This story appeared in the zine "Casa Cabrillo". Special thanks to SHaron for having it transcribed. The author is not on the internet and doesn't have email. Comments on this story can be sent via snail mail to Flamingo, PO Box 823, Beltsville MD 20704-0823, and will be forwarded to the author.
Work, Work, Work
The sky was blue, the sunshine agreeably warm, and the smog had settled somewhere between the San Gabriel Valley and Las Vegas. A startlingly red Torino pulled up in front of Metro Division, and before it was even parked, the passenger door opened, and a tall blond practically jumped out. From his expression it was obvious he and the driver had been in a heated discussion. He slammed the car door and strode toward the steps.
The second man followed suit, his slightly shorter legs actually taking longer strides to catch up. "I don't see why you're so upset," he said querulously. "All I asked was why you had to get here so early."
The blond, now at the top of the steps, turned and glared at the other man. "Starsky, we're supposed to be here at eight. It's now eight-thirty. What the hell makes you think we're early?" There was a note of patient exasperation in his voice as though they had been through this exercise many times before.
Starsky reached the top step and pushed past his partner. "Hutch, today is Wednesday, we don't have to be in until nine on Wednesdays, so naturally I..." He broke off as a trio of young lovelies came out of the first room off the entrance, chattering and giggling. They were slender and tan, figures curved where curves counted, and each one sported a white t-shirt over her pants or skirt. They drifted toward the elevator, preening like bright birds while they waited.
The effect on the detectives was immediate: Starsky openly admiring, Hutch bug-eyed and red faced. Hutch glanced wildly up and down the hall, then sidled along the wall, studying the wanted posters. Starsky turned to stare at his partner for a moment, shook his head and went right back to admiring the ladies.
As they reached the knot of girls, one of them turned to stare at the two men. She gave Starsky a wide smile, then cocked her head slightly as she examined Hutch's features. Her eyes grew round, and she plucked at the sleeve of the girl next to her. Their chatter subsided at once, and they moved away, standing behind the detectives. The logo on their t-shirts was quite readable:
CHARLEY! HE'S MORE THAN COLORFUL!
"Hey, Hutch, ya see that?" Starsky poked Hutch in the ribs. "Dig their shirts -- Charley Pride Fan Club." He grinned over at his partner, but Hutch's nose was still pressed to the wanted posters. "Isn't that great? Imagine, Charley Pride fans here!"
Hutch's mouth dropped open, and he met the glance of one of the young ladies, then looked away. "Right," he said in a strangled voice, "Charley Pride -- he's a great singer." He began examining the dust on the wanted posters.
One of the girls drew near to Hutch, ran her fingers slyly up and down his back, then whispered something to her two friends. Starsky frowned, but was too engrossed in the girl's actions to study Hutch's reaction.
His partner's face was now beet red, and he punched the elevator button savagely. Almost as soon as his finger left the plate the doors slid open and another bevy of girls got out, shoving past the waiting group.
Starsky gawked. There were four more shirts, each identical to the ones worn here. "What the hell's goin' on? I didn't know Pride was that popular at Metro."
"He's not," Hutch muttered glumly under his breath. He began to study the dust on the rungs of the chairs.
A stunning brunette was the last to leave the elevator. Her glance swept over the grim-faced Hutch, and she whistled appreciatively, sliding her eyes over his chest. "Guess it's true, huh?" she asked suggestively.
Hutch ducked his head, and the girl shrugged as he turned away, but Starsky saw the dark eyes shrewdly appraise his partner's rear as Hutch went to the back of the lift. The three lovelies who'd been waiting with them got on and pushed back as far as they could. Starsky heard Hutch groan when the doors closed, and he frowned. Why were the girls ignoring him? He'd bathed, shaved and had better buns than his partner... so why the fascination with Hutch all of a sudden?
