- 2017 Starsky & Hutch Calendar by CrazyKater
- December 24th- White Christmas: A Starsky and Hutch Christmas Card Part 4 by Mvernet and Spencer5460
- December 24th- A Very Starsky Christmas in Three Acts: Postscript by Suzan
- December 24th- ‘Twas Twenty-Four Nights Before Christmas by ksstarfire
- December 24th- Every Little Thing Is Going to Be Alright by hardboiledbaby
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December 24th- White Christmas: A Starsky and Hutch Christmas Card Part 4 by Mvernet and Spencer5460
Starsky helped Rosie and K.C. arrange the fully decorated tree toward the back of the stage so that each act would be illuminated from behind by the soft glow of the tree lights. Although this show wasn’t as big a production as he was used to overseeing, it was by far more important. Starsky wanted to bring an old fashioned Christmas to life right in Dobey’s lodge.
He wanted Christmas magic to come alive for the Dobeys, for K.C., but especially for Hutch.
Besides K.C.’s set and a few numbers from Hutch, Starsky had also suggested inviting Mae and June to perform. Everyone agreed their act was just the thing to liven up the place and that Captain Dobey would adore them. K.C. had invited Whimsy along, too.
Keeping everything a secret from Dobey was hard work. Starsky had double talked Dobey into confusion and the captain, all too familiar with Starsky’s flimflam, finally just agreed that he didn’t understand show business. He gave Starsky and his accomplices free reign to plan the Christmas Eve show.
Huggy had called to let Starsky know to expect a full house. He’d worked his magic as always. He’d even volunteered to act as emcee, although it hadn’t taken much arm twisting, and he’d spent a lot of time playing phone tag and working out details with Starsky.
Simmons and Babcock had also helped spread the word to everyone who had ever worked with or under Dobey about the Christmas Eve concert to honor their former captain.
The night before Christmas Eve, everyone was exhausted. Long rehearsals, combined with last minute problems in coordinating an overflow of guests, a temperamental sound system, and even several broken guitar strings had left everyone on edge.
By midnight, Starsky accepted that everything was as much under control as possible considering the circumstances. Along with his other responsibilities as stage manager, he had directed Hutch to bed for a good night’s sleep.
Ever since the night Hutch had sung Blessings, they’d avoided being alone together. Paradoxically, neither were sleeping well. Starsky could easily read the slight shadows under Hutch’s blue eyes and how his lips were pulled back in tension. He was sure Hutch could see the same on him.
Twenty four days until Christmas. Hutch looked around the beach house he and Starsky lived in together. There wasn’t a sprig of holly or mistletoe. There wasn’t garland hanging on anything and everything Starsky could hang it on. And most telling of all, there was NO Christmas tree standing in the corner of their family room.
Hutch didn’t know what to make of it.
Starsky usually had bags of ornaments and Christmassy stuff on the floor of the front closet. But Hutch had looked there when he walked in the front door today, and there were no bags. No decorations at all.
His partner seemed to be fine, wasn’t sick, wasn’t hurt… he also wasn’t normal for him.
Hutch shook his head and decided Starsky was just getting a late start on his celebration of the holiday season.
A/N: This story is a sequel to “Going Home” but can be read as a standalone. Dedicated to oasis3017, who once upon a time, long long ago, asked for a fic about gratefulness. Here it is, m’dear; very late, but with much love.
Many thanks to Flamingo, who always keeps the faith, and to Cyanne and Suzan for making the Advent Calendar the amazing gift to the S&H fandom that it is. Happy holidays to everyone!
“Look, there she is!”
Hutch scanned the stream of arriving passengers emerging from the opening of the Jetway. “Where? I don’t—”
“The one in the pink outfit,” Starsky said, pointing. He began waving his arms up and down. “Hey, over here!” he called, but his words were lost in the general hubbub of the crowded airport gate. Finally he stuck his fingers between his lips and let loose a piercing whistle.
A couple dozen people turned to look. One of them, a woman with curly salt and pepper hair and dressed in a flamingo-pink pantsuit, waved back and headed towards them. Starsky pushed his way through the throngs as politely as he could and met her halfway.
“Ma!” Starsky threw his arms around his mother in an exuberant hug.
