This story was originally published on VenicePlace, our Starsky & Hutch slash discussion list. It was later published in one of the Indigo Boys mixed media zines put out by In Person Press. Special thanks go to Elaine H. for saving the original email files so I could reconstruct the story! Comments on the story can be sent to (who else?) Flamingo.
Flamingo's Police Complaint
Author's note: The story behind the story. Several years ago, someone visiting the S&H Slash Archive was incredibly offended by its content, and decided to share their outrage with several of the authors on the archive. The archive was much smaller then and virtually everyone on it was also on my S/H slash discussion list, VenicePlace. Venice Place is a real building, the place where Hutch had his apartment, so the listmembers of VP all have "apartments" in our virtual building, and have various virtual adventures with their favorite tenants, Starsky & Hutch. Well, word quickly got out that someone was sending really abusive mail to SH slash writers. The person did nothing to hide their identity and they had an AOL address.
I was angry enough to call the police and put in a hate mail complaint. Of course, they had no idea how to deal with such a complaint. The poor uniformed guy they sent over couldn't even understand the obscure fannish content of the email. But he dutifully wrote everything down, then told me that complaints of this nature were considered "crimes against persons" and would be investigated by a homicide detective. When I told my partner, Anne, that we'd have to deal with a homicide detective she wondered aloud whether it would be Starsky, Hutch...or possibly Tim Bayliss or Frank Pembleton from Homicide, Life on the Streets (since we live so close to Baltimore). That led to further speculations about what kind of homicide detective might show up to investigate our hate mail crime. Well, as it turned out I was able to discover the perpetrator's identity through a weird chain of events, and they were freaked to discover there might actually be repercussions to their writing obnoxious hate mail. I never needed to talk to the homicide detective at all, which was probably just as well.
But after sharing the story with other VP members, most of whom do enjoy other fandoms as well as SH, the beginnings of the following parody were borne. The dogs in the story are mine, as are the fluffy pink flamingo-headed slippers. You might see me wearing them at the next con. "Ro" is my roommate Rosemary (writer of many of the fine stories on the slash site), and several other stalwart members of the list are mentioned as well. There's also a reference to a cross-universe story of Candy Apple's in which Starsky turns out to be the father of Blair (of the Sentinel), and references to some stories of a good friend of mine who went through a spate of cross-universe stories with X-Files in which just about everyone ended up in bed with Mulder. I hope you'll enjoy this little bit of VP lunacy. It's a strange place to live, but we like it. Flamingo
On a bright and sunny day in VenicePlace, Flamingo was startled by a spate of furious barking as her 6 pound mini-poodle and her 8 pound mini-terrier stormed the front door, ready to give their lives in her defense. Clearly, someone was coming up the staircase. She glanced into the bedroom where her two Dobermans slept on, oblivious. Yep, that was proof of it. They never noticed when anyone came to the door. They might as well be black and tan carpets for all the protection they provided. She snatched up the poodle and shoved the terrier to the side with a flamingo-slippered foot as she opened the door cautiously.
Starsky grinned at her charmingly. "You put in a police complaint, ma'am?" He scratched the poodle on the head, enchanting her instantly, and she licked him frantically. The terrier began bouncing like crazy as she recognized her favorite visitor, "Uncle Starsky." He patted her, also.
"They sent you two?" Flamingo asked incredulously.
Hutch sauntered in as his partner played with the dogs. "What's the matter? Were you expecting real police?" He brushed his Glorious Moustache with his fingertips to make it neater.
"Well, I know they told me they would send Homicide detectives, but I guess I thought, since you both lived here, there might be a conflict of interest."
Hutch flipped open his notepad and did his best to look "official." "We're detectives. This is a 'crime against persons.' That's our venue. Can I have your name and address for the record?"
"My name and...!" Flamingo sputtered. "I'm your super, Hutchinson. You live here. You know damned well—"
"Um-hmmm," he murmured, "that's right. You are the superintendent of this abode. And I do believe you were at least somewhat responsible for the special clause in our lease?"
Growing pinker, Flamingo muttered, "I don't remember that clause doing you any particular harm."
"Hey, hey, hey!" Starsky said, moving between them. "It always upsets the dogs when you quarrel." He looked meaningfully at Hutch. "You don't want to wake the Dobermans do you? Remember, the last time—"
"Let's not go into that, shall we?" Hutch grumbled.
"Good thing Ro knows that all-night dry cleaners, huh?" Starsky said cheerily, rubbing the terrier's belly. "It always pays to know a good cab driver!"
"He'd never done that before," Flamingo protested, embarrassed. "I mean, occasionally, on furniture, once in a while, on a tree now and then, but never—"
"That's what you get for being taller," Starsky told Hutch, as he strolled over to the kitchen table. The two little dogs continued to bounce maniacally around his ankles in glee. The Dobermans slept on. "This is the computer that the hate mail came in on?"
Flamingo, grateful to be getting back to the topic, said, "Yes. That's my laptop. I printed out the hate mail." Hutch took it from her and began studying it.
"I like your wallpaper background," Starsky said, referring to the computer screen. There was a tiled image of him standing in his classic sweater and blue Adidas and his most chewed-up blue jeans, leaning on Hutch's shoulder while Hutch sat demurely in a chair like a good spouse. In the tight, worn jeans Starsky's groin looked like he was smuggling mangoes.
"Man, I look huge in this pic. Good choice!" He grinned at Flamingo. "I've got a picture of Scully on mine. I think she's hot." He nudged the Pink Bird and said, sotto voce, "Makes Blondie jealous whenever he sees it." He waggled his eyebrows and grinned wickedly.
"Starsk, we're here on business!" Hutch reminded him.
Starsky ignored him and went back to rubbing the terrier's belly. "How's my girl?" She flopped over, helplessly in thrall with him, doggy grin lighting her face, tail wagging furiously. Flamingo wondered if she rolled over on her back if she'd have as much luck with the cop. Probably not.
