Actions

Work Header

The Christmas Garland

Work Text:

Garland
noun

  • A wreath or festoon of flowers, leaves, or other material, hung on something as a decoration.
  • A collection of short literary pieces, as poems and ballads; literary miscellany.

 

Monday, December 1, 1980
6:09 am

“Rise and shine, buddy boy, it’s the first day of Christmas!” Starsky cooed, swatting at Hutch’s shoulder in an effort to rouse him from his sleep.

“Um, Starsk,” said Hutch, rubbing his eyes sleepily. “The first day of Christmas is Christmas Day. You know, the 25th? And there are 12 days of Christmas, Einstein, not 25. They run from December 25th through January 5th.”

“Well not in my book, blondie. No siree. There are 25 days of Christmas, startin’ with today, numero uno. And besides, my cock has already risen and it’s needin’ a shine, if you get my drift.”

“Oh, well then, let’s see what we can do about that,” said Hutch, who was now fully awake and erect as well. He proceeded to rub Starsky’s groin over his pajama pants while Starsky wriggled with pleasure on the bed. Then he pulled Starsky’s pants down and took his cock in his mouth, savoring the sounds of Starsky’s moans.

Before Starsky got too close, Hutch took out the tube of lotion and spread it over Starsky’s hard, throbbing cock, and then knelt on the bed so Starsky could enter him from behind.

Starsky reached around and stroked Hutch’s cock while he thrust inside him. He waited until he heard Hutch’s uncontrollable groans and then let himself come at the same time. Then they both collapsed in a heap — sweating, panting, hearts beating fast, contented smiles on their faces.

Then they kissed, got up, and got ready for work.

8:05 am

Hutch sat down at the desk while Starsky poured them both some coffee. Dobey stuck his head out of his office and bellowed, “I need to see you two in here!”

11:20 am

Hutch sat anxiously on the witness stand as he nervously testified. After all these years, he still got apprehensive up there, even with Starsky reassuring him from his seat in the front of the courtroom.

3:00 pm

Driving around on their beat, they responded to a 211 at a neighborhood convenience store. Starsky chased one of the perps into a side alley while Hutch caught and cuffed the other one. When Starsky didn’t come back right away, Hutch peered around the alley, saw that the guy Starsky was fighting off seemed to have gotten the upper hand, and rushed at him, taking him down with one hard punch to the side of the face. Then Hutch straddled the perp and held him down forcefully until Starsky tossed him his handcuffs.

“You okay?” Hutch asked, out of breath, helping Starsky to his feet and examining Starsky’s face for bruises.

“Yeah. Thanks, partner,” said Starsky.

4:40 pm

They ate a late lunch and headed back to Metro. While walking into the squad room, Hutch suddenly felt fatigued, sat down at his desk, rested an arm on the hard surface, and proceeded to lay his head down on it.

“Hutch, you okay?” asked Starsky.

“Feel really tired all of a sudden,” said Hutch, just before he started coughing. He pressed his free hand against his chest, as if he were feeling discomfort.

Starsky noticed that Hutch was sweating. He reached across the desk and felt Hutch’s forehead. “Jeez, you’re burnin’ up,” he said, concerned. “Come on, I’m takin’ you home.” He helped Hutch to his feet and walked him down to the car.

When they got back to Venice Place, Starsky helped Hutch over to the bed. Hutch was still coughing and so weak he could barely stand up. Then Starsky took Hutch’s temperature. “It’s 102.3; I’ll get some aspirin,” said Starsky. He brought Hutch a glass of water and two aspirin and then tucked the blankets around Hutch who was now visibly shaking from chills.

“You must have come down with the flu or somethin’. Try to get some sleep, babe.” He leaned over and kissed Hutch’s hot forehead. Then he went over to the sink, wet a dishcloth with cold water, and placed it on Hutch’s head.

December 2, 1980

Hutch was still sleeping when Starsky woke up at 8:30 am. He gently placed his hand against Hutch’s cheek and then rested it on his forehead. The fever seemed to have abated.

