Love is an exploding cigar we willingly smoke. ~Lynda Barry
Hutch thought the sheets were a bad idea the first time he saw them. They were satin, slippery, cool to the touch, and candy
“Flannel,” said Hutch. “It’s soft, it’ll keep you warm at night, and there must be some in
red around here somewhere.” He pulled a plastic wrapped sheet set off the shelf and held it up.
“That’s pink,” said Starsky. The sample satin sheets were hung up against the wall, shimmering lengths
in aqua, lilac, bronze, champagne – a confusion of colors, one for every sin. Starsky picked up the edge of the red
one and rubbed it between his fingers.
Hutch showed him a different set.
A third set.
Hutch grimaced. “You could have just said dark red-brown.”
“I call ‘em as I see ‘em,” said Starsky. “If you want to sleep on sheets the color of old dried
up blood, be my guest. Crime scenes aren’t my turn-on, though, so you’ll excuse me if I decline to join you.”
As Starsky spoke, he was winding the long length of satin around his arm, all the way up to his shoulder. He turned his cheek
to the side, rubbing sensuously against the fabric with half-lidded eyes.
Hutch felt his mouth go dry. “That’s blackmail,” he croaked.
“Not at all,” said Starsky, grinning. “You need new sheets. Considering how we wore out the last set,
I think I should have some say in which ones you buy.”
Hutch bought the red satin sheets.
“My bed looks like it belongs in a bordello,” said Hutch, looking down at his shiny red bed, with its matching
shiny red pillows. How was it that Starsky always got exactly what Starsky wanted? Even the sex had been his idea; Hutch
had simply been dragged along as a surprised, but hardly unwilling, co-conspirator.
“You know what this needs,” said Starsky, throwing himself backwards onto the sheets. “Mirrors on the ceiling.”
He folded his hands behind his head, his legs draped over the end of the bed.
“Oh no,” said Hutch. “No, no, no.”
“Your mouth says no, but your eyes say…”
“Absolutely no fucking way.” He had to draw the line somewhere.
Starsky lifted his head, and looked at Hutch. “Fucking? That reminds me. We need to christen your new bed.”
“Satin stains,” said Hutch. The thought of sex with Starsky inspired in him a confused mix of conflicting emotions:
affection, lust and a miserable conviction that this was all wrong.
“Shows what you know,” said Starsky. “Your new sheets are high-grade woven polyester, rayon, spandex satin.
They are very washable and nearly wrinkle-free. Do not use any type of bleach.”
“My God. You memorized the cleaning instructions.” How far gone was he, Hutch wondered, that he found even that
“Damn right. We’ll be using these for years.” Starsky pushed himself up onto his elbows. “So, what
are you waiting for?”
Certainty, thought Hutch. Conviction that this wouldn’t ultimately wreck the best friendship he’d ever had.
He stepped forward to the edge of the bed, and stopped between Starsky’s knees, looking down at him. Blue jeans, blue
t-shirt, dark curly hair, all framed in gleaming, shining red – beautiful.
Ignoring his better judgment, Hutch knelt on the edge of the bed between Starsky’s knees and braced himself over Starsky.
The satin sheets felt cool under his hands. Starsky’s lips parted as he grinned, revealing white teeth. It was a matter
of inches to close the distance between their mouths. Hutch leaned forward, feeling the heat of arousal stir in him at the
way Starsky tilted his head back, expectantly.
Hutch’s knees slipped on the satin and he abruptly found himself kneeling on the floor between Starsky’s legs.
Starsky sat up with a crow of delight, utterly shattering the mood. “Right where I like you!” He grabbed Hutch’s
face and planted an enthusiastic kiss on his lips.
With a mental shrug, Hutch decided he was nothing if not adaptable. Especially with Starsky’s tongue in his mouth –
even if he did taste a bit like his last chili dog. He slid his hands under Starsky’s t-shirt and felt him shiver.
Starsky pulled back with a short laugh, and fumbled with the zipper of his own jeans. Hutch pushed Starsky’s shirt
up, and lightly mouthed his navel, dipping his tongue into the small divot. He felt Starsky’s abdomen tighten as he
laughed, and then his hands were on Hutch’s head, pushing him back.
“Wait,” protested Starsky, breathlessly. “I can’t – get my – zipper!”
Hutch carefully pulled a dark hair out of his mouth, and then chuckled. “Poor baby.” He worked his palms under
Starsky’s hips and slid him closer, finding it easy on the slick sheets. Red and blue… Hutch flexed his fingers.
Starsky jumped, and the bulge in his jeans thickened noticeably. “Ah, Hutch!”
