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Procrastinated Vengeance - Part One
Hutch rolled over and hit the snooze one more time. He had always enjoyed the mornings. They held a childlike enthusiasm for him. He never really out grew playing cops and robbers. No matter how dangerous it got, he still loved it.
This morning would be different. This morning Starsky would be waiting for him, as he had every day for the past 8 years. Unlike all those times however, today wasn't just another day at the office. Not just another day of catching bad guys. Today, one of them was accused of being the bad guy.
He was to meet with his partner before the court proceedings, to go over the testimony one more time. He had a bad feeling about what was about to take place. It wouldn't be easy to put a supportive smile on his face this morning.
It wasn't the testimony he was bother by, that wasn't the problem. He knew what he had seen, and it wasn't Starsky gunning down an unarmed man. Still, things didn't look good for his partner. There were the witnesses, and the fact that no weapon had been found. Hutch couldn't make sense of any of it. He saw the man not only pull the gun, but fire several rounds at Starsky. Which was something these two have encounter many times, too many! If there was such a thing as reacting normally to being shot at, Starsky had done it. He had simply taken cover, and returned fire.
No, what was bothering Hutch was just where the witnesses had come from. He hadn't seen a soul the entire chase. Nevertheless, wherever they had come from, they all had the same story, a story that could put his partner away for life.
The thought of them accusing Starsky of killing a man in cold blood was ridiculous! But none the less, that is what each one is willing to testify to.
Hutch would never forgive himself for lagging behind that day, of all days! He had been calling in their location while Starsky took off on foot. There couldn't have been more than one, two minutes tops between them, that was enough, however, to force the one on one confrontation.
Would anything have been different had he been there to be the right hand to Starsky's left? He didn't know. Perhaps the only difference would have been that they both would now be on trial.
There were a lot of things that just didn't add up, and Hutch knew he didn't have long to figure it out.
Starsky sat waiting to be taken down for another day of his constitutionally promised "fair trail". He had been denied bail. He would have to admit that a bad cop out on bail could be a frightening thing. This had been a terrible set back however, how could he prove his innocence from behind bars?! He was thankful at least, that his partner was out doing all he could.
Although it was a comfort knowing that, it couldn't change the fact that he wanted to fight his own battle. He was the one being called a "bad cop". He didn't know which was worse, the title of bad cop, or murderer And right now, he was being accused of both. His job and reputation meant everything to him. The thought of working his whole life to secure those things, just to have them taken away in a blink of an eye, was inconceivable.
He mentally retraced his steps, as he had done a million times since that night. Every time the same conclusion. Short of being shot himself, There was nothing more he could have done. He ran the man down. Advised him to give it up. The guy turned and opened fire. It was then that Starsky realized there was no back up from his partner. Instinctively, he took cover and returned fire. Nothing at the time would indicate he would be in the trouble he was in now.
Where had the witnesses come from? Starsky hadn't been able to figure that out. He was sure the street was dark and deserted. So where did these people come from and why would they wanna frame him. He knew that being a cop meant you always had enemies, but he couldn't think of anything messy he and Hutch had been a part of lately. Could this be a procrastinated vengeance? He didn't know, but what he did know was that he's never had to count on his partner more than he would now.
Hutch grabbed his keys and had his hand on the door knob when the phone rang...
"Make it fast, I'm headed out the door"
"Hutch, Dobey here, have you learned anything new?"
"New since I talked you when I turned in at 2am?" he asked impatiently.
"Ok ok, I know... but this is big Hutchinson, this isn't looking good"
"Tell me something I don't know!" Hutch replied.
"Just keep in touch."
"You know I will."
With his head full of thoughts as to where to go and what to do first, Hutch opened the door, but before he had a chance to take a step out, he was blindsided. Someone had been waiting outside, counting on finding a preoccupied Hutch to be in such a hurry, he wouldn't be his normally cautious self. The man was right on the mark. Hutch wasn't sure if he was reeling from the shock or the pain, but before be had time to consider it, he faded to black.
It was going on noon now, the courtroom was filled to capacity. Half were there to support their friend and fellow officer, and the others just to see the irony of the justice system condemning one of its own. So far, it was the second half that hadn't been disappointed. The prosecutor was having a field day with Starsky. All the witness were reliable, responsible, law biding citizens... not as much as a parking ticket on any of them. And of course, the fact that there was no weapon found anywhere at the crime scene didn't help matters...
Starsky tried not to concern himself with the hopelessness of the case. But it was just Hutch's eye account against a room full of upstanding citizens. He wondered why Hutch hadn't made an appearance yet, but he wasn't worried, he knew his partner would be digging up everything he could until the eleventh hour, which by the looks of things, was coming soon!
Finally after what seemed like an eternity, the prosecution rested, and the Judge ordered a break for lunch.
As Starsky was being led away, he tried to stalled long enough for Captain Dobey to catch up with him. The look on Dobey's face said it all, which made things seem more desperate, The Captain had always been one not to show emotion. On any given day, No one could ever tell by the look on his face whether he was happy or disgusted with his detectives. But today, anyone could have read his face like a book....
"Hey Cap, the guys taking bets on the outcome yet?"
"Not funny, Starsky! How you holdin' up?"
"Well, to tell you the truth, I'd be holdin' up a lot better if I could talk to Hutch"
"I know what you mean, I called him this morning and he was on his was to chase some ideas, but not a word since!"
"Anything to worry about, you think?"
"Starsky, where you and Hutchinson are concerned, I'm always worried!"
There would be no more stalling. It was time to go back to holding. Dobey tried to leave Starsky feeling optimistic, but it hadn't worked, the mood was very solemn. There just wasn't much light at the end of the proverbial tunnel. As he was led away, Starsky couldn't help but wonder if his days as a free man were coming to an end. Though the thought was inconceivable, considering the circumstance, it was a thought none the less.
Hutch woke up to the worst headache he could remember in quite sometime, and there had been plenty of them since joining the force. As his vision finally came into focus, he realized he wasn't in Kansas anymore. Matter of fact, he wasn't anywhere he'd ever been before, he was sure of that. He slowly sat up and tried to get his bearings.
The room was small and dark. The walls were a dull gray, at least the paint that hadn't already peeled away, that is. It was apparent that this was an old building.
There was nothing more than a toilet, sink and a bunk. There were no windows, just a small hole at the bottom of a rusty metal door. If he had to guess, he'd say he was in an old mental hospital, or perhaps an old prison.
Soon after, he realized he wasn't wearing the clothes he had put on that morning. They had been replace by plain white coveralls. Actually, he thought, considering his surroundings, the word uniform seemed more appropriate.
The silence was deafening. Not the slightest noise that could possibly give him a clue as to where he was. His mind was racing. One question let to another. Where was he? Why was he here? Who brought him here? The last thing he remembered was opening his door, then nothing. Nothing until he woke up here.
He had no way of knowing how long he'd been here. His personal affects had been removed, so without a watch or any windows, He didn't even know whether it was day or night. Then it hit him like a ton of bricks... Starsky!!!!
It was hard to believe it could all be over so quickly. Starsky hadn't been at all surprised though. It was an open and shut case. Even though he had heard the words' "We find the defendant, David Starsky, guilty of murder in the first degree" Although those words still echoed in his mind, he couldn't believe it. It was just a few short weeks ago that they all thought how ludicrous it was that this case was even being brought to trial! If that's true then the whole world's gone crazy. And now, reality was being forced down his throat.
The punishment phase was the next to be decided. Starsky had no clue as to what to expect. He never entertained the thought he'd be found guilty, let-alone wonder what his sentence would be. "His sentence", How could this be happening. He had never felt so helpless. It was as though he was just out of reach of anyone that could help him.
Finally, he was forced to ask the questions. Where was Hutch? Why hadn't he shown up? Why hasn't anyone heard from him? Starsky knew Hutch well enough to know that it would have taken an act of God himself to keep him away. If it were humanly possible, his partner would have been there. He found himself wondering, Could things be any worse than they were right now? If they could, Starsky didn't want to know how!
