Hutch blinked. Then he blinked again, focusing on Starsky’s hand in front of his nose, fingers snapping.
“What?” he asked
“Come back, little Sheba,
come back,” said Starsky, grinning.
Hutch grimaced. “Very funny.”
Starsky reached under the dash
and helped himself to the thermos of coffee. Sitting up, he waved his hand at
the house across the street. “Donny Brook could have strolled up to the
front door with a marching band in tow, and you wouldn’t have seen a thing.”
“Donald Buchowski,” said Hutch, tapping the steering wheel. “Could
not have walked past us without me seeing him.”
“Pull the other one, it
plays Jingle Bells.” Starsky poured coffee into a Styrofoam cup. “You got a girl I don’t know about?”
“When would I have time
for a girl?” asked Hutch. They’d been working the last three weeks
without break, trying to track down a bank robber. Finally they had a suspect,
an ex-con called Donny Brook, no... Buchowski. Hutch shook his head, briefly
It was almost too much to hope
that Donny might choose to visit his ex-wife and kid today, but it was all they had.
Huggy had sworn up one side and down the other that Donald was the kind of guy who’d want to share the loot with
his family. Even ex-family.
Starsky drained his cup and tossed
it in the back seat.
“Hey,” began Hutch.
Starsky raised his eyebrows.
Hutch saw himself doing exactly
the same thing in Starsky’s car, cups piling up in the back. He shrugged. One cup in his own back seat was probably fair payback.
Starsky got himself a new cup.
“Now wait a minute,”
said Hutch. “Why couldn’t you reuse your old one?”
“I thought I was finished,”
said Starsky, innocently. “If it’s not a girl, then what’s
got you so...?” He waved a hand at Hutch.
“Out to lunch?”
Hutch leaned against the door,
his chin propped on his hand. He thought about last night’s dream. A strange, baffling dream, following close on the heels of a number of other strange
dreams. Last night’s had been the clearest, though. “I think I’m pregnant,” he said, still half inside the dream itself.
“What?” said Starsky.
“What, what?” asked
“Did you say... pregnant?”
Starsky snapped his fingers again. “Hutch!”
“Oh,” said Hutch,
dragging himself back to the present. “Yeah. Pregnant.”
Starsky folded his hand over
his mouth and stared at Hutch. His index finger was resting against the side
of his nose.
How adorable, thought Hutch.
“You mean metaphorically,”
said Starsky, finally.
“Well, the dreams I’ve
been having lately are pretty literal,” said Hutch. “But yes, I’m
assuming it’s a metaphor.”
“So you’ve been dreaming
you’re pregnant?” asked Starsky. “You mean, you’re dreaming
you’re a woman?”
“Nope, I’m still
“How does that work? How does the baby get out?” Starsky
dragged his hand down his face. “How does it even get in there in the first
Hutch raised an eyebrow. “It was just a dream, Starsky. I
don’t have to worry about any of that.”
“Right,” said Starsky,
regarding him intently. “Just a dream.”
Thanks to the flip of a coin,
Hutch drove again on Tuesday. Starsky got into the car with a thin paperback
book in his hand. He stopped briefly to appreciate the sight of Hutch backlit
by the morning sun, and then opened the book.
“Pregnant,” he said. “Dreaming you’re pregnant is symbolic of a growing or developing aspect
of your life. You may be unaware of the potential for a new direction, a new
idea, a new project or a new goal.”
Hutch glanced over.
Starsky held up the book so he
could see the cover. It was pink with little fluffy clouds.
“The Dream Dictionary?”
“Yeah,” said Starsky. “I picked it up last night. Do
you know that when I dream about sex, it really means I haven’t had enough sex lately and I’m repressing my libido?”
“God forbid you should
repress your libido,” said Hutch. He pulled onto the street in front of
Donny’s ex’s house.
“If we don’t find
this guy soon,” said Starsky. “I think my libido’s going to
shrivel up and die.” Certainly it was throwing some very weird things his
way at night, stuff almost as bizarre as Hutch dreaming he was pregnant.
Hutch pulled the car over to
the curb and killed the ignition. “I think I felt the baby kicking last
night,” he said. “Have you ever thought about what it must be like
for women? Walking around with another human being inside of them?”
