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"Welcome back to Midnight Cascade, here on WKLM radio. I'm your host, Cindy Leigh. Let's take our next caller. Hi who's on the line?"
"Hello Cindy, it's Shelly."
"Hi Shelly, nice to hear from you again. Shelly's a regular caller to our show, folks. For those of you don't know her, she's a relative newcomer to our fair city. She just moved here a month ago from Cleveland after her marriage broke up. She's been feeling pretty discouraged about life lately and those of us here at Midnight Cascade have been trying to lift her spirits. So how are you doing tonight, dear?"
"Actually, I'm doing really good tonight. I have just had the most amazing experience in the past two days, and I just had to share it with you."
"Well go ahead honey, the floor's all yours."
"Okay, let's see where to start, well, I guess the it all began last night. I'd worked late, again. You know, not much a life here, so I've pretty much thrown myself into my new job. Well, anyway, I'd left my office and was walking toward the parking garage where my car was. Just as I got to stairwell, I heard a noise near a dumpster that was next to the door. At first I wasn't sure what it was, so I stopped and then I heard it again, it sounded like someone moaning. I called out something like, 'Is there anyone there?' and I heard a voice answer, 'Help me, please.' "At first, I wasn't sure what to do, I mean, it could have been some sicko, lying in wait, but the voice sounded in pain, and so faint, so I decided to find out what was going on."
"Wow, you're braver than I am Shelly."
"Well, I do admit, I did take my pepper spray out of my purse, along with the small flashlight I carry, but I just couldn't walk away, you know? Anyway, I walked over to the dumpster, and found a guy lying there. God, he looked awful. I mean his clothes were torn and he was covered with blood. There were bruises all over his face. He looked half dead."
"So what did you do next?"
"I grabbed my cell phone and called 911. They promised that they'd send an ambulance and the police right away. I figured I couldn't leave the poor guy, so I knelt down to see if there was anything I could do to help him. I've taken a few first aid courses. He kept fading in and out, moaning in pain when he was conscious. I felt so helpless, you know. I mean, I could tell that he was in bad shape. I tried to reassure him, tell him that help was on the way, but it was like he couldn't understand what I was saying, or comprehend it."
"It must have been a frightening experience for you."
"At first I was scared out my wits, my heart must have been beating a mile a minute. I felt a little better when I heard the sirens, I knew then that help was finally on the way. It didn't take long at all for the first cops to arrive, they must have been on patrol in area, because they were there within a couple of minutes. I waved them down, and they both got out of their patrol car and came up to me. I moved out of the way so they could see the victim. I heard the older one kind of gasp then he said to the other one something like 'Radio into dispatch, have then get in contact with Jim Ellison, let him know that we found his partner, Blair Sandburg.' While the younger one was doing that, the older one started questioning me about what happened."
"The next thing I know, another car comes screeching to a halt by the cruiser and two big guys, one black and one white jump out of it. Cindy, I don't think I can describe the look in the white man's eyes. I mean it was one of complete panic. I figured that this must be the guy's partner, Jim Ellison. He moved directly to the man on the ground, Blair, and knelt down beside him. He just knew where he was without even looking around. It was kind of weird, you know. As soon as he saw the condition Blair was in, his expression changed to one of fury. The black man came over to the cops talking to me they exchanged a few words, and then he introduced himself to me as Captain Banks. He asked me a few questions, and I told him the same thing I had already told the two uniformed officers, how I had come to find Blair.
"I tried to pay attention to the questions, but I couldn't help but focus on the two men next to the dumpster. As soon as Ellison knelt down next to Blair, Blair calmed right down. I mean he was doing same thing that I had tried to do, to comfort Blair until the ambulance arrived, but while it was like he didn't even hear me, Blair just completely relaxed under his touch. And the look in the Jim's eyes had turned from one of fury to one of love and compassion. It was amazing, completely amazing. I could hear him offering words of comfort to Blair, saying things like 'hang in there, Chief, the ambulance is on the way' 'You're going to be just fine, kid.' It was as if he was trying to convince himself as much as he was trying to convince Blair. Even when the ambulance did arrive, they had to physically move him out of the way so they could treat Blair. And when they were ready to transport him to the hospital, at first the paramedics told Jim that he'd couldn't ride with him. Well, if looks could kill, you know? I think that they agreed to let Jim ride in the ambulance only because they were afraid of him killing them if they didn't."
"I wasn't the only one who noticed either, the man who had arrived with Jim, Captain Banks kept a close eye on both of them, too. He was trying to ask me questions, but I could tell that his attention was on the two men on the ground. He finally thanked me for my help and asked me to come in in the morning to make a formal statement."
"You know, Cindy, I couldn't help but think about the whole situation, not only on the drive home, but all night. I mean, obviously, the whole thing shook me up, it's not everyday I find someone lying in an alley beaten within an inch of his life. That would upset anyone, man's inhumanity against man and everything. But I kept thinking about something else, the look in Jim's eyes when he saw Blair lying there, and how he was able to comfort Blair even with his touch."