As night came, he realized how it could be worse. An apparent party gone bad had just arrived via the patty wagon. There had to be at least twelve or so drunk angry men stumbling around hollering about their rights.
He felt fortunate that he wouldn't have to spend the night with those guys. It had been a long emotional day. He didn't think he could handle that on top of everything else. But as luck would have it, the rowdiest of the bunch, recognized Starsky.
"Well well, look who we have here boys. It's the cop with a badge to kill. He's been all over the papers. It's just too bad you didn't get a chance to kill all the witness too! Ain't that right David Starsky?"
Starsky tried to block the man out. What's that his Mom had told him? "Ignore them and they'll go away?"
"Cat got your tongue, Cop? Or did they take that away too when they took away your dirty badge and gun?"
"What do ya say boys, don't we all feel safer knowing that this murdering cop has been put away? The question is.... Just how long do they send murdering cops away for?" The man was very proud of himself. There was no doubt this was far more entertaining than any ol' party!
Just when Starsky thought he was going to lose it, the jail guard hauled the drunken partiers to the drunk tank. It's nice, to know that he still had SOME friends left, Starsky thought. He thanked the guard and turned over to try to get some sleep.
Sleep wouldn't come. Murdering cop, those words played over and over in his mind. The drunk may have had one to many, but Starsky had to face the truth that he had been found guilty for being just that. How nice it would be to wake up and find that all this had been nothing more than a bad reaction to too many anchovies.
He knew this was real however. Too real. He tried to think of something else. Something to get his mind off his dismal reality. He laid there letting his mind wander. The Car. It's funny what a man thinks of at times like these, Starsky mused. What's gonna happen to his car. He had to laugh at thinking of such a trivial thing. But he loved that car. He realized how juvenile that must sound, but that car was the second best friend he'd ever had. Just like Hutch, it had always been there for him. It had taken him wherever and whenever it's owner asked without one complaint. It had proven itself more reliable than most people in his life.
He remembered joking around with Hutch. Telling him that if anything should ever happen to him, Starsky wanted Hutch to have his car. When Hutch asked what the hell he was suppose to do with it, his response had been, "You can turn it into a Shrine". Starsky had been joking, but deep down, he wasn't sure he meant it as a joke. He knew it sounded strange, but it brought him comfort to know his two "best friends" would be together.
And although Hutch had his fun calling the car "junk yard bait" Starsky knew he could count on him. That's the kind of friendship they had. There wasn't anything he wouldn't do for Hutch and he knew that went both ways.
But now what? Would there me a Hutch to leave anything to? He wondered if he was over reacting, The fact remained however, that if Hutch were of sound mind and body, he'd have been in the courtroom when Starsky needed him. And knowing that is what allowed Starsky to think the worst.
There were more questions than answers. As a matter of fact, there had been NO answers. The agonizing was overwhelming. He was afraid for his future, would he even have one? But more than his fear for himself, he was worried what had happened to his partner. Captain Dobey had said he would run all leads to see what he could turn up. He'd even get with Huggy. He promised to stop by first thing in the morning. The only thing Starsky had to hold onto was that he would bring good news.
It had been 5 mornings now, Still no word on Hutch. And although it was hard enough to deal with the fact that his partner had been missing, he now had to deal with the fact that he was headed into court for the last time. In less than 12 hours, he would know his punishment for a crime he didn't commit.
It seemed as though he'd been there forever. Although Hutch had no way of knowing just how long it had been. He hadn't seen anyone since he was brought here. They had managed to leave a tray during the times he slept. Food didn't come on a regular basis. But enough that he didn't go hungry.
There had still been no clue as to where he was or why he was here. Time was all he had, time to think. It soon became his curse. Who had done this, and why? Whoever was responsible made sure that he was kept current with his partner's case. He had received every newspaper article there was on the case.
Hutch couldn't quite figure out the connection, but one thing became clear. Whatever was going down, Starsky had been part of the game all along. Had Starsky been thinking the same thing? Did he even know whether Hutch was dead or alive? He didn't know what story his partner may have been told, if any. It didn't do any good to wonder about these things, it didn't look like he was gonna have any questions answered anytime soon!
Was he really considering taking that step to the other side? Starsky knew one thing for sure. He wasn't going to just sit there and do nothing while 12 of "his peers" decided his fate. He had to get out of this mess, and if that meant breaking the law he worked so hard to uphold all these years, then so be it. That same law wasn't doing anything to help him. That same law was about to take his life away.
He had to do some fast thinking. He was due in court in a few short hours, after that, the security would be to tight.
Finally, the time had come. The guard opened his cell, and Starsky was led out. He followed the guards out of the building. He couldn't remember when he had seen a bluer sky, but then, he hadn't seen any sky in quite sometime.
He was being led to the car that would take him downtown, when as if it were all part of a master plan, everyone was caught quite off guard by a car that came screeching around the corner. Starsky couldn't believe his luck, it was as if the car was in on his plan.. It was just the distraction he needed. He shoved the guard, and made a run for the alley that ran behind the buildings.
He had nearly made the corner, when shots rang out. Its funny, he thought, how he never heard a sound, just felt a searing pain cut threw him. This was never part of his fast made plans. Being caught, yes that was always a possibility, but being shot, not even a thought. How naive he thought, as his world grew dim.
The rookie cop wanted his fifteen minutes of fame. To actually be the one to stop the runaway cop that had been giving the force a bad name. He fired a few rounds in Sgt. Starsky's direction. And much to his surprise, he had hit his target. The Veteran cop fell to the ground.
Hutch still had no contact with the outside world. Time didn't matter anymore, One day just rolled over to the next without any recognition at all.
The only thing to change since being brought here was that food had become more scarce. What had been semi regular "feedings", turned into, every couple days. Had he been brought here just to be starved to death?
As if "they" had been reading his mind, a tray was passed through the small opening of the door. Hutch was relieved to find food and drink. There also was a newspaper. Hutch realized that couldn't be good. He only received a paper if it had negative news about Starsky.
He ate first, it had been sometime since his last meal. He didn't want to tackle what was in the paper, on an empty stomach. Eating every few days has it's perks, he thought... everything tasted great! Even the brown water seemed fit for drinking.
After eating, he decided to get it over with. He picked up the paper and began reading. He couldn't believe what he saw. The headlines for the day (which day it was he didn't know, the dates had always been cut out)
"CONVICTED DETECTIVE GUNNED DOWN IN ESCAPE ATTEMPT"
Could it be true? Starsky, shot while trying to escape during his transfer to the courthouse. Guilty? The trial was over? His partner had been found guilty? He couldn't believe what he was reading, There was no report on his condition. He rifled through the paper, looking for anything... Hutch had to set the paper down, He was burning up, everything had become a blur.
What was happening? He could no longer sit up. It was as if he had no control over a single muscle in his body. He didn't lose consciousness, but he was unable to move.
He could make out someone walking towards him, he couldn't focus, he could only make out a figure. The person began talking, although the words were muffled, like a dream. It took all he had to try to make out what the man was saying.
"Well, well, so we finally meet face to face. I can only imagine all the questions you must have. The good thing is, you can't ask any. I made sure your meal included a little surprise. That explains why you're laying there speechless."
Hutch could only listen, no matter how hard he tried to speak or move, he couldn't.
"Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Vincent, Vincent Connors. Does that ring any bells?"
Connors? Hutch's mind was too hazy he was unable to focus on details.
"Maybe the name Jimmy Connors will ring a bell... Still nothing? Well let me help you, He was the man you falsely accused of murder, then shot, and lastly sent to death row, All without batting an eye.
"Isn't life ironic", the man continued, "your partner was falsely accused of murder, he too was shot. And here you are on Death row. If that isn't irony, I don't know what is"
Hutch's mind was searching, he has worked so many cases. He just couldn't focus. Just couldn't remember what the man wanted him to remember.
It was over as soon as it began. Before he had even realized it, the man was gone. He was left there unable to move, unable to put thoughts together. Words were just rolling around in his head. Starsky. Death Row. Connors. He had just enough mind left to wish this would just pass, at last it had.