Hutch hooked his arm over Starsky’s knee and went to work on the skin just above his hip. He tasted salt, as Starsky
twitched and quivered under his mouth, his hands working frantically on his zipper.
Starsky was almost sobbing by the time he lifted his hips to push his jeans down. Hutch caught him just as he was about to
slide off the edge of the bed right along with his pants. He pushed Starsky back, feeling the tug of Starsky’s fists
clutching his hair.
It would be cruel to make him wait longer. And while Hutch was certainly not above a little cruelty, his own corduroys were
getting more uncomfortable by the moment. His hands still lightly resting on Starsky’s hips, Hutch lowered his head
and pulled Starsky’s cock into his mouth.
He was prepared for the familiar musky taste, part salt, part sweet. He frankly enjoyed the way Starsky would buck and grab
at him, groaning helplessly. And while he’d never really learned to love the taste of him when he came, it was more
than worth it to see the look of frank wonder on his face after. It was what kept him coming back, even when he knew he shouldn’t.
Not to mention that a Starsky who’d had his own needs taken care of first, was a Starsky more than willing to be attentive
to the needs of his partner.
What Hutch was not prepared for was what happened next.
Starsky tensed and thrust upward into Hutch’s mouth. At that same moment his hips slipped forward on the satin sheets
and Hutch lost his grip on Starsky’s waist.
Hutch felt his face collide painfully with Starsky’s groin, just as Starsky’s cock slammed into the back of his
throat. Hutch gagged, his jaw clenching involuntarily as his body fought the sudden invasion.
Hutch pulled back, off of Starsky, but the movement set off a convulsion in the back of his throat and the contents of his
stomach abruptly flooded into his mouth. Starsky landed on his knees in Hutch’s lap, just as Hutch vomited right down
the front of them both.
“Oh, God,” groaned Hutch. “Sor—.” He stopped. Starsky had fallen over on his side and was
“You bit me!”
“Sorry…” Hutch reached out a helpless hand, feeling himself shrivel in pained sympathy.
Starsky brought one red hand up to his face and stared at it in morbid fascination. “I’m bleeding!”
“Oh, God!” said Hutch, again. He fumbled for the edge of the sheet, and tried to push it at Starsky, in his panic
thinking only to put pressure on the wound.
But as soon as he touched him, Starsky yowled and slugged him. Hutch fell back on his rear end, his hand over his cheek.
He watched, horrified, as Starsky scooted back up onto his knees, still holding onto himself. Red liquid leaked between his
fingers onto the carpet. Chunky bits of brown and white vomit dripped down the front of his shirt in long mucousy strands.
It was too much for Hutch. His stomach lurched again, and he turned aside just in time to keep himself from vomiting all
over Starsky. Again.
As he choked up bitter tasting bile, he could hear Starsky shouting at him.
“Hutch, I’m really bleeding!”
Hutch gagged helplessly.
“I think we gotta call an ambulance, Hutch.”
Hutch’s balls were trying to climb into his abdomen, no doubt having ascertained that the space was being rapidly vacated,
and would shortly be open for new occupancy. He clutched the carpet, trying to force himself up onto his feet, but each shuddering
spasm of his body drove him back down onto his knees. Stop puking, he ordered himself. His stomach ignored him.
“Oh, for Pete’s sake!”
Distantly, through the roaring in his ears, Hutch heard Starsky stagger to his feet and stumble over to the phone.
“…yeah, I need a fucking ambulance, and I need one now, because my partner is no fucking use at all… I
don’t fucking care if you don’t like my language! I’m in fucking pain, here!”
A tiny part of Hutch’s mind, the only piece not entirely taken up by guilt and vomiting, listened in astonished wonder
at Starsky’s language. His partner hardly ever swore. In fact, Hutch thought he’d just heard more “fucking”
from Starsky in that one call, than he’d ever heard from the man in his entire life.
Hutch’s stomach heaved again, the smell hitting him like a hammer in the sinuses. Tuna burger. Banana. Milk.
Starsky’s sneaker kicked him in the ribs, just as Starsky collapsed back on the bed with an anguished groan. “Hutch,
pull yourself together. You gotta hide the Crisco!”
It was a jolt of electricity. All of a sudden Hutch could see his bedroom just as the paramedics would see it. Red satin
sheets, the half-empty tub of Crisco on the bedside table. The fuzzy zebra-striped cuffs….
God, why did he ever let Starsky talk him into buying those?
Still gagging, Hutch lurched to his feet. He swiped at the tears and snot on his face and began tossing things under the
“Don’t forget the butt plug.”
It was red, too, of course. It took Hutch a moment to find it in the tangled satin sheets.
