(c) July 2012 by Charlotte Frost



"Where are we going?" Starsky asked from the passenger seat of the LTD.

"My place is closer," Hutch replied.  He drove out of the hospital parking lot, and into the darkness.  It would be dawn soon, and he and Starsky both needed a few good hours of sleep.  He noted, "I had an officer drive the Torino back to the station." 

"Good."  Starsky yawned loudly.  "There's still two of everything, but least that's better than eight of everything."

Hutch couldn't restrain a grin.  He was glad Starsky was bouncing back so readily.  The urinalysis didn't come up with anything common that Starsky had been drugged with by Monique/Harry, and it would be days before the results of his blood test were back.  But he'd shown improvement in the two hours since he'd been rescued, and the doctor had suggested he go home and sleep off the remainder of the drug's effects, provided someone was around to keep an eye on him.

They drove in silence for a few minutes.  Then Starsky said, "I feel sorry for her."

Hutch looked over at him.  "Monique?"

"Yeah."  Starsky slowly shook his head.  "There was such a vulnerability about her.  She was so desperate to be liked.  And she was going about it all the wrong away.  You know, going out to clubs and going home with a different guy every night.  That's hardly the way to meet Mr. Right."

Hutch considered Monique for a moment.  "I didn't get the impression she was wanting to meet Mr. Right.  She seemed to like the idea of dating lots of men."

Starsky snorted.  "I wouldn't call it dating.  It was just sex.  Meeting men for sex."  More softly, he said, "She was all mixed up inside.  She wanted so, so much for men to like her.  She kept asking me if I liked her."

Hutch stopped at a light and looked over at him.  "Yeah?  What did you say?"

"What I could I say?  I said yes.  And it was true, in a way.  I mean, I didn't dislike her.  Still, she's not the type I'd ever go out with.  She had no confidence in herself.  None.  And yet she kept putting herself in situations that demeaned her confidence even further."

Hutch mused, "I guess that's why her subconscious invented that Harry personality, huh? To compensate."  Hutch felt a shudder go up his spine at the realization of how much danger Starsky had been in.

"Yeah," Starsky said quietly.  "She told me that Harry loved her, but hated all the men she saw."

"Well," Hutch said with a sigh, as he moved the LTD forward, "her sister is pretty religious.  I imagine they grew up in a religious family.  So, Monique surely had lots of guilt for wanting to have sex with lots of men."

"She wanted to be liked, " Starsky corrected.  "She thought having sex with men would make them like her.  But, of course, when a man out on the prowl sees a woman at a bar who's advertising how little she thinks of herself, he's going to take advantage."  He shook his head.  "I don't think she was doing all the sex because she liked it."  Then he put his hand to his head.  "Owe, that hurt."

"Bed for you, partner," Hutch said.  "You need to sleep this off."

"Can't believe how much that drug incapacitated me.  It's like I knew I was in danger, but I couldn't react.  It's like everything was in slow motion.  To say nothing of seeing numerous versions of everything."

Hutch was tempted to make a comment about Starsky's biorhythms, but he didn't have the heart to tease.  This had been a little too close -- not just with the timing of Hutch's arrival, but the fact that Monique/Harry and been a psycho's psycho.  Hutch could imagine that the psychiatrists were going to write volumes after getting to the bottom of Monique's condition.

"I'm glad you didn't have to shoot her," Starsky said. 

"Despite her murderous rage, her strength wasn't any match for a male cop."  Thank God for that.

They pulled up in front of Venice Place a moment later.


Within a half hour, Starsky was snuggled under a flurry of blankets on the sofa, in his underclothes.

Hutch stood gazing down at him with a warm smile, a cup of tea in his hand.  Starky had adamantly insisted he was swearing off tea for life, and was content with a glass of apple juice instead.  Now, Starsky's eyes were drooping closed.

Hutch sipped his tea.  "I'm ready to turn in.  Sure you don't need anything else?"

"Uh-uh," Starsky muttered.  He closed his eyes, snuggling against the sofa pillow.  "Sleep."

"We can sleep in tomorrow.  Dobey isn't expecting us until two to fill out our reports, assuming you'll be feeling okay by then."

When Starsky didn't reply, but instead breathed deeply, as though settling into slumber, Hutch quietly said, "Goodnight," and then moved about the apartment to turn off lights.

In the darkness, he stripped down to his underwear and crawled beneath the sheets.  As he closed his eyes and relaxed, Hutch watched images from tonight play out before his mind's eye.

For a short time, he had been certain that "Harry" was actually Bobbi, Monique's sister.  An obvious motive was possible -- the prim and proper, God-fearing, single Bobbi jealous of all the men her sister slept with.  Hutch had wasted a few minutes, badgering Bobbi with questions after showing up on her doorstep.  Thankfully, those few wasted minutes hadn't cost Starsky his life.  Thank you, God.

Hutch furrowed his brow.  It had been going on two in the morning when he'd knocked on Bobbi's door.  She had quickly answered, outfitted nicely in a skirt and blouse, and had seemed quite alert.

That was understandable, if she were a night owl, and wasn't a person who was likely to slip into something more comfortable, even in the privacy of her own home. She had indicated she spent many evenings at church.  Thankfully, she had remembered Hutch and readily let him in.  Generally, one wouldn't expect such a prim and proper woman to be so willing to let a male visitor into her home in the middle of the night.

Bobbi and Monique.  Such an odd sisterly pair.  There was obvious love between the two, but they had such completely different points of view on life.  Not that such was unusual for siblings.

Hutch gradually drifted into sleep.


Hutch's eyes snapped open.  The grayness of the room meant it had to be about six in the morning.


Hutch blinked.  Starsky was out on the sofa, he reminded himself.

He pushed the covers aside and got out of the bed, and then moved rapidly to the living room.  "Yeah, buddy?"

Starsky seemed to be staring at the walls of the living room, his eyes darting back and forth.

Hutch knelt before him.  "You okay?"

Starsky gripped Hutch's forearm.  "I'm not seeing double anymore."

"Yeah?" Hutch asked, wondering why Starsky still seemed anxious.

"Things are just blurry now."

Damn.  Hutch had hoped the drug's effects would have worn off by morning.  But then, morning was just a few short hours since they'd settled into sleep.  He placed a reassuring hand on Starsky's cotton-clad chest.  "Blurry sounds like an improvement.  And, Starsky, it's just barely dawn, so there's not much to see, anyway.  Want me to turn on a light?"

Starsky seemed to relax, and his grip eased on Hutch's arm.  "No.  Just wanted to make sure I knew where I was."  He now patted the arm.

Hutch took the covers and settled them more firmly against Starsky, tucking them around his neck.  "Why don't you go back to sleep for a few more hours?  Maybe your sight will be all right when it's light out."

"I need the john."

"Oh."  Hutch wondered why Starsky hadn't stopped him from tucking him back in.  Then he realized Starsky had wanted the comforting reassurance of his partner's nearness.

Hutch straightened, giving Starsky room to get up.  When Starsky still didn't move, Hutch asked in puzzlement, "You need a guide dog?"

"Too comfy to get up," Starsky muttered.

"I'm going back to bed for another hour, so this is your chance."

