Author's note: This story is years late in being delivered.
Apologies go to Melodi Rayl who won an original story from me in a raffle we
held to benefit a fan's family. Mel has been incredibly gracious about the
long delay of her story, and I thank her. Of course, she also has to take
some blame as well, since she opened up the story topic to members of
VenicePlace, our Starsky & Hutch slash discussion list. After VP'ers
suggested that the story should contain references to bingo, toupees, and,
well, I don't want to give too much of the plot away, but let us say they
also suggested the location of the sex scene, it's no wonder it took me a
few years to pull it all together into a cohesive whole. Mel, I hope you
enjoy it. It's all your fault. Comments on this story can be sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Torino slid to a screeching halt behind the old black Buick. Starsky braked so hard he nearly ran the passenger side of his car, with Hutch in it, into the left rear fin of the big Detroit monstrosity. But before he could worry about it, Hutch was already out of the car at a dead run without a word of complaint. Both red-and-white doors were left wide open as they pelted after the dark figure racing full tilt away from them.
Hutch had his Python in hand. "He's got a hiding place. If he gets too far ahead of us—"
"We'll lose him again," Starsky finished. He pointed his gun toward the end of the dimly lit alley they were running through. "That door!"
It was almost too dark to see, but a worn place on the old brass doorknob caught a sliver of light from an upstairs window. The door had been closed, but too quickly. It hadn't caught. It was their best bet.
Hutch put his hand on the knob and, standing tall by the door's hinge, pressed against the wall. Starsky crouched low by the jamb, shoulder pressed to the bricks, gun cocked and ready. They struggled to control their breathing. Their eyes met and Starsky gave Hutch a terse nod. Hutch yanked open the door and Starsky went in low, fast, eyes searching the darkness. Hutch was right behind him, going in high. Both guns swept an arc from side to side, covering the area.
Nothing to see. Nothing to hear.
Starsky started to ease forward but Hutch's hand, light on his shoulder, held him in place.
"There." One word whispered. Starsky stared where Hutch pointed. "Listen."
The sound was soft, subtle, indistinct, coming from an area where a thin ribbon of light cut a line against the floor. Double doors, Starsky realized.
He and Hutch moved silently towards the beckoning light. As their eyes adjusted, Starsky realized they were in a warehouse full of empty shelves, a warren for rats and other vermin that hid from the light. Perfect place for their fugitive, Joe "the Sprinter" Walsh. This was not the first time his surprising speed on foot had helped him escape, but Starsky swore it would be the last. The Sprinter was involved in more fencing operations than they could keep track of. If it could be stolen, the Sprinter could fence it. Hutch had estimated that this one felon was worth several million in stolen goods a year. And he'd set up shop in their district. Not for much longer, Starsky thought.
The thin band of light came from a central room in the warehouse, maybe a suite of offices, or a separate storage area rented out to some mail-order business. There were no windows, just a set of double doors leading into the space. They approached the doors stealthily, and listened.
There was noise from inside, but muffled behind the metal doors; Starsky couldn't make it out. He looked at Hutch who shook his head.
"Maybe he didn't go in here," Starsky whispered. "The place is huge. He could be anywhere."
"Look back," Hutch said softly. "Can you see the path? There's a layer of dust everywhere else, but a wide strip of smudged footprints and small tire tracks, like the ones on a hand truck, lead to these doors. He didn't take a side-road."
Starsky squinted. Even in the gloom he could see Hutch was right. There was a heavily trafficked path leading to these doors. The rest of the warehouse flooring was undisturbed. The path ended here as well, not traveling beyond it. Must be the only way in.
As if he'd read his mind, Hutch said, "Let's hope it's the only way out."
"How do we play it?" Starsky asked, even though he knew what Hutch was going to say. You couldn't work with a guy for ten years, sleep with him for four, and live with him for the last three without having a pretty good idea of what he was going to say to almost any given situation.
"There's someone in there," Hutch said. "We don't know who or how many. Backup's at least five minutes away." He holstered his gun. "I'll go in unarmed in case there's civilians. You cover me."
So predictable, Starsky thought affectionately. Even though Hutch was a helluva shot with that canon of his, he had a lot more faith in Starsky's marksmanship and reaction time. Given a chance, he'd always rather draw fire than let Starsky do it.
"No way," Starsky argued. "We've been after this guy for weeks, two steps behind him the whole time. He's armed and dangerous and he knows we are, too. If he's behind that door, we're not walkin' into no garden party. We go in together. Guns drawn. We can apologize later."
Reluctantly, Hutch agreed. Even the White Knight knew good sense when he heard it.
Each of them put a hand on the doorknob of one of the double doors, Starsky taking the right hand door, Hutch taking the left. They held their guns at the ready, aiming at the ceiling for safety. With a nod, they made their move.
Starsky yanked open his door and went in low, yelling, "FREEZE! POLICE!" Aiming his gun into the room, he was ready for anything.
A sharp, heavy thud sounded to his left, and the entire door frame shuddered. Apparently, Hutch's door was locked firmly in place, and when he'd tried pulling his door open, the klutzy blond had slammed into it solidly, rebounding from the power of his strong-arm yank that went nowhere.
Sheepishly, Hutch moved around the locked door to stand behind Starsky. He was holding his nose. "Freeze! Bolice!" he mumbled.
Starsky rolled his eyes.
Finally, he took in the brightly lit environment they'd invaded.
It was a huge, open room, with a small raised stage in the front. There was row upon row of tables in the room, with dozens of people seated at them, hunched over something in front of them, staring at whatever it was in rapt attention. A few of the people near the rear had turned briefly to see what was causing the commotion, but most of the people kept their backs to the two cops, eyes only for the speaker on the small raised platform. A small man of indistinct appearance, he stood there monotonously calling out numbers and letters. The people who had turned to look at them seemed distressed as they missed the next number. They conferred together, then turned and paid attention once more to the man in the front. No one paid any more mind than that to their dramatic entrance. Lucky for Hutch, Starsky thought smugly.
"What the hell . . . ?" Hutch muttered as he lowered his gun.
If Walsh was in this room, finding him was going to be difficult. He was an average looking guy in average looking clothes, and that described most of the people here. Starsky frowned.
"You see him?" Hutch muttered, still touching his nose.
"No. What's goin' on here?"
Before Hutch could answer, a small attractive woman on a motorized cart wheeled up to them. "I'm sorry, but this is a private function," she said tersely. She had a pert nose, bright, dark eyes, brunette hair with a smattering of gray, and a heart-shaped face that belonged to a pixie. But she gripped the handlebars of the cart with the same firm clasp Starsky had seen on the motorcycle cops they knew. It didn't matter that she had to look up at them. She was no push-over. "You'll have to leave," she said in that same no-nonsense tone.
Starsky admired her coolness. They were both still holding their guns. He didn't think she'd measure a full five feet standing up, and if she weighed in at a hundred and ten he'd be amazed. It was a pretty good bet that he and Hutch could take her. Maybe even Hutch by himself. "You the bouncer?" he asked; he couldn't help but smirk.
Her eyes narrowed. "Think I can't handle the job, Curly?" She rolled the cart forward slightly, and Hutch let out a yelp.
