On Sunday, Hutch got dumped.
By Monday, he was philosophical
“It wasn’t meant
to be,” he told Starsky, as they worked their way through last week’s reports. “She said I spent more time
with you than with her.”
“She’s got a point.”
Starsky picked up their piggy bank and shook it. A single coin rattled inside.
“Just my luck you weren’t
born a beautiful blonde.” Hutch rolled his report up in the typewriter and carefully applied Liquid Paper to the extra
“o” he’d typed in Dobey’s name.
“If I was a gorgeous gal
I’d have dropped you by now.” Starsky stared mournfully at the lone nickel in the palm of his hand. “And
then you’d have no backup, no partner, and no best friend.”
Hutch leaned back in his chair,
and fished a quarter out of his pocket. “I’m not that bad. Once I find the right person, it’ll be for life.”
Like our friendship, he thought, tossing the coin at his partner.
Starsky caught the quarter, and
grinned his thanks. “Just like our friendship, huh? ’Til death do us part.”
Hutch smiled at how his partner
had echoed his own thoughts. He wondered what deity had found it amusing to make his soul mate the most heterosexual man on
the planet. “Ah Starsk, if only you weren’t straight, and we weren’t cops or this world was a different
Starsky stood up. “Why
don’t you wish for world peace while you’re at it?” He was half way to the door when he came to a sudden
halt. He turned back towards Hutch. “Wait a minute. What if I wasn’t straight? Don’t you mean we?”
Hutch opened his mouth but nothing
came out. The stage fright that had sabotaged his music career was back with a vengeance. Gone were the lightning fast reflexes
that had saved their lives more than once on the street. Instead, he stared at his partner like a bunny about to become road
kill under the Torino’s wheels.
He could tell it was already
too late to just laugh it off as a meaningless slip of the tongue. Starsky’s eyes had narrowed and Hutch could see the
wheels turning in his head. Shit, say something, your life isn’t on the line here, but your partnership with your
very straight best friend is!
That’s when Hutch realized
exactly what he needed to do, and relaxed. Raising an eyebrow, he gave Starsky his most enigmatic smile. “Define straight.”
Then, as if nothing of significance
had just happened, Hutch rolled the paper back down, and continued typing his report.
Out of the corner of his eye,
he saw Starsky frown in puzzlement for several moments. Then his partner shook his head, and jerked his thumb towards the
door. “Want anything?”
Listening to the very normal
sound of Starsky kicking the hell out the candy bar machine in the hallway, Hutch sighed in relief.
Now that, ladies and gentlemen,
is what we call a close call.
On Tuesday, it was Hutch’s
turn to drive.
Starsky climbed in on the passenger
side of the battered LTD with a large hardcover book tucked under his arm.
“A dictionary?” Hutch
laughed. “What do you need a dictionary for?” He started the car and pulled away from the curb.
Starsky opened the book on his
lap. “Define straight.”
Pulling himself together, Hutch
tried a diversionary tactic. “I didn’t think you even owned a dictionary.”
“I have my connections.”
Starsky fanned through the pages, muttering the alphabet under his breath. “... ella-meh-no, p...q, r”
“With people who own books?”
Perhaps sarcasm would work.
“If you must know, I borrowed
it from Ginny in records.” The car bounced, and he glowered at Hutch. “And watch those potholes! I’m supposed
to return this thing in the same condition I got it.”
looking up the word ‘straight?’”
“Damn right. Gotta make
sure we’re on the same page.” Starsky flipped over to the next one. “And on the same part of the same page,
and the same line, and the same sentence. This is important business!”
“It was a joke!”
Starsky ignored him, running
his finger down a column of words. “Let’s see... strafe, straggle, ah, straight!” He squinted at the fine
print. “Now according to Mr. Webster here...”
Hutch made one last ditch effort
to sidetrack his partner. “I don’t think that’s a Webster’s Dictionary, Starsk. But if you want we
could go get--.”
“Stop interrupting. Now,
definition number one of straight. Meaning free from curves, bends or angles.” Starsky eyed Hutch critically. “Well,
when you got that rod up your ass...”
“Excuse me?” Hutch’s
mind shifted into the wrong gear, and he could feel his ears turning red.