“No...,” said Starsky,
“Just imagine,” said
Hutch, thoughtfully. “This whole other person. And it’s part of you, but at the same time it’s completely separate. You can feel it, but you’ve got no idea what it’s thinking.”
Starsky stared at Hutch’s
stomach. It looked flat. Kind of
nice, actually. Starsky reached over and patted Hutch, lightly. “Dunno, I don’t feel anything.”
Hutch grabbed his wrist and moved
his hand back over to his own lap. “Of course not, it’s just a dream.”
“Yeah,” said Starsky. He looked at the book again. “What
we’ve got to do is figure out exactly what you’re pregnant with.”
“No one ever knows what
they’re going to get until it arrives,” said Hutch.
Starsky brushed him off. “I think they have machines that can look inside you, but that’s not what
I mean. I don’t care if it’s a boy or a girl. I just want to know if it’s the solution to this case, or something bigger.”
“Hmm,” said Hutch. “It could definitely be the case.”
Starsky was less convinced. “We have cases all the time. What’s
special about this one?” If anything, this case was simpler than most. Boring, even.
“I don’t know.” Hutch looked out the window, thoughtfully. “But
what else could it be?”
“Something inside you,
maybe.” Starsky winced. That
brought back his own dream from last night vividly. And yet, it raised some intriguing
questions. “Do pregnant people ever get to have sex?” asked Starsky. “How does that work?” The
angles seemed difficult.
“People who work twelve
hour shifts seven days a week, metaphorically pregnant or not, never have sex,” said Hutch, grimly.
“I guess not,” said
Starsky. He picked up his book again and re-read the section on sex. Apparently dreaming about someone of your own gender didn’t necessarily mean you really wanted to
have sex with them.
He glanced at Hutch, who was
back to staring out the window.
Starsky read the passage again. For some reason the words ‘not necessarily’ kept jumping out at him.
“So, how far along are
you today?” asked Starsky, as Hutch climbed into the car on Wednesday morning.
Starsky, having finally won the
coin toss, had immediately chosen to drive his own car. Hutch had his doubts
as to how successful they’d be with the Torino parked directly across from Donny’s
ex’s house, but it was Starsky’s call to make. The coin toss was
sacrosanct. All decisions final, and no appeal.
Hutch’s stomach lurched
unhappily as Starsky took the corner at speed. He closed his eyes and groaned.
“I would have thought you’d
be past morning sickness by now,” said Starsky.
Hutch cracked one eye open and
glared at him. “Starsky, it’s a metaphor. Met-a-phor. That means I’m not actually having a baby.”
“I’ve been doing
some more reading,” said Starsky. “Did you know that pregnancy comes
in trimesters? So, if you tell me your symptoms, I might be able to tell you
what trimester you’re in.”
Hutch covered his ears. “I’m not listening to you.”
He regretted telling Starsky about his dreams. He’d expected curiosity,
and some teasing. What he hadn’t expected was Starsky’s enthusiastic
adoption of the entire concept.
Starsky pulled sharply up to
sidewalk, his left front tire bouncing up onto the curb. Hutch’s stomach
contracted sharply and he burped.
“Ah hah,” said Starsky. “Gas is definitely a common problem in the later months. You could be getting close!”
“I’m going to shoot
the next encyclopedia salesman who comes to your door,” said Hutch.
“The Encyclopedia Britannica
was one of the best investments I’ve ever made,” said Starsky. “It’s
a reference library for the whole family. And the way you’re going, my
family might be expanding any old day now.”
“I’m not having a
baby!” shouted Hutch.
“No,” said Starsky. “You’re having an idea. And
I think I might even know what it’s going to be.”
Hutch stared at Starsky, but
his partner wasn’t looking at him. He was staring straight out the front
of the car, half-smiling.
The expression on Starsky’s
face was odd. Hutch frowned trying to figure it out. It wasn’t smug, though he certainly did look pleased with himself.
A sharp rap on the window brought
Hutch out of his reverie and he was startled to see an officer in a blue uniform leaning over to stare at him.
Hutch rolled down the window. “Yes?” He vaguely recognized
the man as someone he’d seen at the precinct barbeque, but he couldn’t quite remember his name. Frank... Frank, something.
“We got a call about a
couple of suspicious characters,” began the officer, his tone formal.
“Hey, Frankie,” interrupted
Starsky, leaning across Hutch. “We’re on stakeout.”
