at the Hobart Building or the immediate vicinity around the times of the murders."
"Okay, thanks Captain." Hutch was discouraged. "You know Starsk we should've done this sooner."
"Hutch, Dobey put extra patrols. We can't be everywhere."
"You know Starsk, when we don't do our job, when we fail, people die." Hutch pounded the dashboard with is fists.
"Easy. Easy. He'll make a mistake. We'll get him."
A thirty-year old man exited the bus. The detectives approached him.
"Excuse me sir, police. I'm Detective Hutchinson, this is Detective Starsky." Hutch said showing his badge.
"Yes. My name is Alan Bower. What can I do for you Officer?"
"Is it your routine to ride this bus and get off here every night at this time?"
Hutch took out the pictures of the victims and their cars.
"Did you see any of these individuals or these cars?"
"This car, definitely and I remember the young woman." He pointed to the pictures of Jeanie and her car.
"You are sure?"
"Yes. Last night she was pulled over, right where your car is now."
"Pulled over?" Starsky asked.
"Yeah, by a cop. It was weird though. He was in uniform but his car well wasn't a patrol car, ya know it was just a regular car. But it had a siren on it, just one on the driver's side."
"You're sure it was this woman?" Hutch asked intensely.
"Yeah, I looked at her through the windshield as I walked toward the car. She was really pretty, she caught my attention."
"What kind of car was the cop in?" Starsky asked.
"Oh jeez, I'm not good at cars, I think it a was dark blue Chevy Nova. I'm not sure. Sorry I can't be positive."
"That's okay. How about the cop, can you tell me what he looked like?" Starsky asked.
"Aw man, no. I only paid attention to the pretty lady. I really couldn't tell you what the cop looked like. I mean, no offense, but a cop to me is a cop. You all look alike."
"You can't think of anything about him?" Hutch pressed.
"He was on the driver's side of the car, I couldn't really see him and it was dark. He was just a uniform to me. Like I said I was too busy noticing her."
"Do you remember anything else?" Hutch continued.
"Well when the cop pulled away, she followed him onto Commercial Avenue."
The detectives looked at each other, astounded by what they just heard.
"You are positive that she followed him onto Commercial Avenue?" Hutch asked.
"Yes. One hundred percent."
"Thank you very much sir." Starsky took down his name, address and phone number. "If you think of anything else, call us immediately. We'll be in touch." Starsky gave the man the number where he could reach them.
"Starsk, you know what this means, the killer could be a cop."
"Wait, anybody can get a cop uniform, any good costume place will have them."
"What about the mar light? I don't know Starsk, it makes sense how the killer avoided the patrols. He knew where the cops were. And that's how he got the victims to the warehouse district. Who's going to argue with a cop."
Starsky knew what Hutch was thinking; the same thought crossed his mind. "You're thinking Leibowitz."
"He hates Germans, or as he called them Krauts."
"Yeah but Hutch, hating Germans is a far cry from murder. Leibowitz is a good cop, a family man."
"But Starsky he also moonlights at the Hobart Building as a security guard. He would know the comings and goings of the employees."
"It's possible, a cop. But Leibowitz." Starsky shook his head.
"Let's get back to the station and check out the duty roster and see who drives what." Hutch said as he got into the Torino.
Leibowitz and DiBlasi usually used DiBlasi's Impala. Hutch had mixed emotions when he found out Leibowitz drove a Ford Grenada. The duty roster also had them on duty when Petra Wilhelm was murdered.
"Well Starsk, Leibowitz was on duty the 15th."
Officer Williams was getting a cup of coffee when he overheard Hutch mention Leibowitz being on duty. Williams was a real stickler for regulations.
"Hutch, I saw DiBlasi on the 15th near his house. He didn't have Leibowitz with him. When I asked him where he was, he said something about a family emergency."
"Thanks Williams." Hutch looked over at Starsky.
"So what do you want to do?" Starsky knew what Hutch was going to say.
"Stop by Leibowitz's and see if he has a dark blue Chevy Nova in his garage."
The blond and brunet detectives arrived at Leibowitz's home. The Grenada was parked in the driveway. Hutch rang the doorbell. Leibowitz's wife, Sharon answered the door.
"Hi Hutch, Starsky. What brings you guys here so late?"
"We need to speak with Abe, Sharon." Hutch said in a serious tone.
"Sure come on in."
"Hutch. Starsky. What's up?"
"Well Abe we were hoping you could tell us why you cut out of duty on the 15th?" Hutch asked while scanning the modest home.
"That DiBlasi is some partner." Abe said sarcastically, "But since when is cutting out a crime. I don't get it."
Sharon answered the question. "He had to come home, I was really sick. I needed help with the kids. He went back to work."
"Really Sharon?" Hutch was certain she was telling the truth though.
The Leibowitz's seventeen-year old son Josh came out of the kitchen. When he saw Starsky and Hutch he ran out of the house. The detectives, as well as the young man's parents, followed.
They all caught him in the backyard. Hutch looked inside the garage, he saw a brown paneled station wagon and a dark blue Chevy Nova.
"Josh, what's going on? Where you running off to?" Abe asked.
