Starsky sprinted to the corner of the building on the right side of the alley. Peeking around the edge of the brick, he saw the three men he and his partner were chasing, running toward the loading dock about fifty yards ahead of them.
One of the men turned and fired in Starsky’s direction. The bullet hit the building near his head. As Starsky returned fire, Hutch raced to the opposite corner of the alley.
“This is a dead end, isn’t it?” Hutch shouted.
“Think they know that?”
“They’re gonna find out soon enough.” Another bullet kicked brick dust in Starsky’s face.
A third forced Hutch behind his protective wall. “Backup should be here soon. Want to wait for it?”
Starsky shook his head. “These ricochets could hit a bystander. We need to take ‘em down before that happens.” Without waiting for Hutch to respond, Starsky darted into the alley, running. “Cover me!”
Two bullets from Hutch’s Python sped past him and had the men nearing the far end of the alley taking cover wherever they could.
Starsky hunkered down at the side of an industrial-size Dumpster. Leaning partway out, he fired two quick shots that managed to keep the bad guys’ heads down while Hutch ran to join him.
Several bullets skidded off the metal and careened away.
Starsky glanced at Hutch. “This thing’s steel, right?”
Hutch nodded. “It’ll make a damn good shield.”
Without needing to discuss the plan further, Starsky grabbed the Dumpster’s nearest handle and began dragging it away from the wall. Hutch added his strength and, within a few seconds, the wheeled monster was broadside between the still-firing perps and Starsky and Hutch. More slugs plowed into the front of the container without glancing off.
With Starsky peeking carefully around the left side and Hutch around the right, they pushed forward. Neither fired again.
Half a dozen slugs hit the Dumpster, and one plowed a furrow underneath, before the bad guys’ must have run out of ammunition. The silence was nearly deafening.
Starsky risked a quick look and saw all three men jump up onto the warehouse dock as they reloaded. Taking cover behind stacks of crates waiting for trucks, or to be taken inside the building, all three began firing again.
When there was a momentary lull, Starsky ducked halfway out from behind the Dumpster and shot the guy on the left side of the dock. The perp fell, screaming.
At almost the same moment, Hutch fired from around his side of their shield and hit the man on the right. He went down without a sound.
The third man’s weapon clicked on an empty chamber. He threw it away and turned toward the door behind him.
Starsky stepped into the alley. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Hutch do the same. They fired almost simultaneously, their bullets hitting the warehouse door on either side of the perp’s head.
Realizing he had nowhere to go, the man raised his hands immediately but made no other move.
Warily, Starsky walked forward as Hutch joined him. Shoulder to shoulder, they continued toward the three men.
Black and whites converged behind them, blocking the alley. Uniformed officers ran up with weapons drawn.
Starsky motioned toward the loading dock. “Cuff ‘em! Read ‘em their rights.”
“And get an ambulance down here,” Hutch added.
While the uniforms followed orders, Starsky holstered his Beretta.
As Hutch put the Python away, he sent Starsky a smile. “Remember when I tossed you that book on how to stop being left-handed?”
“Well, forget I ever gave it to you.” He gestured toward the Dumpster. “We couldn’t have pulled this off if you’d been right-handed, too.”
Starsky returned the smile. “I think we both have the attributes…” He cocked an eyebrow. “Is that the right word?”
Hutch’s smile widened. “It is.”
“Then, I think we both have exactly the right attributes.”
Hutch threw his arm around Starsky’s shoulders. “You’ll get no more argument out of me, partner.”