Hutch could hear the sirens approaching by the time he finished. He stopped in front of Starsky, who was now rocking forward
and back, making small pained noises.
“Just get the fucking door!”
Hutch was in hell.
“Uh… a wuh-woman. Sh-she was giving him head, when, uh, he slipped and she b-bit him…”
The older paramedic nodded, blatantly uninterested in anything but the practical specifics of Hutch’s story. “Human
bite, then? Is he the one who vomited?”
Hutch nodded, words having failed him. He couldn’t take his eyes off Starsky, who was sitting on the edge of the bed,
one hand clamped firmly over himself, glaring at the girl paramedic. Then, belatedly, the second part of the paramedic’s
question sank in. “No, it was me who threw up.”
The girl was losing her temper. “Sir, I must see the injury!” She had a pony tail and looked all of twelve years
Starsky’s red-rimmed eyes met Hutch’s, as the girl firmly peeled his hand away. “This is your fault!”
“Starsk,” said Hutch, helplessly.
Starsky covered his face with both hands and fell backwards onto the bed. “Right. Your fault. Because that woman
was all your fault! You picked her up. It was your threesome idea!”
Hutch winced. Oh yeah, that’s less kinky, he thought. Can just see the headline now. Bay City cop castrated
in threesome incident. With file photos of both of us.
“I need to know,” said the girl paramedic. “Did you hear a popping or snapping sound at the time of the
incident? Was there sudden detumescence?”
“De-what?” asked Starsky, lifting one hand off his eyes just enough to look at her.
“I think she means did you go limp,” said Hutch.
“Well, yeah! I didn’t hear anything, though. I was too busy screaming, and he was too busy puking.”
“Puking, afterwards,” Hutch added, quickly. “Because I wasn’t here when it happened.”
“Yeah, uh, that’s right,” agreed Starsky. “He was in the other room. Putting on the Barry White
The girl efficiently finished taping the bandage in place. “We’re going to have to transport you to the hospital
Starsky groaned despairingly. He had closed his eyes again, and he seemed unaware that he’d smeared his own blood down
his left cheek. He looked as if he’d just like to disappear off the face of the planet. Hutch sympathized with the
feeling. He suspected neither paramedic was buying their story.
It was everything he’d feared when they’d started down this path together – only far, far worse. Because
he’d never envisioned quite this scenario when he’d imagined all the things that could possibly go wrong
in a sexual relationship with Starsky. I should never have let him talk me into it, thought Hutch.
The girl paramedic’s partner was already on his radio. “Yep, got a transport for you. Adult male. Genital trauma.
Laceration of the penis. Possibility of penile fracture…”
Hutch’s stomach lurched again, and he bolted for the bathroom with his hand over his mouth. Behind him he could hear
“Yeah, go on and run, you big turkey!”
The doctor checked his clipboard. He was grey-haired and efficient, with an air of not only having seen everything, but of
having seen it so often he’d long ago lost any illusions he’d ever had regarding the dignity of the human race.
“So, I understand you vomited,” he said, blandly.
“Well, someone sure did,” said Starsky.
Hutch cringed. Penile fracture had been thankfully ruled out, but he still felt as if he was trapped in a nightmare.
The resident had cleaned the wound and sutured the torn flap of skin on Starsky’s penis. He’d explained that
the wound was relatively minor, but that, like the face, the genitals were rich with blood vessels and so tended to bleed
copiously. Hutch hardly heard him. He couldn’t get past the fifteen stitches.
There was something intrinsically horrifying about fifteen stitches there. Every few minutes during the stitching, a nurse
or resident would frown at Hutch and ask him if he was really supposed to be in the room, and then Starsky would glower and
announce loudly, “He’s staying!”
Hutch didn’t want to stay. He didn’t want to have to see any of this, but he had no right to object. It wasn’t
his penis being stitched up, after all.
“Well, the presence of vomitus in the wound hardly makes any difference,” said the doctor, apparently oblivious
to Hutch’s distress. “The human mouth is a filthy place, chock full of germs. I’m writing you one prescription
for antibiotics, and another one for codeine. You should switch to regular painkillers after a couple of days. But no aspirin,
it’s an anti-coagulant.” The doctor scribbled something on his pad and tore it off, handing the slip of paper
to Starsky. “You can purchase everything at the pharmacy on the first floor.”
Starsky held the slip of paper up, without removing his gaze from the doctor. Hutch took it. He knew very well who’d
be paying for Starsky’s medicine.
“After wound care,” said the doctor. “Keep it clean and dry. Applying Vaseline daily will help keep the
skin soft and reduce scarring. Avoid erections for two weeks, minimum. No tight slacks or jeans. Loose clothing only.
