IF TIME BRING US TOGETHER AGAIN
By Elisa valero And Cristina Pereira.
NOTE. This story was written purely for entertainment and is not for profit, and is not meant to trespass in any way on the holders of the rights to Starsky and Hutch.
(*) All my gratitude to our beta reader Donna Engle for all her help.
“Control to all units near Marshal and
“A day so beautiful... we could be doing anything other than taking care of a robbery call with victims,” Starsky moaned.
“I agree, buddy. I’d prefer to be in the park right now, or the beach.”
A few minutes later, Starsky parked the
“Frank, what’s the situation?”
“Pretty bad, Hutch. We have two or three armed men and at least five hostages. A bank employee could have pressed the alarm button but she was shot. The robbers said that more hostages will be killed if they can´t get out of there with the money. They are getting very nervous, Hutch, and that could be dangerous for the hostages.”
“Anybody have any idea of who they are?” Starsky asked.
“All we know is that there are three men, and they seem to have no experience in this kind of things.” Hutch looked at Starsky with a worried face.
“Hutch, that building is pretty small. We could try to enter and talk with them.”
“What are you suggesting?”
“Frank, I’ll go up and try to see if there is a way to enter from the roof.. Starsky, you go behind. If they are nervous and raw in this kind of business, we can use it as an advantage. Negotiation is the best solution, but I don’t want to go in there without knowing what is really happening. Ask everybody to come back here. We don’t want to make any false moves that could put the hostages’ lives in danger.”
Starsky and Hutch got closer to the building. “Hutch, I don´t like this at all. We are dealing with rookies here; this staff is very green for a situation like that.”
“Yeah, I think so, too.” Hutch touched his partner’s arm slightly. They looked at each other using their silent communication.
Hutch looked for the fire stairs on the building. It was a low construction and he found it quickly. Starsky walked around the building and verified that the exit door wasn’t covered by any officer as it should have been. ‘They are not only green... but are idiots too.'
Hutch found a window and, pushing it a little, he opened it easily. Starsky entered without difficulty, too, but soon he had to hide. One of the thieves approached the door to look out, but soon he came back to the hall. Starsky had a good field of vision. There were five hostages. An old man and woman, a young couple, and another man.
Hutch jumped inside the building. As he did that, he noticed that just a few feet ahead was the safe. He looked around the stairs and squatted so he could see the hall where all the people were. Starsky took advantage of the thief’s lack of attention to go back toward the main hall and straight forward to see Hutch at the top of the stairs. The hostages were lying face down on the ground, hands behind their heads.
A woman’s voice said, “I heard a noise up there. There’s something wrong.”
“Ok, honey, go back and stay there! Don´t leave your place. GO! I’m going to see what’s happening up there. YOU! I want everybody to be quiet and with your hands on your heads! With your mouths shut.” The thief aimed at the hostages with his weapon.
When the woman was near Starsky´s position, Hutch nodded slightly. It was time for action. As soon as she appeared at the back of the building, Starsky let her pass and, with a very low tone, said, “Drop your gun, turn around, and put your hands over your head.” The girl froze at hearing Starsky´s voice, but seeing the gun in his hand pointing directly at her, she dropped her gun, doing as Starsky said, keeping her head low.
“Good. Now be quiet and no one here will be hurt.” Starsky got the gun, dropped it on the floor, and grabbed his handcuffs, putting one cuff around her wrist, the other one on the handle of a large closet. He took a look around the office and got a wide adhesive tape roll. Starsky cut one large piece with his teeth. He took the wool hood off the thief’s head, but in seeing her face, a long time buried memory came back suddenly to his mind.
“For God’s sake…Karen?” The woman didn’t answered, just kept looking at Starsky with a look that showed only fear, shame, and defeat. Her black and shining hair was now dyed blond and was straggly and matted. Her face was pale and there was a bruise on her cheekbone. Dark shadows were under her brown eyes. All their shining beauty was gone.
Starsky was stunned. Taking control back of his emotions, he put the piece of adhesive tape on her mouth and looking directly into her eyes and said, “Don’t try any nonsense and everything will be fine.” Starsky went to the same position still feeling a hole in his stomach and shaking a little. He kept waiting for Hutch’s next movement.
The thief climbed the stairs without paying much attention, and Hutch didn’t have any difficulty bringing him to the floor using his gun. He cuffed his wrists, while the other man, hearing the silence that was filling the entire place, began to shout out, calling for his accomplices.
“HEY!! WHERE ARE YOU BOTH ? WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON? CAN SOMEBODY HEAR ME? Oh…Shit! Everybody stay here! On the floor! Hands on your heads.” The terrified hostages obeyed the thief’s commands remaining silent and immobile in their spots on the floor while he was shouting out. “WHERE ARE YOU, DAMN IT?”
Hutch looked and saw Starsky ready for action again. With another nod, they both ran to the other thief, who jumped with fright when Hutch was in front of him and Starsky behind. Both with their guns aimed at him.
“Drop your gun…now!!!! You can’t escape from here! Just drop your gun and no one will be hurt.” Hutch’s voice was calm and cold.
“Come on, your accomplices are already trapped. You’re alone here. Give it up. One woman is wounded already. She needs help. Bank robbery is one thing but murder….” Starsky was using all his skills to convince the man to give up.
Suddenly, a noise came from outside and Starsky and Hutch just had time to see Frank and other police officers breaking the glass door and entering the bank. The thief, taking advantage of the confusion, shot in the policemen’s direction while the hostages were getting up and running away.
“Kept here. Please don´t move. Stay here.” Hutch tried to maintain control of the situation.
Starsky aimed and shot the perp who fell, mortally wounded. A huge silence was the only thing that could be heard. More officers were entering the bank and Hutch started to guide them.
”There is one in the back and another one up there.”
“Let’s file out calmly,” Starsky guided the hostages. “Frank, here’s the keys for the handcuffs.”
Hutch noticed that Starsky was a little pale. “Hey, buddy, everything ok?”
Starsky smiled weakly. “Yeah, it’s just that….”
At that moment, the officers were coming from the back of the building with Karen cuffed.
Hutch look surprised at Starsky, understanding instantly what was happening to his partner.
“Starsky, she’s Karen?”
With sad eyes, Starsky said, “Yeah, that’s Karen.” And, with that said, he left the building.
When Hutch got in the Torino, Starsky was staring thoughtfully out the windshield.
He and Karen had met each other roughly two and a half years ago, in horrible circumstances, when he was kidnapped in New York. He was being held in a cabin in the forest. When he managed to escape, he crashed the car he was driving and had to walk in a snowy forest for many hours. He was lost but, fortunately, he found the cabin of Karen and her husband, Rick. Starsky was wounded, exhausted, and ill, but the young couple helped him until his captors found the cabin, battered down the door, killed Rick and took Starsky and Karen back with them.
That was a nightmarish experience to both until Hutch found them. Starsky recovered from his injuries and Karen, who in the hospital found out that she was pregnant, sold her apartment in New York, moved to Bay City. Starsky never saw her again until that moment he found her part of a bank robbery band. What had happened in her life during the last two years to come to this point? And where was her child?
“Hey, partner, are you okay?” Hutch placed his hand on his friend’s shoulder.
“Why, Hutch? WHY?” Starsky´s eyes were filled with a bitter pain.
“I don´t know, Starsk,” Hutch answered honestly, knowing perfectly the thoughts, memories, and feelings that were filling Starsky´s heart and mind.
“That woman had a house, a job. Surely right now SHE HAS A CHILD!! She’s young, beautiful, and kind. Why’s she stealing banks with a band of jerks?”
“I´ll tell you why. She got herself into that mess ´cause I
destroyed her life.”
“That´s not true, partner.”
“Yeah, Hutch. That’s exactly what happened. The Martinelli goons killed her husband because I was there.”
“THAT´S ENOUGH, STARSKY! You were going to die in the middle of those woods! And you couldn’t do anything but ask them for help. You know that.”
“Right now I just know one thing. I´m going to help Karen, Hutch. As much as possible. I must do it.” Starsky started the Torino engine, driving towards the precinct with a resolute look in his eyes.
As soon as they arrived, Starsky and Hutch went to the interrogation room’s floor. On the way, Starsky lightly touched Hutch’s arm, pulling him into a corner.
"Hutch, I’d like to interrogate Karen alone. Do you mind?”
"I understand, Starsk. It´s okay. Go on.”
Starsky entered the room. Karen was seated with her head down. He pulled out the chair, turning it around, so he could sit down placing his crossed arms leaning on the chair’s back. He looked silently at Karen for some seconds until she spoke.
“You’re looking fine, David. You recovered well from ...all that happened, I guess.” Starsky just nodded.
“Do you have a cigarette?” She asked.
“No. I´m sorry, Karen, I don´t smoke.”
“I wasn’t smoking before. But I wasn’t stealing banks, either. Oh, never mind!” The young woman waved her hand tiredly.
“What happened, Karen?" Karen looked at Starsky, smiling sadly.
"It´s not obvious? I was stealing a bank, didn’t you notice?” Despite the irony in her voice, her eyes showed just sadness and shame.
"I’m here because I want to talk. I wanna help you, but if you don’t want that, I can play the role of a tough cop. What do you want?" Karen lowered her face smiling bitterly. Finally, she looked straight into Starsky´s eyes. Her voice was low and she was trying, without success, to contain the tears.
“Help me! That’s funny. You want to help me! So, tell me…. how do you think that you will be able to do it, huh? Why you can do which nobody cans. Who are you…Superman, maybe?”
“I´m not Superman, just David Michael Starsky, a police officer who wants to help you, if I can.”
“That’s the whole point, Officer Starsky. You’re a cop. I´m a thief. So just do your job!”
Staring at Karen´s eyes, Starsky rose from his chair grabbing the report that was resting on the table, going into cop mode.
“Okay, let’s see…your full name is Karen Stephanie Chandler, right?”
At that moment, the young woman lost her control, bursting into tears and begging. "HELP ME, DAVID!! I´M ALONE…LOST!”
Starsky approached her, squeezing her shoulder gently. "It´s okay, Karen. Don´t cry. I’ll help you. Just tell me how. What can I do for you?”
“My life is in chaos, David. A total failure!”
“Try to calm down, Karen. Talk to me. The last time I saw you I was in a hospital and you were going to move to Bay City. You were sad after your husband’s death, but full of plans for you and your expectant baby. What happened in the meantime, in those years that have passed between that visit to me in the hospital and this damned bank robbery?"
"David, when I came from New York, I had hope, courage. I was transferred to my company’s Bay City office. I rented an apartment and everything seemed to be working out. When David was born... "
"David?" Karen smiled tenderly at Starsky.
"Yeah. I have a son. A wonderful kid. And his name is David. Rick didn´t want his son to be named after him. He used to say it would be a mess. Even if he wasn’t with us anymore, when Davy was born, I respected Rick’s wish. Since my child is living thanks to you, I named him after you. More than once I thought about coming here to introduce my son to you, but you know how things are. The time and problems swallowed me slowly and…" Starsky look fixedly into Karen’s eyes and, despite the sadness reflected there, she seemed to have some inner shine in them, the same that Starsky could remember from before.
“Like I told you, my son was born and I went back to work, but soon Davy began to have health troubles, a problem with his heart. He underwent an operation when he was only eight months old. Fortunately, he’s fine now but I spent all my savings on his treatment. There were so many times I had to take him to the hospital. I began to miss a lot of work. On the other hand, my boss, Mr. Parker, began to show too much interest in me. That guy is a true pig! Over and over I rejected all his insinuations to have a relationship with me, and, finally, he took advantage of my frequent absences to fire me. I was still spending a lot of money with Davy´s doctors and medications and I couldn’t find a new job. I began to have problems paying my rent. I moved to another more inexpensive apartment but I couldn’t even pay that. The result is that three weeks ago I was evicted and, right now, Davy and I are living in a neighbor’s apartment. I want to get out of that place since Luke, Mary’s boyfriend, is a pretty violent guy. I´m afraid that one day, when he gets drunk, he could hurt Davy.” Starsky´s face grew pale just thinking about that bastard hurting a baby. “In fact, I never leave Davy at Mary’s place when Luke is there…until today.”
"And your family? They don´t know your current situation?"
“My parents died ten years ago in a car accident, and I don’t have any brothers or sisters.”
“And what about Rick’s parents?”
“Those people are a true waste, David."
“What do you mean?"
"I’m Jewish. Rick grew up in a rigid Catholic family. They never accepted me. And, after Rick's death, they blamed me because we made that trip to the cabin just because I wanted to do it."
"But, are you saying, they don't want to help their grandchild?" Starsky asked in disbelief.
"They only would help Davy if I gave them custody and I renounced my mother’s rights in their favour. Some people can be pretty bigoted. Since Rick’s death they have clearly showed that I´m less than nothing to them."
"Where is your kid now?"
"With Mary, one neighbor that we’re living with. She’s a gentle woman, and she feels pity for me. I lied. I told her that I had an interview and I asked her to stay with Davy until I got back. Now I won’t be back. I’m going to jail. Oh! David! What am I gonna do? What will happen to my baby now?”
“The social services will take care of him.” Starsky tried to say.
“NO! Not the social services! Please!! They will take my baby away from me, David. I´m poor, I haven’t any money, no husband, no family to help me, or a place to live. And now I have a criminal record. They’ll take Davy away from me.” Karen broke down crying uncontrollably while Starsky looked at her compassionately. He got a cup of water and gave it to the woman who, after a couple of sips, began to calm down again.
"Karen, are you feeling better? Can we continue?" She nodded slightly.
“Well, Karen, how did you meet your accomplices?"
"I only knew Stan. The other one, Benson, the guy you shot, I knew for only an hour before, when we were finalizing our plans. Stan and I, well, we’re friends, or something like this, I guess. I felt so alone and helpless. With all the responsibility taking care of my son, I needed a friend. Somebody to look a little after me. Stan wanted something more but, I can´t, David. I haven’t been with any man since…since Rick died.”
"And this?” Starsky pointed with his forefinger to Karen’s bruised cheekbone.
“I stumbled and fell down.”
“Oh! Come on, Karen, I´m not any stupid! That guy beat you, right?”
She bent her head, but kept talking. "I wanted to back out. You know, from the robbery. But he wouldn’t let me do it. Stan beat me and told me that he’d kill me if I was thinking of betraying them.” After a brief and silent pause, she spoke again. “He was a driver of one of the trucks of the pharmaceutical laboratory where I worked. We talked. We went out to lunch sometimes. One day he told me that he had an idea how to get a better life. That he knew somebody that could help us. I said yes. I was desperate, David!" Karen became distressed in front of Starsky´s reproving look.
"You don’t understand, do you? Not you or anybody. Everybody disapproves of me. You’re thinking that I´m an irresponsible mother but I´m not. Everything I do, everything I did was for my child. I needed money, a place to live, food, and medications!"
"Karen, I´m not here to judge you, but I need to know what happened to a woman like you to get involved with those kind of people and this situation. I can understand your difficulties, but there are other ways to solve the problems.” Starsky moved the chair next to Karen holding her hand. "Look, Karen, maybe I can help you. I don’t know how we can deal with this in front of the judge. If the judge lets you get out of prison on bail until the trial, everything will be easier, though I don´t know if he´ll do it.”
“On bail? I don’t think it would matter. Who would pay it?”
“Don´t worry about that now. That’s not the problem, Karen. I would do it.”
“You would do WHAT? David, I can´t accept that. No way.”