Grabbing his shoe and hopping around like a drunken stork, he snapped, "She ran over my foot!"
"Hey look, lady, that's my partner," Starsky said, grabbing onto the handlebars of the cart. He loomed over her small seated form. "You mess with my partner, you've gotta deal with me!"
Instantly, a tiny animal darted out from the floor of the cart from somewhere around the woman's ankles. It scrambled up onto her lap and charged into the basket on the front of the cart with lightening speed. All Starsky saw was brown and gray fur flying and lots of tiny little teeth as the creature—looking something like a rabid Tribble with fangs—lunged at him, forcing him to back off. With regal calm, the woman picked the creature up, cradling it in her arms. It was barking and snarling furiously at Starsky as she soothed it.
Is that a wolverine? Starsky wondered, wishing he'd paid more attention to those National Geographic specials Hutch was always nagging him to watch.
"You were saying?" The woman gave him a charming smile as she restrained the tiny banshee from rending Starsky limb from limb.
"Go on, Starsk," Hutch said, limping around on his wounded foot, "show her how hard you are to deal with!"
Starsky glowered at him. That thing was so small you couldn't even shoot it! He turned back to the woman on the cart, pulling his badge. "Look, lady, I'm a cop. This here is my partner and he's a cop. This badge is our 'get-in-free-anywhere-we-please' ticket. And right now we're after a—"
Suddenly, the nearly indistinct declarations of the man at the podium were halted as a woman in the third row shouted loudly, "BINGO!!! I'VE GOT BINGO!! RIGHT HERE! ME! BINGO!"
Starsky and Hutch looked at each other in dismay as the hall erupted in a smattering of applause and a number of people scurried over to look at the winning ticket.
"How can she have a bingo," Starsky asked Hutch, "when they're not bowling?"
Hutch scowled. "Starsky. We've wandered into a bingo parlor. This really is bingo, not a bastardized version of bowling played by a couple of our ditzy ex-girlfriends."
Hutch had already holstered his gun after suffering his debilitating toe tragedy, so Starsky followed suit. He wasn't ready to admit that they'd lost their quarry, though. He was positive the Sprinter had entered this warehouse, and the only tracks led to this room, so . . . .
"Bingo's not illegal, y'know," the woman on the cart insisted. The small animal in her arms was muttering soft snarls and threatening growls in their direction. Starsky just hoped she wouldn't drop the thing. For all he knew, it could fly. "And we pay tax on the winnings. We even have a license. So what's your beef, boys?"
Starsky was beginning to wonder if being lovers with Hutch was making him lose his touch with the ladies. He drew himself up tall, flashed his most ingratiating smile, and batted his eyelashes at her. Pure teddy bear charm. Worked every time. "Look. Miss . . . ."
The little animal flashed its own rabid smile, showing rows of formidable tiny white teeth. Maybe it was part shark.
Starsky backed up. "We don't care if you're playing bingo here. The truth is, we've followed a criminal into this building. We think he entered this room. We're trying to apprehend him. He's armed, and frankly, pretty dangerous."
The woman shook her head disapprovingly. "Y'know, you're a really cute guy, but I'm very disappointed in you."
Starsky turned to Hutch for a translation only to see a "Huh?" look in his eyes as well.
"In fact, I'm disappointed in both of you. Officers of the Law, and all! Tsk. A lot of folks treat handicapped people as though they're dim-witted. I would've thought the police would be above that kind of thing. Just because my legs don't work doesn't mean my brain doesn't! Am I supposed to believe a cockamamie story like that?" The creature let out a sharp yap in agreement.
It's a dog! Starsky realized. Can't weigh more than 4 pounds . . . and two of those are teeth!
Hutch said dubiously, "She's handicapped?"
"Not so's I've noticed," Starsky said. He was tired of this game. He looked at the cart-driver. "Hey! Mario Andretti. What's your name?"
"Melodi Rayl." She grinned up at him, the smile lighting up her whole face. "This is Emily," she said, indicating the dog. "What's yours, cutie?"
"Oh, brother . . ." Hutch muttered disgustedly.
He ignored Hutch. He still had it. "Starsky, Miss Rayl. Dave Starsky. We're not making this up! We really are in pursuit of an escaping felon. Didn't you see anyone comin' through here lookin' like trouble?"
"Just you two." She couldn't keep the smile out of her eyes now. "But there's a lot of traffic through this place. People come in, play a few games then leave, go out for something to eat, come back . . . ."
"I thought they usually played bingo in churches," Hutch complained, still cranky about his foot.
"This is a church," Mel insisted. "Every Sunday, the Right Reverend Huggy Bear Brown leads his congregation of the First Tabernacle of the Temple of Righteous Compensation. They've got a hell of a choir."
"I'll bet," Starsky said, making a note to talk to Huggy about this later.
"You know, there are detectives in my family," Mel said to Starsky. He smiled at her, suspecting she was putting him on.
"Oh, really?" Hutch said, in a tone that implied he knew he was being taken for a ride.
"That's right. Private detectives. It's a family business. Rayl Detective Agency. 'Nobody trails like a Rayl.' Maybe I can help!"
"Mel," Hutch said impatiently like he always did when some lady was taking a fancy to Starsky, "are these doors the only way in or out?"
"Oh, no," Mel said, turning her cart around and narrowly missing Starsky's foot in the process. "There's another exit up there in the front. It leads to some storage rooms."
Starsky and Hutch glanced at each other. "You thinkin' what I'm thinkin'?" Starsky asked.
"If you're wondering how the hell Huggy has time to run a church with a choir on Sundays . . . ."
"No, you big blintz!" Starsky snapped, losing his patience. "If our man is in this room, he could've easily ducked under these rows of tables and be inching his way to the exit."
As Starsky pointed in that direction, they saw someone scramble out from under the first row of tables and make a break for the backdoor.
Starsky broke to the right as Hutch dashed off to the left, tripping over Mel's rear tire as he did. But he managed to regain his footing and both of them rounded the rows of tables at the front of the room at the same time then raced for the doors.
"HALT! POLICE!!" Starsky yelled as he pulled his gun out of his holster while mindful of the citizens around him. A few heads lifted in their direction, but the caller was still shouting out numbers, and soon they were forgotten as the players focused on their cards.
Starsky pounded after his suspect, hearing Hutch bringing up fast behind him. Distantly, he could hear sirens as their backup began arriving at the scene. Spurred on by the possibility of letting their man escape in front of half the squad, Starsky put on a burst of speed just as the Sprinter pushed through the doors and rounded a corner.
When Starsky turned the corner right behind him, Walsh took a second to fire a shot in his direction, but it went wild. Starsky was gaining on him, and took a chance at a flying tackle, grabbing the Sprinter's ankle on his way down. The two of them slid into a tower of boxes which tumbled down around and on top of them as Starsky struggled to hang onto Walsh's leg.
"Okay, FREEZE!" Hutch shouted, sounding like he was right on top of them. Starsky couldn't see anything with all the boxes around them. He thought the boxes must be empty since they didn't weigh very much.
Walsh struggled, and managed to kick Starsky in his bad shoulder. His arm instantly went numb and Walsh slithered out of his reach.
"Hutch!" Starsky shouted. "I lost him!"
