Sex got me into trouble from the age of fifteen:
I'm hoping that by the time I'm seventy I'll straighten it
Hutch was dreaming that the phone was ringing. He answered it, only to have it continue to ring loudly in his ear. This
worried him enough that he finally woke up and realized that the noise was real. He reached across his bed for the phone,
but managed only to knock the receiver off its cradle. He reeled it in by the cord and pressed it to his ear.
“Uh...” Hutch tried to peer at his clock radio. “Starsk? Do you know what time it is?” He yawned
and closed his eyes, his cheek pressed into the handset.
“How do you get bubblegum out of hair?”
Bubblegum? Hutch visualized pink bubbles, and felt his bed begin to sway slowly from side to side, almost as if it was floating.
He was rising gently up toward the ceiling...
The bubbles popped all at once, and Hutch found himself slammed down into wakefulness, his heart pounding. “What?”
“I said, how do you get bubblegum out of hair?”
Starsky was making no more sense than he had a moment before, even though Hutch was thoroughly awake this time. He pushed
himself up against the headboard and turned on the light. He squinted at the clock. “Jesus, Starsky! It’s three
fifteen in the morning!”
“Look, just tell me how to get this stuff out of my hair!”
“You’ve got bubblegum stuck in your hair?” asked Hutch. He checked the clock again. No mistake. He’d
had less than three and a half hours of sleep and Starsky was on the phone babbling about bubblegum in his hair.
Hutch wondered what that was supposed to mean. “Either you’ve got gum stuck in your hair, or you don’t.”
“Look, can you tell me how to get it out, or can’t you?”
Hutch tried to imagine Starsky blowing bubbles. Big bubbles. It was unnervingly easy to visualize his partner with pink
bubblegum stuck all over his face. “Did you try soap?”
“I’ve tried soap, I’ve tried water, I’ve tried pulling it out...” Starsky’s voice trailed
off, and Hutch wondered if he’d imagined the forlorn sniffle he’d heard. Then again, he thought, Starsky was
very particular about his hair. Almost as much as he was about his car and his sneakers.
“I’ve tried everything,” said Starsky. “And you know what? I’m never dating a woman who chews
gum ever again. I’d rather date one who chews tobacco. I don’t even care if she spits!”
A vague memory surfaced from Hutch’s childhood. “Did you try ice?”
“If you freeze it, maybe it’ll be less sticky.”
“Yeah...” Starsky sounded dubious. “O-o-kay. I’ll try it.”
“Goodnight,” said Hutch. He hung up the phone and turned off the light. Then he curled himself around his pillow
and pulled the covers up over his head, fully intending to go back to sleep.
Perplexed, Hutch stared into the darkness for several minutes. He tried turning over and sleeping on his other side. He
swapped pillows. Finally he gave up and turned the light back on.
What had Starsky said? Something about never dating girls who chew gum?
Right. That had to be Darlene. She was yet another in a long line of women whose ID Hutch was seriously tempted to run by
the forgery experts. Starsky liked the young-looking ones, and Darlene was a classic example of the type, bouncing her ponytail
and cracking her gum all night long.
Hutch tried to imagine how things could have gone wrong. Kissing should have been relatively safe even if she didn’t
take her gum out of her mouth. So what happened? Did Darlene and Starsky get into a bubble blowing contest? Did he get
his wad stuck in his eyebrows?
The phone rang again. Hutch picked it up on the first ring. “Did it work?”
“The ice is too cold!”
Intrigued now, Hutch decided this was something he needed to see for himself. “I’m coming over.”
“What?” Starsky sounded strangely panicked. “No, wait!”
“What are friends for?” asked Hutch, grinning. He hung up, cutting off Starsky’s protests.
Halfway to Starsky’s, it occurred to Hutch that he should have brought his camera, but by then it was more trouble than
it was worth to turn back and get it. Never mind, the story by itself had considerable blackmail potential.
