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Burning Candles

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The boy crouched low to get eye level with his father’s face. Tears streamed down as he pounded small fists on the ground. “Get up, pop! Get up!” But the man could only lay there as his blood seeped through his uniform shirt and ran down the driveway in a black river.
Davey had been waiting on the front steps of their house for almost an hour before he finally saw his pop come down the street, the familiar swagger in his step. The sedan that came alongside Officer Starsky had been waiting, too. Three gun shots that sounded like Uncle Sol’s Thunderbird backfiring took him down practically at Davey’s feet.
Starsky jolted upright in bed, a cold knot twisting his gut. He spent the rest of the night staring at the TV test pattern. And the next night. Once was enough to live through any nightmare. Let Hutch think his infatuation with the sexy stewardess was making him burn his candle at both ends. The stewardess was busy washing her hair. If his partner knew the real reason for his lost sleep he’d request they be reassigned in a New York minute.
*******
The boy’s eyes lit up as Starsky told how his dad took down the bad guys with his bare hands. For a boy’s father to be his hero was only natural. Watching him take a fall had been a shattering blow.
Hutch loved seeing his partner’s inner child come out. He had had so little time to be a child, after all. Starsky’s sleeplessness over the last few days had been a concern. His partner knew better than to let a passing fancy distract him from a case. It was only when Hutch saw the Yahrzeit candle set out on Starsky’s coffee table that he understood.