“David!” Rachel gave back as good as she got, squeezing Starsky tightly. She pulled away far enough so she could look into his face. “It’s so good to see you! You’re looking much better. You’ve gained some weight, haven’t you?” She pinched his cheek, kissed him soundly, and hugged him again.
Starsky laughed and kissed her back. “It’s great to see you too.”
“Ken?” Rachel turned to Hutch, who was standing a few paces away. “There you are.” She held out her arms.
“Hello, Mrs. Starsky,” Hutch said, stepping up to collect a hug and kiss of his own. “Welcome back.”
“I’m glad to be back.” She beamed at him, then raised a finger in mock reprimand. “But don’t you start that again. I thought we had this all worked out when I was here in May. It’s Rachel, remember?”
“Or better yet, call me ‘Mom.'”
Hutch’s face couldn’t get any redder, Starsky thought, but he couldn’t look any more pleased, either. “Okay… Mom.”
Starsky was pretty pleased himself. He gave her another quick squeeze and whispered “Thank you” in her ear. She gave him a little wink.
“You’re looking well, too,” Rachel said to Hutch, cocking her head and nodding. “I have to say, I think I prefer you like this, without the mustache. I can see more of that handsome face of yours.”
And lo and behold, Hutch’s face could actually get redder.
“Hey, what am I, chopped liver?” Starsky said in a plaintive tone.
“Didn’t I say a second ago how good you looked?” She had an eyeroll that rivaled Hutch’s.
“No, you said I gained weight.”
“It was weight you needed to gain back, and you know it,” Rachel said, equal parts amused and exasperated. “Don’t be a smart aleck, David. Since when did you need me to tell you how handsome you are, eh?”
“It’s still nice to hear, you know.”
Before Rachel could reply, Hutch cleared his throat. “Well, shall we get going?” he asked, and offered his arm to Rachel.
Not to be outdone, Starsky offered his arm. Rachel calmly took them both and they headed off to Baggage Claim.
“So what made you decide to come to California all of a sudden?” Starsky asked. “Not that I’m not glad to see you again so soon, of course,” he added hastily, as Hutch gave him a surreptitious jab with his elbow. “I was only wondering.”
Suitcases collected, they were on their way to Aunt Rosie’s house, where Rachel was going to be staying. Hutch had insisted on driving, over Starsky’s vehement protests, but he had at least cleaned his hunk-a-junk so Starsky didn’t have to die of embarrassment in front of his mother. And riding shotgun meant Starsky could turn around to look at her as they talked. He was curious. It wasn’t at all like her to do something big like this on a whim.
“Oh, I don’t know,” Rachel said, shrugging. She was looking out the window at the scenery, such as it was. Without turning her head, she flapped a hand in Starsky’s direction. “I happened to see this wonderful deal on airfare in the newspaper, and besides, I felt like taking a vacation. Since I don’t have to worry about Nicholas as much anymore, well, that made it easy to get away.”
“So he’s doing okay in Chicago? He hasn’t called me in a while.” Typical Nicky. He was at least phoning Ma on the regular, so Starsky didn’t mind too much.
She smiled and held up crossed fingers. “So far. I have a really good feeling this time. Maybe it’s too early to say if it will last, but I truly think he’s turned over a new leaf.”
“I hope so,” Starsky said. Rachel was no fool: while she readily forgave Nicky his shortcomings, she was under no illusions about how many of them he had. Her bullshit meter was a finely tuned machine, better than any polygraph, and she was an expert in cutting through the crap and getting to the truth. Nicky never could fool her for very long.
Heck, neither could I, Starsky thought, with a pang of guilt.
Starsky thought he had been clever, hiding his relationship with Hutch from her, only to find out she’d figured out the real deal long before. She’d even successfully hid her knowledge from him and didn’t let on until Starsky was ready to tell her himself.
Not ever gonna sell you short again, Ma.
“Of course, he’s constantly grumbling about the long hours he’s working, and how hard it is to build a small business from the ground up,” she continued. “Moaning and groaning about how he barely makes enough to keep body and soul together. That’s how I know he’s fine.”
Starsky chuckled. “Yep, you got his number, all right.” He caught Hutch giving him a puzzled look and laughed all the more. “If Nicky wasn’t grumbling, if he was bragging that things were all hunky dory and easy-peasy, that’d mean he was getting into trouble for sure. The fact that he’s grousing is a good sign, trust me.”