Hutch didn’t bother to ring the doorbell. He let himself in, already smiling in anticipation.
“Go away!” said a voice from the kitchen.
Hutch stuck his head around the corner.
Starsky was leaning against the refrigerator in his bathrobe, arms crossed over his chest. “I said, go away!”
Hutch cocked his head to the side. Starsky’s hair looked just fine from this angle. “Okay, where is it? Did
you get the gum out?”
“Yeah,” said Starsky, defiantly. “So you can go on home now. There’s no emergency. Sorry I called.”
Something wasn’t right. Hutch looked around the kitchen. It was in disarray. There were ice cubes melting in the
sink. The counter was awash with soap suds. But Starsky’s hair was dry.
“How did you get it out?” asked Hutch. “Did the ice do the trick?”
“Sure did!” Starsky gave him a patently fake smile.
Hutch closed in, noting the clean, fluffy hair and the embarrassed flush on his cheeks. “You’re lying.”
Starsky slumped, the back of his head hitting the fridge with a loud thump. “Oh God, Hutch! Promise you won’t
“Who would I tell?” asked Hutch, innocently, even as he weighed the possibilities. Huggy would pay for information
like this. Or at the very least, he might wipe out Hutch’s bar tab.
“I promise I won’t tell anyone,” said Hutch, crossing his fingers behind his back.
“Say it again, and this time show me your hands. Both of them!”
Damn, thought Hutch. He raised both hands, fingers spread. “I solemnly swear that I will hold in the strictest confidence
whatever you tell me tonight.”
Starsky regarded him suspiciously for a moment before blowing out a long breath and relaxing. “The bubblegum in my
hair... It’s not the hair on my head.”
Hutch couldn’t help himself. He laughed. “How the hell did you manage that?”
Starsky glowered. “The gum was in Darlene’s mouth, and Darlene’s mouth was... We were… She was…
What, you want a Polaroid? Jeez!”
“So, you’ve got gum stuck, er...” Hutch gestured at Starsky’s groin. He was grinning so widely his
cheeks were beginning to ache.
Starsky covered himself defensively. “Yeah. Laugh yourself sick, funny guy. What are we going to do? I can’t
go to work like this.”
Hutch grabbed a chair from the kitchen table and turned it around. Straddling it, he regarded Starsky thoughtfully. “Well,
I’m not picking it out for you. Why can’t you go to work? It’s not like anyone can see.”
Starsky pushed himself off the fridge and hobbled over to the table. “Because every time I move it feels like I’m
yanking my short and curlies out by the handful. It hurts!”
Hutch fought back another chuckle, and to his surprise found himself feeling sorry for Starsky. “What did your mom
do when you were a kid and you got gum in your hair?”
“I never got gum in my hair,” said Starsky, easing himself down into a chair. “I got my pecker caught in
my zipper once, though.”
“Ouch,” said Hutch, sympathetically.
“Yeah.” The smile Starsky gave him looked genuine this time, if a little wry. “I was seven. My mom wouldn’t
touch it. She made my dad help me. I screamed so loud that old Mrs. Lipinski next door came by to make sure I wasn’t
“There, see?” said Hutch, consolingly. “Things could be worse.” He tapped his fingers on the table,
thinking. “What if we called Mrs. Dobey? She’s a mom—”
“But, she might—”
“No, no, no! No damn way am I calling up Dobey’s wife and telling her that I got bubblegum stuck in my
pubic hair and does she know how to get it out!”
“Well, you have to ask someone.”
“I asked you,” said Starsky. “C’mon Hutch, you’re a smart guy. Any ideas?”
“Yeah. Call Edith.”
“Argh!” Starsky’s forehead hit the table.
“I don’t think giving yourself a concussion will solve anything.”
Starsky left hand lifted from the table, his middle finger extended.
Hutch tried to think the problem through logically. “Gum’s sticky, right? So you want something that’ll
make it not sticky. Something slippery. Do you have some kind of, er, personal lubricant?”