“Karen, I’m not discussing that matter with you, so there’s not a damned thing that you can do about it. Forget it, okay? The problem right now is not that but what you did. It was serious, a person was wounded. Whether that matter goes one way or another, Davy could stay with me. He will have always a warm place to sleep, be safe, and always be fed. Tell me your neighbor’s address. I’ll go there and I will take him to my place."
"You would do all this for me, David? After everything I did?”
"You know that you made a mistake and that is the most important thing. Besides, you and Rick helped me when I was going to die in those woods.” There was nothing but gratitude towards Starsky in Karen’s eyes.
“First things, first. Now we’ll deal with the matter of your kid, later we’ll see what a good lawyer can do for you. Try not to worry, Karen. Now call your neighbor and tell her that Hutch and I will pick David up there in a while. Now, they’ll take you to jail. I wish I could help you in this but I´m afraid I can’t, but trust in me, Karen. Everything will be fine.”
"You will help me? Really, you will do it?" Starsky nodded. Then, Karen, unable to choke back her emotions, got to her feet and hugged Starsky.
“Thank you, David. Thank you so much!" Starsky hugged her back, closing his eyes and feeling the heat and the light tremble of her body.
Starsky was seated at his desk when Hutch came in. He bought some sandwiches for their lunch. He noticed his friend had a strange expression. He sat down and began to place the food on the table.
"Hey, buddy, how Karen’s interrogation going?”
"She needs our help, Hutch."
"Our help? What do you mean?"
"She has a little kid. His name is David." Starsky smiled at his friend.
"And where he’s now?"
"With a neighbor. But I’m going to pick him up and bring him to my apartment."
"Wait…wait just a minute here." Hutch rose and walked towards Starsky´s desk.
"What are you talking about?"
"Exactly what you heard. He can’t stay where he is. Karen was arrested and can’t pick him up. The kid will stay in my apartment until things are normal again," Starsky spoke decidedly.
“Are you saying that you´ll take care of her son for 10 or 12 years? Until she gets out of jail??"
"You don’t need to use your sarcasm with me. You know that she was arrested in such a way..."
"Oh, sure. How do you know? Let me guess. If my memory is working, the last time I saw Karen, she was in a bank trying to rob it. For Christ’s sake, Starsky, what the hell are you thinking here?” Starsky rose brusquely, looking fixedly into Hutch´s eyes.
"Our life is easy, Hutch, and everything is under control in it, but there’re people who suffer, who have problems and who even make big mistakes. You’re a sympathetic man. Why can’t you understand this?” Without any more words, Starsky stormed to the corridor.
"Starsky...Starsky!" Hutch ran behind his friend and caught up to him in the parking lot stairs. He took a firm hold of Starsky´s arm, stopping him to look fixedly into his dark blue eyes.
"What is happening here, Starsk? Oh! I understand. You’re feeling guilty about her wrong decision to steal a bank, and now you want to be a babysitter for her son, too?”
"Hutch, you don’t know what you’re saying. She made a mistake and I suggested this. She knows it. And she didn’t ask anything of me. She is alone. She needs my help. She helped me when I needed it." Starsky headed to the car.
"Okay. She helped you when you needed it, but anybody would do the same thing, and you know it. Buddy, it doesn’t make any sense. You suddenly want to take care of a baby. Let the social services do it, Starsk. What do you know about babies?"
"Nothing. But Karen doesn’t want to hear about social services. And I owe her one, Hutch. She and her husband saved my life. You know it.” Hutch kept silent. “Perhaps together we can take care of him just for few days. Is it asking too much?" Starsky was already in the car. Hutch entered as well and, after a long silence, Starsky spoke again.
"Hutch, I’ll need your help and your support. Karen needs help. Right now, the baby needs a place to live. This can’t be that difficult.” Starsky smiled, looking at Hutch with his puppy dog eyes until the blond detective sighed deeply.
"Ok, Starsky. As usual, you win. We’ll take care of the baby." Starsky got the Torino in motion, smiling like a satisfied child, though the surprises weren’t still over for Hutch.
“Where does Parker & Woods have their office?”
“Parker & Woods? You mean the lawyers?”
“No, Starsk, no way. Karen has the right to get a public defender.”
“Yeah, sure, some green kid more worried about his necktie than his client. No, Hutch. Karen needs something better.”
“Something as Parker & Woods, right?”
“Starsky, you’re driving me nuts. For your information, those lawyers’ fees are more money than the lousy salary that you and me make in two months. They must charge 10,000 bucks just to open their door and say good morning to the clients, though with a smile, I hope.”
“But Karen needs to get a good lawyer. She needs to be with her baby, Hutch! That is what is most important.”
“Okay, partner, okay. I understand. You’re truly worried about that woman, huh?” Starsky breathed deeply before he nodded.
“And what we can do about it, huh?”
“Starsk, you can´t mean that seriously. You can´t try to convince a judge to pronounce a softer sentence. Maybe you’re losing your mind?”
“That judge must know that Karen is a good woman, and that she has a baby.”
“And you’re going over to tell him. And nothing that I do or say will change your mind, that right?”
“Yeah, Hutch. You’re a clever boy.”
Roughly fifteen minutes later they were climbing the courthouse stairs. Turned out that Karen’s public defender wasn’t as green as Starsky thought. As a matter of fact, Anthony McCarthy was a very qualified lawyer who was more concerned in providing justice to the most underprivileged people in society than in making money. He fought hard to get benevolent sentences for his clients, and, about the magistrate; she was Judge Ann Marie Wilson, a fair and compassionate judge in her early 60s always willing to listen.
Starsky appeared in front of the respectable grey-haired woman trying to find the right words and feeling like a naughty kid trying to get over a reprimand.
“I know that this is not usual and, surely I wouldn’t be here, Judge Wilson, but this is very important. This woman needs some help.”
“Humm…what’s your name, young man?”
“David Starsky, Your Honour. I´m a Sergeant Detective in the 9th precinct.”
“Oh, yeah. Now I remember. You and your partner, Sergeant Hamilton…”
“Hutchinson, Your Honour. Kenneth Hutchinson.”
Judge Wilson nodded. “Sergeant Hutchinson and you destroyed Gunther´s organization some years ago.”
“That’s right, Your Honour.”
“But you were injured then…seriously wounded according to what I´ve hear. Are you alright, son?” At that moment Judge Wilson seemed so truly concerned about Starsky´s health that he thought she would want force him to lie down on her office couch, drink a warm glass of milk, and take some aspirins.
“I´m perfectly fine, Your Honour, thanks. Now, if you don´t mind, I would like to talk to you about Mrs. Chandler.”
After listening patiently to the explanations of a very nervous
Starsky, Ann Marie Wilson, raised her hand.
“I´m not doubting what you’re telling me, Detective Starsky. But this woman was caught stealing a bank.”
“She’s a widow and she has a baby, a baby who has some health problems. She hasn’t a job. She was desperate and …” Wilson interrupted Starsky´s words again.
“If I got the right information, you and your partner were the police officers who arrested her, right?”
“Yes, Your Honour.”
“Really, this is a pretty unusual situation, Detective Starsky. I´ll be honest with you. If you did not have the reputation as one of the best police officers that this city has ever had, I wouldn’t even be hearing you right now. I´m a very busy woman, son. And now, tell me. What kind of relationship is there between Mrs. Chandler and you?”
“She and her deceased husband saved my life two years ago. Her husband, Rick, got killed because they were helping me.”
After hearing more of Starsky’s explanations, Judge Wilson assured him that though she couldn’t make any promises, she would consider all the facts carefully.
“SHIT! Maybe I have just worsened Karen’s situation, Hutch! How can I be so dumb?”
“Try to relax, partner. What did she say to you?”
“She said that though she couldn’t promise me anything, she would consider all the facts carefully.”
“Of course, Starsk. What did you want? For Christ’s sake, that woman is not a beauty contest judge, but an USA Courthouse Magistrate. You’re lucky that she didn’t kick your ass out of her office.”
“Why haven’t you tried to prevent me from talking to her, Hutch?”
“Because you’re the most pig-headed guy I know, and I´m totally unable to do any thing when you get something firmly in your stubborn head, Starsky! Listen, partner, take it easy. Surely, right now, despite your natural charm with the ladies, Judge Wilson can´t even remember your name or your face.”
“What a help! You know, Hutch? You’re a true friend!” Just then, a radio call interrupted their banter.
"Zebra 3, zebra 3. Patch through from Capitan Dobey.”
"Zebra three, roger."
"Stanley Feldman, the other thief arrested today in the bank, escaped on his way to prison." By his tone, it was clear that Dobey was very angry.
"He ran away? What the hell are those officers doing there? Taking care of plants, maybe? How can they let an idiot like that run away? What happened, Cap?” Starsky asked, grabbing the radio from Hutch’s hand.
"Nothing good, Starsky. And, if you don’t mind, don´t yell at me! It wasn’t my fault. I´m just telling you what happened because you both are working on this case. By the way, where are you right now?"
Starsky looked at Hutch trying to find the right answer. "Oh…uh, well…Cap, we are looking into a lead in the murder of the jewel store owner.” Hutch winked an eye at Starsky.
"Alright, but I want you both coming back soon. I need you here."
"Ok, Cap. Roger, zebra 3 out.”
"What do you think? Could this Stan walking around be dangerous for Karen?”
"I don´t know, Hutch. He´s only a guy looking for some way to improve his life without any effort. Karen doesn´t want that. Well, let’s go to get the baby. All the police units are looking for that jerk by now." Hutch still wasn’t so sure about it.
The apartment was small and modest. Starsky rang the bell and waited. Soon, a blond woman in her early 30s, dressed with just a red top and short leather skirt opened the door holding a beer can in her hand.
"Hi, you must be Karen's friend. At least, she’s getting better taste. Yes, sir. I´m Mary, by the way." The young woman smiled mischievously looking at Starsky from head to toe.
"Hi, Mary, we are here to take David home." Starsky pretended not to hear Mary’s comment, wondering how Karen could be a friend of that kind of girl, so different from her. She must feel alone… very alone.
"Ok. He´s in there." Mary pointed with her head to a little child with huge blue eyes and brown hair who was sitting down on the living floor playing with some colorful plastic cubes.
"Davy, here’s a new friend who’ll take care of you now."
Starsky smiled at the kid who looked to the new-comer with curiosity and a little apprehension until he got down on the floor to play with the child, whispering soft words to him and caressing his head. “Hey, little one, now we’ll go to my place, and there we’ll have a lot of fun.”
"Where’s his stuff, Mary?” asked Hutch.
"You’re looking pretty well, too. Karen really knows how to choose her friends." Mary took a cloth bag printed with teddy bears from the sofa, giving it to Hutch. “Here it is, handsome boy. I’ve packed all his stuff as Karen asked me. Where the hell is that girl right now, by the way?”
Starsky answered while collecting the toys from the floor. “She’s at my place.” ´That’s all that you need to know now, young lady´ Starsky thought.
“By the way, Mary. He hasn’t a cot or something like that to sleep on?”
Mary shook her head. “When Karen was evicted, that bastard landlord of hers didn’t allow her to pack anything but their clothes and Davy´s toys. You know, as a return for his troubles, I guess.”
“Okay. Never mind. We have to go now, Davy. Let's go home. I´ll carry you." Davy looked scared to Starsky, but he let him hold him in his arms without any protest looking silently at the unknown man.
"Thanks, Miss.” Hutch closed the door with a sigh.
“Wow! What a lady. Well, now, what are we doing?”
“Taking Davy home. What else?” Starsky already was approaching the Torino.
"Starsk, I’ll put the bag behind with the baby and..."
"No. You´ll put the baby here in the front."
"Starsky, we can’t put a baby in the front seat.”
"I know but, until we buy that small chair with belts and all that stuff, he´ll sit with me in the front seat.”
"Hutch, I´m already very nervous about all this. Help me and don´t argue with me, okay? We’re close to my place. I can´t drive looking the whole time at the back seat."
"I can watch Davy perfectly. I´m not blind.”
"But you don't have any experience in this kind of thing...”
"And you do? Do you have it?"
"No. That’s why I need him close to me."
Giving up on the meaningless quarrel, Hutch placed the bag in the back, sitting down with Davy on his lap. The child seemed quiet although looking at everything with curiosity, until he leaned his head on Hutch’s chest and began to babble some words. “Mommy? Mush.”
“Did you have something to eat today, little friend? Huh?” Starsky asked almost to himself, taking sweetly the little hand that the child was reaching out to him.
Five minutes later, they were already at Starsky´s place. They both entered quickly and Starsky was headed straight to the kitchen, mumbling to himself and looking for some food to feed the child.
“This? No, that’s not right.”
“What are you doing in there, Starsk? Need some help?” Hutch could hear his friend opening the fridge and taking some stuff from the cupboards.
“No, Blondie. Just stay with Davy. Alright! This will be perfect!” A minute later Starsky came from the kitchen with a mush made with a mashed banana, some cookies, and warm milk. He held out the plate, a spoon, and a napkin to Hutch.
“Thanks, Starsk, but, if you don´t mind, I´d rather prefer some coffee.” Hutch joked.
“This is not for you, dummy, but for the baby. He´s hungry and, until we go to the supermarket, it’ll work. Give it to him. I have something to do.” Starsky headed to his room. Hutch sat down on the sofa with the child who, by then, began to get upset and was trying to reach the mush plate with his little hands.
“Okay, little boy. Time for an afternoon snack.” Hutch patiently gave the mush in spoonfuls to the child who ate it hungrily. Davy tried to eat on his own, putting his stocky fingers into the plate, and cleaning it later on Hutch’s front shirt and face.
Meanwhile, in the bedroom, there was a lot of frantic activity with Starsky going in and out carrying some chairs from the living room.
“Hutch, can you bring him here?”
Hutch walked to the bedroom door and he stared in amazement to see one side of Starsky´s bed surrounded by chairs aligned with pillows.
"I´ll sleep on this side. And with these pillows and the chairs he won’t get hurt. He can´t fall down from the bed.” Hutch gently placed the baby on his side of the bed.
“Hey, little Davy, Uncle Dave fixed a terrific mush for you, huh?” Starsky tickled the baby’s belly and Davy smiled with his most shining smile plastered on his face.
"You´ll sleep with him, Starsk? Where did you get the idea of using chairs and pillows, partner?”
"Hey! I got brains Hutch. I had to make sure that Davy wouldn’t fall from the bed so I made a kind of barricade." Starsky explained as if it was the most obvious thing in the world, gesturing with his hands and looking at Hutch with shining eyes.
"Barricade," repeated Hutch thoughtfully. "Ok, it seems a good idea."
Starsky pulled Hutch by the arm to go back to the living room. “Hutch, I’ll need to get a cot, but meanwhile it’ll work. Besides, I’ll need more clothes and toys for Davy and…”
Hutch raised his hand. “Cot, clothes, toys… Wait a minute here, buddy, you are taking all this very seriously, don’t you think?"
"Hutch, I have a baby to take care of. That means even if he spends just a few days here, he needs to sleep, eat, take baths, and take walks...."
"Starsky.... Starsky.... Wait a minute..." Hutch took his friend by the arm forcing him to sit down on the sofa. "Starsky, you know that this situation is temporary, don't you? That you don’t have to get involved in this way, right? That Karen is the mother of this child and only she is responsible for his future. You can help her at this moment, but you have a life and, in your life, there’s no place for a child with all the responsibilities that it implies."
