”Hutch? Need the screwdriver here in the kitchen!”
Hutch startled, and realized that he
had fallen asleep on Starsky’s
comfortable new armchair that sat among unpacked boxes from Starsky’s
place. In the past couple of days he had helped his best friend
move into his new home, exhausting himself while Starsky
full of energy.
“Yeah, I’m coming. Where is the screwdriver,
anyway?” Hutch shoved
himself out of the cushions then yelped in pain when something stung
him. “Got it,”
he mumbled, looking at the screwdriver in a corner of
“You had it when you fixed the lamp
in the living room,” Starsky
shouted --then reached back to take the tool when Hutch trudged into
“Look, we only have to put this shelf up on the wall then we call it a
day.” It looked quite neck-breaking
as Starsky stood on tiptoes on the
ladder and stretched further to fix the shelf.
“Will you be careful?”
Hutch grumbled, then gripped Starsky’s legs to
“Back off!” Starsky giggled
and swayed dangerously. “’M ticklish
there!” At the last minute Hutch caught hold of his slipping partner,
then both stood panting and relieved.
“That’s it for today! Starsky declared, leaning against Hutch
examine his handiwork. “We’ve done great, haven’t we, Hutch?”
“Sure, and now
I’m going home. I’m beat,” Hutch said feeling a headache
coming on. He patted his friend on the shoulder
and turned to leave
when Starsky stopped him.
“Hey, Hutch. Thanks a lot for helping me with all the stuff.
stay and let me fix some dinner. I don’t want to be alone my first
evening here…” he smiled
mischievously. Then he frowned, looking
closer at Hutch’s pale face.
“You’ve got another
headache again, don’t ya?” he said, serious this
time. “C’mon, lay down and I’ll call you
when dinner is ready. Take my
bed and relax. You can draw the blinds to keep the light out.”
Starsky knew him all too well. After Starsky had been
shot in the police garage Hutch’s headaches had turned into
and he knew the only way to handle them was lying down in a dark room
and getting some rest.
I’ll take a nap. Wake me up in half an hour.” Hutch made his way
to the bedroom circling around the various
boxes like a maze. Tomorrow
they could start unpacking and soon Starsky’s new home would be in the
Hutch collapsed on the bed, automatically closing his eyes against the
pain. He heard Starsky
rummaging in the kitchen and was about to drift
off when he heard voices at the front door. He turned onto his other
and pulled the covers over his head, knowing he needed this quiet
time. Distant laughter and excited voices reached him,
but he didn’t
care as he fell into an exhausted sleep.
“Hutch?” Starsky’s quiet voice
near his ear made him grunt and turn.
Sleepily, he looked into concerned blue eyes.
“My new neighbors arranged
a little welcome party for me in their
garden,” Starsky explained. “I’ve already told them my friend
a party mood, but -- what do you think? Are you up to some fun? There’s
everything you want to
eat and drink.”
Hutch felt nothing but exhaustion, and he shook his still-aching head.
buddy. I’ve gotta get more rest. Maybe I can join you
later. Enjoy your party, okay?”
As Hutch closed
his eyes again he felt light fingertips trace along his
brow for a moment then Starsky was gone. Hutch curled up beneath
covers again, grateful for the silence and solitude.
When Hutch awoke again it was to a loud noise
coming from the bedroom
door. He opened his eyes to see Starsky wobbling into the room, a shoe
in his hand, leaving
the door open behind him. As he bent down and
swayed dangerously, Hutch propped himself up on one elbow and sleepily
“C’mere. What’s wrong?”
“Lost my shoe,” Starsky mumbled then let himself fall
onto the bed,
burying Hutch halfway under him.
“Oops.” The word was a slurred apology when he heard
“Sorry, didn’t mean to hurt ya.” Starsky rolled off Hutch to lie
back, looking at the ceiling. Suddenly he started giggling
uncontrollably and ended with a hiccup.
been some party,” Hutch chuckled, lying flat again.
“There was a lot to drink. They said we should empty
the bottles. In
the Tequila bottle, there was only this much left.” Starsky raised a
trembling hand and showed
two fingers. “The Whiskey took a little
longer to finish, and the Bacardi…”
sat up and scrambled from the bed. “’M gonna be sick.”
He dashed into the bathroom, butting against
more boxes along the way.
Then Hutch heard only retching and pitiful moans.
He crawled out of bed to assist his
partner if needed. They had always
been there for each other, no matter if one had been hurt or drunk.
let that change now.
He found Starsky embraced the toilet bowl like he’d never let it go,
and grinned. “Finished?”
he guessed. “C’mon, let’s get you into bed.”
Hutch dampened a nearby washcloth to wipe his
“’M sorry,” Starsky mumbled, struggling to get up as Hutch finished
Tossing the cloth into the sink, Hutch ignored his own indisposition as
he put his arms around Starsky’s
chest and hauled him upright. “That’s
my boy,” Hutch said fondly, and slowly they made their way back
“Wait a minute.” Hutch released Starsky beside the bed then stepped
over to turn
on the overhead light. He squinted against the brightness
as he turned to help his friend undress. Starsky stood unmoving,
silly grin on his face.