“Ah,” was all Hutch said, his tone neutral, but his jaw was tight.
After a second, Starsky got it. Nicky was still high on Hutch’s shit list, and whining about earning an honest living through hard work sure as hell wasn’t going to get him off that list anytime soon. In fact, by whining to Rachel—the single mother who raised him by working hard all her life—his little brother instead made it to number one with a bullet.
Nicky was damned lucky he wasn’t there in the car with them. Hutch still would have gone off on Nicky’s ass, even in absentia, but he was holding his peace out of deference to Rachel, Starsky realized. He gave Hutch’s arm a quick pat in thanks.
“Okay, if it’s a vacation you want, it’s a vacation you’ll get,” Starsky said to Rachel. “Wanna go to Disneyland?”
Rachel laughed at the thought. “Good heavens, no! I simply want to spend time with you and Ken, and with Rose, too. She and I don’t get together nearly enough. All I want is a nice, relaxing stay.”
“Alright, whatever you want, Ma.”
She certainly deserved that. Her last trip to California had been anything but relaxing. Starsky had still been in serious condition after the shooting, out of the coma but mostly drugged up and conscious for very short stretches at a time. She’d spent most of her waking hours at his hospital bedside, waiting and worrying.
Maybe this was a way for her to erase those bad memories. His own trip back East a few months ago had gone a long way to reassuring her, he knew, but he’d been thinner, weaker, and still feeling his injuries. Now, he was further along the road to recovery, healthier and nearly back to his old self. Seeing the evidence with her own eyes would hopefully put her mind at ease, finally.
After a moment’s thought, she added, “Maybe we can visit some other friends and relatives as well; people I didn’t get to see, last time.”
“Sure, that sounds good. Hutch has got his nose to the grindstone for the next few days, but I’m all yours.”
“Still on desk duty, Ken?” she asked, and Hutch nodded. “For the Gunther investigation?”
“Not right now,” he replied. “I’m working on other cases.”
“You sound as if you might not be done yet, though,” Rachel observed.
“Well, the District Attorney might call me back in.”
“Pre-trial motions,” Starsky explained. “It happens all the time, so it’s no surprise that Gunther’s defense team is pulling out all the stops, trying to get the judge to exclude critical evidence.”
“Oh. Is that likely to happen?”
“Not likely, but it’s—” Hutch began cautiously.
“No ‘buts’ about it,” Starsky cut in. “Hutch has got him sewn up six ways from Sunday.” His pride was clearly evident in his voice.
Rachel nodded, her face somber. “Good. I wish it were over and done with.”
“Me too,” Hutch said, matching her fervent tone.
“Me three,” Starsky said. “Don’t worry, Ma. At least he’s behind bars until the trial. His lawyers can file all the motions in the world, at least until Gunther’s money runs out. It won’t matter in the long run. He’ll never be a free man again.”
There was silence in the car for several minutes after that.
“And when that’s behind you, what will you do, David?” Rachel asked quietly.
It was Starsky’s turn to shrug. “First things first. I’m still working on my physical therapy. Gotta get into shape, get my range of motion and my stamina back.”
Starsky turned in his seat to face forward again.
“I don’t know. I haven’t thought beyond that yet.”
After they dropped Rachel off at Rosie’s house, Starsky closed his eyes and pretended to nap on the ride home. He was pretty sure Hutch knew he was faking, but Hutch didn’t comment. He drove in silence, leaving Starsky to the thoughts he told his mother he wasn’t having.
What was he going to do?
It was a hard question. All the possible answers seemed to raise more questions, more uncertainty.
Was he going back to being a cop? It was the one thing he’d been passionate about since childhood, the only career path he ever seriously considered. Throwing away their badges once didn’t change that. It was more than a job, it was a calling, damn it, and he was good at it.
Correction: he had been good at it.
The best he could get out of his doctors were that they were ‘cautiously optimistic’ about his prognosis for a ‘normal’ life. The fact that he survived the shooting at all was a medical miracle, they told him. Being a street cop again? No one came right out and said it, but Starsky got the feeling that would be a miracle too far.
It was disappointing, but not surprising. And one thing was crystal clear in Starsky’s mind: if he truly could not cut it any more, then he was going to put a happy face on and walk away. No regrets.
But that brought up the next question: what about Hutch?