"Dr. Simon? This is Becky, I have a Captain Dobey wanting information on David Starsky's condition. Yes sir, he's here now, wanting to go into the room. Ok, I'll tell him. Thanks Doctor."
"Ok Captain Dobey, Dr. Simon said he'll be right down. He said you can go ahead and go in if you'd like"
"Thanks, I'll do that, can you point me in the right direction?"
"Sure, He's in room 320. Just go straight down this hall, it's the third door on the left. The Doctor will be right with you."
Dobey's thanks wasn't heard by anyone other than himself has he mumbled it on the way to the room. He slightly hesitated then entered. Starsky was lying too still for Dobey's liking. He walked over to the bed and looked down on his detective.
Had things really come to this? Just a short time ago this man and his infamous sidekick were enjoying love, life and the pursuit of driving him crazy. And now this. One was missing, the other shot. Never... Never would he have believed it could come to this. His thoughts were interrupted as the Doctor entered the room..
"Captain Dobey, I presume?" he said as he reached out to shake the mans' hand.
"That's me Doctor. So can you tell me how my detective is doing?"
"Sure, as you can see, he hasn't regained consciousness yet, but we're not alarmed at this point. The surgery was an ordeal. The bullet couldn't have been any closer to the spine. There was a very real threat of some type of paralysis so we had to be very delicate in our repairs. He is holding his own, which is encouraging. Strong vital signs..."
"Excuse me Doctor, but what are we talking about when you say paralysis?" Dobey asked.
"It's a very real possibility. It's a question that can't be answered until he comes to"
Both men's attention was averted as they heard the patient sound as if he were coming to. He seemed to mumble something as he stirred then again laid still.
"What was that all about?" Dobey asked Dr. Simon.
"Hard to say, involuntary movements perhaps, perhaps reaction to dreaming. He's been doing that off and on for awhile now."
"Ok Doctor, so back to what you were telling me, ...you're expecting he's going to come out of this alive. It's just a matter of any whether or not he's paralyzed"
"Well it's too soon to say for sure. We'll take it one step at a time, the first step being for him to wake up."
Starsky was vaguely aware of someone talking, talking so far away. But he couldn't be concerned with that right now. He was looking for Hutch. Looking everywhere. He could hear his friends voice calling for him, but every time he'd get close, the voice was gone. He'd have to keep looking.
Hutch woke up, as his door was being slammed shut. He laid there, trying to make sense of what had happened. Had he dreamed the whole thing? Had anyone really come into his "cell" at all?
Everything was hazy, but the more he focused, the more things slowly came back. Connors. The guy's name was Connors. If it had been so important to him that Hutch listen to his story, why would he drug him?
He tried to piece it together. The man had blamed him and Starsky for an arrest. An arrest that resulted in a prison sentence... no, there was more to it, it wasn't just a prison sentence, that was it, it was death row.
He saw the food sitting on a tray by the bed. He knew what happened last time, and decided he wasn't that hungry yet.
Things were starting to happen he thought. Whatever he was brought here for was beginning to be played out.
Becky looked forward to making her rounds for a change. Of course she knew it had something to do with Mr. Tall, (tall enough anyway), Dark and Handsome in room 320. She was careful not to allow herself to get carried away, however. Depending on who you talked to, this man was either a killer, or a hero.
Whoever he was, Becky noticed that he hadn't been resting comfortably. Nearly every time she'd be in to check on him, he would start with the faint muttering. Which would quickly be accompanied by his slight tossing back and forth of his head. If this was indeed him dreaming. She didn't imagine they were happy dreams. She covered him back up, got one last look, and went on with her rounds.
Starsky knew Hutch was close, he could "feel" him. He continued to follow the distant voice of his partner calling his name. Again, his voice grew ever closer. It wouldn't be long now. He walked on until at last he saw him. He found Hutch! His back was to him, but he knew it was him. He walked closer until finally, Hutch turned. "Starsky, help me, I can't hold on much longer." Starsky too sensed the urgency, he grabbed Hutch's hand as he began to fall. "Hold on Hutch, I've got you, just hold on" But his grasp was slipping. "Starsky, I can't. Help me" Starsky held on with everything within him, but it was useless, he lost the grip of his pleading friend. He was powerless to help, all he could do was watched as Hutch began his slow but inevitable descent down the endless void. Spiraling downward, all the time calling his name..."S t a r s k y"
"HUTCH!!" Starsky screamed. "HUTCH!!"
He woke in a cold sweat. Could it all have been a dream? It had seemed so real. He was still shaking from the horrific visions of Hutch falling. The terrifying panic still gripped his soul.
Becky came running in.
"Mr. Starsky, are you ok? I could hear you yelling down the hall"
He was unable to answer at first. Still trying to catch his breath.
"Mr. Starsky, It's ok. You must have been dreaming. It's good to see you awake finally. You had us worried. How do you feel?"
"Where am I?" a confused Starsky asked the nurse.
"You're in the hospital. How do you feel?" She asked again.
"I'm not sure."
"Let me get the Doctor for you Mr. Starsky"
Starsky's breathing at last settled back to a normal pace. The dream had given him quite a jolt, but he was slowing coming back to reality. Which didn't seem much better....
That's when it hit him. It all came back like watching a bad movie. He recalled his plan, it had been full of holes, he couldn't believe he had tried it at all. It was something he had to do, he had told himself. But now look where he was. On top of everything, he had tried to escape. If anyone had believed in his innocence before, they'd have little doubt now.
After a few minutes to himself, the Doctor walked into the room.
"So, you decided to stay with us awhile longer, did you?"
"I'm not sure it was my choice."
"How are you feeling Detective?"
"Tired, otherwise fine, I think. Why am I here?"
"Detective you received a gunshot wound to your lower back. The Doc walked around to the bottom of the bed and ran his pen up Starsky's foot..
"Can you feel this?"
"Can I feel what" Starsky asked"
"Can you lift your right leg Detective"
Starsky realized what the doctor was getting at, as he tried unsuccessfully to move either leg.
"What are we talking about here Doc, what's wrong with me"
"The surgery was a long and slow process, Detective Starsky. The bullet was lodged very near the spine. We thought we had been able to remove it without damage to the spinal cord. We wouldn't know for sure until you regained consciousness."
"Ok, so let's see if I'm understanding this. You're telling me I'm paralyzed? Is that what you're saying?".
"Calm down detective. You've just come too from your body being traumatized. You need to take it easy... Now what I'm saying that at least temporarily you do seem to have suffered from some sort of paralysis. The extent we don't know yet. Now I do believe in shooting from the hip. I don't think it's fair to candy coat the situation. This could range anywhere from temporary paralysis to, of course, full paralysis from the waste down. Time will tell which hand you were dealt."
"I know this is a lot to take in, Detective. I think right now the best thing to do for yourself is one, is to think positive. You are still alive you know. And the second is to rest. You're still very weak. Rest will do you good"
"Yeah right Doc... from what you're telling me I'll have a life time to do that"
"Positive attitude Detective! I never said this was permanent. I'll leave you now to get some rest, I'll prescribe something to help you sleep if you need it"
The Doctor got no reply. But didn't take offense. It was a heavy blow the detective had just received. He'd need time to deal with it.
Jon Casey sat in his kitchen, trying to eat dinner. He knew he was just going through the motions. He had no appetite. He had lost it weeks ago. And it didn't help to hear about the attempted escape and shooting.
Before that night he had been just a regular Joe. He had just about fulfilled every dream he had made for himself. Things couldn't have been going any better. However, that all came crashing down the day he was contacted by a Mr. Connors. He was told that he was randomly chosen along with several other squeaky clean people. To help with a special project. And he had made it quite clear that he wouldn't take no for an answer.
He looked back at it now, there must have been something he could have done. But hindsight is 20/20. At the time, he saw no way out. Connors had threatened to take away everything and everyone Jon had held dear.
