“Shit! What the hell?”
Starsky looked at Hutch who glanced at him then turned his attention to the scene in front of them.
“Let’s see if we can avert the massacre that’s about to happen.”
Both men got out of the Torino and walked toward the officer in charge, being sure to stay low so as to not make targets of their bodies. They each noted officers crouched behind about ten police cars. All had their guns drawn and sighted on the sidewalk that was encircled by the cars.
A large crowd had gathered on the opposite sidewalk, including a camera crew from a local news station.
“What a mess.” Hutch commented. Starsky just nodded and continued working his way to the OIC.
“Captain Olsen. What’s the situation?”
The Captain nodded to both detectives. “She’s been threatening to shoot him for about thirty minutes. We can’t get a shot at her because he’s in the way and she never moves out from behind him.”
“What’s her reason?”
“He’s her step-father and apparently has always beaten on her. Today, he stepped it up to sexual assault.”
The guys caught a glimpse of her face. It was covered with dark purple bruises. Her lips were split and blood still ran down her chin.
“How about we shoot HIM?” Starsky asked. Hutch nodded his agreement.
Hutch asked, “Anyone try talking to her?”
“Yeah. She swears she’ll shoot anyone who comes close.”
Starsky and Hutch looked at each other. They both nodded and took off their jackets. They each pulled off their holsters, handing them to Captain Olsen.
“What are you two doing?”
“With respect, Sir. We’re going to go talk to her.” Starsky answered.
“She’ll shoot you!”
“We’re gonna have to take that chance, Captain. Tell your men to stand down. All those guns pointing at her have to be making her more nervous.”
The Captain used his radio to tell his men to keep their weapons hidden… for now.
“If she shoots one of you, all bets are off.”
They nodded their understanding.
“Do you know her name?”
They looked at each other and both knew instantly what they would say to the gun-wielding young girl.
Hutch called out to her. “My partner and I want to talk to you. We are unarmed and mean you no harm. We just want to talk. We’re gonna step out now. We only want to talk to you.”
He and Starsky slowly and carefully moved out from behind the car. They had their hands raised. They both turned so she could see they had no weapons tucked in their belts at their backs. They turned back, each move slow and precise.
“Alice, my name is Dave and this is my partner, Ken. We have a friend named Alice and we’d like to talk to you about her. I promise you, we only want to talk. We’ll come only as close as you’re comfortable with.”
They both took a step closer to her, and stopped. She had shifted and held her gun pointing at them.
Hutch saw an officer on the other side of where they were pull his gun up and aim it at the girl.
“Keep your gun down!” He yelled to the officer.
The girl quickly looked that way to see the officer drop his gun down. She spun back around, expecting to see the two men rushing her. Instead they were still standing where they had been.
“We want to talk to you. That’s all. We don’t want anyone hurt. We won’t break our promise to you.” Hutch gently said.
When she nodded, they both stepped another step closer. The nearer they came, the more they could see the bruising, not only on her face, but on her arms and around her wrists. She was wearing a long skirt so they couldn’t see her legs, but each could envision the bruises that would be evident there too.
They continued to take slow, sure steps until she brought up the gun she was holding. They stopped,
keeping their hands in the air. Hutch nodded at her. “We’ll stay right here, unless you want us to take him off your hands.”
He indicated the man who was bound, gagged and blindfolded in front of her.
“NO!” She tightened her hold on the rope she had placed around his throat. This caused him to gag. She let up on the rope but didn’t let it go.
“I’m going to reach into my back pocket for my handcuffs.” Hutch did so, then turned sideways with his back to Starsky. He put his hands behind his back and told Starsky to cuff him.
Starsky wasn’t sure he wanted to do this, but he trusted Hutch, so he snapped the cuffs on his wrists.
“Tighten them, Starsk.”
Again, Starsky complied with Hutch’s wishes.
Hutch turned his back to the young woman and pulled at the cuffs. They were firmly in place and not going to be loosened without the key.