And I think I hardly need to tell you, no sex. No masturbation.” He paused, tapping the end of his pen on his clipboard.
“How well do you know your partner?”
It took Hutch a moment to realize that the doctor was talking about Starsky’s bed partner. The mythical, disappearing
“Pretty well,” said Starsky.
“Regardless, I strongly recommend getting tested for venereal disease.”
“Thank you, doctor,” said Starsky. “I’ll take that under advisement.” A hand went up in the
air. “Hutch? My pants.”
Hutch handed Starsky his oldest, loosest sweatpants. Starsky still wasn’t looking at him.
The doctor looked first at Starsky, and then at Hutch. He shook his head, and sighed. “Two weeks. Either book an
appointment with your own doctor, or return to this emergency room. Someone will take your stitches out, and check the progress
of your healing.”
Starsky nodded. “Got it.”
The doctor left.
Hutch hovered. He wanted to help Starsky into his sweatpants, but he was afraid to touch him. He cleared his throat, uncertainly.
Starsky shoved his foot down one leg of his pants. “How do I feel?” he said, in answer to Hutch’s unspoken
question. “Pissed off. And like I’ve got a bowling ball sitting between my legs. A numb bowling ball. Except
where it’s throbbing. But…”
Hutch waited, the sour taste of vomit still in his mouth.
“It’s not – entirely – your fault.”
“Huh?” Hutch’s head came up.
After one false start, Starsky managed to get his second leg into his sweatpants. He was pale and sweating, dark curls sticking
to his forehead. “I know what I said. But I was wrong. It was an accident. I’ll get over it, and so will you.”
Hutch blinked back a sudden dampness in his eyes.
The first thing Hutch did when he got home was bundle up the red satin sheets and toss them into the garbage. Then he tied
up the bag and threw it all in the dumpster outside. His old flannel sheets, worn threadbare with the elastic coming off
the bottom sheet, went back on the bed.
Then he drove to Starsky’s apartment, stopping on the way to pick up chicken noodle soup from the kosher Deli.
He found Starsky on the couch, buried under blankets. All of his pill bottles were lined up on the table beside him. It
was obvious he was prepared to settle in for days.
“Chicken noodle?” asked Starsky, his nose emerging from under the afghan.
“From Schlomo’s Deli.”
More of Starsky appeared as he pushed himself up to a sitting position. “My favorite.”
“Well, it was either Schlomo or Huggy…”
“Oh, God… Huggy.” Starsky’s eyes widened in alarm. “Hutch! What are we going to tell people?”
“The same thing we told the doctor. You slipped, and your date, uh....” Hutch winced, unable to bring himself
to say it.
“Skinned me,” said Starsky, apparently having no such difficulty. “Well, that’s true enough. If
I phrase it right, I might not even have to lie. Much.” He took one of containers of soup from Hutch, and sniffed
it appreciatively. “Well, are ya going to get us spoons, or are ya just gonna stand there?”
Hutch managed to banish a lurid vision of Starsky’s bloodied penis just long enough to go find spoons and napkins.
After setting Starsky up with dinner, Hutch realized he wasn’t hungry. Instead, he turned on the TV, switching it over
to football. Starsky seemed pleased, so Hutch settled down in a nearby chair.
Hutch couldn’t focus on the game. He kept hearing Starsky’s voice, telling the ambulance dispatcher that his
partner was “fucking useless”. It was just something Starsky had said in the heat of the moment, but it had been
true, hadn’t it? He’d faced any number of crisis situations without panicking. Sure there had been that one
time he’d frozen in the alley, when he was all fucked up over Gillian, but normally he was…
Competent. Level-headed. A good cop.
But this time he’d messed up. Badly. Starsky had needed him, and all he’d been able to do was puke. Even now
he could feel his stomach roil at the memory. Hutch rubbed his mouth.
“Are you going to eat that?” asked Starsky.
It took Hutch a moment to realize he was talking about the other container of soup. He shook his head. “You can have
“Sometimes I seriously question your sanity,” said Starsky, as he eased himself up off the couch.
Sometimes I do, too, thought Hutch. Starsky was wearing a white t-shirt and the sweats from the hospital. The elastic had
given out at the waist, and they hung low on his hips. As he stood, Hutch caught a glimpse of a leanly muscled stomach, and
dark hair arrowing up from his lower abdomen toward his navel.
But the noticeable bulge of the bandages beneath the waistband of his sweatpants completely destroyed the eroticism of the
“I think the worst part,” said Starsky. “Is that I’m gonna have to go to work in these things.”
He tugged irritably at the leg of his sweatpants. “How’m I going to face people, dressed like a slob? Where’s
the dignity in that, huh?”