How could a man go 30 years of his life upholding the highest moral values passed on to him by his parents, then overnight be caught up in a web of lies and deceit that would rival most movie scripts. Now he had to face that not only did he help frame a good cop, he had nearly been responsible for his death.
Connors had never told any of them why he wanted them to lie about the man being shot. They never knew why they were made to lie in court to frame the Detective. The only thing made clear was what would happen to them if they refused to go along.
Jon wasn't married, he had been engaged to be when all this came about. He was force to put all that on hold. The hard part was that he couldn't tell his fiancée the truth. It must have really hurt her. But he had no choice, He couldn't put her in harms way.
Then there were his parents. They were on up in years, and he couldn't bare the thought of this Connors making their last years miserable, or even taking those last years away.
It had been the hardest thing he'd ever done, but he had done what was asked of him, demanded of him. But now, after hearing about the shooting, it was too much, Jon decided he had to do something, talk to someone., But who? Who would even care enough to listen to such a wild story?
The detective himself, he decided. If he had survived the shooting that is. In the morning he would start trying to make things right. It looked like it was too little, too late. But he had to try. He just couldn't live with himself any longer. He would first see that everyone had been made safe. Then he'd make a trip to the hospital.
Hutch didn't know how long he'd be able to resist what was on the tray. It's one thing to be starved. It's another to have food in front of you and not eat it. What was this all about? Would he ever leave this place? These of course were questions he couldn't answer. The thing he did know was that he was getting weaker. If he was going to keep is strength up, he'd have to eat. But the uncertainty of what would follow, gave him the will to wait his hunger out a little longer.
Starsky had officially been labeled as out of the woods. He was to spend a few more days in the civilian hospital, then it would be the prison infirmary. But of course his latest set back made that move indefinite.
He hadn't got much sleep. The whole scenario played over and over in his head. Acting on impulse has now cost him not only his possible freedom. But given the possible prognosis by the doctor, it may have cost him his career.
Career? Who was he kidding. That was already gone. Even if he could get up and walk out that minute, he'd have no career. He just couldn't believe all that had happened in such a short time. The sentencing. The escape attempt. The shooting. The paralysis. And on top of all of that. Hutch. Where was Hutch. The panic still ran deep as he remembered his dreams.
It was just after lunch that Starsky was told he had a visitor. He allowed himself to have a glimmer of hope, could it be his long lost partner?
His hope was quickly doused as he watched the man being led into the room by the guard. "I'll be right outside the door," said the guard "give me a holler when you finished."
"Thank you." replied the familiar looking man.
Jon stood there, not knowing what to say. How could he tell this man that he was partly to blame for everything that had happened.
Finally it was Starsky that spoke first
"I know you. How do I know you?"
Jon stood there, unable to find the words. He turned, giving thought to walking out the door.
"What is it", the detective asked. "Who are you, and what are you doing here?"
"My name is Jon Casey." He turned back around to face the detective. "I...", he hesitated, trying to get the words out. "I was one of the witnesses"
Starsky's face revealed that he did remember this man.
There was an uncomfortable silence. Starsky didn't know what to say to this man that had lied about him. What the hell was he doing here?
"This is long over due, Detective Starsky. I don't know if I'm too late to help. But I have a story to tell you."
Starsky tried to lay his anger aside for the time being. He could see the sincerity in the man's face, and heard it in his voice. "Well, time will tell, take a seat, let's hear what you have to say. And after everything that has happened, it better be one good story!"
"It's about that night, Jon began. The night all of our lives changed forever..."
After Starsky had heard the man's story, He wasn't sure what emotion he felt. Relief? Anger? The questions concerning the witnesses were finally answered. He had brief piece of mind, about that.
" I can't tell you how sorry I am for my part in all this", Jon continued. "I don't know how the others can live with themselves. I couldn't do it another day"
It took the detective several minutes before speaking.
"I've wanted... No, I've needed to hate someone... Now I have a face to blame. Do you know what you and the others like you have done? You've take it all away. I have nothing thanks to you."
"What about my partner" Starsky continued to grill Jon. "What did you people do with him?"
"I'm sorry detective. I don't know anything about your partner. This was strictly about you. No one else was even mentioned. I wish there was something I could do."
"It's not a matter of what you can do. What I want to know is what you can Undo! Can you undo the lies you told? Can you undo the guilty verdict. How bout the gunshot. Can you undo that?"
"I'm very sorry" and with that, Jon walked out
It only took a few minutes for Starsky to realize what he had done. Yes he was angry. And had a right to be! But he just turned away the one hope he's had since all of this started.
He Buzzed for the nurse and asked her to chase Casey down and bring him back.
Jon was leery when the nurse told him that Detective Starsky wanted him back to the room. He wondered if there was something the detective had forgotten to yell at him about. He walked back into the room, saying nothing.
"I'm sorry Mr. Casey. This has all been so much to take in. I appreciate you coming in here today. It couldn't have been easy. And from what you tell me about the situation, You weren't given much choice," Starsky offered.
"That's what I thought at the time. I know now that I could have, should have done something. So where do we go from here? How can I help?"
"It's not going to be that easy, are you willing to tell this same story to the man in charge, not knowing whether or not this Connors will make good on his threats?"
"You're right, I don't know, but I've done all I know to do. I've sent my fiancée packing. I've moved my parents to my Sister's house overseas" And aside from that, everything else is just "stuff".
"You've given this a lot of thought"
"It's all I have thought about since that night, I just haven't had the nerve till now, I hope one day you will be able to forgive me."
"Well right now, let's just work on having a 'working' relationship. I know it took a lot of guts to come in here and take responsibility for your part in all this. I'll give you that much. Give me some time to let this sink in. I'll get back with you about the forgiveness thing."
"By the way, Mr. Casey, you're sure you this Connors didn't mention my partner? He's been outta touch since all this went down"
"Jon please... and no, I wish I could help you with that but, we were only given the smallest amount of information to do our job."
Starsky couldn't hide his disappointment.
"Well, Starsky replied, "I'll worry about finding him after I get outta here, which thanks to you, could be sooner than I thought, a life time sooner.!"
Hutch could hold out no longer, he had to eat. He figured being drugged was better than starving. The food (using the term "food" loosely) wasn't bad considering how long it had sat there. He learned not to be picky. Starsky would have a good laugh at his new eating habits!
Hutch recalled the headlines, while devouring his meager meal. A fellow officer had shot Starsky, while trying to escape... What could he have been thinking? This didn't sound like something a rational Starsky would have done. He must have been desperate!
Of course he was desperate, Hutch thought. Being faced with life in prison. Not knowing if his partner was alive or dead.
It started again, he broke out in an cold sweat. He knew what to expect. The room began to spin. Then just as before. He was unable to move, every muscle frozen. Finally, the same figure seemed to just appear in front of him. Hutch knew it was time to hear more of the story.
"Thought you'd never eat that stuff, Hutchinson. Your hunger finally got the best of you, did it?"
Again Hutch was barely able to put the man's words together enough to make sense.
"It's time to tell you why you're here. You see Detective Hutchinson, I have a journal. A journal that my brother kept while rotting on death row. The Journal tells us just how horrible an existence, it was. I'm here to see that you experience the same. All the unpleasantness my brother suffered during his stay here, is what you can expect. Whatever is in this book, is what the rest of your days will hold for you"
"I've waited years for justice", Connors continued, "Finally your dearest Starsky is no longer with us, and in the very near future you'll be joining him. I know, you're wondering why not get it over with. But you see, Hutchinson, you were the reason my brother suffered right up till his death, the least I can do is return the favor."
The words were coming in fuzzy, but clear enough that he knew he was in trouble. And Starsky, what had he said about Starsky? Could his partner be dead? That was his last thought before passing out .
"So what do you think Cap'n? Starsky was on the phone the minute Jon had left. "Where do we go from here?"
"Starsky, this is on the up and up?" Captain Dobey asked, knowing it was.