Good, maybe it was one of those 24-hour things, Starsky thought.

But when Hutch finally woke up around 10:30 am it was clear he was still very sick. When he got up to use the bathroom, every muscle in his body ached and he felt as weak as a kitten. Starsky had to stay with him to make sure he didn’t collapse in a heap on the bathroom floor.

Hutch slept most of the day, but by late afternoon the fever had come back. Starsky followed the same routine as the day before: aspirin, water, cool compress on the head. He tried to get Hutch to eat something to no avail.

“When I was a kid, my grandmother and my Aunt Rose would always give my mother advice on what to do when I was sick. My grandmother would say ‘eat something, you’ll feel better.’ She told my mother to give me plain hot tea and toast with honey. And for me to get extra sleep. Do you have any idea how horrible plain black tea tastes to a child? And then I couldn’t sleep because all that caffeine would keep me up. ‘Course, now I drink so much black coffee every day I’m immune to caffeine, so I can even drink it at night and still sleep like a baby. Now my Aunt Rose, she told my mother I should just take a shower and see if I felt better. Isn’t that the craziest thing you ever heard? But you gotta eat somethin’, Hutch.” Starsky had been sitting on the bed next to where Hutch was resting, his hand on Hutch’s arm.

Hutch looked up at him and smiled weakly. “Not hungry,” he managed to say.

December 3, 1980

Starsky was beginning to worry; Hutch didn’t seem to be doing any better. “Hey, I wanna take you to the doctor today, okay?” he said.

Hutch weakly tried to be contrary but eventually complied and let Starsky do what he wanted; he was too fatigued to argue.

“Hey Hug,” Starsky said into the phone after calling Huggy at the Pits, “think you can bring over some chicken soup for my partner?”

“Is he feeling any better?” asked Huggy.

“No and I took him to the doctor today. Said Hutch definitely has the flu and that he’ll probably be sick for a week or two.”

“Hmm, I’m sorry to hear that. I’ll be over shortly with that soup. Anything I can bring for you, Starsky? I assume there’s no one to make you a home-cooked meal at the moment.”

“How ‘bout a hamburger and some fries?” asked Starsky.

“You got it, my man,” said Huggy.

December 4, 1980

Starsky called Huggy and asked him to bring over a humidifier to see if that would help with Hutch’s coughing and stuffiness.

December 5, 1980

Starsky hated leaving Hutch home alone, but Dobey was pitching a fit and needed Starsky to make an appearance at work.

Huggy promised Starsky that he would check in on Hutch during the day. He added that he would wear a face mask and latex gloves to avoid getting sick and wondered how Starsky had avoided it so far. Starsky didn’t know the answer, but was grateful that he had. Who would take care of Hutch if Starsky got sick?

December 6, 1980

Hutch’s fever seemed to finally be going down. It was only 100.3 when Starsky took it that evening.

December 7, 1980

Starsky was pleased to note that for the first time in a week, Hutch was fever-free. The cough was almost fully gone, too.

December 8, 1980

Despite starting to show improvement the previous couple of days, Hutch woke up coughing and feeling weak and soon developed a headache. Starsky gave him hot tea with honey, cough drops, and aspirin before leaving for work, but the cough and headache continued throughout the day.

December 9, 1980

Hutch continued to feel weak. His headache remained, his cough persisted and his muscles ached terribly. It was as if he had gotten the flu all over again.

Huggy checked in on Hutch while Starsky was out on the streets alone.

December 10, 1980

Hutch’s cough got worse as the day wore on, and the fever, which had previously gone away, came back with a vengeance. It was 103.8 when Huggy took it in the late afternoon. He had stopped by around 5:30, saw that Hutch was sweating and weak, took his temperature, and called Starsky at Metro.

When he didn’t answer, Huggy called Dobey, who contacted Starsky by radio.

“Come in, Zebra Three, stand by for Captain Dobey.”

“Go ahead, Captain,” said Starsky as he was driving the Torino south on Almeria St.

