He stood waiting for his mother to come. Anytime now she'd walk through that door with that smug look on her face. God how he hated her! He hated how she looked – those yellow checked pants she always wore. He hated how she smelt – the countless cigarettes tarnished the air around her. But most of all he hated the simple fact that she was his mother, because for some reason it gave her a God given right to tell him how to live his life, to tell him he was a failure and to tell him he was lucky to have her as his mother.
Ten-thirty and there she was just as she said she would be. He picked up his bag and walked towards her.
"Hello Peter, " she said, that smug look on her face. "I've come to take you home."
She reached out to take the bag, but he refused to part with it. It was his and no one was allowed to touch it, especially not her – because Georgie had given it to him.
"Well now Peter," the doctor smiled, "I'm sure this is a day you've been looking forward to."
The smile was insincere, a show put on for his mother, not worthy of any acknowledgement. At least that's what he thought.
"Talk to the nice doctor, Peter, he's only concerned about you." She turned apologetically towards the doctor. "I'm sorry Doctor Grimes, I do apologize for my son's rude behaviour."
There she was again, treating him like a naughty school boy. Had she forgotten he was no longer a child – hell he'd just turned twenty-three.
"Let's go mother," he said briskly, walking toward the door in the vain hope she would follow.
But of course that would be too much to expect, after all this was a perfect opportunity for her to continue to humiliate him.
"Does he have all his medication?" she asked.
"Yes Mrs Langdon," Grimes smiled, "it's in his bag. Oh and don't forget we need to see Peter on Wednesday, just to check he's settling in okay."
"Does that mean I get to visit with Georgie?" Peter enthused, something to smile about at last.
Whatever answer the doctor was about to give was cut short by his mother's interjection.
"Oh Peter you don't want to see that terrible man again. He's a criminal, a murd …" Silence.
"Say it mother – a murderer. And so what am I? Are you still trying to forget who killed father?"
He thought that would force a response from her and that this time she would at least acknowledge what he'd done. But as ever Cheryl Langdon chose to ignore the situation.
Turning to the doctor she smiled graciously. "Well thank you again Doctor Grimes. Come along Peter," she hurried towards the door. "I have a hair appointment at eleven-thirty."
Reluctantly he followed.
"Looks like it's gonna be another one of those days," Starsky sighed as he stared at the unreleased chocolate bar trapped in the candy machine. He looked tentatively around then quietly nudged the machine, hoping that the movement would dislodge the desired piece of confectionery, to no avail. Frustrated by his lack of success he aimed a kick at the base of the machine and was about to deliver the blow when his partner crept up behind him.
"Wouldn't do that if I were you," Hutch whispered in his friend's ear. "They're still looking for the culprit who broke the last machine."
"Yeah … well if they gave us one of these machines that actually worked maybe we wouldn't have to get so violent."
"You shouldn't be eating that garbage anyway, it's bad for your digestion."
"I'm starving here … that glop you called breakfast wouldn't have satisfied a mouse."
"Oh and you think that eating chocolate is going to help. Do you have any idea what they put in that stuff? I read this article the other day that would …" he didn't get the chance to finish as Starsky, frustration clearly showing, interjected.
"I don't care Hutch … I like it … it tastes good … I ain't asking you to eat it. But I would like to get the chance to eat it!" He kicked out at the machine, which shuddered momentarily but refused to give up the desired treat.
"STARSKY!" Dobey's voice bellowed from the other end of the corridor. "What do you think you're doing?"
"Nothing Cap'n … just trying to fix a little problem with the machine here."
"With your foot?" Dobey growled as he joined them alongside the faulty object. "Do you have any idea how much the department pays in rental for this thing?"
"No I don't. Hutch," Starsky said turning to his partner. "You have any idea how much this costs?"
"Don't get smart Starsky," Dobey warned.
"Um … will you excuse us please Cap'n," Hutch interceded. "We've got an appointment."
"But my candy bar!" Starsky complained.
"Starsk we've got to go," Hutch advised as he steered his partner down the corridor. "See you later Cap'n."
Dobey watched the two detectives leave then leant nonchalantly against the candy machine. After checking that nobody was watching he aimed a well rehearsed kick at the base of the machine with his left foot and then watched with satisfaction as Starsky's chocolate bar was deposited in the tray. Smiling, he reached in and collected his prize, turned and came face to face with a curly haired detective.
"Thanks Cap," Starsky grinned as he grabbed the candy out of Dobey's hand, walked away and began tearing open the wrapper of the long awaited treat.
Meeting up with his partner outside in the garage they walked together towards the Torino.
"So … what this appointment we gotta go to?" Starsky asked.
"No appointment … just thought it was time to leave," Hutch replied. "Although I would like to go check on Eddie … see how he's settling into his new job. And you know that was a pretty nasty bump Ryle gave him."
"Hutch did anyone ever tell you you're all heart," Starsky smiled as they climbed into his car. Starting the engine he queried. "So … how'd it go with Abby over the weekend? Didn't get the chance to ask ya this morning."
"Great," Hutch smiled recalling fond memories of a pleasant weekend. "The vitamin E worked wonders, if you know what I mean."
"Yeah … I get ya," Starsky grinned knowingly. "You know I still think you two are a little strange. I mean why would anyone wanna stop eating for forty-eight hours?"
"It's a cleansing of the body, Starsk. Abigail says a cleansing of the body automatically leads to a cleansing of the mind."
"You … a clean mind. You'll need more than forty-eight hours without food to achieve that Hutch," Starsky quipped as they drove onto the streets.
The room was just how he remembered it, dank and dreary. As a child he's wished for colorful walls and drapes, just like all his friends had, but he was never allowed to have what he wanted.