“I’m just saying,
sometimes you’re not the most relaxed person in the world.” Starsky explained, apparently oblivious to his partner’s
discomfort. “But that’s okay. It’s not like it’s a serious character flaw, or nothin’.”
“I’m perfectly relaxed!”
“Uh huh. At least you’re
straight according to the first definition. Let’s check out number two. Correctly arranged in proper order, tidy.”
Starsky snorted. “Well, that’s a check in the no column.”
Starsky looked pointedly at the
back of Hutch’s car, before turning back to the dictionary. Hutch fumed in silence.
“Maybe number three will
break the tie.” Starsky tapped the page with his forefinger. “Three,
free from kinks, not curly as in hair.” He frowned.
Hutch chuckled. “Gee, Starsk,
I guess this means you’re not one hundred per cent straight either.”
“Ha. ha.” Starsky
made a face, but then shrugged. “Yeah, I’ve always been a bit on the kinky side.”
Hutch swallowed a laugh. He wondered
if this dictionary provided definitions for kinky other than the more well known ones of eccentric or peculiar. Turnabout
was fair play, after all.
“Four, exhibiting fairness
and honesty.” Starsky eyed him. “So, are you honest, Hutch?”
He bit back several nasty replies
before settling on the truth. “I’m always straight with you, Starsky.”
His partner gave him a sharp
glance. “You better be.”
He’s like a dog with
a bone. Then Hutch winced at the image that figure of speech brought to mind.
“Definition number five,
exhibiting no deviation from what is accepted as normal or proper, conventional, see also square.” Starsky laughed.
“Oh yeah, you’re definitely that kind of straight, too.”
“I am not square!”
“Yeah, cause plaid shirts
are very mod.” Starsky grinned.
“Just like red socks, I
suppose.” Hutch struck back.
“Hey, they match what I’m
Hutch scrutinized Starsky’s
blue t-shirt and jeans. “Match what?”
“Wouldn’t you like
to know. Now, getting right to the meat of the matter we have definition number six. Heterosexual.”
“What?” The car swerved
as Hutch grabbed for the book.
Starsky yanked it out of his
reach. “Hands on the wheel! Eyes on the road!”
“It doesn’t say that!”
“Says it’s slang,
but it’s right here in black and white. Which is just like the question you gotta answer right now. Are you straight,
Hutch? Yes or no?”
“You can’t pigeonhole
people like that!”
“Now that would normally
be a no, except I know you. I know you get it up for girls.”
Hutch slowed down next to the
Bay City Savings and Loan, and peered through their large glass windows. How come there’s never a bank robbery when
you need one?
He sighed. “You’re
really pushy, you know that, Starsk?”
“So I’ve been told.”
Starsky closed the dictionary, and turned to stare at him. “Answer the question.”
Hutch changed lanes, buying himself
a moment to think up a safe yet honest answer. He cleared his throat. “A true esthetic appreciation for the human form
doesn’t have to be restricted to just one gender.”
Starsky narrowed his eyes. “Is
this more of your ballet ain’t prissy, tippy-toe dancing cultural crap?”
“Think about your photography,
Starsk. You like taking pictures of men just as much as women, right?”
“Exactly what kind
of pictures do you mean?” Starsky fired back, defensive. “I’ll have you know, the only naked male body I’ve
ever photographed was mine.”
Why am I not surprised?
“That’s rather narcissistic, isn’t it?”
“Yeah well, Linda liked
’em.” Starsky smirked.
Hutch rolled his eyes.
Starsky opened the dictionary
and began browsing through it. Hutch enjoyed the silence, and began to relax. Perhaps he’d succeeded in throwing his
bloodhound of a partner off the scent, he thought as he pulled into the police garage.
He’d just applied the parking
brake when the book hit him on the back of the head.
Starsky brandished the dictionary
at him. “And for your information, Hutchinson,
I ain’t no narcissist!”
On Wednesday, Hutch discovered
that the bloodhound was still on the culprit’s trail.
“So, I know you look at
guys.” Starsky commented while they were on stakeout together.