"Hutch, why are you giving me a sermon?" Starsky asked, looking straight into his friend´s eyes.
"I´m seeing a man full of good intentions, who wants to help a woman because he feels an obligation to do it, a man who is getting involved in a situation that can only bring pain to him in the future. A man who is my best friend."
"Hutch, if you’re afraid that I’ll get too involved with this, more than I should be, then you can relax. I only want to help Karen at this moment. And now will you help me make the shopping list or not?”
"I hope that you really will see things in perspective, Starsk. I really hope that.” Hutch decided to give Starsky a break.
“And, about the supermarket, I have some ideas that will help you."
"Terrific. So, I thought milk.”
"Very thoughtful of you, Starsky... children like milk." Hutch smiled, teasing his friend. Starsky pretended not to notice Hutch’s tease, going on with the list.
“Fruits? But which ones would he like? "
"Starsky, babies at this age eat what their mothers offer them. You wanna spoil Davy already?"
"Ice cream, pretzels, cookies..."
"Is this list for you or for Davy?” Hutch was exasperated.
"Ha-ha... Very funny. They like these things. I saw kids in the park eating this kind of stuff. Let’s see... macaroni... "
Hutch whispered, suggesting, “Yogurt, cereal, eggs..."
"God, Hutch, are you going to fix those horrible meals that you eat to this poor baby? Oh, no. No way, not for Davy."
"I just want him to be a healthy kid. Isn't it that you want, too? He doesn´t have a stomach of steel like you have!"
"Hutch, I think that’s enough. Later, we can ask Edith Dobey about it. What do you think?” Starsky was smiling as a child himself.
"It’ll be enough, I guess." Hutch smiled, though he was getting worried seeing Starsky enjoying a situation so much that was only temporary. ‘Don´t get false illusions, buddy... dreams are something very easy to break. That child is not yours. And he never will be.´
A while later Starsky came back from the supermarket. Hutch kept watching Davy sleeping. He had called Dobey to tell him that they were having some problems but they would talk the next morning. Dobey told Hutch that he didn´t have any news on Stan’s escape.
The baby slept for two hours. When Starsky heard David’s cry, he was beside the child in seconds. David woke up upset. He didn´t recognize the place and he was scared. Starsky held the baby in his arms saying soothing words to calm him.
“Wanna Mommy," the baby babbled.
"She will be here soon. My name is David, too. Me and Uncle Hutch will take care of you until your mother comes back. Are you hungry?”
The baby nodded shyly still looking scared.
"Ok, let's go." Starsky carried the child in his arms to the kitchen.
"Hi, little one, I'm Hutch. How about you sit down here and play a little with me. Meanwhile, Uncle Dave will fix a delicious dinner for us."
Davy looked suspiciously at Hutch, but he sat near the toys and began to play.
Starsky cooked macaroni with cheese and cut the food in little pieces so David could eat easily. The little kid ate almost everything that Starsky gave him, drinking a glass of milk, too. Hutch put David on the couch and looked for a good book to read to him. Hutch knew Starsky had some books that his mother sent from New York, hoping that maybe some day her son would read them to her grandchildren. Starsky decided to hold the kid on his lap while Hutch read the story. In the beginning, Davy paid a lot of attention to Hutch. But, at the end of the story, the little boy was asleep in Starsky´s arms. Carefully, Starsky went to the bedroom and laid the baby in the bed, smoothly covering him with a blanket. Hutch observed all the magical care and affection Starsky gave to the baby. `Oh, buddy... you would be an excellent father... just like your dad was... '
Hutch decided to sleep on the sofa and began to prepare his bed. Starsky was strangely quiet and looked thoughtfully out the window.
"Penny for your thoughts." Hutch’s voice seemed to startle Starsky, as lost as he was in his own thoughts.
"Nothing special. I was thinking about Karen... about everything she had to go through these last years and how difficult it must be to take care of a kid without a job, a husband."
"She didn’t have much luck, that’s true, but she also made the wrong choices and now she’s paying the consequences. Besides, there are a lot of people like her out there.”
"But I only know Karen’s problem and I can help her. I know her and know that she is a woman of courage, beauty, and that she can be an excellent mother for David."
"Probably. But before that, she’ll have to pay the debt for her wrong decisions."
"I was thinking. She has two problems: one is being imprisoned. That keeps her far from Davy. She would need somebody to pay the bail, if she gets it. I could pay it and she could come here tomorrow and stay with her son."
"Starsky...." But Hutch didn´t get to finish his phrase because Starsky interrupted him to continue talking as if he needed to say everything that was in his heart.
"The other problem is the robbery. Now that Stanley ran away, she could have important information for the police. If she explains her personal situation to the judge- she’s without money, without a job, without a place to live for her and her son- maybe we could strike a deal. An agreement. She never did anything wrong before. She has no criminal record up to now; she did what she did in a moment of desperation. Karen never would hurt anybody...."
"You already made a decision, didn’t you? You´ll pay the bail and you will bring her to live here. Right? "
"Just for a while, Hutch. Until we see what happens. I can’t leave Karen and this kid without a place to live. His father died almost in front of me trying to save us both. And now what can I do? Leave his son and widow on the streets?” Starsky felt misunderstood by Hutch.
"You know that she has other possibilities. They’re not the best ones, not the fair ones, but they exist."
"What? Leave the kid to his grandparents who’ll take him from Karen? Let her live God knows how and where until the social services take Davy away? I can´t allow that to happen, Hutch."
"Coming back to real life and leaving the world of dreams where you are at this moment, aren’t you forgetting somebody? What are we going to tell Dobey tomorrow? That you decided to take care of the son of the thief that you arrested today. That you decided to be Davy´s father."
“This is none of Dobey’s business! Besides, I´m not Davy´s father!"
"No, you’re not. And it’s good that you still see that clearly in your head, Starsk. Dreams are only dreams, buddy. I know you. You are mixing up some things."
"Know something? I think that you don’t understand even one word of this. Good night, Hutch." Starsky headed quickly to the bedroom.
"Good night, buddy." ` I only want you to understand that I love you and that I´m just trying to prevent the suffering that I can see is coming. '
The prison gates were closed behind her back and, in that moment, Karen faced her reality. She had failed. In everything. The last two years of her life had been a total failure, and it was too late to change anything. Now she was just a jail inmate. Not a human being but just a statistic, a number. And she was treated just like that. She was forced to take a shower with insecticide soap, all her body’s nooks were inspected, all her dignity was stolen, and, finally, there she was, in a cell, sitting down on a tough litter, while drops of water were falling down from her wet hair and silent tears were sliding from her eyes. Karen was wearing the prisoner’s uniform, with her number sewed on her shirt front. And that meant just one thing. She was not Karen Stephanie Chandler any more, but inmate number 497, ready to go through one of the most frightening and sad nights of her life.
When the lights were turned off, she spent uncountable hours awake, unable to fall asleep, thinking about the only light in her dark life, little Davy, and remembering her old life when she was a young and happily married woman. Those days so far away in which, together with Rick, she was building a promising future, waiting for the day when a baby would make their happiness complete. Now, however, all that was just a handful of sweet memories. Her reality was that she was alone and helpless, and her only hope was him: David Starsky, that almost unknown, though kind and gentle man, who appeared again in her life, just when she was touching bottom.
Early the morning, Starsky woke up with the child’s movements in the bed. He was unable to get any sleep, looking worriedly at Davy all night long, and wondering how hard her first night in prison would be for Karen. He held the baby in his arms. Hutch prepared some pancakes and Starsky fed Davy in small pieces. He seemed to like his breakfast. He also drank milk with chocolate in it. Starsky and Hutch had not talked any more about the discussion of the previous night. Starsky and little David took a bath together. Just the easiest way to wet the bathroom once, Starsky thought. At the end, Starsky was as tired as after a hard day of work. Hutch cleared up the table and the dishes and tried to arrange the toys on the floor. Davy already was getting used to his new "uncles.” Starsky dressed the child with clean clothes and they went to the precinct. Dobey needed to know what was happening and Edith Dobey would be the salvation of Starsky in his new role of father.
When Starsky left the Torino with the child in his arms, the police officers, who at that moment were in the parking lot, looked at the scene with curiosity. One of them was Simonetti who, at that very moment, began to want to know who that baby was and where he was coming from.
“Hey, Starsky! Hutchinson! Who the hell is that child? Your last bust?”
“SHUT UP!!” Both men continued their way to the precinct building.
As soon as they arrived in the squad room, Hutch knocked on Dobey’s door.
"Come in." Hutch and Starsky, with the little kid in his arms, entered the office. Dobey kept for some time a deadpan expression on his face, just looking at the little visitor that Starsky was placing in one of the chairs. But the kid was scared and wouldn’t let go of Starsky´s hand, so he sat down with him on his lap.
"Well, I can see I have a guest here," Dobey said, recovering his composure. The big man smiled at Davy who seemed more interested in touching and pulling the buttons of his Uncle David’s shirt.
"Good morning, Cap. He´s David. Karen’s son.”
"Karen? And who is Karen, if I can ask?”
"Captain, Karen is the woman who we arrested yesterday in the bank robbery. And, well, Starsky already knew her. She was the other victim who was kidnapped with Starsky in Brewster a couple of years ago. You do remember that, I guess.”
“Of course, I remember that, Hutchinson!! I´m not too old to forget what happens to my men.”
"So, Cap, He´s David. He´ll spend some time with us until his mother, until she can find another solution." Looking at Dobey’s face, Starsky knew perfectly that his captain was ready to explode, and he was bracing himself for the storm that was about to come.
"In your house, of course.”
“Yeah, Cap, in my house.”
“Starsky, son. You know who you are?”
“Sorry, Cap?” What Dobey asked, surprised Starsky.
“Alright, since it seems that your memory is not working too well, I’ll remind you about some facts. You’re a single man. Right?”
“Cap, I just…”
“A single man who for all I know lives alone.”
“I know, but…”
“Working in the streets roughly ten hours in a daily basis, with just six or seven days off in a month.”
“Yeah, but I can…”
“I can, I can. MY ASS, YOU CAN! Dave, for God’s sake!! Surely this little kid has more common sense than you do into your head. You come in here with this child in your arms, who to top it all, is the son of a woman who is in prison because she robbed a bank, telling me that you’re taking care of him. Do you have any idea of what you are saying, or better, what you are doing?” By then, Dobey was already standing and barking at the top of his voice, while little Davy was giggling, apparently having a lot of fun with the big man’s fussing.
“Karen doesn’t have a job, money, a place to live, she doesn’t have a family, even her deceased husband’s parents hate her and want to take her son from her. And the most important thing is Rick, her husband, died and it was my fault. What do you expect me to do? Tell her: Sorry, Karen, but this is not my problem, bye. And go on with my life?”
"Keep that volatile temper of yours for your partner, Starsky, he knows how to deal with it.” As Starsky and Dobey were talking, Davy began to move and grab the things on his desk despite Starsky´s constant attempts to keep the child still. Hutch put some pens, pencils, and papers on the floor with the child in an attempt to try and distract him.
"Cap, I know that what I´m doing is unusual and not by the book. But I can’t refuse my help to Karen."
"Ok. I can’t prevent this from happening, son, but, at least, I can ask what he is doing here in my office." Dobey looked at Davy with tenderness thinking how very defenseless the little kid was and wondering how much more he would be, if he wasn’t under the care of his favorite detectives.
"Cap, I need some help from Edith. I mean... Karen is in jail and, until I can find some solution for this child, I need to leave him with somebody who I can trust. Maybe Edith could be with him today. I would go pick him up later when I leave the precinct. And this weekend we have two days off. On Monday I will have this matter solved. He´ll go to kindergarten. I’ll take care of that today, on my lunch time." The captain was impressed in hearing that Starsky already had everything so planned and that he would even use his own money and time. The generosity of his detective always touched Dobey’s heart deeply. He knew that, under his tough cop façade, a very kind and compassionate human being was hidden. Perhaps, that’s what makes him such a good policeman.
“Okay, son. Let’s see what I can do. I’ll call Edith. She loves children and I guess that she won’t have any problems giving you a hand."
Feeling more at ease after the meeting with his captain, Starsky rose from his chair and picked up Davy from the floor.
"Thanks, Cap. Now I’m taking Davy to see his mother. Later, if Karen agrees and Edith wants, I will leave the child with her and I’ll come back here.”
"Don´t be late, Starsky. You’re a police detective, not a baby sitter. By the way, the other thief’s still missing. And we must find him IM-ME-DIA-TE-LY! Is that clear?" Dobey asked going again into police mode.
"We’ll talk later about this, Cap.” Starsky was already rushing towards the door. “When David is settled, we’ll be able to concentrate on the investigation." Hutch followed Starsky out of Dobey’s office trying not to infuriate further their temperamental, though good natured, captain.
The two left and, with a long sigh, Dobey picked up the phone, dialing his home number to fill his wife in on the news.
Simonetti approached them with a mocking smile.
"I didn´t know that babies were allowed here..."
“This is none of your business, Simonetti. Captain Dobey knows who he is and why he’s here.” Starsky headed toward the elevator carrying Davy in his arms as the child began to cry.
Hutch followed Starsky without even a look back at Simonetti. Once in front of the elevator, Simonetti waited a moment until some officers approached them. Then, he spoke to Hutch in a sarcastic tone.
"You know, I never noticed before that your friend, Starsky, had more than one job…that’s impressive. Now he’s a police officer and a baby sitter, too. You always surprise me, Officer Starsky."
The people who were there in the corridor looked at them, murmuring some comments. If looks could kill, Simonetti already would be a dead man. The same caring eyes that looked sweetly at the baby turned into two ice rocks looking at him.
"You couldn´t understand anything of this even if I tried to explain it to you. I´m afraid that it would be an useless effort. Get out of my sight, Simonetti!"
"Simonetti, if I were you, I wouldn’t be here so close to him much longer," Hutch suggested.
"Know something, Starsky? I´m sure that you’re again doing something wrong but, sooner or later, I’ll find out what’s going on.”
"Shout up, Simonetti!” Starsky whispered without even a blink of his eyes.
At that moment, Davy began to cry harder. "You are scaring the child, Simonetti,” Hutch said as he pushed Simonetti out of the way to leave room for Starsky and the child. They entered the elevator, still hearing him.
"I’ll follow you all the time until I find your weak spot, Starsky. Believe me!!!"
A guard took Karen from her cell to the visitor’s room.
“Chandler, you’ve a visitor. He’s a cop from the 9th precinct but he came with a child. Really, I don’t understand any of this!” Karen, cuffed one more time, was led through the corridor by the guard. While her heart was pounding, she wondered if Starsky had kept his promise about taking care of her son.
“Hi, Karen.” Starsky smiled at her while he was letting down little Davy who hurried towards his mother.
“Davy, honey, come here, my precious child!” The woman knelt down, with her eyes filled with tears, surrounding the little kid with her arms despite the cuffs, while Starsky just looked at the scene feeling a lump in his throat. After some seconds holding the child in silence, Karen, still kneeling down, raised her eyes.
“Thanks, David. This means a lot to me.” Starsky just shook his head almost unable to talk because he was overcome by emotion.
“The boy, Uncle Hutch, and I have spent a great night together. He’s a lovely kid, Karen.”
“So, you took Davy from Mary´s to be with you last night? Really, you did it?”