Starsky sighed and threw the covers aside.  As he staggered to his feet, with one hand braced against the edge of the sofa, Hutch took his arm on the other side.  "This way."  He really doubted that Starsky's vision was so effected that he needed help, but it wouldn't hurt to make sure he made the brief trip safely.

Hutch released him when Starsky was through the bathroom door.  He said, "Make sure you stand close enough, if you can't see."

Starsky grunted.

Hutch noted that Starsky didn't bother closing the door more than partway.  As he moved toward the sofa, having made a decision, he heard the noise of a strong urine stream hitting the toilet bowl.  

Hutch gathered the blankets on the sofa.  He tucked them under one arm, and then moved back to the bathroom.  The toilet was flushing, and Starky emerged, a cautious hand against the door frame.

Hutch clasped his wrist.  "Come on.  This way."

"Where we goin'?"

Hutch led the way to the sleeping area.  "I'm thinking I want you in the safest possible place until your vision clears.  Down you go."  He prompted Starsky to lie on the bed.  Then he took the blankets in both hands and spread them out on top of him.

"Mmm," Starsky said appreciatively, as the blankets were again tucked around his neck.  He was on his side, facing the wall. 

"Big baby," Hutch admonished with affection.  He moved to the other side of the bed and got beneath the sheets.  "Go back to sleep, buddy."  He reached to lay a hand briefly on Starsky's covered back.

Hutch closed his eyes, and let a deep, relaxing breath go through him.


Hutch blinked his eyes, thinking he'd been asleep only a few moments.  "What?"

"Do you think that Harry was the religious side of Monique?  You know, that he was both her protector and the one who punished her, in a sense?"

Hutch couldn't believe Starsky was wanting to think about this, when they could be catching up on sleep.  "I'm not a psychiatrist, buddy."

"It's like, how a 'nice' woman is supposed to behave was so ingrained in Monique, that she couldn't live with herself and the way she wanted men to love her.  Or even just like her."

"Maybe so," Hutch said, not wanting to dissect it right now.  He felt funny talking to Starsky's back.  Then he said, gently, "Monique really got to you, didn't she, buddy?"

A shoulder shrugged beneath the covers. "We spent three nights together, dancing and talking.  Even though I wasn't attracted to her, I still felt compassion for her."  Abruptly, Starsky rolled over to face Hutch, resettling the covers around himself.  "According to her, she never went out clubbing before recently.  But then her boyfriend in San Francisco broke up with her, and it's like she couldn't handle the rejection and invented the Harry character.  She claimed that she and Harry met the same night as the break-up.  Makes you wonder if she'd never had a boyfriend before, since it devastated her so much to get dumped."

Hutch found himself intrigued by the analysis.  "Her and her sister are an odd pair.  Both single women, in their early to mid thirties.   One who doesn't come across as being at all interested in men.  The other who obsesses over them, but hates herself for wanting their attention."

 Starsky grunted.  "Makes you wonder how they were raised."

Hutch sighed.  "Or if the family is just psycho."  He stretched and closed his eyes.  "Come on, buddy.  Sleep.  We can rehash all this when we write our reports."


Starsky shifted again, lying on his stomach, his face turned toward Hutch.

Hutch watched as, in the light of dawn, Starsky gradually drifted into sleep.


Once in the squad room, Hutch typed up Starsky's report for him.  Starsky's vision was greatly improved, but he still admitted to things being fuzzy around the edges.

Hutch was working on his own report when the squad room door opened, and someone said, "There they are."  He looked up and saw Bobbi, dressed in her usual skirt and blouse, nodding her thanks to an officer, and then proceeding into the squad room.  "Detectives."

Hutch stood and pulled out the empty chair next to him.  "Bobbi.  Have a seat.  How can we help you?"

She sat down, her quick glanced including Starsky.  "You have to help Monique.  She's in the psychiatric ward of the jail.  That's an awful place."

Starsky asked plaintively, "What do you want us to do?"

"Go gently in your reports about what happened.  Please."

Hutch batted his eyelashes.  "Uh, Bobbi?  Monique tried to kill Detective Starsky last night.  And she's committed two other murders that we know of.  That's not the kind of thing that we can just sweep under the rug."

"It wasn't her!  She has some sort of split personality."

Starsky said, "That's something you have to take up with the DA and the psychiatrists.  We've got nothing to do with that.  All we can do is tell the truth about what happened, and let the courts take it from there." 

Hutch suggested, "Maybe you should talk to the psychiatrists.  Give them your input on how Monique got this way.  Like," Hutch shrugged, "maybe that she had a very rigid upbringing and rebelled against it."

Bobbi's mouth opened and her expression hardened.  "How dare you.  How dare you suggest that something happened in her upbringing."

Hutch lamely muttered, "It was just a suggestion."

Starsky said, "Look, Bobbi, I got to know Monique a little bit the past few nights.  I have a whole lot of compassion for her.  But nothing can change the fact that she committed those murders and tried to kill me last night.  She drugged me first, so I had a real hard time defending myself."

With pointed calm, Hutch said, "You told me that Monique had changed recently.  Maybe that's what you should stress to her lawyer and the psychiatrists.  Something had to have triggered her."

Starsky said, "Based on what she told me, the split personality started when her boyfriend in San Francisco broke up with her."

Bobbi quickly shook her head.  "I don't know anything about that."

Hutch furrowed his brow.  "You didn't know she had a boyfriend when she lived in San Francisco?"

Bobbi seemed uncertain.  "We-we really didn't communicate much.  She just told me things weren't going well, and I suggested she move out this way, so at least we'd have each other nearby.  Our parents were killed in a car wreck a few years ago, and we don't have much in the way of close relatives."

Hutch couldn't contain his curiosity.  "Have you ever been married?"

She seemed puzzled that he asked, "Why, yes.  But my husband was killed in a boating accident after just a couple of years.  I haven't met anyone since then that was appropriate to consider for a husband.  I spend so much time at the church, with all my responsibilities...."  She tilted her head.  "Why do you ask?"

"No reason," Hutch admitted.  "Just thought it was unusual for two sisters your age to both be unmarried."

Her voice hardened.  "Perhaps you don't approve.  But my God and my church are all I need."

"I-I didn't say that," Hutch defended.  "I don't disapprove.  It's just not very common."  He then said, meeting Bobbi's eye, "What I'd think your sister needs most right now is your understanding.  Not disapproval as to how she's lived her life as a single woman."

As Bobbi opened her mouth to react, Starsky smoothly said, "If you want to help your sister get the best possible chance to be treated as a sick woman, and not as a cold blooded killer, you really do need to talk to her psychiatrists and tell them everything you know."

Bobbi gathered her purse.  "I'll do that," she said firmly, and then stood and marched out of the room.

Starsky asked, "Did she really think we were going to sweep this under the rug?"

"I think she's just a desperate woman trying to save her lone immediate family member."

Starsky rubbed at his eyes.  "What bad luck for their family.  Parents killed.  Bobbi's husband killed."

"All in accidents," Hutch muttered.  As that fact hit him, he slowly raised his eyes to Starsky's.

