<%@ Page Language="C#" %> Springtime

(c) 2002 by Charlotte Frost

As Starsky trotted up the stairs to Hutch's apartment, he wondered if they were going to have a chance to talk to Jack Taylor before going into work. He likely held some clues to the recent murder of a showgirl. Taylor was a snitch who ran a second-hand clothing store, and so far he hadn't responded to any of the messages Starsky and Hutch had left yesterday.

Starsky had reached the landing and knocked once. He heard bare feet approach the door, and a moment later the lock was pulled back and the door pushed open. When it had swung back enough for Starsky to enter, Hutch, dressed only in blue jeans, was walking away with a towel wrapped around his neck.

"Good morning to you, too," Starsky greeted as he crossed the threshold.

Hutch took a sip from a glass of orange juice and carried it into the sleeping area.

Starsky glanced at the kitchen to see if anything on the counters looked edible. It didn't, so he took out his wallet and found a little slip of paper with a phone number. "Gonna try Jack Taylor again." He started to dial, while listening to sounds of Hutch sifting through drawers.

The phone was answered on the second ring. "Hello?"

"Jack Taylor?"


"This is Sergeant David Starsky with the LAPD."

"Yes, Sergeant, sorry I haven't gotten back to you. I understand that you think I may be able to help you concerning a murder."

"You understand right. Shall we meet you at your shop in about twenty minutes?"

"Uhh... considering the delicate subject matter, I think I'd prefer to meet you somewhere else."

Starsky was used to that sort of reaction. No one liked cops around, asking questions. "You name it."

"How about the park at the comer of Slate and Owens?"

"I know where it is," Starsky said, though he hadn't been in the area before. "What time?"

"I can be there in a half hour or so."

"We'll be there. How will we find you?"

"I drive a powder blue Chevy and wear a blue business suite with a bow tie."

"All right. My partner and I will be waiting." Starsky hung up. "It's all set with Taylor." Hutch had just walked past him to the bathroom, now wearing a t-shirt. He took his toothbrush from the holder.

Starsky sat on the edge of the sofa. "Is there a particular reason why you're not saying anything this morning?" Hutch was often very cheerful in the mornings. But occasionally he was moody. And if he was moody, he was either particularly critical or non-communicative. In the latter case, the thing he hated most was being asked how come he wasn't talking. Which usually got him talking.

Hutch started brushing his teeth with an aggressive action.

Starsky moved toward the bathroom. "You aren't giving me the silent treatment, are you?"

The brushing paused, and Hutch looked at him with a glare as if to say Stop asking stupid questions.

At least it was a reaction. Hutch continued brushing and Starsky moved on to deductive reasoning. "So, if you aren't mad at me, you must be mad about something else. And since we haven't started our shift yet, it can't be anything that's happened at work. So.. .," Starsky trailed off, realizing that didn't leave many possibilities. Delicately, he asked, "Did you and Felicia have a date last night?" Hutch had been seeing her exclusively for a couple of months now.

The brush stopped. Hutch pulled it from his paste-covered mouth and muttered, "Not last night and not ever again." He started brushing again.

Starsky sighed. He knew why the "never again" had come about. A few days ago, he and Hutch had gotten a lead on a murderer they'd been tracking for weeks. Unfortunately, Starsky got the lead from Huggy at around midnight. He'd called Hutch, knowing it likely that Hutch's warm bed was accompanied by Felicia. Of course, Hutch had no hesitations about joining Starsky for a very satisfying arrest. Obviously, sometime between being left behind and last night, Felicia had decided being a cop's girlfriend wasn't the life for her.

Cheerfully, Starsky said, "Well, you know, I always feel it's best to know these things sooner than later. Wouldn't want to find out a lady couldn't handle being attached to a cop when you're already walking down the aisle."

Hutch spit into sink. Then he glared at Starsky again, as though to make the point that the humor and cheer hadn't affected him.

Starsky stepped back while Hutch wiped his mouth, then followed him back to the bedroom. "So... are you mad at her, or at life in general?"

"I'm not mad," Hutch said firmly, and then pulled a plaid shirt from the closet.

"'Kay," Starsky said with resignation. He went to the sofa and picked up the newspaper. A few minutes later, they were out the door.