“Starsk, take off your belt. Put it around my neck, so she can have something to hold me in place.”
Starsky hesitated but did as his partner asked. “Hope my pants don’t fall down.”
“They’re painted on, no way will they fall.”
Both men chuckled which confused the girl. Were they crazy? She had a gun and was going to shoot the man who had hurt her so badly. She knew she would die after, but it would be worth it.
“Me, for him.” He nodded at the man. “A detective would make a much better hostage than a rapist, child molester.”
“It’s okay, Starsky. I’ll be okay. And if not, you have to promise to take care of all my plants.” Hutch smiled at her as he said this. “He hates my plants!”
“Yeah, I’ll take care of them, until I can place them in loving homes.”
Hutch laughed. He knew that would be Starsky’s response.
“So, how about a hostage exchange? Me for him. My partner will take him, arrest him and hold him until you tell me what happened. Then we’ll book him and press charges against him. As many as we can so he’ll spend the rest of his life in jail.”
Starsky answered her, “Really. We both promise. And we don’t break our promises.”
She looked undecided. She looked from the piece of shit who had hurt her so many times and had raped her, to the blond detective standing so close, handcuffed, willing to become her hostage.
“How what?” Hutch asked.
“If I let him go, they might shoot me.” She indicated the police surrounding where she stood on the sidewalk.
“I’m going to step up on the sidewalk. I’ll turn my back to you and slide between you and this… slime. My partner will take him and you’ll have me as a shield.”
When she nodded, Hutch glanced at Starsky. Thoughts were exchanged without a word being spoken.
Starsky nodded his understanding as Hutch stepped up on the sidewalk.
Hutch moved closer to the girl, keeping his back to her as much as possible. When he was close enough, he slid his shoulder between the girl and the man. “Take the end of the belt.” He told her. When she had the belt in her hand, Hutch told Starsky to come and get the man.
Starsky walked up and grabbed the man by his shirt, jerking him forward. The girl turned loose of the rope around his neck just in time. Hutch slid in front of her. “Good job. Can we move over by that bench?” You can sit and it’ll be a better place for you. The bushes will shield you better.”
She glanced over and realized he was right. It would be a safer place to be. “Yes.”
“Stay right behind me and stay close.” Hutch still wasn’t sure Captain Olsen had all his officers under control. He wanted to be sure the girl was safe.
When they reached the bench, she sat down, keeping the end of the belt in her hand. She let out a small sigh as her legs felt the relief of not standing any more.
“Alice? My name is Ken, but most call me ‘Hutch’. My partner and I have a friend named Alice. We call her ‘Sweet Alice.’ She’s… ah…”
“She was. She’s a teacher now. We helped her get her life straightened out. She was once as desperate as you are now. She’d been worked over by her pimp. And she’d been sexually assaulted by him. She had a knife and was about to cut his throat when my partner and I arrived at the scene.
“We talked to her. Asked her what happened. We promised to listen to her, to believe her and to help her. Just like my partner and I are doing for you. We set her up with people who could help her. People who cared. They got her into school and stood by her. Sweet Alice loved kids, and she’s a terrific teacher.”
“I… I love kids too. But who’d want me teachin’ their kids?”
“No one will ever know what happened here today. Unless you tell someone, no one will know. I promise you.”
“He… he hurt me. Told me I was trash. Told me he was gonna sell me to some man who bought young girls and made them whore for him.”
“Did he mention any names, Alice?”
“Yeah. A couple. Jacob Sherrow and Brent Hill. Said he’d sold a lot of girls to them. Said I’d learn to love it in time.”
Hutch heard a small sob behind him. “Alice. The key to the cuffs is in my hand. Will you unlock them so I can hold you? I promise, that’s all I want to do is to hold you. When was the last time you had a hug, huh?”
He felt her take the key from his hand and felt the cuffs release. He carefully turned and opened his arms to her. She slid into his embrace and began to cry. Starsky walked up to them. He stood behind her to shield her back and ran his hand over her messed up raven hair. The two shared a look that spoke volumes.