They looked at each other.  Then Starsky muttered, "You're still a little fuzzy around the edges, partner, but I'm thinking that's one helluva coincidence."

Hutch furrowed his brow.  "You think Monique caused those accidents?"

"I don't know.  Doesn't fit the pattern of the other murders.  Might be worth looking into, though."


Four days later, Starsky rubbed at his eyes.  His sight was fine now, but he was tired from getting up so early.  It was six AM, and he and Hutch had learned from R&I at the end of their shift yesterday that the files had been pulled on the accidents that had killed Monique's and Bobbi's parents, as well as Bobbi's husband.  He and Hutch had decided to get into work extra early to review the files, before their official shift started and Dobey put them on something more important.

Starsky couldn't believe that he'd actually beaten Hutch in this morning, even after stopping for a sweet roll.  But all he'd manage to do was get a fresh cup of coffee and sit down, when Hutch walked in the door.

"You beat me," Hutch said in greeting.

"Yep.  Mark the calendar."

"So, what have you found out?" Hutch asked, sitting next to him.

"Just opened the file.  This one is the death of Bobbi's husband, five years ago."

"So, that happened before their parents' deaths, which was...." Hutch quickly opened the other file, "...three years ago."

"Let's look at the husband first," Starsky decided.  Hutch moved his chair closer, and they both started reading the file on the death of Mark Brennan, a safety consultant for manufacturing companies.

Starsky said, "That's ironic.  He's an expert in safety, and he dies from falling over the side of a boat, and drowning."

Hutch shook his head, as they both continued to read the reports.  "Bobbi said that he was trying to reel in a fish that somehow got caught under the boat, and he leaned so far forward, he fell in head first.  He appeared to hit his head on the side of the boat as he fell in."  Hutch grabbed his empty coffee mug and stood.

Deflated, Starsky said, "Well, Monique wasn't even there."  He turned to watch Hutch fill his mug.  "She was living in San Francisco.  It was just Bobbi and her husband, so Monique couldn't have had anything to do with it."

"Yeah," Hutch said, sitting back down.  "Let's look at the parents."

They sat close again as they read through the file.

Hutch shook his head.  "They went over the side of a cliff in their car.  That happened between here and San Francisco."

Starsky picked up another report. "A driver going along the same road saw the car coming down the hill too fast, and then the driver lost control.  The car crashed and burned, so there really wasn't much to look at from a forensics standpoint."

Hutch rubbed his chin.  "Monique could have cut the brakes before her parents left San Francisco, but it seems like they wouldn't have made it back so close to home, if that had happened."

Starsky released a breath.  "We're barking up the wrong tree with this.  Why would Monique have killed her parents?"

Hutch didn't reply, but turned over more pages in the file.  While reading, he said, "The police who investigated considered the insurance angle, but there wasn't anything particularly suspicious about the accident or the timing.  There was a hundred thousand dollar life insurance policy that had been in effect for quite a number of years, and was split equally between the daughters.  Nothing unusual there."

"Hmm," Starsky said.  "I guess the money is part of the reason Monique was able to spend so much time out at clubs.  She told me that she was between jobs, and she didn't seem to be looking very hard to find anything.  Kind of hard to beat the pavement when you're sleeping all morning, after being up most of the night."

Hutch cocked his head thoughtfully.  "Yeah, and Bobbi seems to be a night owl, too.  She was still wide awake and dressed when I went to her place the other night, before I saved you from Monique."  He suddenly sat up straighter and grabbed the file on Mark Brennan.

"What?" Starsky asked.

"Wonder how much life insurance money was on Bobbi's husband."

Starsky watched while Hutch rapidly leafed through the pages.  "You mean... you're thinking that it might have been Bobbi, rather than Monique, that caused those accidents?"

Hutch looked up at him.  "There was a short time, when I was playing around with the disguises and the sketch of 'Harry', when I was certain that Harry was really Bobbi.  That's why I went over to her house that night.  It was the resemblance between the sisters that was throwing me."  He turned his attention back to the file.

Puzzled, Starsky said, "But you were wrong."

"I know.  But, for a brief time, the feeling was so strong that I was onto the correct person."

"Yeah, and you were, in a sense.  Going to Bobbi is what led you to Monique."

"Here it is," Hutch said, pulling a paper from the file.  "A copy of the insurance policy on Mark Brennan.  It was a $50,000 policy, and once again there wasn't anything suspicious about it, when the police did a routine inquiry."  Hutch sat back in his chair and scratched at his mustache.  "So, she's been living pretty well, for having not remarried and spending a lot of time volunteering at her church."

Feeling a hint of frustration that there wasn't anything more to go on, Starsky said, "Yeah, but that hardly proves she was involved in either of the accidents."

Hutch abruptly looked at the file cabinets.  "Where's the maps?"

"Maps?" Starsky muttered, watching Hutch stand and open a top file drawer.  Hutch leafed through it, and then pulled out a thick file pocket, that had various maps sticking up.  He took one and began unfolding it as he sat back down.

"What?" Starsky asked.

"What's the address Bobbi was living at, at the time her parents were killed?"

Starsky picked up the file.  He looked through it until he found a listing of relatives.  "She was at 11142 E. Kenyon Street."

Hutch placed the map on their desks, muttering, "Kenyon Street.  Kenyon Street."  Abruptly, he pointed.  "That far east would be past Hobart Road.  Look."

Starsky bent over the map.

Hutch went on.  "The accident was approximately here."  He tapped the spot with his finger.  "Bobbi's house was here."  Another tap.  "So, if their parents happened to stop by Bobbi's house on their way back from visiting Monique in San Francisco, then Bobbi could have done something to the car, mechanically.  The accident happened within five miles of her house."

Starsky shook his head.  "That's quite a reach, pal.  For starters, how would Bobbi know anything about how to sabotage a car?"

"She could have had help."  Hutch shrugged, and began refolding the map. 

Starsky thought hard.  "Even so, we're never going to be able to prove anything.  Accident or not, I wonder if losing their parents is what sent Monique over the deep end."

Hutch looked at him an extended moment.  "You said before you thought it was when her boyfriend broke up with her.  And maybe she'd never had a real boyfriend before, and she couldn't handle the rejection."

"Yeah, and if she'd lost her parents in a car accident, maybe that contributed to her being so fragile about her first boyfriend breaking up with her."

"If he was her first," Hutch reminded.  "Seems strange for somebody thirty-one years old to have her first real boyfriend."

"Maybe she spent her early years being as religious as Bobbi.  And then rebelled against it in a big way.  Losing both of one's parents in a freak accident... that would be enough to make one question their faith in God."

Hutch put the folded map aside and put one knee on the seat of his chair.  "This is too much speculating for my taste.  I'm thinking it would be good to talk to Monique, and ask her questions about her past."

"We're going to have to get past doctors and lawyers to do that," Starsky said skeptically.

"Why would they object if we're trying to find evidence that puts more blame on the sister, rather than on Monique?"

Starsky nodded thoughtfully.  "Guess it's worth a try."  He squeezed Hutch's shoulder.  "Let's give it a shot."


It took a week for the various doctors, and Monique's attorney, to agree to her being questioned.  Starsky and Hutch were able to meet with her alone in a small room at the mental ward of the county jail, but they were warned that they would be monitored.