"Maybe she'll call you," Starsky said. They'd been driving for ten minutes in total silence.­

"She won't be calling me," Hutch said, the stubbornness in his voice tinged with a drop of softness.

Since Hutch sounded like he was trying not to stay mad, Starsky pressed, "Did you like her that much?" He'd thought Felicia too much on the needy side, and couldn't help but feel that Hutch was good to be rid of her.

"Does it matter?" Hutch countered, looking over at Starsky. Then his gaze returned to the side window.

"Guess not," Starsky admitted, deflated. Then, more cheerfully, "She wasn't good for you, Hutch. She's the kind of person who would always want to know where you are every moment of every day. Trust me, buddy. You're better off forgetting about her and moving on."

Hutch looked at him again. "Moving on to who?"

Starsky shrugged, not expecting the question. "There'll be others. Always is."

Hutch nodded. "Yeah. Always is." A thick swallow. "And the ending is always the same."

Starsky took a deep breath. He decided he didn't want to stay on this subject, for Hutch's words were too true. "Do you have any idea where Owens Street is?"

Hutch pointed. "By that park up there."

"Oh. Must be the park we want."


They both were out of the car, next to the park, and looking around, Starsky said, "Guess he's not here yet."

"Maybe he stiffed us."

"Didn't sound like it on the phone." Starsky nudged his partner. "Come on, let's walk." He started out toward the little path that ran along a man-made canal. "We can see Jack here if he drives up or not." Not sure if it was the best thing to say, he added, "Besides, the exercise will do you good."

Hutch didn't comment, but started walking with him. There were large trees overhanging the path, so maybe putting a little bit of nature in Hutch's morning would cheer him up.

"So," Starsky said after five minutes of walking in silence, "did she tell you you were a jerk and selfish and inconsiderate, or did she just say that she couldn't be with a cop?"

Hutch's gaze was on the ground. Softly, he said, "What difference does it make whether it was the short version or the spelled out version? Both say the same things."

Man, Starsky thought. This break-up had affected Hutch more than it should. It troubled him that he really couldn't dispute what Hutch had said. So, he didn't say anything.

A pair of ducks paddling along the water beside them caught his eye. The green head and neck of the male were such a contrast to the brown camouflage of the female. He nudged his partner. "Look at those ducks. Funny, huh?" He wasn't sure what he meant by that. "They seem so peaceful."

That brought a smile and a nod.

Starsky stopped and Hutch did, too. They watched the pair paddle around for a moment. "They seem so content," Starsky marveled. "Just bein' together."

"Yeah, well," Hutch ran his hand back through his hair, "maybe they know something we don't."

Starsky thought it a pragmatic statement, but when he opened his mouth to reply, it occurred to him that it might be true. Hutch knelt down by the edge of the stream. As Starsky followed, he said, "Maybe it's because they know everything by instinct. Like, the male duck knows that he has to impress a female, so that she'll choose him above all the other males. And once she's chosen him, he knows that he'll be able to mate with her, and they'll raise a family. And the next season, he'll have to try again with another lady duck. But, he never has to stop and think about any of it. It's all automatic. He's just following a pre-set plan. So, it's easy for ducks and animals to be peaceful because there aren't any choices to make."

Hutch remained silent, gazing at the ducks.

Starsky thought he should draw some sort of conclusion. "But I'd rather have choices and all the hardship that comes with it, instead of living on auto pilot." He picked up a small branch and tossed it into the water, watching the male easily glide away from it. "Face it, Hutch, bein' human is where it's at. No way would I want to be anything else."

Hutch looked at him. "Yeah?"

Starsky nodded, not sure what Hutch's question was really asking. Was he being doubtful, or wanting reassurance that Starsky's words were true? Starsky stood and looked around at the cars parked along the road. "No sign of Taylor."

Hutch had also picked up a stick, but he used it to draw a little diagram in the dirt. "Don't you ever get tired of the constant rejection?" His voice sounded tired.

Starsky shrugged. "Well... I guess I consider that part of life. I mean, it's not like cops are the only guys who have to deal with rejection time after time. Besides, it's not always the women who do the breaking up."