Starsky wished he knew for sure what Hutch wanted to do. Stay on the streets? Take the lieutenant’s exam? Leave the force? The man had been maddeningly noncommittal on the subject.
He had to admit, he didn’t want Hutch permanently partnered with anyone but him. Down deep, he didn’t—couldn’t—trust anyone else with Hutch’s safety. However, if he wasn’t capable himself, then what?
Starsky didn’t want to sway Hutch’s mind for him, push him to resign if he didn’t actually want to. He had wanted to, before, but the situation was different now.
Boy, was it ever. Because they were partners in every sense of the word now. They were even living together.
At first, it was because Starsky needed the help when he’d first left the hospital. One of the conditions of his release from medical gulag was that there would be someone to look after him. Starsky hadn’t bothered with even a token protest. He’d needed Hutch close, and equally as important, Hutch had needed him. Months had gone by, and along the way Hutch quietly gave up his lease and moved out of Venice Place. ‘Saving on rent’ was all the explanation he’d given to anyone who’d asked, and it hadn’t raised any eyebrows, at least not on the faces Starsky had seen. After all, their ‘normal’ had them together 75% of the time anyway. However, if he somehow did get reinstated and they went back to their beat together, it would be a different story. Starsky wasn’t sure if he could keep their relationship under wraps anymore… and he was even less sure that he wanted to.
Fucking hard questions, and there were no easy answers. The clock was ticking, his disability pay wasn’t going to last forever.
What am I going to do?
Starsky opened his eyes. He turned to look at Hutch.
No, that was the wrong question.
What are we going to do?
Hutch glanced at him as he parked the car. “What?”
“We need to talk, babe.”
“I told you, when you’re ready, we’ll figure it out.” Hutch sat down on the couch as Starsky continued to pace.
“No, you’re not talking to Ma, or Dobey, or anybody else. You’re talking to me, and I want a straight answer this time. Do you want me to try for reinstatement?”
“What would make you happy, Starsk?”
“That’s not an answer. That’s… that’s answering a question with a question.”
“Well, what’s your answer to my question?”
“I asked you first!” Starsky shot back, then sighed. “You’re missing the point. It can’t only be about what makes me happy. What about you? You don’t really want to quit the force again, do you?”
“No, I guess not, not now,” Hutch admitted. “Who would’ve thought….” He trailed off.
“Yeah, I know,” Starsky said quietly. “In a way, we owe him for that. Who woulda thought, huh?”
Hutch gave him a sharp look, but Starsky merely shrugged. Hutch’s sense of purpose had been rekindled when Starsky had been gunned down. His belief that good can still conquer evil was restored when he put the cuffs on the man responsible, and his passion for justice was renewed when his investigation uncovered and dismantled a vast network of criminal activity. In no small way, Gunther had been the catalyst for Hutch’s rebirth, and Starsky couldn’t help but be glad.
Hutch, on the other hand….
“Fuck that,” he said, his tone flat and final. “We don’t owe him shit.”
“Yeah, okay,” Starsky said. There was no sense in going down that road, and Starsky didn’t want to get distracted from the main point. “Anyway, about the job. I need for it to be a solution that we can both live with.”
“That is the point. What makes you happy will make me happy. No, wait,” he said placatingly as Starsky threw up his hands. He caught one of them in his own and pulled Starsky down to sit next to him. “Hear me out. I think we both agree that what we have now, here, is the most important thing, right?” He pressed a kiss to Starsky’s hand. “I love you.”
“I love you, too. But—”
“I’m very grateful for what we have. A second chance.” It was a refrain that Hutch repeated often, heartfelt every time. And every time, Starsky felt his own heart beat a little faster in response and agreement.
“I know, me too.”
“Whether or not we stay partners out there is secondary.”
“Yeah, I get that. Still—”
Hutch pressed a kiss to Starsky’s lips, silencing him for the moment. Several long moments. It was so sweet it brought a lump to Starsky’s throat. God, he loved this. These tender caresses were every bit as precious to Starsky, and as passionate, as sex.
Not that their sex life wasn’t pretty damn fine, thank you very much.