When Monique entered the room, she looked plain and ordinary, and tired.  Starsky suspected she was drugged, and he felt a pull of compassion.

As soon as she sat down at the table in the room, her eyes went to Starsky.  "I can't tell you how sorry I am for what Harry did.  To you... and those other men.  They say Harry is me, but I find that unbelievable.  And yet... you all saw me, as Harry.  I have no memory of any of it, after Harry takes over."

Starsky wasn't here for her to feel all the more guilty.  "Look, Monique, I know it wasn't you who did those things. Harry must be some other part of you that you have no conscious knowledge of."  Starsky shifted in his chair.  "Anyway, no long term damage, thanks to my partner here.  What we're here for is just trying to tie up some loose ends, but not to talk to you about anything that happened that night when you attacked me, or attacked any of the other men."

She nodded.  "Yes, that's what they told me."  She rested her chin in her hand.

Hutch asked, in a friendly manner, "We're glad that your sister is standing so firmly beside you.  It sounds like you two don't normally see eye-to-eye on things."

She made a small shrug.  "Bobbi has always stayed connected to the church.  I broke away."

"When was that?" Starsky asked with forced casualness.

She was thoughtful.  "After our parents were killed when their car went over a cliff.  Suddenly, all that religious stuff didn't mean anything to me, anymore.  Bobbi got all the more involved in it, seemed to think the more 'proper' she was, the more likely she was to make it into heaven."  Monique shook her head.  "But I'd had my fill of it.  All my life, I'd had people lecture to me about a 'proper' way to live.  I was suffocating.  Then, after our parents died, I guess it was the excuse I needed to finally be what I wanted to be."

Abruptly, Hutch asked, "Does Bobbi happen to know anything about how to fix cars?"

Monique's attention turned to him, and she blinked.

Starsky quickly pushed, "There's a reason why we're asking."

"Well, yes, our father taught her.  When she was old enough to drive, he refused to let her out on the road by herself, unless she knew how to take a car apart and put it back together.  She was angry about being expected to learn something that other girls didn't have to learn, but she finally relented, because she wanted to know how to drive."

In a friendly manner, Starsky asked, "Sounds like a good idea for women to learn things like that.  Did you get the same auto mechanics lesson?"

Monique shook her head drolly.  "No.  By the time I was old enough to drive, it wasn't that big of a deal to our father anymore."  She looked away.  "It was always like that.   Bobbi was always the one that our parents doted on.  You know, she was the eldest by seven years."

Gently, Hutch said, "As tragic as that was, losing your parents, at least they saw that you both were taken care of.  Not everyone would have bothered leaving a life insurance policy."

"It was a small consolation," Monique admitted.

Starsky said, "I guess Bobbi didn't feel a need to look for another husband anytime soon, with the insurance money she got from your parents, in addition to that from her husband."

"She does all right.  I'm not sure how much of it she has left, since she's always given so much to her church."

Starsky and Hutch exchanged a glance. 

Monique went on.  "She has a lot of secretarial skills, typing letters and transcriptions, and things like that.  She makes money on the side, doing resumes for college students, and typing formal letters for everyday people who might need something along that line.  Plus, there's the rental property."

"What property is that?" Starsky asked.

"It's out on Kenyon Road.  She used to live there, and after she moved closer to town, she kept it as a rental.  It's paid off, so she does pretty good with it when there's tenants.  But it's not rented out right now."

Hutch shifted with discomfort.  "Um, you told Detective Starsky that you met 'Harry' the night your boyfriend broke up with you in San Francisco.  We've wondered if you'd ever been married before."

"No," she answered brusquely.  Then, "If you're curiosity is going down that road... well, I may as well tell you that I was a virgin until I was twenty-eight.  I hardly ever dated.  I had it ground into me that 'good girls' don't do certain things, including attracting the attention of boys."

Gently, Starsky said, "It's understandable that you went to the other extreme.  Going out and wanting to meet men."

"When I met Clark, he was my first and only serious relationship. We dated for three years.  That night he broke up with me...," she lowered her eyes and shook her head, sighing.  "I felt like my world had ended.  And then I met Harry that same night."  She shook her head again.  "And now I'm being told that Harry is really me."

Starsky was glad to have a reason to distract her from that unpleasant reality.  "So, if your sister is seven years older than you, and she was married only a few years before losing her husband... was she married before?"

"Yes.  She was married to her first husband, Justin, when she was twenty-five.  Then," Monique shrugged, "he up and disappeared one day."

"What do you mean?" Hutch asked.

"Just that.  He went to work one day and never came back.  His work said he'd never shown up.  Bobbi called the police.  They searched all over.  There weren't any traffic accidents he was involved in.  He didn't match up to any unidentified bodies in the morgue.  Months later, they found his car in a ditch by Horse Cross Creek.  But there was no sign of Justin.  Eventually, after a number of years had passed, Bobbi got the courts to declare him legally dead.  That freed her to date other men, and she met Mark Brennan shortly thereafter."

Starsky swallowed thickly, wondering how Monique would react to his next question.  "Monique, you ever think it strange that nearly everyone Bobbi has gotten close to has ended up dead?"

After a moment, she said, "I felt distant from it all.  Bobbi and I were never very close."

Hutch asked, "Did she get insurance money from Justin's death?"

"I don't know.  I never asked."  Monique tilted her head.  "I guess maybe she got something.  I remember that our parents' kitchen got remodeled a few months after Justin was declared dead.  I don't remember the details, but I somehow knew it was because of Bobbi that they were able to afford it."

Hutch took a small notepad from his shirt pocket, along with a pen.  "What was Justin's full name?"

"I believe it was Justin Willard Green."

"Do you happen to know his date of birth?" Hutch asked as he wrote.

"Just that his birthday was in September.  He came from Georgia.  Had relocated to California a couple of years before meeting Bobbi."  She looked from Hutch to Starsky.  "Are you thinking that Bobbi is responsible for the deaths of her husbands?  And our parents?"

Starsky soothed, "We're not saying anything.  We're just taking a closer look."


Hutch replied, "The coincidences started adding up a little too strongly."  He gentled his voice.  "That wouldn't have anything to do with your case, though... unless you give us reason to think that it does."

They waited.

She shook her head.  "That's unbelievable."

"Let's hope so," Starsky said, as he and Hutch stood.  Then a thought suddenly occurred.  He snapped his fingers.  "Hey, uh, Monique, you wouldn't happen to know if Bobbi has a life insurance policy on you, do you?"

Her mouth fell open as she looked up at him with her soulful, pleading eyes.  "As a matter of fact, yes.  I had to take a doctor's exam for it.  But it's mutual.  We have policies on each other, at her insistence.  She just said that she let a charming insurance salesman talk her into getting insurance policies on lots of relatives, years ago."

Starsky exchanged a concerned glance with Hutch.

Hutch leaned down to Monique, batting his eyes.  "Monique, I'd be very careful around your sister, if I were you.  I wouldn't eat or drink anything she might bring for you when she visits."

She stood staring at them with her mouth open, as they made their exit.


Starsky waited until they were in the Torino before saying anything.  "If Bobbi did commit all those murders, what does it say about those parents that their only two children are serial killers?"