Hutch snuck another look at Starsky. The man he loved. The man he wanted to spend the rest of his life with. The man he
“Okay, buddy,” said Starsky. “You got to quit looking at me like that, or I’m gonna bust my stitches.”
…and should never have again.
Starsky took the next two days off work, giving Dobey the story he and Hutch had agreed on. A nameless mystery woman, picked
up in a bar, and a tragic accident resulting in the near-flaying of Starsky Junior. Neither tried to explain what Starsky
had been doing making love to a strange woman in Hutch’s bed, and Dobey didn’t ask. Instead, he sighed and shook
his head in a manner Hutch found startlingly reminiscent of the doctor who’d seen them in the emergency room.
“I thought your mothers raised you better,” Dobey said, before assigning them to desk duty for the next two weeks.
Starsky endured the jibes and teasing on his return to work in reasonably good humor, though he was less than thrilled about
the Polaroids. They showed up on his desk, later that same afternoon - color pictures of himself in his baggy sweats, with
an attached note saying copies had been made for future blackmail opportunities.
Only one person thought to ask why Hutch was on the scene at all.
“What?” asked Starsky, disbelievingly. “Who else would I call? Do you honestly think I wanted to radio
in to Dispatch? What was I gonna say? Officer down?”
That got a round of laughs, and the guy who’d asked the question seemed satisfied.
For the first week, everything seemed to be back to normal. Or as normal as it ever could be when they were both confined
to a desk. Every day, Hutch bought Starsky lunch.
Once, and once only, did Hutch suggest that it might be Starsky’s turn to pay.
Starsky sighed and said, “You’re right.” Then he turned around in his seat, wincing dramatically, and began
laboriously trying to pull his wallet out of his jacket pocket. He stopped suddenly and adjusted the crotch of his sweatpants.
“Damn, these stitches!”
Hutch knew he was being played for a sap. He almost said so, too, but then Starsky heaved another one of those gusty sighs
and began counting out his dimes one at a time.
It was too much. Hutch paid for lunch.
At night, Starsky stayed home. He was self-conscious about the bulk of the dressing, complaining that it made him look like
he was wearing an athletic cup – one of the extra-large, reinforced kinds – but without the cool football uniform
to go with it. He discarded the bandages as soon as he could, preferring to waddle bow-legged rather than wear them.
“You know, if you were jealous of my good looks,” he told Hutch. “There are other ways you could have gone
about bringing me down to your level.”
Another time he said, “Man, I’m gonna have to watch myself around you. If this is what you do when I buy sheets
you don’t like, I’d hate to see what’d happen if I cheated on ya.”
And then there was, “You’d think getting circumcised once was enough. What, were you trying to make up for missing
out on the experience yourself?”
Hutch could handle the teasing, even with the extra edge Starsky seemed to be putting into it these days. By Friday, he’d
almost convinced himself that at least he’d still always have Starsky as a friend, if not as a lover.
It would be better that way. Hutch was all too aware of his dismal track record in romance, and he wanted Starsky around
for the long haul.
Starsky snapped his fingers, bringing Hutch back to the present. “Buddy, you’re making me nervous. What’s
“Huh?” asked Hutch, blinking.
“You were staring at me.”
“Oh, sorry.” Hutch looked down at the file in front of him. He frowned, trying to remember if he’d read
it before. He must have. It was open, and half the pages were flipped over.
“Look,” said Starsky. “It’s getting pretty, uh…” He seemed to choke slightly as he said,
“Hard. For me, too.”
Hutch nodded. He should have known Starsky would be thinking along the same lines.
“I think maybe you shouldn’t come over tonight.”
Hutch looked up, but Starsky was adjusting his sweatpants, grimacing.
“Okay,” said Hutch, finally. What else could he say? But he couldn’t help being disappointed that Starsky
hadn’t put up more of a fight. After all, the sex had been his idea in the first place.
When lunch time rolled around, Hutch stood up and reached for his jacket. “Where do you want to go? Huggy’s
or The Dog Track?”
“Hug--.” Starsky stopped, frowning. He stared down at the desk for a moment and then looked up and said, “You
know what? Why don’t you just grab me one of Huggy’s artery-busting specials to go? I’ll keep working
on stuff here.” He waved vaguely at the papers littering his desk.
“Sure,” said Hutch, feeling his spirits dip lower. As he shrugged his jacket, Hutch reminded himself that there
was no reason he and Starsky had to be joined at the hip all the time.
Starsky was quieter than usual when he got back. By late afternoon, Hutch was beginning to feel paranoid. He tried to think
of anything he’d said or done…
But there was nothing. That morning they’d been chatting as usual, joking, and then all of a sudden Starsky had pulled
away. But they hadn’t been talking about anything they hadn’t discussed a thousand times before.