“Hey, you mind helping me a little?” Hutch requested, and Starsky
“Sure. Well, dunno why I drank all the stuff. It was fun and we laughed
a lot. I’m
lucky with my new neighbors and…” Starsky continued rambling
about the party and the drinks he was given as
he worked to remove his
Accepting the discarded item, Hutch frowned. “Starsk, why are your
so dirty?” He held the soiled denim in front of his partner’s
nose. Starsky’s face crinkled in disdain,
and he pulled away.
“Well, I had to pee and since everybody else used the compost heap in
the garden, I
did too. I musta lost my shoe ‘cause when I was trying to
find it, I think I fell. I found my way home, but not
my shoe. I’m
really sorry ... gotta find my shoe.” By now Starsky was leaning
heavily against Hutch, literally
falling asleep on his feet.
“We’ll look for it tomorrow,” Hutch answered, stripping off Starsky’s
damp shirt before letting him drop down on the bed, hastily tossing the
covers aside. Without a word Starsky curled
into a ball, already
unconscious when Hutch pulled the covers over him.
Hutch looked at his friend with affection.
When he was in the right
mood Starsky knew no boundaries and he was paying the price for his
exuberance now. Hutch
decided to put a basin from the bathroom at his
partners’ bedside -- just in case. Then he switched off the light
silently left the room.
His headache was nearly gone and he was hungry, so he made a sandwich
a beer. Looking for a place to spend the rest of the night,
he slumped down in the wide armchair in the living room, falling
again in no time at all.
“What’re you doing in the chair?”
heard the words from far away. He blinked and squinted his eyes
against the bright morning light that flooded Starsky’s
living room. A
shadow was hovering over him and he recognized the disheveled dark
curls as belonging to his partner.
“Starsk. How are you?” Hutch sat up then moaned when his back
protested the sudden movement
and his sleeping posture.
“Been worse – and better,” Starsky said, looking worriedly at his
“Why are you sleeping in that chair? I remember you were layin’
on my bed when I went to the party. You gotta
take care of your back…
Wanna take a hot shower? That might help.”
Starsky looked around, apparently
confused, then started to open some
of the boxes in the living room while Hutch watched, amused.
are over there, in that big box,” Hutch told him, then
made his way to the bathroom, moving slowly this time.
he came out some time later Starsky was still in his briefs,
looking desperately at his shoe. “Hutch, I lost my
other shoe. Are you
gonna help me find it?”
Hutch nodded, but pointed to the bathroom. “Sure, but
you need to get
dressed first. Are you feeling better than when you came home last
little. And -- thanks for the basin. It came in handy.” Starsky
blushed. Then he trotted into the bathroom, leaving
Hutch to stifle a
yawn and go make their morning coffee.
Half an hour later the two weary detectives
were examining the garden
where the party had taken place.
“Hutch, you see these footprints?” Starsky
pointed. “They could be
He knelt down to examine some traces while Hutch went toward the
heap, hoping Starsky’s blue Adidas could be easily seen. But
their search proved to be in vain. The shoe simply
“Shit! Those’re my best pair of shoes.” Starsky was becoming frantic.
“I can’t have lost it here, taking a leak. How dumb would that be?”
He stopped abruptly
when he saw Hutch raise his hand.
“Starsk?” Smiling at his friend’s tirade, Hutch pointed to the garden
further inside the yard. A fence divided off the compost pile, but
right in front of Hutch was a hole in the fence.
On the other side
something blue shimmered in the grass.
“My God!” Following Hutch’s gaze, Starsky
gasped at what he saw --a big
black dog that lay in front of his dog house, contentedly biting and
sucking at Starsky’s
“Do something, Hutch!” Starsky yelled -- then instantly fell silent
when the dog released
a low, warning growl.
“Well, I guess time will tell,” Hutch stated philosophically, not
to do at all.
He watched as Starsky summoned all his courage and made a move to crawl
through the hole in the
fence. The dog sat up, showing his teeth as he
growled louder this time.
“Okay, okay, I’m goin’.”
Starsky drew back, then looked at Hutch
pathetically for help.
“There’s only one chance,” Hutch
said soberly, pausing as he put his
hand on Starsky’s shoulder.
“You cootchie-coo him and I’ll
get my shoe back. Right? Hutch?”
Starsky beamed at his partner, receiving a meaningful smile in
“No,” Hutch replied sweetly. “You give him the other shoe too and
you’ll have a friend
Hutch knew about Starsky’s running skills and turned fast to escape his
revenge. From the
corner of his eye Hutch saw the dog crawl through the
hole of the fence. It seemed he was looking forward to having a
fun chasing after the two men running through his garden -- the shoe he
had confiscated after the party could
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