“Don’t you think I already tried that?” asked Starsky, resignedly.
Hutch snickered. “You tried jerking the gum off?”
Starsky’s head rolled to the side, one red-rimmed eye glaring at him. “You’re an asshole, Hutchinson.”
“Hey,” protested Hutch, “I’m trying to help!” The eye continued to stare at him accusingly,
so he said, “Have you tried... I don’t know. Vegetable oil?”
Starsky groaned. “I tried soap, water, shampoo, ice, salad dressing, vegetable oil, and baby oil. I haven’t
tried gun oil. Yet.”
“Salad dressing?” Hutch spotted the bottle sitting on the counter. Italian. “You’re going to smell
like a deli.”
“You planning on getting close enough to tell?” asked Starsky, sourly. “Because I’m sure as hell
not going to be seeing Darlene again.”
“Yeah, where is she?” Hutch would have expected the girl to stick around and help. After all, it was her gum
that had ended up in Starsky’s crotch.
“I might have said some things,” said Starsky.
“Oh,” said Hutch.
Silence reigned for the next several minutes. Finally Hutch said, “You’re just going to have to cut it off.”
“What!” Starsky head came up off the table so fast Hutch was worried he was going to give himself whiplash.
“Not that! I mean your hair. You’re just going to have to cut the gum out.”
Starsky relaxed with an audible sigh. “There goes my love life,” he said, glumly.
Hutch bit his lip. “What? Women are attracted to your, erm, pubic hair?”
Starsky gave him a disgusted look. “No, but if it’s all shaved off, they’re going to think I’ve got
“You mean they’ll think you had crabs. Anyway, if you get that far, you can just explain to the lucky
lady that you’ve got a kink for razors.” Hutch grinned. “Maybe she’ll let you shave her.”
Starsky pushed himself up from his chair. “Go home, Hutch,” he said as he limped toward the bathroom. “This
isn’t something you can help with.”
Hutch yawned, suddenly feeling his exhaustion. “I’m already here, and your couch has my name on it.”
“Your call.” Starsky vanished into the bathroom.
“Be careful with that razor,” said Hutch, loudly. “You don’t want to have to explain to some twenty-year-old
intern how you castrated yourself!”
There was a growl from behind the bathroom door. Hutch smiled and unfolded himself from his chair. Starsky’s couch
wasn’t the most comfortable place to sleep, but it was better than climbing back behind the wheel. Especially with
the two of them due back at the precinct in – Hutch checked his watch – five and a half hours.
Curling up on the couch under the Navaho blanket, he fell asleep to the sound of water running in the bathroom.
At first, Starsky tried to cut off only as much as he had to, but that made him look like he had a bad case of mange. As
he sat in the bathtub and gingerly shaved himself smooth, he tried not to think about what it was going to feel like as it
grew back in. Maybe he could use conditioner on it, or something.
The task finally completed, he rinsed the stray hairs off and looked down at himself. White skin, lightly prickled with goose
bumps, and... He tilted his head to one side. He hadn’t seen himself looking like this since he was nine, before his
hair started coming in. Except he was bigger now. Definitely bigger.
Weird, he thought, as he rinsed the hair down the drain. Feels weird, looks weird... But man, I look like I’m really
hung now. I kinda like that.
He could feel air moving on his crotch, the skin ridiculously sensitized. It made him feel more than naked. As if his nakedness
was naked. It was a bizarrely erotic feeling.
Shrugging into his bathrobe, Starsky walked into the living room. He stopped at the sight of Hutch draped over his couch.
One knee and one arm were dragging on the floor and his mouth was open. He was snoring softly, like he always did when he
Starsky shook his head, exasperated. He’d told Hutch to go home, hadn’t he? He was sure he remembered telling
him to go home. Starsky reached over the back of the couch and straightened the blanket. Hutch muttered something indecipherable
and turned his face into the cushions.