“I’d have a hard
time spotting our mark if I didn’t.” Hutch pointedly adjusted the binoculars he was using to watch the apartment
building opposite of their motel room’s window.
“And you said you got an
esthetic appreciation for th’ human form.” Starsky threw himself across the bed. His sneakers waved in the air.
“But what I want to know is, do you esthetically appreciate guys in the same way you esthetically appreciate girls?”
“A beautiful person is
a beautiful person, no matter what sex they are.”
“Uh huh. And do you want
to screw said beautiful person right through the mattress? Even if they’re a guy?”
“That’s crude, Starsky!”
Hutch lowered the binoculars and gave his partner a dirty look.
“You said you’re
always straight with me. I asked you a question.”
Hutch slammed his hand against
the frame of the window. “Yes! I can be just as sexually attracted to a man as I can be to a woman. Happy now?”
Starsky gave Hutch a long, thoughtful
look. A minute later, he offered, “Want me to take a turn watching for this bozo?”
Hutch gave him the binoculars
and poured himself a coffee. This time, he knew better than to believe that Starsky was anywhere near finished with this subject.
Starsky ambushed Hutch in the locker room.
“In light of certain new
information received yesterday,” Starsky said, “I think we need some guidelines in our relationship.”
Hutch stepped back and hit the
wall of lockers. This was what he’d been dreading ever since his slip up on Monday. He returned his partner’s
steady gaze, determined to fight tooth and nail for this friendship.
“Rule number one,”
Starsky announced. “I get first dibs on every pretty woman we happen to meet.”
“What?!” This was
light years away from anything Hutch had expected.
“It’s only fair.
You’ve got a much larger dating pool than I do.”
“It doesn’t work
Starsky looked Hutch over from
head to toe, pausing significantly just below his belt buckle. “Oh, yeah? Li’l Hutchinson
not feeling up to par these days?”
At that moment, Hutch felt as
if Li’l Hutchinson might very well crawl right up into his abdominal cavity. “I can’t date a man, I’m
a cop! You know damn well I’d lose my job.”
Starsky shook his head. “It’s
the principle of the thing, you could date a guy.” He paused. “Especially if you dressed up like a girl.
‘Cause, you know, IA ain’t that swift, and you did look pretty good in that black dress.”
Hutch found himself incapable
of any kind of coherent response.
“Rule number two,”
Starsky continued. “No staring at my ass.”
Hutch’s jaw dropped.
“You do, too!” Starsky
glared at him. “Don’t try to deny it!”
In a choked voice, Hutch finally
managed, “Starsky, everyone stares at your ass. In those jeans, it’s hard to miss.”
Starsky’s shoulders squared,
but he looked pleased. “When you got it, flaunt it.” He poked Hutch in the chest with his forefinger. “But
remember, it ain’t meant for you, babe.”
Hutch glanced past Starsky, hoping
for rescue, but there was no one to be seen. There really never is a cop around when you need one.
“Rule number three,”
“Should I be writing these
“Hush up, this is important.
When you take what’s-his-name to the whatchamacallit, and give him your thingamajig, I don’t wanna hear
Hutch bristled. “I’m
not in the habit of discussing the details of...”
“No, I mean, I don’t
want to know at all.”
Hutch thought about that for
a moment. “So, that means if he’s dressed up as a girl, you don’t want me to warn you when you’re
about to enforce rule number one.”
Starsky crossed his arms. “Unlike
yours, Li’l Starsky can tell the difference between boys and girls.”
Hutch decided that he was definitely
going to test that theory some day in the near future. Tracking down a convincing female impersonator shouldn’t be too
hard in Bay City.
Starsky retrieved his towel from
the bench and headed for the showers.
“What, that’s it?”
asked Hutch, as he watched his partner strut down the hall. “No rule number four?”
“Nope, gotta keep it simple,”
said Starsky, over his shoulder. “Wouldn’t want you to strain something.” He disappeared around the corner,
but reappeared a moment later. “And don’t think I didn’t notice you breaking rule number two already!”
He patted his rear end.
Starsky shook his head. “I’m
gonna have to give serious thought to some penalties, partner.” He headed off to the showers.
Legs unsteady, Hutch sank onto
the nearby bench. The word “penalties” had sent his brain into a very bad place.
