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Disclaimer: If this is the wrong thing to do...I don't wanna be right.

Boys Will Be Boys

The stakeout couldn't have been more boring. Not that a boring stakeout was a bad thing. Easy money, were stuck in a car for eight hours with a bored partner. In particular an overactive, well rested one named Dave Starsky. Then a boring stakeout became a test of one's patience and sense of humor. Hutch's supply of both was rapidly running thin. To top things off it had decided to rain. Not a brief shower or a light drizzle but a steady downpour. The kind that promised flooding and mudslides.

Usually Hutch had to roust his partner out of bed and bribe him with breakfast to get him out the door. Especially when the day held nothing more than watching the back of a warehouse for hours. This day had started with the dark-haired detective bounding from his apartment as soon as Hutch's battered Ford had pulled into the space behind the Torino.

Starsky slid into the front seat shaking the rain out of his hair like a wet dog.

"Hey, hey!!" Hutch spluttered. "Wanna keep that to yourself?"

"What?" Starsky slouched against the passenger door and lifted his feet from the floor to stick his dripping Adidas on the dash near the steering wheel. Putting his hands behind his head he sighed deeply, a satisfied grin on his face.

Hutch wiped the water from the sleeve of his leather jacket. "What is up with you?" He spaced his words carefully, already exasperated with his partner.

"Friday...wonderful, beautiful Friday. Soon to be followed by Saturday and Sunday. This will be the first weekend we've had off since..." Starsky shrugged.

"You got big plans?" Hutch was almost afraid to ask. 'Big plans' to Starsky could be beer and the Creature Double Feature.

"Not yet." Starsky's grin widened and he wiggled his eyebrows.

Hutch eyed his partner warily. "You have something in mind, don't you?" Before Starsky could answer he continued, "Count me out, I have plans."

Hutch didn't have plans but the look on Starsky's face made him immediately suspicious that whatever scheme was brewing was sure to be bad for his health or his reputation. Maybe both.

"Suit yourself." Starsky shifted his feet over to the dash in front of him, drawing his knees almost to his chin. He reached for the radio to log them in.

Hutch put the car in reverse and backed rapidly. The quick move over-balanced Starsky who ended up on his back on the seat, his feet now on the passenger side window, his head damn near in Hutch's lap. He stayed there.

"Zebra three to Base."

"Go ahead Zebra three."

"Zebra three is 10-8."

"Copy Zebra three, stay dry."

"Roger that, Base. Zebra three out."

"You gonna stop for coffee?" Starsky asked looking up at Hutch from his prone position.

"I guess so..."

A little further down the road Hutch pulled into a local coffee shop. Starsky had righted himself on the seat and was drawing tic-tac-toe games in the condensation on the window. Hutch started to remove money from his wallet but Starsky stopped him with a hand on his arm.

"My treat," he said, opened the car door then sprinted through the rain into the shop.

Hutch shrugged and put his wallet away. He tuned the radio to the news. The weather was the big story of the day with little else happening of any note. He was glad to hear that the rain was supposed to taper off by evening and the weekend weather looked fabulous. Maybe he would make a few calls during the day and see if he could find someone long-legged and shapely to spend some time with.

He caught sight of Starsky balancing two cups of coffee and several bags of goodies, one he held in his mouth. Hutch reached across the seat and shoved opened the passenger door. Starsky slid into the seat and motioned with his head for Hutch to take the bag from his teeth.

"You planning to feed the entire city?" Hutch took the bag and peered into it. Steam rose from the container within, the aroma distinctly spicy.

"Chili?" Hutch queried and made a face. "For breakfast?"

"Hey, that's mine." Starsky traded bags with Hutch. "This one's yours. Multi-grain bagel and a banana. Yuck."

Hutch took the bag, fished out the banana then peeled it and took a bite. "You're not really gonna have chili for breakfast, are ya?"

"Breakfast of champions." Starsky declared and produced a plastic spoon from under his blue windbreaker. He tucked a paper napkin into the neck of his t-shirt and removed the lid on the container. He sniffed the steam that wafted up and took a spoonful. "Mmmm...mmm...mmmm. Delicious."