For one brief moment Starsky was tempted to get some gum and stick it on Hutch. Preferably somewhere embarrassing. That
would teach him to come over and laugh at Starsky’s pain.
Unfortunately, he didn’t have any usable gum left and he wasn’t willing to go out and try to find a corner store
open this late. Or early.
Oh well, thought Starsky. It was nice not being alone. Even if it meant putting up with more snide comments in the morning.
Hutch thought he was so damn funny, too. Starsky decided that if Hutch gave him crap the next day, picking up a few packs
of gum would definitely be on the agenda.
Content with his plan, he left Hutch on the couch and headed for his own bed. Starsky fell asleep listening to the sound
of Hutch breathing in the next room.
When Starsky woke up the next morning, it was with his hands folded between his thighs and a hard-on rubbing against the sheets.
Morning wood was, of course, nothing to comment one way or the other about. But this was different. For one thing, his bladder
wasn’t actually all that full. And for another, it felt fantastic. His skin was prickling and the sheets were cool,
and it seemed that every single one of his nerves was alive and awake and ready to party.
Starsky had his left hand wrapped around his cock, groaning at the unfamiliar touch of shaved skin around the base of it,
before he remembered that he wasn’t alone.
Hutch was in the next room, wasn’t he? Yep. He could hear him still snoring.
Starsky paused. His cock was full and warm, and when he pressed his thumb to the vein that ran just under the head, he could
feel his heartbeat there. He wanted to reach down and touch his balls with his other hand. Naked, hairless balls... Nice.
But the only thing separating Starsky’s bedroom from the living room was a set of open shelves. No wall, and no door.
Starsky slid a few inches to the left and looked. Yes, there was the top of Hutch’s head just visible over the arm
of the couch, blond hair sticking up every which way like a mammoth dandelion tuft.
Jacking off now would be wrong, wouldn’t it?
Starsky traced a circle around his cock, his thumb running along the inside crease of his leg.
Nah, he thought finally. Hutch was asleep. He’d never know. Watching closely for any sign of movement in the other
room, Starsky tightened his grip just a little.
God, that felt good…
Very slowly, very carefully, he rolled over onto his back. His heart rate increased sharply when the bed creaked, but Hutch
continued to breathe deeply and slowly.
He pulled his knees up, and slid a finger down behind his balls, lightly brushing the skin and feeling the tug of tiny sharp
hairs lifting up. The sensation made him gasp and arch his hips, pushing up into his hand.
Hutch’s breathing changed.
It was too late. Starsky didn’t want to stop. He couldn’t stop. Maybe if he went faster he could finish before
Hutch woke up all the way...
There were evil dwarves dancing on Hutch’s synapses. They were singing something about working all day and swinging
enormous hammers at the inside of his skull. He pried his eyes open, only to have them immediately begin watering.
The daylight streaming in through the patio doors had the needle edged quality particular to migraines. Hutch groaned, trying
to remember if he’d done anything to deserve this. He hadn’t been out late, hadn’t been drinking, had even
tried to get to bed before midnight for once...
Even as he grappled with the injustice of it all, he became aware that he was also hearing another sound, something real,
and he had been listening to it for some time. Hutch listened for a moment as his brain struggled to make the connection.
Rusty gears turned over, and finally something connected.
Starsky was masturbating.
Oh, for God’s sake, thought Hutch. Just what I need to wake up to in the morning.
He pushed himself up from the couch and wobbled for a moment before finding his balance. Deliberately not looking in Starsky’s
direction, he staggered over to the bathroom.
As Hutch closed the bathroom door, Starsky let go of the breath he had been holding. That had been a bit too close.
But now, with Hutch out of the way, he could focus on really making himself feel good. Because, damn, he’d never felt
anything like this before. His skin was alive and sending tiny jolts of pleasure all the way down inside. He had to let
go of his balls and bite down on that hand to suppress the sounds escaping from him. His hand smelled strong, his own musk
filled his nostrils, and he felt himself grow impossibly harder.