“Of course, Karen. I made a promise to you.” Starsky and Karen sat around a table with Davy in the woman’s lap. “Listen, Karen, as you know, this afternoon at 3 o’clock, will be your first appearance in front of the judge. Try to be calm. McCartney, your lawyer, is a good one.”
“I hope he is. But, I´m scared. So scared, David!”
“Don't be scared, Karen.” Starsky took Karen’s hands between his in an attempt to try to encourage the helpless woman.
“I´m almost sure that Judge Wilson will let you go home on bail. She’s a fair judge.”
“The only problem is that I haven’t a house to go, David.”
“Davy and you´ll come to my place, so don't worry about that, Karen.”
“David, no, I don't want be a bother to you.”
“Karen, right now, you don’t have a lot of options.”
“I know, but…”
“But nothing, Karen. Don't argue with me. You both will come to my place, it´s settled.”
Starsky asked Karen if he could leave Davy at the Dobey’s. The rest of the visitation time she gave Starsky some tips about Davy´s care until the guard approached them. “Time over, Chandler.” Karen embraced Davy giving him to Starsky with a grateful smile. “Thanks, David. For everything.”
“You don't have anything to be thankful for. Now, just get ready for your first appointment in court. Everything will be fine, Karen.”
Starsky remained looking at Karen being led out the room, while the child in his arms looked upset as his mother disappeared from his sight.
“It's okay, Davy, it´s okay. Your mom will be with you very soon.” The baby was ready to burst into tears as Starsky walked to the exit rubbing his back and feeling his own sorrow.
Once back in the Torino where Hutch was waiting for him, Starsky called Dobey. He already had spoken with his wife and Edith was waiting for Starsky to take care of little Davy while Starsky and Hutch were at work.
“Get that child to Edith and come back here as fast as possible, Starsky. My patience is at an end! HURRY UP!!”
“Okay, Cap, we’ll be there before you know it.”
Starsky and Hutch left Davy in Edith’s hands, hurrying back to the precinct to finally start their working day. Both detectives and Captain Dobey spent the rest of the morning looking for the best way to get information about Stan, Karen’s accomplice, who was still missing. They finally agreed on an idea. Karen would be the perfect person to give some useful information to their search.
Since the day of his escape, Stan was hiding in the same old warehouse at the outskirts of the city where the bank robbery was planned. At night it was cold and he was hungry. He decided to walk to a bar close by to eat a quick snack. The TV set was turned on and, in the news, they were talking about his escape and how all the Bay City police were looking for him. He heard also that the girl was in jail. ‘Oh, Karen, we can be happy…far away from here. If you only would give me a chance to prove to you how much I love you.’ A small but noisy crowd entered the bar and Stan had to get out before someone could recognize him. He got more sandwiches and slid out the bar. It would be safer to stay away from the streets for a while.
After a busy morning, they took a break for lunch before they had to go to the kindergarten near Starsky´s place where Davy would stay starting the next week. Starsky was relieved when, after his talk with the kindergarten’s director, the child was accepted. His sad story and the difficulties that Starsky would have to face to take care of the baby were decisive.
At three o’clock Karen’s first appearance began punctually in the courthouse. She was lead to the courtroom by a bailiff, looking pale and scared, more helpless than ever, until she found a pair of intense blue eyes and a friendly face smiling at her. “Everything’s gonna be alright.” With his fingers crossed, Starsky whispered to Karen as she passed by his side.
Then, the Honourable Judge Ann Marie Wilson entered the courtroom.
"All rise." Everybody rose from their seats, and the session began.
“Court is now in session.”
The first appearance was fast and normal. Judge Wilson listened attentively to the public defender’s arguments, set the charges and a bail of $6000.00, before she addressed some words to Karen who listened respectfully and with a shamed expression on her face.
“You have committed a serious crime, Mrs. Chandler. Despite all your personal circumstances, the fact is that you were arrested robbing a bank, using firearms, and taking hostages. And, as a result of the crime that your accomplices and you have committed, a person was wounded. A person that was there just trying to do her work. The woman that was injured is an honest member of this society, as you were in the past, a mother like you are, and, right now she´s in the hospital. Fortunately she’s recovering from her injuries, but my obligation as a Judge of this court is to punish your crime anyway. In consideration of your personal circumstances and, since I´m sure of your sincere regret and good intentions, I´ll let you out on bail until the trial date.” After her reprimand ended, Karen was lead back to jail as the people were leaving the courtroom.
Starsky had decided to pay Karen’s bail though, unfortunately due to an administrative matter, it couldn’t be done until Monday morning. Yet, the amount was too much high for him because his savings had diminished considerably in the last years since the Gunther shooting and his months on medical leave. Besides, there was the fact that he kept sending money to his mother and now he had to pay Davy´s kindergarten. Hutch knew that nothing would stop his friend from helping Karen so he decided to do something about it.
“Starsky, I know you want to pay her bail so I want to help you in this, buddy. I know that you don’t have a lot of money to spend. So I’ll pay Karen’s bail.”
“But you don’t agree with this. You keep thinking that I´m wrong. I know it, Hutch.”
“You’re right, partner. I don’t agree with all of this. I´m scared that you are giving all your heart here, but I know that you’ve decided to help her. I can´t agree with the way in which you are getting involved in all this, and I keep thinking that you´ll suffer later, but I can't stand to see how you’re risking your work and your savings without helping you. I also like Davy. I know that he will be much happier by his mother’s side. Let me help you a little, okay?”
"Are you sure that you won’t regret it?”
"I wanna do it. Please, just accept it."
"Okay, but I think that you are also in love with this baby. He´s a terrific kid, huh?”
Starsky was smiling happily thinking about the moment when Karen would be free and with her baby again.
Saturday came and Starsky and Hutch decided to spend the day at the park with Davy. Roughly at nine a.m. Hutch arrived and parked his car beside the Torino. Unlocking the door with his key he entered the house. The living room was an incredible mess. Toys, puzzles, and one strange and colourful form made with plastic blocks was spread around the whole floor.
"Starsk? Where are you?" Hutch heard a water racket so he headed to the bathroom. The door was opened and Hutch stopped in his tracks to watch Starsky and Davy in the bathtub playing happily with a small rubber boat.
"Starsky? What the hell....?"
“Hey, Hutch, I didn’t hear you. Davy and me are almost ready. Could you please get that towel and help me to dry up Davy?”
At that moment, Hutch was laughing out loud, almost unable to stand. "Starsky....” More laughs.
“Are you playing with a rubber boat in your bathtub?"
"Of course, Blondie, what’s the matter?” Starsky asked as if to find a tough cop playing with a rubber boat in the bathtub was the most common thing in the world.
"Tell me. How old are you, Starsk? You know what would happen if I told the people in the precinct that you were playing in your bathtub?”
Hutch grabbed the towel holding it out for Starsky.
"Well, a man can have a hobby, I guess.” Starsky joked nonchalantly.
“Okay, Davy, Uncle Hutch will dry you and soon we will go to the park. Hutch, if you don’t mind, can you dress Davy while I finish my bath?”
"Sure." Hutch picked up the child and carefully wrapped him in the towel and took him to the bedroom. There were already clothes on the bed to put on the baby. In a few minutes, Starsky appeared with a towel around his waist.
“I’ll get dressed in five minutes. You bring the food, Hutch?”
"Yeah. It´s in the car."
"Hey, Davy, now you go with your Uncle Hutch to the living room while I finish dressing, okay?”
Starsky kissed the baby’s head softly, smelling for a second his sweet aroma. "Perfect! Simply perfect”
The morning in the park was beautiful, the sun warm, many children were playing around, everything was perfect. Starsky spread the traveling rug to place Davy and his toys on it.
"Do you think that the sun is too hot for him, Hutch?"
"Starsk, it’s early. We won’t be here all day. Calm down. He´s fine, just relax."
Looking at Davy playing with his toys, Starsky saw that the kid was really enjoying himself.
"Yeah, I guess you’re right.”
It was a quiet and agreeable day. Davy had a good time playing and later eating his lunch safe by Starsky´s side. He was obviously enjoying every minute spent with the baby while Hutch remained just observing them and worrying about the day in the near future when the child wouldn't be with Starsky any more.
“Hutch, do you notice how quiet Davy is? I mean he hardly speaks. Sometimes he seems sad.”
“Well, not everybody can use the five senses simultaneously as you do. A little of silence and meditation is good, Starsky." Hutch joked.
"Jokes aside. I know what you mean, Starsk. Sometimes he seems a sad baby. He can play with puzzles and blocks for hours without a word...a sound. Probably, the fact that he’s growing up only with his mother with no one near them. Plus his health troubles could make him a solitary baby. But I'm sure that he will not be a solitary child for long. The kindergarten will be good for him and he´ll improve as time passes.”
“Do you think that his heart troubles are over, Hutch?”
“I hope so, partner.”
“No baby should go through something so tough,” Starsky said, staring lovingly at the baby wondering how his life would be if the child could stay permanently by his side.
"Hey, Davy, when you grow up, I´m sure that you will be a happy and healthy man and, who knows? Maybe you will want to be a policeman like your Uncle David is."
Starsky spoke as his forefinger was removing a lock of hair from the baby’s forehead. Hutch pretended not to pay attention, though his worry was increasing to see how fond Starsky was growing of the child.
“Wouldn’t it be great to have a child like this some day, Hutch?”
“Sure, partner. And if that day comes, your son or daughter will be a hell of a lucky child. But first you should get married. At least, that’s the usual way to be a father. And, now, how about we go home? It’s becoming cloudy here.”
Both men collected all the stuff spread around their spot on the lawn and headed towards the car with Davy in Starsky´s arms.
Starsky did a halt in front of a nearby baby shop. “Why are we stopping here, Starsk?”
“´Cause Davy hasn’t a cot yet. On Monday Karen is coming to my place and I want Davy to have his own cot to sleep in.”
“No, Hutch. I´m going into that shop and getting a cot for Davy. Is that clear?”
“Yeah. Perfectly clear, Starsk.” Hutch rolled his eyes, knowing that he would be unable to change his friend’s mind.
A little while later, they were in Starsky´s apartment, placing a cozy blue cot in his bedroom.
“Hey, Davy, look what Uncle Dave got for you. Do you think that your mom will like it, huh?”
“Yeah. I´m sure, Starsk. She will like it. Specially if she knows how expensive that piece of junk turned out to be.”
Starsky just looked at
Hutch with a Shut up look, and Hutch,
getting the message, kept putting the pillow and covers over the little
Sunday, Hutch was going out to eat with his new date; a beautiful stewardess, so Starsky stayed at home with Davy. The child spent a long while playing with his blocks. Starsky enjoyed playing with him, so strange and colourful models again were spread all over the living room. He read some tales to Davy and helped the little kid to do an easy puzzle. A while later both were watching cartoons on TV while the child babbled and laughed sitting down in Starsky´s lap.
At the end of the day, Starsky was really tired and, when Davy took a nap, he fell asleep, too. The kid seemed to move by inexhaustible batteries.
Early on Monday morning, Starsky left Davy at the kindergarten. The baby cried and seemed scared by the new surroundings and the unknown people he found there. Starsky had a hard time leaving him, but soon he was relieved to see Davy playing with the other children. Finally, he could leave to go to the courthouse offices to pay Karen’s bail with the money offered by Hutch.
Meanwhile, Hutch was in the precinct. On his way to his office, Dobey noticed Starsky´s absence.
"Hutch, to my office, now."
"Yes, Captain." Hutch entered quickly, standing in front of his captain.
"Where is your partner? Why is he still not here?"
“He’s at the courthouse to pay the bail for Karen Chandler. She’ll be staying at his place with Davy until the trial day."
"Tell me, what is the real relationship between your partner and that woman? Starsky being so worried by a bank thief does not sound right to me. I’d like to know the truth, Hutchinson." Dobey sounded truly worried.
"I would like to know, too, Captain, but I don’t know. I hope that everything will be just a matter of gratitude. But, I´m afraid that Starsky will be hurt in this. Captain, when Terry died, he got badly hurt. Some years later, he fell in love with that girl, Rosie Malone. And when she left, it seemed that he was giving up on his wish to get married and have his own family. Later he was shot and he spent so much effort in his recovery that any other thing stayed in the background. Now he might be trying to find that woman again. I don't know. I feel that something is going on. He´s not saying anything to me, but I know that he feels for Davy and Karen much more than simple gratitude that he keeps talking about. But this will be wrong for him. Very wrong, Cap. He doesn’t really know that woman and, besides, she and Davy surely won’t be forever in Starsky´s life and he’s growing too fond of them, specially the kid.”
"You already spoke with him about it?"
"Yeah, but you know how Starsky is. He keeps saying that he’s alright, that he´s not feeling anything beyond gratitude but I don’t believe it.”
"And there’s nothing that you can do, right?"
"No. Nothing. Just hope that he will start to think with his head and not with his heart."
"Listen, Hutch, you’re the only one that can make David be reasonable. I don’t agree with any of this and I’m only helping because that poor kid is not guilty of anything and he needs a place to stay. I don´t blame Starsky. Davy is an adorable child." Dobey smiled warmly.
"Thanks, Cap. I will do my best. "
Later, Starsky took Karen to his place, stopping first at Mary’s apartment to collect her few personal belongings. Finally, they arrived at Starsky’s place. Karen was happy and looking forward to seeing Davy, but it would have to wait until he came from school.
"This will be your house now, Karen. The bedroom is ready for you and Davy." Going into the bedroom, Karen softly slid her fingers over the soft blue wood of the baby cot, looking gratefully at Starsky.
“The cot. You bought it?” Starsky nodded. “I hope you like it.”
“It's wonderful, David. Thanks. But you…where will you sleep, David?"
"On the couch. I´m already pretty used to it. Hutch and I spend a lot of time at each other’s place so the sofa will be fine for me."
"David, I´m feeling so guilty giving you so many problems."
"This is not a problem, Karen. I´m glad to have you and Davy here. And do you know something? Davy is happy, too. You´ll see how he’s playing, eating, and sleeping well. He´s even gaining some weight.” A proud smile was shinning on Starsky´s face.
"I bet that you are giving him all types of stuff to eat. You’re spoiling my kid, David?" Karen asked smiling.
"Unhappily, Hutch doesn’t let me do it. He is as insensitive as you." Starsky returned the smile.
"David, I don´t know what would have happened with me and my son without your help. You saved my life once and now you are saving me again." Starsky put his hands on her arms and brought his face close to Karen.
"Everything that I do, what I am doing is only to help you to rebuild your life. Soon, with a little luck, you will see that this nightmare will pass." Both kept looking into each other’s eyes in silence until Starsky pulled back.
"Now, I must go. Feel like in your own house, Karen. Take a bath and get ready for Davy´s return. I will go back to the precinct. Captain Dobey must be getting mad looking for me. Later I will pick Davy up at the school. In the bathroom, there are clean towels and all that stuff. And you can find food in the fridge if you are hunger. Help yourself."
"Thanks, David, for everything that you’re doing. There must be a reason for our paths to cross in such strange ways twice. I still don’t understand but I’m sure that soon we will know." The woman briefly placed her hand on Starsky´s cheek before she went to the bedroom to start unpacking her little baggage. Smiling shyly, Starsky grabbed the keys of the Torino leaving the house.
"Keep the door closed. Take care. See you tonight."
Karen looked around her. A tidy, clean, and comfortable apartment where she felt safe and happy for the first time in many months.