"Yeah," Hutch grunted.  "Makes you wonder if they beat their daughters, or molested them, or maybe locked them in a closet if they dared look at a man."

"If it's true about Bobbi, then what do you think she's doing?  She's trying to insure her spot in heaven, by donating lots of her insurance payouts to her church, and believes so strongly in her church, that she doesn't see anything wrong with killing people to be able to afford those donations?"

"Who the hell knows," Hutch said.  "I'm not sure a psychotic mind can be deciphered."

"Yeah, but Monique... I can sort of understand why her unconscious mind developed another personality.  It was the only way she could cope with the conflict of how she was raised, and wanting so much to live an opposite kind of life.  But if Bobbi is just killing for insurance money....."

"Murder is murder," Hutch emphasized.  "I'm not sure one motive makes a murder any more forgivable than another motive."

"Yeah.  And the rub is that we're probably not going to be able to prove any of it."

Hutch looked over at him.  "That was a good idea on your part, asking about the sisters being insured.  That's not something one would expect."

"For all the good it'll do," Starsky muttered. 

"It might save Monique, if Bobbi has any plans to off her."

Starsky wasn't so sure.  "What do you want to do now?"

Hutch picked up Starsky's watch and looked at it.  "I say we log out, and tomorrow we try to pin down where Bobbi lived at the time her first husband was killed.  Who knows, maybe he's buried out in the backyard somewhere."

"Might be that Kenyon Road address."

"Might be.  In fact, I remember seeing Horse Cross Creek on the map, where Monique said Justin's car was found.  I'd be willing to bet that's where Bobbi lived back then."

Starsky felt restless.  "What are your plans for tonight?"

"Watching the game."

"Yeah.  Mine, too.  How about we check out Kenyon Road, just for the hell of it?  Monique said that there aren't any tenants there right now."

"I don't remember the actual address number."

"Let's call in and have one of the guys look in the file and give it to us."


With rush hour traffic, it was over an hour's drive.  Dusk was settling in.

"You know," Starsky said, when they entered the semi-rural neighborhood where the rental house was, "it doesn't wash that Bobbi would want to kill Monique.  She seemed genuinely concerned when she dropped by the station a little while back."

Hutch snorted.  "Of course, she was concerned.  If Monique is a convicted felon, a life insurance company isn't going to pay a claim on her, no matter how the death came about."

"Oh."  Starsky hadn't realized that.  "Then, you think that's why she was pleading with us?  She was somehow hoping Monique wouldn't be convicted of any kind of felony?"  He snorted.  "That's a pipe dream.  Even if she's declared legally insane, she's still a felon."

"Yeah.  Who the heck knows what Bobbi has up her sleeve.  Just sort of seems poetic justice, if she's had murdering husbands and relatives planned out most of her adult life to collect the insurance money, and her sister ends up being a murderer, for completely different reasons, thereby denying Bobbi insurance money on her."

Starsky spotted the address on the mailbox out front.  "Here it is."

There was a For Rent sign on the front lawn.  The one-story house sat on an acre of land, with a six foot fence bordering the backyard.

As they got out of the Torino, Starsky said, "I say we check out the back."


The gate didn't have a lock.  They moved through it and saw a well-manicured lawn, with a few oak trees in the back.  There was a neat and tidy back patio, and a flower garden nearby.

They split up, each walking along a fence and looking around.  Hutch's long legs had him reaching the back of the property first.  He went over to the oak tree there, his hands resting in the back pocket of his jeans.  "Starsk?"

Starsky moved over to him.  "What is it?"

Hutch nodded at a little gravestone beneath the tree.  It said, "Here Lies Whiskers, Beloved Pet.  Rest in Peace."  A carving of a cat's face completed the message.

Starsky asked, "How much you want to bet there isn't a cat underneath there?"

"It would be a way of keeping any renters from accidentally digging in the area."  Hutch shrugged.  "Just seems that the police who first investigated Justin's disappearance would have taken a look."

"If this grave was there back then," Starsky emphasized.  "For all we know, Bobbi had her husband in a freezer, and waited until the police gave up on looking for Justin, and then buried him back here."

"I don't know, Starsk.  That's a lot for a woman of her size to do.  I wonder if she had help."

"Determined people can do some amazing things.  Plus, maybe she chopped him up into itty, bitty pieces."

"In any case, it's not like we can go digging without a warrant.  And I'm not sure we have enough probable cause to get a judge to issue one."

"Yeah."  Darkness was falling, so Starsky knelt to see the gravestone more clearly.  "You know, grave makers almost always have dates on them.  This doesn't.  Makes me think all the more that it's her way of hiding just exactly when this grave was created."

They heard an idling car and Starsky looked up.  "Is it stopping here?"  He stood.

Hutch leaned to peer back toward the gate.  "No.  It's moved on."

Starsky brushed his hands.  "I'm not even as concerned about getting justice for everyone Bobbi has already offed, as I'm worried about the next poor man she takes a fancy to.  If she's not going to be able to collect insurance money on Monique, then she needs to start planning her next victim, so she can be ready when funds get low."

"Yeah.  You know what I'd like to check out next?  Her church.  Monique said that Bobbi gave 'a lot' of the insurance money to the church.  It would be good to know just how much we're talking about.  And, who knows, maybe someone at the church is helping her out."

Starsky sighed.  "Yeah, let's see if we can find out tomorrow where she goes to church."  They had to pick their spots to work on the case, because they hadn't told Dobey they were spending time on it, since they didn't expect him to approve when they had so little hard evidence to go on.

A bullet ricocheted off the back fence.

"What the --" Starsky started, reaching for his gun as he and Hutch took cover behind the oak tree.

Hutch said, "I can't see a damn thing."

"It came from the front of the house."


They heard a car speeding off.

They took off at a run simultaneously, bursting through the gate to the front of the house.  They saw break lights moving rapidly down the end of the street, and then taking a right.

Wordlessly, they rushed to the Torino and jumped in.  Starsky barely had the motor started before he peeled out, while Hutch placed the mars light on the roof.

"They went right," Hutch said as they approached the end of the street.

Starsky turned right and they saw the brake lights in the distance.  Starsky sped up, wishing he was more familiar with the roads in the area.  It was completely dark now.

After a few minutes of silence, Hutch said, "We're going out into the country."

"That's a mistake on their part," Starsky muttered.  "Not much traffic to get lost in out here.  Call for backup."

Hutch picked up the radio.  "Zebra Three to Control."


Suddenly, the car in the distance accelerated to an extreme degree.

Starsky cursed and pressed on the gas, hating what the small dips in the road was doing to his suspension.

"The radio's dead," Hutch said.

"What?" Starsky demanded.  He felt he was losing the brake lights to darkness.  Hutch rolled down his window and got up on his knees, sticking his upper body out the window.  Starsky asked, "Can you see it?"

"Yeah, "Hutch shouted back to him.  "It turned right a ways up."

"Keep your eye on that spot and tell me when," Starsky called out.

Who the hell could be in that car?  Why would they take a shot at them?  Nobody knew they were going to Kenyon Street, except for Detective Smithers at the station, who had read off the address to them from the file.