Inspiration struck and he turned to the nearest girl, a typist from R&I. "Where'd ya get the shirt? I'd like one. I'm one of his biggest fans." He waited for her reaction. It was immediate. Her face went blank for a moment, then she gave him a huge smile. He felt warm all over. He was on the right track, hit 'em in their interests.
"Yeah," he continued, warming up to the subject. "As a matter of fact we're what you might call a..."
"Shut up, Starsk."
"I said, shut up! You don't want one of those shirts!" There was a warning note to Hutch's voice that set Starsky's teeth on edge, and his chin jutted out.
"I do too! I happen to think Charley's one of the all time great..."
"Jesus! Will you close that big mouth?"
The girls were now all on one side of the elevator, mouths open, eyes huge, and Starsky's chest swelled. They were fascinated by his loyalty, he just knew it. Well, he'd show them how loyal he really was. "Hey, I'm not ashamed to be a fan! What's the matter... afraid these lovely ladies will like me better than you? That's it, isn't it? You're jealous!"
From Hutch's reaction he knew he had struck a nerve. Hutch was an interesting shade of purple. He nodded at his partner and winked at the girls.
"Now, where can I get one of these?"
Before anyone could answer, the elevator came to a halt, and the door slid open. It was Minnie. She had a pleased grin on her face that Starsky noticed disappeared when she saw Hutch behind him. As a matter of fact, Minnie looked downright mortified. She was carrying something that was soft and white over her arm, and Starsky thought he knew what it was. He reached out to grab her arm. "C'mon, we've got to get upstairs. Dobey'll have a fit. Oh, whatcha got, Minnie?" He grinned at her and poked Hutch in the ribs. "See, even our Minnie is one of Charley's fans. Hutch, this is the biggest thing to hit Metro. Why, I've got a mind to..."
"No you don't."
"Don't what? You didn't even let me finish." He stared at his partner.
"You don't have a mind, or you'd forget all about this." Hutch's eyes were on the elevator ceiling, and he obviously wasn't going to say hello to Minnie.
"Hey! Where do you get off talking like that? Why, I'd be willing to bet every one of these beeyootiful ladies would just love to spend an evening with Charley. He really knows how to move ya." He looked a lovely redhead in the eyes, and she smiled at him. "Right?"
She nodded, but Starsky noticed that her glance was sliding over toward his partner. "Umhmmm. Charley's always made me move." He saw her wriggle her hips seductively and frowned. Looking over at Hutch he growled, "Must be that new aftershave you're wearin'. What's the name of it?"
A firm hand gripped his arm. "Fifth floor, let's get out now!"
He started to protest, but when he saw Minnie wink at him, he thought better of it. He pushed Hutch out, and asked Minnie in his most persuasive tones, "Minnie, can't you tell me where you got that shirt? I really want one." He saw her clutch the shirt tightly but managed to wrench it from her and held it up, shaking out the wrinkles. This one was different... it had the words THIS OLD THING? and an arrow pointing south. He stared at Minnie who was staring at Hutch who was staring at the dust on the chair rungs again.
"I don't get it. This Charley's latest song?"
He heard a groan and out of the corner of his eye saw his partner striding down the hall as fast as his long legs would take him. Two of the girls had crowded to the front of the elevator and were watching him.
"Sure moves nice, doesn't he?" one of them murmured.
"Mmmm, I'd like to see that on the late show."
Starsky felt his face redden. This was too much! Here he was, ready, willing and able, and all they could do was stare at the south end of his partner. He knew that the ladies liked Hutch, but he was a fan with definitely the same interests at heart.
"Do they have a shirt that says, 'He's my Pride?'" he asked Minnie, still holding the elevator door. Minnie nearly choked as she grabbed back her shirt.
"Honey, if you find one, don't wear it to work. That partner of yours will..."
"Never mind him," Starsky said impatiently. "Just tell me who's selling the goddamn things." He looked deep into the redhead's dark eyes and announced clearly. "I want whatever they've got. Price is no object!"
The girls dissolved into laughter.