"These other people mentioned in this letter—" Hutch asked.
"They're all residents of VenicePlace," Flamingo reminded him. "You know them."
"Intimately," Hutch mumbled.
Starsky shot him a look. He seemed about to say something when the two small dogs suddenly raced for the door, barking furiously. Eventually, there was a knock.
Flamingo opened the door, then stared in astonishment.
"Good afternoon, Ma'am," said a very elegantly dressed, striking black man with a shaved head. He held out a badge. "My name is Detective Pembleton. This is Detective Bayliss." His diction was very precise, very official. The tall, gangly white man beside him looked like he was born to have his cheeks pinched by maiden aunts. He was too tall to be called cute, but he was cute. He smiled benignly as the black man continued in his knife-sharp diction. "We're from Homicide. We understand you put in a complaint." He glanced down at the ferocious barking coming from around Flamingo's pink-flamingo-slippered feet. "You'll have to lock those dogs up."
"S'matter, Pembleton," Starsky drawled, "afraid of a little poodle?"
Pembleton neither blinked nor cracked a smile. "Not at all, Starsky. I'm just not a good enough shot to hit it with the first round."
Flamingo snatched up the two dogs and glared at the man who seemed totally underwhelmed.
Bayliss patted both dogs on the head. "Don't mind him, Ma'am. He's just kidding. I mean, he's not that good a shot, but he would never...."
"You're out of your jurisdiction!" Hutch insisted, wagging a finger at the two detectives. "You guys are from Baltimore. We live here. It's our case!"
"Yeah, well." Pembleton finally grinned and it was a scary sight. "Some people thought you might be a little too close to the situation. They thought that it might need a little more finesse. Maybe some real detecting?"
"But they sent you anyway?" Starsky fired back with a toothy smile that would rival Pembleton's.
Clearly Bayliss didn't like the swipe at his partner. "Do you even know what a computer is, Starsky? Or did you finally finish that remedial course?"
Flamingo, puppies-in-arms, planted herself between the warring partners. "Enough! You'll wake the Dobermans with all this quarreling!"
Finally, something had been said that rattled Pembleton. "Dobermans?" He stared around and spied the two snoozing black-and-tans in the bedroom. It gave him pause. He touched his gun.
"Frank's not all that comfortable around dogs," Bayliss explained to Flamingo. "It's okay, Frank. I think they're dead."
"Just sleeping," Flamingo insisted. "They had a hard day, doing nothing."
"Watch out for your leg, Bayliss," Hutch warned. "You're tall."
"Look," Flamingo said, "I don't care who handles this case. I just want someone to find out who sent this email."
"That would be us," Pembleton insisted. "I'm the primary. It's our case."
"The hell it is," Starsky said, angrily. The terrier whined at his tone of voice, and without thinking, he snatched her from Flamingo just to calm her. It affected his butch pose just a little. Then he said the most damning thing he could. "You two aren't even a slash couple." He turned to Flamingo. "Frank's married. Happily married!" He faced Pembleton again. "How are the kids, Frank?"
Pembleton looked ready to get into Starsky's face, but Bayliss came between them, nearly sandwiched between the two hostile men. "That's hardly fair, Starsky. In our show it's canon that I'm bi, so at least a relationship between us is plausible! You spent the entire 70's insisting you were straight, which not even my mother believed! You guys couldn't even get in a bed together without keeping one leg on the floor or having a third guy in there with you. Just 'cause Frank and I can't grope each other shamelessly in front of the camera like you and Hutch got away with week after week doesn't mean we're not a slash couple—"
"Grope!" Pembleton snarled, backing up his partner. "These two should only be guilty of something as discrete, as subtle as groping. How about grinding groins together? Or grinding this one's groin into that one's fine, hard, ass? You two are shameless! We're Homicide detectives. The cream of the crop! We're supposed to have dignity! I can't even say you're a disgrace to the uniform! Look at the way you dress?!?"
"You're just jealous," Starsky shot back. He turned to Flamingo. "Ever see their cars? Plain, white, small—B-O-R-I-N-G. Kinda reflects their relationship if you ask me."
"The hell it does!" Bayliss fired back in turn. Now he was getting mad. "Our relationship may not be a typical slash jump-into-bed-at-the-first-excuse relationship, but it's intense and thick with angst, tension, and human drama."
"Human drama?" Starsky hooted. "Try tradin' it in some time for one good night in the sack, Timmy. Nothin' like it!" Hutch decided enough was enough and hauled Starsky away. "Shall we get back to this case?" He waved the letter in the air. "Or doesn't anyone care about hate mail?"
Pembleton straightened out his trench coat. "That's Bayliss' balliwick. He can trace the mail, get a subpoena—"
"Just like we can," Hutch said mildly.
The two little dogs looked at Flamingo in confusion. She wanted to scream. "Look, you guys—"
Suddenly the two mini-dogs started barking furiously in the direction of the front door. The Dobermans lifted their heads, then rolled over and went back to sleep.
"Oh, no..." groaned the pink-slippered woman. The flamingo heads on her feet tucked their beaks under their wings. Even they couldn't bear to watch.
She opened the door. Just as she feared—
"Hello, Ma'am. I'm Detective Ellison and this is Blair Sandberg. We're from the Cascade Police Department."
In unison, the other four detectives shouted, "YOU'RE OUT OF YOUR JURISDICTION!"
The long-haired Sandberg tried to calm tempers as they entered the room. "Okay, okay! Let's not get all territorial, fellas, shall we? I know the introduction of two more males into this tribal, over-compensating testosterone-fest is apt to stir up the status quo, but we know how to follow all the primal rituals. Stop shaking your rattles!" Then he leaned over, smiling, and rubbed the terrier's belly.
Starsky leaned toward Hutch and murmured low, "What did he say?"