And why was their radio dead?

"Right here, Starsk.  Turn right."

Starsky turned right.  They were now on a dirt road, and he slowed down.  There was thick forest on both sides.    He called to Hutch, "See it?"

"No."  Hutch carefully maneuvered back into his seat.  "But they have to stay on this road.  There's nowhere else to go."

"Who is it?" Starsky demanded.

"I have no idea.  No one knew we were up here."

"Except Smithers."

"Right.  But the only person who would have cared that we were here is Bobbi."

They were silent as the Torino bumped along the dirt.  "Wish I knew where this road leads."

"Buddy, I get the feeling that we're being lured into a trap."

That idea suddenly made a whole lot of sense to Starsky.

"There it is."  Hutch drew his gun.

Starsky slowed the Torino as they approached an old Chevy, that was now stopped on the road, its motor off, and the driver side door open.

Starsky put the Torino in "Park", about ten feet from the Chevy, and kept the motor running and headlights on, while conscious of the fact that there was no convenient way to turn the car around on the narrow road, if they needed to.  He drew his gun and nodded at Hutch, grateful, as always, for how easily they read each other.

They both carefully opened their doors and got out, crouched low to the ground, their guns at the ready.  Still low, they rushed up to either side of the Chevy.  Starsky made his move, abruptly turning to face the driver side of the car, his gun extended. 

No one was there.

Hutch did the same on the passenger side, opening the door. 

Wordlessly, they looked about the dark forest.

"He must have run off," Starsky said.  "He had to have known where he was going."  He pushed the car door closed.  Hutch did the same to the passenger side.

A shot rang out, and Hutch gasped loudly.

Starsky's heart leapt into his throat as he ducked behind the car.  "Hutch!"

"Yeah!" Hutch called back, pain in his voice, as he was heard scrambling in the dirt on the other side of the Chevy.

"You hit?"

"Yeah.  My hip."

Oh, no.  Starsky moved toward the rear of the Chevy, where he could hear Hutch moving.  "Stay down!" he called, and when he saw the outline of Hutch's form, on the ground at the back of the Chevy, he straightened and fired into the darkness.  At the same time, he grabbed Hutch by the jacket, and pulled him to his side.

Hutch was lying on his stomach.  "I think it's just a crease."  His hand was resting on the upper portion of his left buttock.

Starsky placed his hand in the center of Hutch's back.   "I've got to kill the lights, so they're as blind as we are.  There's a flashlight on the floorboard of the backseat.  I'll grab that and the first aid kit."

Hutch started to turn on his stomach.  "I can cover you."  He extended his gun into the space between the two cars.  "Go!"

Starsky dived to the driver side of the Torino, as Hutch fired a couple of rounds into the forest.  He was grateful, and puzzled, that there was no answering gunfire.   He reached into the front seat and quickly turned off the lights, but kept the motor running.  He wondered what the chances were of them being able to get in the Torino and drive away, so Hutch could be taken to the hospital.  If the suspect -- whoever they were -- had deliberately lured them to this dark, country road, and had made the effort to cut their radio, it didn't seem likely that they would be allowed to leave easily.

For the moment, he wanted to give first aid to Hutch's injury.

Starsky flipped the driver seat forward and felt for the flashlight on the back floorboard.  He also kept a large first aid kit there, shoved under the front seat.  He grabbed it.

Starsky settled on the ground and said, "Hutch?  Do you think you can move over here?  I'll cover you."  He wanted them both near the Torino, where at least they had a chance of getting in the car and moving in reverse.

"Yeah," Hutch gasped, gathering himself on his forearms.  "Say when."

Starsky gripped his gun, and then swung it into the space between the cars.  "Go!"  As he fired, he reached for Hutch and helped him slide along the ground, until he was safely on the driver's side of the Torino.

Once again, there was no answering gunfire.

As Starsky sat back against the Torino, he asked, "What are the chances that they've hightailed it outta here?"

"Slim to none," Hutch gasped.  "Not if they've gone to all this trouble, and fired that first time."

"Yeah," Starsky sighed.  "That's what I was afraid of."

"We've only seen signs of one person though."

"Yeah.  Nothing like that barn we were stuck in a year or so ago."  Starsky opened the first aid kit.  "First things first.  Let's get you taken care of, pal.  I'm going to turn on the flashlight but keep the beam close in, so they can't see much."

"If there's just one, we stand a good chance of driving out of here, even if it's in reverse."

"Yeah, unless they're out there putting a tree stump in the road or something.  Unfasten your pants, so I can see it."

Hutch sighed and shifted slightly, so he could reach between his body and the ground.  There was the sound of his jeans being unsnapped, and then the lowering of his fly.

"Okay," Starsky said.  He wrestled Hutch's jeans down, exposing the upper buttocks, which forced Hutch's pampering hand away.  Then he pointed the flashlight at Hutch's rear end, and turned it on.  He studied the wound for a long moment, trying to make sense of it, while watching it ooze blood.  "It sure took a chunk of flesh from your tush."  In other circumstances, teasing would be in order, but Starsky wasn't feeling very humorous at the moment.  "I'll tape some gauze down tight over it."

"You know," Hutch said quietly, "they could be moving over to this side of the road.  We wouldn't necessarily be able to see them."

"Let's keep our ears open," Starsky whispered.  He tried to do that, as he worked with the tape and gauze. 

"Dear God," Hutch moaned, as Starsky pressed hard on the gauze, while taping it in place.

"Easy, buddy boy," Starsky soothed, rubbing the ends of the tape, so that they would stay in place.  Then he took the hem of Hutch's pants and pulled them up.  "That's going to have to do you for now."

While Hutch turned on his side to refasten his pants, Starsky tossed the first aid kit into the car.  He turned off the flashlight, and laid it next to him on the ground.

He listened to the silence.  Then he said, "Buddy, I'm thinking we need to get into the car and try backing out, without putting the lights on.  If that's not okay with whoever is out there, they'll let us know."

Hutch said, "You can't back out without looking to see where you're going.  That leaves you in a vulnerable spot to get your head blown off.  Obviously, whoever brought us here has a reason for us being here."

Starsky muttered, "Can't imagine that reason is anything good."

"How much gas is in the Torino that it can keep idling like this?"

"Maybe half a tank.  We either need to get in the car and try to back out, or I probably ought to shut off the motor."

"Maybe you ought to turn it -- "

"Shh," Starsky whispered.  "I hear something.  On this side of the road."  He tightened his fingers on his weapon, and reassured himself that the flashlight was nearby.  He gestured with the shrug of a shoulder.  "Out there.  Ten o'clock of the Chevy."

Hutch shifted on the ground, looking where Starsky had indicated.

Starsky said, "I'm going to risk pointing the flashlight out there.  They know we're here, anyway."  He started to get behind the open side door.  "Why don't you slide under the car."

Hutch began to move under the Torino, groaning as he did so.

"You okay?" Starsky asked.

"I'll live."

Starsky rolled down the driver side window, so he could perch the flashlight on the open door, before turning it on.  He had his head raised just enough to see over the top of the window,  his gun ready.  "Okay, here goes--"

Abruptly, there was gun fire from the woods, blowing out the driver side windows of the Chevy.

