Spied a little thing and I followed him all night
In his funky fine levis and his sweaters kind of tight
He had a west coast strut that's as sweet as molasses
But what really knocked me out was his cheap sunglasses
Cheap Sunglasses, by ZZ Top
“There’s no body,” said Starsky, confidently.
Hutch hunkered down. The water was too murky to see to the bottom, but he could feel his stick sink into mud. “Huggy
said there was a body.” He poked around some more. More mud – he hoped.
“Huggy's been wrong before.”
Hutch gave Starsky a doubtful look.
“It’s happened,” said Starsky, defensively. He had his hands buried in the pockets of the leather jacket
he’d stolen from Hutch’s closet that morning.
“Name the last time Huggy was wrong about something like this,” challenged Hutch. His stick snagged on something.
When he pulled it up there was a set of plastic beer rings hanging on the end. He shook them off. An abandoned shopping
cart was lying on its side nearby, half submerged and just beginning to rust.
“Okay, so maybe there was a body,” conceded Starsky. “Obviously, there isn’t one now. Maybe
someone took it.”
“They took a waterlogged corpse.” Hutch snorted disbelievingly. Starsky’s ideas were getting worse all
“Right, because corpses are the absolute latest in home decor, the cat’s meow, a real scream, and guaranteed to
impress the ladies.” Starsky curled his fist and pumped it a few times. Then he wiggled his eyebrows at Hutch and
Well, at least Starsky knew when his ideas stunk. Hutch returned his grin, and then considered the river. The brown water
eddied under a wooden bridge, and the canal was flanked by concrete retaining walls. There was a rotten smell to the whole
thing, and it was more than just decaying vegetation.
“I think the body floated downstream,” said Hutch. “It can’t have gone far.”
“If you’re suggesting we wade down there, you can forget it. I don’t like the look of that water.”
Hutch couldn’t argue with Starsky on that point. This was more like a sewer than a canal. He wondered if his shots
were up to date. Moving closer to the bridge, Hutch went back to poking the water.
Hutch ignored him.
Starsky sighed louder.
Hutch gritted his teeth and continued to ignore him. If Huggy said there was a body down here, then chances were good there
really was a body. Starsky could either help look, or stay out of the way.
“You know, I made Brenda pass out last night.”
Or he could toss out random non-sequiturs. “What did you do?” asked Hutch. “Forget to bathe?”
Starsky leaned back against the bridge, smirking. “Laugh it up, funny guy. I really did it. Or rather I did her.
She came so hard, she passed right out.” He crossed his ankles and pulled down his shades to peer over the top of them
Starsky looked hurt. “I swear it’s the truth. I’ll swear it on my mother’s grave.”
Hutch made a rude noise, and turned back to his investigation of the river. “Your mother is alive and well and living
in New York. She calls me every so often to ask if you’ve settled down with a nice girl yet.”
“Tell her I’m going steady. He’s a six foot blond with a nasty disposition.” Starsky paused. “And
I can see his cute little bald spot from here.”
There were limits. Lines you just didn’t cross. Hutch rocked back on his heels and pretended to reach for his gun.
“You know, I could blow your kneecaps off right here.”
“Yeah, but you won’t,” said Starsky, comfortably. “And that’s how come I know you love me.”
With a rueful smile, Hutch dropped his hand and pushed himself to his feet instead. Grabbing the edge of the bridge, he leaned
out over the water, trying to see beneath the supports. “Did you really make Brenda pass out? What were you doing
Starsky didn’t answer immediately. When Hutch looked back over his shoulder, he saw that Starsky’s face had gone
an interesting shade of red.
“Look,” said Hutch. “You brought it up.” He wouldn’t have pegged Starsky as the kinky type.
Quite the opposite, in fact. The few times he’d seen Starsky in action, it’d been straightforward and energetic.
He had a suspicion many of Starsky’s dates went home the next morning feeling like they’d just had sex with a
“I was going down on her,” said Starsky, finally.
Hutch shrugged. “Right. Everyone does that.”
Starsky blinked. “Really? Not where I come from.”
“Starsky, you left New York when you were ten. How do you know what they do?”
“Yeah, well, Minnesota’s pretty perverted, from what I hear.”
