Seemed to Be a Good Idea: A Missing Scene from ACFS
Sue Bellamy confirmed what Starsky feared more than them not finding out what was in that hypo. The man Hutch just chased up the stairs had a gun. Hutch had told him to stay put, but he couldn’t do that. Hutch was in trouble. This time, he wouldn’t shoot the bad guy, maybe not even to save his life.
Starsky’s vision improved enough for him to stop Vic Bellamy from killing his partner. A stunned Hutch checked to be sure the criminal was dead. An icy hand held his heart in its grasp as he walked across the roof to where Starsky stood, panting, sweating, and looking frighteningly near the end. Laboring for every breath, Starsky looked back at him. Hutch’s face clearly showed his despair over the fact that Starsky had just killed the only person who had the information that would save him. When Hutch asked him why he did it, the answer was completely obvious to Starsky. To save your life.
“Seemed to be a good idea at the time,” Starsky replied. The mixture of love, fear, desperation, and helplessness on Hutch’s face was the last thing Starsky’s wavering vision saw as darkness swooped in on him and he slowly collapsed. As he blacked out, he vaguely felt Hutch’s arms take his weight and ease him to the ground.
Hutch supported his unconscious partner for a few moments while he decided what to do. Call an ambulance? Take him myself? Starsky’s ashen color, wheezing, and his racing heartbeat made the decision.
“Starsk?” Hutch tried to rouse him without success. “I’ve got to get you off this roof, can you come around for me?” He was afraid to leave Starsky to go for help. What if he stops breathing? Hutch knew it wouldn’t be easy to carry his partner down the narrow staircase, but he had no choice. He heard sirens in the distance and said a prayer that someone had called the cops when the bullets started flying. Trying to be as gentle as he could, he picked Starsky up into a fireman’s carry and started down the stairs.
Two uniformed officers met Hutch about halfway down the steps, their guns drawn. The sight of a man whose face they couldn’t quite make out and carrying what looked like a body down the stairs drew an immediate reaction.
“Police. Freeze!” Allen Duncan shouted.
Hutch didn’t have time for this. He stopped when he heard the officer’s gun cocked. “Detective Ken Hutchinson,” he said. “I need to get my partner to the hospital.”
“You have any ID?”
Hutch rolled his eyes. “I’m sorry, but my hands are kind of full right now. I can’t reach my badge.” Right then, Starsky moaned and moved a little.
Duncan was a recent transfer from another precinct and he didn’t know Hutch. His partner knew him, though, and he recognized the sarcasm immediately, even if he couldn’t see the face.
“It’s all right, Allen,” Officer George Miller said. “He’s telling the truth.”
Both officers put their guns away and moved in to help. Miller helped Hutch shift Starsky around so he could help him get downstairs. “I’ll call an ambulance,” Duncan said.
“No,” Hutch said emphatically. “I’m taking him in the Torino.”
“Shit, what happened?” Miller asked. He had heard something through the grapevine about Starsky, but he was alarmed to see just how bad the man looked.
“Long story. Vic Bellamy’s body is on the roof. Starsky took him out before he could waste me.”
“I’ll call it in,” Duncan said. He ran back down the stairs to the squad car. Hutch and Miller worked as quickly as they could to get Starsky down to the street. He was still unconscious and hadn’t made a sound when they switched his position.
When they got to the car, Hutch opened the passenger door and made a move to put Starsky in the front seat. Duncan had just finished reporting the shooting and was moving toward them.
Miller stopped moving and pulled back a little to get Hutch’s attention. “Wait a minute. You can’t drive with him like this.” He could see how hard every breath was for Starsky and his color was bad.
“I have to, now come on!”
“No, let’s put him in the back. You can sit with him and I’ll drive.”
Hutch hesitated a heartbeat, but could see the logic in the suggestion. “Backup on the way?” he asked Duncan, who was now standing behind Miller.
“Cavalry’s coming. I’ll stay with the crime scene and follow you to the hospital. Where you going, Memorial?”