Everything that my son could need. Karen thought. I hope that God gives me a second chance... And the chance to not ruin everything again. I must not go to jail'
Plunged in those thoughts, Karen headed to the bathroom to take a bath, thinking about the moment she would see Davy. She spent a long while enjoying a warm lather bath and later she looked in the refrigerator searching for the needed stuff to fix a delicious dinner for her little Davy and that special human being named David Starsky.
Starsky and Hutch followed the new clues given from Karen. Stan’s friend had not spoken with him in the last few days. He felt so scared hearing the name of his friend involved in the bank robbery that from fear of getting involved, too, promised to help find him. In the bar where Stan used to go after work, nobody had seen him since the day before the robbery. Starsky and Hutch went to check the old warehouse where the bank robbery was planned. It was an old derelict building with only one entrance. The door was battered down and there weren’t signs of any life. However, Starsky and Hutch noticed some movements coming from behind some of cardboard boxes. Portions of sandwiches and beer cans were spread all over the floor as well. In a desperate try, Stan ran towards the exit when Hutch saw him.
"Freeze! Police!" Hutch shouted out. Stan did not stop and shot once missing his mark. Hutch shot, reaching his leg. Stan shot at Starsky who was covering Hutch. Stan shot reached Starsky’s left arm and he lost the handle on his gun.
Stan, taking advantage of Hutch’s distraction, ran into one of the innumerable alleys that surrounded the building. Hutch looked for him but soon he returned to check Starsky’s wound.
"Damn, he ran away! Are you alright? "
"Yeah. It’s just a flesh wound.” Starsky winced. “We were so close. Shit!"
"It´s not worth staying here anymore. Come on. Let’s go see about this arm." Hutch helped Starsky to the Torino. Stan was free and now Starsky and Hutch knew that he was a dangerous fugitive, armed, and that he would do everything to run away.
After a brief time in the hospital, where Starsky got some stitches in his arm, they both went back to the precinct. Once there, Dobey, after asking Starsky about his hurt arm, let them end their work day.
"Starsky, how about going home now, son? I guess that you could use some rest. Besides you have to pick Davy from kindergarten, right? But I want you two here tomorrow early to write your reports. At seven o clock. Is that clear? "
"Sure, Cap." Starsky answered, glad to be able to take the child to his mother at last.
Davy was waiting quietly, sitting down on the floor playing when Starsky and Hutch arrived.
The child had a good day but, when he saw his Uncle David, he reached out his little arms towards him. Starsky kneeled down to hug the child with his 1000 watt smile shinning on his face.
"Hi, champion, did you miss me? You know who is waiting for you? Oh, you will love it." The baby encircled his arms around Starsky´s neck, laughing and babbling in his own unintelligible language, obviously happy to see again his nice new friend.
Meanwhile, at home, Karen had everything ready. A delicious casserole was waiting for David, Hutch, and little Davy. When they got there, Karen grabbed the child to hug him and Davy didn’t seem to want to leave his mother’s arms. She gave him a bath, enjoying the chance to take care of her baby again. Soon the kid was in the living room playing with his mother and Hutch while Starsky took a quick shower before dinner.
About to serve the dinner, Karen asked Starsky and Hutch about their day.
"David, what happened to your arm?”
"Nothing. I’m feeling okay. Don’t worry."
“You were trying to find Stan, weren’t you? He was the one who hurt you? Right? "
"Yeah, but he ran away." Hutch noticed a look of fear in Karen’s eyes.
“Any problem, Karen?”
"No. It’s not….It’s just that…You got shot, David. I feel I’m responsible for this. He could have killed you.”
"No, Karen. You’re not responsible for the risks that I take in my work.”
"Only I know that place. If I didn’t tell about it. "
"Karen, you are helping the police. That is the right thing to do. You think that Stan will know that you were the one who gave us this tip. Are you scared of him?”
"No, David. But he´ll know that I told the police where to find him. I’m not worried for me, but for Davy.”
"Don’t worry. Davy will be safe. Only our captain and some people in the court know that he is in my place. And he doesn’t know where you are.” Starsky said in an attempt to calm her fear.
"David…Hutch... I would like to give these brownies that I made to Dobey’s family. His wife was so gentle with Davy. I will be forever grateful to them."
"Okay, tomorrow we’ll take you there. Maybe this weekend we can have lunch together, what do you think about that?” Starsky was not too happy to see the cool look on Hutch’s face.
"It seems a good idea. I don’t like to be here all day alone. I´m missing my job...to be useful."
"You can’t think about finding a job right now, Karen. You have to wait for the trial. And later you´ll have to serve your sentence. Your situation right now is too messed up even to think about having a normal life.” Hutch knew that that comment was pretty rough but he couldn’t help himself. Starsky did not like his words at all but he kept quiet because he wanted to do his best not to spoil the first night that Karen spent out of jail. Meanwhile, the woman pretended not to pick up on the aversion enclosed in Hutch’s words.
"You’re right, Hutch. It’s just that… seeing my life stopped.... with nothing to do to help myself, makes me feel nervous, depressed. I´m afraid that I´m not able to explain it correctly.”
During dinner, Hutch could not help but notice how happy Starsky was looking- talking with Karen and carefully feeding Davy with little pieces of food with the same love that he would do it with his own son, and he hated himself not to be able to share his happiness. Starsky was looking at Karen and Davy as if they were his real family. Despite the fondness that Starsky was showing towards the woman and the baby, they weren’t his family. Just a temporary circumstance. Surely, a painful circumstance for Starsky. Hutch knew how very vulnerable his friend’s feelings could be and that fact made his discomfort in the middle of the false family portrait increase every moment. So a few minutes later, making his excuses, he sharply left the house.
“The dinner was delicious, Karen, but now I have to go. I´m very tired. I’ll pick you up tomorrow morning here, Starsk. Don’t make me wait.”
"When have I made you wait for me, Blondie?"
"Blondie?" Karen asked.
"Ah...it’s just a private joke. My nickname according to Starsky, I guess.” Hutch seemed moody in his answer to Karen, and that didn’t go unnoticed by Starsky or by her.
Once Hutch left Starsky´s place, as she and Starsky were washing up the dishes, Karen said,
“He´s not very happy about me staying here, David.”
“What are you talking about, Karen?”
“Your friend Hutch. He would prefer that I was still in jail.”
“No, Karen. You’re wrong. Hutch is a
“A good man who doesn’t want to see a criminal living in his best friend’s house. And I can't blame him for that, after all.”
Starsky sighed deeply. “Okay, Karen. Maybe you’re right and Hutch is not very happy right now, but soon he´ll see that you’re a kind woman who deserves a second chance…and now, let’s forget that matter.” Starsky headed toward his bookcase to pick a book and went back to the couch to read one of Davy´s favorite tales. Tired from his first day in kindergarten, the baby fell asleep quickly in his mother’s arms. Karen rose from the couch to put Davy into bed.
"I think that it is best that you go to sleep, too, Karen. You look tired." Starsky looked at Karen with caring eyes.
“Do you need to dress your arm again, David? Can I help you?”
“No, thanks, Karen. I have to go back tomorrow to the hospital to get a new dressing, but I´m fine. Good-night.”
“Good-night, David. And thanks again. For everything." Karen gently kissed his cheek then went to her room, closing the door carefully so as to not wake up Davy.
After Starsky and Hutch found his hideout, Stan was forced to look for a new place to stay safe from the police search. He fled the area to find refuge in an ex-girlfriend’s house, roughly ten miles out from the city, far enough from people’s sight where he could stay and have some time to think what he might do next.
At first, Charlotte, the girl with whom he had a turbulent relationship some years ago, was reluctant to let him stay, but once again, as in the past, he did. Stan managed to convince her with some sweet words, and a passionate night of sex.
Next morning, Hutch came to Starsky´s place to pick him up. Karen was dressing Davy and Starsky was removing the sheets from the sofa, while drinking his coffee.
"Did you sleep on the sofa, Starsk?"
"Why not, Hutch? I slept fine there. Come on, Davy. Let´s go to the kindergarten.” Starsky picked up Davy in his arms and he and Hutch headed to the door. “Bye, Karen. See you later.”
Once in the Torino, except for the baby’s babbles, the silence could be cut with a knife until Starsky spoke.
“Thanks, Hutch. Thank you very much. It was terrific.”
“I´m afraid I don't get…”
“You don't get it, huh? Okay, I’ll
refresh your memory. Your situation is
right now too messed up even to think
about having a normal life. A hell of a nice comment from you, partner,
really a good one. You got your point across with it, by the way. Later, Karen
was telling me that you would be pleased if she was still in jail. And, now,
could you please tell me what you have against her? What’s eating you up?”
“Don't you know, Starsky? You really don't know, do you?”
“In fact, no, but I´m sure that
sooner or later you´ll tell me, so get it out.”
“YOUR STUPIDITY!! That’s what eating me up! A courtesy visit to the Dobey’s with HER! For God’s sake! Never have I heard a more silly idea. Are you losing your mind, Starsky? That woman is not your girlfriend, or your cousin from New York. She’s a convict …A BANK THIEF!!”
“Yeah. A true danger to society, right?
And I´m a dirty cop who is about to go over the limits…”
“Don't talk nonsense, Starsk. What I mean is that you are going to put yourself in hot water. That woman can only give you problems.”
“Really? And, if you think that she can be so problematic, tell me why did you pay her bail, Hutch?”
“Cause you were about to do it
yourself, and I care about you. For that reason and nothing else. Come on,
Starsk! She´s in your house, you’re taking care of her child, paying his
kindergarten, sleeping on the sofa like a guest in your own house. What will be
next? Get married to her and adopt the baby?”
“Maybe that wouldn’t be such a bad idea.”
“Yeah, sure, it would be A BRILLIANT idea.”
“I´ll not listening to one more word of this crap, Hutch. Do you want to know what I´m thinking right now? That you’re fucking intolerant. And about the bail- don't worry. I’ll return the money to you, before she can convince me to run away together to start a new life as the new Bonnie and Clyde.”
At that moment, they were already at the kindergarten so Starsky got out of the car to take Davy inside.
The rest of the way to the precinct both men remained in an angry silence, exchanging just a few words. They both spent the rest of the morning moody and silent. At lunch time, they responded to a call to go to a house in a nearby neighborhood where a domestic disturbance was happening. Hutch answered the dispatcher that they were on their way as Starsky sat the light on top of the car and hit the siren and drove full speed towards the place.
Once there, they see an ambulance pulling away and another one coming and also a couple of black and whites were there. It was a simple, little house and they could see in one of the open windows a man strangling a woman with his own hands.
“What’s his name?” Starsky asked one of the police officers.
“Forrester…John Forrester. And he won’t let us go in. He already
He approached the window. “FORRESTER!! LET HER ALONE! YOU DON´T WANNA KILL THE LADY!”
“GO AWAY, COP! THIS IS A FAMILY MATTER!!”
“I´M GOING TO COME IN, FORRESTER!”
“GREAT! SO YOU CAN SEE HOW I KILL THIS BITCH!”
The man, enraged out of his mind, accompanied his words by giving another punch to his wife’s face and the woman disappeared out of sight. Starsky and Hutch exchanged a look and climbed the flight of stairs up the front door, battering it down and running across the corridor to the living room, guns in hand. There, Forrester was astride over his wife giving her more punches.
“Let her go, Forrester.” Both detectives were aiming at the man with their weapons.
“She’s a hooker! This damned bitch spent months going to bed with other men!”
“Forrester! Let her alone!” Starsky shouted out, seizing the man by his shirt to drag him from his wife’s body. Forrester raised his hands and, while Hutch was checking the woman injuries, which were looking pretty serious, Starsky cuffed the aggressor when everything happened in a blur. He was near a window, when Forrester pulled forward, shoving Starsky into it. His body fell down crashing on an untidy bush with a plop.
“STARSKYYY! SOMEBODY HERE, HURRY UP!!” While two police officers were climbing the stairs, Hutch rushed towards the yard where one of the paramedics was already checking on Starsky.
“Starsk…Partner... talk to me, please.” Starsky was conscious, though a little confused.
“His pulse is stable, though a little fast, firm breaths, blood pressure at the normal levels.”
Hutch was unable to notice anything that was happening there. He didn’t see the first ambulance taking Mrs. Forrester to the hospital, or how another one was approaching there. He was only worried about Starsky´s condition.
“Husshh…” Starsky mumbled with his eyes just half-open and a tarnished look.
“Yeah, partner. I´m here.”
“My ankle, Hutch…Hurts.”
“I know, Starsk. Now we’ll go to the hospital and everything will be fine.”
“Davy…somebody has to pick up Davy from kindergarten.”
“I’ll do it, Starsk, just relax. Now, don´t move.”
“I don´t wanna go to the hospital again. Yesterday I was already there once, Hutch.” Hutch smiled, a little relieved to know that, at least, Starsky´s head was working, while two orderlies hurried to carry him into the ambulance.
This time, he had really good luck. The window was pretty low, and the bush absorbed his hit. Other than some scratches and bruises, a twisted ankle, and a lump growing on his head, he was okay. Doctors tried to convince him with all their reasoning to stay in the hospital, but he refused, promising them that he would have complete rest in bed for the next couple of days, and he would come back there if something was wrong.
On their way from the hospital, Starsky was in his seat wincing while Hutch was driving.
“Okay, partner. We need to stop and fill these prescriptions and, then, I’ll take you to my place.”
“No, Hutch. No way. We have to pick Davy up and I can't leave Karen alone. Please, take me home.”
“We can ask for a black and white to take the child to your place with Karen, and you can spend a couple of days in my apartment, Starsk.”
“Please, Hutch. I don´t feel like arguing right now.”
Hutch exhaled a surrender breath. “Okay, Starsk. We’ll do as you want. Listen, Starsky. I´m sorry. For all that I said before. I don't mean…”
“No, Hutch, forget it. You don't need to make excuses to me. I wasn’t too gentle, either. I understand how you’re feeling. But maybe you don't understand my feelings. And now, take me home, okay? It's still early; you can pick Davy up at the kindergarten later. I´m really tired.”
After a while silently driving, Hutch finally stopped the Torino in front of Starsky´s place, running around the front of the car to help his friend get out and climb the stairs. Karen was dusting the furniture, while a delicious smell was coming from the oven.
“DAVID!! …What happened?”
“Nothing important, Karen. A guy got a little pissed off and threw me out a window.”
“WHAT? David, you should be in a hospital.”
“I was there a while ago. I´m okay, Karen, don't worry.”
“Yeah? But you’re looking like hell.” The young woman was helping Hutch to carry Starsky to the bedroom.
“Not here. In the couch. The bedroom is for Karen.”
“No, David. It's your bedroom; you can't get any real rest on a couch.” Hutch and Karen carefully laid Starsky over the bed. Then, Hutch helped his partner to put on his pyjamas and to get into the covers.
Once Starsky was settled, Hutch said, “Now I’ll go pick the child up from school, and I’ll come back to spend the night here. I can sleep in your sleeping bag on the floor.”
“No, Hutch, no way.” Starsky said in a weak voice, drowsy by the painkiller’s effect.
“You have a warm bed waiting for you at your place. You don't need to spend the night in a sleeping bag like some boy scout in the middle of the woods. I´m okay and I think that Karen can take care of me if I need something.”
“David is right, Hutch, I can take
care of him tonight. I’ll call you if something is wrong,” answered Karen
coming back from the living room.