Now, however, things would be different. He'd learned valuable lessons from a very dear friend, a friend who'd taken him under his wing, nurtured him and protected him like a son. Georgie. He was thankful for the day that Georgie had arrived on his wing, only six months ago now. He'd seen a short, balding man arrive in the middle of the afternoon and not thought much about it. Then at dinner that night the man had actually spoken to him – he'd sat down at his table and started to talk.
For the first time in a long while Peter had felt normal, felt like someone was interested in what he had to say. From that moment they were inseparable, each needing the company of the other. Georgie told him endlessly how much he reminded him of his son. And for Peter the feeling was mutual; Georgie was like a father to him, but not like his own father, whom he had hated and with whom he had never been able to communicate with. With Georgie, however, he could open his heart and talk about whatever he wanted to talk about. During their hours spent together he had confided his innermost secrets, his hatred of his father, whom he had taken great pleasure in murdering, and his hatred of an over-bearing mother. Georgie's advice about her had been simple, "if she carries on bossing you around, get rid of her!"
Georgie had told him things too. He'd told him about a much loved son who'd been murdered as a result of one man's actions, about how that same man, who was a cop, had murdered an innocent boy and been allowed by a corrupt police force to get away with it. Peter applauded his friend's attempts to force him to admit his guilt, and he completely understood why Georgie, when this action had failed, had then tried to kill him. He felt angry that this cop was still walking around whilst his friend had been incarcerated. That was why when he had been asked to help he had gladly accepted. After all he would do anything for Georgie!
Depositing the bag on the desk he unzipped it and was about to extract the contents when his mother entered the room.
"Peter, time for your medication," she said proffering a glass of water and two small tablets.
"Don't ever come into my room again," he growled. "Do you understand mother. Don't ever come in here again."
Cheryl Langdon stared incredulously at her son. "How dare you speak to me like that," she complained. "I'm shocked Peter … you would never have spoken to me like that before you went into that place."
"Things have changed. I'm not going to be bossed around by you anymore. I'm going to do what ever I want to do and you're not going to stop me. You can't control me anymore, mother … after all I owe you nothing. It's because of you that father's dead."
"What do you mean? That's preposterous," she said, depositing the glass and tablets on the desk.
"Is it?" He moved to stand inches away from her. "You could have stopped him. You could have helped me, but instead you chose to ignore it. Why? Did you think it would go away … did you think he would stop doing what he was doing to me. Or are you still refusing to accept it?"
"I don't know what you mean." Cheryl Langdon replied in disbelief.
"You know mother, I believe you probably don't. So let me spell it out for you. Father molested me. He molested me my whole life and on occasion he let his friends watch. You saw him do it that first time … and did nothing."
"That's not true," she replied desperately as she backed away from her son, afraid of the look she had never seen in his eyes before.
"Isn't it. Remember my thirteenth birthday party, after my friends went home. Remember how happy I was that day. Father had invited several … how did he put it … oh yes "acquaintances" to stay for the evening and asked if I would join them in the library. Do you remember mother?" Peter questioned as she dropped down on his bed, shaking her head in denial. "No? … Well let me remind you," he continued. "Father asked me to remove my trousers, and bend over his knee. I saw you mother. I saw you watching at the door and I looked at you and begged you to help me, but you just closed the door and walked away. You left me with those men and you knew exactly what they would do to me."
Cheryl Langdon looked imploringly at her son. "You don't know what it was like Peter. You don't know what he would have done to me if I had interfered," she said.
"I'm sorry mother, I don't know, and I don't care. You could have left him and taken me with you, but that would have meant leaving all this, wouldn't it." He swept his arms around the room. "This house, the country club, the yacht. This is what you love, this is why you married father. You didn't care about me …"
"Peter," his mother interjected, "I did care."
"Did you? All I know is that from that moment on the sessions with father and his "acquaintances" continued and still you did nothing. So finally I had to deal with it myself."
"I don't want to know," Cheryl cried as she jumped up and ran towards the door.
In an instant he grabbed her and pushed her against the wall, staring wildly into her eyes.
"You're going to hear this mother," he growled. "You refused to come to that courtroom just so you wouldn't have to hear. Well you're going to hear now … you're going to listen to exactly what happened five years ago … that final time he came for me. It was after my eighteenth birthday party, I knew he would come. So I went to the gun cabinet … took that shotgun and I waited, I sat on the bed and I waited. Until there he was, standing at the door with that grin on his face. "Time for your birthday surprise, Peter," he told me and I knew exactly what that meant. So I shot him … aimed right between his eyes and I shot him."
There was a silence as Peter Langdon stared at the bedroom door as if seeing all over again the events of that evening.
"You know," he continued slowly, "it's quite amazing what a shotgun blast will do. I remember looking down at him and feeling glad." Peter looked back at his mother and smiled. "Do you know why?"
Cheryl Langdon, shocked and afraid, stared at her son. "N … No," she stammered.
"Because that grin wasn't there anymore. It had disappeared … along with the rest of his face."
"Let me go Peter," his mother cried as she struggled to escape his grip.
"So really it is your fault," he stated matter-of-factly as he continued to hold her against the wall. "Because if you had stopped him I wouldn't have been forced to kill him."
She began to cry then; they were tears of pity but he knew they were not for him, he knew they were for herself.
"Don't come in here ever again, mother," he whispered in her ear. "Because if you do," he kissed her gently on the cheek as he continued, "I'll kill you. Now … get … out."
"My God!" Cheryl Langdon sobbed as she fled the room.
Locking the door behind her Peter returned to his desk and threw his medication into the waste paper basket. Opening the bag that Georgie had given to him he extracted numerous newspaper clippings. Each featured photographs of the same man who was handsome, with dark curly hair and a lopsided grin. The clippings reported he was a detective with the Bay City Police Department and his name was David Michael Starsky.