Hutch spent an uncomfortable
night tossing and turning in bed, trying to suppress visions of Starsky in leather. Not that there was anything esthetically
unwelcome about Starsky in leather, but the bull whip and high heels were just plain wrong.
On Friday, Hutch overslept.
He woke to find Starsky sitting
on his bed, holding a cup of coffee.
“Aren’t you going
to let me get dressed first?”
“Nope.” He pushed
Hutch over and made himself more comfortable on the bed. “You’ll just hide in the bathroom and then we’ll
be late for work.”
Hutch closed his eyes, and groaned.
I love this man, but God help me I may have to kill him.
“And no going back to sleep,
As if there was any chance of
that happening with Starsky lounging in his bed, in those jeans.
“Now, breaking rule number
“Wait a minute.”
Hutch opened his eyes again. “What about rule number one?”
Starsky shook his head. “You
got to build up in terms of the crime. Y’know, like manslaughter, murder two, murder one...”
He’s comparing this
“So, rule number three.
Break it and you got to buy me enough beer to make me forget everything you told me about what’s-his-name.”
“Trust me Starsky, if I’m
ever in love with a guy, you’ll be the last one to know.”
There was a short pause while
Starsky worked out whether or not this was an insult. Finally, he nodded. “Good.” After taking a swallow of his
coffee, he continued. “Rule number two. A three course meal at a restaurant of my choice.”
“You mean, if I stare at
your ass, you’re going to demand that I take you out on a date?”
Hutch gave him an innocent look.
“Because wouldn’t that be breaking rule number three, with or without any thingamajig involvement?”
Starsky glowered at him. “That’s
not what I meant, and you know it! Now stop trying to distract me.”
Hutch just grinned, happy that
for once this week he was finally getting the upper hand with his wayward partner.
“Break rule number one,”
said Starsky, his composure regained, “and you’re paying to have my tires rotated. And my oil changed. And whatever
else I want done.”
Hutch began to laugh. “Oh
baby, is that what they’re calling it these days?”
Starsky’s expression was
unreadable, and for a brief moment Hutch felt a stab of worry. Then the pillow he hadn’t noticed Starsky holding smacked
him in the face.
On Saturday, Hutch ran into Jeanie
He ran into her quite literally,
while he was chasing a purse snatcher through the train station. After the perp had been subdued by his partner and handed
off to some uniforms, Hutch went back to make sure she was alright.
“You’re a straight
up guy,” she said after he helped her pick her luggage up off the floor.
“In a kinky kind of way,”
commented Starsky, coming up behind them.
Hutch gave him a wry look. “Define
Jeanie appeared confused by this
exchange, but then she smiled up at him and none of that mattered.
She explained that she was new
in town, and Hutch immediately offered to escort her to a reputable hotel and get her settled in. Starsky seemed content to
hang back and grin happily at both of them.
When Jeanie excused herself to
use the restroom, Hutch turned to Starsky and asked, “Whatever happened to rule number one?”
“Aw, she’s more your
type. That whole damsel in distress thing, that’s your deal, Hutch.”
He frowned. As far as he was
concerned, the only type he had was beautiful. “I don’t know where you get your crazy ideas sometimes, partner.”
Starsky waggled his eyebrows.
“Years of knowing you, pal.”
Later that evening, back at home,
Hutch wondered about Starsky’s sudden bout of good humor. He asked himself if it was due to his interest in a woman,
instead of the far more troublesome alternative. Whatever the cause, he decided, Starsky seemed to have decided to stop torturing
Things could finally get back
On Monday, Starsky picked him
up in the Torino.
“D’ya think I’m
Hutch winced, but at least he
was prepared for this question, had been ever since Starsky had accused him of watching his ass.
His answer was nothing but straight.
“Starsky, everyone thinks you’re sexy.”
His partner looked pleased, and
rewarded him with a dazzling grin.
A few minutes later. “Hey,
A long suffering sigh. “Yeah?”
“What about Collins down
in payroll? D’ya think he’s sexy? ‘Cause y’know, I hear he’s single...”
Yes, Hutch reflected, things
were definitely back to normal.
In a kinky kind of way…