Hutch rolled his eyes and put the car into gear. He eased the LTD into traffic. "I swear, Starsk, your guts are gonna fall out before you're forty."

"But I'll die a happy man."

At the warehouse Hutch pulled the LTD in close to a dark sedan parked strategically so that the occupants could see both the entrance and the loading docks. He rolled down his window and smiled at the driver of the sedan. "How's it goin', Charlie?"

"Quiet, Hutch," the man replied. "Just like last night, only wetter."

"We got it from here, Charlie. Great day for sleeping. Enjoy it."

"Mornin', Starsk. See ya around Hutch." Charlie waved and pulled the sedan from its parking space.

Hutch backed the Ford into the same space and settled into his seat. He glanced at Starsky. "You want the first watch?"

"Nah, I'll take the second gig this time."

Hutch pulled out the binoculars and a small notebook. All they had to do is note who came and went from the warehouse. No more. If they could get a license plate number that was a bonus.

Starsky finished his chili and belched softly. He pulled a huge coffee-roll from another bag and began tackling it with gusto.

"Jeezus, Starsk, you got a tape worm or something? I think your makin' me sick."

"Man cannot live by chili alone. I got a couple candy bars too. Want one?"

"No!" Hutch was aghast. "No thanks."

"Ya know, Hutch, I read that ya hafta eat frequent meals to stay healthy." Starsky nodded knowingly at his partner. "Otherwise your metabolism slows right down."

"Oh, I see." Hutch rolled his eyes. "So that gives you license to eat everything in sight?"

"Really. I mean it. If you don't eat enough your body will think there's a shortage of food and whammo!" He banged the dash for emphasis. "Ya stop burnin calories."

"Where did you read this piece of health wisdom?"

"A very reliable source."

"Uh huh."

Starsky finished the coffee-roll and awkwardly clambered into the back seat. "Okay, don't believe me. Keep eatin' all that starvation food. Tofu, bean sprouts, eyes of newts. You'll be sorry when your metabolism stops dead in its tracks."

"What are ya doin' back there?"

"Burnin' calories. Is that okay with you?"

"Fine, just fine." Hutch kept his eyes on the warehouse.

Starsky stretched out on the back seat, already bored. He rummaged with one hand amongst the debris on the floor and came up with a wire coat hanger. He unwound the hanger, turning it into a straight piece of wire with a hook on one end. With the hooked end he proceeded to 'fish' various items off the floor then, with a new inspiration, he tickled Hutch's neck. Hutch reached up and rubbed his neck where the wire had touched him. Starsky just barely touched Hutch's ear with the wire producing the same results.

Hutch caught on to the game. "Starsk," he warned. "Knock it off."

"What?" Starsky feigned innocence.

"Your gonna poke my eye out with that thing. Knock it off!"

"Okay, okay." But he had to tickle him one more time. Hutch grabbed the wire and yanked it away from his partner. "Honestly, Starsk, sometimes you really act like a two year old."

Starsky made a face at the back of Hutch's head then threw an old coffee cup at him. It was going to be a very long day. He tried to close his eyes and sleep but he was too well rested. After a moment he sat up and hung his arms over the seat. "Anything happening?"

"Not a thing," Hutch reported. "Didn't you bring anything to read?"

"Nah, I finished the book I was reading."

"How To Influence People With Your Immature Behavior?"

"Ha ha. Very funny. I was reading a novel by Steven King. Scared the daylights outa me."

"Mr. Godzilla Vs. Rodan scared by a book? Must be some book."

"Vampires and evil stuff. Got me all creeped out."

"Your not wearing garlic, are you?"

"Nah, I think the chili will be sufficient." Starsky grinned evilly and rolled his eyes.

Hutch froze in the process of writing down a license number. He sniffed carefully. "Don't tell me that chili had beans in it."

"What's chili without beans?" Starsky smiled.