"Yeah Cap, this guy just walks in and tells me this story, it's an incredible story, I'll give you that. But I believe every word. I have to, things are beginning to make sense now"
"I'll have to figure out what our best course of action is, responded Dobey. "You and I may believe this guy's story, but it's the Judge I'm worried about"
"Well, I'm not going anywhere Cap, just do what you can and get back to me, will ya?"
"You sure you're planning on sticking around this time Starsky?" Dobey asked, trying to make a point.
"Have to Cap, This guy's my last chance."
After talking to Dobey, Starsky felt he could really rest for the first time in weeks. He had a renewed sense of cautious hope. He was still discouraged over not knowing what his body had in store for him. But he allowed himself to think that this incredible piece of luck might somehow be a good omen for finding Hutch.
Hutch was losing too much weight. Becoming more lethargic everyday. It was defeating to know there was nothing he could do about it... nothing but waste away while awaiting his fate.
A piece of paper was put through the hole. Hoping it may contain news about Starsky, he picked it up and began reading. Reading was at least one thing he still had the strength for... Which would prove to be unfortunate...
....May 17, Today was one of the worse days since arriving at this hellhole. Two men apparently just helped themselves into my cell. I knew right away they were trouble, I just didn't realize how painful the trouble would be. I can barely draw a breath. I feel quite sure I have bruised, if not broken ribs. I can't see out of my left eye. My head feels like I was hit by a Mac truck. The guards either don't know, or don't care. I think they close their eyes to all of this. But why me Or is it just me? Is everyone in here going through this same treatment? Vinny, you have to get me outta here, whatever it takes, get me out, they're gonna kill me, I can feel it....
Jimmy Connors, Hutch thought, this must have been part of his journal. As Hutch finished reading, his door opened. Just as if reenacting the letter, two men walked in. They hadn't said a word.
This can't be good, he decided. He tried fighting them off, did quite well at first, but he was just to weak. He was powerless to stop the beating that continued at least until he had lost consciousness.
When he had come to, He knew he was in bad shape. Every breath caused a terrible sharp pain that reached down to his core. His guess was bruised if not broken ribs. Jimmy's words exactly, he realized. His left eye was swollen shut and the right not much better. He too, felt as though his head had just been introduced to the very Mac truck Jimmy had written about.
This Connors, he means business. What else did the journal, have in store for him. He didn't want to know the answer to that one. He tried to convince himself not to worry.
There had been many times in the past when he'd thought his number was up. But every time his partner had ridden in and saved the day. This time would be different however. This time there was no cavalry. How was he ever gonna get outta this mess. Would he get outta this mess? He faded to black.
The phone rang, which more interrupted Jon's thinking, than the TV show he was "watching"
"Jon, this is Starsky. Wanted to let you know that I just heard from Captain Dobey. It seems he called in every favor he's had saved up since being on the force. The judge said he would reopen the case, and that I could be release to the Captain's supervision"
Jon could hear the guarded excitement in Starsky's voice.
"That's great news, so where do we go from here?"
"Since you asked... I was thinking... I have a favor to ask"
"Anything, you know I owe you, just ask" Jon welcomed the chance to be of some use, it would help to ease the guilt.
"Since we don't know how long Connors' arm reaches, I'd like to keep a low profile. I've asked Dobey to let you be my eyes, instead of one of the guys from metro. At least until I can get out of here. He's gonna get everything he can about this Vincent Connors. What I need you to do is look through and see if anything rings a bell. Anything that could lead us to this guy, and maybe even to Hutch"
"I'm a computer engineer. What do I know about going over police files?"
"Nothing, I'm sure. But I have to take that chance. So what do you say?"
"Well Detective Starsky, All I can say is that I'll give it the ol' college try"
"That's all I ask, and by the way, it's just Starsky"
"Thanks. I'll do my best, just tell me where and when".
Starsky wondered how risky it was, letting Casey in on this. But he had a good feeling about this guy and he wasn't in any position to be picky about where help came from. The judge wasn't gonna just let him out indefinitely, he had to come up with something, and soon.
Hutch could finally take a breath without having to gasp for air. But the pain was relentless.. The beating combined with the lack of food or water was sending him on his way to becoming null and void.
He heard footsteps coming down the hall. He laid still, wondering if these footsteps were bringing the food he needed so desperately, or perhaps another of Jimmy's unpleasantries. All he could do was wait and find out.
A tray appeared through the small hole at the bottom of the door. Hutch saw that there was a tray with water and food, but he also saw a piece of paper.
He just won't read it he told himself.. If he didn't read it, then it can't happen. He wasn't sure there was logic in that, all he knew was last time he did read, it came to pass. And that was enough for him.
He tried picking up the tray of food, when he heard a voice come over the speakers in his cell.
"No no Hutchinson, not till you read. You read, then you eat"
Ignoring the orders given to him, he picked up the tray. A deafening siren came from the speakers. It was unbearably loud. Hutch dropped the tray, and the noise stopped. He made an attempt to pick it up again, the noise was twice as loud, the tray was dropped once more.
"Stubborn aren't you? But being stubborn doesn't fill that empty stomach of yours, does it? I have to admit though, I am impressed how quickly you caught on to the rules of the game. It only took one time for you to realize what you read is what you get! Look at it this way, Detective, my brother had no warning."
Hutch was loosing his rational. His reasoning skills weren't what they used to be. If there was any doubt about that, his next comment proved the point.
"Connors, can you hear me?!! Your insane, you know that?!! Yeah, I sent your brother away, but only because he asked for it. You gotta pay the piper, ya know."
"It won't work, Hutchinson, you can't provoke me. I have a mission here, it's called revenge. Now, read the letter."
"I'm not in the mood" Hutch boldly replied.
The door to Hutch's room opened, and one of the uninvited men from before came walking in, dragging his knuckles behind him, hutch thought.
He walked over, picked Hutch up, and slammed him against the wall. Knocking out what little air he had left in him. Before Hutch had time to react, even if he could have, he was picked up again, and thrown to the ground. The man then picked up the tray and walked out the cell door.
"Ok Hutchinson, Two can play your waiting game. But remember, I have nothing but time, can you say the same? Now lets go over the rules. They are simple. You don't read, you don't eat or drink. I'll be listening, call me when you decide your "in the mood"
Hutch couldn't get up. He couldn't move at all, the pain was agonizing. He had no strength left.. He laid there thinking (while he still could) that he'd be damned if he was gonna give Connors what he wanted,. If he was gonna die, at least he was gonna chose how it happened.
Connors was furious. How dare this cop mess up his perfectly orchestrated plan. He'll be sorry, he thought. He'll cooperate or damn sure wish he had. He'll be begging for food soon enough, then finally his plan could get back on track. Meanwhile, he had to just bide his time.
Connors sat down and relaxed in his office turned living quarters.
There were monitors set up with different angles of Hutchinson's cell. The cop didn't sneeze without Connors knowing about it. So far it had made for very boring entertainment. The cop didn't, ok... couldn't do much. Sleep, eat, think. Course it put a smile on this face to think what must have been on the cop's mind.
He admired his great plan of revenge. Detective Starsky in the hospital recovering from being shot while trying to escape. He wouldn't be a problem.
He held Starsky responsible too, but with Hutchinson, it was personal. Hutchinson was the one that saw to it that his baby brother was chased down and shot like a mad dog. Even that wasn't enough, he had to send him to death row. And from the stories Jimmy told, death couldn't come soon enough.
Vincent allowed himself to re-live that night, something he hadn't done since it happened....
...Jimmy had looked up to Vincent. He could do no wrong in Jimmy's eyes, the fact that everything he was involved in was illegal, didn't bother him at all.
Jimmy had been begging for a chance to join his big brother, and finally, that chance had come. This job seemed simple enough that Vincent hadn't been worried about letting him tag along.
The job that night was to break into the Nations Bank after midnight. Vincent was an ace with alarms, he much preferred evenings so that the people factor wouldn't be anything to worry about.
The plan was simple, override the alarm system, then it was a just a matter of getting in and getting out.
The best laid plans... its seems that the alarm system had been malfunctioning so the bank decided to add two security guards for the night. That was something the two men had not planned for.