“Starsky, I’ve got Huggy on the line. I’m patching him through now.”

Huggy told Starsky about Hutch’s symptoms. Alarmed, Starsky told Huggy to take Hutch to the emergency room and he would meet them there. By the time Starsky got to the hospital, Hutch was having difficulty breathing and was noticeably shaking.

“It’s okay, babe, I’m here,” he said softly, putting his arm around Hutch while they waited for the ER doctor to examine him. Hutch leaned his head against Starsky’s shoulder and continued coughing and shaking. Hutch was barely able to sit up, so Starsky pulled him close and held him.

The doctor suspected it was pneumonia and said that Hutch would need to be admitted. Huggy left to tend to the restaurant but Starsky stayed at Hutch’s bedside until midnight, and then went home to get some sleep before returning to the hospital the next morning.

December 11, 1980

The doctor explained to Starsky that while anyone could develop complications from influenza, it was more common in infants, the elderly, and those with compromised immune systems, as well as people with lung conditions such as asthma.

While Hutch had seasonal allergies, he didn’t have asthma. Then Starsky mentioned to the doctor that Hutch had the plague three years earlier and had suffered from severe respiratory distress. The doctor said that Hutch’s lungs may have been damaged or weakened from that incident, making him more susceptible to developing flu complications such as pneumonia.

December 12, 1980

Hutch lay in the hospital bed with an oxygen mask over his face and an IV line in his left arm, looking as feeble as he did when he was hospitalized with the plague. Aspirin was keeping the fever down, but he still had intermittent sweating and chills.

Starsky could barely stand to see him like this. But at least I can stay with you this time, babe, and touch you, Starsky thought, as he placed his hand against Hutch’s cheek and held it there.

Hutch looked up at him and smiled weakly.

December 13, 1980

For the next two days, Starsky sat by Hutch’s beside while Hutch drifted in and out of sleep. He stroked Hutch’s hair and soothed him whenever he awoke, and held his hand and listened to the sound of his labored breathing while he slept.

December 14, 1980

It was the middle of the night. Hutch lay in the hospital bed, drifting in and out of consciousness, unable to remember if Starsky had visited him that day.

December 15, 1980

“I can’t stay too long, babe, Dobey needs me back at the station, but I’ll stop by again tonight. I love you,” Starsky said.

It took all of Hutch’s strength to say, “Love you, too,” before he fell back to sleep.

December 16, 1980

It was almost midnight when Starsky returned home from the hospital, exhausted. He got into bed, turned off the light, and then realized he hadn’t watered the plants. He got up, turned on the star pendant light in the greenhouse, watered the plants, spoke soothingly to them, and climbed back into bed, alone.

After a few minutes, he got up again, took Ollie down from the top of the bureau and held him while he fell asleep.

December 17, 1980

Hutch opened his eyes to see Captain Dobey sitting next to him and weakly raised his hand.

“How are you feeling, Hutchinson?” Dobey asked with fatherly concern.

Hutch waved his hand back and forth but Dobey couldn’t decide if that meant Hutch was feeling better or not.

“I’m sorry your partner isn’t able to visit you today, but I’ve got a lot of officers out this week and I needed Starsky to respond to a murder investigation.”

Hutch looked at him intently and nodded.

Then Dobey continued, “Rosie has been asking if she could visit you but I told her kids weren’t allowed. She tried to argue that she’s not a kid anymore now that she’s ten.” He laughed. “She thinks she’s like Cal now. But she asked me to give you this.” He handed Hutch a small stuffed dog.

Hutch looked at Dobey and then motioned for him to place the dog on the bed, next to his chest.

December 18, 1980

Starsky sat by Hutch’s bedside all morning and gently stroked his partner’s matted blond hair. He wondered where the stuffed dog that Hutch was clutching had come from.

December 19, 1980

It was late when Starsky returned home from the hospital and he realized he was quite hungry. He made himself a sandwich, grabbed a bottle of beer, and sat alone at the kitchen table. Then he looked at Hutch’s empty chair, got up, brought his dinner over to the sofa, and turned on the TV.