“Oh, my apologies, Sergeant
Starsky,” said Officer Frankowitz. “I didn’t see you there.”
Hutch leaned back against the
seat. Starsky’s arm was braced across his thighs and his shoulder was pressing
into his chest. He felt warm, and he smelled like sandalwood. “Uh, you’re drawing attention to us.”
Frankowitz stepped back and straightened
his cap. “I’d say you’re drawing attention all by yourselves,
in that car. But hey, that’s what they give you the fancy badge for.” Waving, he left.
Starsky let his forehead drop
onto the edge of the passenger side door. “Okay,” he said. “Go ahead and say it.”
“Say what?” Hutch’s voice cracked. He was experiencing
some very disconcerting sensations in his lower stomach. Heat and tingling and
all sorts of feelings he did not normally associate with Starsky.
Starsky braced his hand on Hutch’s
thigh and pushed himself up. “Say you told me so! I admit it, okay? My car is too pretty for this kind of stake
“Okay,” managed Hutch. “I told you so.” He was afraid
to move. Starsky was only a few inches away and he could see everything, from
the mole on his cheek to the individual hairs on his chin.
Starsky frowned at him for a
moment, and then glanced down at Hutch’s lap. His eyebrows shot up. “Man,” he said, moving back over to his side of the car. “It’s been awhile for you, too, huh?”
Hutch mentally backpedaled, trying
to regain his balance. “You said you knew what I was dreaming about.”
“I’m getting more
certain all the time,” said Starsky, grinning.
“Are you going to tell
Starsky had that look on his
face again, the same one that had puzzled Hutch earlier. But now, as he examined
his partner, a light clicked on in the back of Hutch’s mind.
Starsky looked like an expectant
Even though Starsky had won the
toss again, he gave in to the inevitable and drove Hutch’s car, instead of the Torino.
“You know,” Starsky
said. “They never told us about this sort of thing at the Academy. They let us think it would be escorting little old ladies across the street, interspersed
with the occasional gunfight. They didn’t tell us we’d be sitting
in cars for days on end.”
The door of the house across
the street opened and Hutch sat up. But it was just Donny’s ex coming out
to pick up her newspaper.
“Tell me about last night’s
dream,” said Starsky.
“I think I ate something
I shouldn’t have,” said Hutch, queasily. “My stomach was cramping
all night. I didn’t get any sleep.”
“Labor pains!” said
“Lots of women get the
two mixed up.” Starsky slapped the steering wheel excitedly. He’d figured out what was going on yesterday and the extraordinarily graphic dream he’d had
last night just served to confirm that he was right. Now all he had to do was
wait for Hutch to clue in.
Hutch glowered at him. “Last time I checked, I’m not a woman.”
“Everyone’s got a
part of them that’s the opposite of what they got between their legs. It’s,
uh, like your other half.”
Hutch inclined his head thoughtfully. “So you’re saying I’ve been getting in touch with my feminine side.”
“Sure,” said Starsky. “That’s part of it. But you’re
still going to have to have that baby.”
“Idea. Baby idea,” clarified Starsky, quickly. “A beautiful
bouncing baby idea.” He patted Hutch’s thigh.
Hutch pulled his leg out of reach.
It occurred to Starsky, looking
at the strain on Hutch’s face, that he might be able to hurry this gestation along.
He twisted to look into the rear of the car. “Hey,” said Starsky. “What have you got back here?”
Starsky pushed himself up and
leaned over the back of his seat. He deliberately let his ass crowd Hutch up
against the passenger side door. “Is that a cuckoo clock?”
“It’s supposed to
look like a Swiss Chalet,” said Hutch, sounding half smothered.
Starsky felt Hutch’s hand
land on the inside of his thigh, only to be snatched away again a fraction of a second later.
Sighing internally, he kept up the patter. “What comes out of the
little house, then? A bird?”
“A Swiss maid,” said
Hutch, helplessly. “Starsk...”
Starsky’s jeans were getting
tighter by the moment. He rocked against the edge of the seat, under the guise
of trying to see further into the back of the car. “What else have you
The urgency in Hutch’s
voice drove all thought of sex from Starsky’s mind. He slid hurriedly back
into his seat, hardly noticing as the back of his head banged against the roof of the car.
