Hutch wandered the seafood isle of his grocery store, eyeing the freshly caught and cleaned trout, perch, flounder, and rock fish. The sea scallops, lobster, crab, and shrimp looked pretty good, too.
“What’s for supper?” Starsky asked, moving in beside him, close enough to bump his elbow with Hutch’s tummy.
“Thinking of doing some fish tacos,” Hutch said dreamily, staring at the pale fish on ice.
“Ohhh…that sounds good,” Starsky agreed. “You make ‘em before?”
“No, always had ‘em when out to eat.” Hutch bent a little closer to the glass case, squinting at the fish. “Wonder how fresh they are.”
“Caught and cleaned this morning,” a portly man waddled over from the cash register. “Filleted them myself. Rinsed and promptly on ice. Was caught off the coast by Belto Fisheries.”
“You know what boat caught them?” Hutch asked, surprised.
“Absolutely. Don’t get my seafood from just any joe,” the man said, puffing his chest out. “Fresh is my motto. I know what bait they used, too.”
“Well, then.” Hutch straightened up and smiled. “What fish would you suggest for making fish tacos?”
“Cod is good, but expensive,” the man said. “Talapia is expensive as well, but meaty and flavorful. You can’t go wrong with either of them. Rock is good. Ever try shrimp tacos?”
“Only when eating out,” Starsky cut in, smiling at Hutch. Hutch rolled his eyes and sighed.
“Take your time, fellas,” the man grinned. “I’ll be right back.”
“Hey.” Starsky bounced on his toes.
“Did you know that capybaras were once classified by the Catholic church as “fish” and may be eaten during Lent?” Starsky blinked, watching Hutch’s face.
“Are you being serious? I’ve never heard that.” Hutch grunted, shaking his head.
“True. I’m not Catholic you know,” Starsky laughed, “but that’s what I read.”
“Oh Wise Man of Trivia,” Hutch said. “Why do I ever doubt you?”
“I dunno, but you do.” Starsky sighed. “And…the glue on the back of an Israeli stamp is kosher?”
Hutch blinked, tilting his head. “You’re joking.”
“Never.” Starsky smiled. “I’d never joke about that.” He smiled when Hutch sighed. “Did you know Yoda and Miss Piggy were both voiced by the same person? Cookie Monster, Fozzie Bear, Animal, Grover, and Bert, too. His name was Frank Oz.”
Hutch swallowed, amazed at such drivel his partner kept stored in that skull of his.
“And subdermatoglyphic is the longest word in the English language that does not repeat a letter?”
“Why do I need to know this?”
“The zip code stands for Zone Improvement Plan.”
“Good to know that one, Starsk.”
“Arnold Schwarzenegger was the first civilian to own a Hummer?”
Hutch shook his head.
“Jimmy Carter was the first president to be born in a hospital.”
“Are you making this up?” Hutch asked.
“Never.” Starsky leaned on the glass window of the case and blinked lazily. “I love trivia.”
“I’d never guess.” Hutch glanced down the counter to the man who was in a deep conversation with a woman about tuna steaks.
“The longest English word having only a single vowel is the word ‘strengths’.”
“You don’t say.”
The man waddled back to them and sighed. “What’ll it be, fellas?”
“I’ll take that hefty fella right there,” Hutch said, pointing to a nice thick white slab of fish.
“Ahh, the striped bass,” the man nodded approvingly. “You’re gonna love it. Subtle texture…”
“Fish tacos,” Starsky smiled.
The man weighed the slab of fish, wrapped it in wax paper, filled a baggie with ice and stuffed the papered fish inside, sealing it tight. “Alright, guys. Anything else? Fish boil? Seasonings?”
“Fish tacos!” Starsky licked his lips. “What goes with that?”
“We’ve got some spicy seasonings here…” the man turned to the shelf behind him and began reading tiny jars of spices.
“We’ll take just the fish, thanks,” Hutch said. “First time making fish tacos myself and I am following a recipe.”
“Good luck then,” the man winked. “Lemme know how it turns out.”
Starsky leaned against the counter top, watching Hutch season the fish and then place it in the fridge wrapped tightly. He then proceeded to make a dredge of flour, corn meal, salt, pepper, and other seasonings. He mixed them thoroughly, then beat two eggs with a little milk and wiped his hands.
“Where did you put the soft taco shells?” Hutch asked.
“Cupboard.” Starsky reached for the package and plopped it on the counter. “What else are we having with the tacos?”
“Cole slaw, salad, Mexican corn.” Hutch rummaged through the fridge drawers for everything he needed and shoved the salad makings towards his partner. “You’re in charge of the salad.”
“T’riffic.” Starsky rolled his sleeves, placing the colander in the sink and began ripping lettuce leaves into bite-size pieces and then chopped the radish, carrots, peppers, onions, and cucumbers. They all got a nice cold-water bath and then pressed lightly between paper towels.
“Do you not like my trivia?”
“It’s okay.” Hutch went and stood behind his partner, wrapping his arms around Starsky’s waist and rested his chin on Starsky’s shoulder, watching him work.