"Ohhh, Starsk, you're impossible." Hutch cracked the window and waved the notebook he was holding in a futile attempt to clear the air in the car. "Out!" he barked at Starsky, pointing to the door.

"It's rainin'," Starsky whined. "You gonna throw me out in the rain?"

"I don't care if it's a monsoon. Go stand in that doorway or put a cork in it. Oh God, that's awful." Hutch wrinkled his nose in dismay.

"Sorry," Starsky snickered. "A little coffee and a little chili for breakfast is bound to take its toll."

"So you pick a nice rainy day when we're stuck in the car to put this combo to the test? You're a real pal, ya know?"

"Uh oh," Starsky's voice barely concealed his mirth.

"Uh oh, what?" Hutch's eyes slowly widened. "Out!" he yelled as noxious fumes filled the car. "Go!"

"Yeeesh, you got no sense of humor, Hutch." Starsky clambered from the car and jogged over to stand under the doorway of the building just behind the LTD. There was barely enough room for him to stay dry. He huddled there until it was time for him to take the watch. It was still pouring when he climbed back into the Ford. "I'm hungry," he complained as soon as he closed the door.

"Starsky, it's only ten. You just finished eating an hour ago."

"I think my metabolism is slowing up." He looked down at himself as if he could see his body slowing down.

"Good." Hutch said. "If we're lucky it'll stop all together."

Starsky took the notebook and binoculars from Hutch. He wiped the inside of the windshield with his sleeve and settled in to watch the warehouse. There was absolutely nothing to note and he soon grew bored with staring into the rain.

Hutch sat quietly behind the steering wheel reading a newspaper.

"Whatcha readin?" Starsky asked, not taking his eyes from the warehouse.

"Paper," Hutch said simply.

"I know that...anything good?" Sometimes Starsky could get Hutch to read an article or two out loud. Anything to ease the boredom.




"This is ridiculous." Starsky shifted in his seat and rubbed his eyes. "We been staring at this stupid warehouse for a week and nothing has happened. Nothing is gonna happen."

"That's not our decision to make," Hutch replied tonelessly.

"Well, I for one am glad this is the last day of this lousy gig. I think my eyes are permanently crossed from staring." Starsky sighed deeply. "Goddamn, boring assignment. Boring, boring, boring...I mean boring like you read about. Seriously boring. Super-duper boring. Extra-ordinary boring. Boring, boring, boring...."

Starsky continued his litany on boredom till Hutch could stand it no more. "Starsk, why don't you go get yourself something to eat? I don't want you to slide into a low metabolic state or anything." He pulled an umbrella from under the seat then took some cash from his wallet. "Here, bring me a turkey sandwich with lettuce and tomato on wheat bread. Take your time. Please."

"You tryin' to get rid of me?" Starsky was indignant.

"Noooo," Hutch answered with mock sincerity, "not at all. The thought never crossed my mind. Now, go play in traffic like a good boy...."

Starsky frowned at his partner but handed over the notebook and binoculars and took the proffered umbrella and cash. He opened the car door with some difficulty, it tended to stick, then headed off into the rain.

Hutch sighed with relief as Starsky headed down the street splashing in puddles like a kid. Now maybe he could have some peace and quiet.

Three blocks away there was a veritable Starsky emporium consisting of a strip mall with a bookstore, a deli, a hobby shop, and an auto supply store.

Starsky spent as much time in each store as he dared, buying another Steven King book, some parts for a model sailing ship he was building from scratch, a book on juggling complete with bean bags for practice, sandwiches and sodas for himself and Hutch and, the piece de resistance, zebra striped seat covers for the Torino. He hustled back to the stakeout knowing he was late, feeling bad he had left Hutch for so long.

"Back so soon?" Hutch asked as Starsky wrestled open the still-sticking passenger door.

"Damn door. Why do you have to drive such a wreck? Isn't it embarrassing to take out a date in this thing? I hope you open the door for them. Your date'll need a chiropractor if you let 'em open it themselves."

