One man's religion is another man's belly laugh. ~Robert A. Heinlein
A bored Starsky was never a good thing.
Hutch watched him prowl the cramped hotel room, peering into the closet, under the bed, and finally into the interior of the
rickety dresser. Starsky slammed the top drawer closed with an exclamation of disgust.
“What is it?” asked Hutch.
“A condom. Used.”
“Ew.” But at least it wasn’t a roach, thought Hutch, philosophically. A condom wouldn’t crawl into
bed in the middle of the night, or snack on the toothpaste.
“You’d think the Feds could have sprung for a classier joint,” Starsky grumbled, as he opened the second
drawer. “It’s their fault one of their secret ops people went nuts and wants to kill us. It’s not even like
they’re hurting for cash— Hey, a Bible!”
“God bless the Gideons,” said Hutch. This was worse than being on stakeout. The Feds hadn’t even given them
time to pack. But the chair by the window wasn’t too uncomfortable, and the room was small enough that he could prop
his feet up on the nearest bed.
He winced at the squeal of the springs as Starsky threw himself down on the bed. Hutch moved his feet over, so that his shoes
weren’t directly in Starsky’s face.
Starsky flipped the book open at random. “Oh, Leviticus. My favorite.”
“Leviticus?” That section definitely hadn’t ranked high in Hutch’s estimation when he was a youngster
in Sunday school classes. Not that they’d spent much time on it. The teacher had kind of skimmed over it, spending most
of her time on... “What about the New Testament? Long haired hippies. Peace and love, and all that.”
“You never read much of the Bible, did you?”
“I’m shocked you have.” Hutch had vague memories of a classroom decorated with pictures of lions and lambs
lying down together, but not much more beyond that.
Starsky smirked at him from under dark eyebrows. “Best way into a Protestant girl’s panties. Offer to let her
try and save your eternal soul.”
“What about Catholic girls?”
Starsky waved a dismissive hand and looked back down at the book. “Oh, they’re just looking for an excuse to be
bad. And the whole confession thing gives them a get out jail free card.” He paused. “Though having to genuinely
repent their actions really puts a damper on any kind of long-term relationship.”
“Okay, but what’s wrong with the New Testament?”
“Other than the fact that I can feel my mother glaring at me all the way from New York?”
“That’s quite a glare.”
“Wait till you see it at close range.” Starsky drummed his fingers on the book. “Jesus himself was okay.
But I can live without the whole ‘Jews killed Jesus’ bullshit.”
Hutch blinked. Starsky only swore under extreme provocation. “Well,” he ventured. “The Jews do tend to get
blamed, but didn’t the Pope say it wasn’t their fault after all?”
“Yeah, that makes it all better. Wipes out thousands of years of persecution.” Starsky snorted. “Anyway,
it wasn’t the Jews, it was the Romans.”
“Give me that,” said Hutch. He leaned forward and grabbed the book from Starsky. In short order he had found John
and was reading. “Right here, it says it was the Jews. Well, the Jewish priests. They were jealous, or something.”
“Your Bible’s wrong.”
“I don’t think it’s a misprint.”
“No, you turkey. I’m saying, no new religion is going to point at the big dogs and say, ‘you killed our
savior’. That’s just not good politics. Much safer to blame the parent religion instead. It’s always mommy’s
fault.” Starsky pushed himself up on his elbows, his expression earnest. “But the fact is, the Romans did the
executions. Pilate doesn’t get to just brush off his responsibility. That’d be like President Nixon saying, ‘oh,
Watergate wasn’t my fault. I washed my hands first!’”
Hutch handed Starsky back the Bible. “Okay, you’ve got a point. But if it bothers you so much, why do you read
“The first half belongs to my people. A bit warped in translation, but hey. And Leviticus is just plain fun. Look at
all the stuff we’re doing wrong!”
Starsky flipped forward several pages. “First off, we don’t sacrifice animals. We should be sacrificing animals.
Lots and lots of them, apparently. And secondly, we’re eating all the wrong stuff... ‘Course, I haven’t
kept kosher since I was ten. But if we were going to follow this, then no more shrimp cocktail! No more crab!”
“The stuff you eat? It’s not real crab.”
“It’s not?” Starsky raised his head to look at Hutch. “Then what the hell is it?”
“I don’t know, but I’m positive there’s never been a crab anywhere near Muriel’s crab cakes.”
Starsky shrugged. “Okay, let’s see...” He flipped through a few more pages. “No wearing mixed fibers.
Hutch, you’re going straight to hell.”
“Says the man with the shiny white disco suit.”