Hutch closed his eyes tiredly. "I'll tell you later."
Starsky nodded. "You don't know either, huh?" Hutch glowered at him.
"We were sent as back up," Ellison explained, trying to pacify the other detectives. "When none of you called in, they began to worry."
"Ro drove us over," Blair said, grinning at the little dogs dancing around his feet. "You're both so cute!" It didn't do a whole lot for his butch pose.
Ellison poked him in the ribs. "Sandberg, uh..."
"The hairy one's not even a cop," Hutch grumbled at Pembleton, who shook his head in disgust.
"Maybe not," Ellison shot back, sensitive to that specific complaint, "but at least he knows something about computers!"
"Good thing, since he can't swim worth a damn," Starsky muttered to Hutch who pretended to play with his moustache so he wouldn't get caught grinning.
"Well, maybe he can't swim, but he takes some great mouth-to-mouth," Bayliss said wistfully.
"Oh, really?" Pembleton said, a cold edge in his voice. "You developing a thing for hair?" the bald man said pointedly.
Bayless just stared back at his partner. "Don't push it, Frank. They get it on pretty regular from what I understand."
Frank muttered something about immaturity and defining all relationships through sex.
Suddenly Ellison flinched, and Blair, as if connected to his partner by an inner sense, turned away from the adorable dogs and put a hand on his friend's shoulder. "What is it, Big Guy? Are you sensing something others can't?"
Ellison winced again, looking pained. "Something...I'm hearing something...loud...!" He touched a hand to his ears as if in pain.
Blair put a supporting arm around him. "What is, Jim? Gunfire? Screams for help? Rap music played too loud?"
The other four cops all rolled their eyes.
Pembleton crossed his arms and looked at his partner, complaining sarcastically, "What is this? New Age paranormal phenomena meets Man from U.N.C.L.E.?"
"Careful," Bayliss warned. "You know how complicated things get when they show up."
"I hear they have sex a lot, too," Starsky teased, making Hutch bite his lip. "And they're even older than we are!" Pembleton and Bayliss just glared back at them.
"I hear," Jim gasped, sagging, "Chief, I hear..."
"Crank it down, Big Guy," Blair advised his partner. Lines of worry were etched on his face. "You know how to crank it down."
Ellison nodded, and the pain on his face seemed to ease. "Thanks, Chief. I hear..." he looked around, confused, "...snoring!"
Everyone turned to the bedroom to stare at the Dobermans.
"Hey!" Flamingo yelled to the two somnambulant dogs. They roused themselves momentarily, sighed, yawned, then rolled over. All was still again.
"Thanks," Ellison said, rubbing his ears.
"You think that would be really helpful in police work?" Starsky asked his partner innocently. "Havin' extra-special senses like that? Seeing, hearing, and sniffing what others can't?"
Hutch shrugged. "I dunno. I'm just glad I don't have 'em."
"Yeah? Why not, Hutch?"
"'Cause I live with you, mush-brain. That's all I'd need is a super-sense-of-smell after one of your toxic lunches. Your breath is lethal now!"
Starsky scowled at Hutch's smirk. Bayliss chuckled but stopped at Pembleton's glare.
"I'm never going to find out who sent this hate mail, am I?" Flamingo asked wearily, ready to throw in the towel.
"Lemme see that," Blair said helpfully. "By the way, I love your shoes!" As he took the letter from her hand, he noticed Starsky for the first time. "Oh, hi, Dad!"
"I told you never to call me that," Starsky warned.
"I think it's sweet," Hutch smirked. Starsky kicked him.
Pembleton and Bayliss rolled their eyes at the same time. The two little dogs growled at them ominously.
"Now, just what is he supposed to do about that letter?" Pembleton asked, furious. "He's not even a cop!"
Ellison grinned and folded his massive arms. "Just watch. You might learn something, Pembleton! Go 'head, Chief. Do your stuff."
Blair tuned out the rest of the crowd and sat down at the little laptop. The poodle jumped into his lap and he just worked around her as he taped out some codes to trace back the path of the letter.
The peace only lasted for a moment as there was another knock at the door. The two small dogs exploded into a fury of barking and raced toward it. The Dobermans slept on.
Flamingo started to cry.
"I'll get it," Bayliss said helpfully.
"'Lo," said a slender man with a short black cap of hair. He had a pronounced English accent. Beside him stood an even more slender man with a chestnut mop of curls that could rival Starsky's.
"Like hell," Starsky muttered.
The black-haired man held up an identifying document. It wasn't a badge. Flamingo looked closer. It was a—passport?
"Is this the right flat? I'm afraid we're a bit lost. Trying to maneuver the Capri on the wrong side of the road against all this traffic would send any bloke over the bend, inn'it right, Sunshine? Oh, I'm Bodie, this here's me partner, Doyle. Is this Flamingo's place?"
"Oh, yeah, it's the right place," Bayliss assured him, "but..."
"They sent two CI5 agents to check out a piece of hate mail?" Ellison mused. "Blair, did that come from overseas?"
"Don't think so," Blair said, still working on the computer. "It's domestic."
"CI5 agents?" Pembleton stormed. "That's outrageous. This is a case for American Homicide Detectives!"
Doyle sauntered in, grinning cheekily. "Only if they get somethin' done about it! Word is there's a bloody coppers' convention goin' on 'ere. We didn't want to miss out."
Bodie eyed the two little dogs with a jaundiced look. "I mean, we're way out of our jurisdiction and all, but Dobey figured that there were enough blokes 'ere to solve the crime of the century. 'E's lookin' for you two." He nodded at Starsky & Hutch. "Somethin' about a conflict of interest...?" Just then he turned and spied the sleeping Dobermans. "Oh, cor...!"
"They're no trouble, really!" Ellison tried to assure him.
Flamingo was rubbing her forehead. "Look, Mr. uh, Doyle..."
"I'm Bodie," the black-haired man corrected her. "This 'ere's Doyle!"