"Gosh, and it was so quiet in here a minute ago."

Starsky flopped on the seat then twisted to carefully place the items he had purchased in the back seat of the car.

"What's all that?" Hutch asked.

"Cool stuff...wanna see?"

"I guess so."

"Such enthusiasm, Hutch, you gotta be careful, you might hurt yourself being so enthusiastic."

"Yeah well, you've taught me to be a skeptic."

Starsky immediately retrieved his parcels from the backseat and opened the first bag, showing Hutch the book he bought...

"Steven King." Hutch read the title of the book Starsky held up. "Again...this isn't gonna prompt another chili episode is it?"

"Never know," Starsky replied.

"How To Juggle?" Hutch's eyebrows raised as he looked at the next book Starsky took from a bag. "You mean you don't know how?"

"No, do you?"

"One of my many talents," Hutch winked at Starsky.

"Get out...really?" Starsky was impressed. "You'll have to show me."

"Anytime, Gordo."

"Ahhh, lunch." Hutch smiled as Starsky arranged the sandwiches on the dash. "Turkey for me and...what's that?" He eyed the other sandwich with suspicion.

"Pastrami on rye with mustard and only mustard," Starsky said smugly. "And last but not least...ta da !!!" Starsky pulled the striped seat covers from the biggest bag.

"What the hell are those?" Hutch said slowly, looking aghast.

"Seat covers for my car." Starsky grinned foolishly. "Now we'll even look like a Zebra Three."

"We're gonna look like the circus came to town. That's what we're gonna look like." Hutch sighed. "I suppose you're gonna put them on right away."

"Of course."

"No talking you out of it?"

"Not a chance."

"I'm gonna be really glad when this stakeout is over," Hutch mumbled.

For the next few hours they had lunch and watched the warehouse. When they both were starting to feel sleepy they worked on a little project they kept ongoing when stakeouts were truly boring. They made up dream-teams for all different sports, carefully selecting players dead and alive to fill out rosters, debating the merits of each player and contemplating how well the team would do against a modern team. When they grew tired of that the talk turned to women and they discussed the physical and mental attributes of the 'perfect' girl.

Hutch preferred blondes but hair color wasn't as important as legs. Long, long legs and an athletic body. He liked his women to be down to earth and intelligent.

Starsky was less particular. Not being as tall as Hutch he didn't always go for the leggy types. He liked his women shapely with a good sense of humor.

"So, you got a date this weekend?" Starsky asked Hutch while they were on the subject.

"Nah... well," Hutch amended his answer. "Not yet."

They stopped talking to listen to the weather report. Hutch picked up the paper to read the sports section. It was the last two hours of the stakeout and it was Starsky's turn to watch.

"It's gonna be perfect Hutch, just perfect." Starsky rubbed his hands together in anticipation.

"What's gonna be perfect," Hutch asked from behind the paper.

"The weather, man, the weather."

Hutch bent the top half of the paper towards him just enough for him to see his partner. "Perfect for what?"

"Oh nothing," Starsky said with a new and exaggerated nonchalance. He sniffed and shifted in his seat gazing pointedly out the window.

The radio droned on. Hutch shrugged to himself and continued reading the paper.

"I can hardly wait," Starsky whispered softly to the window.

From behind his paper Hutch cocked his head at the wistful sound in Starsky's voice. It was obvious that Starsky wanted him to ask, 'what for?' He ignored the plaintive tone and returned to reading the paper.

"Yup, I bet I get at least five or six dates, probably meet at least that many babes."

Still behind the paper, Hutch's eyes narrowed.

Starsky continued thinking out loud. "Of course I'll have to plan it just right. Don't want to be too obvious." He yawned. "Yup, too bad you're busy tomorrow, probably be plenty of babes to choose from."

Hutch folded the paper and stared at Starsky. "OK, against my better judgment, tell me what it is your planning to do tomorrow."

"Wax my car."

"Wax your car?"

"Yup. At the beach."

"At the beach?"

"Is there an echo in here?"