At the start, it was ‘only’ sex and ‘just’ about feeling good, or so they told themselves. Being fuck buddies was convenient. It meant no one would be pissed about canceled dates or dinners cut short. It meant you didn’t have that awkward moment of waking up with a stranger whose name you couldn’t remember, and frankly didn’t particularly want to. They already loved each other then, sure, yet somehow they’d classified the physical part of their relationship as a guilty pleasure apart from the rest of their partnership.
Yeah, they’d been pretty dumb, and willfully so. Mostly Hutch, of course, since smarts was supposed to be his department, but Starsky could admit to a certain amount of willful obliviousness of his own. And it had been Hutch, finally, who had drawn a line in the sand. They crossed it together, and nothing in Starsky’s life had felt so right. Now, at the risk of being soapy, their love was complete. They were joined together body and soul, heart to heart. If he could’ve married Hutch, he would have.
He wrapped his arms tighter around his man and kissed him back, giving back as good as he was getting. Maybe one day, he thought.
When they broke for air, Hutch assured him, “I am happy. All I want is for you to be as happy as I am. If that means we get back out on the streets in that soup can, then that’s what we’ll do. If it means we drive desks, then so be it. If it means we rob banks together—”
“Oh, really?” Starsky asked, raising an eyebrow and grinning.
Hutch grinned back and gave him a playful whack upside the head. “Well, let’s hope it doesn’t come to that. Anyway, if it means something else entirely, that’s fine. Our partnership—me and thee—doesn’t begin and end with the job. It never did.”
“You got that right.”
“Yihyeh be’seder, babe.”
Starsky did a double-take. “Since when did you learn Hebrew?”
Hutch just gave him a look.
Oh, right. Hutch had spent quite a bit of time on the phone with Ma after the shooting. Still did, in fact.
“Yihyeh be’seder. ‘Everything will be okay.’ She says it a lot, doesn’t she?”
“Maybe you ought to try listening to her.”
Starsky threw his hands up and chuckled. “Okay, Blondie. You win. I’ll give it some more thought.”
“Good.” Hutch nodded firmly. “There’s no rush, babe. We’ve got time. Right now, all you have to do is enjoy your mother’s visit.”
Which was easier said than done.
Not that Starsky was bitching about having his mother around. He was delighted, honestly. He was also happy that he was well enough to take her around and spend time with her.
It was just turning out to be lots and lots of time.
“So where are you guys going tomorrow?” Hutch asked as they were getting ready for bed.
“Wait a minute, what do you mean ‘you guys’? I thought you had the day off. Aren’t you coming with us?”
“Ah, sorry Gordo, the DA’s office sent over more files this afternoon that I have to look at.”
“Aw, damn it. I know I told Ma you’ve got your nose to the grindstone, but this is ridiculous. Can’t it wait?”
“I wish it could,” Hutch replied. “I’d much rather be with you and Rachel than stuck in the squad room.”
“You ‘n me both,” Starsky said glumly. Hutch gave a sympathetic chuckle.
“She wearing you out?”
“A little,” Starsky said, his lips quirking ruefully. “She’s tireless, I tell you. Geez, who knew she had so many friends and family in Bay City? Hell, maybe going to Disneyland would have been more relaxing.”
“Poor baby.” Hutch sat of the edge of the bed, facing away from him, pulling off his shoes, but Starsky could still hear the eyeroll. An affectionate eyeroll, but an eyeroll nonetheless.
“Asshole.” Starsky smacked him with a pillow.
Starsky was probably the one being an asshole. Hutch had, after all, taken much time off in the early days of Starsky’s recovery. Dobey, and indeed the whole department, had been very accommodating. Everyone pitched in, changing shifts as needed and rearranging caseloads without a murmur. Even when Hutch was up to his eyeballs trying to unravel Gunther’s vast criminal enterprise, he was able to make time to be with Starsky then. Starsky knew he shouldn’t gripe too much.
But he wanted to anyway, just a little.
“It’s the weekend, for cryin’ out loud.”
“Shall I tell that to the ADA? Maybe it slipped her mind that Saturday comes after Friday.”
“Shaddup. Fine, I get it.”
After a beat, Hutch asked again, “So where are you going?”
“All the way down to Escondido.”
Hutch whistled. “Happy trails, partner. Make sure you fill up the gas tank before you go. Maybe pack a toothbrush. Try to make it back before the blizzards come.”
Starsky gave him a withering look, which merely made Hutch laugh. Starsky turned away, but an arm circled his waist and pulled him in.