But Doyle wasn't paying attention. He and Starsky were circling each other, staring at each other's ass. They were both clad in incredibly tight jeans.
"That's disgusting," Pembleton sneered, turning away from the two prowling men.
"Oh, I don't know..." Bayless murmured, eyeing them both with undisguised delight.
"Just because you're bi in the canon," Pembleton reminded him, "doesn't mean you get to bed everything with testicles that looks good to you, partner-of-mine."
Bayliss smiled happily. "Jealous, Frank?"
Pembleton grumbled something indecipherable.
"The Brits, they have sex a lot, too," Starsky told the Baltimore cops, while indicating Bodie and Doyle. "Kinky sex!"
Pembleton looked disgusted, but Bayless seemed wistful. "Really? Kinky sex?"
"Reg'lar," Doyle told him, with a smirk. "Hard on the old bum at times, but we c'n handle it!"
Refusing to be outdone, Starsky said, "Yeah, well, I bet you never did it handcuffed to a pool table." He turned to Hutch whose eyes had grown soft with the memory. Unable to stay apart, the two romantics touched foreheads and sighed.
Doyle wouldn't back down. "Pool table? Who knows? Me 'n' Bodie have been round the barn so many times it's hard to remember all the special bits, eh, ol' sod?"
"Y'got that right, mate," the former merc agreed.
"Pool table?" Bayless muttered wistfully, close to tears. He glanced at his partner.
"Don't even bring it up," Frank grumbled.
"Gettin' anywhere, Chief?" Ellison asked, leaning over his partner who was concentrating on his task. The poodle was too, watching his every move.
"Yeah, I'm cookin', Big Guy."
"Hey, have I told you lately how cute you look in those glasses?"
Blair smiled knowingly. "Yeah. Last night, at 2:02 AM just before I showed you the mating rituals of the Lost Tribes of the Incas."
Ellison smiled back and for the moment it was just the two of them in the room.
Bayliss sighed unhappily. "It's true, Frank. Everyone gets laid more than we do."
"Don't remind me," Frank agreed miserably.
The doorbell rang. It was an eerie, low, chime.
Flamingo grew alarmed. The little dogs clustered around her feet, hiding behind the fluffy flamingo slippers. The woman couldn't remember the last time the lion-hearted dogs had ever shown fear. The Dobermans slept on.
"What's the matter?" Hutch asked worriedly. "You've got a house full of armed detectives. What are you so afraid of?"
The haunting sound of the doorbell chimed again.
"I don't have a doorbell," the woman said tremulously.
"I'll get it," Ellison said bravely, marching toward the door, using his tightly-muscled bulk to intimidate whoever might be behind it.
He swung the door open. A dazzling light pierced the room, blinding everyone, forcing them to turn away from the unearthly, invading glow. All except Sandberg, who merely adjusted the computer screen, muttering, "...How's a guy supposed to work with all that damned glare."
Flamingo peeked through feathered fingers, trying to see through the terrifying, blinding light.
Finally, a low, modulated voice coming from what the center of the light said, "Scully, will you turn off that flashlight? It's daylight!"
"Oh, sorry," said a female voice. The light was immediately shut off, leaving everyone blinking away bright spots.
Ellison seemed to be in a daze, perched on his knees on the floor, staring blindly. The anthropologist was at his Sentinel's side in an instant. "Jim! Jim! Are you okay? Talk to me, Big Guy! Your Guide is here. Remember all the stuff I taught you? Oh, shit, I think he's zoned out."
Starsky, blinking painfully himself, handed Blair a pair of sunglasses. "Here. Try these."
"Thanks," Blair said gratefully and slipped them over his Sentinel's eyes.
Jim immediately relaxed. "Man, that was bright! What is that, anyway, a halogen bulb? I think I've got a headache!"
"Maybe you'd better keep the glasses," Starsky offered graciously.
"Thanks, man, I owe you," said the anthropologist as he helped Jim to his feet.
"That was my favorite pair," Hutch complained.
When Flamingo looked at the doorway, she saw a tall, handsome man with a perpetual air of sadness about him who none-the-less was exquisitely attired in an expensive suit and long coat. Beside him stood an attractive, if extremely reserved and professional, red-headed woman. Her entire demeanor assured everyone present that she would-take-no-shit-from-anyone.
The man flashed a badge. "I'm Special Agent Fox Mulder. This is Special Agent Dana Scully. We're with the FBI. We'd like to ask you some questions."
"Oh, man," Starsky sighed, "she is hot!"
Hutch glowered at his flirtatious partner, who immediately leaned against him as reassurance. "Just lookin', babe. You know you're the only one for me."
Hutch didn't look like he was buying it.
Suddenly, Agent Mulder noticed the tall Baltimore Homicide detective who was eyeing him with an odd expression. Mulder seemed startled to see Bayless.
Bayless' face still looked wistful, but there was contentment there, too. "It's been a long time, Fox," he said softly.
Pembleton glowered at Bayliss as Mulder fidgeted uncomfortably. Mulder's partner was staring at him none-too-happily. Mulder cleared his throat as he blushed. "I told you never to call me that," he said to Bayless.
"The trip to Baltimore?" Scully asked her partner in a clipped tone.
He shrugged and wouldn't look at her.
"At least they're professionals," Pembleton said to Bayliss.
"They never get laid, either," Starsky said, and Bayliss had to restrain Pembleton from getting physical.
"If you're here about the hate mail, you're way late, kids," Ellison told them, rubbing his forehead. "My partner's gonna have this wrapped up in no time."
"I dunno, Jim," Blair said skeptically. He was once again back at the computer. "Maybe we could use some help with this."
"Is it PAL?" Bodie inquired. "Or NTSC? If it's PAL mebbe we could—"
Doyle poked him in the ribs. "It's not a video thing, twit. It's a computer problem, in'nit?"