Hutch ignored the comment. "Waxing your car at the beach will get you dates?"

"Works every time," Starsky said confidently, "Of course ya gotta do it just right."

"Of course," Hutch agreed sarcastically.

"Gotta park in the right place, play the right tunes. And the waxing, well, that is an art unto itself, has to be done just so." Starsky put his hands out palms away, thumbs together like a picture frame.

"OK, Tom, I get the picture."


"Forget it," Hutch declared. "You are not gonna sucker me into waxing your car."

"Sucker you? You should consider it a privilege."

"Right," Hutch said then added, "Here comes our relief."

A light blue Chevy pulled into the space next to Hutch's car. The driver's window rolled part way down. Hutch did the same. It was still pouring out and neither one wanted to get soaked having a long conversation.

"Pete, Jake." Hutch greeted the two men in the Chevy with a nod of his head.

"What's happening, guys?" Pete, the driver of the car, asked.

"Not a single thing," Hutch answered, "I hope you have plenty of reading material."

Pete held up a book and Jake waved a Playboy Magazine. "We're all set!"

"OK," Hutch said, "we're outa here."

Hutch started the car and headed for Starsky's place. Starsky reached for the radio and logged them off duty for the day. He convinced Hutch to stop at Huggy's for beer and a burger to celebrate the end of the tedious stakeout.

They ate at the bar so they could talk to Huggy as he poured drinks for the busy waitresses. The conversation soon turned to Starsky's car waxing/babe-getting scheme.

Hutch looked into his beer shaking his head and smiling. "Do you believe this scheme Huggy? It's truly a bad con job, Starsk. I'm not buying it for a second."

"To the contrary my fair-haired friend," Huggy said moving in close to Hutch as if to conceal an important piece of information. "Last year Starsk allowed me the honor of participating in the bi-annual waxing of the wicked, red, babe magnet. I came away with twelve new phone numbers for my little black book."

"Twelve?" Hutch was incredulous.

"No lie, my man." Huggy was adamant. "Scouts honor." He held three fingers over his heart.

Starsky sat smiling into his beer. He drained his glass and stood stretching. "Well, partner," he said. "I need to get home and get some shut eye. I'm gonna have a busy day tomorrow. How about it?" He punched Hutch lightly on the arm. "You gonna join me tomorrow?"

"We'll see." Hutch answered noncommittally. He stood and finished his beer, paid the bill and headed for the door.

"Maybe, I'll come by, Starsk." Huggy called after them. "That is, if you don't mind."

"Not at all, Hug. My pleasure. Should be plenty of babes to go around."

Hutch held the door as Starsky swaggered out into the rain. He walked back to where Huggy stood and leaned in towards him.

"You're pullin' my leg, right?" he asked the dark man.

"Hit the beach and see for yourself, Blondie." Huggy winked at Hutch. "It's quite the phenomenon."

Hutch started to comment, eyeing Huggy suspiciously, but changed his mind and headed out of the bar shaking his head.

The following morning dawned bright and clear. The rain had washed the city clean and even the smog was almost non-existent.

Hutch spent the morning straightening his apartment, doing laundry and dishes. By noon he had cracked his first beer and had got on the phone but had little luck finding a date for the evening. He sat and watched a baseball game while having a light lunch.

Finally, curiosity got the best of him and he dialed Starsky's number. There was no answer. While he listened to the unanswered rings at the other end he made a decision. He hung up the phone and stalked into the bedroom to change into swim trunks and a cut off football shirt. He grabbed a towel and filled a small cooler with ice and beer.

"Here goes nothin," he said to himself as he jumped into the LTD and headed for the beach.

He found Starsky and the Torino easily enough. Feeling a bit foolish he parked the Ford out of sight and walked to where he could see the 'phenomenon' take place without Starsky seeing him.

