The last of the lifeboats away, the orchestra still plays. Sinking, she founders, the great unsinkable water-beast.
Some are jumping into the ocean now. The ship begins to tilt.
Starsky looks around, scrambles towards the crowd of white-faced officers, awaiting death. Stubborn they’d been in life, stubborn in death. And brave.
“Hutch.” He finds the blond man standing there, very pale, very straight. “Hutch. Come on. We can float on a piece of flotsam—or maybe catch up with one of the boats. Hutch.”
Hutch shakes his head. Water is running down his face. Or is that tears? “No good, saving myself…”
The orchestra plays; but a tremor in the notes now, a few off-key.
“Please.” He’s standing here begging when he should be jumping like the rest of the common sailors, worrying about his own hide, not his childhood friend and superior officer. “I’ll go without you,” he threatens.
“It’s freezing. Won’t matter.”
“We won’t know if we don’t try! Come on.” He grabs Hutch’s arm, pulls. Too depressed to struggle, the blond officer follows. “Take off your shoes and jacket—they’ll only weigh you down!” He searches around for something—anything for floatation. A barrel. It’ll have to do. He throws it, kicks off his own shoes, helps Hutch by yanking his coat off, throwing it away. “Now we jump!”
The blond stares mesmerized down at the ever-growing-nearer water, his hands white on the rail.
Starsky tugs his hands loose. “Hurry!”
Hutch looks at Starsky an instant, with the world coming down around them, and in his eyes are the desperation and tragedy of a life about to be lost. “Thanks,” he says.
“Thank me later,” says Starsky. He takes Hutch’s arm.