Minnie's fingers slapped across his mouth, and she hissed, "Bigelow's selling them. And, honey, while you're at it, you'd better get a copy of that tape that's being used in evidence at the trial!" Without another word she withdrew her hand, pried his fingers off the door and, as the elevator closed, smiled sweetly at him. "Starsky, watch that pretty hide of yours."
All Starsky wanted to do was find a reason to get to the lower level where Bigelow was holed up. He should have known that someone like that would corner the market. Bigelow was known for his raffles, chances on Japanese TV's and exotic French pictures. As he headed for the squadroom he made up his mind to get a shirt for Hutch. Maybe that would make his partner less jealous. Even if he didn't wear it, he wouldn't feel so left out. Yep, that's what he was going to do. Poor ol' Hutch. The big blond wasn't used to being second fiddle with his partner. Whistling, he pushed open the squadroom doors and grinned at Hutch.
"Found out who's sellin' the shirts," he announced happily. "Guess who?"
For the first time he saw an interested expression cross Hutch's face. "Oh, and who's that, Starsk?" A smile, warm and brilliant, appeared.
"Bigelow, that's who! Can you imagine that little creep wanting to impress all the ladies that much? Why, I'll bet he doesn't even know anything about Charley's..."
He stopped in mid-sentence. Hutch was already headed for the door, wallet in his hand. Starsky's stomach lurched. He was going to get skunked again. Hutch was going to buy all the shirts and deal direct with the ladies. Goddamn it to hell! He jumped to his feet, sending a pile of papers to the floor. "Hutch! Wait for me! That's not fair. I want to get them. I want to sell them. We'll become rich! I know, I'll ask my uncle about a franchise. We'll go national! No, international! Hutch, wait up... listen to me! Between us, Charley'll become a household name. Aw, come on, Hutch. Where's your sense of American free enterprise? I'll make a deal with you -- sixty-forty, and I'll buy all the shirts wholesale! Hutch, I'll even sell 'em door to door..."
He stopped in his tracks. Something was definitely wrong. Hutch had turned around and was heading back in his direction, eyes flashing. Starsky suddenly felt it was extremely important to put some distance between himself and his partner. Jesus, how was he supposed to know that Hutch was going to be that jealous? As he ran down the hall with Hutch at his heels, he flashed a grin at one of the secretaries who was wearing a Charley shirt. "Hi! I'll give ya ten bucks for that," he said as he passed her. "What do ya say?"
"Shut up, Starsky!" he heard Hutch roar. He ran faster, wondering why he was doomed to go through life on a cop's salary. All he wanted to do was make sure he had a few bucks when he retired... and his dumb partner was acting like a nut. He rounded a corner, eyeing several more t-shirted ladies. Boy, this was better than pyramid power; he had to get in on this.
He could hear Hutch's thudding boots close the distance and he ran on, his mind forming new ideas. Biggy was the one he had to see. Yeah, ol' Lover Boy. Maybe he would give Biggy a couple of his phone numbers for the information about his secret. On his day off, when Hutch was busy, he'd sneak back, corner Biggy and make a killing. He rounded another corner heading for the front steps. Hutch was still pounding behind him, but his brain was working too fast for anything. He'd need some new logos; the gals would get tired of the same old thing day after day. He sucked in a breath of air and ran down the steps. Sure, CHARLEY MAKES ME SING...! That would be a great one. Bound to get some new customers with that. Just wait until his partner saw the shirt he was going to get made specially for him. Oh, Hutch would forgive him... probably wear it all the time... they were going to be rich. He just knew it! And maybe he'd get his uncle to back them with a 1ine of clothes... sort of like Johnny Carson's deal. Davey Starsky's??!! Hell, you had to start somewhere, and t-shirts were just right!
Little boy Starsk
Don't blow your cover!
Your partner's doing time
As a lanky Texas lover
Where is the blond with the ever-present smirk?
He's under the covers doing 'work, work, work'!