Starsky had the Torino parked in the shade. There were two beach chairs near by with a cooler between them. On the cooler a radio blared top forty tunes. He must have just gotten there as he spent some time fishing rags and wax out of the trunk of the Torino. Finally, he stripped off his t-shirt leaving himself clad in impossibly tight and decrepit cut-offs and his Adidas sneakers. He opened both doors of the Torino then stood on the door sill of the drivers side and began waxing the roof of the car.

As if on cue, a convertible full of beautiful women pulled into the space next to the Torino. Starsky acknowledged them with a nod. Hutch couldn't hear the conversation, but it was full of smiles and hand gestures. Before they headed for the beach one of the girls wrote something on a piece of paper and handed it to Starsky. Taking her hand he gave her a peck on the cheek and whispered something in her ear. She waved back at him as she joined her friends walking towards the beach. He put the paper in his pocket and turned back to waxing the car.

Hutch watched as, a few moments later, a truck pulled up on the other side of the Torino and a buxom woman dressed in cut-offs and a halter top slid out. She swung into the bed of the truck and looked down at Starsky from her high perch, hands on her hips. Starsky stopped waxing and gazed at her, putting his hands on his hips as well, mocking her stance. She threw her head back and laughed. They exchanged a few words then Starsky abandoned the Torino and swung into the bed of the truck himself. After some discussion they both turned and began waxing the roof of the pickup, laughing and elbowing each other.

Hutch had seen enough. He picked up his cooler and, whistling nonchalantly, strolled over to stand between the truck and the Torino. He cleared his throat loudly when Starsky failed to notice him standing there.

Starsky and the woman looked down at him from the truck bed.

"Hutch!" Starsky greeted him happily. "I'd like you to meet Linda. Linda meet Hutch."

Linda leapt from the truck bed to land lightly in front of Hutch. She was near his height and had incredible green eyes and raven hair. She shook his hand firmly. Hutch had to force himself to look into her eyes and not down the front of her shirt.

"Nice to meet you, Hutch," she purred, then looked back up at Starsky "It's awfully hot. How about if we go take a dip before we get started with the rest of this job?"

Starsky shrugged agreement. "Fine by me, Linda. Care to join us, Hutch?" Starsky jumped from the truck and rummaged in the Torino trunk for a towel. Hutch joined him while Linda gathered her own towel from the cab of the truck.

"Whattya think?" Starsky nodded toward Linda.

"Yowza," Hutch said. "She's got big, beautiful..." he held his hands in front of himself in a cupping gesture..."eyes." He finished.

"And I only been here for about 10 minutes." Starsky looked smug. "Wanna try your luck?"

"You betcha," Hutch said with contained enthusiasm. "Get lost while I try this out. I may even start to like this covers and all."

Linda joined them near the trunk and smiled at Starsky. "You ready?"

"Born ready, shweetheart." He grinned back and then to Hutch. "Knock 'em dead, killer." He hung a rag on Hutch's shoulder.

Arm in arm, Starsky and Linda headed toward the water.

Hutch watched their retreating figures until he lost sight of them in the water amongst the other beach goers. He turned back to the Torino, stripped off his shirt, and started in waxing the roof, standing on the door sill just as Starsky had.

"Shouldn't take too long to attract a pretty eye," he thought to himself. "I look good, gotta look better than Starsky."

Nothing happened. No babes in convertibles. No buxom, truck driving beauties. Nothin'. A couple of school girls twittered passed pointing and giggling at the Torino's new zebra striped seat covers. Hutch glared at them. He finished the roof and moved on to the hood and front wheel wells. As he knelt to wipe the haze from the fender he felt a tap on his shoulder. He turned his head to gaze into the bright blue eyes of a white-haired little boy of maybe five years. The kid had a finger firmly up one nostril, digging industriously.

"Whatcha doin', mister?" he asked Hutch.

Hutch watched in silent fascination and disgust as the small boy transferred the finger from his nose to his mouth. He grimaced and looked away. "Scram kid." Hutch said, much more kindly than he felt.

A slightly larger child, a girl of about nine, joined the boy. She carried a dripping ice cream cone in one hand. The other hand, equally sticky with ice cream, she placed on the Torino's fender.