The Connors brothers were able to get as far as the lobby, when they were spotted by one of the guards who immediately hit the silent alarm.
Vincent hadn't suspected a thing, he led his brother to where the vault was, when from behind they heard "hold it right there" Even though this wasn't in Tony's plan, he had a knack for always remaining in control. He spun around and fired, hitting both guards.
Loss of life never bothered Vincent, as long as it wasn't his, and of course now there was Jimmy to worry about. He thought all was clear, when two plains clothes cops came running in and yelling for no one to move.
The two brothers took cover behind the lobby desk. Vincent told Jimmy that he was gonna hold the cops off, and for him to make a run for it.
"Not without you" Jimmy had cried.
Vincent had been able to convince his frightened brother that he'd be right behind him.
Vincent stood and began firing.
"Now Jimmy", Vincent yelled.
Jimmy jumped up and ran towards the door, he made it outside but not without the company of one of cops, the blond one.
The other cop had stayed with Tony, until of course he out witted him and got away.
Jimmy hadn't been so lucky. The story according to Hutchinson was that his brother had drawn his gun and fired at the cop, leaving Hutchinson no choice but to fire back.
Vincent never believed a word of that. Jimmy was to scared to draw on a cop. That damn cop just opened fire on his brother, and made sure he stood trial for the murder of both guards.
He never allowed himself to feel any responsibility over what happen to his Jimmy. He blamed the guards for being somewhere they shouldn't have been, and Hutchinson for everything that happened up until the day his brother had died in prison.
He had thought about giving himself up and telling the law that it was him that shot those guards, but all that would have done was get them both sent up, so he had stayed away.
But now finally the time had come, revenge had never been closer. It made every breath he took, intoxicating. At last, the excitement of the day got the best of him, and he drifted off to sleep.
Jon had to laugh at himself, by day a mild mannered computer engineer, by night a undercover cop. He didn't mind going through the huge file that Captain Dobey had brought over. He was eager to help. The problem was that he was worried his untrained eye wouldn't pick up on clues the way that a real cop could.
None-the-less he went over the file for hours. He'd never seen a police file in his life, but he would describe the information as routine. This guy was suspect and even arrested on many counts, but never enough evidence to convict. He's basically a thief, and not penny ante stuff. He only dealt with big operations. Major banks, museums. But still nothing that indicated Connors had ever even crossed paths with Starsky or Hutch. They were never the arresting officers in any of the busts.
His where a bouts were unknown. Mention of one brother, no living parents. He had hoped he would have something beneficial to tell Starsky. He was missing something, he had to be. So at 1:30am, he started reading again.
The morning had arrived and Connors couldn't wait to get a peek at his prisoner. His excitement turned to disappointment. The cop was just as we left him last night. It didn't look like he'd moved a muscle. A frightening thought came to him... No! He wouldn't dare be dead!! That pig had screwed up enough of his plans, he better not be dead!
He decided he'd better check it out himself. He opened the cell door slowly. He couldn't see the other side of the bunk from the door, so he cautiously walked over to where he had seen the detective laying. He was meet with a right cross. He never expected it. The copper had fight left in him after all.
The hit landed Connors on his backside. Hutch followed with a weak kick to the abdomen. Gutsy, Connors thought, almost made him feel pity for the battered prisoner.
It was obvious the Cop thought of this as his Alamo, his last stand. The unfortunate thing for him was, the one punch and kick were all he had in him, and they were weak at that.
Connors remained calm, thinking only of his plan. Knowing it wouldn't take much to kick this guys bucket, he simply pushed the cop down on his bunk, and walked out the door.
"Good try, Hutchinson" Hutch heard over the speakers a few minutes later, "if you had tried that a few weeks ago when you were about 3 times the man you are now, it might have worked. Like I've said before, you can't provoke me. My plans are very exact. By the way, Hutchinson, are you hungry yet?"
Connors took comfort watching as the prisoner laid on the bunk, apparently realizing his fate. If he didn't know better, he'd say the cop was crying. This gave Connor's great pleasure. The broad smile told it all. How many nights had his brother laid there crying, in that same room, on that same bunk, those few years ago.
That had been all Hutch could think to do, he couldn't just go down with the ship without one more try at staying afloat. He knew he was too weak to try something so brazen, but he had no choice. Maybe, just maybe the surprise element would be just enough to catch Connors off guard.
That hadn't been the case, and here he was lying on the same bunk he had for all these days, weeks... months?. His hunger ran deep. He knew he was dehydrated and that if he didn't give in to Connors, he'd be dead very soon. On the other hand if he did give into him, he'd be just as dead, eventually. Still, the thought of another entire day without any relief from his hunger and thirst was agonizing.
He prayed for unconsciousness, so that he wouldn't feel the emptiness within him, he wouldn't feel the unbearable pain that ran through out his body. The heat was stifling. How long would this nightmare continue? The thought of taking his own life actually crept into his mind. He could hang himself, he thought .He would have to use his clothing, his bunk hadn't come with sheets or blankets...
Who was he kidding, he knew he couldn't give up like that, oh how he wished he could!! Starsky would kick his butt for even thinking such a thing.
His thoughts went back to his partner. Could he really be dead? Hutch had to admit that it was at least possible, and if not dead, certainly behind bars for murder and attempted escape.
What Hutch wouldn't give to hear that "Yankee" accent. Or to eat one more greasy rot gut hamburger Starsky had always been so proud of. Or even to ride in that incredibly loud, extremely red, hot rod his partner held so dear.
The red tomato. Hutch remembered once that Starsky had joked if anything ever happened to him, he wanted Hutch to take care of his pride and joy. Although Starsky came across as joking, Hutch knew he was deadly serious. He wanted to leave the car to him. He couldn't help but to poke fun at him, calling the car "junk, waiting to happen." He couldn't help himself, but when it came to that car, Starsky was such an easy target! They were the best of friends and Hutch missed him desperately.
There had been a few tough jams in days gone by where he had found himself in deep trouble. He had always been able to 'hang in there" knowing Starsky was out there looking for him, wouldn't rest till he found him. They both had been there for each other so many times.
He couldn't help but feel overwhelmed realizing this time there was no Starsky looking for Hutch. And Hutch couldn't be out there helping Starsky. That was just too much, at that, he broke down.
Starsky woke up hoping like he did everyday, that his morning stretch would be felt from head to toe. But this would be another day he was disappointed. His body wasn't cooperating. Tomorrow he would tell himself. Tomorrow the toes!
He wanted out of this place so badly. The more time he had on his mind, the more he'd start feeling defeated. When he wasn't worrying about his own future, he would replay the dream over and over. He was sure the dream meant something. Hutch needed him. He had to get out of here. He had to find Hutch before he was lost forever. He missed his partner, he missed him desperately.
He forced his disappointment to turn to anticipation. All he could hope for now was to hear from Casey. Right now that was his only hope for good news.
Starsky jumped as the phone rang. At least it started to, he had the receiver picked up before it had a chance to finish the first ring.
"Talk to me!"
"Starsky it's me, Jon"
"Hey Jon, I need some good news, so tell me, what's up?"
"I'm not sure I got a wink of sleep last night, but it may have paid off. I don't know if it's anything, but...
"You found something?" Starsky interrupted.
"Well, I'm not sure what it means, but I do want you to take a look at something."
"Well get down here before I pull you through the phone here!"
"Ouch!" Jon replied... "I'm on my way."
Starsky hung up the phone, only to pick it up and redial.
"Cap'n it's me. Casey thinks he may have found something, and he's on his way here. Can you meet us?"
"Let me tie up what I've got going on around here first. Our cases have tripled with the loss of both you and Hutch. I don't know if we'll ever get caught up again. I never thought I'd see the day that I would ask you to hurry and get back to work!"
"Awww, I love you to Cap. We'll be waiting for you"
The next 30 minutes seemed like 30 years to Starsky. What was it that Casey had found? He tried to be cautiously hopeful, but he had to be realistic. After all, Casey is a computer engineer, not a cop. But it was all there was to focus on.