"Just askin'!" Bodie said testily.
Mulder was eyeing the two toy dogs with clear disdain. "You'll have lock those slippers—I mean, those dogs up, Ma'am."
"No she doesn't," Scully said, leaning down to pet the poodle. "I used to have a small dog. They're sweet." Her interest in the small dogs didn't affect her butch pose in the least. "It wouldn't be a bad idea, Mulder, if you expanded your interests sometime."
"Yeah," Starsky muttered to Doyle, "like, maybe, to sex with your partner?" The two men snickered.
"I heard that," Mulder said, and just looked sadder.
"Who's that guy lurking around downstairs?" Hutch wondered, peering out the window. "He looks pretty shady. Tall, dark, handsome. Hey! What's that on his arm? Is that the One-armed Man? He's got a plastic arm!"
Scully glared at Mulder. "Does he have to follow us everywhere?"
"I'm sorry, Scully," Mulder whined, wetting his lush lower lip. "Every since they let him give me that kiss on screen, I haven't been able to shake him."
Scully glowered, clearly furious. "And people wonder why we never have sex."
Hutch was shaking his head. "They make much better prosthetics than that these days. Why would he wear that thing? It's so...unattractive!"
"It has its uses," Mulder murmured, and for a moment an odd look of contentment came over his face. But it was only a moment, then the sadness was there again.
Scully just glared. "I should've shot that rat bastard when I had the chance! Look, we don't need to be here, Mulder. I told you this wasn't an X File. It's just a simple case of Internet hate mail. The locals can handle it." She looked around the room at the odd assortment of detectives. "Though I'm not sure...which locals...."
"How can you say this isn't an X File, Scully?" Mulder said hotly. "After all you've learned? After all you've seen?" He waved his hand at the crowded room. "What single force could have brought all these different detectives together, from different cities, different countries, different times? There's something at work here, some special force drawing us all to this place, this problem..."
Scully rolled her eyes and patted the poodle's head.
Suddenly, there was a knock on the door. The toy dogs, exhausted from the constant responsibility of protecting the house, refused to respond. The Dobermans slept on.
Before anyone could answer the door, it swung open. A stunning man in a pastel suit and designer sunglasses sauntered in as if he owned the place. Behind him followed a handsome black man, and a somber Hispanic. The Hispanic looked even sadder than Mulder, if that was possible.
"I like this!" the pastel-wearing man declared as he viewed the crowded room. "You throw a party, Starsky, and don't invite your best buds? See if I take you fishin' again any time soon!" He grinned at Flamingo. "Hey, darlin', I love your shoes!"
"One of you hombres care to fill us in on what's goin' down?" the black man asked. He was nattily attired in a Hugo Boss suit and an outrageously patterned tie. Mulder stared at his clothes with a look of longing.
Flamingo sighed and made introductions. "This is Sonny Crockett, Ricardo Tubbs, and Lieutenant Martin Castillo. They're residents of one of my other properties."
Sonny grinned evilly and flashed his badge. "Miami Vice. And you all are—?"
"You're gonna have to make introductions on your own time, Sonny," Flamingo insisted. "Believe it or not, we're trying to solve a crime here."
"You guys are all workin'?" Sonny said disbelievingly, then hooted. He peered over his dark RayBans at Mulder, then strolled over till he was practically leaning on the man. In a sultry voice, he purred, "Been a long time. You still lookin' for guys with zippers down their back, Fox?"
Amazingly, the FBI agent blushed furiously. "I told you never to call me that."
Sonny just giggled.
Scully stared at her partner. "The trip to Miami?"
Mulder just shrugged and stared at the floor.
Sonny turned his omnivorous attention to her. "It's old history, beautiful. How about you and me makin' a whole new story?"
Starsky looked like he might want to intervene in the attractive FBI agent's defense, but Hutch's frosty glare changed his mind.
Scully's expression never changed. In her perfectly modulated professional voice, she said, "If you don't want to spend the rest of your life peeing through a catheter, you'll back off, now!"
Even Sonny Crockett had his limits. "Whoa. Redhead. I know when I've met my match. She's all yours, Fox."
"I told you never to call me that," Mulder muttered.
Starsky's expression was one of horror, as he stared at the woman he once found so attractive. He glanced down at his groin, then back to her, and stepped behind Hutch for protection. The blond just smirked.
"You guys always travel as a threesome?" Ellison asked, getting edgy as Sonny went out of his way to introduce himself to Blair.
The Hispanic merely fixed him with an ominous stare.
"Never mind," Ellison said. His senses were going haywire in the presence of the intense Cuban.
"Who does he have sex with?" Bayliss asked Starsky, indicating Crockett.
"Sometimes he's with Tubbs," Starsky said informatively. "Sometimes he's with Castillo. Sometimes they do a threesome. But according to Flamingo, Sonny can have sex with anyone he wants."
Then Starsky noticed Hutch glowering at him. He smiled sheepishly and added, "Almost anyone, that is. Heh. Right, babe?"
Hutch continued to stare. "Don't think I didn't overhear you and Flamingo in the kitchen the other night planning that cross-universe story."
"I only came by to show Starsky some new detailing on the Testarosa," Sonny insisted, as he shoved his hands in his pocket, pulling his designer pants tight across his sculpted rear. Casually, he sauntered around Doyle and Starsky, clearly demonstrating his fine wares. The other two men bristled, standing up straighter and tightening their butts. "Figured you wouldn't want to miss a chance to look at a real sports car, pal."
Starsky started reacting to the insult to his precious car, but Hutch reined him in with a hand on his arm.
"I think I'm getting Jim's headache," Flamingo complained, rubbing her forehead.
Unable to resist the lure of the fancy car, Starsky finally looked out the window. "Not bad, not bad. But you really oughta do something about that paint job. Plain. White. Boring. And the Torino's still faster on the straight-away."
"In your dreams!" Crockett said, laughing.
