An interminable stakeout and a dubious crossword puzzle.
Stakeouts always seem endless when there’s nothing happening. We’re in my car because Captain Dobey specifically vetoed the Torino. “Absolutely no place within sight to hide that carnival ride!” he’d roared. That was a given, of course, but hardly anybody ever verbalized it.
So here we are, half a block from Gene Carmody’s house, waiting to see if the known murderer would be stupid enough to return after he’d managed to elude the take down last night in the Sixth. Criminals are admittedly dumb at times, so no possibility could be overlooked. Starsky and I had drawn the next-to-shortest straw. We had the noon-to-eight shift. Babcock and Simmons got the eight-to-four. Night stakeouts are worse, in my opinion.
“What’s a nine-letter word for ‘two organisms that live off each other’?” Starsky asks into the silence.
I keep the binoculars to my eyes, while I think a moment. “Symbiosis,” I say.
In my peripheral vision, I see Starsky bend his curly head over the crossword on his knees. It’s spring and daylight is staying around longer. It won’t be dark until after we’re gone so, thankfully, no dome light will be needed.
“Knew you’d know,” he says, gratefully. He fills in a few more spaces. “Okay, here’s one… another nine-letter word that means ‘boon friend’.”
Where’s he going with this, I wonder. We have two more hours and it sounds as if he’s making up puzzle clues. I lower the binocs and look at him. He’s gazing at me with his patented innocent puppy-dog eyes, but I know he’s up to something. “Companion,” I say, quietly.
“Ah, right!” He’s back over the newspaper again.
I can see he’s printed letters over dark squares and even over other letters. He’s obviously not doing a real puzzle. Hmmmmmm. He’d been antsy during the entire first six hours of our watch for Carmody, but suddenly, he’s concentrated on his spurious word game. I can’t read the scribblings he’s got penciled in the margin but two of them are crossed off. Two aren’t.
“‘Logical next step’,” he says, looking up again. “Eleven letters, beginning with ‘p’.”
I put the binoculars to my eyes again and check to see if anything’s changed at the suspect’s place. Nope, nothing. We knew this was a wasted effort, the guy’s not coming back here. But Dobey said we had to cover all bases, so here we are, stuck for another, I check my watch, hour and fifty minutes. I lower the glasses and look at my expectant friend. “Progression.”
He smiles, happily, and writes it down. He also crosses off another of the margin scratchings.
“What’s goin’ on, Starsk?” I ask, unable to keep the question inside.
He glances up at me. “What makes you think something’s going on?” he asks, ingenuously.
I turn back to what I’m supposed to be doing, which is watching Carmody’s building. “Nothin’.” I can wait as patiently as anybody else.
After several quiet minutes of printing, then erasing letters, probably staring out his side window, breathing quietly and thinking loudly, I can feel him looking at me again. “A ten letter word for ‘bound to happen’?”
I keep the binoculars in place but heave a genuine sigh. Oh shit, he knows. Somehow, he’s seen through all the layers of subterfuge I’ve been applying to our relationship recently. I think about him all the time. I dream about him, fantasize about him. Us. Together. More closely than we’ve ever been before. And he knows.
“Inevitable,” I admit.
He writes the word on his puzzle. “Yeah.”
I lower the glasses and look at the face I see in my dreams, the face I love. “Why now, Starsk?”
He smiles shyly. “Because we’ve got…” He glances at his watch. “… An hour and thirty more minutes of this silly stakeout left and you can’t run away.” His smile exudes naked happiness. “You can’t pretend you don’t know what I’m talking about.”
“No, I can’t,” I say, softly.
“Why’d you try to hide it, Hutch?” he asks, clearly confused. “Did you think I wouldn’t want to make that inevitable progression?” He looks at me with a depth of feeling in his eyes I’ve never seen before. “My symbiotic friend. My boon companion.”
He looks so pleased with himself, I smile into those indigo blues. “I didn’t actually try to hide it, Starsk.”
“Okay,” he agrees, reluctantly. “Maybe hide was the wrong word.” He glances down at the paper on his knees, then up at me again. “And here I was playing word games with you. ‘Deflect me’ then, how’s that? Every time I tried to bring up the subject.”
“Deflect’s a good word, partner,” I say. “Delay, stall, wait. All those procrastination sentiments.”
“You thought I wasn’t ready, didn’t you?” Starsky asks, gently. “Figured if you told me how you felt, it might ruin everything.”
“That idea did seem to have some merit,” I admit.