He dragged the pad of his thumb across the head of his cock and felt the slick glide of precum. He worked it, spreading it
around, using it to lubricate the movement of his fist.
A noise from the bathroom almost broke his concentration.
Starsky pulled harder. He needed this. Badly.
That noise again. Hutch was...
He could feel his balls tighten, the pressure building.
But Hutch was...
Starsky pulled back on his cock, squeezing and thrusting at the same time. He threw his head back, his breath catching in
his throat as he felt himself turn inside out, warm liquid pouring over the back of his hand. So damn good...
He was lying in bed, waiting for his heart rate to slow down to something less than a gallop, when the sense of what he had
been hearing finally came clear.
Hutch was in the bathroom - puking.
Starsky began to laugh. He’d just jacked off to the sound of his partner heaving his guts out. If that wasn’t
twisted, then he didn’t know what was. He pushed himself up in bed and wiped himself off on the sheets, still giggling.
Then he grabbed his bathrobe and went into the kitchen to fill a glass with water.
He wondered what was going down – or rather, coming up – with Hutch. He checked his fridge, but the week-old
milk and the pizza he’d been meaning to throw out were untouched. Too much partying last night?
Grinning, Starsky knocked on the bathroom door.
The snarl that answered him definitely lacked conviction. Starsky pushed the door open, and stuck his head around. “I
got you some water.” He sniffed. “Phew! What died?”
“I think I did,” said Hutch. He was on his knees in front of the toilet, his forehead resting on the seat.
Starsky put the glass down on the edge of the sink and grabbed Hutch under his arms. With a grunt of effort, he pulled him
back and propped him up against the tub. Then he retrieved the water and wrapped both of Hutch’s hands around the glass.
“Here, drink up. And after that, I’ll whip you up one of my patented hangover cures.”
Hutch’s face twisted and he pitched forward, toward the toilet.
“I’m joking, I’m joking!” Starsky pushed him back. “Just sip the water.”
“You’re a—” Hutch hiccupped. “—urkey.”
“Little sips,” said Starsky. Confident that Hutch had a good grip on the glass, Starsky stood and dampened a
washcloth. He waited for Hutch to finish drinking, and then traded him the glass for the cloth.
Hutch buried his face in the washcloth, groaning quietly. “Not a hangover. A migraine.”
Starsky winced in sympathy. “You mean you’re paying the price, and you didn’t even get to have any fun?”
“Story of my life.”
Starsky squatted in front of Hutch, examining him with concern. He felt a twinge of guilt at the realization that a small
portion of his brain was still occupied with his groin, cataloguing each new sensation with glee. “You shouldn’t
have been so mean last night. It’s probably divine retribution. Want me to call you in sick?”
Hutch finished wiping his face. “Nah. It’s not a bad one. Give me some aspirin and loan me your shades. I’m
“Aspirin and shades, gotcha!” By the time Starsky was back with these items, Hutch was up on his feet and brushing
his teeth with his finger.
“Wait,” said Starsky. He opened the medicine chest. “Look, your very own toothbrush for when you sleep
Hutch regarded the blue and red brush dubiously. “Superman?”
“You don’t like it?” asked Starsky. “The drug store had a sale. I could go back and get you Mickey
“No, no, this is fine!” Hutch started brushing. “You woke up pretty happy this morning,” he said,
“Uh,” said Starsky. His mind went blank. What was he going to say? As it was, he was hyper aware of the feel
of the bathrobe on his skin, and...
Down boy, he told himself, firmly. He was going to have to be careful not to think about his crotch, or sex, or touching
Hutch cleared his throat, pointedly.
Starsky blinked and was startled to find that while he’d been not thinking about sex, Hutch had finished brushing
his teeth and was now looking at him impatiently.
“Some privacy?” said Hutch, his eyebrows raised.
“Right!” Starsky beat a hasty retreat.