Finally after what seemed like a lifetime, there was a knock on Starsky's door. "yeah, come in"
Jon walked in carrying the files he had spent all night getting aquatinted with.
"What took you so long, did you decided to walk over?"
"Ha ha... I practically flew here for your information. Now, I hate you looking all excited. You know I didn't really know what it was I was looking for...
"ok, ok. I heard your disclaimer, now what did you find?" Starsky replied impatiently.
"Well Detective, there's a handwritten insert by your partner that might be a new angle to look at"
"New angles? Oh, I like the sound of that!"
Hutch couldn't stand it another minute. The pain, the heat. No food, no relief for his never- ending thirst. His own body wasn't allowing him the peace of being unconscious. He thought he might just go mad. How far can anyone push ones body? Hutch decided it had been pushed long enough.
"CONNORS, CAN YOU HEAR ME YOU SOB? I GIVE, YOU WIN"
Music to my ears, Connors thought...
"Glad to hear it Detective Hutchinson, I'll be sending the letter right down. I want to hear you read it out loud. And at that time you'll receive your reward"
Almost immediately , the hole at the bottom of the cell door opened and the paper was passed through.
Hutch would try to gather enough strength to read the letter and get it over with.
".....June 12, If this is what hell is like. Then what comes after death will be welcomed. They won't leave me alone. Why me? Why are they doing this? It's those cops, Vincent! I just know it has to be. If they want me dead, why don't they kill me and be done with it, or is their purpose to torture me? I'm sure I'll never know.
This time their fun came from watching me fry. I was unsuspecting, when will I learn....."
Hutch could fill panic rise up inside himself at realizing his fate.
"I don't think you're quite finished yet Detective, keep reading"
Hutch knew he had to read on in order to get the drink he needed so desperately. He was overcome with the heat, it was all he could do to hold the letter.
He continued reading.....
"....It was time for the us to shower, goodness knows we need it considering the heat in this place! I was just about finished rinsing off when I was grabbed from behind, and held down. I never could have imagined what they had in mind this time. They kept the water running, and found some kind of "hot" wire to throw down on the floor of the shower..."
Hutch had to stop from both lack of strength, and from the sheer terror of what he was reading...
"Come now Detective, you can do better than that... I have a nice cold glass of icy cold water waiting on you"
"You're going to regret this Connors...I'm going to see to that!"
"Now now, don't waste your breath on pointless dribble, finish reading or I'm gonna come in there and pour the water on the floor right in front of you!" Connors was loosing his patience. The detective should have been way past the breaking point by now.
Hutch snatched the paper back up with all the spite he could muster, and continued reading....
"...If I lived to be a million years old, (I'd settle for 30) I could never describe the pain. It shot threw my entire body like fire. they told me my heart had stopped. There were terrible burns.. I've been in the infirmary for 2 weeks. Faulty wiring they had claimed. Faulty wiring in the shower? I don't know how I survived at all. I do know that I'll probably wish I hadn't! I wouldn't wish that on any other human being......"
"Very good Hutchinson, now that wasn't so hard, was it. You actually got through the whole thing. Now, because my word is good, I'll let you eat drink and be merry, for now. Enjoy!"
The journal entry terrified Hutch, but all he could think of was what was on that tray. He could barely get the food from the tray to his mouth. Nothing in his life had tasted so good. Hutch was relieved that the gnawing pain in is stomach had subsided for now. Oh how he wished the mere glass of water were a hose to a never-ending supply of water. He could dream.
"Well", Jon began, " the first billion times I looked over everything, nothing stood out. Just a criminal record of a man that had not only never been convicted of anything, he had not even crossed paths with you or your partner in any of his arrests"
"Yeah," Starsky interrupted, "the name never rang a bell with me"
"I know", continued Casey, "but it did with Detective Hutchinson. I found where he had hand written, a few months after the fact I might add, This little comment on the back here"
Casey pointed it out as he read aloud... Note to self : James Connor: sent to death row for his part in the murder of the 2 security guards from the nations bank. Connors' brother blames me and was very vocal with personal threats.... stay tuned.
"That's it!" replied Starsky . "We've been focusing on the wrong Connors all along" Just then Dobey walked into the room.
"So, what's so important you couldn't tell me over the phone? I do have work to do you know."
"Cap'n, You're just in time. We're on to something. I need you to find out all you can on a James, or Jimmy Connors. I think he may be the missing link."
"Well you better have more to tell me if you want me to do your leg work." It wasn't until he saw the look on Starsky's face that he realized what he had said. "I'm sorry Starsky, I just meant..."
"I know what you meant, Cap.. Don't sweat it. You see, Casey here has found a handwritten memo that Hutch wrote. Apparently Vincent Connors threatened Hutch for his part in sending his brother away. So that's why I need you to see what you can find on this guy"
"You got it Starsky, it'll give you a call if and when I find anything out. Oh, and good work Casey. Maybe you'd like to come work for me until this one here decides he's tired of his little mini-vacation"
Jon smiled a nervous smile "No thanks Captain, I still feel like I'm in the twilight zone as it is."
"Well if you change your mind..." the captain joked as he took the files from Casey and walked out of the room.
Jon turned his attention on Starsky.
"So now we just wait?"
"'fraid so, that's the worse part of the job... lots and lots of waiting to see if leads will pan out. I have to believe this one will. It's all we have."
"Well, you're looking a little worse of wear, so I think I'll leave you to get some rest. Good luck on finding out something."
"Thanks, I am feeling a little sore, I think some rest will do me good. Thanks again for the great detecting job you did."
"Glad to help. It takes a little weight off these old shoulders. So take care and good night"
With that, Jon was gone and Starsky was alone to ponder the events of the day. How he wished he could be down at the precinct running the new led. He was so tired, a nap would feel so good, but he fought it with everything he had. He just wasn't up to another dream. No, he had something far more important to do than sleep. He closed his eyes and began doing something he'd been overlooking for a long time now. His prayers were unselfish. He wasn't as much concerned about the possibility of paralysis as it pertained to himself. He needed to be 100% if he was going to be of any help to his friend.
Finally as peace settled inside himself. He drifted off to sleep.
Hutch hated himself for giving in. There was no way that what had been on that tray could be worth what was to happen next.
Connors had watched Hutchinson enjoy his petty snack while he talked to Dr Anderson.
"This is where you earn your paycheck, Doc. I've briefed you on my plan. Your only concern is to make sure the prisoner stays alive long enough to complete the third and final stage, any questions?"
"Electrocution can do great damage to the body, you're sure that's what you wanna do?"
"Oh, I'm sure alright. That's where you come in. You're to see that he survives the shock treatment. I need him to stay alive for a few more days", Connors explained, "He must be alive and coherent in the end, Do I make myself clear?"
"Crystal. You must really hate this man, to go to such lengths. I'll do what I can", the Doctor offered.
" Fine, it's time. Get what you'll be needing and follow my men down to the room, you need to be ready to take immediate action."
The time had come, Hutch heard the door being unlocked. Surely they didn't expect him to just waltz over to the showers. He wasn't going without a fight, it may not be much of a fight, but a fight none the less.
They had never intended on him going to the showers, oh no... They had a handy portable way of electrocution. No need to leave the comforts of your own cell.
Connors was exhilarated. His plan was proceeding just as he had hoped it would! He had wished he could have taken Hutchinson to the showers as his brother had been, But the water had been turned off from there long ago. That didn't detour him. He came up with a even more resourceful way of carrying out stage 2. The instructions to his men: First, handcuff the prisoner to the bunk, second, make sure he was properly dowsed with water. Then last but not least, turn on the portable unit, and apply the paddles. Even these men can't mess that up.
The defeated Hutchinson tried to fight it off, but to no avail, The paddles connected, the electricity shot through the Detectives body like a bolt of lightening. Convulsions followed, and with every one, Connors felt increasingly satisfied.
The guards had to be called off. "That's enough, this isn't a bar-b-q. Now get outta there and let the doctor get to work."
