Disclaimer: Starsky and Hutch and other characters and names related to the show don't belong to me. I make no profit from this, just having some fun. Note: This is written in honor of Paul Michael Glaser's birthday. This story is not betaed; so all mistakes are my own.
You can send comments to the author at Par0426@wmconnect.com
I wasn't surprised to get the invitation. I'd known Starsky for a long time, but I hadn't seen him for about 21 years. I'd moved to Louisiana when I finished school in 1985. I hadn't been back to California since. I did keep in touch with my foster family after I settled in Baton Rouge and they let me know news about Starsky and Hutch.
His hair was much shorter and had a touch of gray. He looked as good now as he did in the picture accompanying the announcement of his second marriage that Mom sent me in 1990. I was sorry to hear of the tragic death of his first wife. But he had found the strength to deal with the tragedy, just as he had done when Terri died. Hutch had once said that Starsky was the strongest, bravest person that he knew.
As he made his way around the room, talking to the other guests, I noticed the slight limp that marred his signature strut. After Starsky was shot in May of 1979, he had limped for a while, but as he recovered his strength and with therapy, the limp finally went away. In '83, the limp returned, noticeable when he was over stressed or very tired.
The limp had been one of the reasons he had talked Hutch into helping him to take courses so he could take the lieutenant's exam. He had felt that as time passed, it would become more pronounced. If that were the case, he would be taken off the street. The partners made lieutenant and were sent to different precincts. They remained in different precincts until nearly two years after they'd made captain. The separation on the job only seemed to make the friendship and the bond they shared stronger.
He spotted me and made his way over. His strong arms gripped me in a hug and he planted a kiss on my forehead.
"Hey, kid! Look at you!" he exclaimed as he held me nearly at arms length and looked me up and down. "You're looking good. How've you been?"
"Thanks. I'm doing good," I managed to say before he hugged me again.
"It's hard to believe it been 21 years since you left. I can still see the tomboy we rescued at the old farmhouse. Of course, that tomboy wasn't too evident when you came to tell Hutch and me that you were leaving for Louisiana. And the young lady standing here sure doesn't look like she's a tomboy."
"Dave, you're making the young lady blush," the woman who had come up behind Starsky said. I recognized her from the picture in the wedding announcement. "Hi, I'm Dave's wife, Cathy. I overheard what Dave was saying just now. So, you're Joey. I've heard a lot about you from Huggy Bear, Captain Dobey, Minnie, Dave and Ken. I'm glad to meet you."
I thanked her for inviting me. I looked around the room as we spoke and noticed someone was missing. I didn't see Hutch anywhere.
I couldn't help asking, "Where's Hutch?"
"He won't be able to make it," Cathy answered. "He called from Duluth the other night. His sister is ill. He sent his regrets, but Dave and I understand that he's needed there right now."
I was disappointed that I wouldn't get to see Hutch, and I tried to not let it show. It was Starsky that I'd had a crush on when I was younger, but I liked Hutch, too.
"This is a three-fold celebration," Starsky told me. "We're celebrating my birthday, retirement from the police force, and my new career -- author."
"One book don't make a career," a smooth voice said from behind me. "The Bear don't count that one lucky shot as anything more than a fluke."
I laughed at the remark as Huggy Bear kissed Cathy's cheek and put an arm across Starsky's shoulder.
A lovely African-American woman stood next to Huggy. He turned and introduced her to me as "the lovely Momma Bear," his wife Danielle. We exchanged greetings and the Cathy said she had to make an announcement.
"I'd like to have everyone's attention, please. First, I'd like to thank you all for coming. As the invitations stated, this is a birthday and retirement party. That said, Dave also has an announcement."
"My book 'The Partners' is being released on Friday, April 21. I have advance copies for all of you. There will be a book signing that weekend and I ask that you attend the reception that will follow. I want to thank all of you for your patience with me while I was writing the book. I only hope you can show me the same patience when I write the sequel."
Starsky's announcement was answered with congratulations and wishes for success.
Huggy Bear started telling everyone stories about birthday celebrations for one or the other partner at his establishment, The Pits. He told how difficult it had been for Hutch to keep Starsky from finding out about surprise parties planned in his honor or finding gifts Hutch had hidden. Dobey and his wife joined in telling about the two men's antics.
No one else seemed to notice Cathy sneaking out of the room as the stories were being told. I took a chance and managed to slip out after her. I found her on the deck at the rear of the house. She turned when she heard my footsteps.
"I was afraid it may have been Dave," she said. "I wanted to keep this as a surprise for Dave and most of the guests."
I promised her I would not say anything to anyone. I went back to the party in time to keep Starsky from looking for Cathy.
"Tell me about the book," I said as I steered him toward a chair near the fireplace.
He grinned and told me how he'd gotten the idea for his book when Hutch had launched into a tirade about a book he'd read. The book was filed with inaccuracies about police procedures and investigations.
"Cathy worked hard to organize this party. I blew it being a surprise, though. I told her about the book being released and that I wanted to have a party to celebrate. Only, I had wanted it to be a more private affair," he waggled his eyebrows at the last part, making me laugh. "She told me what she had planned and said we'd keep the book release as a surprise for today."
Cathy came back into the room and asked that all the guests follow her out to the deck. She had set up a wet bar for drinks there and had a cake on the patio table. When everyone had gathered on the deck, Cathy led Starsky to the place of honor.
"Before you cut the cake, dear, there's something I want you to see."
She nodded to someone who walked to the street behind the house and signaled. I worked hard to stifle a smile because I knew what was coming.
A bright, red 1975 Ford Gran Torino with a white stripe pulled into the rear driveway. When the driver stepped out of the car, Starsky's mouth fell open. He stood there gaping at the person who stood beside the flashy vehicle.
"Well, are you just going to stand there, Gordo? It was hard for us to...."
The rest of his statement was cut off when Starsky grabbed him in a hug. "Blintz! This is great! My best friend and my favorite car!"
Hutch explained how he and Cathy found the old car on the Internet and arranged to have it restored. The story of Hutch having to go to Duluth was fabricated to give him an alibi so he could go pick up the car and drive to the party.
Starsky put one arm around Cathy's waist and the other around Hutch's shoulders. "Two of the best things a man can have in his life are a loving family and wonderful caring friends. I have both and they are present here. Thanks to everyone here. Special thanks to my lovely wife," he kissed Cathy as he said this. "And special thanks to this man, my partner, my friend, my brother."
Before Hutch could stop him, Starsky released Cathy's waist, wrapped his arms around Hutch, dipped him, and kissed him. Everyone laughed at Starsky's unexpected move and Hutch's red face.
Both guys signed my copy of the book before I left the party. It wouldn't be right to me if only one name was written there. The names, like the men seem incomplete without the other -- Starsky and Hutch.
March 25, 2006