IT SEEMED LIKE A GOOD IDEA AT THE TIME
Hutch was looking forward to a quiet evening with his best friend and partner. Loaded with a six-pack of beer and two
extra large pizzas, he rang the bell but nobody answered. He rang again and called, “Starsk, it’s me,” his
voice already a bit forced.
Starsky awoke to the unpleasant feeling of thousands of needles stinging his right arm, and he forced himself not to jerk it away. Hutch’s weight had cut off his circulation, which was now painfully making its return. Slowly Starsky drew his arm free and flexed his muscles, smiling as Hutch mumbled in his sleep and curled against the cushions again.
Silently Starsky got up to move the pizza tray and plates into the kitchen, glancing into the paper basket as he rose. A little gray mouse was trying to climb the walls of the basket - only one mouse this time. Peering more closely, Starsky knew he had brought home two mice ... his heart sank as a terrible suspicion arose.
He received no reaction, and cold sweat appeared on Starsky’s brow. “One of the mice is gone. Hutch, I can’t see the second one.”
Frantically searching, Starsky dropped to his knees and crawled round the coffee table. He bumped one corner and sent an empty bottle noisily rolling off onto the hardwood floor.
“What the ...?” Still half asleep, Hutch raised his head at the noise, frowning as he opened his eyes. He looked over just in time to see
Starsky’s butt disappearing behind the armrest of the couch.
“Shit!” The curse came from behind the couch just before Starsky’s head popped up.
Hutch turned to see Starsky holding a paper in his hand. “This is the receipt I’ve been looking for since last June,” he muttered. But it didn’t make him look happy, and Hutch shook his head as he sat up.
“Good time to clean your apartment, buddy. I thought we were going to relax,” Hutch yawned. The next moment he tensed.
“Starsk? I can only see one mouse in the basket now.”
“Why do you think why I’m crawling around here like a beetle?” Starsky grumbled -- and suddenly Hutch knew it all.
“One of the mice escaped, didn’t it? Starsky, didn’t I tell you..?” Then Hutch’s anger faded as he met Starsky’s desperate eyes.
“I declare the search open,” Hutch stated, without any humor. And despite his complaining back, he joined Starsky on his knees looking for the tiny gray mouse.
“Over there! In the bedroom!” Hutch shouted. He’d seen a flash of gray movement on the floor of the adjoining room. Both detectives got to their feet and tiptoed toward the bedroom door.
“Look!” Hutch drew Starsk to his side and pointed to the nightstand next to Starsky’s bed. Proudly, like a queen, the little creature was sitting upright eying her domain.
“Hey there, you’re the best, sweetheart,” Starsky crooned. “C’mon over here.” Starsky tried the soft approach, crawling toward the mouse at a snails’ pace. She was almost within his reach when she darted out of sight under the bed.
In a silent conversation Starsky and Hutch planned the next step. Starsky crouched next to his bed from the left side while Hutch forced himself under the bed from the right. Feeling around for the mouse, Hutch suppressed his urge to sneeze from all the dust.
Meanwhile Starsky worked his way along the floor under his side of the bed, stopping abruptly when his hand groped a belt and bare skin.
“That’s me, idiot,” Hutch growled at him -- then gave a violent sneeze.
His hand resting by his partner, Starsky stopped moving and relaxed. Only their breathing could be heard. Then Starsky began to giggle uncontrollably.
“If Dobey saw us, together under the bed…” Starsky gasped, forcing Hutch to start laughing too.
“Better than in the bed,” Hutch added ... then frolicking laughter filled the room for the next span of time.
Finally exhausted, the two men emerged from under the bed – without the mouse but in a state of friskiness. Locking glances, they knew what they had to do, and Starsky followed his partner to the living room.
The remaining mouse was trying desperately to escape the basket and had made it halfway up the side when a large hand grabbed it and put it into a bag.
“Ouch!” Hutch yelped. “It bit me!” He pointed the
“Here you go,” Starsky said, taking the bag out of Hutch’s hand. He shook it gently on the ground so the mouse could leave.
“Look at the bag, Starsk,” Hutch nodded -- and Starsky couldn’t believe his eyes. The tiny creature had already gnawed a hole through the bag and was long gone.
Wow, I never thought ...” Starsky murmured, shaking his head. “When I saw the baby mice it seemed like a good idea at the time to take care of them.”
“And now?” Hutch draped an arm around Starsky’s shoulder as he spoke.
“No more mice – one’s enough.” Starsky shuddered thinking of the mouse still running loose in his apartment somewhere.
The two men walked back slowly, stopping outside Starsky’s place instead of going inside. After a short conversation which both ended by nodding, they got into Hutch’s battered LTD and drove away toward Hutch’s home - leaving the mouse behind.