He glanced up and caught Starsky staring at him with a strange expression on his face. “What?”
“I’m going to leave early,” said Starsky. “Go to… uh, bed. Maybe a cold shower, first.”
Hutch narrowed his eyes. Starsky was biting his lip. A cold shower? No, he had to have heard Starsky wrong. After
everything he’d been through, sex would be the last thing on his mind. “Are you feeling okay?” Hutch asked.
“Do you want me to pick you up some soup later?”
“No,” said Starsky, pushing his chair back. “Don’t worry about it. I’ll see you on Monday.”
That night, Hutch went home alone and tried to imagine what his life would be like without Starsky in it.
The next week was excruciating. Starsky was distant and preoccupied and Hutch was quietly miserable.
He told himself it shouldn’t be so hard. They were still partners, at least. And friends, even if Starsky wasn’t
talking to him anymore.
Hutch had always known that taking their relationship to a sexual level would be a bad idea. He’d spent years trying
to ignore the spark, carefully squashing every inappropriate thought about his partner, and then one day Starsky had…
He’d shown up on Hutch’s doorstep, a bottle of wine in hand, and said, “We can do this sober, or we can
do this drunk.”
Hutch hardly had time to say, “Do what?” before Starsky kicked the door shut and kissed him.
It was a hell of a kiss too, considering Hutch was too astonished to reciprocate. Starsky stepped back, considered him, and
said, “Well, you haven’t slugged me, or puked your guts up. I’ll take that as a positive sign.”
Hutch touched Starsky’s cheek, feeling the rough brush of beard stubble on his fingertips. “Why?”
“I got tired of waiting,” said Starsky. “I thought, if I wait too long, I might miss my chance.”
And that was it. No discussion of the risks or the consequences, just…
…a hell of a lot of great sex.
Three months worth of great sex, and then, just as abruptly as it had begun, it was over.
My life stinks, thought Hutch. Why didn’t I tell him no the first time he kissed me? It’s not better
to have loved and lost. It hurts like a son of a bitch.
On the other side of the desk, Starsky shifted uncomfortably, his chair creaking. He reached down to adjust himself, and
Hutch wondered if his stitches were bothering him. Then, Starsky stood abruptly. “I’m going… uh, out.”
“I’ll see you later,” said Hutch. He deliberately avoided looking at Starsky, trying to concentrate on
the reports in front of him instead.
A moment later he heard the squad room door close. Hutch realized that he already knew what life without Starsky was like.
It was pretty damn bleak.
“Well,” said Starsky. “This is it. The big day.” He cracked his knuckles nervously.
Hutch looked at him blankly, and then blanched as he realized that it had been exactly fourteen days since The Incident.
Starsky leaned over the desk separating them. “You’re not going to make me do this alone, are you?”
That was exactly what Hutch wanted to do. He had vivid memories of the black threaded needle putting the stitches into Starsky’s
penis. The last thing he wanted to see was a doctor snipping and pulling each of them out. His stomach roiled uneasily.
But this was what Starsky wanted. Hutch swallowed. “Yeah,” he said, hoarsely. “I’ll drive you.”
He wasn’t going to puke again. No matter what. It was just a matter of willpower.
At the hospital, Hutch discovered that Starsky’s penis looked far better than he’d thought it would. It wasn’t
nearly as hideous an injury as he’d imagined during his late-night self-flagellation sessions. Starsky hadn’t
been permanently disfigured after all. The wound had healed cleanly, and if there had been any swelling, it had gone down.
Starsky’s pubic hair, where they’d shaved him, was growing back in.
Hutch stood back near the door, while Starsky bitched at the doctor.
“I’m not a piece of meat, you know! Watch where you put those scissors!”
Hutch’s head was buzzing, and the contents of his stomach were sloshing from side to side. Swallowing, he leaned against
the wall. The floor tipped beneath his feet, not quite in time with his internal oscillations. Vaguely he wondered why everything
suddenly seemed very far away. The last thing he heard was, “Hutch?”
He opened his eyes to find himself on the ground, looking up into a pair of very concerned blue eyes.
“Hutch, buddy, are you okay?”
Hutch felt strange. Someone was holding his wrist, and he turned his head to find the doctor taking his pulse. “What
Starsky’s face creased into a broad grin. “You fainted.”
Hutch covered his face, humiliated. The knowledge that at least he hadn’t vomited this time was no consolation. “Oh
God, I am useless.”
There was a brief pause, and then Starsky’s hands gripped the collar of his jacket. Starsky hauled him up and propped
him against the wall.