Hutch was grappling with the light-weight boxes, tossing them, trying to unearth their prey.
Starsky swam up through the boxes and their contents—some kind of soft, malleable stuff wrapped in plastic. As he found his feet and broke through clear air he realized one of the things was sitting on his head. Before he could pull it off to see what it was, Hutch was running back the way they'd come, once more pursuing the Sprinter.
I'm gonna kill this guy when I finally catch him! Starsky swore. Hutch glanced back at Starsky as he scrambled out of the imprisoning boxes, and his look of surprise urged Starsky to reach up and pull off whatever it was draped over his head.
It was a wig. No, a toupee. A really thick one with long red hair that some bald guys were wearing to try to look trendy. He must've looked totally weird in this wig-in-a-plastic-bag sitting on his head. No wonder Hutch looked surprised.
Well, word was the Sprinter would fence anything. When Starsky turned over the toupee just before dropping it, he spotted something and stopped to take a better look. The toupee was lined with clear plastic baggies full of white powder.
Starsky glanced around. There were dozens of boxes in this room. Looks like the Sprinter was expanding his inventory. He grinned. Oh, we've got you now, sucker . . . if we can only catch you.
Hutch's plaintive call of, "Starsky!" shocked him into action. He bolted after his partner, barreling back through the doors of the bingo parlor hot on Hutch's heels. Walsh was yards ahead. A track star in high school, the Sprinter was showing them just how he'd earned his name.
If he got through the entrance doors it was a short shot to the exit out of the warehouse. Then he could lose himself in the darkness or go to ground somewhere. They were gonna lose him. Starsky didn't dare fire his gun in this crowded place.
The bingo players were really annoyed now with all the disruption they were causing.
The announcer paused in calling numbers and complained. "Here, now, if you're not playing, you will have to leave the hall!" he said peevishly.
Walsh is too close to the doors! Starsky thought, watching the Sprinter race to the exit. We're not gonna make it! Can't shoot with all these people . . . ! Where's the damned backup?
Suddenly, something wheeled out of a corner, darting to the doors, skidding to a halt sideways in front of them, blocking them. It was Mel! She was using her cart to obstruct the doors. Starsky's heart constricted. That bastard would shoot her to get her out of his path!
"Mel, don't! Get outta the way!" he shouted.
He watched in horror as Walsh lifted his gun, yelling something at the tiny woman.
A blur of brown and gray launched itself out of the cart's basket straight at Walsh's face. He screamed in surprise, fell backwards and fired, the shot blasting the ceiling tiles into confetti. Hutch was on him in the next instance, grabbing his gun hand and forcing it to the ground, twisting his wrist until the weapon fell free. Hutch kicked it back toward Starsky, who grabbed it and put the safety on before tucking it into his belt.
The gunman was still screeching in a terrified, high-pitched shriek as Emily went after any bare flesh she could find.
"Emmie!" Mel called, distressed. "Emmie, no!"
In an act of bravery Starsky would never forget, Hutch reached down and scooped the tiny dog up in his big hand and held her aloft. She seemed unaware of that as she snarled and snapped at the man groveling in terror on the floor.
Starsky moved in quickly and cuffed the man's hands behind his back, forcing him onto his stomach as he did. He was still rattled at the close call. "Mel, that was a damned stupid thing to do! You could've been hurt!"
She looked a little shaken, and Starsky immediately felt sorry for scolding her.
"I forgot you said he was armed," she admitted, her voice quivering. "When I saw he was getting away . . . I guess I've been watching too many episodes of the Man from U.N.C.L.E."
"You're dangerous in that thing," Hutch agreed, talking about her cart, but he was grinning. "Someone needs to paint it red with a white stripe." Emily was nestled comfortably in the crook of his arm, still grumbling at Walsh. "And as far as your attack-trained poodle is concerned—"
"Emily's a purebred Yorkshire Terrier," Mel sniffed, regaining her composure. "Yorkies were bred to hunt rats. She was just doing her job."
"And an impressive one at that," Hutch admitted, stroking the tiny dog as Emily gave him a quick lick.
My partner, the mush pot, Starsky thought.
"I need a doctor!" Walsh cried from the ground. "I've been bit all over! I'll get rabies!"
"Keep up that whining," Hutch warned, "and I might just accidentally drop my little friend right on top of you to give you a few more love nips."
"NO! No! Please! Don't let that thing near me!"
Starsky had to laugh. Tough guy.
Armed officers began to pour through the doors, Captain Dobey in their midst. By now, the entire bingo parlor was in an uproar. The game was definitely over.
When Dobey drew near them, he started to grin. "Well, I see you didn't need backup after all! Nice work, boys. Uh . . . Hutchinson . . . is Starsky getting you involved in Chinchillas again?" he indicated Emily cuddled in Hutch's arms.
"Excuse me, Captain," Hutch said, glancing at Mel's outraged expression, "this is a purebred Yorkshire Terrier."
"Hey, Mister," Mel said, rolling toward them. Both he and Hutch stepped back at a safe distance. "You their boss?" She nodded at the two partners.
"Uh . . . Mel," Starsky said, "this is our Captain. Captain Dobey, this is Miss Melodi Rayl and her dog Emily. They were a big help in apprehending our missing felon."
"Miss Rayl has a background in private detective work," Hutch added. Dobey was getting that expression on his face that said he knew he was being given another run-around.
"'Nobody trails like a Rayl,'" Starsky quoted.
"Who, me?" Mel said innocently. "All I did was get in the way. But I've gotta tell you, Captain Dopey—"
The partners flinched at her mispronunciation.
"—These two boys here did a heck of a job catching that guy. I never saw anything like it! If all cops where as brave as these two, this city would be a lot safer to live in." She grinned and Dobey turned to them, narrowing his eyes suspiciously, as if he suspected they put her up to this. "Tell me, Captain," Mel asked, "are all your police officers as cute as these two?"
Dobey sighed. "Let me assure you, Miss Rayl, I have no other officers anything like these two!"
"Too bad," she said. "They sorta give the words, 'Help, Police,' a whole new excitement." She winked brazenly at Starsky.
Catching Hutch's disapproving glare, Starsky attempted to mollify him. "Hey, Emily likes you!" It didn't seem to help.
Uniformed officers lifted Walsh to his feet none too gently and hauled him away.
"Listen, Cap," Starsky said, "there's a back room in this place filled with boxes with wigs and toupees in 'em. We busted some of them open while pursuing Walsh. I found some suspicious looking packets tucked into one of the wigs."
Dobey frowned. "Well, we knew the Sprinter had to be stashing his goods somewhere. Since he was familiar with the building he probably figured he could easily hide from you in it. Good arrest. If we can connect the merchandise in this warehouse to his fencing operation, we won't have to worry about chasing him around again. Of course, you know what that means . . . ."
Hutch was nodding, still petting the tiny dog. "Paperwork. And more paperwork."
Dobey smiled. "I'll get every available officer in here loading and documenting evidence and bringing it down to Parker for sorting. But as soon as you get Walsh booked and finish those reports you'll have to help."
Starsky didn't even bother complaining. He nudged Hutch. "You takin' the pooch with you?"
Hutch blushed, gave the dog a final pat, got a parting lick in return, and handed her back to Mel.