"I didn't get much sleep last night, so I went into work early and cleared up what I had to, then I drove over to the police department, so I could give my account of what had happened. The desk sergeant there sent me up to the Major Crimes division. A Detective Rafe there helped me and took my statement. I asked about Blair, and the detective kind of sighed and told me that, thank God, he was going to be okay, but he had taken a heck of a beating. I guess the doctors at the hospital had had to do emergency surgery because of internal bleeding, but he had pulled through. I asked about Jim, how he was holding up. My father had open heart surgery a few years ago, so I remember how tiring waiting around a hospital can be. He told me that Jim was hanging in there too, he'd spent the entire night at the hospital, and that their Captain was trying to get him to go home and rest. He said that Jim was feeling pretty guilty about the whole thing and wouldn't go home until Blair woke up. I must have looked confused because he went on to tell me that this wasn't a case of a random mugging. Apparently, Jim and Blair had been working on an extortion case and they had gotten too close, because the crooks had kidnapped Blair and beaten him, as a message to the cops to back off. They entire Major Crimes division of the Cascade police department had been searching for him for two days. We talked for a few more minutes, then Captain Banks came out of his office and noticed me. He came over and thanked me again for everything. I made some remark about it being nothing and he grabbed my hand and squeezed it then said, 'Believe me, young lady, it certainly was not nothing.' I was getting kind of embarrassed so I asked if he thought it would be okay if I stopped by the hospital. He said that he thought that would be a good idea.
"Since I had already finished up work for the day, I decided that I would do just that, just to make sure that Blair was going to be okay. I don't know, something about this group of people, from Blair to Jim to the rest of the cops I had met made me care about what happened to them, you know? Anyway, I drove over to Cascade General. When I inquired about Blair at the reception desk, they directed me to his room in the post-surgical ward. I took the elevator to the third floor and walked to his room. I didn't see Jim in the waiting room, so I figured that he must be with Blair. I don't even know if I can explain the diversity of looks that crossed his face when I first opened the door started to walk in. The first was an ever so brief look of that was almost territorial. Like a mother protecting her young. Then there was a perplexed look, as if he was trying to figure out where he had seen me before. I really had expected to have to introduce myself, I mean, I didn't even know if he had looked at me the night before. But then I saw recognition on his face, and he smiled at me. 'Shelly, right?' I nodded and looked toward the bed, I could tell that Blair was still unconscious. Jim stood up and moved over to me. I protested, and told him that I didn't want to intrude, but that I had been to the police station and they had told me how badly he had been hurt, and I had just wanted to see how he was doing. Cindy, this man gave me the most brilliant smile I think I have ever seen and told me that the doctors had just been in and told him that his partner was going to make a full recovery. I told him that I was glad, and then told him to sit back down, that I hadn't planned on staying or anything. He moved over to stand in front of me and gently took both my hands, then in said, 'It's because of you that he's going to be okay. If you hadn't come along when you did, or stopped to help him, the doctors say he would have died. If not from his injuries, then from exposure to the cold. Words can not express to you how grateful I am to you. Thank you. I don't know what I would have done if... ' he couldn't finish, and I swear there were tears in his eyes. I left then, I think that I was as embarrassed as he was. My dad is ex-navy, and this man has the same demeanor that my dad does, so I could tell that expressing his feelings was not an easy thing for him to do, especially to a stranger."
"The thing is, Cindy, that I can't get this entire episode out of my mind. I mean after my husband left me for my best friend, I pretty much swore off relationships as a whole. I refused to let my guard down and let anyone get close to me, either romantically or otherwise, it just hurts too much when they break your heart. But to see the relationship between these two men, I mean it was amazing. They were more than just partners, you know, it was like they were brothers or something. I don't know, it just gives you hope, you know? If there is even the slightest chance that I can find a friendship as close as theirs, I guess it's worth it to try."
"Wow! Shelly, that's quite a story. It does sound like these two guys have formed a unique bond. I know I'm envious of it myself and I think most of our listeners are too. Thanks for sharing, and I think you have the right idea. Remember, people are not meant to be alone. "
"Let's welcome our next caller, who's on the line please?"
"Um, hi, this Jim, ah, Detective Jim Ellison."
"Well, isn't this just a coincidence. Go ahead Jim."
"I, well, I just wanted to let Shelly know, and I guess the rest of you that we got the bastards who beat my partner up. I got a call a few hours after you left Shelly, from Captain Banks letting me know that the team we had on surveillance had arrested them."
"That's great news, anything else you wanted to say, Jim?"
"Yeah, I do. This has been kind of weird, you know, hearing this whole horrible experience from someone else's point of view. I came home from the hospital tonight, but I couldn't sleep, so I turned on the radio, and here's this person telling a story that I've lived also. Yeah, Shelly, they finally chased me out of the hospital. Blair woke up around one o'clock or so. They have him on a lot of pain killers, so he's pretty much out of it. The doctor's say he should be able to come home in a few days, though."
"I guess mostly what I wanted to say is that I know exactly what Shelly's going through. Until Blair and I became partners, I had pretty much written off the idea of getting close to anyone. I've never had much luck with partners before, no one really seemed to want to work with me for too long. And I really haven't had much luck making a relationship work either. I'm divorced, too. It even took a while for Blair and I to accept each other. But when finally let my defenses down, and let him into my life, well it was the best thing I ever did. You're right, Shelly, Blair's not just my partner, he's become like a brother to me. So I just want you to know that first off, you should never give up on people. Even if you've been hurt by someone before, don't close off your heart. Take it from someone who's been there, the alternative is a cold, hard existence. And secondly, please don't ever think that you're alone, you've given me back something and someone that's very important to me. If you ever need anything, just look me up."
"Thanks for sharing Jim, it sound's like Blair came along just in time for you. You hear that Shelly, listen to Jim, don't give up. Well, I hate to do this, but that's about all the time we have tonight. This has been Midnight Cascade with Cindy Leigh. Everyone, have a great night."