Hutch cringed. "Hey, don't touch that!"

He wiped the hand print off the car and tried to place himself between the little girl and the Torino. Behind him a horn blared, making him jump. He spun to find the little boy sitting in the driver's seat of the Torino, filthy hands on the wheel, and felt his temper slipping.

"Get lost kid," he growled at the little girl, and gently pushed her away from the car. He extracted the boy from the front seat by taking him under the arms and lifting him out. The little kid kicked at him furiously landing blows to his shins and one in the groin. He placed the kid, none too gently, next to his sister on the side walk.

"Git," he growled lowly, trying not to make a scene. "GO."

"You're mean," the boy sniveled up at him.

"Ohhh yeah?" Hutch replied leaning over to glare eye to eye with the boy. "I can be a lot meaner, too."

The little girl took her brother's hand. " Come on, Joey, this guy's a real creep."

As they turned and walked back toward the beach the little boy looked over his shoulder at Hutch and stuck his tongue out.

Hutch returned the gesture then looked quickly around to see if anyone had noticed. "Brat," he muttered to himself.

He went back to the Torino and started waxing the doors. Before he knew it he was humming to the music on the radio and actually enjoying the work. He liked the way the paint gleamed and smoothed with his efforts. He kept an eye on the people passing by but none talked to him. He finished wiping the last bit of haze from the Torino's trunk and stepped back to survey a job well done.

"I think you missed a spot," a familiar voice said behind him.

Hutch turned to protest recognizing Starsky's voice. He stopped opened-mouthed in mid-retort. Starsky stood jauntily holding a beer out to him. On one arm was Linda of the raven hair and cleavage. On the other arm a chestnut-haired beauty with legs that just kept going beamed at him. He raked her with his eyes top to bottom before he could stop himself. Realizing what he had done he snapped his mouth shut and took the beer from Starsky. He downed most of it in one swallow.

"WOW, Hutch," Linda said as her eyes scanned the car. "You didn't have to finish the car all by yourself. Dave and I have been planning this car waxing date for weeks. We would have gotten to it eventually." She looked at him with sympathy. "You must be exhausted. It's awfully hot out here."

It took a moment for what she said to register in Hutch's brain. "Wha...what did you say?" He stammered, tearing his eyes from the long-legged woman, shaking his head.

"It's hot?" Linda repeated confused.

"Before that."

"Dave and I planned to wax the car?" she tried.

"Yeah, that part," he said lowly then shot a dangerous glance at Starsky "You mean you didn't just meet here today."

"Oh gosh, no," Linda admitted, "Dave and I met a couple weeks ago."

Starsky backed a couple steps to put the women between himself and Hutch. "Hutch?" he said, knowing he was in deep trouble and trying to save himself. "I'd like you to meet Cheryl." With an odd grin he peered from behind the woman ready to take flight if necessary. "She's a friend of Linda's."

Hutch ignored Starsky and took Cheryl's hand. "I am delighted to meet you, Cheryl." He raised her hand to his lips. "Charmed," he murmured.

Starsky took the moment to put a few more steps between himself and Hutch. Just in case...Hutch wasn't charmed.

Hutch politely excused himself. "Ladies, if you will wait here for just a moment, I have something to say to 'Dave'." He emphasized the name with a tinge of cold anger.

He stepped between the women, now openly glaring at his partner. "Babe magnet, my ass," he hissed.

"Now, Hutch," Starsky's voice quavered. "What's a little time spent waxing a car? You never hafta wax yours. Least you could do is give me a little help with mine." He took a step backwards. "Just a little practical joke between friends, huh? No harm done? Right? Hutch...? Hutch?"

Hutch advanced on Starsky with a murderous expression on his face.

Starsky continued backing toward the water, trying not to trip in the sand. When Hutch didn't stop he finally lost his nerve, turned and sprinted toward the water. "Huuuuuuuutch!!!" Starsky cried piteously.

Hutch caught him in a flying tackle about knee-deep in the water and into an oncoming wave.