Comments on this story can be sent to: Huskyandstarch@aol.com
Ó Another Close Call Î
A Post Sweet Revenge Story
I opened my eyes to squint at the clock on the wall; it was almost 7 p.m., way past dinner time. I must have fallen asleep in the chair. As I lifted my head I realized that I still had a whale of a headache. Damn.
As I leaned my head against the back of the chair I saw my partner walking towards me. Almost six months had passed since his shooting and he still walked with an effort. He was sore and stiff and the ever-present pain was still written all over his face.
He had the Tomato's keys in one hand and a jacket in the other.
"And where do you think you are going?" I asked him.
"To go get us something to eat. You wouldn't have fallen asleep like you did if your head didn't hurt you so much. I can tell it still hurts, so stretch out on the couch and let me go get us a pizza."
"Starsk wait, let me throw some water on my face, put my shoes on and I'll go with you."
Starsky gently but firmly pushed me back down in the chair. "Hutch, I'll be okay, Uncle Miltie's is only a few miles away. I won't even have to get out of the car, I'll just do the drive-thru thing. Be back before you know it."
I looked at Starsky closely. He still looked so pale and was entirely too thin. I really didn't want him to go out by himself but, after all, the pizza joint was only minutes away. My headache was easing up some, but stretching out on the couch for a few minutes did sound awfully good.
(Would I ever get over worrying about him? Probably not, but I knew and Starsky knew that it was time for me to ease up just a little.)
"Okay, buddy—but promise me you will just go through the drive-thru."
Starsky stood in front of me and shook his head. He smiled at me. "You're never gonna stop worrying about me, are you, Blondie?"
"Probably not, Dirtball, probably not," I told him.
"Sure, 'Mom' and I won't stop and talk to any strangers and I'll come straight home from school." He patted my shoulder and then walked towards the front door. "Be right back."
"Hey, Starsk, wait a minute, what kind of pizza are you getting? I don't think I can take a 'Starsky Special' tonight."
He stopped in the doorway. "I'll go easy on you. Half the way you like it and half the way I like it. But Lord only knows why anyone in their right mind would want fruit and vegetables on a pizza . . . pineapple, tofu, mangos and that funny looking purple stuff."
I interrupted him. "That funny looking purple stuff is eggplant and it's good for you."
"If you say so." He put his fingers in his mouth and made phony gagging sounds.
I reached over to the couch and tossed a throw pillow at him.
After the door closed behind my partner I realized just how good it had just felt to be kidding around with him again.
His wounds were healing up and so were mine.
I must have fallen asleep on the couch because the clock on the wall read 8:30 p.m.
"Starsky," I called. "Starsk?"
The house didn't smell like pizza.
(Where are you, partner, don't you do this to me . . . . You should have been back over an hour ago . . . . Can't let you out of my sight for a minute, can I?)
I was talking to myself trying to push back the panic that was manifesting in the pit of my stomach. I reached for the phone to call Uncle Miltie's Pizza when the front door opened.
Starsky just stood in the open doorway. He was holding the pizza in both hands. His face was white as a sheet and the hands holding the pizza were shaking.
It took me only a few steps to reach him. "Hey, buddy, what's wrong? You look pale as a ghost." I took the pizza from him and sat it on a nearby chair. "Come over here and sit down."
I guided him over to the couch and made him sit down; I sat down beside him. He looked terrible. Something had really shaken him up.
"Hey . . . partner, you're scaring me, talk to me."
"Oh God, Hutch, I almost hit a kid." He had his hands in his lap and they were still shaking.
"Easy, Starsk. Want to tell me what happened?" I spoke soothingly to him as I pulled him a little closer to me, keeping my arm around his shoulders.
"I . . . I was on my way back home with the pizza . . . . Ya know where that park is with all the swings and stuff for the kids? This dog ran across the road dragging his leash. The next thing I know this little girl runs right out in front of the car. I just missed her, Hutch." He shook his head back and forth. "Don't think she even realized how close she came to getting killed, just kept running after the dog. By then I was shaking so hard that I had to pull over to the curb and catch my breath . . . my chest still hurts."
"Oh Starsk, why didn't you call me? I'd have come and got you."
"Hutch, you had such a bad headache . . . and I didn't want to seem like a baby. I just sat there until I calmed down enough to drive the rest of the way home." He held up his hands, they were still shaking. "Guess the pizza's ruined by now . . . it did a nosedive unto the floorboard of the car when I slammed on the brakes back there. Sorry."
"Forget about the damn pizza; I'm more concerned about you. Lay your head back against the cushions and take it easy. You said the little girl didn't even know what almost happened. She's okay and you're okay and that's all that matters." I tried to lighten up the conversation a bit. "Looks like I can't let you go anywhere by yourself without you getting into some kind of trouble."
That got a smile and a chuckle out of my partner. The color was beginning to come back into his face. With my arm still around his shoulders we got up from the couch and walked over to where I had hastily placed the pizza.
All the toppings had slid to one side of the box. It was stone cold by now.
(Thank God the only casualty in this close call was our dinner.)
"Hey, how about I scramble us up some eggs?"
Indigo blue eyes met sky blue eyes . . . both remembering another 'too close call' . . .
I'll have the veal picatta . . . and I'll have the linguini with the clams . . .
Ó Ó Î Î