“Guy confessed. Said she asked for it. Captain Olsen is taking him downtown to book him now.” Starsky told Alice and Hutch. Starsky sat down on the bench behind Alice and wrapped his arms around both her and Hutch.
They sat there like that for a few more minutes. Hutch gently said, “Alice. We need to have you see a doctor. At the hospital. Doctor Evy is a sweet lady. She’ll be very gentle with you. We’ll need the evidence.”
Alice pushed back and nodded at Hutch. She seemed to gather her strength and composure. “I’ll be okay.”
“Will you go with the ambulance crew? One of them is a woman. We both know her and trust her.”
Alice looked across the street to see the crew Hutch just talked about. A very beautiful woman with red hair smiled at her. When Alice nodded, the woman walked toward her and introduced herself. “I’m Vicky. I’ll stay by you the entire time. Promise.”
Alice looked back at Hutch, then at Starsky. They both smiled and told her they wouldn’t be far behind her.
She stood and walked with Vicky over to the ambulance. Vicky had her arm around Alice’s shoulders and tried to shield her from all the people standing on the opposite sidewalk.
“You okay?” Starsky looked down at Hutch.
“Yeah. She will be too. She’s got grit, as my granddad used to say.”
“Seems like two Alices we know like that now.”
Hutch stood and Starsky handed him his gun and holster. They started walking back across the street.
At first, neither could figure out what the noise was. But it was getting louder and louder. They both looked up to see the people on the sidewalk applauding. They were clapping and whistling and cheering.
As they walked through the crowd, they were patted on the back. People shook their hands. They were told, “Now that’s how police work is supposed to be done.” And many said, “Thank you.”
Both were a bit uncomfortable with all the praise, but it continued until they got in the Torino and drove off.
They had gone to the hospital and taken Alice’s statement. She had remembered a few other names her step-father had mentioned. They told her they would be looking into all of them. They also gave her their cards with their home numbers written on them. Starsky told her, “When you’re ready to talk about your future, call us. We’ll get you in touch with people who will help you.” She had cried and hugged them both.
When they got to Hutch’s, they each grabbed a beer and settled on the couch to wait for the pizza they had ordered. Starsky picked up the remote and turned on the television.
The news was on. Both stilled as they heard the newscaster say, “Today in Bay City two Metro Detectives restored a lot of people’s faith that not all policemen were corrupt or uncaring about the public.”
Both watched as film obviously shot by the news crew at the incident that afternoon was shown. “This was a situation that was headed in a deadly direction, until two Metro Detectives arrived on the scene and acted with bravery and calm to diffuse the standoff. They risked their own lives to save the life of a desperate young woman, and the man who had caused her to be that way.
“Their act of bravery and compassion had a crowd of onlookers cheering, applauding and expressing their thanks to the two detectives when the standoff was over. Neither stopped to talk to our reporter, but we wanted them to know we, and the citizens of Bay City, salute you. You made us proud today and we have a whole new appreciation for blue. Thank you, Detective Starsky and Detective Hutchinson.”
Starsky and Hutch looked at each other and shrugged. They were just doing their jobs.
Hutch turned off the television when the doorbell rang and went to pay for the pizza. The delivery driver handed them the pizza along with a six pack of beer and said, “From all of us at the Pizza Palace. Boss said it’s on us today. For what you guys did today for that young girl. For risking your lives every day to keep all of us safer. We appreciate blue!” He turned and walked away before either man could say anything.
“You’d think we saved the president or something.” Starsky said.
“Knowing how brave Alice was, to subdue her attacker and then to give up her justifiable revenge, we may have done just that, Starsk.”
Starsky nodded in agreement they settled in for a night of pizza, beer and monopoly.
Next time you see an officer, thank them and shake their hand. Won’t cost you anything, but might just make his or her day. Appreciate Blue!!