There was lots of stuff he could think about, that didn’t involve touching himself. Such as finding Hutch a clean shirt
he could wear, instead of the flannel one he’d slept in.
Starsky wondered what Hutch’s flannel shirt would feel like on his skin. It was softer than his own t-shirts, and he
thought it might feel pretty nice. Then he told himself he hadn’t thought that, no he hadn’t.
But later, when Starsky was collecting the laundry from Hutch who was back to hugging the porcelain god, he had to find out.
Hutch’s shirt was pretty clean, if a bit sweaty. There wasn’t any puke on it, anyway. It was so easy to let
his robe fall open and try the lightest brush.
Damn, that felt good.
Starsky tucked Hutch’s shirt down at the very bottom of the basket. He wasn’t going to touch it again. His curiosity
had been satisfied, and that was absolutely the end of the matter.
Although, he couldn’t help but wonder what other materials would feel like. Cotton socks. Toilet paper. Denim. Leather...
Even with his migraine throbbing behind his eyes, Hutch could help but notice Starsky’s distraction. And other things.
The man’s jeans weren’t designed to hide any sins, much less a multitude of them.
Hutch had started his day thinking that Starsky deserved some ribbing for the ridiculous situation he’d got himself
into the previous night. He tried to come up with something clever to say, but it just made his head hurt more. Then he
realized that he didn’t have to say anything at all. All he had to do was sit back and enjoy the show.
Diane grinned and asked Starsky if that was a gun in his pocket. Angie turned red and wouldn’t look at him at all as
she handed him the files on the Donner case, and Minnie chuckled lasciviously when she stopped by with an armful of reports
By lunch, Starsky was parked at his desk with a glazed look in his eyes.
When the squad room emptied for a moment, Hutch leaned over. “Look, this is getting embarrassing.”
Starsky’s eyes widened. “You think it’s embarrassing!”
Hutch made a shushing gesture with his hand. “Can’t you just... do something about it?”
“I did! It came back!”
“You know a good hard thwack...”
“I tried that, too. It came back again.”
Hutch grimaced, recalling that Starsky had spent a good portion of the morning in the men’s washroom on the second floor.
“Forget disinfecting, they’re going to want to demolish and rebuild from the ground up.”
Starsky slumped backwards in his seat, his hands planted firmly on the desk in front of him as if he was afraid they might
stray somewhere inappropriate. “This is all your fault.”
“It was your idea.” Starsky glowered at him from under knotted eyebrows.
“No,” said Hutch. “My idea was calling Edith.”
Dobey’s rumble startled them both. “Who’s calling Edith?”
If Hutch hadn’t known better, he would have sworn the noise Starsky made was ‘eep’. Except that was not
the kind of noise Starsky would ever make.
“It, it, it’s uh, a different Edith,” said Hutch, since Starsky appeared to have been rendered speechless.
“Not our, I mean, not your Edith.”
Dobey snorted, and scowled at both of them. “Aren’t you two supposed to be on your beat?”
“Yes, sir!” Starsky was out of his seat and out the door in an instant, clutching his sweater in front of him.
Dobey frowned. “What’s his problem?”
“I don’t know, Captain.” Hutch hurriedly grabbed his jacket. “I better go find out.”
As he ran to catch up with Starsky, Hutch thought to himself that he really should have called Edith. Moms were supposed
to be good at solving all sorts of problems, even embarrassing ones. And it wasn’t as if they’d have had to tell
her exactly where the gum was stuck.
Really, what Starsky needed was a mom. His own mom had obviously sent him away at much too young an age. If he’d had
a real mom, he wouldn’t end up in situations like this.
This is wrong, thought Starsky, as he sat in the car and waited for Hutch to finish interviewing the owner of the liquor store
that had just been robbed. His hand was in his crotch, but he was not – not – jacking off. He was just
touching himself. A little.
He hadn’t been this preoccupied with his cock since he was thirteen.
