Hutch had just taken his car to Merle's to get it fixed. In the last few days the car had caused a lot of trouble, for example stopping in the middle of a crossing. Hutch was still hearing Starsky's curses about his old heap and Hutch had to promise to do something against it. Now Merle would have a look at it.

Hutch got his jacket out of the car and went to the gate to wait for Starsky who was about to pick him up. It was their day off and Starsky had proposed to drive along the coast and stay at a new Mexican restaurant for lunch. Hutch's enthusiasm about this kind of food was limited but anyway , it was going to be a sunny day and Hutch was looking forward to it.

Far in the distance he could see a red car approaching. Starsky's red Torino with the white stripes -- Hutch had to chuckle. Starsky was so proud of his car though Hutch called it "The Striped Tomato". It was a mutual banter when Starsky always tried to convince Hutch to get rid of "that old heap". But Hutch loved every dent of his old car.

The red car came nearer, but it wasn't the red Torino.

Hutch was pacing up and down now getting a little impatient. The sun was stinging already and still no Starsky in sight. Where was he? Hutch's anger increased. Had Starsk overslept again or just forgotten that they had a date at Merle's?

Hutch continued watching the cars, some of them were red but Hutch's hope was in vain. Hutch was getting more and more furious. Wait, friend, partner, you keep me waiting here, maybe you are still asleep and I am "roasting" in the heat. We'll have to talk about that.

Hutch stopped at the gate again, focus on the cars passing by.

Suddenly an idea occurred him. What if something had happened to Starsky? A car accident? No, that was impossible, he tried to reassure himself, but the longer he was waiting the more worried he felt. His anger was replaced by a sudden fear of losing his best friend. They had overcome some close calls and he couldn't bear it again. Seeing Starsk lying in a hospital bed not knowing if he would make it this time -- Hutch felt a lump in his throat. But Starsky's driving had never been defensive. What if he had had a car chase with another lunatic and now his car was wrapped around a tree?

At this moment Hutch heard the siren of a black and white on the right. He started running in that direction, his heart beating very fast. Screeching tyres behind him let him stop. He turned round -- and saw "something" in red and white and a grinning Starsky behind the wheel!

Hutch took a deep breath opened the passenger door, slid in the car and said: "Where have you been?"

"Hey, look!" Starsky was beaming at his friend showing him his wrist. "I got a new watch, a Yamamoto, isn't it priceless? First I had to discuss it with the owner but then we made a real good deal."

"Yeah," Hutch could only respond, sitting slumped in his seat. "Can your wonderful watch also show the time?"

"Of course, what do you..." And then Starsky saw the sad look in Hutch's eyes and he began to feel miserable. "Sorry, buddy, I think I forgot the time. I was so carried away finding a new watch, you know, the old one was confiscated."

"I know, but when you didn't appear I started worrying..."

"I'm right here now," and Starsky reached over to touch his partner's face, felt the sweat on his forehead and wiped it off tenderly.

"Let's have a nice day. And why not have our lunch in that new vegetarian restaurant? You will love it..."

The end


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