“Sorry,” Hutch said, his breath warm against Starsky’s ear. He was still snickering, but the wiseass tone was gone. “It is a long drive, and I wish I were going with you. But I can’t. Forgive me?” He nuzzled the sensitive spot behind Starsky’s ear, and Starsky tried not to shiver. “Everything is going to be alright, right?”
Starsky gave a noncommittal grunt, but he angled his head, and Hutch obligingly ran his tongue up the line of his neck.
“I’ll make it up to you, I promise.”
“Damn right you will,” Starsky said, reaching to turn off the lamp. “You can start right now.”
The next morning was sunny and clear, warm for November but not oppressively so. Starsky pulled up into Rosie’s driveway and gave a quick tap to the horn. As he waited for Rachel to appear, an infectious reggae beat poured out of the open windows of a passing car.
Don’t worry about a thing
‘Cause every little thing gonna be alright.
Starsky smiled to himself.
“Penny for your thoughts?” Rachel asked as she got into the Torino.
“I think the universe just gave me a sign,” was all he said as he cranked up the engine and pulled out into the street.
Maybe the universe got it wrong. Or, more likely, it was having a little joke at Starsky’s expense.
The I-5 was a mess. Above and beyond the typical weekend congestion, there was a stretch of emergency roadwork that held them to a crawl until they cleared San Clemente. When they finally arrived in Escondido, Maria—Rachel’s second cousin twice removed, or something like that, Starsky wasn’t exactly clear on how they were related—met them at her door with bad news.
“I’m so sorry, I just got the call,” Maria said, wringing her hands. She looked miserable.
“Hey, don’t worry about it,” Starsky said. “We understand. I hope your co-worker is going to be okay.”
“I hope so too. I don’t know any of the details, only that there was an accident. I have to get to the shop.” Maria pulled her door closed and locked it as she spoke. “I’m terribly sorry about this,” she said, for the fourth or fifth time. “I wish I didn’t have to rush off. You drove all this way, too.”
Rachel patted her hand and gave her a hug.
“Not your fault,” she said soothingly, although she looked disappointed as well. “We’ll do this another time.”
Apologizing once more, Maria got into her sedan and drove off. With a shared sigh, Starsky and Rachel did the same, and began their return trip to Bay City. Fortunately, there was no roadwork on the northbound lanes, and they made decent time.
As they got closer to the city, Rachel asked, “Where are we going?”
“Uh, home?” Starsky said, a little confused. It was an odd question, and her tone was… odd. Like it was important, somehow.
“It’s early yet.”
“Yeah, so? I could use the afternoon off,” Starsky replied. “C’mon, I’m sure you could, too. We’ll have time to rest a little before Hutch picks us up for dinner. Not that The Green Papaya serves anything remotely close to a real dinner.” He made a face as he thought about the eatery Hutch had picked, a Thai place that specialized in vegetarian cuisine.
“Oh, I’m sure it’ll be fine, so stop pouting. Ken said it was quite good.”
He snorted. How Hutch had gotten Rachel, a diehard meat-and-potatoes woman, to agree to this lame excuse for a restaurant, Starsky simply could not figure out. There must have been some heavy duty negotiating involved, and probably bribery too. “It’s a conspiracy,” he muttered under his breath. Rachel pretended not to hear him.
“Well, can we stop at Rose’s house, first? I’d like to change.”
“We’d have to pass our place to get to Aunt Rosie’s from here anyway,” Starsky pointed out. “Let’s go home first. You can freshen up there. If you still want to change after that, we can do that before we go to the restaurant. Okay?”
“Okay,” she replied. She gave a small, resigned smile. “Have I been running you ragged, David? I’m sorry.”
“Nah, of course not. I’m fine. Yihyeh be’seder,” he said. Rachel’s smile became a happy one, and Starsky smiled warmly back.
To distract himself from the evening’s gloomy gastronomical prospects, he said, “Too bad you can’t stay until Thanksgiving, Ma. Now that’s gonna be a meal! Huggy does something magical to the turkey, I swear. And Hutch likes to make this fancy-shmancy cranberry sauce that’s actually pretty good, but don’t tell him I said so. And Edith will bake her famous pumpkin pie. She makes the best pie, and she always brings extra, on account of no one can have only one piece….”