He’d had a theory back then, when he was just a kid. He thought that if he tapped himself once his dick would stand
up. If he tapped himself twice, it would go down again. Like magic. Nice and simple. Starsky drummed his fingertips against
his zipper and caught his breath as the pleasure he felt skidded dangerously close to becoming pain.
The first part of the equation was certainly working, but not the second. Then again, maybe thwacking it earlier hadn’t
been such a good idea. He wasn’t a machine, after all.
He yanked his hand away just as Hutch opened the passenger side door.
“Well?” asked Starsky, trying hard to sound normal. At least his voice wasn’t cracking like a teenager’s,
“He didn’t see a thing,” said Hutch. “And neither did anyone else, of course.” He was studiously
looking straight ahead, politely ignoring Starsky.
“I don’t feel like myself,” said Starsky.
That earned him a sideways flicker of blue eyes, not quite a whole glance. “Huh?”
“I feel like that story.” Starsky paused, trying to remember. “That guy with all the hair. When he got
it cut off, he was a completely different person.”
Now Hutch was looking at him directly, grinning. “You think you’re Samson? Your strength was in your pubic hair?”
“No! I mean, yes. I mean—.” Starsky slapped the steering wheel in frustration. “All I can think
about is my stuff, and it doesn’t even feel like it belongs to me. It’s someone else’s stuff, except it’s
stuck to me, and I’m stuck with it, and it’s actually starting to hurt!” He squirmed in his seat, trying
to adjust himself discretely. Finally he gave up, sucked his stomach in and hiked his hips up into the air. Jamming his
hand defiantly down the front of his pants, he arranged things manually. His cock was going to get to live next to his left
leg for the moment and his balls could reside on either side of the inseam. It was a marginal improvement.
“Those jeans were a mistake,” said Hutch.
“I miss my hair,” said Starsky, sadly. His crotch was throbbing sullenly. And itching. He imagined he could
hear it yelling at him, Touch me! I’ll make you feel so good...
Hutch patted his thigh, consolingly.
“I wouldn’t do that, if I were you.” Starsky could hear the strain in his own voice.
“Oh.” Hutch pulled his hand back, quickly.
There was silence in the car for a long time after that.
Then Hutch spotted Willy the Weasel who was wanted on four counts of robbery, and for about three minutes Starsky forgot all
about his problem.
Unfortunately, about three minutes after Hutch spotted him, Willy climbed over a fence and they had to ditch the Torino and
chase him on foot. And Starsky discovered that there was no arrangement of parts inside his jeans that could make running
anything but agony.
By the end of the day, Starsky was grimly uncommunicative and walking bowlegged. Hutch logged them both off over the radio,
figuring that since their daily reports were already three days overdue, one more day wouldn’t make a difference.
He expected Starsky to drop him off at his cottage first, and then head home. Hutch’s migraine had retreated, but now
he was feeling the dragging exhaustion that inevitably followed. He was looking forward to a quiet evening, listening to
music in the dark. To Hutch’s surprise, however, Starsky drove directly to his own apartment instead. He stopped the
car and ran up the stairs to his door, leaving Hutch sitting in the Torino.
Hutch stayed where he was for a moment, his lips pursed thoughtfully. The way he saw it, he had two choices. He could walk
down the street to the payphone and call himself a cab, or he could walk upstairs into Starsky’s apartment and call
himself a cab.
He checked his pockets. No dimes. Not much of anything else, either.
Reluctantly, he trudged up the stairs and knocked on Starsky’s door. When no one answered, he let himself in. He was
not surprised to find Starsky’s jeans lying on the floor just inside the door. But he was deeply relieved to hear water
running in the bathroom and see the door was closed.
He didn’t know what he’d been afraid he would see instead. Starsky spread out on the floor, bare-assed, yanking
away for all he was worth? Now there was a vision that was likely to haunt his nightmares for some time to come.