"That's it," Tubbs said ruefully to Castillo. "We've lost him now. Car talk for the rest of the party."
The somber man just scowled disapprovingly, and rubbed the terrier's belly. It didn't affect his butch pose in the least.
"It's not a party!" Flamingo wailed.
"Don't know 'bout that, luv," Bodie said, half-immersed in the Pink One's fridge. "There's plenty o' beer, even if it is cold."
"That piss-thin American brew?" Doyle muttered disapprovingly as he took a can.
"And 'ere's some decent lookin' veggies and humus," Bodie continued, cataloging the interior.
"I'll take that!" Tubbs, Sandberg, Scully, and Hutch said simultaneously.
Bodie started handing food out to the assembled group.
"Hey, I think I've found the culprit!" Blair announced to the crowd.
The poodle had once again taken up residence in his lap.
Before anyone could respond, the two Dobermans who'd been busily imitating the dead, suddenly leapt to their feet, hackles raised, baying furiously. The massive animals charged the front door as cops scattered frantically to get out of their way.
"What is it?" Mulder asked, drawing his gun. Scully shook her head, and drew her own weapon, standing side by side with her partner.
The two big dogs were crazed, barking, snarling, clawing at the front door, desperate to attack whatever was behind it.
Flamingo grabbed both animals by their collars, physically restraining them. The enraged Dobermans tromped all over the flamingo slippers, which squeaked in pain.
"What the hell could be behind that door?" Pembleton wondered, while keeping Bayliss between the dogs and himself.
"Well, wot'ever, we're ready for him, ain't we, Sunshine?" Bodie said, as he and his partner drew their weapons and aimed.
Ellison got between Blair and the dogs and drew his weapon as well. "I can't hear anything outside over that barking!"
"It'll take more than bullets to stop it!" Mulder warned them.
"Will you two shut up!" Flamingo yelled at the dogs, then, when they finally obeyed, she peered out the peephole. "That explains it. They just hate that wolf! I mean, the Mountie's okay, but he never goes anywhere without the white wolf, and that animal just makes these two crazy." She opened the eye-level see-through. A handsome man wearing a Canadian Mounted policeman's hat was standing there. "I'm sorry. I know you want to help, but we've got all the cops here we can handle right now. You'll have to wait downstairs. I know you've come all the way from the Great North. I'm really sorry. Yes, he's a lovely wolf. Yes, I know Ro said you should come, but we've already solved the crime. Thanks." She closed the see-through.
They heard footsteps and the tapping of nails descending the stairs and a minute later the two Dobermans prowled back to the bedroom, grumbling and snarling, and in minutes were fast asleep.
"Isn't it nice to know that if another dog ever attempts to break into your apartment, you're totally safe?" Hutch asked Flamingo.
"Thanks," she said morosely.
"Chief, what's the story on the hate mail?" Jim asked, wanting to make sure that his partner, who-was-not-a-cop, was going to get credit for what he'd done.
"Well, I don't know how to tell you this," Blair said to Flamingo, "but it originated right in this building."
"In VenicePlace?" she said incredulously. "You mean, one of our own neighbors sent it? I can't believe that!"
"I'm with Flamingo on that," Hutch said. "This is the 'Nicest 'Hood on the Net'! No one in VenicePlace would write a piece of hate mail. Put cameras in our bedroom, force us to commit salacious acts to pay our rent, hang out the windows drooling at us on a daily basis, sure. But write a piece of hate mail? Never."
"Well, that's part of the problem," Blair said. "It isn't exactly a piece of hate mail. It's all code."
Flamingo looked at the computer screen where Blair had broken the letter down to individual components and complex matrices. "Gee, I just thought all those caps and misspellings and bad grammar just meant the hate-monger was illiterate."
"Most of them are," Pembleton agreed.
"No, this is code," Blair insisted. "Some kind of high-level security code. I think it's from a government agency like the CIA, or NSA, or OCB or one of those shadowy alphabet soup groups."
"As long as it's not U.N.C.L.E.," Bayliss said softly.
"Is there something you're not telling me?" Pembleton asked grimly.
"You know I always tell you everything, Frank," Tim insisted.
"Yes, that's true," Pembleton agreed. "And in entirely too much detail."
Bayliss just sighed.
"Let me see that," Scully said, cuddling the poodle as she peered at the computer screen. "Oh. I've seen this before. Unfortunately."
"What is it, Scully?" Mulder said worriedly. "Is it alien hieroglyphics? Navaho code talk? A link to the vast global conspiracy we've spent our entire careers pursuing?" He moved closer so he could loom over her and increase the unrequited sexual tension between them. But then the poodle snarled so he backed off.
"I don't think so. Maybe you'd better come with me," Scully said to Flamingo. She put the poodle down and patting the little dog said sweetly. "You can't come, sweetheart. This could get nasty." Then she stood, straightened her immaculate blazer and glared at every man in the room, daring them to patronize her. None of them did. Not even Pembleton.
Sonny, leaning against a door frame so he could show off his attractive groin, smiled at Starsky and murmured, "Redheads." Starsky grinned in agreement.
Scully marched out the door and down the stairs and out to the street. Flamingo was right behind her, as was every other cop, secret agent, and anthropologist that had filled her small apartment. The poodle and the terrier came along, too, in spite of Scully's warnings. But the Dobermans knew better, so they stayed upstairs and slept.
The entire contingent followed the G-woman out to the street and around the entrance of the restaurant housed in the VenicePlace building. It had been a French restaurant during Starsky and Hutch's day, but it was now the Cyber Java restaurant, a computer cafe where you could eat trendy food and log on at the same time. Scully marched in through their front entrance.
She stopped before a table with three men seated around a computer console. "I believe, if you will check that machine, you will find it is the originator of the email, and that these men are responsible for it."