“No, Receiving. Starsky’s doc is waiting for us.”
The two men carefully put Starsky into the back of the car and Hutch climbed in after him. He tossed the keys to Miller, and then he pulled Starsky’s head into his lap. His partner’s breathing was worse than ever and his pulse felt thready under Hutch’s probing fingers. Starsky was so hot, Hutch was sure he’d lost the ability to regulate his body temperature.
Miller had the Mars light on and the siren blaring. He spared a glance behind his shoulder and saw the fear on Hutch’s face, who said only one thing to his temporary chauffeur. “Floor it.”
Miller nodded and hit the gas hard. Luckily, there wasn't much traffic this time of night and he didn't have to do much swerving. The sounds from the back seat -- Starsky's harsh, labored breathing, Hutch's whispered and mostly unintelligible words of encouragement and comfort, calm and soothing in spite of the terror he had seen on the man's face -- spurred him on. "How's he doing?" he asked, glancing briefly in the rear-view mirror.
"Just hurry," was all Hutch said, but his eyes when he raised them to meet Miller's in the mirror told him all he needed to know.
Receiving was all the way across town from the cheap hotel where Vic Bellamy and his whiny wife lived, and as the minutes ticked by, Hutch's heart beat faster with impatience. He knew Miller was doing all he could, but he was sick with dread that it wouldn't be fast enough.
Starsky was completely out of it, not responding to Hutch's voice at all. He was limp and heavy and hot in Hutch's lap, the sweat pouring off his face and hair and dampening Hutch's legs, even through his pants.
"Stick with me, buddy, for God's sake," Hutch said, his voice trembling in spite of himself. He sensed rather than saw Miller's glance in the mirror and, more harshly than he meant to, he snapped, "Keep your eyes on the road, dammit!" Miller didn't reply, and Hutch spared a moment to regret taking his fear and frustration out on him. It wasn't his fault. "Sorry," he added.
"'S okay," Miller said. "Hang on. Tight corner."
Hutch obeyed and Miller squealed around a corner on two wheels, barely braking in his rush to get Starsky to help.
"Okay back there?"
"Yeah." Hutch glanced out the window to orient himself and was dismayed to see they were still a good fifteen or twenty minutes from Receiving, even at this speed. But when he looked back down at Starsky, his heart stood still.
Starsky wasn't breathing.
"Holy Christ!" Hutch lifted him higher on his lap. "Starsk! Starsky!"
"What?" Miller called back.
"He's not breathing! Jesus Christ!" Hutch squirmed out from under his partner and knelt on the floorboard, twisting his body into a knot to fit, so that he could begin CPR. Vaguely, he heard Miller reciting a prayer in the front seat as he tipped Starsky's head back and began mouth-to-mouth resuscitation on him, and one part of his mind joined Miller's prayer in spirit if not in words. "Come on, Starsk. Come on!" he panted when he stopped to compress his chest again.
"Almost there, Hutch!" Miller said, his voice shaking now, too. "Couple more minutes."
Hutch couldn't spare breath or will to answer; he was breathing for Starsky again, desperately working, afraid to let up even for a second. Just as Miller squealed to a stop outside the emergency room doors of Receiving and laid on the horn to bring help outside, Starsky drew a breath on his own: shallow, rattling, but on his own.
"Thank God," Miller said, and whether he meant that Starsky was breathing or that orderlies had arrived with a stretcher, Hutch didn't know. Miller had already scrambled out of the car and pulled the front seat back, and between them, they lifted Starsky out and onto the stretcher. Hutch gave the orderlies Starsky's doctor's name and they hurried inside, Hutch running alongside the stretcher, keeping his hand reassuringly on Starsky's arm. Starsky still hadn't regained consciousness.
"Stay here," the orderly told Hutch as they shoved their way past the doors into a treatment room.
Hutch opened his mouth to argue, but the doors had already swung shut and through the glass he could see Dr. Franklin shouting orders to nurses and beginning his examination of Starsky.
All he could do now was wait and pray.