"Just going to Billy's house." Was his skittish reply.
"Now, at this hour, you gotta go to Billy's house?" His father was not buying the story.
Josh cracked, it didn't; take much. He was a really good kid. Just went along with a typical dumb 'boys will be boys idea.' "We weren't gonna keep the car, just take it for a ride. That's not stealing really, it's borrowing."
"What car?" HIS father questioned.
"You told me that was Billy's car. Get in the house! We'll talk about this later."
Abe turned his attention back to Starsky and Hutch. "So find what you were looking for in my garage Hutch?"
"Wanna tell me what you were looking for?"
"A dark blue Chevy Nova."
Starsky explained. "A witness saw the latest victim pulled over by a uniformed officer in a dark blue Chevy Nova."
"And you guys thought it was me!" Abe was angry.
"Abe, you don't make any bones about your dislike of Germans. And you work at the Hobart building." Hutch said flatly.
"That doesn't mean anything, you of all people should know Hutch how things aren't always as they seem. Remember when it sure looked like you killed you ex-wife."
Hutch rolled his eyes. "Yeah you're right. But that is why it is called an investigation."
"Well a lot of people have dark blue Chevy Novas. So good luck. Hell, DiBlasi has one." Abe added.
"Yeah. Sorry Abe." Hutch shrugged his shoulders and the partners left.
The detectives got back into the Torino. Hutch ran the license plate of the Nova and found out that it belonged to a twenty-seven year old airline stewardess. She was out of town so the car wasn't reported stolen.
The detectives returned to the station.
Starsky's phone rang. "Starsky."
"Detective Starsky. This is Alan Bower, the guy from the bus."
"Yes, Mr. Bower. What can I do for you." He motioned for Hutch to pick up the phone.
"Well I got to thinking about that cop. Really trying to remember him. Well I'm fuzzy on details, but I'd say he looked like your partner."
"He was blond?" Starsky asked.
"No, like your partner, dark-haired, I'd say same height and build. Similar."
Starsky looked at Hutch and they both smiled, it was amazing how often people confused them. "Do you think you would recognize him if you saw him again?"
"Well we would like you to try. Perhaps tomorrow you can come down to the station an look at some pictures."
The partners looked at each other. Starsky asked, "You know a cop that looks like me?"
"Yeah, that we just found out owns a dark blue Nova."
"That was without a partner for a couple hours on the 15th."
They headed for Joe DiBlasi's home.
The detective stood in front of the mirror admiring himself in his uniform. It was time for another killing. He would have to make a change in location. The cops were all over the Hobart Building and the immediate vicinity. Hutchinson made sure of that. Nazi sympathizer he was. Those Norwegians were as bad as the Nazi's.
He looked at the picture of Elizabeth, such a beautiful girl. She would be next, but he would do her differently, he would have her, then he would kill her.
The Pits was hopping. Huggy kept Elizabeth busy as Hutch requested. She was a good waitress. Her friendly out-going personality made her a natural with people. Huggy was short-handed in the kitchen so he was cooking.
"The Pits." Diane answered the phone. "Sure, hold on." "Elizabeth you have a call."
Elizabeth picked up the phone. "Hello. Oh hi Detective DiBlasi, what can I do for you?"
"Well first of all call me Joe. It's what I can do for you Elizabeth. Remember I told you I have a friend, who's a producer. Well I had dinner with him and I told him about you. He wants to meet you right away. It seems he is in the middle of a picture and one of the actresses had an accident and broke her arm. He needs to replace her right away. Can you come meet him tonight?"
"Yes honey, you know show biz, it's all about timing."
"Well okay, where?"
"At his office, I'll meet you there. Don't worry. He won't try to get you on the casting couch."
"Oh, I don't know. I'm working."
"At The Pits. This could be your future. But if you are happy at The Pits..."
"No, no, alright, what's the address?"
"Can you be there in half and hour?"
"Uh huh. Thanks dete...I mean Joe."
"No problem. I always wanted to discover a star!"
Elizabeth wrote a note for Huggy and left it on the cash register. The Pits was so busy, she was able to slip out unnoticed.
Starsky and Hutch arrived at DiBlasi's home. They weren't happy to see the dark blue Nova was missing.
Hutch rang the doorbell. DiBlasi's mother a frail and elderly woman, answered the door.
"Yes. What can I do for you so late?"
"We're sorry ma'am, but we are looking for your son, Joe. We are police detectives, we work with him." Hutch showed her his badge.
"Josef isn't home. Please come in."
They entered the comfortable, well-kept home. Starsky gestured with his head for Hutch to look over at the mantle. There was a menorah on it.
"Can I get you boys some tea? I'm going to have some." She asked sweetly. As she reached to get the teapot, both detectives saw the number that was tattooed on her left forearm, that the Nazi's had put there.
"Uh no thank you ma'am. Mrs. DiBlasi, we didn't know Joe was half Jewish?" Starsky asked.
"Half, he's all Jewish. DiBlasi was my second husband's name. Josef's father and two sisters were killed by the Nazi's." She said without emotion.
"Mrs. DiBlasi we would like to see Joe's room." Hutch told her.