“Okay?” Starsky asked. “It’s all facts. I don’t make anything up.”
“I believe you.”
“Did you know when the first Star Wars came out, France was still using the guillotine to execute people?”
“No, I didn’t.” Hutch gulped.
“Cheetas don’t roar. They can only meow?”
“Are you s ure?”
“Did you know Elvis never ever performed one single encore, so when he left the stage, he wasn’t coming back. Hence the phrase ‘Elvis has left the building’?”
“I didn’t know that, either.” Hutch frowned, wracking his brain to remember if indeed Elvis ever did come back to sing “one more song” to his adoring fans.
“There are 119 ridges on a quarter?”
“Never counted them before.”
“Me, either.” Starsky leaned back, closing his eyes. “Did you know that boiled toads were once used to cure rheuriatism?”
“And if you were a bed wetter in the 17-1800’s your parents would feed you rotten mice?”
“You’re making me sick.”
“Romans used powdered mouse brains as toothpaste.”
“And Frankenstein author Mary Shelley kept her dead husband’s heart in her desk? When he was cremated, his heart remained intact. Physicians believed it was calcified due to tuberculosis. It was eventually given to Mary who kept it in her desk and it was found when she died three years later.”
“I think I am losing my appetite.”
“Ha! Get this: the FDA Defect Levels Handbook States allowances for dietary staples! Foods like broccoli, canned tomatoes, and corn contain ‘insect fragments.’ Heads, wings, antennae, thoraxes, legs and sometimes entire bodies…fig paste is allowed 13 insect heads per 100 grams. Canned fruit juices are allowed four maggots per litre. 10 grams of hops can legally contain 2,500 aphids.”
“But yet we still love our beer…” Hutch felt queasy.
“Ha, the FDA limits the number of rodent hair that can be found in peanut butter, too!”
“Yeah…5 rodent hair per 100 grams is acceptable,” Starsky shook his head. “All these years I’ve eaten peanut butter and never once saw a rodent hair…”
Hutch swallowed and closed his eyes. “This is disgusting!”
“Yeah…and Hutch…when you sneeze, it is composed of snot. It is hard to escape a sneeze as the spray can travel 30-60 miles per hour and fly as high as 30 feet in the air.”
“I am gonna be sick.”
“Yeah, that’s why you should always use your elbow, tissue, or hanky.” Starsky nodded seriously.
“And guess what?”
“I don’t wanna know…”
“Tapeworms can grow up to 80 feet long.”
“What the hell?”
“A guys had one pulled out of his mouth that was recorded at 80 feet and tapeworms are caused by eating raw pork or beef.”
“Why do I need to know this?”
“Because I’ve seen your people back home eat raw hamburger with sliced onions on top. Never understood that…”
“Raw. Raw, Hutch. It was raw.”
Hutch made a mental note to call his mother and run that little bit of information by her before they flew back east for a visit.
By the time Hutch dredged the fish and fried it, Starsky had the tacos shells in the warmer and the salad ready to be served. The Mexican corn smelled wonderful and Hutch produced two long-neck beers and handed one to his partner.
“To us,” Hutch smiled warmly. “The best friends ever.”
“And lovers,” Starsky added, leaning in for a light kiss on Hutch’s lips.
“Yeah…and that,” Hutch grinned stupidly.
After polishing off almost all of the fish for the tacos, both men groaned as they leaned back in their chairs. They both cleaned up together and walked lazily to the couch.
Hutch sighed, pulling Starsky closer. “What?”
“Did you know that once every seven years the Malagasy of Madagascar unearth their dead to dance with them? The ritual allows the spirits of the dead to join their ancestors after the body has fully decomposed.”
Hutch blinked, staring at the TV. “Starsky…I find that hard to believe..”
“Would you believe that the human tongue has a unique print just like finger prints?”
“No, I did not know that.” Hutch leaned in to kiss Starsky’s lips, his tongue gently requesting entrance. “My tongue loves your tongue,” he whispered.
Starsky kissed Hutch back enthusiastically and rose up, straddling Hutch’s hips.
“And my tongue loves your tongue,” Starsky said softly, both their tongues wrestling lazily. Leaning back, he licked his lips and smiled. “Hey, Hutch.”
“Sweet Jesus, what?” Hutch groaned, rising his hips up into Starsky’s straddled form.
“Did you know…that human testicles have tastebuds in them?”
“Now you are shitting me,” Hutch scoffed, shaking his head.
“It’s true. Wanna do some experimenting?” Starsky smiled slowly, leaning in for another kiss.
“Oh, yes,” Hutch nodded. “Absolutely…we need to prove this little nugget of information…”
“Neither of us have nuggets,” Starsky giggled. “C’mon…to the bedroom….errr…laboratory for further examination!”
“My kinda hands-on learning…” Hutch pulled Starsky closer. “I am a slow learner…so you’ll have to take your time to make sure I understand it all….”
“Anything you don’t get the first time…we’ll keep on doing it until you understand. I promise.”
They both hurried to the bedroom, slamming the door behind them.