"There's something very appealing about a big man who can be kind to little ladies and tiny dogs," Mel said.
Hutch blushed harder and stammered some kind of thank you.
"There ain't nothin' little about either you or Emmie," Starsky told Mel. "You'll have to come down to the station for a statement. It can probably wait 'til morning. We can send an officer to get you. But . . . uh . . . you have any problems getting down to Parker, you just call and ask for Sergeant Starsky. I'll take you for a ride in my scooter."
"You're on, blue eyes!" she said with a grin.
"Time to go, Casanova," Hutch said, grabbing his elbow. "Before you break a few more hearts."
"Be grateful Emily loves you," Starsky teased as they headed for the Torino.
It stopped being funny around 4 am as Starsky and Hutch found themselves surrounded by box after box of drug-laden hairpieces. The quantity alone was staggering. Every desk top, every flat surface of the squad room was piled high with tacky-looking wigs and toupees, while a steadily growing mountain of coke was stacked in the center. Starsky decided he'd fallen into a Twilight Zone nightmare where every time he'd thought he'd finished his task, another stream of cops came in carrying another stack of wig boxes.
He carried two more unopened boxes into Dobey's office with a sigh. Hutch sat forlornly at Dobey's desk, tabulating hairpieces and envelopes of dope. It was someone else's job to weigh the drugs, but, by the look of the mountain in the squad room, no one had been by to do that in quite a while. In fact, their entire floor, as far as Starsky could determine, was deserted. Dobey had pulled most of the night shift to the warehouse to catalog the number of boxes before transporting them to Parker for unpacking. But no one had delivered any new boxes in close to an hour.
After the strenuous, drawn out pursuit of the Sprinter, Starsky was too edgy to stay trapped here chained to this mundane task. He was bored, he was tired, and worse yet, the evening's action had left him frustratingly horny. But the endless task surrounding them could not be denied.
Hutch didn't look any happier. Pulling a red short-haired toupee from the box beside him, he checked off the type on the ledger, removed the plastic bags tucked inside it, accounted for them, then tossed the wig over his shoulder onto a furry hill of toupees collecting behind him. He dropped the dope onto a growing pyramid of powder. He looked up to see Starsky hauling in new boxes.
"There's more?" he yelped in dismay. He looked close to tears as he clutched a blond wig he'd just pulled out of the box.
"There's always more," Starsky reminded him, dropping the two new boxes near Dobey's desk.
Hutch groaned. "I'm developing an allergy to these things!" He sniffled in a blatant sympathy ploy.
Starsky sliced opened the next two boxes. "How can you be allergic to artificial hair? I'll tell you what I'm allergic to—I'm allergic to boredom! I'm bored! What's the point of being senior staff if you can't shrug off dumb jobs like this onto someone else? I think we should call Dobey and tell him we're logging out."
"Starsky," Hutch said wearily, liberating the dope from the wig, recording it, then tossing the blond wig, "You know damned well we're not getting out of here until every last hairpiece is recorded, and its little treasures liberated." He waved his hand imperiously at the boxes at Starsky's feet. "So, just start unpacking."
"Hutch, we've been at this for hours," Starsky protested, putting in that high pitched whine he knew Hutch couldn't stand. "Don't we get a break? Something to eat? A little relaxation?" He waggled his eyebrows, which Hutch carefully ignored.
"You're wasting time," Hutch grumbled, pulling out a long black fall and recording it.
"So, who's gonna know?" Starsky complained. "The place is a ghost town. We're the only ones here. Everyone else is in the field, while the precinct's finest get to be bean counters—"
"Fur counters—" Hutch interjected, tossing the black wig over his shoulder.
"Whatever." He stared into the box at his feet that was filled with what looked like dozens of plastic-wrapped Tribbles, then walked away from it in disgust. "I'm hungry. I'm tired. I'm sick to death of make-believe hair and Mexican marching dust. If I'd had any idea we would've gotten trapped here with all this . . . this merchandise, I'd have considered letting the Sprinter sprint away."
"I hope you don't think I'm any happier than you with this gig," Hutch said, tossing another wig over his shoulder and reaching for the next. "But if you'd spend less time grousing and more time shuffling the goods, we'd get out of here that much faster." Hutch scribbled, mumbling at the same time, "Brunette. Short hair. Two bags." Toss.
Starsky pouted and reached into the box, grabbing a wig at random and liberating it from its plastic bag. When he glanced down, he found himself holding onto his own head of hair—or so it seemed. He pulled up the thick mop of dark curls and faced his own hair style wryly. Shaking it gently over the desk, two fat baggies plopped out. Hutch glanced at the contraband, made the appropriate notes, then reached for the wig to toss it onto the mound. Starsky pulled it out of reach.
Hutch's eyes narrowed. "Starsky . . . ."
"D'ja ever wonder, Hutch, what would'a happened if you'd been born a brunette instead of me?" He moved around behind Hutch before his partner could protest. "Let's take a look . . . ." Slipping the elasticized wig over Hutch's fair hair, he tucked in the errant golden strands as he adjusted the fake curly mop. "I mean, that platinum job you wore as Mr. Marlene was pretty good, but this could be your color. Who knows?" He fluffed the curls carefully the way he did his own hair every morning. Hutch sat stiffly, unmoving. Starsky suspected he was counting to ten. Or maybe he was working toward twenty.
Starsky moved back in front of the desk to look. "Wow, that's weird. You, with my hair."
Hutch glowered. "Starsk . . . so help me . . . ."
Good, Starsky thought, he's getting aggravated. Hutch was never more malleable than when he was aggravated. Not only did he get malleable the more pissed off he got, he also got hornier. This could work to Starsky's advantage. Starsky reached into the box as he spied a glint of yellow. Grinning wickedly, he produced the blond, long-haired wig with a flourish, dumped its parcels on Hutch's tally sheet, then quickly pulled the blond wig over his own dense cap of curls. It was almost Hutch's length, if maybe a little longer.
Pulling himself up tall, he peered down his nose and sneered in his best Hutchinson-haughtiness, "Starsky, aren't you done yet?"
"That's the worse Bogart you've ever done," Hutch said.
Starsky slumped. "I wasn't doin' Bogart, you dope! I was doin' you!"
"You're confused. That was this morning."
Starsky missed a beat. "Huh?"
There was a glint in Hutch's eyes. "When you were doing me. That was this morning."
Starsky flushed all over at the memory: Hutch pulling himself up on the ornate brass headboard of their bed as Starsky clung to his back, pounding his way to heaven. Hutch had been so incredibly erotic, the sweat rolling down his strong shoulders, the muscles in his arms taut and straining, while Starsky gave him everything he had, and Hutch begged for more. He shivered. "Man, it's true what they say," he muttered breathlessly. "Blonds do blush easier . . . ."That familiar tingle started climbing from his knees to his groin. He had the sudden need to be home. Right now. Using their big brass bed as an adult playground.
He began circling the desk, still doing "Hutch". Hutch himself continued inventorying hair and dope and worked hard at ignoring Starsky—as if he could for long.
"I must say, Starsky," Starsky said from behind Hutch, "I think it's time for you to get a haircut. Though I have to say, the way the curls trail down over your neck and shoulders—" he ran his fingers lightly over the back of Hutch's neck in a way he knew drove his lover wild "—is really hot. And, by the way, isn't that my favorite shirt?"