That brought a smile and even a little laugh. "Yeah, I guess that's true enough."

"If you want my opinion," Starsky pursued, feeling bolder, "you shoulda dumped Felicia before she dumped you. She wasn't your type."

"She was good in bed," Hutch said bluntly.

Starsky shrugged again. "Sorta figured that. Otherwise, I couldn't see why you'd want to stay with her."

"So, I was selfish and inconsiderate and a jerk," Hutch said in a level tone.

"Yeah," Starsky sighed, wishing it weren't so. But... "Wasn't the first time and won't be the last."

Hutch grinned and tossed a pebble into the stream. "Thanks for your vote of confidence."

Starsky chuckled. He looked back out into the empty water. "Hey where'd they go?"

Hutch gestured with a thumb. "Down that way."

"They do have the life," Starsky said with appreciation. "No predators. No worries. Of course, they don't have Monday Night Football, either."

"Yeah, no Howard Cosell," Hutch chuckled.

Starsky laughed, relieved that his partner's humor had returned. He looked back behind them. "Where's that damn Taylor?" He studied the traffic on the streets, but still didn't see a powder blue car. He was aware that Hutch hadn't commented. Turning his attention back to the bank, he saw his partner was still tossing pebbles into the water, deep in thought.

Starsky decided to sit quietly. He was surprised when Hutch asked, "Do you think you would want to be with women if it weren't for sex?"

"Huh?" Starsky asked automatically, disturbed by the question's seriousness.

Hutch gestured to the bend in the little stream, where the ducks had disappeared. "Males and females only like being around each other for sex. Otherwise, they don't want anything to do with each other."

"That's not necessarily true... is it?" Starsky wondered. "Aren't some animals, like wolves, monogamous? It's not like they can be doin' it all the time. So, they must be getting something out of being together."

Hutch turned to look at him. "You didn't answer the question. I asked about you."

Starsky shifted uncomfortably. "WelL.. I guess if were honest, I'd have to say that I can't imagine being interested in a lady if sex weren't a part of it. But there's been a few women whom I really liked just bein' around. It's not like we had to be doin' it for me to enjoy their company." He hesitated, then, "I guess that's why wolves stay together, even if they don't do it all the time. For companionship."

Hutch was still, staring at the water. Then, very softly, he said, "What if the person you enjoy most for companionship is someone you'd never have sex with?"

Starsky felt a flush of warmth course through his body. Of course, Hutch was talking about him. He looked at the gently flowing water, trying to find the little branch he'd tossed into it, but the branch had drifted away.

He realized he was taking too long to answer. Unsteadily, he grinned and said, "That's why there's women. For the sex."

Hutch nodded repeatedly, as though satisfied. "Exactly. And you're a selfish, inconsiderate jerk, too." He said it very gently.

"Guess I am," Starsky replied, wondering at the guilt that flushed through him. If he deserved it. Somehow, he couldn't imagine that Hutch was trying to make him feel guilty.

"Think about it," Hutch went on. "Men like being around their male friends. Women like being around their girlfriends. There's lots of intimate things that each will only share with their own gender, and not with their mates."

Starsky felt relief to find a hole in Hutch's analysis. "That's not always true. Take my Aunt Rosie and Uncle AI. Other people have never meant as much to them as they mean to each other. They're always first in each other's book. And always have been."

"There's always exceptions," Hutch immediately rationalized.

Starsky lay back with a hand behind his head in the cool grass, determined to be relaxed. "So, what's your point?" He made himself look at his partner. Hutch had settled back onto the grass, as well.

"I don't have one."

"Yeah?" Starsky asked, not believing him.


Starsky wondered what to say next to draw his partner out, but the blond spoke first. "Is that Taylor?"

Starsky rolled over and looked where Hutch was pointing. A man in a cheap suit was emerging from a powder blue Chevy. "Yeah."

He and Hutch helped each other to their feet. As hands assisted and arms entwined, fingers squeezed Starsky's shoulder.

The warm spot that had started in Starsky's chest expanded as he followed his partner.

He was wondering, thinking...maybe even wishing.



Comments to regmoore@earthlink.net

SH Menu


Main Menu Starsky & Hutch Menu Fanzine Menu