“You and I,” said Starsky. “Really need to talk.”
Hutch didn’t want to talk. The only things Starsky could possibly want to say to him all began with, “I love
But you’re utterly unreliable.
But I can’t count on you not to fall apart when I really need you.
But you’re a big pansy, and not in the fun kind of way.
Getting off the elevator on the ground floor of the hospital, he spotted a sign pointing the way to the cafeteria. “Can
I get you a chili dog?” It was the best distraction he could think of to avoid being alone with Starsky.
A look of horror crossed Starsky’s face. “No, not chili dogs! They give me terrible, painful flashbacks.”
“You had a chili dog yesterday.”
“How do you think I know they give me flashbacks?” Starsky drooped dramatically. “I don’t think
I’ll ever be able to face another hot dog again.”
For a single horrified moment, Hutch almost believed him. But then Hutch’s logical faculties kicked in, and his heart
slowed to something resembling its normal pace. “You’re putting me on.”
“Yeah,” said Starsky, sounding genuinely disgusted. “And you almost bought it! Cripes, Hutch!”
He pushed the front doors open and headed for the parking lot, Hutch trailing behind.
Inside the car, Hutch was about to put his keys in the ignition when Starsky grabbed his hand.
“Get this through that pretty blond head of yours,” said Starsky. “I’m not mad at you.”
Hutch pulled his hand away, and jammed his key into the ignition. But he didn’t turn it. “How can you not be
mad at me? I bit you! And then I threw up on you. And just now, I fainted on you!”
“Whose idea was it to buy the sheets?”
“And why’d you hurl?” Starsky didn’t give Hutch time to answer. “Because I jammed my dick
down the back of your throat, you big turkey! You couldn’t help it.”
“You had to call the ambulance for yourself.”
Starsky drummed his fingers on the edge of the window. “That’s ancient history. What we got to do now is figure
out some way to keep this from happening again.”
The only solution Hutch could think of was never again having sex, but he had enough common sense to realize he’d be
explaining a black eye to Dobey if he suggested it now.
Hutch was torn between joy and panic. Starsky hadn’t wanted to end their relationship after all. But the thought of
going anywhere near Starsky’s penis was making Hutch feel sick. That was something that definitely did not auger well
for the future of their sex life.
“Well, we’ll figure it out,” said Starsky, finally. “At your place.”
Starsky waved an imperious hand at him. “Home! It’s been a hell of a long two weeks. I need sex!”
Hutch had a moment of déjà vu. He’d bought the sheets because Starsky wanted them. He bought lunch because Starsky
wanted it. And now he was starting the car because Starsky had ordered him to do it. He couldn’t say no to Starsky.
He paused and considered that for a moment. He could say no. He could take Starsky home, and leave him there. The
sick feeling in the pit of Hutch’s stomach intensified.
No, his libido might not be convinced he wanted to make love to Starsky, but it was a hell of a lot better than the alternative.
Hutch pulled out of the parking lot and turned toward home.
“Where are my sheets?” Starsky stood in the bedroom, turning from side to side as if expecting to find the red
satin sheets hiding somewhere -- behind a lamp or under a pillow, perhaps.
“I threw them away.”
“Hutch! I loved those sheets!”
Hutch stood in the doorway, unable to make himself enter the room. He had scrubbed the floor until the carpet was going bald
in places, but somehow it seemed as if he could still smell the vomit. “You can’t slide around on flannel sheets.
Those other ones were lethal.”
Starsky sat down on the corner of the bed, and leaned back on his hands, his knees splayed. Hutch felt himself harden, in
automatic reaction to the sight.
Christ, Starsky looked hot.
“Hey, don’t insult the sheets! All you have to do is apply, uh… a speed bump. When you give me head.”
Starsky shifted his weight to one hand, and picked disconsolately at the pilled flannel. “I didn’t mean that
you had to throw away the coolest sheets we’ve ever owned.”
Hutch took one step into the room. “Speed bump?”
“Yeah,” said Starsky, demonstrating with a loosely curled fist. “Use your hand, and hold on like this.
That way, even if I get carried away, I can’t end up halfway down your throat.”
“Oh God, Starsk.” Hutch crossed the room and squatted on his heels in front of Starsky. “You loved the
sheets, but I love you.” Hutch grabbed Starsky’s knees and gave them an emphatic squeeze. “How
can I sleep on those things, knowing that it was because of them that I almost castrated my best friend?”
Starsky winced. “Okay, I’ll give you that. I guess we could go with flannel for the time being.”