He decided that tomorrow night he’d eat at the Pits.

December 20, 1980

Starsky sat on the edge of Hutch’s bed and read the newspaper to him, yawning and trying not to fall asleep. He had gotten little sleep since Hutch had been hospitalized. He was grateful that Hutch was now able to breathe on his own and the oxygen mask had been removed.

Starsky closed his eyes and tried to imagine that they were sitting side-by-side on the bench in the greenhouse, sharing a bottle of beer. He wondered if they’d be able to do that before Christmas.

December 21, 1980

Starsky and Huggy were glad to see that Hutch was improving. Huggy and Hutch both noticed that Starsky yawned several times even though it was only early afternoon.

“Starsk, why don’t you go home and get some sleep. Huggy can keep me company,” said Hutch.

“You know, I think I’ll do just that,” said Starsky, much to Hutch’s surprise.

Then Starsky held Hutch’s hand, leaned over and kissed him, and said he’d visit again in the morning.

December 22, 1980

The doctor said that Hutch was doing better than expected and could probably go home on Wednesday. Starsky breathed a sigh of relief.

December 23, 1980

Starsky was busy wrapping gifts at 3:45 pm when he heard a knock. He quickly put the gifts and wrapping paper in the closet and opened the door.

“Hey, Starsky,” said Kiko, who walked over to the kitchen table and dumped out the contents of a paper bag.

“Hey,” said Molly, who walked over to the kitchen counter carrying a metal tin and a large Tupperware. “I’m putting this one in the fridge. It’s for you and Hutch to eat tomorrow night for dinner. Our mom cooked it this morning.”

“Great, I’ll have to thank her when she picks you two up later.”

“She didn’t drive us here, Kiko did. He has his license now!” said Molly, obviously proud of her big brother.

“Hey, congratulations Kiko, that’s terrific!” said Starsky. Then he examined the craft supplies they had brought: white construction paper; stencils; string; red ribbon; three pairs of scissors; two bottles of Elmer’s glue, and tubes of silver and gold glitter.

“This is perfect!” said Starsky, beaming happily at the scattered supplies.

Wednesday, December 24, 1980
Christmas Eve

Starsky headed over to the hospital in the morning to pick up Hutch. He was bursting with excitement and couldn’t wait to bring his partner home.

When they got to the top of the stairs, Starsky opened the door he had decorated with a festive wreath. Hutch had expected the wreath and tree, but when he walked into the apartment he was stunned, for it was fully decked out in resplendent glory.

The tree was festooned with great handfuls of silver tinsel and gold garland, and an angel that had belonged to Starsky’s grandmother adorned the top. Sparkling glass balls in an array of colors – red, blue, green, and silver — were dotted around the tree.

At the base of the tree were gaily wrapped packages, each carefully tied with red and green ribbon and topped off with a candy cane. Hutch walked over to have a closer look. The gifts were labeled Kiko, Molly, Rosie, Cal, and Huggy.

“Starsk, when did you have time to get all these gifts and wrap them?” asked Hutch incredulously.

“Whenever I would have preferred to take a nap,” said Starsky.

Hutch looked around the room. The coffee table was adorned with boughs of fragrant spruce interspersed with bright red glass balls and red velvet ribbon. Despite Hanukkah ending on the 10th, Starsky had kept the menorah out and it proudly stood next to the Christmas display.

But the pièce de resistance was the sparkly gold and silver decorations hung from strings that were festooned all across the ceiling. As Hutch studied the gleaming shapes, he saw that they were crescent moons and stars. Gold glitter adorned the moons while the stars were bejeweled in silver glitter. The shapes sparkled in the lamplight.

“Starsk, how did you manage to do all this?” Hutch asked with genuine astonishment as he looked around the room.

“I had help from Molly and Kiko. Huggy too,” replied Starsky.