Starsky turned on the flashlight into the darkness, where the shots appeared to be coming from, near where he'd first heard the noise.  He realized he was looking at a slender figure dressed in black.  It looked back at him in surprise, and then raised its gun.

Starsky and Hutch both fired.

A shrill cry was heard from the forest.

Starsky carefully came out from behind the car door, the flashlight still on.  He thought he saw the black-clad figure on the ground, and quickly moved forward, his gun extended. 

"Be careful, Starsk," Hutch hissed.

"Police!" Starsky called.  "Drop your weapon."  He wasn't close enough to tell if the downed person was still holding their gun.  Behind him, he heard Hutch gasping as he moved from beneath the protection of the car.

The person on the ground moaned loudly. 

Starsky felt triumphant when he could see that a gun was lying beside the figure, whose right hand was pressed tightly against their left shoulder.

"Who are you?" Starsky demanded.  He had both the flashlight and his gun extended, and now moved close enough to kick the gun on the ground farther away.

"You don't know?" a feminine voice said, gasping for breath.

"Bobbi?"Starsky asked.  He heard Hutch slowly moving closer, between hisses of his breath. 

"I've got you covered, partner," Hutch said.

Starsky holstered his weapon.  He reached down with his free hand and grabbed Bobbie by her upper right arm.  "I hope you can stand up, since we can't call for help after you damaged the radio."

She groaned as she got her feet beneath her, while still holding her left hand against her right shoulder.

Starsky tried to curb his impatience as they moved slowly back to the cars.  "So, what was your plan?  Shoot us in cold blood, by sneaking up on us in the darkness?"

"What difference does it make?" she muttered sourly.

"What I'd really like to know is how you knew we'd be at your rental home."

She snorted.  "Despite our differences, Monique and I are sisters."

Starsky said, "We didn't tell her we were coming here."

"I was able to make some assumptions, based upon what she did tell me.  She was concerned for me, after talking with you two."

They were now near where Hutch was.  He was standing awkwardly, with most of his weight on his right leg.   While keeping his weapon aimed at Bobbi, Hutch said, "So, you found her useful, after all, even though you wouldn't be able to collect any insurance money from an 'accident' she might have behind bars."

Starsky made as "tsk, tsk" noise as they reached the Torino.  "You've taken the idea of premeditation to a new level, Bobbi.  Exactly how many years have you had all these convenient 'accidents' planned, so you could collect the insurance and keep your church funded enough to save your pathetic soul?"

"It's everyone else who is pathetic," Bobbi said sorrowfully.  "I've lived a good and pious life.  Others don't see how important it is."

"Down you go," Starsky said bluntly, as he tugged on her arm, so she sat on the front seat of the Torino, facing him.  "Don't bother being modest."  He began tearing at her shirt.  Hutch placed the first aid kit on the ground, and then leaned against the Torino on his good leg, his gun still in his hand.

"How dare you!" she protested.

"Yeah," Starsky said casually, opening packets of gauze.  "How dare I try to keep you from bleeding to death.  Not that I particularly care."  He took a group of gauze pads and nudged Bobbi's hand out of the way, so he could place them over the wound.  Then he placed her hand back over the pads.  "Hold real tight to slow the bleeding."  He took a roll of gauze from the first aid kit.  "I'm going to bind your right arm against your body, to keep it immobile.  Otherwise, I'll have to handcuff your hands behind your back, and it'll be an uncomfortable ride to the hospital."

She was silent.

Hutch said, "There's no cat buried in that grave at the rental property, is there?"

As Starsky worked with the binding, Bobbi said, "I don't understand why you two want to go about dragging up the past.  It's over and done with."

Starsky said, "Well, we wanted you to be stopped before you wooed some hapless third husband into marrying you, and then set up a nice, neat, tidy 'accident' for him."

Hutch said, "You don't give a damn about your sister, do you?  The death of your parents pushed her into a highly fragile state."

"She was always fragile," Bobbi scoffed.

"Well," Starsky said, "If I was her lawyer, or her doctor, I'd make sure the judge knows how much of a hand her sister had in causing her so much distress, that she invented a second personality that was capable of serial murder -- just like her sister."  Bobbi's right arm was now bound tightly to her body, with the hand over her left shoulder.  Starsky was confident that she wouldn't be a threat to his and Hutch's safety on the ride to the nearest hospital.

He closed up the first aid kit and handed it to Hutch, who tossed it to the floor of the backseat.  He then took Bobbie's torn turtleneck shirt and wrapped it around her shoulders. 

Starsky wondered about seating arrangements.  Hutch wasn't going to be very comfortable sitting, but Starsky wanted his partner up front with him.

Starsky took Bobbi by her bandaged arm.  "Stand up."  He helped her up, and then flipped the driver's seat forward.  "You need to get in the back.  Regulations."

She drew a tight, in-drawn breath and carefully maneuvered back onto the seat.  She released a small cry, as she settled back.

Starsky had no sympathy for her pain.  But he did say, "Feel free to lie down, if you want.  It might slow the bleeding."

After putting the seat into a vertical position, he turned his attention to Hutch.  He squeezed his side as he walked past to the back of the Torino.  "How you doin'?" 

Quietly, Hutch replied, "You mean, other than my ass throbbing like a sonofabitch?"

Starsky opened the trunk and pulled out a blanket.  "Maybe this can help you keep your weight off where it's sore."  He handed it to Hutch, and slammed the trunk closed.  He then turned on the flashlight.  "Hang on.  Loosen your pants.  I want to take a look."

Hutch dutifully leaned against the trunk with one hand.  With the other, he worked with the fastenings to his jeans.

Starsky shined the flashlight on Hutch's rear.  There was fresh blood on his jeans.  "You're bleeding through the gauze," he said worriedly.  "You've been moving around too much."  Of course, such movement had been necessary.  He pulled Hutch's jeans away from his skin and shined the flashlight inside the clothing.  "The gauze is soaked."

Hutch said, "Let's not mess with it any further, but just get to the hospital so it can be sutured.  It's not like I'm feeling faint."

"Okay."  Starsky reached up and squeezed the back of Hutch's neck while Hutch refastened his clothing.

He took Hutch's left arm and tired to add support to that side as he guided Hutch around the Torino and opened the passenger door.  "In you go, Bronco.  Let me know if you want me to help you move the blanket around."

Hutch placed the blanket on the far edge of the seat, and then sat down cautiously, while emitting a grunt.

Starsky closed the door and then trotted around to the other side.  He saw that Bobbi was lying awkwardly on the back seat.  He started the motor, and let a feeling of relief go through him.  They were going to get out of this okay.  And they were going to get Bobbi put away for attempting to murder two cops, even if she never confessed to the other crimes.

Hutch had turned toward the door, to keep his weight off his upper buttock.  Starsky put a soothing hand on his back, and then braced against Hutch as he turned to see behind them, while the Torino moved in reverse.  He asked Bobbi, "You didn't do anything to block our exit, did you?"


"I got to hand it to you, Bobbi," Starsky went on, as the car strained from being in the single gear for a prolonged period, "you sure had to think fast to figure out how to take down Hutch and me in such a short time.  We didn't decide to visit the rental property until an hour or so before we got there."