The well-worn plaid shirt was Hutch's favorite, but Hutch knew very well that Starsky loved its texture, how soft it had become with repeated washings. And Starsky knew that as he ran his palms slowly over Hutch's shoulder and back, Hutch couldn't help but think of the night Starsky had seduced him because of the wonderful texture of this shirt. Once he'd finally removed all of Hutch's clothes, he'd stroked Hutch's whole body with the shirt, making him twist and squirm and sigh until he was dazed with pleasure, aching to come. Starsky started stroking Hutch's arms, knowing he could hardly forget that night.
The very fact that Hutch was silent—neither protesting Starsky's attention, nor encouraging it—told Starsky just how much he was affecting his lover. He grinned to himself. He could play this boy like a fish, and how he loved doing it.
"As good as you look in that shirt, Starsky," Starsky said, "you look better out of it." He ran his fingers over the back of Hutch's neck again and felt a shudder run through him. Kissing the same spot gently, he moved away, knowing that the end of the teasing was far worse than its beginning.
Sure enough, when he came around to the front of the desk, he could see Hutch's eyes had dilated slightly and his breathing had increased. He'd also paused in his work, a sure sign that he'd been successfully distracted.
Narrowing his eyes, Starsky ran his fingers through his fake blond hair much the way Hutch always did to help disguise his thinning crown. "If you'd just shake your tail feathers, Starsky," he continued in what he knew was a dead-on Hutchinson imitation, "we'd be out of here in no time." He pointed a long, imperious Hutchinson finger at his partner. "So hustle it up! And if you're a good little boy, Daddy just might let you swing on the monkey bars like you did this morning."
The glint in Hutch's eye brightened. " Oh yeah," he said huskily, playing along, even though his "Starsky" imitation was a weak sister compared to Starsky's own. "Well, lemme tell ya somethin', ya big blond stud, if you spent more time helping instead of marching around looking good, we might get to go home and play 'tackle the blond blintz' again, instead of just remembering it."
Starsky smirked. Hutch's imitation of him—which was disturbingly similar to the undercover role he used when they were working to snare Vic Humphries—was hopeless. "You want help, Starsky?" He cocked his head the way Hutch did when he was examining evidence. "Dobey's a big man. He's got a big desk. I'm sure, even though I'm taller than you, that I could manage to fit under it. Then you could keep counting your furs and I could apply some lubricated loving to the cock that's swelling in your jeans right now."
Hutch glared, obviously growing hotter at the thought of Starsky on his knees under the desk.
"It is, isn't it?" Starsky said, grinning. "You're such a slut, Starsky. You'd throw a rod in Grand Central Station if I pushed the right buttons. I can solve that problem for you—" he sidled next to the desk, making sure his own swelling crotch was easy to see. Just suggesting he do Hutch under the desk was working on him.
"Hutch," Hutch said tightly, still struggling with his pathetic Starsky imitation, "this isn't the time or place, and you know it. You always act like I've got no self-control—"
They both knew that when it came to making love to Hutch, Starsky had no self control, but Hutch wasn't much better off himself.
"—So, this is my chance to prove to you," Hutch-as-Starsky continued, "that I'm a responsible grown-up in total control of myself. We've got to finish this job, buddy. So, just hand me more wigs and let's get this show on the road."
Starsky frowned. He hated it when Hutch resisted him. And the fact that he was doing it under the guise of being Starsky was too much to take. Staying in character, Starsky said, "Well, I am the brains of this outfit—"
Hutch shot him a venomous look, which he ignored, since, after all, he was being Hutch, and Hutch would've ignored it.
"—and it's obvious to me that we'll never finish here without my critically needed assistance! So, heads up, Starsky!" Starsky's blond wig slipped a little. He shoved it back in place as he reached into the new box and grabbed several wigs. He started flinging them at Hutch, one at a time.
Looking alarmed, Hutch caught the flying hairpieces and began piling them in front of him. "Hey, wait! Hold it!" he sputtered—totally out of character Starsky noted—while Starsky kept up a steady barrage of furry missiles. "Will you quit! We've got inventory— We've got to list—! Whoa!" One wig nearly missed Hutch completely, but he snagged it on the tips of his fingers.
Starsky was impressed. "Hup! Hup! Hup!" Starsky barked, tossing wig after wig at his hapless partner, whose own dark curly hairpiece was half lop-sided on his head, nearly covering one eye.
In desperation, Hutch started lobbing the wigs back at Starsky, attempting to distract him. Starsky cackled like a maniac and started flinging the wigs at Hutch faster and faster, making it nearly impossible for Hutch to keep up as he tried returning the volleys. Then Hutch started grinning as he hurled the wigs back at Starsky, and pretty soon both of them were laughing like two kids at a pajama party having a pillow fight.
Emptying that box, Starsky grabbed the other one, yanking open the top.
"Oh, no you don't!" Hutch yelled, laughing, and shoved back his chair so hard it fell over. He tried jumping over the desk, but a hard-on always made him clumsy, so he only managed to slide across it on a mountain of fake hair as he tried to prevent Starsky from reaching a new stash of ammunition. As he slid, his legs bumped into the pyramid of drug packets which toppled onto the floor one after the other, like so many lemmings.
Starsky rushed to get into the new box, but Hutch grabbed him from behind, hauling him away from it, but not before Starsky had managed to grab hold of a huge afro of a wig, and batted at Hutch's face with it. It was as effective as a giant black powder puff, but it made Hutch's infectious laughter get worse. And Starsky knew a laughing Hutch was a pretty hopeless case. Pummeling Hutch's face with the afro, he twisted in Hutch's grip until they were chest to chest. Starsky's vision was blocked completely at one point when his blond wig refused to turn with him and he found himself trying to peer through the back of it. Hutch, in a gesture of good sportsmanship, flipped the blond wig the right way around, so that Starsky only had to peer through the trailing bangs to see Hutch's grin inches away from him.
Wanting to take him off guard, Starsky landed a big smacking kiss right on Hutch's mouth, which only made him laugh harder. Normally, being in their work environment brought out every bit of Hutch's up-tight WASP-ish work ethic, not to mention his "discretion-is-the-better-part-of-valor" ethic, and his "we-are-professionals" ethic, and his especially annoying, "is-that-all-you-can-think-of?" ethic. (To which, of this last, the answer was always "yes" and Hutch knew it.) In spite of Starsky threatening to go down on him under Dobey's desk, the last thing Hutch would ever expect from Starsky was an aggressive kiss in, of all places, the sacred sanctum of Dobey's office.
"I'm gonna kill you," Hutch sputtered, but he couldn't stop laughing.
Before Hutch could recover, Starsky grabbed his wrist, ducked down, thrust his shoulder into Hutch's abdomen, and hoisted him in a fireman's carry. In two steps, before Hutch could even catch his breath, Starsky deposited him across Dobey's desk on his back, then climbed up onto the desk on his knees to clamber over him.
"Get offa me, you maniac!" Hutch protested through helpless laughter. He pushed at Starsky, but it was a weak attempt to escape. "You're wrecking all my work!"
