Starsky pushed open the squad room door and headed for his desk, to find
Minnie Kaplan already waiting there. She checked in the act of depositing a
note beside the telephone.
"Oh -- here --". She held out the slip of paper. "Bernie
Glassman's been calling you -- second time in an hour. I said I'd let you
Starsky accepted the proffered memo. "Thanks."
"He wants you to call back, says he needs to talk to you. Sounded
Starsky looked up from his scrutiny of the message, which Minnie had
Minnie didn't miss the brooding look. "Everything okay?" She
didn't show a need to elaborate even though a Starsky without a partner,
solitary occupant of this desk space for more than a week, could be
construed as fair cause for comment. Dobey's APB was naturally common
knowledge, obviously something likely to have bearing on Hutch's absence.
Starsky nodded reassuringly in answer to her tentative inquiry.
"Sure, it's okay." He smiled his unspoken appreciation of her
unspoken concern. "Nothing to worry about -- honest. He'll be back...in
no time." The answer reflected rather more confidence than he felt.
"Good news," she commented as she moved away. "Your desk
looks sort of unbalanced right now."
Starsky sat down, studied the few words of the message again. It was
half-expected. That very brief encounter with Glassman, back in the alley,
was bound to bring some sort of follow-up. Only to be expected. Their
previous meeting had allowed no time for detailed exchanges; all of his
attention had been focused on only one priority -- to get his partner off
the street to some place of safety as fast as possible. Hutch's apartment?
His own? But those could be the first targets for the perpetrators -- whose
names he had yet to uncover.
The alley wasn't far from the Pits. Huggy's place -- a safe house? No
more than fifteen minutes' drive from where they were. He recalled the
journey now. It had seemed longer at the time with his half-conscious
partner slumped beside him.
He reached for the phone, dialed the number, which Minnie had noted. The
prompt linkup suggested that Bernie had been waiting for the moment, ready,
maybe, to call a third time if he got no response to earlier attempts.
"Bernie -- so what can I do for you?" he asked ...as
if I didn't know.
"One guess," Glassman offered. "You need me to spell it
"No, but tell me about it anyway. Your report, huh?"
"Right. You know what's involved here as well as I do. And it's not
only me. You forget the driver? -- his corroboration? Sure, Jenson stayed in
the car, didn't see what I saw, but he knows who was involved. We'd
already identified Hutchinson -- that missing cop on the APB." The
rapid recital came to a stop.
"And --?" Starsky prompted.
"You have to ask? And now there's that little matter of the
paperwork, the overdue paperwork."
From the outset, Starsky had recognized the inevitability of this
scenario...the conflict between personal and professional aspects. He tried
for deflation of its crisis potential.
"You can write what happened," he pointed out,
"identifying him, finding him, the way I showed up."
"And just forget one material fact?"
"The responsibility --" Starsky began, but Glassman broke in.
"You can't take the responsibility. Not yours to take. I know what I
saw. So do you. I know it's your partner here, but this isn't something we
can keep to ourselves, just agree to forget."
At least, Starsky thought, he had an answer to that. "Calm down,
Bernie," he urged. "I didn't."
"You didn't?" Glassman's bewilderment was clear.
"I didn't keep it just between the two of us. Dobey knows the
"Dobey? Your captain -- right?"
"I told him -- all of it. I told him same day as we found Hutch. Why
don't you see him if you want advice, want to talk about it?"
"C'mon. Think about it. I take this to Dobey and not to our own
precinct captain?" Glassman sounded impatient. "You know things
can't work that way."
He had a point, Starsky conceded. "Look," he said, "give
me until tomorrow. I'll talk to Dobey again. He could talk to -- uh --
Verhoff, isn't it? Maybe he already has."
"Make it fast, huh?" Bernie sounded doubtful but accepting.
"I'll talk to him now," Starsky promised as he replaced the
receiver and mentally rescheduled the morning.
Responsibility. He'd known, back in the alley when he voiced that claim,
that its implications were going to have to be faced eventually. No way
could this ever stay a secret shared between Hutch and himself. But the
fewer the people who had to know, the better.
Hours later, at Huggy's place, he'd called the captain, put him in the
picture, filled in some of the details. Days later still, Dobey had shown
understanding approval of the way the affair had been handled. Starsky had
expected no outright promises, aware of the difficult and delicate path
which Dobey might have to follow in the resolution of the problem. But it
made good sense to leave it in his hands to decide the exact wording of
whatever statements would find their way into the records. Dobey was best
qualified to set at rest Bernie Glassman's valid questions.
And Hutch? Hutch hadn't started asking too many questions of his own --
yet. He knew that it was Glassman and his partner who had picked up the APB.
It wouldn't be long before he would start asking some valid questions of his
own. Starsky felt confident that Dobey would be able to deal adequately with
And maybe -- soon -- any day now, even -- Hutch was going to be back on
the other side of this desk. A thought occurred -- could be the ideal moment
for opening the piggy bank. He picked it up, gave it an exploratory shake.
It sounded and felt satisfyingly substantial.
"One man in a thousand, Solomon says,
Will stick more close than a brother,
And it's worthwhile seeking him half your days
If you find him before another.
Nine hundred and ninety nine depend
On what the world sees in you,
But the Thousandth Man will stand your friend
With the whole round world against you."
Rudyard Kipling The Thousandth Man