Hutch was already opening his
door. “I just saw someone climb over the neighbor’s fence.”
Starsky fumbled with the handle
of the door. “That’s got to be Donny!”
Starsky and Hutch shambled into
Dobey’s office just before nine Friday morning. Starsky had a black eye
and Hutch was limping.
“Go home,” said Dobey. He signing another form and tossing it onto the right hand pile.
Dobey put his pen down. “Didn’t you hear me? Go home!”
Starsky tugged on Hutch’s
arm, obviously eager to make his escape while the going was good. Hutch, however,
wasn’t sure he’d heard Dobey correctly.
“Captain,” said Hutch. “We still haven’t finished the last of the paperwork on the Donny Brook,
I mean Buchowski, affair. There’s, uh, there’s still his confession
to, uh...” he ground to a halt, unable to remember the word he needed.
“You’re no good to
me dead on your feet,” said Dobey. “Go home. Another day in the lockup won’t do Donny Brook any harm.”
Hutch, pleased to have finally found the word he wanted.
Dobey stared at him.
“Thank you, Cap!”
said Starsky, taking a firm grip on Hutch’s arm. “We’re going
Hutch found himself hustled past
his desk with barely enough time to grab his jacket. Before he knew quite how
it had happened, he was in the Torino, and Starsky was driving.
Hutch glanced out the window
at the swiftly passing streets. “We’re going to your place first?”
he asked, recognizing the neighborhood.
“First and last,”
said Starsky. “I figure we have to do something special with our first
night off in almost a month.”
Hutch groaned. “I’m not up to going out tonight.” He couldn’t
think of anything less attractive at the moment than making the rounds of the clubs.
“That’s not what
I had in mind,” said Starsky.
“Pizza and a movie?” That sounded a bit better to Hutch.
“Sure, we can definitely
fit that in,” said Starsky. And then, inexplicably, he blushed.
Hutch tried to decode Starsky’s
expression. “What did you have in mind?”
Starsky answered his question
with another one. “What did you dream last night?”
“I can’t remember,”
said Hutch. After chasing Donny over Hell’s half acre, otherwise known
as a Bay City suburban development liberally strewn with privacy
fences and territorial dogs, they’d been stuck at the precinct until three in the morning. Hutch hadn’t slept so much as he’d simply passed out.
“Well, it doesn’t
matter,” said Starsky, as he pulled up in front of his place. He turned
off the ignition, but then reached up to grab the steering wheel again, as if for comfort.
Hutch looked at Starsky’s
knuckles turning white, and at the muscle jumping in his cheek, and wondered what was making him so tense.
Starsky took a deep shaking breath,
and then said, “Maybe I’m mistaken, but I’m going to try something.”
Letting go of the wheel, he turned to look at Hutch. “If it’s
not what you want then just tell me and I’ll drive you home. I’ll
never say another word about it.”
Starsky’s mouth collided
with his, cutting him off.
Oh, thought Hutch, astonished. And then, he thought ‘oh’ in a completely different way. Starsky started to pull back, but Hutch wrapped his hands around the back of his head and held on. This felt right. It felt good. It felt like something that shouldn’t ever end.
But of course it had to end. And a moment later, Starsky was staring at him with a sloppy grin on his face.
“Did I get it right?”
he asked, though it was obvious he already knew the answer.
Hutch blinked. “Hey! I remember what I dreamed last night.”
“I had twins,” said
Hutch. “One blond and one brunet.”
He hoped this meant the dreams were over.
Starsky laughed. “C’mon, let’s get out of this car before we get arrested for public indecency.”
Hutch couldn’t exit the
car fast enough.
Halfway up the stairs to his
apartment, though, Starsky suddenly stopped humming ‘Havin’ my baby’ and said, “Wait, if you gave
birth to both you and me, does that mean this is incest?”
Hutch shoved him forward. “Move!”
In the doorway, Starsky stopped
again. “And if you’re the one who did all the birthing and stuff,
does that make you the girl?”
Hutch pushed him into the hallway
and pulled the door closed. Pinning Starsky against the wall, he held up his
index finger. “If you say one more thing –.”
Starsky licked Hutch’s
Hutch gaped at him, speechless.
“I’ve been having
dreams, too,” said Starsky. “X-rated ones. Want me to tell you about them?”