Wigs were everywhere, under Hutch, around Hutch, pillowing his head in a cushion of multi-colored hairpieces. The drug packets had all leaped to the safer confines of the floor.
"You know, Hutch, you look pretty hot as a brunette," Starsky said, unable to maintain character himself, and landed another kiss on him.
Hutch squirmed, but the hairpieces slipped and slid under him, giving no purchase. "Have you lost your mind completely? This is Dobey's office! Dobey's desk! We're on duty!"
Starsky found Hutch's writhing body was having its usual affect on him—incendiary. "There isn't another cop on this floor. Everybody's back at the bingo warehouse finding more wigs for us to count. At the rate we're going I'll be an impotent old man in the old cop's home before we ever get out of here. I want to see my happy home again, and I want to see you in our big brass bed."
"Starsky, come on, this is way too risky—"
"That brass bed where this morning we—"
"Don't start that. And get off! We'll get fired, lunatic! We won't have to worry about the old cop's home, because we won't be old cops."
"Dobey would never fire us! Who else could he get who could catch the Sprinter and all his stolen goods?" He took another kiss, this one longer, warmer, more involved and waited until he felt Hutch yield a little and return it.
Hutch pulled back, breathless. "He could get Mel and Emmie! No one trails like a Rayl!"
Starsky chuckled and kissed him again. He could feel Hutch's always-ready-and-willing hard-on bulging in his denims. It pressed against Starsky's already rock-hard erection. Hutch might act like he was above such base needs, but Starsky knew him too well. He was the most sexual, most easily aroused, lover he'd ever had. Starsky ground his groin against Hutch's, taking no prisoners.
"Starsky—" Hutch groaned, grinding back, "come on . . . let's get back to work. If we hustle, we could get this done in—"
Starsky kissed him again. The temptation was too great to resist. He had Hutch flat on his back on Dobey's desk. "We'll log out on a code seven," he decided. "If we're on our lunch break, then we're on our own time!"
"That's not the way Dobey's gonna see if he walks through that door," Hutch muttered, then initiated the next kiss. His tongue snaked into Starsky's mouth and they lip-wrestled for a long, lingering moment.
Starsky's hands roamed Hutch's body, teasing, tormenting, stoking the barely-leashed lust Starsky knew Hutch had for him. He pulled up one side of Hutch's soft shirt, then slipped a hand underneath, finding Hutch's tiny nipple and pinching it hard. Hutch couldn't resist that, and Starsky knew it.
"Dammit, don't do that!" Hutch hissed into Starsky's mouth as they continued to kiss, their kisses growing in ardor and urgency.
"You love it when it I do this," Starsky reminded him, pinching his nipple again, pulling it, feeling Hutch lurch from the stimulation.
Hutch growled helplessly, and his big hands latched onto Starsky's ass, pinning him in place as he thrust his groin against him. "You bastard, you're driving me crazy, and you know it."
Starsky chuckled. He cupped Hutch's balls through his jeans and rubbed against them. "You said we should get to work. You said if we hustled, we could get this done in—"
"Son of a bitch!" Hutch swore as Starsky tortured him. Clamping a big hand over the top of Starsky's be-wigged head, Hutch shoved him down. "Then hurry up! Hustle, damn you!"
Starsky laughed. He knew his blond well. "Need it bad, huh? Want me? Want my mouth?"
"Talk less," Hutch ordered. He was nearly breathless. "Work more!"
Quickly, Starsky climbed off the desk, grabbed Hutch's zipper and yanked it down, popping the waistband snap at the same time. Hutch's erection bloomed out of his pants, already leaking. His big beautiful cock was incredibly hard, immensely huge, and with one quick move Starsky took it all.
Hutch nearly strangled on his smothered cry, as he wrapped his legs around Starsky's back and thrust up into his mouth. "Your mouth! Ah, babe, your mouth!" Hutch gasped.
Starsky gave his mouth, happily. Hot and wet, his mouth conquered his blond beauty, relishing the taste of his salty sweat, his strong musk from the day's work. He loved Hutch like this, frantic for him, needing him so bad he'd risk anything, just as long as he could have Starsky's mouth.
Using his tongue to stroke Hutch's amazing column as he deep-throated his lover with all his skill, he slid his hand into Hutch's jeans, looking for the tight testicles that he knew were aching for his touch. Hutch loved it when Starsky played with him when he sucked him off, so Starsky did, with joy. He rubbed the rough-skinned sacs, rolled them in his hand, pulled on them gently, all of it designed to send Hutch into orbit.
Hutch anchored Starsky's head with both hands now, and Starsky knew that meant he was close. He hoped so. His own erection was screaming for relief, and he knew that the longer they took at this, the greater their chances at getting caught. Even in his lust-fogged state, Starsky knew that was something they really couldn't afford.
"Starsk . . . Starsk . . . " Hutch was mumbling, nearly incoherent, but he never stopped watching Starsky, couldn't stop watching him, Starsky knew. It was one of Hutch's greatest turn-ons, to watch Starsky give him head when he was this excited, this close. Hutch's black "Starsky" wig was sitting all crooked on his head, with his own blond hair sticking out from under it in different directions. Starsky thought he never looked hotter. "Do it. Come on. Now. Now."
Oh, I'm gonna do it, all right. He swallowed hard around Hutch's bulk, letting Hutch feel his throat moving. At the same time, he slid his middle finger into Hutch's ass, up to the knuckle.
"Oh, dammit!" Hutch hissed, his legs tightening around Starsky's back as he came, pouring himself down Starsky's willing throat.
Starsky thrilled in the strength of Hutch's legs and the power of his orgasm, as his lover twisted and squirmed across Dobey's furry desk, coming as hard as Starsky had ever seen him.
Starsky thought if Hutch didn't finish soon, he'd go insane, his own need overwhelming him.
"Stop! Stop!" Hutch said, pushing at Starsky's forehead, nearly pulling the blond wig off him.
"The hell I will," Starsky swore, releasing Hutch's cock. "I've just begun, baby blue." Standing up, Starsky grabbed Hutch's jeans by the belt loops and flipped him over onto his stomach.
Hutch was still quivering in the after glow, but he was aware enough to realize what was happening. "Starsk . . . wait! You can't be serious! Not on Dobey's desk!"
Starsky yanked Hutch's jeans and briefs over his ass while pulling his hips back, so that his feet were on the floor. Damn, Hutch looked hot like this, his fair-skinned ass just barely exposed, his jeans pooled around his thighs, his shirt rucked up to his shoulders so that Starsky could see the beautiful curve of his spine. There was a pile of wigs all bunched up around his hips looking like some kind of multicolored exotic rug cushioning Hutch's hips just for Starsky. He couldn't help but wonder what it would feel like for Hutch to rub off on all that soft hair. The different colors of the wigs—black, brown, red, auburn, gold, and white blond—made the smooth skin of his ass show off the rosy hue it developed when they were deep into sex. Hutch looked like some kind of erotic feast laid out before Starsky, and he sure had the appetite to devour it.