“That’s 100% polyester!” protested Starsky.
Starsky grabbed a pillow and threw it at Hutch.
Hutch caught it and lobbed it back.
Starsky retrieved the pillow and tucked it under his elbows. “Oh, geez. Check out this. If a man curses his parents
– he’s put to death. If he commits adultery – it’s death! It’s the death penalty for everything.
And for everyone. Hell, even if a guy molests a sheep, the sheep has to die too. I guess ’cause it seduced him. Made
sheep eyes at him, or something...”
“No wait,” said Hutch. “I remember this bit. Jesus said we didn’t have to follow any of the old laws.”
“Right, which is why those turkeys downtown keep parading around with the signs that say ‘thou shalt not lie with
a man as with a woman’. I think they missed the ‘Jesus said’ part.” Starsky propped his head on his
hand and regarded Hutch thoughtfully. “Well, anyway, you couldn’t, could you? Lie with a man like you would a
woman, I mean. Well, unless he had man-boobs.”
“You’re a moron,” but Hutch was grinning as he said it.
Starsky’s sneakers waved in the air as he read over the page again. “Hey, there’s nothing in here about
women lying with women, so I guess it’s not a sin. I can live with that!”
“If you’re going by the book, I think fornication outside of marriage is still not allowed.”
“But if I married both of them,” said Starsky, thoughtfully. “Jews used to be able to have more than one
wife, I think. And it would make my mom really happy. Twice the grandkids!”
“Only if they were Jewish lesbians.” Hutch dropped his feet to the floor and leaned forward with his elbows on
his knees. “By the way, you do realize lesbians don’t generally want to sleep with men, right?”
“Oh, yeah, that is a problem.” Starsky chewed thoughtfully on his bottom lip. “Okay, so I want two Jewish
bisexual women who’ll let me watch.”
“Stranger things have happened in this town.”
“Or maybe more than two. I could have a harem!”
“What would you do with a harem, Starsky?” Hutch couldn’t imagine anything worse than being married to more
than one woman at a time. The fights, the drama – he’d never have a chance to get a word in edgewise.
“Oh, with all the porn in here, I’m sure I could come up with an idea or two.” Starsky shifted onto his
hip, and flipped forward in the book.
“There’s no porn in the Bible!”
Starsky smirked. “Shows what you know, Jesus boy. ‘Like an apple tree among the trees of the forest is my lover
among the young men. I delight to sit in his shade, and his fruit is sweet to my taste.’”
“It’s a metaphor!”
“Uh, huh. And she’s metaphorically tasting his fruit. I wouldn’t mind having some girl with her lips on
my apples right now, that’s for sure.” Starsky sat up and crossed his legs, the Bible in his lap.
Hutch eyed him suspiciously.
“Your stature is like that of the palm and your breasts like clusters of fruit,” Starsky read aloud. “I
will climb the palm tree, I will take hold of its fruit... Under the apple tree I roused you... Oh, man.”
Starsky’s voice cracked on the last couple words, moving up an octave in a disturbingly familiar way. Hutch frowned
at the sudden flush in his partner’s cheeks. “Oh, you’re not... You are!”
“It’s not my fault,” protested Starsky, but he didn’t look away from the page.
“You’re getting turned on!” Not that it was a particularly difficult thing to do. In Hutch’s experience
Starsky could get turned on by little more than a passing glance from a pretty girl. And he was utterly helpless in the grip
of that new car smell.
“Look,” said Starsky, suddenly scrambling off the bed. “I’ll, uh, I’ll be back.” He fled
for the bathroom.
Taking the Bible with him.
“Hey!” Hutch stood so quickly he knocked the chair over. In two strides he was across the room and pounding on
the bathroom door with the side of his fist. “You’re disgusting! Give me that book back right now!”
“Now!” bellowed Hutch. “Because otherwise, if that assassin doesn’t get you first, I’ll make
sure the Gideon people do!”
The bathroom door opened a crack and Starsky’s hand emerged holding the Bible. Hutch grabbed it, and the door slammed
“C’mon,” said Hutch to the Bible. “You can stay with me from now on. And I won’t read your naughty
bits, either, you poor abused thing.”
He straightened the chair by the window and sat down again, trying to ignore the heavy breathing coming from the bathroom.
Then he flipped the Bible open and began to read.
After a moment he paused. Whoops, that was the Song of Songs again. Okay, why not start at the back.
Revelation? One seriously bad drug trip he could do without.
What about Paul, then? Letters to the Corinthians. That should be safe. Nice and dull...
As Hutch found his place, he wondered if the Corinthians ever wrote back.