”But…” Karen grabbed Hutch by his arm, leading him away from Starsky. “Hutch, please. If you wanna stay, do it. I’ll sleep in the sleeping bag, but I can take care of David perfectly, and he´ll be fine with me. I know that you don't like me, Hutch, but I´m very fond of David. I´m not a serial killer but just a thief. Give me a break, okay?”
Hutch, without an answer and feeling a little ashamed, went to the Torino, disappearing down the road.
Karen turned back to Starsky´s bedside. At that moment, he was peacefully asleep and she wrapped the covers around his neck before going back to the living room, listening attentively if Starsky needed something.
Meanwhile, on the street and hidden behind a tree, a man was watching with small binoculars all the movements coming from Starsky´s apartment.
“So you are here, my little bird. Beautiful. Very beautiful. Some day you´ll tell me why you are not in prison but living with a cop. Maybe because you betrayed me?”
Fifteen minutes later, Hutch was back with the child. After grabbing her son to kiss him, Karen said, “David is asleep.”
“Okay, Karen, I’ll go back to my
place. Don’t forget to give him his painkillers, and don't let him walk around.
If he’s hungry, give him some soft food. And if something’s wrong…”
“Don't worry, Hutch. If something is going wrong, I’ll call you.” Hutch remained a moment standing in the hall, before speaking, “I’ll call you later to find out how’s Starsky doing and I’ll come back in the morning, Karen.” He opened the door leaving the apartment.
“And, now, how about a glass of milk and some cookies for my favorite kid. Huh?” Karen asked Davy, carrying the baby still in her arms, heading towards the kitchen. On their way, Davy saw his “Uncle Dave” resting in the bedroom and pointed to him with his forefinger.
“Uncle Dave got hurt and he is sleeping, but he´ll be fine.” Karen sat Davy in a chair, giving him a cookie.
“Yeah, and now he’s resting, so we must not make any noises, okay?” The obedient child just nodded, nibbling his chocolate cookie.
Three hours later, it was time for Starsky´s painkiller, so Karen headed to the bedroom carrying a tray with a steaming bowl of vegetable soup, a chicken sandwich, and a glass of juice. He was awake and, seeing Karen, smiled weakly.
“Hey, David, how are you feeling?”
“My ankle and back are hurting like hell and my head is pounding non-stop, but other than this, I´m fine, I guess.”
“You have to take your painkiller now, and I thought that you might be hungry.” Karen settled the tray on the nightstand and carefully placed a couple of pillows under Starsky´s back to make him more comfortable. At that moment, Davy, dressed in his teddy pyjamas, shyly stuck his head in the room.
“Hey, little one, come here.” Starsky reached out his hand towards the child, who hurried to approach the bed.
“Dave?” The child looked worried to Starsky as he was caressing his arm and he noticed something was wrong.
“Davy…Watch out, honey. Uncle David got hurt.”
“But I´m feeling much better now, Davy.” Starsky smiled.
“Come on, son. Now Uncle Dave needs to eat a little and take his pills. And you must get into bed. Wait a minute, David. If you don't mind, I’ll get Davy into bed.” Karen laid the baby on the sofa bed, covering him with a blanket, saying her good night to him, and kissing his forehead lovingly, before coming back to Starsky´s room and placing the food tray on his lap and helping him to eat.
“You have a terrific kid, Karen.”
“Yeah, I know it. He´s the only important thing in my life. But, now, I´m going to lose him.” Karen’s eyes were tarnished by sadness.
“Surely I´ll go to prison for a long time, and the social services will take Davy to grow up with his grandparents, Rick´s parents, and when I´m finished serving my sentence, I´ll be just a total unknown to him. Or even worse. With the hate that those people feel about me, I’ll be just a despicable ex-convict to my own son.” Silent tears were cascading down Karen’s cheeks. Starsky took her hand and said something that left the woman simply speechless.
“Karen, marry me.”
“Yeah, Karen. Right now I don’t have a ring for you, but I´m asking you to be my wife. Don't you understand? I’d adopt Davy. I’d be his father. I can't help you to avoid your sentence, though God knows that I would do anything to do it, and I wish I hadn’t arrested you, but if I´m the kid’s father; nobody will be able to take him away from you. Rick´s parents won’t be able to fill his head with lies, and you´ll see him often. Every day, if it´s possible. Besides, if I´m your husband, I can´t testify against you at the trial.”
“But…David...I can't do that. You’re a wonderful man, and I feel very honoured by your offer, but you don't know me. I don’t know you. I don't love you. Besides, you’re a police officer and I´m…”
“You’re a brave, tender, and special woman, and I’ll make sure that your son never forgets it. Listen to me, Karen. I´m not asking for your love, though I could fall in love with a woman like you easily, but I’ll never force you to do something against your will. I´m just asking you for something that I think would be the best for Davy.”
Karen burst into tears embracing Starsky, and saying her thanks with a faltered voice.
“Thanks…Thank you so much, David. I’ll marry you. I’ll be your wife.”
Starsky winced and Karen pulled back. “Oh, I´m sorry. Was I hurting you?”
“I´m okay, Karen, don't worry. And now I’d like to ask you for a little favour.”
“Sure, David. Whatever you want.”
“Call me Dave, okay? That’s what people close to me call me. And I guess that my fiancée is somebody pretty close.” At that moment, the phone rang bell and Starsky picked up the receiver.
“Hello?...Hey, partner! Yeah, I´m fine, Hutch.”
After two days of rest, Starsky was cleared by the doctors to come back to work, though only allowed desk work for a few more days. In the morning, Hutch noticed that his partner was a little tense. Knowing that Starsky didn’t like to be pushed to talk until he wanted to do it, Hutch waited for the right moment. However, he was sure that his strange demeanor was related to his relationship with Karen. Hutch was clearly noticing the intimacy between Starsky and the woman was growing more as each day passed. Something had changed, that’s for sure.
At lunch time, Starsky didn’t want to eat in the cafeteria or “the Pits” and took Hutch to a new and nearby restaurant, where they could get their favorite meals and "talk with more privacy,” as Starsky said. He almost didn´t touch his food and they had only talked about trivial matters. Hutch was looking forward to hearing the bomb that he was sure his friend would lay on him sooner or later, but when Starsky finally decided to talk, what he said was much more that he could imagine.
"Hutch, I have something important to say to you and I have an invitation for you." Starsky looked straight in his friend’s eyes.
"So, that’s it. This is the reason for your silence all this morning? What’s happened, Starsk?”
"Hutch, I asked Karen to marry me."
"You did WHAT?" Hutch wasn’t just surprised, but overwhelmed by worry.
"To marry me. Exactly what you’ve just heard, Hutch. She needs a father for her son. It is the only way she has to not lose him. Karen can´t do anything else. She doesn’t want nor deserves to lose the custody of her son. She is an excellent mother. And, after she’s paid all her debts to society, she can be with her son, like it should be.”
"And, meanwhile, you get to play Davy’s father?" Hutch’s words were dripping with sarcasm. He knew that, though he couldn’t help himself.
"Nobody is playing here, Hutch. I’ll be with Davy. Yes. I’ll take care of him. And I’ll get married to Karen," Starsky said with a defiant tone.
"You can’t be serious. You can’t be in your right mind. And, of course, she already accepted to marry you, I guess.”
"Of course, Hutch."
"Of course,” Hutch mumbled. “And tell me something, Starsky. She loves you, by any chance? She wants to live with you, to share the same bed? Come on, Starsk. Don´t you see it? Maybe you can´t see how clever that woman is? In less than a week, she got you to pay her bail, to give her a place to live with her son, to pay the kid’s expenses and, now, she gets a sure way to not lose Davy. And all that thanks to a simple soul like you, who never will ask her for anything in return.”
"Hutch, it’s very difficult for me to talk about it with you as you are not helping me at all. What’s happening to you? Where is that generous man, who accepted me like I am since the first time that we met each other at the academy, who always was by my side when I needed him, who... "
“I always was and always will be by your side, when you need me, but also I always will tell you the truth, which you need to hear. And, believe me, Starsky, you never needed it more than now for somebody to tell you that you are going mad! How do you expect to live, Starsk? Each one in a side of the house? Or maybe you think that you´ll not feel something for her sooner or later? For a woman that apparently means so much to you already? She will live day by day by your side, with an adorable child who will be shared with you, and you not will feel attracted to her? If you don’t feel already attracted, of course. "
"We made a deal. Nothing will happen between us if she doesn’t want it." Hutch noticed a shadow of sadness in Starsky´s eyes.
"Of course, nothing will happen if she doesn’t want it, Starsk. I know it. You are a decent and gentle man, not an animal. With whom do you think that you’re talking to? Huh? That is not what I´m trying to say to you. How much time will pass until you´ll begin to suffer, to notice that you can´t stand the situation of being a pretend family? Nobody can live only in dreams, Starsk. And some day, you´ll need those dreams to come true, or you two will start to hurt each other, both of you will live a life full of resentments, hate, and all kinds of destructive feelings. How it is possible that you two don’t realized this? You always were a sensible person, you always wanted to get married and have a family, but not in this way. You need something real. A real love, a real woman, a real son."
"Hutch, I appreciate your concern and I am grateful. But there’s nothing else that I can do right now. I want to give a family to Davy. I know how difficult it was for me growing up without a father. I know how difficult it was for my mother to deal with me and Nick without my father. I don’t want the same thing for Davy. To grow up without a father or, even worse, without his mother, too. And if I can do anything to prevent that, I will do it. Now, I’d like to ask you something. It would be very important to me if you would be my best man. Will you do it?" Starsky´s look was only one of distress and expectation.
"Starsk, you know that nothing in this life would be more important to me than to be your best man. And all that I want for you is happiness. But not in this way. This is a big mistake.”
"That means that you will not accept?" Hutch could almost see the sorrow in Starsky´s eyes.
“I´m sorry, Starsk. I can´t do it. I’d like to be your best man at your wedding, but not the witness to your saddest decision. And, now, if you don´t mind, I’d like to go back to the precinct. I have a lot of paperwork to do.”
The next morning, Hutch waited for Starsky to get a ride to the precinct, but when his friend was late, Hutch called him and Karen answered the phone, telling him that Davy spent most of the night sick to his stomach, and they both were awake the whole night. Starsky and Karen hardly got any sleep and neither of them heard the clock.
Hutch decided to go to Starsky´s place to see how Davy was doing. When he got there, Starsky was in the bathroom taking a shower.
"While you’re waiting for Dave, would you like something to drink? Some coffee maybe?”
"No, thanks, Karen. How is Davy doing? "
"A little better. He probably ate something that made him sick to his stomach. He threw up a couple of times, and Dave went to an all-night drugstore to get some medicine for him. At dawn he was feeling good enough to get some sleep. We were falling asleep then, too.” Karen kept silent for a moment as if she was trying to find the right way to say something.
"Hutch, Dave told me that he asked you to be his best man at our wedding, and that you don´t wanna do it. Dave is devastated. I know that you don´t like me. That you do not agree with this. You have made it very clear. But, anyway, I think that you should accept his offer. It would be so important to him. "
"There’s only one important thing for Starsky, Karen. Don´t get married with a woman who doesn’t love him. Really, I can´t understand how you both can ask me to be his best man if you already know that I don’t agree with all this farce.”
"Why not, Hutch? We’ll get married with or without you as his best man. Dave doesn’t have anybody in this world who means more to him than you do. At least you could have accepted for him…for your friendship."
"Karen, I can see clearly what you will earn from this and I even understand that for you this would be the perfect solution...but, tell me, what will he win with this? A wife who doesn’t love him, a son who’s not his son, and to sleep on the sofa as a guest in his own house? Do you think that this is fair? Do you think that this is what he deserves, after everything that he has done for you and Davy?"
Karen wasn’t expecting such an honest answer from Hutch, and for some seconds was unable to answer him.
"You have a wrong idea about me. I am not that kind of woman. I’m not a self-seeking bag waiting to destroy his life. David is a wonderful man who deserves to be happy."
"Exactly ... that is the whole point. And what kind of happiness do you have to offer him? "
"I will do my best to live a happy life with him. I’ll respect him always. Dave is not a difficult man to deal with him. He’s kind, considerate, and caring.” Karen’s look was gleaming with defiance.
"Under your circumstances, even if you both get involved romantically, it will be a problem for him. But, anyway, that doesn´t matter, since that is not what is happening here." A pair of frozen blue eyes was the only thing that Karen could see. “Look, Karen, this will be painful for Starsky. And I can swear to you that he has already got his share of pain in his life. Did you know that Starsky lost his father when he was just 13? Or that the woman he loved more than any other in the whole world died after a week walking around with a bullet in her head? Or do you know that some years ago he was in a hospital bed more than two months, after having three bullets shot in his chest and abdomen? Or that his heart stopped on the operating table? No, of course. You don't know anything about him. Why should you know? He´s just the man who is going to marry you!... No, Karen. I don't wanna see Starsky suffering again. Listen to me. If there’s not love between the both of you and, don’t forget you probably are going to prison soon, with that your life together will be a hell of hate and reproaches. But what will happen if he falls in love with you or both of you are finally falling in love with each other and you have to serve your sentence in prison, which is most probable as I guess you already know. Starsky will be alone. Just married and already alone. Without any chance to have children, the woman he loves by his side, or even a lousy honeymoon. Damn it, Karen! If you had a pinch of decency, you would leave right now and go far from here!”
“And, if you had a son, you would do any thing for him. Even sell your soul to the devil, if it was needed. Luckily I don't have to do that. I just have to get married to a good man. A man who will help my son and will defend him in all the problems that he will face in the future.”
“Beautiful, Karen! Really beautiful. It seems that you’re talking about some kind of big and loyal Saint Bernard dog and not about your future husband.”
"I will not go on here talking about my feelings for Dave with you. You wouldn’t understand it, Hutch. I´m already feeling pretty bad about all of this, but I can assure you that I’ll do everything to make Dave happy. He is the only one who helped me when I needed it. The only one with whom I feel that I ´m still a human being and not rubbish. That I still have dignity." Karen turned towards the kitchen leaving Hutch alone in the living room when Starsky entered clearly feeling the tension floating in the air though he pretended not to know anything about it.
"I’m ready, Hutch. Let’s go.” Before he left, Starsky kissed Karen´s cheek tenderly.
"See you later. Davy seems to be better, but if something happens, just call me. Don’t take him to the school today. Ok? "
"Ok, Dave." Karen looked at Hutch who remained observing them grimly. ‘A perfect family... you are really living your dream aren’t you, buddy?
Things weren’t better at the police station. Starsky spent all morning working on his reports and trying to be as far away as possible from his friend. Dobey came into the office stopping for a second to look at his best detectives. Obviously, something was wrong between them both. No jokes. No laughs. Starsky strangely quiet. Taking advantage of a moment in which Hutch got up apparently to go to the bathroom, Dobey followed him up the corridor where he asked the blond detective,
"What’s going on, Hutchinson?”
"Don’t fool around with me, Hutchinson. Don’t tell me that you don’t know what I’m talking about. I know that this is none of my business, but I’d like to know what’s happening between you and Starsky.”
“Starsky told me that he was coming in late today because he and Karen spent all night with the baby. Davy was sick to his stomach all night long.”
“All right, I´m already used to your partner’s delays and also I know what it means to have kids, but what I´m trying to find out is why you both seem to be so angry with each other?"
"Captain, I know that this is pretty hard to believe but yesterday Starsky told me that... he’s getting married to Karen."