“Our studded leather keeps us warm on those long winter nights,” said Hutch, impatiently. “Get back to
“Well…” said Starsky, slowly. He pushed his sunglasses back up his nose, hiding his eyes. “She was
really into it, making lots of noise, and then all of a sudden she went kinda stiff, and then she went limp. And then a moment
later she opened her eyes and said, ‘wow’.”
“Huh.” Hutch thought about this for a moment. He tried to imagine what his reaction would be if his own girlfriend
ever passed out mid-coitus. “Were you scared?” The names of a dozen different medical conditions popped into
his head, and he thought of having to call an ambulance and explain what he’d just done to the naked girl in his bed.
Starsky looked surprised. “Scared? Nah. I was...” He grinned. “Hutch, it was the best feeling in the
world. I mean, I made her pass out! I did it! Me! Man, I must be some kinda super-stud.”
Hutch shook his head. It figures, he thought. Personally, he’d have been apologizing frantically to the woman in question.
“And what did she do after?”
Starsky’s smile dimmed. “She rolled over and went to sleep.”
“That’s it?” Hutch laughed. “What about you? Didn’t you get any?”
“I got to, uh...” Starsky stopped, his cheeks reddening again.
“Bask in the afterglow,” suggested Hutch.
“Jerk off in her bathroom,” said Starsky. “But still...”
“Yeah,” agreed Hutch. “It’s an impressive achievement.” If not one he was particularly inclined
to try himself. He examined the bushes around the bridge. Maybe when Huggy had said ‘in the canal’ he didn’t
actually mean in the canal. “So, what exactly were you doing to her?”
“I just told you!”
Hutch pushed a clump of weeds aside with his stick. “No, I mean, give me details. Did you get a finger in there, as
well as your tongue? Were you playing with her g-spot, her clitoris, or both?”
Starsky choked. “Uh...” He made a gurgling noise, seemed to strangle on his words for a moment and then finally
said, “I don’t know. I mean, you just get in there and start licking, right? Like she’s a big, pink, ice
cream sundae. In a hairy dish.”
Hutch forgot about the corpse for a moment. “Christ, Starsk! I’m never eating ice cream with you again.”
Starsky shifted uncomfortably, and then hooked his thumbs into his belt and adjusted his jeans. Hutch stared at him, but
Starsky was still hiding behind his sunglasses and his face was suddenly expressionless.
In Hutch’s experience, this meant that Starsky was beyond embarrassed and had resorted to trying to look dignified in
what he considered an impossible situation. Like that time he’d had to make a bust in nothing but his gun and a towel.
Hutch shook his head and returned to looking for places where a corpse could hide. Maybe it wasn’t all in one piece?
“Uh, Hutch?” said Starsky, a few minutes later.
“Yeah?” Having exhausted the possibilities of the thin weed cover, Hutch was back to poking his stick into the
“Which part is the clit, anyway?”
“You mean you don’t know?” Hutch was so startled he dropped his stick into the water.
“Well, it’s not the kind of thing you can just ask!” Starsky gave him a wounded look. “What do you
expect me to do? Climb into bed with a girl and say, ‘hey, bay-bee, show me your clit.’ No, you just get in
there and start doing stuff, and if she likes it, you do more of the same thing.”
Hutch stood, rubbing his lower back. The stick was floating within arm’s reach, but the thought of having to spend
the next three hours soaking his hand in bleach discouraged him from retrieving it. “It’s the little nub at the
top, kind of folded over like a hood. You know, Starsk, the library does have books on anatomy.”
Starsky shrugged. “Yeah, but the library lady thinks I’m a nice guy. I don’t want to give her the wrong
impression. She looks like she’s a hundred years old. She might not survive the shock.” He hoisted himself
up onto the edge of the bridge and sat with his sneakers swinging, looking more like a boy playing hooky from school than
the seasoned cop he was supposed to be. “So, okay Professor, you’re the expert. Where’s this g-spot everyone’s
been talking about? How’s a girl get one? And how the heck am I supposed to find out if she’s got one, even?”
He had to ask that. Hutch suddenly flashed to a recent date.
“Is this it?” he’d asked, hopefully. Spongy, that was what the magazine article had said.
A different texture from the rest.
“Stop poking my bladder!”
Close to the bladder, according to the diagram. “It’s the g-spot! Just go with it, baby. It’s going to
“The only thing I’m feeling is that I want to pee. And by the way, I’ll have you know the g-spot is a myth
propagated by the chauvinist male establishment in a plot to deprive women of empowering clitoral orgasms!”
