Musings from "The Shootout"


I haven't been this tired in a long, long time. Sleep'll be long in coming, though. I'm not going anywhere until he's out of surgery. It must be, what?, 4 A.M. by now? You'd think I would have heard something. They should have been done a half hour ago unless... unless something went wrong.

Oh, come on now Hutchinson, ease up. It isn't like this is the first time you or Starsky have taken a bullet. Or two. But it is the first time one of us took it in the back. And across his hard head. If the one had been any closer to his spine...

Okay, okay, don't go borrowing trouble. It finds us easy enough as it is. I guess the stress is getting to me because I've got one heckofa migraine started right behind my eyes. Always starts back there and works it's way up `til it feels like my head's going to implode.

I'm reaching up to rub my eyes when I notice my hands seem to have a constant tremor. Steady as a rock in the restaurant. But not now. Delayed stress reaction. Funny in a morbid kind of way. It's when I look closer though that I notice the blood.

Not mine. His.

It's soaked into my shirt and pant leg a bit too. But it's the blood on my fingers that hold my gaze. Fascinate me. My hands are good size and rough. Calluses in a couple spots from the Magnum. My finger tips have deep crevices so that the skin that forms my finger prints stand out in stark relief to the rust colored blood that's dried there.

My partner's blood.

His blood seeped into the fine crevices there and dried. Some of it has rubbed or flaked off onto release papers and countless coffee cups. But some of it stubbornly stuck with me, a shadow to the genetic makeup that is uniquely mine.

They say that no two people have the exact same fingerprints. These lines on my fingers are unique to me, singling me out from the rest of humanity. But flooding the minuscule valleys there is my partner's blood... his, what is it the poet’s call it? "Life-force". The blood that flowed from his heart, throughout his being and into my hands. The same way his life surrounds what is uniquely me. Changing me. Filling me. Completing me.

He's as much a part of what makes up "me" as my own fingerprints.

The enormity of that thought releases the tears that have been hiding behind my eyes and I raise my trembling hands the rest of the way to my face. Silent tears mixing with silent blood. I hardly heard the surgeon's approach.

"Detective Hutchinson?"



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