“Well I’m ready, and it won’t!” Starsky states, unequivocally. “We’ve loved each other forever, Hutch. It’s time we started lovin’ each other!”
He adds the lop-sided grin he knows I can’t resist to the intensity in his eyes and it makes me shiver. It also makes me rock hard within a heartbeat. He sees it, too. He stares at my crotch and his smile turns positively wicked.
“Oh, my sweet Hutch,” Starsky murmurs, “stiffening up. For me.” He reaches a hand toward my groin but, having caught movement out of the corner of my eye, I catch it and squeeze tenderly.
“Hold that thought, partner,” I say quietly, forcing my hormones down. Adrenalin is quickly taking their place. “We’ve got company.”
He looks out the windshield to where Gene Carmody is walking nonchalantly toward his house.
“Our lucky day, Hutch,” Starsky says, throwing the newspaper on the floor and reaching for the door handle. His Beretta is already in his hand. “We drew this shift, you know. In the ‘How Stupid is Carmody?’ pool.”
“I know,” I say, unsnapping the safety strap on my holster. “Didn’t figure we had a chance.”
“Guess there’s always a chance then, huh, partner?” Starsky asks, more emotion in his simple words than I can fathom right now.
Later, babe, I silently promise both of us.
The arrest of Eugene Carmody, paroled murderer and suspected current killer, goes without a hitch. It’s almost embarrassing how easily it’s accomplished. Starsky and I collect the $110 office pool. Our lucky day, indeed.
But it’s after the guy’s booked and processed, the paperwork done and on Dobey’s desk, and Starsky has locked the front door of his apartment behind him, that I truly discover how lucky I am. And how loved.
Oh, I so love calm stories like this, where the guys are on the same page and all it takes for their relationship to grow is a quiet conversations. And Starsky’s trick with the crossword here was particularly neat. Thanks for such a lovely, warm story on such a cold winter morning!
I don’t know where you are, Calliatra, geographically speaking, but it’s COLD in Tucson this morning, too! 28 degrees. For here, that’s frigid!!! Your kind words totally warm me up. I’m so very glad you liked the story. I heard the boys talking in my mind and only had to type the words. Thanks so much for enjoying them, and for letting me know. I can’t tell you, and everyone else, how much I treasure your comments. Have a great day!
That was really great. It felt very much like Hutch’s thoughts, too. You have such a warm, inviting way with the boys. Thanks for sharing!
I need all the ‘warm’ I can get this morning, DG (see comment above); thanks so much for your lovely words. You’re more than welcome, and I’m glad you feel as if I wrote Hutch’s thoughts correctly. I love writing them both! Thanks again.
Very sweet and hopeful. Just perfect for the Advent calendar.
Aw thanks, Marian. I’m thrilled that you liked it and that you think it’s appropriate for here. This is turning out to be an incredible calendar and I’m honored to be a part of it. Thanks for reading and then for writing.
That was very clever. I admire a good story hook and the crossword puzzle was perfect.
Bless your heart, Spencer, what a lovely thing to say. I’m not really sure why I chose a crossword, not even sure I made the conscious decision. The story just came to me and it was the centerpiece. Many thanks for reading and then for letting me know you enjoyed it. Can’t tell you how much I appreciate that. Take care.
Dear Flamingo and all the Pic Elves,
I was wondering what you’d come up with in the way of an illustration for my little story and you’ve surpassed my expectations. It’s terrific! (hear Starsky’s voice, please) Now I’m wondering if it was an artifact of a SHarCon? Wherever it came from, it’s perfect! (hear my voice). Thank you so very much!
Clever, clever Starsky! 🙂 He just knows what words to use and just the right way to get the message through. Really sweet story, Pat! And I agree with everyone else — you have a soft, gentle loving feeling to your stories. Love that!
What a truly dear, wonderful thing to say, Sammy. I’m so very happy that you, and everyone else who has commented, have enjoyed my stories. I can’t begin to tell you how much I’ve loved writing them, but hearing words of encouragement is the best icing I’ve ever tasted. THANK YOU, ALL!!!!
I love this! Starsky can be so sweet and tactful when it comes to make Hutch open… He’s the one who really knows how to deal with him and bring the best out, and you pictured this perfectly. I loved it, thank you! 😀
I was composing my reply to your most appreciated comment but, before I got it posted, Kat uploaded another comment. So hers and my response to hers, are between. Please scroll down to see my full ‘thank you’ to you.
This was a nice story. I liked how Starsky was hinting to Hutch exactly what he wanted/would be happening. 🙂 And Hutch, being the smart guy he is, is ready! Thanks.