The prisoner was convulsing when the Doctor took over. The smell was one he knew well, burnt flesh. By the time he had reached the bunk, Hutchinson had stopped breathing.
Although he was concerned, The doctor had anticipated it. It's a very normal response to electrocution. He would have to defibrillate.
The jolt was brutal. No response. A second, Hutch was still not responding.
Anderson knew he was good at what he did, but it didn't stop him from being worried about his one. He hadn't physically examined the patient. But it was obvious from the bruises, and the labored breathing he had witnessed from the monitors, That there were at least some terribly bruised ribs. The jolts the defibrillator gave could cause a break that could puncture his heart or lung.
He'd have to worry about that later, he needed to get this mans heart started right away. One more time. One more powerful jolt.
"Yes!!" the doctor exclaimed at getting a heartbeat. "That was the first hurdle, lets take a look at you and see how long you will be drawing breath"
Connors had watched the entire event. He was very pleased with himself. He was apprehensive when it didn't look like the defibrillator was doing it's job. But his fears were laid to rest as he watched the doctor examine the breathing patient.
Later Connors meet up with Dr. Anderson in his make shift apt. Connors had prepared for him. "Well Doctor, what's the prognosis for Detective Hutchinson?"
Anderson looked solemn. "It doesn't look good, I don't know that I can give you 3 hours let alone 3 days."
"That won't do, now will it Dr. Anderson? As I said before you must keep him alive, I haven't come this far to end it here"
"Look Connors," Anderson was quite disgusted with this layman's demands. "The human body can only tolerate so much pain and suffering, and by the looks of it, that man has had plenty of both. I'm doing what I can. I was able to start his heart back up, but he's in bad shape."
"He's dehydrated and malnourished.," the doctor continued, "I've set him up with an IV to try to reverse that damage. In addition, nearly ever rib in his chest is broken, any wrong movement will more than likely puncture his heart or lung or both. He's got a dislocated shoulder. His body is still having convulsions brought on by the electric shock, not to mention the burns it caused. A lot of that damage won't be known till he regains consciousness. And I haven't begun to mention the countless bumps and bruises. And you want to tell me he needs to be coherent?"
"Ok, ok, I get the point, but it's imperative he survive a few days longer, do what ever it takes."
"Well," Anderson continued, "I've given him some morphine"
"Morphine? I don't want him all doped up, and you're not here to see that his stay in more comfortable", Connors challenged.
"Don't worry, it's just a small dosage. You see, the problem is this... He's at a point right now that he could be the one to determine whether he wants to come back. And with the pain his body is in, I think he'd choose to stay away, even if it meant permanently. Lets just work on him staying put, then we'll worry about him being doped up."
"Sounds like we don't have a choice", Connors conceited. "Well, I'm going back to my room, you make sure your monitors are on. You need to be aware of what's going on in that cell"
"You've outlined my duties quite extensively", Anderson said dryly. "I'll keep you informed of any changes"
Starsky was awakened up by the ringing phone. He realized has he answered, he didn't have the dream. At least not that he could recall.
"Starsky, Dobey here. I found something on Connors...."
Before Dobey could say another word. Starsky hung the phone up, rang the buzzer for the nurse. Then without realizing it, swung his legs around and began looking for his belongings.
Becky came running in to find Starsky rifling through the draws..
"Good Glory in the morning Detective!!! You rang that thing about 50 times, I thought you were having a heart attack."
It took a few seconds to register what she was seeing.
"Detective Starsky?!!! You're standing!!"
Starsky had been working off sheer adrenaline ever since the phone call. He hadn't even realized that he was standing on his own two feet. As it sank in, he let out the biggest YAHOO!! the hospital had ever heard. He grabbed the nurse and began dancing around the room.
Becky was rather enjoying herself when the doctor walked in to see what the noise was all about. She tuned three shades of red, congratulated the detective, and then promptly left the room.
"Look Doc! All better! Can I go now?"
"when did all this come about?" the doctor asked.
"about 5 minutes ago, can I go now?"
"Would you calm down Detective Starsky? I've seen 5 year olds with more self control than you"
"Well did you at least let them go?"
"Funny detective, now just let me give you the once over before you tear outta here" Doctor Simon examined the detective as was amazed by his findings.
"Well, I wouldn't go sign up for any marathons, But it seems like everything is as it should be. I'd feel a lot better if you'd let me get some x-rays just to make sure."
"Doc, I'm standing right in front of you. What more will x-rays tell you? It doesn't matter anyway! I've been here long enough. I've got things to do"
"Ok, if that's the way you want it. But you're still going to be very sore. And you'll tire easily. Keep that in mind while your out solving the worlds problems. Here, it's a prescription for pain. You'll be needing it after leaping all those tall buildings in a single bound."
"Thanks Doc. Now if you don't mind, I'm off to fight the evil doers."
"Take care of yourself detective" Dr. Simon replied to the backside of the detective has he left the room. He stopped briefly to call Casey and have him meet them in Dobey's office
Captain Dobey's heart nearly jumped right out of his chest when the door was swung open with no warning. "For Pete sake, Starsky, how many times have I told you... Starsky?"
"You should see the look on your face, Cap. Yep, it's me alright. Ready to get down to business. So what have you found out?"
"Just had a few words with the man upstairs Cap'n. He must think I can find Hutch, he's at least letting me try."
" Well, then let's get to it."
The captain was interrupted by a knock at the door.
"Yeah, what is it"
Jon opened the door as asked if he could come in.
"Now see Starsky, that's how it's suppose to be done. Yes Casey, come in."
Starsky gave Jon a smug look. "suck up"
Jon couldn't help but laugh.
"So I see you've been recruited on this" Dobey said to Jon.
"I don't know about that! Starsky just asked me to meet him here, I just figured he had some questions or something."
"Good to see you on your feet" Casey said as he turned his attention to Starsky.
"Thanks it's good to be on them"
"Ok Gentlemen, if we can get can get back to business.... It seems you were on to something Casey. Vincent Connors had a brother named Jimmy. Starsky, do you remember responding to a robbery in progress at the Nations Bank on Lincoln Ave.?"
"I vaguely remember answering a call to that location, give me some details, Cap"
"It seems on this particular night the Banks security alarm system wasn't working...."
"Say no more ", Starsky interrupted "I know this one"
"well you could fill me in" suggested Casey
Starsky told Jon how that night unfolded.
"So," Starsky continued, "Jimmy was sent to prison for murdering the two guards. But it wasn't a stand out case in our books. Of course at seeing the note Hutch wrote, I suppose that wasn't true for him"
"That's where Vincent comes in", said Dobey. "I've done some calling around. It seems Jimmy Connors died on death row 4 years ago. He had apparently been abused in prison, and it proved to be too much for him. He hung himself in his cell down at the old Hayes Prison. The place has since been shut down for many reasons, one of which was do to complaints of brutality from the guards"
Starsky sat there listening, thinking, and putting pieces of this together with pieces of that.
"Damn Hutch!" Starsky shouted. "Why didn't He mention any of this to me. He never told me anything about any threats. If I had known..."
"Don't go there, Starsky," Dobey insisted, "we can't worry about that now, lets just focus on putting 2 and 2 together, and see if we can get it to add up to 4."
"You're right, lets see what we know at the point," Starsky continued.... "Vince blackmails you and 5 other people to give false testimony to make it look like I gunned down an unarmed man."
"Don't remind me", Jon replied sheepishly "this had to have been either an attempt at revenge on you as well, or perhaps just a way to get you outta the way so he'd have a better shot at Hutch. Heck, I bet it was probably a little of both"
"Oh geez, I musta made his day when I tried to escape, he really must think I'm outta the way now"
"Maybe that could work to your advantage... So we're thinking you were set up to get you outta of the way", Casey went on, "but out of the way of what?"
"We have to assume the obvious," said Starsky, "he wanted to get at Hutch, question is, has he already "taken care" of Hutch? Or could he still be holding Hutch for some kind of revenge scheme?"