Across the crowded squadroom, Hutch negotiated
the obstacle course back to their cluttered desk, as he performed his
juggling act with three manila files and two very hot coffee mugs. Starsky
spoke without looking up from the typewriter: "Someone left a note for
Hutch showed no particular interest in the
information. Instead, "Would you hold this please?" he requested
politely, pushing the mugs in Starsky's direction at the same moment as his
partner held out an envelope.
"Only got two hands," Starsky commented
routinely. He saved the bulging files as they began to slip to the floor,
took one mug and waved the note under Hutch's nose.
"Just put it down, huh? Why're you making
such a production of it?"
"Aren't you gonna read it?"
The telephone rang: Starsky returned to the
typing as the talk went on. And on. Eventually, Hutch replaced the receiver
and began checking the notes he'd made during the conversation.
"Want me to read it to you?" Starsky's
helpful question broke in. Hutch glanced at his neglected correspondence,
still lying beside Starsky's coffee mug.
"Sure," he approved. "Why not?
Who's it from?"
Starsky had the note unfolded after the first
word. "Bigalow," he announced, as he took in the contents.
"Bigalow? -- hey -- give me that --"
"It's only a couple lines," Starsky
said, passing it over. "'Tonight...7:30...remember your make-up this
time.' End of message." He watched as Hutch read, too.
"Tonight?" he questioned. "Makes
three evenings this week."
"So? I got a quota."
"I'm supposed to know where you are at all
times," Starsky stated virtuously.
Hutch pushed the intervening files aside and
leaned forward across the desk. "Starsk," he began earnestly,
"don't you ever feel you want to do something more exciting with your
off-duty time? Enlarge your experience? Extend your range?"
"Already do. All the time."
"Yeah...." Hutch could not challenge
that. "But -- you ever look at the bulletin board? Really look at it, I
Starsky sent a puzzled glance over his shoulder
to the board through which the Department communicated with itself. It was
buried beneath a million notices -- plans, appeals, invitations, offers,
bargains, assorted and unsolicited opinions on a variety of subjects. He
turned back to Hutch, unconvinced.
"Try it," Hutch urged again.
"There's a lot more to working here than work."
Starsky remained unimpressed. "You mean like
Landau's old car for sale?" he asked.
"Social life. Amenities...."
"I already got those set up."
"Clubs, Starsk. Societies. You got no idea
how much this Department can offer you...all the games teams...you know
there's a choir? And -- uh -- stamp collectin' an' all...."
"Forget the commercial. Which one d'you
pick? You're trying to tell me something -- right?" Starsky regarded
Hutch gazed back. "They cut my
line...." Old sorrows and ancient griefs were echoed in his tone.
"Oh. Really got to ya, didn't it?"
"I'd told everybody. Besides -- the
theater.... Then there was this notice on the board there. Brought it all
Starsky sipped coffee, silently assimilating the
hitherto unvoiced aspirations, brooding over the new world they were opening
"You wanna talk about it?" he invited.
"You're really going on the stage? What's the show?"
"Shakespeare," Hutch announced with
simple pride. From the recesses of the desk, he produced a tattered script.
"Here -- 'Macbeth'."
"Close," Starsky commented. "Was
McCoy before. Any relation?"
"I don't actually have the title role."
Starsky began to look interested. "Can
"No way. You have to audition -- they can be
"They took you -- right? Any
"How about third peasant?
Spear-carrier?" He intercepted the indignant glare, and added,
"Everyone has to start somewhere."
Starsky's attention was on the script. "I
need a little scope...be wasted otherwise. Cast list?...here...three
witches...a bloody sergeant...."
"They call it type-casting," Hutch put
Starsky let that one go by. He looked up, eyes
bright with possibilities. "A ghost...bet I could do a ghost!"
"Guess I might have a little pull with the
production team," Hutch said casually. "Might convince them to
give you a trial run. Biggy's stage manager -- helps to have someone in
Requisitions do that. If you could just bring yourself to be a little nicer
Starsky didn't answer, absorbed again in the
pages he was turning. "Action-packed, isn't it?" he remarked.
"I'm not even at the end and you know how many killin's there are
already? Black magic...sick spells...a crazy lady...all this sex and
violence...You sure your mother would like you to be doing this?"
"It's cultural," Hutch said with
dignity. "Everybody knows it's okay when it's art."
Starsky finished his coffee, closed the script
and handed it back. "So -- you're going through with this?"
"Beats the hell outta bowling. Costume
rehearsal next week -- have to get some stuff together."
"Dressing up? Really getting into your part,
huh? What you gonna wear?"
Hutch seemed somewhat vague. "Robes,"
he suggested finally, producing a rough sketch which Wardrobe had provided.
Starsky studied the picture. "You could say
basic," he commented. "Looks easy to do though -- couple of those
old blankets from your car trunk and a few pins ...." He passed the
picture back. "I'll be there," he decided. "Hold your
Hours later, rehearsal broke up. Starsky had
enjoyed every minute; his participation had been whole-hearted and
wide-ranging...cheering from the sidelines, acting as a human cleat behind a
precarious flat, throwing a lurid purple spotlight on his partner, and, to
crown the evening, standing in for the absent ghost of Banquo.
"A novel interpretation," the
fascinated producer had observed. "You have an unusual approach."
Starsky looked pleased. "Thanks. But I think
I did my best work as lead tree in that woodsy scene."
Minnie, sharing responsibility for props and
ticket sales, joined the little group as goodnights were said. "Looks
like a sell-out," she announced happily.
"Yeah?" Hutch appeared to see the
situation as a personal tribute. He smiled a deprecating smile. "Yeah
well I do have a little professional experience," he mentioned,
His hearers looked suitably impressed, and the
second witch, a pretty girl from R and I, remarked, "They're
considering 'Hamlet' for the next time. Maybe Ken and Dave should stick with
us for that one."
Starsky's glance met his partner's...where might
this lead?...an alternative to those crazy Bolivian schemes?
"Sure," he agreed. "Good
storyline. I'm Roscencrantz -- he's Guildenstern."