Thanks so much, Kat, I’m really glad you enjoyed it. Starsky hinting and Hutch hearing; lovely analogy. Thanks again for your kind words.
You must have posted your comment while I was writing my response to tsilvy, because yours, and my response to you, are now sandwiched. But I’ll write a quick reply to her and ask her to scroll down.
You’re very welcome, tsilvy, and I send a huge Thank You! back. Who could possibly know Hutch, and how to get him to open up, better than Starsky? I’m so glad you could picture it. Thanks for reading and then for writing and letting me know. I really appreciate it!
Aw…that was sweet and lovely!!!
I just love S&H stakeout conversations…!!! -LOL-
Thanks, Bee!!! I’m so glad you enjoyed it. They do find some interesting things to talk about during stakeouts, don’t they? I really appreciate your writing to let me know you liked it.
In the words of that Curly Haired Man “Beauuuutiful, just beautiful” Thank you for the much needed smile.
I’m so glad it made you smile, Nicol, that’s a sweet thing to say. I loved writing it and I love reading what other people are telling me they see, hear, and feel from it. I’m floating, believe me. Thanks for reading and then for letting me know you enjoyed it.
What a wonderfully clever story! Starsky dropping eloquent hints with words using a crossword puzzle as a game to break up the monotony of a stakeout. Letting Hutch knows that he ‘knows’ in such a sweet-sneaky way. That mischief is totally Starsky!
This was endearing.
The words you chose to describe their relationship were charming and oh-so-true! Very romantic.
My favorite line was when Starsky told Hutch: “We’ve loved each other forever, Hutch. It’s time we started lovin’ each other!”
I’m so glad you saw exactly what I was trying to write, Ursula. But then, you always do. Believe me, I didn’t set out to write a ‘clever’ story, I just got the idea, almost full-blown, and that’s the way it wrote itself: Starsky being calmly persuasive, in a sneaky sort of way “Endearing” and “romantic,” I’ll cherish those words. THANK YOU.
Well, my heart just grew two sizes. I love it when Starsky is clever and Hutch lets his guard down 😀
What a lovely thing to say, exbex: grew two sizes. Thank you so much for reading and then for taking the time to let me know you enjoyed it. I treasure all the kind comments people have been leaving. Every single one! Thanks again.
This was just lovely. Beautifully written. Thank you for sharing.
You’re more than welcome, I’m so glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for letting me know.
Thank you for a sweet, in character, snippet of our boys. You’ve made me smile!
I’m so glad to hear that my story made you smile, Elaine. That makes me smile, too! Thanks for reading and then for posting your kind words. I’m grateful.
I love clever, playful Starsky, and sweet, relaxed Hutch. And I LOVE dialogue between the two when it’s well-written and I can hear it in their voices. So well done – thank you!!
What lovely things to say, Ellen, thank you so much! I LOVE writing the guys this way, and am so glad you could ‘hear it in their voices.’ That really makes my day. I appreciate your reading, and then, even more, for letting me know you enjoyed it. Happy Holidays!
What a great story. Thank you
You’re very welcome, Linda. I’m so glad you enjoyed it. Thanks very much for letting me know. I really appreciate it.
This is great story, Pat. You write them so beautifully. 🙂
Thank you so much, CK. I’m glad you enjoyed this one, too. I really appreciate your writing to let me know; I’ll cherish your words.
What the others said and more. Cute, loving, warm, fuzzy and squidgy! Can so see this going down. Beautiful. Thank you.
I’m so glad I keep checking back, WF, so that I can reply to everyone who leaves a comment. I’m thrilled that you enjoyed my story (‘squidgy’?) I’ll ask for a translation later, but love the word!!! Thanks so much for writing and letting me know.
Pat, another great story! You really have a talent for writing those soft moments. The crossword clues were such a great way for Starsky to get Hutch to open up, trapped as he was by the stakeout. Very Starsky, just terrific. Thanks so much for sharing,
Hi, Laura, I’m really glad you enjoyed this. Thanks so much for taking the time to write and let me know (it’s why I keep checking back; I don’t want to miss thanking anyone who leaves a comment!) I’m thrilled that Starsky’s little ploy struck the right chord with you. You’re more than welcome. Hope you had a great Christmas and that your New Year will be ‘terrific’!
This was lots of fun–love Starsky’s word games and that Hutch is on to him. Made me grin.
Thank you so much, Dawn! I’m thrilled you enjoyed it and that I could make you grin. Glad I keep checking back; hope you do, too, so that you can read my sincere thanks! Happy New Year!