Sweet Revenge: The Aftermath
It was a slow day that day, the squad room was being repainted and Starsky had brought in his Ping-Pong set in an effort to stave off the resulting boredom we were feeling. Hed asked me if I was up for a game of 'Trivia Ping Pong". Loser buys the winner dinner. Of course, competitive soul that I am, I just couldn't pass up an offer like that.
The game was going at a pretty good clip when Captain Dobey came in and managed to break my concentration. Triumphant over his win, Starsky handed Dobey his paddle, issued me a parting zinger and then strutted out the door like a preening peacock. On my way out, I saddled Dobey with my paddle as well and caught up with my partner as he headed out of the station.
As we walked out to the Torino, Starsky good-naturedly goaded me about my owing him dinner. I nobly accepted my loss, which seemed to surprise him, and then shocked him again when I asked if I could pick the date. How about March 25th, 1980? was what I was thinking. He responded with a comment about his picking out my 'date. The guy was a natural card.
Well, I think I tried every angle I could think of to try to get the guy to postpone or even change the terms of the debt I owed him. But he wasn't buying it; he gave all my lame suggestions a vigorous thumbs down. He was going to make me pay through the nose on this one. Only broiled lobster or a New York steak would do. The guy was so jazzed about winning that he could hardly get his car key in the door. Me, I was still smarting from losing and having to spend money I didn't have on top of it. I guess you could say I got a little impatient with him.
That's when I heard it...the sound of an engine starting up...then the high, grating squeal of metal against metal. I turned towards the offensive sound and saw the black and white pulling out...too quickly. I shouted for Starsky to get down. He turned towards the car as it barreled towards him and I hit the deck.
Everything was happening so fast that I didn't see what happened after that. But if know Starsky, and I think I do, he would've instinctively gone for his gun. Rapid machine gun fire assaulted my eardrums, spraying their intended target. In turn, shattered glass from the Torino sprayed over me. I heard Starsky scream, then the screech of tires speeding off. I spun around where I'd landed, hauled myself up and ran as fast as my wobbly legs would carry me, trying to catch up with the fleeing gun men as I called Starsky's name. I hoped against hope that he was okay.
I must have emptied the chamber of my gun firing at the car and I was missing every shot. It was too far away and going too fast. I called Starsky's name again, this time louder and more urgently, but still got no answer. Something was wrong. My heart was pounding a mile a minute as I raced around to his side of the Torino. What I saw almost stopped it. I stepped back a little. I couldn't believe it. There he was, lying on the ground on his right side, his head resting against the wheel well of the Torino.
He wasn't moving. Time stood still, then speeded up again.
I ran forward and dropped to my knees, still clutching my gun in my right hand. I looked down at him, letting my free hand stroke the top of his head. I was almost afraid to touch him, he was so badly wounded and there was blood, a lot of it. Hed been hit several times by at least four bullets. The shocking sight of his blood seeping through the fabric of his leather jacket and shirt chilled my soul and weakened my knees.
I looked around me and saw that every officer and miscreant who frequented the station had spilled out of the building and into the parking lot, craning their necks to see what was going on, including our captain. Dobey was barking orders something fierce, looking anguished and in control at the same time. He was warning people to stay clear and yelling for someone to call an ambulance and to get out an APB on the fake unit. I don't think any of them ever moved so fast in their lives.
I turned my attention back to my partner and I was lost in a world that only included him and me. Me and Thee. I leaned in and cradled his head in my left hand. Tried whispering encouraging words into his ear. Telling him that I was still here, that I wasnt going anywhere. I wasn't sure if he could hear me, but hell, right then, I didn't much care. "Everything's gonna to be all right, Starsk. You're gonna make it, you hear me? You're gonna make it."
I hoped to God I was right. Tears began to well up in my eyes and blur my vision and I hastily wiped them away. Then I rested my sweaty, trembling forehead on his still one. "You hold on, buddy. You hear me? Hold on."
"Game, set and match, sucka." I left Hutch and Captain Dobey in my dust as I strutted out of the squadroom. Not long afterwards, Hutch caught up with me in the corridor and followed me on my way out of the station.
"Ya owe me a dinner, buddy boy!" I reminded him.
"Well, a bets a bet."
He didn't usually take losing to me so well, so I was kinda surprised at his reaction.
"Oho, all right." I said.
"Hey, look, as long as I'm buying, why don't I pick the date?"
"Un huh? Yours?" I kidded him.
"How 'bout tomorrow?"
"Tomorrow? Sounds great."
"How about five in the morning?"
"Who eats dinner at five in the morning?"
"Can't jive a winner."
"This time you owe me a three course dinner."
"How about hamburgers, fries and a chocolate shake, huh?"
"No way, I'm talkin' about a broiled lobster, maybe. Maybe even a New York steak.
I must've been really excited, 'cause I couldn't even get the key in the lock. I could see that Hutch was getting a kinda fed up with my gloating.
"C'mon, open up."
"What're ya lookin' so ill for? It's not every day you get to buy your best buddy a meal."
I was still fumbling with my keys when the whole thing went down. I think Hutch picked up on it first. A black and white starting up its engine and pulling out, too close to the one parked beside it. The parked car's steel bumper gouging a metal pathway through the side panel of the one pulling out.
I heard Hutch yell. "Starsky, get down!"
I turned toward the scraping sound a split second after he did. Saw the car and its occupants barreling down on me, but I didn't take cover. Dumb move. Instead, I reflexively went for my gun. But I couldn't clear it from my holster fast enough to do any good. As the car continued to bare down on me, I could almost make out the driver, but not clearly enough.
I did see the shooter though, maybe because his head and arms were positioned outside the front passenger window, holding a machine gun in both hands, aiming it in my direction. Before I could think or act, he was firing, the bullets hitting the side of the Torino first, and then as I covered my head with my arms and tried to protect myself from the onslaught, the red-hot rounds pierced through me, blasting a trajectory through my body. I think...no...I know...I cried out.
I could faintly make out the sounds that came afterward. The shooter's car as it roared away. The Torino's glass shattering and tinkling to the ground as it fell. The cross volley of gunfire. The sound of Hutch's voice calling my name. I tried to answer him, but I couldn't seem to do it. I could only feel myself falling, floating and tumbling as I hit the ground and slowly lost consciousness. The last thought I had as crystal clarity gave way to hazy darkness was: "I hope Hutch is okay. Please God, let him be okay."
End of Scene
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