Hutch’s beater was sitting in front of the apartment when they arrived.
“Huh, he’s early, too,” Starsky said as he got out of the Torino. “Great. Maybe I’ll have time to talk him out of the Thai place.”
“Maybe,” Rachel said, her eyes twinkling.
Starsky opened the door, ushered Rachel in, and entered himself to find Hutch and Huggy, staring at them in surprise.
And there was food.
The table and countertops—nearly every horizontal surface he could see, in fact—was laden with platters, bowls, and plates. The most wonderful smells were emanating from under their aluminum foil covers.
“Sorry boys, we ran into a snag, and I couldn’t keep him out of the house any longer,” Rachel said to Hutch and Huggy.
“What the hell?” Starsky said, astonished. “What is all this?”
“This, my man, is supposed to be a surprise party,” Huggy said. “Surprise!”
“But what for?”
“For you, dummy.” Hutch put his arm around Rachel’s shoulders. “It’s a Todah offering.”
The Todah, Starsky recalled, was an expression of gratitude to God. A person whose life had been saved from a great danger would show appreciation by sacrificing a lamb and consecrating bread at the Temple, then share the meal as a celebration with family and friends.
“Did you do this?” Starsky asked Rachel.
Rachel shook her head. She glanced up at Hutch, but he seemed to be at a loss for words. She turned to Huggy and asked, “Can I help you with anything?”
“Merely the finishing touches, milady, but your assistance would be most welcome,” he said. With a bow, he took her elbow and they walked over to the kitchen.
Starsky stepped in close to Hutch, who was staring at the floor. He rubbed a hand on Hutch’s shoulder and waited.
Finally, Hutch looked at him, took his hand, and said, “I always regretted that Rachel wasn’t here for your party; you know, the one we had at the Dobeys when you were discharged from the hospital. We were talking about it on the phone one day a while back, and although she didn’t say it, I could tell she was disappointed that she hadn’t been here to celebrate with you. So…” Hutch spread his hands out and shrugged.
“So you arranged all of this,” Starsky said. “The trip, the food, everything.”
“The Todah was her idea, actually. When I said I wanted to throw a party, she explained to me what the Jewish Todah sacrifice was about,” Hutch replied.
“Look,” he continued, “I’m not religious, you know that. And neither are you. When was the last time you went to Temple?”
Starsky shrugged and shook his head with a self-deprecating smile. “Heck if I know.”
“But I’m… grateful, you know? Thankful. This—” he gestured towards the table, “—felt right.”
“You’ve got it backwards, Hutch. The Todah meal is supposed to be given by the one who was saved.”
Hutch arched an eyebrow and smiled gently.
Oh. Starsky squeezed the hand in his, tight.
“We have lamb, bread, and wine from Reuben’s, which according to Huggy is the best Kosher deli in town,” Hutch went on. “This isn’t strictly traditional, though. You don’t keep Kosher, and neither does Rachel, so we’re having non-Kosher food, as well,” Hutch said.
“Tradition is what we make of it,” Starsky said, nodding his approval.
“Thought you’d say something like that,” Hutch said drily. “Huggy brought a roast turkey and all the fixings, too.”
“Aw Hutch, now I know you do really love me.”
“Of course I do, mushbrain. That doesn’t mean you can eat before the other guests arrive, though, so cool your jets.”
“You’re mean,” Starsky said, the quick kiss he gave Hutch taking all the sting out of his words.
“Hey, Hutch? Happy Thanksgiving.”
“Aleikhem shalom, Starsk.”
Rise up this mornin’, smiled with the risin’ sun
Three little birds pitch by my doorstep
Singin’ sweet songs of melodies pure and true
Sayin’, this is my message to you:
Don’t worry about a thing
‘Cause every little thing gonna be alright
Singin’, don’t worry about a thing
‘Cause every little thing gonna be alright.
—Bob Marley and the Wailers, “Three Little Birds”
Note: All references to Jewish words, phrases, and customs were researched to the best of my ability, but if I’ve blundered, please accept my apologies. Feedback to correct any such errors would be greatly appreciated.
Satin sheets, lube that heats
It’s time to play in our bedroom
Push in deep, push in deep, hear you scream, hear you scream
Soon I will cum with you too.
