Author: Rebelcat


Gen or Slash: Gen, oh so very gen.  Honest, I started out to write a slash story.  I really did!  But the boys objected, strongly.


Rating: G


Category: Short Story, humor


Disclaimer:   I gotta ‘fess up.  Parts of the newspaper article quoted herein were adapted (aka plagiarized shamelessly) from a local columnist named Kelly Egan.  He wrote a story about a retired toy collector and his long-suffering wife that got me thinking, “Wow, I bet S&H would be just like that when they got old.”  Oh, and Starsky and Hutch don't belong to me, either.


Beta:  Nik did the honors, and very grateful I am, too!  I wouldn’t have had the nerve to post this otherwise.


Headline News


Everything you read in newspapers is absolutely true, except for that rare story of which you happen to have first-hand knowledge.

Erwin Knoll



“HEY, it’s here!”


The newspaper hit the table in front of Hutch.  He caught his orange juice just before it tipped over.


“Check it out!  Front page of the city section - they got a picture of us and everything!”


Hutch reached for his reading glasses, picked up the newspaper, and squinted at the photo.  Evidently by “us” Starsky meant himself and his Torino.  Hutch paused for a moment, caught by an odd sense of dislocation.  He’d seen this picture before, or one very much like it.  Except that photo had been taken years ago, outside Parker Center.  In this photo Starsky’s hair was grey, and age had thickened his middle.  Only his smile was the same as always, unchanging.


Reading the headline out loud, Hutch said, “Orphaned cars find a family.”


Starsky perched on the edge of the table and leaned forward over the top of the paper.  “We get our names in the paper, we get famous… before you know it, we’re touring Las Vegas…”


Hutch briefly wondered if Starsky was still referring to himself and his Torino.  Quickly squelching a disturbing image of the man and the car - both in sequined spandex - on stage in Vegas, Hutch continued to read.

Dave Starsky is retired now, so he can attend faithfully to his true calling in life:  foster dad to all the world’s unwanted Ford Torinos.

“Okay, so it’s a little soapy,” said Starsky, uncomfortably.  “But it’s a human interest story, ya know?  People like cars.”


Hutch scanned the article, flipping to the next page.  “I don’t think this story’s about the car, Starsk.”  He paused, read one paragraph more closely, and blanched.  “Ah… you know what?  I don’t really think this is all that interesting.”  He folded the newspaper in half.


“What are you talking about?”  Starsky made a grab for the paper, and missed.  “Hey!  Give me that!”


“You’re slowing down in your old age.”




“Whining won’t get you anywhere.  Trust me, there’s nothing you want to read in this.”


Starsky slid off the table and glared down at Hutch.  Propping his hands on his hips he said, “You know, if I have to I’ll go and get myself another copy.  So, give!”


With a sigh, Hutch handed over the newspaper.


“Logic will get’cha every time,” said Starsky smugly.  He snapped the paper open.  “Now, what’s the problem?”  He scanned through the first several paragraphs, mumbling to himself as he read.  “Retired… rebuilding… abandoned Torinos…  Hey, wait a sec!”  Starsky’s eyes narrowed.  “What’s this…?

“I mean, just look at our yard,” mutters his partner, Ken Hutchinson, out of Dave’s earshot in the kitchen of the couple’s renovated farmhouse.  He reaches over the sink and tenderly lifts a small yellow pot, containing a tiny green plant.  There are two dozen other plants, identical except for the color of the pots on the windowsill behind him.

“I was just planning an extension of the garden,” said Ken, still not beyond incredulity after all these years.  “When I looked outside and saw that there was another one!”

Starsky lowered the paper.  “You were talking behind my back?”


Hutch shrugged, feigning innocence.


“And what’s with this ‘couple’ business?  I mean, sure we live together, but I told him we were partners, not…”  Starsky shook his head.  “Must be a typo.”  He kept reading.

Dave joins us at this point.  He seems amused by Ken’s irritation.  “I’ll have you know I got free towing on that one.”