"You're gorgeous, Hutch," he murmured, as he freed his aching cock and stroked it. He was leaking pre-come and used it to the lubricate the head. "But y'know—" He wet his palm generously with saliva, which was easy to do since the sight of Hutch presented before him was making his mouth water. "Somehow, I just don't think you're a natural brunet!" He covered his cock quickly with his saliva, then nailed Hutch all at once before he had any time to think about it or escape.
"Ohmigod!" Hutch gasped, gripping the edges of the desk. His entire body went bow-string tight and he clamped hard around Starsky's cock, nearly making him come.
"Open up," Starsky pleaded, seeing colors dance before his eyes. "Give me what's mine!" He toyed with Hutch's balls, forcing himself to be gentle when he was at the razor's edge of need. On impulse, he grabbed a handful of soft wig hair and stroked Hutch's testicles with it.
"Starsk! Oh, jeez—" Hutch actually bit into the edge of Dobey's desk, as he shoved back hard onto Starsky's cock. And suddenly, that quickly, he relaxed, his body open, ready for Starsky to use.
"God, I love you," Starsky murmured, running his hands all over Hutch's shirt, and then his skin.
"You're fuckin' crazy!" Hutch swore, but there was both laughter and lust in his voice.
"Fuckin' crazy for you," Starsky agreed. He rocked as Hutch's tension eased around him.
"Don't take the scenic route!" Hutch ordered, as he thrust back against Starsky in perfect rhythm.
That's all Starsky had to hear. With a huge grin, he started nailing Hutch with everything he had, loving the way his partner could take him, loved to take him, hard and fast and furious.
Dobey's desk rocked and groaned as Starsky pounded his way to heaven. Soon enough Hutch was muttering, "Please, please, please—" but whether he wanted Starsky to hurry and finish or keep on going, Starsky couldn't tell.
As focused as Starsky was while fucking Hutch, he never stopped using the soft wig against Hutch's skin. Rubbing it around his testicles, down his thighs, over his back, and down the crack of his ass, Starsky watched the tender torment drive Hutch to incredible heights as he lurched and writhed and moaned in reaction. Starsky wondered if he could pocket this particular wig and take it home with them as a memento. Who would miss one small toupee in this massive collection of hair?
Hutch was panting frantically, and started deliberately squeezing him, tightening around Starsky's cock, urging him on, tormenting him just like he was tormenting Hutch. And then suddenly it was right there as the power of Hutch's strength milked the orgasm out of him long before he really wanted to give it up. Biting down hard on his own lip to keep from crying out, Starsky felt his orgasm rush through him like a raging river sweeping him away in its bliss. He sighed and stilled, collapsing across Hutch's back weakly.
"Man . . . " Starsky rasped. "Do I love havin' lunch with you!"
Hutch was gasping for air, shuddering all over, and Starsky felt smug, realizing he'd made his lover come again without even trying to. "You're insane. We're gonna die like this. Shriveled up old husks, humping each other in the old cop's home."
Starsky chuckled and kissed Hutch's spine, nuzzling his face against the back of Hutch's soft shirt. "Sounds good to me."
"Will you get offa me already?" Hutch said, but he sounded too mellow for Starsky to pay him much heed. "We're pushing our luck to the—"
Just then, Starsky heard the door behind him swing open. His heart stopped and both he and Hutch looked over their shoulders in dismay.
"Can somebody please tell me," said an aggrieved Huggy Bear as he stared at the two cops sprawled, ass-end up across Dobey's desk, "why they ever let you two out of Cabrillo State?"
Starsky scrambled off of Hutch, jerking his pants up and shoving his now quiescent cock back inside quickly. He was in such a rush, he nearly caught himself in the zipper, but the wig still clutched in his left hand tangled in the metal teeth instead. "Huggy! What are you doing here?" he stammered, his voice nearly a squeak. He struggled frantically to extricate the wig, and pull the dangling long hairs out of his zipper. As soon as he did, he shoved the toupee deep into his pocket just to get rid of it.
"What am I doing here?" Huggy parroted, affronted, as Hutch tried to pull himself off the desk too hurriedly, only to end up sliding off the side, pulling dozens of hairpieces with him. Lurching to his knees, he performed the same getting-dressed-way-too-fast jig. Starsky grabbed his beloved klutz by the arm and hauled him to his feet. They were both so rattled, they adjusted the wigs still sitting askew on their heads.
"I might ask myself that very question!" Huggy continued in that same tone. "Huggy Bear, what are you doing here? Why, I'm responding to a charitable request from Captain Dobey himself.
"Dobey asked me to come on down to the bingo parlor," Huggy explained, "since the church is registered in my name, and got me to open up some of the other locked rooms, lookin' for more evidence. My second cousin twice removed owns that warehouse, but I have his keys. While the good captain and I finished getting the details of the search out of the way, he told me you two were 'slaving away at Parker, buried under a mountain of dope and wigs.' He actually felt sorry for you!"
Huggy was staring pointedly at the tops of their heads. "Too bad Captain Dobey had no idea that the responsibility of logging in this much hairy happy dust was too much for your weak minds. Either that, or your libidos were overwhelmed with the need to trade identities, instead of just germ plasm."
Glancing at each other and realizing they were still wearing their wigs made them yank the silly things off and toss them on the pile.
"At any rate," Huggy continued, "having no idea that the two of you would be using his office for your extracurricular activities—and on the city's time yet—Dobey asked me to bring you fresh coffee and donuts as a small token of his appreciation for the—" he coughed lightly, "sacrifice you were both making on behalf of the citizens of LA."
Huggy held up the cardboard tray he'd entered the room with, making both men glance at each other and feel even more guilty. They quickly glanced away, knowing that if they maintained eye contact for too long they'd start laughing again.
Huggy scowled at them. "I should've known better! I should've told him you two couldn't be left alone for an hour in any environment without your basic natures getting the better of you! Doesn't matter if you're in the car on stake-out, in a movie theatre, or even in my bar after hours, given ten minutes alone, you two will be gettin' it on. You're worse than two rabbits in rut! You should be ashamed. Grown policemen—LA's finest! Should be LA's horniest!"
Nothing Huggy was saying had really registered with Starsky once he'd said the word "donuts." He reached for the tray Huggy was carrying. "Coffee? Fresh coffee? And donuts? Ah, Huggy, you're a life-saver!"
Huggy slapped his hand. "I'm not done with you yet!"
While Starsky made another feint for the coffee, Hutch used the distraction to liberate the donut bag and one of the cups. Huggy sputtered, and as he turned to say something to Hutch, Starsky snatched the remaining coffee cup.
Hutch fed Starsky a powdery jelly donut, while taking a sip of coffee. "Huggy, we owe you."
Starsky took a gulp of his own and nodded in agreement as he finished the donut.
"So that's what white folks who don't smoke do after the culmination of the act," Huggy said wryly. "Gulp coffee and donuts? I always wondered about that. Can't be very convenient, havin' to run out for donuts while your still baskin' in the after glow. Or do you have to plan ahead, and have them ready on the nightstand?" He shook his head. "What am I sayin'? That would mean you'd be doin' it someplace normal, like the privacy of your own bedroom! Or that you'd actually planned your activities for a reasonable time and place. Y'know, there are segments of the African-American community that thinks that white folks lead boring love lives. I'm not sayin' I agree with that assessment. But it's time I corrected it with facts observed by my own eyes!"