Hutch spied a decorative tin on the kitchen counter next to the sink and walked over. Inside he found iced sugar cookies with red and green sprinkles.

“Those are from Mrs. Ramos. There’s also a roast in the fridge for dinner. Look up,” said Starsky, and that’s when Hutch spied the mistletoe that had been hung above the sink. Then Starsky took Hutch in his arms and kissed him deeply. “Welcome home, partner.”

They spent the rest of the day snuggled together on the couch, talking, laughing, eating the cookies, and drinking hot herbal tea with honey. For dinner, they feasted on the roast pork shoulder, arroz con gandules, and green beans that Mrs. Ramos had sent over. Then they watched “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” on the TV while drinking hot buttered rum and headed to bed early.

“Hey, what’s this doing here?” asked Hutch, pointing to Ollie as he climbed into bed.

“I needed somethin’ to hold onto while you were gone; the bed felt too empty without you, babe,” said Starsky solemnly, as he nestled close against Hutch and put his arms around him. The warmth from Hutch’s body was so comforting that Starsky fell asleep instantly. It was the best sleep he got all month.

Thursday, December 25, 1980
Christmas Day
9:00 am

Starsky woke up, sleepily reached over to touch his partner, and panicked when he realized Hutch wasn’t in the bed. He jumped out of bed and ran into the living room, relieved to see Hutch standing near the tree. He had been bending down but quickly stood up when he saw Starsky walking towards him.

“Hey, what’s that?” asked Starsky, pointing towards the object that encircled the gifts under the tree. It was a metal toy Christmas train, its bright green engine festooned with a big red bow, its red cars carrying small plastic spruce trees and gifts.

“Turn it on; it plays Christmas music,” said Hutch.

Starsky found a music box under the first car and wound it up. The tinny sounds of “Toyland” began to play, much to Starsky’s delight.

“Merry Christmas, pal,” said Hutch, smiling and putting his arm around Starsky.

“A train, I just don’t believe it! How did you manage to get that while you were in the hospital?” asked Starsky incredulously.

“I had help from Santa’s elves,” Hutch said coyly.

“Who?” asked Starsky.

“Molly, Kiko, and Huggy,” said Hutch. “Huggy gave them money to buy it.”

“I don’t know what to say, babe. You were so sick, I really wasn’t expecting anything. I just wanted you to get better and come home.”

“I know,” said Hutch as he hugged Starsky.

As Hutch pulled away, he noticed small white cards hanging on the tree, affixed to a long strand of red ribbon. Alternating glittery gold crescent moons and silver stars, smaller than the ones hanging from the ceiling, covered the part where each card was glued onto the ribbon. The bedecked ribbon was festooned around the tree like a garland.

“Hey, Starsk, I don’t remember seeing this garland on here yesterday.”

“That’s because I put it on early this morning, when I got up to use the john,” said Starsky, who proceeded to remove the garland from the tree. He motioned for Hutch to sit next to him on the sofa and handed it to him.

Hutch realized that the small white cards were business cards and that each card was hand labeled with a small number in the upper right corner, from 1-25.

“What’s this?” asked Hutch.

“Merry Christmas, partner,” said Starsky. “Turn it over, there’s something on the back of each card,” Starsky instructed, his face beaming with anticipation.

Hutch turned over the garland. Written on the back of each card in Starsky’s careful handwriting was a special sentiment.

Hutch read the first card aloud:

#1:

You are my partner, my lover, and my dearest friend in the world and I hate seeing you sick. I love you babe and I hope you get better soon.

“Aw, that’s nice,” said Hutch, as he smiled at Starsky.

“Go on, read the next one,” urged Starsky impatiently.

Hutch read the next card:

#2:

I love the little game we play when you act superior and I act ignorant. We’re so cute, aren’t we?

“Well, I’m cute, but I don’t know about you,” Hutch teased, then he continued reading each of the cards slowly, one by one, as Starsky looked at him and smiled contentedly:

#3

There was a crescent moon above the greenhouse when I watered the plants tonight. It was surrounded by millions of twinkling stars.

