The fifth note
Hutch read the message in the typewriter. What’s this supposed to mean? Where are you? Where’d you go? Why did Starsky write such an extensive letter when he hadn’t spoken at all in days? The tone of it was bad. Very bad. It was too dark to Hutch’s liking.
He grabbed his car keys and ran outside. Starsky couldn’t be too far away – Hutch had been out to do some shopping and Starsky had been asleep on the couch when he left, about forty minutes ago. The Tomato was parked next to his apartment so he must be on foot or maybe he’d taken a cab.
But where was he? Where did he go?
Hutch stood with running engine next to the curb, thinking deeply. Then he hit the gas and drove to the Pits first. He jumped out, ran in, hoping very much to find his friend there, but only a cousin of Huggy’s was at work. No, he told Hutch, Huggy was away for a couple of days to a wedding. No, he hadn’t seen anyone matching Hutch’s description. Besides, he knew who Starsky was, and he hadn’t been in. Not today, not in the past week either.
Hutch thanked him and ran outside, back to his car. Where to now? He drummed with his fingers on the steering wheel, nervously thinking about what to do next. He looked left, right, left again… then his eye caught a seagull. It was as if that bird beckoned him towards the beach.
He parked his car at the first parking lot that he ran into. Behind it, a wooden staircase led up the dunes and the beach and sea lying behind it. Hutch took the stairs three at a time and didn’t rest until he’d reached the top. He stood there, his gaze sliding over the sandy beach and the sea.
Instinct told him he was going to find Starsky here, but it didn’t tell him where or in what condition… Would he be sitting at the sea side or would he be lying in the surf? Playing with the sand, making it run through his fingers or would the waves play with him, moving him softly to and fro?
Hutch walked hastily down the beach, scanning it almost frantically, his light blue eyes rolling from one side to the other. He pushed away thoughts that forced themselves in his mind. He didn’t want to think about them, he wasn’t ready to give in to that. Just when he thought he was wrong and he couldn’t find him, he spotted him.
There he was, sitting in the wet part of the sand.
His jacket and shirt were somewhere behind him, a wet pile of clothes, shoes and socks. He just wore his jeans and they were soaking wet.
Hutch ran to him, checked in his tracks and made sure he wouldn’t startle his partner. He saw in the naked shoulders of his friend that he had caught Hutch approaching.
Then he saw that Starsky had written something in the sand.
He didn’t look up until Hutch wrapped his coat around his shoulders, sat down next to him and put a finger below Starsky’s chin. He made him look at him.
“I don’t know WHY,” Hutch said slowly. “But I’m here. Right here. Not leaving you.”
Starsky’s eyes filled with tears. He looked away and wrote in the sand,
“I know,” Hutch nodded. He wrote, “You’re NOT alone.”
Starsky shivered. He was cold - there were goose bumps on his skin.
"Don't despair. I'll make it work. We'll learn sign language together. We're going to go to the best specialists."
Won't work, Starsky's eyes said as he slowly shook his head. “Wanna go home,” he sobbed with a broken, unrecognisable voice.
“Come here, you idiot,” Hutch said and pulled his friend close in an embrace. Then he put his hands around Starsky’s face and made sure the smaller man could see him. “What were you going to do, hey? Do something foolish? Like drowning yourself? Don’t think I will ever let you, buddy. You’re my pal and I’m going to help you. I know you know I will. So stop this, okay? Me and thee, right?”
Although Starsky couldn’t hear him, he understood the load of the words and slowly nodded. The beat look in his eyes wasn’t gone yet, but Hutch wanted to believe there was a flicker of hope again.
“Come on, on your feet.”
Starsky put his hand on Hutch's arm. His fingers were still freezing cold.
“Yeah?” He looked at Starsky, “What?”
To the Last Note