Starsky searched the closet. Hutch went through the papers on his desk.
"Look at this Starsk. An article on Wolfgang Kohler and DMV read outs on all the victims." Then Hutch saw the picture of Elizabeth. "Starsk." He held the picture out to him with a trembling hand. "She may be his next victim."
They went downstairs. "Mrs. DiBlasi, do you know where Joe is?" Starsky asked.
"He went to work."
"He's not on duty tonight ma'am." Starsky told her.
"No you are mistaken, he was in his uniform when he left."
Hutch picked up the phone and called the Pits. "Hi Hug, let me talk to Elizabeth."
"Hutch man, she's not here."
"Not there! Huggy, I asked you to watch her!" Hutch was livid.
"I know, I'm sorry. I was busy in the kitchen. She didn't tell anyone she was leaving. She left a note that she was meeting a producer at Columbus Plaza, but don't worry Detective DiBlasi will be there."
Hutch didn't say anything and hung up the phone. He headed out the door and Starsky followed. "Huggy says she went to Columbus Plaza, to meet a producer with DiBlasi."
"Thank God she said where she was going." Starsky said as he started the Torino.
"You know how many offices there are at Columbus Plaza." Hutch was distraught. He put the mar light on top of the car.
"She's using your car right, try to raise her on the radio." Starsky said hopefully.
Hutch shook his head, "I told her to shut it off. I didn't want her to hear the calls." He picked up the receiver and tried anyway. No response. "That girl doesn't do a thing I tell her except shut off the radio."
The detectives arrived at Columbus Plaza. They immediately spotted Hutch's car and the dark blue Nova parked side by side in the deserted parking lot. Starsky stopped the car a safe distance away and the partners got out and cautiously made their way to the Nova. As they got closer, Hutch saw DiBlasi in the back seat obviously struggling with someone. They heard Elizabeth scream. They got low and Starsky went to the driver's side door, Hutch to the passenger's side door. They opened the doors simultaneously and leaped into the car. Starsky put his barretta in DiBlasi's face and said, "Don't move, don't even breath." DiBlasi could feel Hutch's magnum in his back. "Don't try it DiBlasi." Hutch told him and he pulled him out of the car. They had gotten there in time. Elizabeth was shaken, but unharmed.
Starsky cuffed DiBlasi and brought him to the Torino. Hutch comforted Elizabeth.
"Are you alright?"
"Yes." She replied through tears.
"It's okay." Hutch put Elizabeth in his car and followed Starsky to the station.
Starsky found Hutch at the beach, sitting on the sand staring out into the ocean.
"There you are. So did Elizabeth land safely in Minnesota?" He sat down beside Hutch.
"Yeah. She swears she's gonna transfer to UCLA. But I'll worry about that when it happens." Hutch gave a weak laugh.
"I thought we were going to The Pits to eat and to shoot some pool."
"Yeah, we are. I just had something I had to do."
"At Jeanie's funeral, I talked with her husband. He was feeling terrible about going out of town. He said that he and Jeanie always went to and from work together. He blamed himself for her murder."
"And of course you told him that was crazy. It was not his fault. DiBlasi is the one responsible."
"Of course." Hutch said emphatically.
"Same goes for you pal." Starsky reminded him.
"But why do I know that that's not the reason you are sitting here staring out into the ocean."
"Hans told me that a couple of weeks before they got married Jeanie moved into his house. He found some letters that she had written to me, he read them and in a jealous rage threw them into the fireplace. He said that he knew she loved him, but he also knew he was second choice." Hutch held up a sealed letter. "He found this one a few days ago. He said I should have it since it's addressed to me."
"You gonna read it?"
"No. I know what it says. Starsk, why did I let her go?"
"A lot had gone down. I think she wasn't ready to face her past, let alone the present and couldn't fathom the future. And I don't you could either buddy."
"I should've given her the time she needed."
"Maybe and maybe she should've stayed and faced it all with you."
"What ifs and might have beens. They do hurt the most. You know I'm thirty-six years old, I was supposed to be married with a couple of kids by now."
"Join the club." Starsky said putting a hand on his friend's shoulder.
Hutch opened the envelope and took the letter out, without unfolding it he rolled it into a scroll and put it into a bottle and threw it into the ocean. "Maybe someone will find it, and there will be one less what might have been."
Starsky and Hutch were headed to the Torino when Hutch was hit in the back of the head with a Frisbee.
"Ow!" He exclaimed rubbing the back of his head.
"Oh I'm so sorry." Said the gorgeous blonde. Her just as gorgeous brunette friend ran up to them. "I guess I threw it a little wide." She said apologetically.
"That's okay, I've got a hard head." Hutch smiled.
"Yeah he does." Starsky grinned. "Uh we were just going to get something to eat. Would you ladies like to join us?"
The blonde looked at her friend who nodded. "We would love to."
"Great, just follow us." Starsky said.
"Don't get too far ahead of us, we don't want to lose you." The brunette said coyly.
"Oh no chance of that happening, you can't lose his car, it's red with a white stripe," Hutch told the ladies.
Starsky was glad to see Hutch smiling. He leaned into him and said, "Hey pal, what if you didn't come to the beach?"