#4

So I thought about how you are the moon, lighting up my life, and I’m the star in your sky, always glowing for you.

#5

And how much I love you to the moon and back.

Hutch leaned his head against Starsky’s head briefly before he continued reading the rest of the cards:

#6

I love when you go on your rants about numbers and stuff. You’re adorable when you’re angry.

#7

Do you have any idea how beautiful your eyes are, even when you’re not angry?

#8

Zebra Three, Me and Thee, put your big hard cock in me.

Hutch burst out laughing at that one and then the next:

#9

Roses are red
My balls are blue;
My cock needs some head
And I need you.

“Awww,” said Hutch. “I need you too, pal.” Then he continued:

#10

Knock Knock!

Who’s there?

Tex.

Tex who?

Tex two to tango!

Hutch smiled and rolled his eyes at that one, remembering the time when Starsky taught him how to dance in Dobey’s office.

#11:

Whenever you sing a song, no matter how many other people are in the room, it’s like you’re singing it just for me.

#12:

Now I’m going to sing a song just for you, with musical accompaniment.

“With musical what?” asked Hutch, teasing Starsky. “Since when do you know such big words, Hemingway?” Hutch grinned.

Starsky grinned back, picked up Hutch’s guitar, and sang the song to Hutch in his best Elvis impression. He had practiced it every day while Hutch was in the hospital:

I’ll have a blue Christmas
Without you
I’ll be so blue, just thinking about you

Decorations of red, on a green Christmas tree
Won’t be the same dear, if you’re not here with me

I’ll have a blue Christmas
Without you
My balls are blue, just thinking about you

Decorations of red, on a green Christmas tree
Won’t be the same dear, without your cock in me

“That’s as far as I got,” said Starsky.

“I love it; it’s terrific, babe,” said Hutch laughing, as he kissed Starsky and embraced him.

“Finish reading them, blintz,” urged Starsky.

“Okay, where was I? Oh yeah, #13. Hmm,” said Hutch.

#13

You are my good luck charm.

“You’re pretty good at this, you know that?” said Hutch, giving his partner a rare, sincere compliment. Then he continued:

#14

Whenever our eyes meet, I want to melt into you.

“Me too, partner,” said Hutch, as he looked into Starsky’s eyes and held his gaze.

#15

I love the way you talk to yourself. I love the way you talk to the plants. I love your smile. I love you more than anything else in the whole world.

Hutch paused a moment to wipe the tear that had suddenly fallen down his cheek. Then he continued:

#16

I love all the times you touch me when we’re in public, because you want everyone to know I’m yours. The tummy pats, the way you squeeze my upper arm, your hand on the back of my neck, your head leaning against mine whenever I’m down. Even in the middle of the police station hallway.

This time, it was Starsky who brushed away the tear from Hutch’s cheek. Then Hutch read the next card:

#17

I love the way you taste when I kiss you. I can even taste you now as I’m writing this. You taste as sweet as an iced sugar cookie and as delightful as a frosted sugar plum. I miss you babe.

Then they kissed each other deeply and reveled in the taste. Hutch continued:

#18

Knock, Knock!

Who’s There?

Anita!

Anita who?

Anita Dick inside me!

“Hmm, maybe that’s how we can celebrate New Year’s Eve,” said Hutch, smiling, and then read the next card:

#19

I know that you aren’t able to shop for a Christmas gift for me and that’s okay. So I won’t ask you for a sweater or a train set.

Hutch had to pause at this, because he was starting to tear up. Then he continued to read the rest of the sentiment on the card:

Besides, the only thing I really want is for you to get better and come home.

#20

But in case you come home before Christmas, maybe you could think about getting me a sweater?

Hutch’s tears gave way to a smile. He got up and walked towards the closet.

“Hey, where ya goin’? You got five more cards to read,” Starsky called after him, bewildered. What could Hutch possibly be getting from the closet?

Hutch walked back to the couch, holding a wrapped gift that had been hidden on the top shelf.