“Exactly. I know what you are thinking, because that’s exactly what I thought and what I said to him. He also asked me to be his best man but I refused to do it. I don´t agree with any of this and I couldn’t do it. He´s hurt and mad with me and...."
"Starsky is in love with that woman?"
"Not...well. In fact, I don’t know, Captain. I think that he’s doing this because this is the only way to provide a home and a family for Davy. And that is what’s driving me mad. Starsky is so confused, so emotionally vulnerable that he doesn’t notice the big mistake that he will make. I don’t know what I can do to help him to understand that he’s about to make a hell of a mistake. He almost doesn’t wanna speak to me." Hutch’s face was a mask of discouragement.
"He must be very confused. A marriage shouldn’t be based on any reason but love. To get married by compassion will just be a trap for both of them and David deserves to be loved for real. He already suffered enough with Terry’s death.”
“What can we do to help him?" Dobey asked, genuinely worried.
"I’m afraid that there’s nothing we can do. He’s determined to go on with this crazy idea. He doesn’t want Davy to grow up without a father as he did.”
"Professionally, his decision can´t be a good one at all. AI will be pleased knowing that Starsky is marrying a criminal. He should think about his career, too."
"Right now, Captain, he can only think about giving a family to the kid. About Karen. I´m afraid he’s simply not thinking.”
"Typical of Dave but this can only bring problems to him, and this worries me. I’ll talk to him and I’ll try to put some common sense in that stubborn head of his, ok?"
"Ok. I just hope that you have more luck than me.” What Dobey and Hutch didn’t notice was that behind the door somebody was listening to the whole chat.
‘Well, well. I knew that something was happening...AI will love to know what kind of relationship our Starsky has with a convicted thief.' With a smile on his lips, Simonetti went straight to his department unnoticed by Dobey or Hutch.
When Dobey called Starsky into his office, he got there looking at Hutch and guessing that he had something to do with his captain’s request. Once Starsky was seated down in front of Dobey, the old man decided that a direct approach would be the most intelligent thing to do under the circumstances.
“I noticed that your mood is not so great today. Can I help you in something, Dave? Is it the baby? Don’t worry about him. Kids have a good and fast recovery. Before you notice it, he´ll be messing around and driving you crazy again.”
“What´s happening here, Cap? Why’s everybody so worried about Davy or my mood today?” Starsky said, angrier than he would like to sound.
“Do I need to justify my concern about any of my men, Starsky?” Dobey answered brusquely.
“I’m sorry, Cap. I didn’t mean it.” Starsky lowered his sight.
“You didn’t answer my question yet.”
“Everything’s all right, Cap. I’m just tired. I really need a good night’s sleep. That’s all.”
“No, Dave. That’s not the matter and we both know it. Listen, son. Hutch talked to me about…about your idea.”
“Yeah. About your wedding with that woman, Karen Chandler.”
“You’re right, Cap. I’m marrying Karen. And nothing or nobody will stop me from doing it.”
“And do you think that this is a smart decision, Dave? Have you thought about all the problems that this decision can give you? I mean… your career in the department? Or did you forget that Karen is waiting for a trial for robbing a bank?” Dobey asked seriously.
“I know everything. I know that my decision isn’t the easiest decision to make. What I don’t know is why all my friends, all the people that I love and in whom I trust, are suddenly against me…against my decision.”
“Maybe because your decision is a wrong one, Starsky? Maybe because your friends are seeing things more clearly than you right now? Or maybe because your friends really love you and don’t want to see you hurting yourself for nothing?”
“For nothing? If giving a good life and a family to that poor baby is not a hell of a good reason to do it, then God help me, because I don’t know what else can be a good reason!!”
“Your reason is an laudable one, son, but you can’t get mad at your friends just because they want the best for you, and they care about you.”
“Hutch talked to you, didn’t he?”
“No. I asked him about it. Though he tried to pretend that he didn’t understand what I was talking about. This talk hasn’t anything to do with Hutch. You are angry with him because he didn’t accept to be your best man, right? I can understand that. But he has his own reasons. And, as a matter of fact, I agree with those reasons. You won’t be happy, son. Believe me. I know what marriage is. And it can get pretty rough at times. Even if there’s sincere love. Can you picture what it can be if there’s not? A marriage is not a contract to help people. You must find love, trust, and loyalty there, and not some kind of exchange of favors. There’re other ways to help Karen and her son.” Dobey talked in his best father’s mode.
“You can do what you want with your life, but don´t forget that your decision will directly affect this baby’s life in the future. Think about it, son. We aren’t the enemy here. And, now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a meeting with the commissioner in fifteen minutes.” Dobey rose from his chair, letting Starsky to his thoughts.
Stan was still hiding at Charlotte’s place though, in the last few days, he went to the city more than once being careful to not be seen by the police- spending long hours sheltered among the night shadows watching Starsky´s apartment as a crazy anger was growing up dangerously in his heart.
“So you sold me to that damned cop, huh? And you got his protection and a place to live in his house as a return? You don´t know how wrong your decision was, honey. You betrayed me, and you´ll pay for that. I don´t care what will happen to me. I just want to see you one more time. To make sure that you pay a very high price for your betrayal. The highest price, Karen.”
The next day, Starsky, as he used to do, gave a ride to Hutch. The silence hung between them as was usual in the last few days. But, as soon as Starsky parked the car and Hutch was getting out, Starsky got a firm hold of Hutch’s wrist pulling him back. Hutch kept silent waiting for his friend’s next move.
“Hutch, I can’t stand it anymore. I was angry with you, ok? But we have to work together, take care of each other’s back, and I can’t keep going on this way…”
“It’s not my fault, Starsk. You are the one who shut me out of your life since the day I told you what I thought about your decision.”
“I know. And I’m sorry, ok? I just want to put an end to all this damned mess. Can I have my old buddy, my partner, back?” Starsky pleaded with his piercing eyes like a kid would do.
“I’m right here, buddy. As always, I am…it´s just that I can´t stand to see how you’re destroying your life because you’re driven just by compassion.”
“It´s okay, Starsk. It´s okay. I’ll respect your decision. Despite my feelings, I’ll be with you and, now, let’s work? Dobey will put us on traffic duty for the next two months if we are late one more time.” Hutch put his hand on Starsky´s shoulder. “Starsk, don´t ever doubt that I love you and I wish just the best for you, ok?”
“I know Hutch. Okay. Let’s go. I don´t like the idea at all of wearing a uniform and traffic duty for two months.” Starsky joked.
The day was spent uneventfully and, at night, at his place, Starsky decided to face a situation that was going to be pretty rough. So, picking up the receiver, he dialed his mother’s number in New York. After three rings, the soft voice of Rachel Starsky answered the phone.
“Hi, honey. How’re you doing?”
“Fine, Mom, everything’s okay. Listen, Mom…Mother, I have something very important to tell you. I´m going to get married. I thought that you would want to know.”
“You thought that I’d want to know? Well, son, that’s very thoughtful of you.” Rachel Starsky guessed immediately that something was wrong here.
“And tell me, Davie. Who is your fiancée? I know her?”
“No, Mom. You don't know her. She’s….well, she’s a woman.”
“Oh. Great, she’s a woman. I´m much calmer now, son. For a moment I thought that you were about to marry Hutch.” The sarcasm dripping in Rachel´s voice wasn’t missed by Starsky. ´Great one, Davey… What a lousy way to tell her about Karen.´
“Listen to me, David Michael Starsky. Stop mocking your old mother! Who’s the girl and since when is she your fiancée? Huh?” Starsky´s mother demanded firmly.
“Her name is Karen, Karen Chandler. Listen, Mom, this is not so easy to say.”
“Yeah, Davie. This is very easy to say. When will the birth be?”
“Oh, come on, Davie. You’re driving me nuts. Your baby’s birth, of course. Who else?”
“No, Mom. It's not that. Look mother, I got a lot of things to do right now. If you don't mind, I’ll fill you about the wedding date and all the details in a few days. Just tell me that you and Nick will come to our wedding.”
“I can't answer for your brother but, about me, of course, I’ll come to your wedding, David. It's not every day that my oldest son gets married.”
“Okay, Mom. Thanks. That is just what I needed to hear. I’ll call you in a couple of days, I promise. I love you.”
“I love you, too, Davie.” Starsky hung the receiver with a sigh, as Karen squeezed his shoulder, smiling tenderly.
As days were going by, Karen and Starsky were living a calm and harmonious life together. She was looking more calm and happy and even her lost beauty was reappearing again. She dyed her long hair again in her natural dark brown tone, and the colour was coming back to her cheeks. On the other hand, the relationship between Karen and Hutch was a little better for Starsky´s sake and, though their demeanor was still a little cool, they were doing their best to be nice to each other.
That night, Starsky came home carrying a huge parcel and another small one in his arms, placing them on the coffee table, and showing his 1000 watt smile.
“This is for you, Karen.”
“For me? But why? What’s this?”
“Just open it…I hope you like it.” Karen did as Starsky asked. In the box was a soft beige satin dress without sleeves studded with little glass pearls on the bodice and accompanied by a satin shawl in the same colour. In the other box, there were a pair of high-heeled shoes lined in beige satin as well.
“Dave…Dave, this is wonderful.” Tears were tarnishing Karen’s eyes as she looked the dress.
“Do you like it? I hope that it fits you.”
“I like it. Of course, I like it. It´s so beautiful. But you didn´t have to do this, Dave.”
“Yes, I did. You’re going to get married in a couple of weeks. And a bride must look beautiful. By the way, here is the most important thing.” He pulled out from his pocket jacket a little red velvet box, opened it, and Karen could see a pair of simple, beautiful gold rings.
“Oh, Dave, you’ll waste all your money with this weeding.” Karen encircled Starsky´s neck with her arms as she was crying.
“Hey, hey, Karen. No more tears. Okay?” Starsky gently pulled back Karen to look straight into her eyes. “On our wedding day, you´ll look beautiful and, later, everything will be fine. I know it. And, now, don´t cry, you’re scaring Davy.” The child was looking at the scene with a worried expression on his little face in seeing his mother weeping.
The bond between Karen, Davy, and Starsky was growing stronger day after day. No one could tell that they weren’t a real family. One night, the baby was deeply asleep. The night was cold and a light rain was falling. The wind was blowing gently against the window. Karen was watching TV and Starsky was staring at the street, lost in his thoughts. When Starsky turned to sit on the sofa, he saw that Karen was watching him carefully.
“Hey there…Something´s wrong?”
“No…Everything’s okay. I was wondering why a man like you, never married before but I just remembered that Hutch told me that there was a woman that you loved some years ago, and that she died after a week walking around with a bullet in her head. You never talked to me about it. Is it too painful, yet?”
“I guess so. And in some ways, it´s like …I don´t know. Maybe I´m afraid that if I´m talking about, it might happen again. That was a horrible time in my life and I just want to forget it, ok?”
“Ok. Though, if sometime you want to talk about it, I’ll be here for you.” Starsky smiled gratefully. “You know, David? Since the first time I met you, I could see that you have something special inside you. That you’re a good man. God has strange ways to show us our paths in life. Sometimes, great loss is needed, making so many things wrong, to understand that our happiness could be so much close than we thought.”
Both look in each others’ eyes in silence. It was obvious that something different was happening this night.
“Do you know what a gentle and special man you are? I think that you are irresistible and a very sexy guy, David Starsky.” Starsky smiled shyly but his eyes were filled with desire. He tried not to force things and not think about it, but he was feeling more attracted each passing day by Karen’s huge brown eyes, her soft and dark hair, and her body.
Karen bent forward and, with her eyes closed, she placed a gentle kiss on Starsky´s lips. Starsky held her by her arms and looked straight in her eyes. “Are you sure, Karen? I don’t want you to do anything that you don´t want to do just because you feel that you owe me something.”
“I’m sure, Dave. Never before have I been so sure about my feelings. Kiss me.” Starsky held her more tightly this time, pressing his body against hers and kissing her softly at first, more passionately later. Minutes later, passion moans and sweet whispers were the only sounds to be heard in the living room. After a first passionate meeting of their bodies, Starsky and Karen loved each other more slowly until they both fell asleep in each others’ arms.
Next morning, Starsky was looking truly happy and that happiness was showing in his shining eyes. He was also in a talkative mode. He talked about everything possible until Hutch asked him to stop at the gas station.
“Why do we have to stop here? The car’s tank is full of gas.”
“Because YOU seem be full of gas, too. And I can’t go on in this car with you talking and talking and talking. My head is already aching and the day is just beginning. Would you mind telling me what happened?”
“Hutch, you’re a weird person, you know? If I am sad and moody, you don’t like it, but if I am happy and talking, you don’t like that, either.”
“Oh, that’s it. You are happy. That’s the answer.”
“Ok. I will tell you something. Since the Gunther thing, I have never felt so happy. Now I can say that it was worth it. I mean… I’m feeling almost complete. And during those hard months in the past, I thought that I would never get a chance to reach my dreams.”
One pair of concerned baby blue eyes looked back at him.
“I know…I know. I’m aware that I’m just feeling a mix of attraction, tenderness, admiration, compassion for Karen, whatever you want to call it but I still feel good. In fact, I feel great!”
“Starsky. That’s not real love. And you know it. Or at least you should know it. Don´t forget that she is the one who has more to win in this situation. You have much more to lose. Your future together is only a big question mark.”
“I know that, Hutch. I´m not so dumb but, anyway, I´m feeling something stronger for her every day. Something that soon could be love, I guess. Yesterday Karen and I…we went to the synagogue. We’re getting married there. I don´t want our wedding to be just the cold signature on a document. Even if I can´t have you by my side as my best man.”
“Starsk. Listen, partner. I have something to tell you. If you still want it, I´d like to do it. I mean be your best man. My feelings about the whole thing haven’t changed at all, but I want to do it anyway.”
“Really?” Starsky’s smile lit all his face.
“Yes, Starsk. If you still want it.” Hutch smiled back.
When they arrived at the precinct, Dobey came out of his office with a serious expression on his face and, almost without letting Starsky have time to sit down at his desk, he said, “The IA department wants to talk with you, Starsky. And it will be better if you don´t make them wait. You’re already in enough hot water.” After he exchanged a quick look with Hutch, Starsky headed to the IA office. There Simonetti and Castlewood were already waiting for his visit, and looking at him with crafty smiles curving their lips.
“Simonetti, Dryden. It´s a true pleasure to see you again. How can I help you?” Starsky looked at both men with a sparkle of arrogance in his piercing eyes.
“We’ve heard that you’re going to get married, Starsky.”
“Well, news travels fast, I guess. Yeah. You’re right, Simonetti. I’m getting married in a few weeks.”
“And who is the lucky lady, if we can ask?”
“Come on, Dryden. Cut the crap!”
“STARSKY, don´t use that tone with me or…”
”Or what, Dryden? What’ll you do?”
“That’s enough, Starsky. We know that you´re marrying Karen Chandler. A bank thief pending trial, if my memory serves me.”
“Your memory is fine, Simonetti. And, now, do you mind telling me why you wanted to see me? Maybe to get an invitation to my wedding. I´m sorry, but I must tell you that in the synagogue the dog’s entrance is not allowed.”
“STARSKY!!!” Simonetti slammed the table with his palm. “Listen to me, Starsky. We know as well as you that to get married with that woman means that you can get free from the obligation of testifying against her. And that can be an act constitutive of a crime.”
“If you can charge me with some accusation, do it, Simonetti. And, if you can´t, then, just leave me alone.” Without any more words, Starsky stormed out the IA office slamming the door so hard that all the personnel who were on that floor could hear it.