Flamingo, still clad in her pink flamingo-headed slippers, glared at the men, demanding, "You want to explain this?" She shook the print out of the offending letter at them.
The men seemed completely confused as they stood. One of them was very tall and broad-shouldered. He had classic Italian looks, a face so handsome it could have been carved on a Roman statue, and a thick shock of jet black hair and blue eyes that could rival Starsky's.
"Like hell," muttered Starsky, interrupting what was about to become too much narrative description.
One of the other men was older, semi-balding, with a prominent nose and was clearly a man of authority. The third man wore a perpetually bemused expression and a shock of hair nearly as red as Scully's.
"Lady, I don't even know you," the Italian-looking man protested in a thick Brooklyn accent. "But, unfortunately, I do know those bozos!" he pointed to Sonny, Rico, and Marty, "and those two," he nodded grudgingly at Pembleton and Bayliss. He nodded, too, at the two British agents. But then he spotted Mulder moving through the crowd to get closer to his partner. He stood up straighter. "Been a long time, Fox," he said with a crooked smile.
Mulder blushed and looked around the restaurant. "I told you never to call me that."
Scully glared at her partner. "The trip to New York?"
Mulder just looked chagrined.
The shorter man just stared at the Italian in surprise. The red-headed man started to chuckle.
The big man shrugged artlessly, using his whole upper body. "Long time ago, Frank. F'ged'about it."
"Sure, Vinnie," Frank said dubiously.
"You guys can deal with your twisted relationships on your own time," Flamingo insisted. "I'm the 'Flamingo' this thing was addressed to, I'm the super in this building, and a whole bunch of us got this piece of hate mail. And we think you sent it!"
Frank turned to Flamingo who was still brandishing the printout. Blinking at the sight of her slippers, he forced himself to look at her face instead. Adjusting his wire-rimmed glasses, he asked, "Let me see that." He peered at the printout.
Suddenly, Vinnie noticed the two mini-dogs clambering around his long legs. "Awww. You guys are sooo cute." He began to rub the terrier's belly. His butch pose wasn't all that secure, but no one dared bring it up.
"You're a slut, you know that?" Starsky scolded the little dog.
As Frank studied the printout and Vinnie made baby-talk at the little dogs, Sonny burst through the crowd, while his partner and his lieutenant tried futilely to hold him back. "Evan! Evan, you're alive! But you died in my arms...!" He was choking back tears.
"Back off, Crockett," the red-head sneered. "The name's Roger. This is a whole new universe, Buckwheat."
Rico and Marty pulled Sonny away to console him. The blond muttered "Redheads" in a disgusted tone.
Just then, Flamingo noticed a dark-haired man looking wistfully into the restaurant through the plate glass window. "Now what?" she muttered.
"Krychek's back," Scully grumbled.
Krychek picked that moment to press his lips against the plate glass in an obscene kiss and mouth at Mulder, "I'll always love you, Fox!"
Scully reached behind her and pulled her gun, showing it to Krychek. The point wasn't lost on him and he disappeared. She glowered at Mulder who just shifted uncomfortably. "I told him never to call me that," he said by way of apology. Softly, he muttered, "Sure glad Skinner didn't show up!" Scully just shot him another look.
"Mulder and Krychek, they have sex, too," Starsky told Pembleton and Bayliss gleefully, "and they hate each other!"
Bayliss looked like he wanted to cry. "Frank?"
"I'm married, Tim," Pembleton reminded him. "And everyone loves my wife, even the fans. So, it can only be once in a while, and then only as a spontaneous act that's followed by a great deal of guilt. I'm Catholic, after all."
Bayliss only sighed. "And those guys? Vinnie and Frank?"
"Sure," Starsky said knowingly. "Lots of sex. And they're not even partners. More like handler and agent. And sometimes Vinnie has sex with Roger. And sometimes he has sex with some of the gangsters he's gotta spend time with undercover. A'course, Vinnie's not exactly the kind'a guy who can get away with petting a poodle, if you know what I mean. Everyone fucks Vinnie."
Bayliss sighed. "Not everyone."
Starsky suddenly realized Hutch was staring at him with ominous intent.
"Everyone fucks Vinnie?" Hutch asked his partner pointedly.
Starsky grinned sheepishly. "No, babe, no! Not everyone. Definitely not everyone."
"Damned right about that," Hutch warned, glowering.
"This showed up on your computer?" Frank asked Flamingo. She nodded.
"And you thought it was hate mail?"
"Well, of course I did. It says, 'Death to all slash-writing, slash-loving, slash-reading filthy sluts.' And, 'Anyone who'd take those nice, normal, heterosexual boys, Starsky & Hutch, and make them queers is a sicko pervert who should die.' Not great prose maybe, but I'd call that hate mail."
Frank looked at her in exasperation. "The sentence about those two should've tipped you off." He nodded at the LA cops who were now cuddling in a restaurant booth while Bayless watched longingly. "I mean, that was sarcasm, Lady."
"Well, if it's not hate mail, then what the hell is it?" Flamingo demanded.
"You couldn't figure that out, Flamingo?" Vinnie asked, laughing. "And you call yourself a N'Yawka? Gedoudahere."
The little bell over the restaurant's front door tinkled as the door opened. In walked a delivery man in a Federal Express uniform carrying boxes of steaming pizza.
From the booth Starsky's head popped up. "Do I smell pizza?"
"You think of your stomach at the damnedest times!" Hutch complained.
Vinnie took the pizzas. "That was a coded message sent through security channels straight to OCB who sent it to our N'Yawk branch who piped it over to Sal's Famous Pizzeria in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. World's Best Pizza. We flew it in special."
"And you said this wasn't an X File," Mulder murmured in Scully's ear.
"It's not. It's just pizza Mulder," she reminded him.
"It's New York Pizza. This is LA. That pizza's still hot."
"Only one thing could've flown here fast enough to keep a New York pizza piping hot. Alien technology."