Dave is 72 years old, as is his partner, whom he calls Blintz, apparently one of Ken’s nicknames, though he prefers Hutch.

Starsky laughed at Hutch’s sour expression.  “Aw, c’mon!  It’s not that bad.  Everyone already knows about the ‘Blintz’ thing anyway.  What I want to know is, when’s he going to start writing about my cars?”

“They would not specify exactly what year they became life partners.”

“What the hell?” muttered Starsky, his smile disappearing.


Hutch discovered a sudden fascination with the contents of his coffee mug.

“We were partners before we were partners, if you get my drift,” says Dave with a twinkle in his eye.


Ken interrupts him.  “Oh, not this story again!”


Dave leans close to me, and in an exaggerated whisper says, “I was the only one who could put up with him then, too.”


Ken points his index finger at Dave.  “I’ll have you know, you’re not the easiest person to live with!”

“I meant we were police partners, before we became partners in the real estate business!”  Starsky looked appalled.  “That kid made us sound like fruits!”


Hutch said, “I always thought you were a little fruity.”


Starsky folded the paper in half and smacked him with it.  “This isn’t a joke!  You know what this’ll do to our reputations?”


“Absolutely nothing,” said Hutch with conviction.  “Half the city already thinks we’re gay.  Even if it’s the whole city, does it matter?”


Starsky pulled a chair out and slumped down in it, his chin hitting his chest.  “Well… yeah, it matters.  What if the ladies down at the senior center read this?  Who’s gonna date us now?”


“Honestly?”  Hutch shook his head.  “Those gals are so desperate for a date, I don’t think they’d care if we were doing each other.  They’d probably offer to make it an orgy.”


Starsky started to answer, and then paused.  An odd expression crossed his face.  “You know… there was a time I would have thought that was disgusting.  When did fifty year olds become hot?”


“When we passed seventy, and all the younger ones started talking to us like we were kindergarteners.”


Starsky grimaced.  “Yeah, that pat-pat, aren’t you a sweetie, thing.  God, I can’t stand little girls.”  He sat up straighter and unfolded the paper once more.  “Well, let’s find out the damage.  Can you believe that so-called reporter still hasn’t mentioned my cars?”

An outside observer, one who doesn’t know these men well, might think they were on the verge of a knock-down drag-out brawl.  But all this time, Dave has been glancing around the kitchen, as if he’s looking for something.  Still arguing, Ken reaches across the table and strokes the top of Dave’s arm with the back of his fingers before standing to retrieve a small prescription bottle from a cabinet near the sink.


“Listen,” he says, placing two white pills and a small cup of water in front of his partner.  “Every morning I tell him, ‘don’t you dare bring home one more Torino.  I won’t be responsible for my actions if you do." 

“Aw, geez, Hutch!  No wonder he thinks we’re fruits!  Did ya have to do that in front of him?”


Hutch pursed his lips thoughtfully.  “Did you remember to take your heart meds this morning?”


Starsky started to protest, and then deflated.  “No.”


Hutch stood and began to rummage in the cabinet.

But Dave is incorrigible.  He tours Bay City’s junkyards almost every day, and usually comes home with spare parts, if not a whole car.


He’s president and founder of the Torino Appreciation Society.


“Torino Fetishists Anonymous,” corrects Ken. 

“Why do you always got to be so mean?” asked Starsky.


Hutch didn’t bother answering.  They both knew it was a rhetorical question.  He handed Starsky his pills and sat back down at the table.

On Monday he returned with most of the chassis of a lemon-yellow and rust colored 1976 Ford Torino.  Yesterday, he found an engine and ordered paint.


That makes 15 now, lined up in the back yard, all of them in various stages of repair or reconstruction. 

“Finally!  Something about my cars!”

“Did you ever go to the Trash-a-rama?  The one near Venice Beach?  You should see the stuff they got there!” says Dave, in a tone that borders on reverence.


Ken rolls his eyes.  “Have you seen my garden?  I’m guessing you haven’t.  Because it’s buried under his cars!”