That hadn’t gone well at all. But there was Starsky looking at him hopefully, like he had all the answers in the universe.
“I don’t know,” said Hutch, deciding on honesty. “I guess if you’re lucky, you’ll get
a girl who knows where it is and can show you. And if you’re not… There’s been times I’ve thought
spelunking gear might help. Or at least a flashlight.”
Starsky laughed for a long time at that idea. He said something about a tiny Hutch dressed up like a miner with a light on
his helmet. Then he sobered, looked around again, and said, “There’s no body here, Hutch.”
Hutch leaned against the bridge by Starsky’s knee. He shook his head. “I still say it got washed downstream.”
Starsky nudged his shoulder. “Do you really talk to my mother?”
“Sometimes.” Hutch had never had any trouble following Starsky’s sudden changes of topic. In fact, he
realized that he was enjoying himself. Even down here, looking for a corpse in a canal, Starsky was good company.
“How come I didn’t know about this? What have you got going on with my mother?”
Hutch smiled at the open suspicion in Starsky’s voice. “Not a thing. It’s purely platonic. Nothing at
all like you and me.”
“Huh? You say that like we’re not.” Starsky paused. “Not platonic, I mean.”
“Starsk, how many other guys know all the details of your sex life?”
Starsky shrugged. “You’re my best friend.”
“How many guys would you ask to locate a clitoris for you?”
Hutch was warming to his subject. He’d spent many a late night staring into the dark, trying to sort out his relationship
with Starsky. At the very least, he could spread some of the confusion around. “How many other guys’ shirts
are in your closet? How many other guys share your bed and occasionally your girlfriends? Whose jacket are you wearing right
now?” Hutch grabbed Starsky’s knee and shook it emphatically. “When your mom calls, who do you update
“Uh, Dobey,” said Starsky, his tone patently unconvincing.
“You...” said Starsky, reluctantly.
“Every time you call her, you tell her about me. In detail. I’ve heard you going on to her about busts I’ve
made, funny things I’ve said, even what I had for dinner the night before!”
Starsky drummed his heels on the bridge. His lips had tightened to a stubbornly set line. “So?”
Hutch wished Starsky would take his sunglasses off. If this was going to be true confessions time, he wanted to know what
his partner was thinking. “So, eventually your mom got to wondering. Who is this mensch my son can’t stop talking
“Mensch?” The corner of Starsky’s mouth quirked.
“Well, that’s what she said.” Hutch felt a twinge of embarrassment. “You must have been saying some
pretty nice things about me. She wanted to know if it was time she gave up her dreams of having grandchildren.”
“What? I don’t get it. What’s... Oh.” Starsky stopped and suddenly pulled his sunglasses off.
He glared at Hutch. “Hey!”
Hutch spread his hands in surrender. “I didn’t put the idea in her head!”
“But, my own mother!” Starsky jumped off the bridge and began to pace, his sneakers making emphatic squelching
sounds in the mud. “I can’t believe she’d think I was – you know! Like that! And with you!”
“Why not?” asked Hutch. They’d gone over this many times in the past, deconstructing Starsky’s attitudes
toward homosexuality in general, and the gay men they knew in particular.
“I’m not prejudiced!” Starsky cut the argument short. “I just don’t think anyone could look
at me and say, ‘that guy’s gay’. I mean, you can just tell, usually.” He stopped waving his sunglasses
in the air and shoved them into his pocket.
“Except when you can’t.”
Starsky turned to face him, his hands on his hips. “Are you trying to tell me something, Hutch?”
It was tempting for a moment. But Hutch already knew how Starsky would react to ‘Yes, I’m gay!’ He knew,
because he’d tried it once and Starsky had flatly refused to believe him. He’d accused him of lying just to make
Which was, Hutch was fairly certain, the truth. He usually thought of himself as 100% straight. The only doubts he harbored
all centered on his relationship with Starsky. Which was something he couldn’t even begin to define.
Hutch took the easy way out this time. “I’m saying it’s not right to label people.”
“What did you tell her?”
“Don’t worry. I assured your mother that I wasn’t the one standing in the way of her grandchildren-filled
dreams.” Hutch gave Starsky his widest, most insincere smile. “I told her that your perpetually single state
was due to the fact you were a commitment-phobic adrenalin addict, too busy screwing your way around town to settle down with
just one girl.”