Tiredly, she said, "I thought you'd start putting two and two together, and I decided to pay a visit to the rental property.  I thought about removing the gravestone.  And then I saw that you two were there...."

"And you thought fast," Starsky finished, while still twisted in his seat to see where they were going.  "Like a pro who's experienced at killing.  You really think you could get away with killing two cops?"

"No one would know it was me."

Finally, they were at the end of the road.  Starsky backed onto the paved highway, and then turned the car around to head back to the city.  His voice deadly flat, he said, "Let me tell you something, lady.  if you'd killed my partner, your life wouldn't be worth anything right now."

Her own voice was equally flat, if not deadly.  "I don't think it's worth anything, anyway."

Starsky muttered, "You got that right." 

He was eager to turn his attention to Hutch, as he drove carefully in the darkness.  "You want me to move the blanket?  Put it between you and the seat?"

"Yeah, maybe," Hutch said, tension in his voice.

Starsky pulled to the side of the road and put the Torino in park.  He took the blanket and bunched it up, and then slipped it between the seat and Hutch's rear.  "Try that."

Hutch seemed to relax slightly.  "That helped."

Starsky shifted gears and got the Torino back on the road.

Bobbi let out a moan from the back seat.

Hutch quietly said, "So, Bobbi, maybe it'll help take your mind off the pain to talk.  What was it like growing up, in such a religious household?"

Starsky reached over and squeezed Hutch's shoulder, knowing he was trying to distract himself from his own pain, as well.

"My parents were good parents," she said.  "They taught us to be good and pious citizens."

Starsky couldn't help but snap, "Then why did you send them over a cliff?"

"They're with God," she said.  "I know they are."

"So you were doing them a favor?" Starsky scoffed.

She was silent.

With feigned compassion, Hutch said, "That must have been so difficult for you, to see how Monique changed lately, wanting to go out with all those men."

"Yes," she said in a low voice.  "I told you before that I don't approve.  I don't understand how someone raised under the same roof could live like that."

"She wanted her freedom," Hutch said.  "To be loved."

"God gives her love," Bobbi said.  "But she turned away from God."

Starsky couldn't stay silent.  "You stayed with God, and Monique turned away from God.  Yet, you both turned out to be serial killers."

"Serial killer?" she questioned in disbelief.  "How can you possibly say that?"

"You were going to kill us, for starters.  You wounded Hutch.  How does that fit into your pious philosophy?"

She was silent.

Casually, Hutch said, "You know, Bobbi, I think all your religious fervor is just a cover.  You're really no different from any other cold-blooded sociopath.  You kill people for money.  And you were going to kill us to make it less likely that you'd get caught.  God has nothing to do with any of that."

Starsky pressed, "I'd forgive Monique for what she's done, long before I'd ever forgive you for what you've done."

"Your forgiveness doesn't matter," she said flatly.

Starsky said, "I just have to believe that your parents did something terrible to you and Monique, for you both to turn out to be killers."

"I don't know how you can say that."

"Then what's your explanation?"

She sounded weary when she admitted, "I just wanted the money.  We never had money.  We never had much of anything.  Our parents said it was wrong to want material things."  Her voice was fading out.  "I didn't want anything fancy.  Just a decent place to live.  Decent clothes.  Enough money to give to the church and be considered one of its primary patrons."

Starsky said to Hutch, "Bobbi had love and wanted money.  Monique didn't feel loved and wanted love.  They were both willing to kill for what they wanted."

Hutch released a heavy sigh.  "Yeah."

Starsky found Hutch's hand and squeezed it.  "I'm glad this case is over, partner.  It's draining as hell."

Hutch squeezed back.  "We did our job.  Got the bad guys.  Gals.  So, no one else will be hurt by them."

Starsky managed a small smile.  "Yeah."


"How's your tush?" Starsky asked as he let himself in Hutch's apartment.

Hutch was lying face-down on the sofa, a book in his hand, and a towel draped around his waist area.  "The stitches come out in two days."  He sighed.  "None too soon,"  It was all he could do, not to go stir crazy.  But being at work was out of the question, since it was difficult to sit comfortably, or to walk, let alone do more strenuous activity.

Starsky forced himself into the small space at the edge of the sofa, facing Hutch's rear.  He moved the towel back, and then gently ran his fingers along the sutures.  "Yep, that's looking pretty good."

"Hopefully, the doctor will clear me to return to work."

"Yeah, I can't wait to have you back."  Starsky pulled the towel up.  "Guess you'll always have a little scar back here."  He turned to grin at Hutch.  "The ladies might find it kind of fascinating."

Hutch grunted.  "If you know of any ladies who would like to see it, let me know."  He smiled sweetly.

Starsky sighed.  "Unfortunately, my love life isn't doing much better, partner."

"We work too hard, buddy."

"Yeah, that must be it."

"Look at somebody like Bobbi.  She just kills off relatives to keep herself from having to be a contributing member of society."

Starsky shook his head, musing, "What a piece of work she was.  But at least our efforts produced good results.  Justin's mutilated body was under that cat's gravestone, just like we thought."

"Yeah.  It just feels like she got off easy, by cutting a deal to be sent to a psych ward.  She was a sociopath, not genuinely sick like Monique."

"Yeah, well, it's not our call.  And society has always been more forgiving of female murderers."

Hutch admitted, "Just kind of embarrassing that she was able to corner us like that."

"We probably should have called off the pursuit as soon as we realized the radio was dead and we couldn't get backup.  But thank God we kept following her.  Otherwise, she would have probably gotten away with everything."

Hutch propped his chin in his hand and smiled warmly at Starsky.  "Are we good, or what?"

"We're good."  Starsky patted Hutch's lower back.  "Just glad it was the top of your butt that got wounded, and nothing higher up."

Hutch opened his book and pretended to read.  "You know, your interest in my rear is starting to get worrisome."

With a smile in his voice, Starsky said, "Just protecting what's mine."  He patted Hutch's lower back again.   "However much the ladies in your life might enjoy it, it's my job to protect it.  When it gets scars, that means I didn't do my job."

Hutch closed his book.  "Ah, buddy, it could have been either of us.  And we could have been wounded a lot more seriously.  Or worse."

"Yeah.  Thanks to the Incredibly Pious Ice Woman."

"That sounds like a movie title."

Starsky snorted.  Then he asked, "What time is your appointment to take out your stitches on Thursday?"

"Ten o'clock."

"Okay.  I'll be by to pick you up then.  I guess I'll leave you to your reading in the meantime."  Starsky patted Hutch's back yet again.

Hutch hadn't expected Starsky to leave so quickly.  "Massage," he muttered.


"Please?"  Hutch tried his most longing expression.

Starsky muttered, "You're such a baby."  But he cracked his knuckles and said good-naturedly, "One David Starsky special, coming up."

Hutch placed his book on the floor, and rested his head on his folded arms.

He smiled to himself when he felt Starsky's hands on his shoulders.





"I have an urgent message for Officer Hutchinson. You know, the undercover cop with the scar on his lower back." -- Belinda Rogers in "The Groupie"


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