Mr. Starsky is a retired police officer, with about thirty years on the force under his belt.  He was partnered with Mr. Hutchinson for fifteen of those years, and if times had been different, one imagines that they might have become the first openly gay cops on the city’s payroll. 

“No, one doesn’t imagine,” snapped Starsky irritably, glaring at the newspaper.  “Because we weren’t, and we aren’t!”


“To be fair…” said Hutch.


Starsky cut him off.  “This is all your fault!  If you hadn’t gone on about your garden…”


“What?  Because candy apple red cars are so much more manly?”


“Well, they are!”


Hutch sighed.  “Starsky, he saw two old guys who live together.  Who call each other ‘partner’.  Who fight like an old married couple.  What’s he going to think?”


“He might’ve asked,” grumbled Starsky.


Hutch scratched the side of his nose, hiding a smile.  “And do you think he would have believed us, if we said we weren’t?  Or would he have just figured we never came out of the closet?”  Starsky looked so crestfallen, Hutch had to ask, “Babe, what is it?  This stuff’s never bugged you before.”


“It’s just…  I really thought he’d write about my car.”


“Well, read some more.  Maybe it gets better.”


Starsky looked doubtful, but he turned his attention back to the paper.  “Mr. Starsky… retired police officer, yadda-yadda…  Oh, here we are!”

Dave is famous in Bay City for his car, a 1976 Ford Gran Torino in candy-apple red with a white stripe down the side.


“A striped tomato,” says Ken.


“A coke bottle on wheels,” suggests Dave, cheerfully.  He’s obviously heard them all.


When he drives down the street, people always stop to stare at the striking antique car.


Ken says they’re constantly being honked at, or waved at, peppered with questions, or even photographed on camera phones by passing motorists.  He gets cranky sometimes about the attention, and has been known to use inappropriate language at times. 

“I like that,” said Starsky.  “Inappropriate language.  Yeah, we can call it that.”


Hutch reddened, embarrassed.  He pushed his chair back from the table.  Standing again, slowly this time, he stretched the kinks out of his joints as Starsky continued to read.

“It’s all the time,” Ken says.  “If we go to the beach, they want to know where he got the car and how he keeps it running and if it’s even safe to drive.  And then he’s got to show them all the stuff he’s done to it, and before you know it, he’s up to his elbows in car guts.”


Safe to say, he pretty much hates the thing.


“I just don’t like all those people staring at us,” says Ken.


But during the interview, he has moved around behind Dave, and is now standing with is hands on Dave’s shoulders.  His fingers are working, kneading the muscles beneath the skin, and Dave has an expression of supreme contentment on his face. 

Starsky stopped abruptly, and looked up at Hutch, the back of his head hitting Hutch’s stomach.  Hutch froze, his hands still on Starsky’s shoulders.


“You know,” said Starsky.  “I never noticed before how much you do that.”


“Do you want me to stop?” asked Hutch, nervously.


“God, no!”

Secretly, you figure, Ken probably likes all the attention.  But my, he does a good job of hiding it.


“Once you’re gone and in the ground,” he said – kidding, surely, Mr. H – “I’m donating every last one of them to the nearest Demolition Derby.” 

“Would you really?” asked Starsky, putting the paper down on the table.


“Absolutely,” said Hutch, still working on Starsky’s shoulders.  Then he paused.  “Well, except for one.”


“You’d keep one?”


“Sure, what else would I bury you in?”  Hutch leaned forward and planted an affectionate kiss on Starsky’s forehead.  Then he straightened and headed for the back door.


Starsky beamed.  Then he frowned.  “Hey, wait!  Who says I’m dying first?”


Hutch opened the door and stopped.  His voice dropped into a growl.  “Oh, you’re definitely dying first.  What’s that on our lawn?”


Starsky’s eyes widened and he hurriedly scrambled out of his chair.  “Oh boy, look at the time!”


“And it’s sitting on my new tulip bed!”


“I’d better get going...”  He backed out of the kitchen, towards the hallway.