Comments from this story can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org and will be forwarded to the author. This story was originally published in Fruit Cocktail 4. Special thanks to Kari M. for preparing it for the web.
The Safeway Compromise
Hutch paused on the threshold of the supermarket door, reluctant to enter the unknown realm. Starsky, on the other hand, was enthusiastically commandeering a shopping cart. Hutch felt his partner come up behind him—literally, when the car goosed him in the behind. Always liberal on the brakes, his partner.
Starsky put on his best endearing smile. "C'mon, let's go. This is a kinda special event for us . . . our first grocery trip . . . you know, 'together'."
Hutch smiled back automatically. "Yeah. Just don't get carried away."
"Me??" Innocent eyes also held a glint of mischief.
Inside, Starsky lead the way down the colorful aisles, Hutch following behind. His voice grew gleeful, ticking off items as he put them in the carriage. "Twinkies . . . cupcakes . . . Ding Dongs!"
Hutch continued to trail him quietly, removing all the offending merchandise and returning it to the shelves.
"Donuts . . . ." Starsky turned and froze at the sight of the empty cart. He looked at his partner accusingly. "Hey!"
"Starsky, we DO NOT need all that junk in the house!" He stepped aside to squeeze a grapefruit for ripeness.
Starsky hid a box of Twinkies under the lettuce.
It was Hutch's worst nightmare, but it was almost over. Besides, what could his friend possibly find to interest him in the pet department?
Starsky picked up a toy bone that looked made for a dinosaur—King Kong at very least.
Hutch eyed the bone suspiciously. "Starsky, what are you doing—we don't have a dog."
"Uh," Starsky began hesitantly. "Actually, I was meaning to tell you about that . . . ."
"I don't wanna hear it!" Hutch grabbed the toy from Starsky's hand. "If you don't behave, so help me, Starsky, I'm gonna make you ride in the child's seat!" He gestured to the cart.
"Could be kinky," Starsky commented with a mock leer.
Two aisles to go—Hutch was counting them. He looked with longing at a sign for soybeans, but was interrupted.
"Don't even look, blondie."
"Starsky," Hutch began sadly, sitting down on a stack of canned goods. "I don't think this is going to work."
His curly-haired terror hunkered down beside him. "You mean you don't wanna live with me?" Starsky asked fearfully.
"No. I mean I don't wanna go shopping with you. We're just not food-compatible." He winked. "Besides, we'll work it out—it just takes time. Nothing worthwhile every comes easy. See? We're almost there. We can do it!"
It occurred to Hutch that he was a sucker for this particular pair of blue eyes . . . and blue sneakers . . . and blue jeans . . . . "Okay, buddy, let's go." He rose to face the final aisle, looking heavenward for the sign: Bakery and Imported Desserts. He braced himself, hands like steel on the cart handle. "Whatever happens Starsk, know that I love you."
They entered the danger zone.
Home Sweet Home. Hutch began opening cabinets, resigned to putting away the groceries himself. Starsky perched on the kitchen counter, content to watch and eat his Snickers bar.
"That was fun," he managed around a mouthful. "Can't wait 'til next week. By the way, what are we having for dinner tonight?"
"Soybean burgers and Twinkie salad," Hutch replied, getting in the last laugh.