“What’s this?” asked Starsky.

“Open it,” said Hutch.

Starsky tore off the wrapping paper and opened the plain cardboard box. Inside was a Christmas sweater, what some people called an “ugly” sweater. It was red and green and decorated with reindeer and snowflakes. The reindeer had red pompom noses and googly eyes.

“I love it, babe, it’s perfect! Did your elves pick this up too?”

“They sure did. I guess we both kept them busy this week,” said Hutch.

Starsky kissed Hutch and they hugged. “Hey, finish reading your cards, babe,” said Starsky eagerly.

Hutch continued:

#21

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas
Everywhere I go
There’s some garland around my dick
And even though you’re still sick
I want to lick and lick and lick
You everywhere, ho ho ho!

Hutch laughed, kissed Starsky, and read the next three cards:

#22

I’ll be so relieved when you come home and I won’t have to talk to the plants anymore. They are no fun.

#23

For example, I can’t kiss their soft full lips, or run my fingers through their silky blond hair, or caress their smooth bare chest, or suck their hard cock.

#24

I’m writing this just before I leave for the hospital to bring you home. I know you’re not 100% yet, but when you are, I’m going to do all those things to you, and more.

Hutch smiled and then paused before reading the final card, suddenly feeling overwhelmed with emotion and fatigue. He leaned against Starsky who pulled him close while Hutch read the last card:

#25

Dear Hutch,

A tree has been planted in the park in your honor, near the horseshoe pitch. It’s right next to my tree, so they can grow together side-by-side, roots entwining, just like me and thee.

Merry Christmas, ya big blond blintz.

Love, Starsk

P.S. When are you gonna take me to play horseshoes?

“Oh, Starsk,” said Hutch, for once being stunned into silence, as tears welled up in his eyes. But this time, he wasn’t the only one with tears in his eyes.

Then they kissed and held each other tightly, neither wanting to let go.

10:45am

Hutch held two of the gifts from under the tree while Starsky drove them to Kiko and Molly’s house where Mrs. Ramos was serving Christmas brunch.

“Hey big brother, glad to see you’re doing better!” said Kiko, shaking Hutch’s hand, happily surprised when Hutch pulled him close and hugged him.

Then Molly ran up to Hutch and gave him a big hug. “Hi, little brother!” she said teasingly to Starsky and gave him a hug too.

1:20pm

Starsky and Hutch lay in bed together, holding each other, napping. They were both exhausted from the events of the past few weeks.

5:40 pm

Starsky pulled the Torino up to the Dobey house and he and Hutch walked together up to the front door carrying the rest of the gifts.

The door was flung open by an excited Rosie, who hugged Hutch while she happily yelled “Uncle Ken!” and then hugged Starsky with an “Uncle Dave! I love your sweater! It’s so Christmasy! Come into the dining room, we’re just about to eat dinner!”

Seated at the dining table were Captain Dobey and Cal, who was home from college for the holidays. The table was formally dressed with poinsettias, candles, and Edith’s finest lace tablecloth. In the center was a large festive bowl of wassail. Then Edith and Huggy came out of the kitchen carrying platters of turkey, ham, and all the trimmings.

Everyone was so glad to see that Hutch was out of the hospital and doing well. They all happily exchanged “Merry Christmas!” and “Happy Holidays!” as “Have a Holly Jolly Christmas” sung by Burl Ives played on the radio.

And it was a very merry Christmas, indeed!

=============================================

A Holly Jolly Christmas
sung by Burl Ives

Have a holly, jolly Christmas
It’s the best time of the year
I don’t know if there’ll be snow
But we’ll have a cup of cheer share a flask of beer

Have a holly, jolly Christmas
And when you walk down the street
Say hello to friends you know
And everyone you meet

Oh, ho the mistletoe
Hung where you can see over the sink
Somebody waits for you
Kiss her him once for me

Have a holly, jolly Christmas
And in case you didn’t hear
Oh by golly have a holly jolly Christmas
This year!