She sighed tiredly. "Excuse me. I'm going to play with the poodle."
Mulder grinned hopefully.
"Not that poodle!" she scolded. He once again succumbed to an air of sadness.
"New York Pizza?" Starsky said, shoving through the crowd with no less force than he had the time he thought his partner had been shot dead in front of him. "Outta my way!"
"Relax, paisan," Vinnie said, offering Starsky a hot slice. His startling blue eyes captured the LA cop's matching ones. "Been a long time, David."
Starsky glanced over his shoulder to find Hutch scowling at him. He took the slice from Vinnie, and muttered, "I told you never to call me that." Hutch yanked him back to the booth.
Vinnie handed slices of the garlic-laden New York specialty around, hearing appreciative murmurs from the Brits and the Cascade couple.
Roger personally handed a piece to a fuming Sonny. "Ever think about that, Crockett?" he taunted, "that somewhere, there's a piece of pizza with your name on it?"
Crockett snatched his piece rudely and stalked away.
As he handed a piece to Mulder and Scully, Vinnie asked in a kindly tone, "So, what's happenin' wit' you two anyway? Getting any lately?"
Scully glowered at him. "If you want to spend the rest of your life peeing through—"
Mulder grabbed her by the elbow and towed her to a booth. " Scully, you're overusing that line."
"It's been a long time since I've been able to savor the delicate aroma of a genuine New York Pizza," Pembleton remarked, taking his slice. "Ever try one, Tim? It's the Godiva of pizzas, the very distilled essence of pizza. Don't burn your mouth."
"And what about you two?" Vinnie asked Bayless pointedly. "I mean, you guys should have it easy. You're bi in the canon! F'ged'aboud it!"
"I'm married, Vincenzo," Pembleton snarled.
Tim had apparently had enough. He grabbed Frank by the collar of his trench coat and hauled him off to a nearby booth. "Thanks for the pizza, Vinnie. Frank. Shut up and eat."
"I still don't understand," Flamingo protested, so upset that she couldn't be lured by Sal's Famous Pizza straight from Fourth Avenue. "If you sent this email through secured channels, then how did it end up on so many computers in VenicePlace?"
"That's a good question, Pinky," Roger agreed, grinning. "How did a secure document end up on their computers, Frank?"
"I don't know," the smaller man said worriedly, staring at the email. "We had a secure channel, I thought. Unless...there's some special wiring on these computers that I've never seen before...."
Flamingo blanched as she suddenly remembered the Head of Security's custom refitting of all the security devices in the building. Had she included the computers in Cyber Java as well? She glanced at the back booth where Starsky and Hutch were busy doing...something. As if Hutch read her mind, he suddenly looked over the top of the booth.
"This wouldn't have anything to do with those so-called security cameras, would it?" he demanded.
"Hutch, come on, I tol' you," Starsky argued, his expression worried, "that was just standard security stuff. They're just tryin' to keep your apartment from being trashed on a monthly basis! Right, Flamingo?"
"Right!" she insisted, but it came out more like a squeak. The mini-dogs, sensing something was wrong, gathered around the big slippers to offer support. "Just standard security!"
Frank stared at the printout. "I don't think so. Not if this showed up in your system. I'd better go through everything, make sure there's nothing wonky—"
Flamingo snatched the printout from his hands and shoved it into a deep pink pocket. "Nothing's wonky. Not in VenicePlace! No, sir! This is the last place you'd ever find any wonkiness. We are a wonky-free zone! Musta been one of those computer glitches. Power surge. Power failure. Something like that."
"It could've been alien technology," Mulder offered helpfully.
"Eat your pizza," Scully ordered. He smiled at her wistfully.
"Thanks for solving our mystery," Flamingo said, smiling broadly and showing all her teeth. "Glad it wasn't really hate mail. Everything's fine now. I gotta go. Dogs to walk. Gotta chase Krychek off. Gotta make sure the white wolf didn't leave me a gift. A super's work is never done."
"Maybe I should talk to your Head of Security?" Frank offered. "Go over some of the circuits."
"She's out of town," Flamingo insisted. "For a month. Really. Gotta go. Thanks everyone for helping out!"
She scooted out the door of the restaurant, flamingo slippers flapping, and jogged up the long staircase back to her apartment, slamming the door behind her. She and the mini-dogs breathed a sigh of relief.
Moving over to her computer, she tapped in the special sequence that every VenicePlace member knew by heart. Specifying camera, locale, and range, she zoomed in on a certain booth in Cyber Java.
If they ever found out, Hutch would kill her. He'd probably kill the Head of Security, too, but first, he'd want the pleasure of dismantling every pink feather on her ample, well-feathered body.
Starsky—who had conspired with them so that his exploits with his lover would be recorded for posterity—was successfully working to take Hutch's mind off the unsolved computer glitch by seductively feeding him tiny bits of savory pizza.
Nearby, Ellison and Sandberg were also sharing a slice and staring lovingly at each other. Pembleton was giving a dissertation on the four critical ingredients needed to make a perfect pizza, while Bayless kept stealing glances at Mulder who kept staring sadly at his female partner. In another both, Bodie and Doyle were wondering if they could get a decent order of fish and chips, while the men who ordered the New York pizza were busy chowing down and arguing loudly around the meal. Well, they were New Yorkers. When Vinnie kissed Frank on the head for the third time, Flamingo refocused the camera. She spied the white wolf outside stalking someone, but it was only Krychek so she didn't worry about it.
Satisfied that the case had ended well and that life at VenicePlace was back to normal—whatever that was—she collected her two mini-dogs, curled up comfortably in front of her computer and focused on her tenants, Starsky and Hutch, who'd abandoned the mangled slice to share the taste of authentic New York pizza sauce against each other's tongues. She rubbed the terrier's tummy and sighed. All was right with the world again.
The Dobermans, oblivious to the drama surging around them, slept peacefully in the next room.