“Right!” Starsky nodded emphatically. Then the rest of Hutch’s statement sank in and his expression became
indignant. “I mean, hey! You’re mean. You didn’t really tell her that, did you?”
“Of course not,” said Hutch. “I told her I expected to be your best man someday.”
“Oh.” Starsky glanced down and picked up a stick. He poked it down into the water at the edge of the canal.
They had switched positions, Hutch realized. He was now the one leaning against the bridge while Starsky looked for the corpse.
He watched as Starsky reached out over the water, trying to rock the shopping cart with his stick.
“Be careful,” said Hutch.
Starsky shooed him away, not even looking back.
Hutch shrugged and decided to enjoy the rare chance to observe Starsky uninterrupted. He thought about his relationship with
his partner. When Starsky gave his heart to someone he gave it unreservedly. Over the years he’d told everyone who
cared to listen that Hutch was his best friend, ‘closer to him than a brother’. But Hutch had never quite known
what that was supposed to mean. Or how to characterize the feeling of annoyance mixed with pride he felt when Starsky came
to him with some absurd problem, like how to locate a girl’s clitoris.
What’s closer than a brother, he wondered. A lover? No wonder Starsky’s mother had been confused.
“Is that really what you think of me?” said Starsky, eventually. “All that stuff about being afraid of
“No,” said Hutch. “Look, marriage isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. And right now, our schedules
are so screwed up we couldn’t even keep a pet alive, much less a steady relationship.”
“Except with each other,” said Starsky.
Hutch was startled to hear his own thoughts echoed so clearly.
Starsky grinned. “Marry me, Hutch! I promise I won’t hog the blankets.”
Hutch knew how likely that was. “Why not make a promise you can keep?”
“Like find out if Brenda is into threesomes. I want to see what exactly you did to make her pass out.”
The look on Starsky’s face was priceless. Hutch had to bite back a laugh as he watched Starsky consider the suggestion.
Surprise, alarm, suspicion, and curiosity paraded across Starsky’s features, one after the other.
Finally, Starsky said, “Promise you won’t try to, uh, seduce her with your charms?”
Hutch held up his hand, solemnly. “I promise I won’t steal your girl. It’ll just be good, clean, fun.
No strings. Trust me!”
“Trust you?” Starsky grinned wickedly. He moved closer, standing directly in front of Hutch. “Is your
word your bond? Does this mean we’re married now?”
“Starsk, you and me...” Hutch trailed off. Starsky, with his usual disregard for personal space, had his sneakers
all but parked on Hutch’s toes.
“Yeah?” asked Starsky, his eyes locked on Hutch’s.
His grin was beginning to make Hutch nervous. Still, he decided to go ahead and say it, because it was true. Because, screw
labels like ‘gay’ or ‘straight’, it was the fundamental reality of their relationship. “I’m
a hell of a lot more married to you than I ever was to Van.”
Starsky grabbed Hutch’s face in both hands, like a football. He planted an enthusiastic kiss on Hutch’s mouth.
Startled, Hutch jumped, his back hitting the bridge. Starsky lost his grip and went in the other direction, his arms flying
out to the sides, pinwheeling as he tried to regain his balance. Then one mud-covered blue sneaker came up, and Starsky lost
his fight. He went over backward, and hit the water with a loud splash.
There was a moment’s shocked silence. Starsky had landed on his rear, right next to the shopping cart. He was sitting
in two feet of water, with his mouth open and a look of blank astonishment on his face.
Then Starsky’s expression changed to disgust. “Yuck!”
Hutch started to laugh. “And you wonder why your mother thinks we’re gay!”
Starsky shook his head, sending a spray of droplets across the water. “I had to kiss the bride!” He looked down
at the thick mire swirling around him. “Yuck. Yuck, yuck, yuck!”
Bride? “Who says I’m the bride?” demanded Hutch.
Starsky started to push himself up and then froze, his hands underwater. “Uh, Hutch?”
“Because if anyone’s going to be the bride, it’s going to be you, not me! And by the way, you’ll
be paying for dry cleaning. That’s my jacket...”
“What!” Only now did Hutch notice that Starsky’s eyes were wide and shocked. In fact, he looked positively
Starsky brought his hand up from under the water. He was holding the wrist of a muddy, bloated arm. “Huggy was right.”