"Actually, Hug," Starsky said around a mouthful of sugared heaven, "donuts aren't normally part of our after glow ritual," Starsky admitted, "but it's a habit I could cultivate. I was starved!" He glanced at Hutch guiltily. "And just for the record, Hug, we weren't on the city's dime. We were takin' lunch. We were on our own time."
Huggy nodded, looking dubious. "Well, I'm sure Captain Dobey will be very appreciative of that when he comes into his office, which looks like an orgy has taken place in it. An impression that wouldn't be entirely wrong." Huggy made a show of checking his watch for the time. "And, if I estimate correctly, Dobey's arrival should be in about ten minutes."
Both men froze. "Ten minutes?" they said in unison around the donuts they were munching.
"Unless he really steps on it. He and the squad were just about finished packing up the rest of the evidence to bring it over here. They weren't quite done, but then I stopped for refreshments and they were coming directly—"
Like the dynamic duo they were, both men sprang into action. Starsky started snatching up the wigs Hutch hadn't cataloged yet and flung them back into the box he'd taken them from. Hutch restacked all the inventoried dope packets in a neat pyramid, and reshuffled his paperwork. Starsky saw Hutch's eyes widen as he found a stain on the inventory sheet that could have only come from Hutch's last orgasm. Moving faster than Starsky would've given him credit for, Hutch pulled off the sheet and recopied it, then folded up that bit of evidence and put it in his pocket.
They nearly had everything to rights when Starsky spied Hutch's bite mark on Dobey's desk. He tried to tell himself no one would ever notice it, but his guilty conscience made him too nervous. He pulled Dobey's phone over from its regular place and planted it on top of the bruise just as they heard voices coming from the squad room. Dobey's voice boomed as he directed his men how to distribute the new supply of contraband.
Starsky moved over to the wig box he'd emptied then refilled, as Hutch up-righted Dobey's chair and sat in it. Starsky casually handed Hutch one of the wigs, as if he'd been doing this for hours, and Hutch went back to removing it from the bag, taking the dope packets out, inventorying the items, then tossing the wig over his shoulder onto the pile, as though he'd never stopped.
Huggy crossed his arms and just leaned against the wall, shaking his head in dismay.
"What I want to know," Hutch said to Huggy around another mouthful of donut as Starsky handed him a wig, "is when you started running this new gig. You know, the First Tabernacle of the Temple of Righteous Compensation?"
"Oh, uh . . . that . . ." Huggy said self-consciously. "Well, uh, you know, Hutch, that the Pits can't open on Sundays until later in the day. And I found out that there's this national choir competition that will be meeting right in LA this year. First prize is about twenty-five grand. Which goes directly to the church to help support the choir. Well, you know we've got some of the finest gospel singers right in my neighborhood—"
"Uh-huh," said Hutch as both he and Starsky gave Huggy a wary look.
"So, we can expect the church to be active for quite some time," Starsky said. "I mean, it wouldn't look kosher if, after winning first place, the church should just happen to close down."
Huggy pulled himself up in all his dignity. "Y'know, a minister doesn't have a lot of control over what a congregation decides to do. One minute your place is packed, worshippers fillin' it up to the doors, and the next, they've all gone over to some other church, maybe where they're givin' out free donuts or something."
"How much kick-back are you making on the bingo hall?" Hutch asked bluntly.
Huggy sighed. "You know, it's completely possible for me to forget my eye-witness account of the libidinous activities that went on here, if you two would just stick to your furry drug cache and forget all about my own humble attempts to make points with The Man upstairs."
"Sounds fair," Starsky agreed, finishing the last of his donut and washing it down with the coffee. "But if you want some advice, Hug, you oughta keep the bingo hall going, even when, I mean if, the church ends up closing. We've got friends there we'd like to keep off the streets and out of trouble."
Hutch grinned at him.
The office door swung open and Captain Dobey strode in. "Well, look at all this industry," he said, amazingly cheerful for a man who'd been working hard all night.
"You don't know the half of it," Huggy agreed.
Starsky shot the Bear a warning glance, as he went around the back of Dobey's desk and started packing up the discarded wigs into an empty box.
"You can't imagine the extent of the goods we found in that warehouse," Dobey told them. "The wigs were only the tip of the iceberg. There are electronics and radios galore, and caseloads of Gideon Bibles. I think those are the bibles that were stolen from that delivery truck two months ago. What in the world did the Sprinter think he was going to do with bibles?"
Starsky and Hutch exchanged both turned to stare meaningfully at Huggy Bear who only grinned back at them sheepishly.
"At any rate," Dobey continued, walking around his desk, "I've called in the day shift early. Also, I've requested aid from Robbery, and they're sending up quite a few men. I've got a feeling that the Sprinter has been making big time connections with the mob. If he doesn't want to talk, the goods we've nailed him with will send him up for a long time. If he feels like cooperating, we might get a decent lead into some organized crime connections. Helluva good night's work, boys!"
"Just part of the job, Cap," Starsky said modestly. "Oh, and, thanks for the coffee and donuts. It was just the pick-me-up we needed."
Hutch blushed to his hairline and gave Starsky a significant look, which he ignored. Hey, if it worked for Hutch—
"You're very welcome, Starsky," Dobey said. "Since we're getting additional help, why don't you two go on home and get some rest. Come back sometime this afternoon. Say three o'clock. I'll have time to talk to the District Attorney and we'll discuss how to handle the prosecution. I'm hoping to go home and get a few winks myself."
Starsky perked up. "Thanks, Captain. We sure could use some shut eye. It's been a long night. We're both pretty drained— I mean, beat. Yeah. We're both really beat. Right, Hutch?"
Hutch wouldn't look at him as he tallied his figures, tearing off the page and taping it to the pile of dope packets. "Right. Really beat."
"Well, get on out of here then, before you get stuck in morning rush hour," Dobey said, coming around his desk to sit in his chair. But before he settled down, he picked up his phone and moved it back to its normal location.
Starsky had his hand on the knob as Dobey did a quick double take, then peered suspiciously at the edge of his desk. He frowned. "Looks like I should've sent those donuts up here a lot earlier. Unless I'm mistaken, it seems as though someone was gnawing on my desk. Starsky?"
Starsky was ready to defend his honor, but before he could say anything, Hutch chimed in.
"You gotta forgive him, Captain," Hutch said, grabbing hold of Starsky's shoulder and propelling him through the door. "Some days he's got the appetite of a beaver."
Huggy harrumphed. "Let's not bring up the topic of appetites, shall we?"
"Me?" Starsky protested, but Hutch hustled him out of there before he could think of a come-back that wouldn't implicate them in bigger issues.
Once outside Dobey's office, Hutch continued to propel Starsky toward the elevators.
Starsky was still complaining. "I can't believe you let Dobey think I was the one who—"
"Talk less," Hutch murmured in his ear. "Walk faster. We've got a date with a big brass bed, and I think it's about time someone else got to play on the monkey bars. Don't you?"
Starsky looked back at Hutch, and noted how dilated his eyes were already. "Uh . . . yeah . . . whatever you say, babe." He started to grin, and touched the bulge in his pocket that hid the toupee. "I'll drive, okay? But . . . could we stop at the donut shop first?"