There was that “we” again. Hutch thought he’d never get tired of hearing it. “I thought we were
“We’re still going to have to be careful for a bit—.” Starsky stopped abruptly. “You thought
The look on Hutch’s face must have given him away, because Starsky said, “I’ve been going out of my mind
this past week, Hutch! It wasn’t so bad the first week, when it was still sore, but after that every time I looked
at you I got turned on. All I could think about was sex. I’ve been taking cold showers non-stop. How could you think--.”
“You were avoiding me,” said Hutch. “And I mean, I could see how something like…” He gestured
at Starsky’s crotch, which was showing definite signs of renewed health. “I could see how it would put you off
“Aw, geez,” said Starsky, a look of appalled realization on his face. “So, you thought…” He
grimaced. “Geez,” he said again.
Hutch knew he wasn’t being fair. The past week was obviously both their faults. But wild horses couldn’t have
dragged that confession out of him now. If there was anything his brief marriage had taught him, it was that honesty was
one thing, but total honesty was for chumps and only got you a night on the couch.
Hutch lifted a hand to touch Starsky’s face, his fingers pausing a fraction of an inch away. “Are really you
sure you’re okay?”
Starsky turned and pressed his lips into Hutch’s palm.
Hutch felt a shiver travel up his spine, and if he hadn’t dropped forward onto his knees he would have fallen on his
Starsky grabbed him by the collar. “Get up here, and kiss me, babe.”
Hutch tasted coffee and bubble gum and sex. He was gasping by the time Starsky released him, only the strength of Starsky’s
grip keeping him from sliding down to the floor in a puddle of bliss.
He thought, I was an idiot. Never again. I’m never doubting this again.
Then Starsky was hauling up on the front of his shirt, grunting with the effort.
“Hutch, I swear, you’re getting heavier all the time. You’re supposed to stop growing when you’re
an adult, not just substitute wider for taller…”
Hutch let himself be dragged up onto the bed, happily allowing Starsky to toss him over onto his back. Starsky sat on his
thighs, effectively trapping him.
“So it’s flannel from now on, huh?” asked Starsky.
Hutch reached up and eased Starsky’s sweatpants down. He traced the red line of the incision, with one tentative finger.
Starsky threw his head back with a groan, visibly growing harder. “Hutch,” he said. “Don’t play
“I don’t want to hurt you again,” said Hutch. His own arousal was fading.
Starsky took a long shaking breath, and suddenly reached down and wrapped his fist around himself. “You want me to
beg? I’ll do it. I’ve been thinking about you all week. About your lips around me, your tongue…”
“A speed bump,” said Hutch.
Hutch reached forward and laid his hands on Starsky’s hips, urging him forward. Hutch’s stomach wobbled uneasily,
but he ignored it. He pressed his face against Starsky’s thigh, feeling coarse hair against his cheek, breathing in
the warm familiar scent. The crown of Starsky’s cock nudged gently at the corner of his mouth, and the body under his
Hutch reached for Starsky, pushing aside his hand, replacing it with his own. He brushed his thumb along the underside.
There was a raised ridge under his palm where the stitches had been, but otherwise the skin was soft…
Starsky thrust forward once, and then stopped suddenly with a sharp intake of breath.
Hutch immediately froze. “Are you?”
“I’m fine!” snapped Starsky, desperation clear in his voice. “I’m still just a bit sensitive,
Hutch released Starsky and pressed his hand into the crease of his leg instead.
He opened his mouth and took Starsky in. Not all the way, and not so far that he could feel the injury, but enough. Hutch
used his tongue to massage the sweet spot and heard Starsky sob. A moment later he tasted a hint of bitter salt on his tongue,
and knew Starsky was not going to last long.
Hutch pulled back, smiling a little at Starsky’s incoherent protest. “You can let go,” he said. “I’ve
got you.” He braced his hand against Starsky’s abdomen, circling his cock with thumb and forefinger.
Starsky began to move rhythmically then, and Hutch found himself echoing him with his own hips, drawing his knees up. He
desperately wished he’d thought to remove his own jeans, but it was too late now. A moment later he felt Starsky tense,
and then warm liquid was pulsing against his tongue. Hutch closed his eyes and swallowed.
No, he thought, he’d never learn to like the taste. But that wasn’t what mattered. Starsky had fallen on his
side and was looking at Hutch with glazed eyes, sweaty, rumpled and utterly lovable.
”I’ll buy you red flannel sheets,” Hutch said, breathlessly. “I’ll buy you candy apple
red flannel sheets, even if I have to grind up the candy apples and dye them myself.”
Starsky had started smiling as soon as Hutch had begun talking. But now his smile widened into a broad grin. As he turned
himself around on the bed, reaching for Hutch’s zipper, he said, “I’m going to hold you to that, buddy.”