More weeks passed and finally the trial day was near. Karen was increasingly nervous. The next day, she would marry Starsky and, just four days later, the trial would begin. And later, maybe she would go to prison, to spend some years far from her son. Far from that caring, kind, and special man who was stealing her heart slowly, day by day.
Trying to get a little calmer and following Hutch’s tip, she began to run a little each morning. Though, in starting her walk that morning, she had the strange feeling that someone was watching her. ‘Come on…you’re getting paranoid, Karen.’ Forgetting her strange sensation, Karen kept running. It was a wonderful spring day and a soft breeze was shaking the trees’ leaves. Then, when she turned a corner, there he was.
“Hi, honey. Glad to see you again.”
“Yeah, Karen. It´s me.”
“Stan, the police are looking for you.” Karen’s throat became dry as adrenaline shook her entire body.
“I know that, Karen. As I know that, sooner or later, in fact, sooner I guess, they’ll find me but, before, I have something to do.” Stan dragged a small gun out of his pocket and, grabbing Karen by her arm, got very close to her, aiming the gun against Karen’s body.
“No…No, Stan. Please.”
“Yeah, Karen. You betrayed me.” Stan’s eyes were filled by a frozen hate and his voice sounded low and cold. “And I told you already what would happen if you did that.” He looked quickly to both sides of the street that was still empty.
“Stan, listen to me. I didn´t betray you…”
“Yeah, honey. You did. And we both know that now is the moment for the payback.”
Starsky was ready to go to the precinct and was just having some fun with Davy while waiting for Karen who would be back any minute from her running. Hutch would come to give him his usual ride to the precinct, too. Then, Starsky heard the noise of a shot tearing the calm morning air.
“Sit tight and don´t move, Davy.” Leaving the baby on the floor, surrounded by his toys, Starsky raced to the door with a feeling of panic battering his stomach. When he opened it, he saw Karen lying on the opposite sidewalk. He ran, kneeling down and holding her softly, placing her head over his legs as a blood spot was spreading on her chest. At that moment, Hutch was parking the LTD and calling for an ambulance and a police unit before running down the street. Another shot. Silence. Minutes that seemed like hours to Starsky. Then, Hutch came back leading a cuffed guy settling him safely in his car’s back seat, before approaching his friend. Karen was badly wounded and, as a matter of fact, there was nothing that any doctor could do to help her. Starsky was lost in his pain. Some onlookers were approaching the scene while siren sounds became closer.
A black and white arrived and the police officers began to shout out their commands to keep the people as far back as possible from the dying woman and the paramedics.
Hutch tried to talk to Starsky, who was just looking at Karen whispering soothing words to her.
She, using her last breaths, managed to say, “Dave….tomorrow could have been a new beginning. For me. For us. Now…all is over. Take care of Davy. Please take care of my baby. He needs you. Don’t allow his grandparents to have my son. He wouldn’t be happy with them…I love you, Dave. It´s too late but now I know that I love you.” Karen exhaled a last and deep breath as her body became tense before going limp in Starsky´s arms. Her hand lost its handle on Starsky’s sleeve. She was dead.
Starsky was frozen, unable to move. Unable to let her go from his lap as Hutch closed her eyes. The paramedic nodded, confirming the obvious. Karen was gone. And with her, Starsky´s happiness was gone, too.
“Starsk…She’s gone…She’s gone, buddy.” Suddenly, Hutch noticed that someone was missing.
“Starsk, where’s Davy?” Tears were running freely down Starsky´s cheeks. But he seemed to be miles away, just lovingly fingering Karen’s brown hair, and unable to answer.
“Please check the apartment. There’s a baby in there!” Hutch asked one of the police officers.
“Starsk, let the paramedics take care of Karen now. She’s gone. There’s nothing you can do to help her…just let them do their job.” Gently, Hutch pulled out Starsky´s arms to release Karen’s corpse from his hold.
Hutch lifted the limp body of Starsky grabbing him by his shoulders to get him into the apartment and down on the sofa. The officer was on the floor with Davy. The baby was playing, totally unaware of his tragedy as Starsky remained unmoving and silent. Tears were the only sign of life in his body that, at that moment, was just an empty shell….
The next days were rough beyond words to Starsky. Karen’s funeral in New York, where she was buried beside Rick’s tomb, was almost unbearable, and everything was even worse for him because, on that trip, he had to take Davy to his grandparents’ house as well. The social services wanted the child with his only relatives and Starsky knew perfectly well that he didn´t have any chance to get Davy´s custody since he wasn’t even his mother’s husband. Despite Hutch’s advice that it wasn’t a good idea, he wanted to take the baby to his grandparents on his own. He’d like to meet the people that were going to take care of him, the people that would keep Davy apart from him forever. So, in the saddest travels of his life and with Hutch always by his side, he was going to Karen’s funeral and to take Davy to his grandparents’ house later. They were a rich couple in their middle 60s- chilly and arrogant who didn´t hesitate to show their dislike towards Karen and, even in a very polite way, towards Starsky, showing clear enough that they weren’t going to let unknown people going often into their house.
The moment when Starsky was leaving the house with Hutch surrounding his shoulders with a protective arm, without a backward look but hearing Davy’s weeps behind them, Hutch thought Starsky, overwhelmed by the last hour’s tension, would break down at any moment.
Once back at home, he had to collect Karen’s few belongings, including the wedding dress and rings. Starsky packaged carefully all her stuff to donate it to some charity organization. Edith Dobey would take care of that matter. Hutch offered his help to do it, but Starsky refused it firmly and began that painful work while tears were falling freely down his cheeks. Hutch left Starsky alone for awhile, thinking that maybe that was his way to deal with his painful lost.
Hutch was feeling his own sadness, too, sharing Starsky´s sorrow. He was sure that the whole matter wouldn’t have a happy ending, but he never thought that something so terrible would happen. He felt totally helpless and to be by Starsky´s side all the time seemed the only way to be useful
‘God, why did his happiness have to end in such a terrible way … He doesn’t deserve it. He doesn’t deserve it at all…’
Along the next couple of weeks, Hutch did his best to help Starsky to get out of the hole of depression that was swallowing him, though at times Starsky wasn’t make things easy at all.
“Come on, Hutch. Don´t try to convince me that you are sorry about Karen’s death. We didn´t get married. I won’t be Davy´s father. Just as you wanted. Right?”
“STARSKY!” Hutch shouted out with his eyes on fire from anger.
“That was something over the top even for my endless patience! How dare you say that to me something so paltry! Okay, partner. If you want to be alone, you’re doing a hell of a good job to get it!” Hutch was already on his way to the door when Starsky, in a couple of strides, reached him seizing his arm tightly.
“I´m sorry, Hutch. I´m very sorry. I don’t mean something so horrible. I know that you didn´t want this. I think that I´m going mad. Please, Hutch, forgive me. Don´t leave me. Please…”
Of course, Hutch understood and forgave Starsky, just wishing to find the way to drag him out of his affliction but, at that moment, that seemed something too remote to happen. All he could do was hug his friend giving him all his support and love, as he did in other moments of sadness in Starsky´s life.
Starsky spent a lot of days eating and sleeping just what he needed to not get sick and, even drinking too much at times. His lost weight began to be visible, as dark shadows were showing under his blue eyes. It was a lot of nights that Hutch crashed exhausted on Starsky´s couch after talking with him and hearing his sadness in the middle of endless and desperate nights. Davy and Karen were in each one of Starsky´s thoughts and dreams, and his heart broke thinking how very unhappy the little child must feel, growing up with his grandparents.
“Come on, Starsk. Maybe some day you´ll see Davy again.”
“When Hutch? In many years when those rabbles will have done a hell of a brainwashing to him, so good that he´ll spit at my face just because I´m Jewish? DAMNIT, HUTCH! Karen didn’t want Davy to live with his grandparents. She asked me not to let this happen and look what I did. Take the child there myself.”
“You couldn’t do any other thing, Starsk. They are his only relatives, and they have legal rights over the child.”
“Yeah. They have the legal right to make Davy a sad child who will grow up without even a pinch of love. How revolting!” Starsky got to his feet heading to the front door.
“If you don´t mind, I need to take a walk and be alone for a while, Hutch.” Starsky disappeared out the door as Hutch stayed sitting down on his couch worrying and rubbing his face.
Hutch was unable to find any way to help Starsky despite all his attempts to do it. As time went by, Starsky did his best to hide his sadness and to go ahead with his life, especially when Hutch had to make a short trip to Duluth to attend a relative’s funeral. That time, Hutch asked Starsky to stay in Bay City, since he thought that a funeral and seeing aching people was the last thing that his friend needed at that moment. Starsky agreed, assuring Hutch that he would be fine. Two days later, and a little worried to leave Starsky alone, Hutch was on his way to Duluth.
After his trip to Duluth, a Friday night, roughly two months after Karen’s death Hutch said nonchalantly to one moody-looking Starsky that was sitting down in his couch apparently watching the tube.
“Get some clothes into a traveling bag, Starsk. We’re taking a plane tomorrow morning.”
“Leave me alone, Hutch. I´m not in a mood to jokes.”
“Listen, Starsk. Tomorrow at nine o’clock in the morning, I’m taking a plane to New York and you´ll be with me. Already I got the tickets”
“You did what?” Starsky, breathing deeply got to his feet facing Hutch “Listen Hutch. I’m not taking any fucking plane to anywhere. Is that clear? And, now, if you don´t mind, I´m tired. I´m going to bed. If you want to stay here and eat something, help yourself.” Starsky headed to his bed room, followed by Hutch who grabbed his arm begging,
“THAT´S ENOUGH, HUTCH!” Starsky yelled out, pulling his arm from Hutch’s grasp with a sharp jerk. “Maybe you don´t see it but, right now, I´m not in the mood to take a pleasure travel, to see my mother, or Nick, or anybody for that matter, so just leave me alone!”
“Humor me, Starsky. Please. I need to go to New York and I want you to come there with me. Please.”
Starsky sighed, looking deeply into Hutch eyes. “Why? Huh? Why in hell I must go with you to New York? I thought you were an enough grow up guy how to travel alone, for God sake! What´s the matter with you, Hutch?”
“Don´t ask partner. Please. Just come with me. Once then, you´ll understand.”
“Okay, Hutch. Okay. You win. I´ll go with you, just ´cause I´m too tired to argue, but I´d like to know what’s going on, if you don´t mind.”
“Once in New York, you´ll see. And, now, I can fix you something to eat if you want.”
“No, Hutch. I´m not hungry. I’m going to bed. Good-night.”
“Good-night, Gordo.” Hutch said, seeing Starsky heading to his bed room with that tired steps that lately did become a characteristic in his usually energetic partner.
Next morning they both made their way to the airport in silence. In fact, along the entire flight, Starsky hardly said a word. Some hours later, they were in New York, and Hutch was driving a rental car to the city.
“Where the hell are we going, Hutch?” a moody Starsky asked to his friend.
“Wait a little more, Starsk. We’re almost there.” Starsky sighed, looking reluctantly out the car window. Roughly five minutes later, Hutch pulled in front of a small but beautiful house in a calm and beautiful neighborhood.
“Here we are.” Hutch got out of the car followed by Starsky. They both walked across a well cared for yard up to the front door and Hutch rang the bell.
“Really, Hutch, I don´t know why I´m not going right back to the airport and going back home. What the hell am I doing here?” At that moment, a young blonde woman with a shining smile opened the door.
“Hi, Ken. We’ve been waiting for you. You must be Dave, I guess. I´m Sarah.” The woman reached out her hand to shake Starsky´s not losing her charming smile at all. “Come in.”
She leaded them to the living room, a cozy place where a Golden Retriever was sitting down on the carpet looking calmly at the newcomers and softly wagging his tail.
“He´s Tom…A good guy,” Sarah said caressing the dog’s head.
Starsky looked at the dog but, at that moment, something else attracted his attention. There, spread all over the carpet, were some toys.
“Sit down, please. Can I offer you something to drink? Some coffee, maybe?” Sarah asked politely. Hutch refused the invitation, but Starsky was still staring at one of the toys that were on the floor. It were Davy’s plastic cubes. He was absolutely sure of that. At that moment, steps could be heard as a man was coming into the living room with a little child in his arms.
“Ken, Dave. I want to introduce you my husband Zach. And you already know Davy.”
From that moment Starsky lost awareness of anything that was happening around him. He only knew that Davy, looking healthy and happy, was standing in front of him as he knelt down softly holding the little child in his arms, trying to hold his tears back, while Hutch, Sarah, and Zach were looking on, speechless by emotion.
A while later, while all of them were sitting around the table, sharing a delicious lunch, Sarah and Zach told Starsky that Davy´s grandparents gave him up for adoption since they felt incapable of taking care of a child at their age. For Sarah and Zach, the arrival of the baby was a true blessing, and, Starsky, still deeply moved, could notice how much love the child was getting from his new parents.
Sarah and Zach was a young, nice couple in their middle 30s that were giving lots of love and care to the little boy.
“Ken found us some days ago and told us the child’s story and how much you were missing him,” Sarah explained to Starsky. “We don’t have any objection to you seeing Davy. As a matter of fact, we’d be pleased if you came here to see him every time you come back to New York. I guess that in some way, this baby is like your son, too…”
Starsky enjoyed a magical weekend in New York, spending as much time as possible with Davy; putting the baby to bed and reading a tale to him and going for a walk in the park with his parents and Hutch on Sunday morning.
When the weekend was over and it was time to go back home, he was feeling a little sad, though, now, he knew that Davy would be a happy child growing up surrounded by Sarah and Zach’s love. Besides, he would see the child pretty often since the young couple assured him that he would be always welcome there and that they were hoping to see him again soon.
Back in the plane, on their return to Bay City, Starsky was a new man, able to smile again after months of sadness.
“Thanks, Hutch. I owe you one.”
“You’re welcome, Starsk. Any time.”
“Sarah and Zach are really good folk, huh? And they want me to be Uncle Dave. I’ll be able to be with Davy a lot, on his birthdays, for Christmas. I can call him, give him presents...”
“Sure thing Starsky. Spoiling him rotten, despite his parents´ best intentions. God! Those poor people don´t know what kind of trouble they are getting into. They now have two kids to worry about,” Hutch joked.
“They are a terrific couple, Hutch aren´t they?” Starsky was looking like an enthusiastic kid.
“Yeah. And Davy will be very happy growing up with them. You can bet on it, Starsk.”
“Tell me something, Blondie. How did you do it? I mean, how did you find Sarah and Zach?”
“Oh, no. No way, Starsk. That was police work. If I tell you all my professional secrets, then you´ll know as much as I know, and don´t forget that I have to preserve the legend that I am a better cop than you are.” Starsky gently punched Hutch’s arm as a sudden realization came to his mind.
“Wait. Wait a minute, Blondie. Your travel to Duluth? Your Aunt Jane’s funeral? She´s alive and you made that up so you could meet Sarah and Zach in New York, right? And, because of that, you didn´t want me to go with you?”
“Well. As a matter of fact, if I do have an Aunt Jane, nobody told me about her yet.” Hutch answered with a huge smile on his face.
“Know something, Kenneth Hutchinson? You really pulled one over on me this time.”
Looking at the clouds from the plane’s small window and becoming serious again, Starsky added.
“Now, I can be sure, Hutch. Finally, I know that Karen is resting in peace.”
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