Hutch headed for the kitchen and pulled two beers out of the fridge. Then he settled himself comfortably on the couch with
one of Starsky’s latest car magazines. The faucets in the bathroom ran continuously, and he told himself that he could
not hear anything other than the water. Not a thing.
It was understandable, though. Starsky had shaved last night, and jacked off first thing in the morning, sensitizing already
sensitive flesh. And then he’d gone and crammed himself into those jeans.
Those jeans... Hutch glanced over at them, still in a pile by the front door. Leaning forward he looked into the bedroom.
Starsky’s bathrobe was at the foot of the bed. Which meant that Starsky had nothing to wear but a towel. And possibly
not even that, thought Hutch, as he noted a towel lying crumpled under the bathrobe.
With a sigh, Hutch pushed himself up from the couch. Starsky didn’t deserve such a thoughtful, easy-going partner,
Hutch told himself as he dug a pair of old, soft sweatpants out of the bottom of the dresser. After a moment’s consideration,
he added a pair of cotton briefs and a t-shirt.
A knock on the bathroom door earned him a suspicious, “Yeah?”
“Are you done yet?”
Starsky suggested he do something anatomically improbable with himself.
“Nah,” said Hutch, grinning. “That’s your department. I’ve got some clothes for you. If you
want them, you have to open the door.”
The bathroom door opened a crack and an arm emerged to grab the clothes out of Hutch’s hand. Then the door slammed
“You’re welcome,” said Hutch. “No really, it was nothing. Always happy to help a friend.”
He sat back down on the couch, and picked up his beer bottle. After a few minutes Starsky emerged in the sweats Hutch had
given him and sat down beside him. He reached over and took the beer out of Hutch’s hand, helping himself to a long
swig before handing it back.
“I did get you one of your own,” said Hutch, mildly. He indicated the bottle sweating a puddle over on the coffee
“Thanks,” said Starsky. He didn’t reach for it. Instead he looked down at his knee and picked at the fabric.
“Feeling better?” asked Hutch.
Simultaneously, Starsky said, “I’m sorry.”
“You go first,” said Hutch, figuring he’d get the answer to his question one way or another.
Starsky leaned back, groaning. “I had a crappy day and I took it out on you. But you’ve just been nice to me.
You haven’t teased me at all since last night. So I’m saying sorry. Okay?”
“You really thought I’d keep teasing you?” asked Hutch, trying to sound hurt. He found himself feeling
almost thankful for the migraine, as it gave him the opportunity now to pretend that he’d always intended to take the
“Yeah, I guess I did,” said Starsky. “You’re a good guy, Hutch.”
Hutch basked in the praise, firmly suppressing the twinge of guilt. Hadn’t he just been telling himself what a thoughtful
partner he was?
He collected Starsky’s beer from the table and handed it to him. “Why don’t we see what’s on TV?”
That was what he loved about Hutch, Starsky decided later, as they shared a pizza and watched the game. It was the easy way
he had about him, of making anything – even his partner’s transformation into some kind of a sexual deviant –
seem perfectly unremarkable.
And – Starsky slid his butt forward a few inches on the couch – he thought he might finally be getting used to
his new haircut. Hutch was right; he’d have to wear sweats for a few days. And then he’d better start wearing
briefs under his jeans. At least until his hair grew back in.
He looked over at Hutch and smiled when he caught him looking back. Last night he’d been wondering why he’d called
Hutch, of all people. Now he knew. He didn’t need Edith, or Hutch’s mom, or his own mom, or any kind of mother
at all. He had Hutch to look after him.
He also had Hutch’s flannel shirt in the bottom of his laundry hamper. Which he didn’t need exactly, but
it seemed a shame to let it just sit there.
“I’m going to bed,” said Starsky, with what he hoped was just the right amount of casual indifference.
Hutch gave him a narrow-eyed look. “Give me your car keys. I’m driving myself home.”
For the first time in his life, Starsky had no qualms whatsoever about handing them over.