I will nail you in the kitchen
Dressed in my Santa hat
In the air there’s the odor of lustiness
You start laughing when I kiss you
Cause I’m tickling your balls
Thank God no one can hear through our walls.
This is gonna be the coolest Christmas Eve party anybody’s ever seen, I thought, watching Anita, Diane, and all my other ‘elves’ scurry around. I’d gotten the biggest tree I could find, set it up in the corner farthest from the bar, figuring it would be out of the way of any falling-down drunks, and we’d been decorating it all day. Anita was hanging the last of the tinsel and I had to admit, it was a mighty fine Yuletide spectacle.
“What d’ ya think, Huggy?” she called, flinging a final few aluminum strands onto the already gaudy display.
“Lookin’ good, everybody,” I shouted. “Just the little stuff left to do now. First eggnog’s on me, when the party starts.”
Hoots and hollers were heard throughout the room and back in the kitchen. Oh, we are gonna run through the ‘nog tonight.
There was plenty of room underneath the evergreen for presents and those had been showing up, one or two at a time, until there was quite a pile now. As soon as everyone from Metro got off work and made their way here, I was pretty sure it would be an impressive accumulation. My brothers and sisters in blue always remembered their Huggy Bear and his helpers. Even if they didn’t always pay their bar tabs in a timely manner.
“Huggy, what do you think we…?” Dianne’s question was interrupted when the back door flew open.
December 22nd- White Christmas: A Starsky and Hutch Christmas Card Part 3 by Mvernet and Spencer5460
Starsky pulled the Corvette into a parking space near the entrance of the ski lodge. It was opportunity rather than luck that created the convenient spot, since the normally full lot was nearly empty. Hutch pointed out K.C.’s car with its Nevada plates parked nearby. But Starsky was looking toward the entrance of the lodge with a frown.
“Something’s missing,” he announced.
“You mean, besides guests?” Hutch asked.
“Yeah. No decorations. No wreaths on the doors. Nothin.'” Starsky had expected there would be some changes to the place without Edith’s steady hand on the helm, but the lack of Christmas decorations made him cringe.
“His first Christmas without Edith has to be hard. Maybe we could give him a hand,” Hutch suggested.
It only took a moment for Starsky to light up at the idea. “Yeah! We could do it up proud. A little garland here, a little tinsel there. Just like old times at the department!”
Hutch smiled. It was nice to see Starsky finally excited about something, although personally, Hutch didn’t have much interest in decking the halls this year either.
As earthquakes go, it wasn’t all that impressive. Hutch had lived in Southern California long enough to know the vagaries of plate tectonics, not to mention the subtle differences between a three on the Richter scale and a four. This one had to be slightly over four—possibly a four point two—lasting close to twenty seconds with a series of sharp jolts and a bit of rolling in the middle. The windows rattled noisily and the pile of Christmas cards slithered off Hutch’s desk onto the floor. Plus, there was that awful rumbling sound, like a far away freight train advancing rapidly.
Tossed bodily onto Starsky by a particularly rough jolt, Hutch grabbed the back of the couch with both hands. Starsky jerked to his feet as if about to run for the supposed protection of a framed doorway.
The shaking abated. The lights flickered. The TV screen went to snow and then blinked out as the power cut off abruptly just as Ebenezer Scrooge proclaimed his fear of the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come.
Now, stillness settled over the apartment, a weird sense of peace as if the Earth was apologizing for its tantrum. Hutch knew without any kind of geological insight that this was a random quake. There would be no aftershocks.
“Fuck,” Starsky said succinctly, sitting down. “Now we won’t get to see the end of the movie.”
“You’ve seen A Christmas Carol,” Hutch said absently, straining to hear beyond the walls of the building. For what, he wasn’t sure. People injured or in distress? Catastrophe? Despite the power outage, he knew that most Bay City earthquakes caused little to no damage. Didn’t stop his galloping heart rate.
The dark seemed weirdly darker than usual, especially since it was only five pm. Starsky’s illuminated watch glowed overly bright in the blackness.
“You’ve seen that movie every year since you were ten. You said so yourself,” he finished his own statement to give some sort of semblance of normalcy to the evening. Should he be doing something useful rather than sitting here next to Starsky on the couch?
There were no screams coming from the street. No annoying car alarms set off by the vibrations from the shifting ground. So why did Hutch feel so off-kilter? As if he were meant to do something different. Something new.