Burn, Burn, Burn
I had nothing to offer
anyone except my own
Starsky & Hutch left Kira flipping her hair and glaring at Huggy. Huggy shook his head and chuckled at his friends crazy behavior.
“They sure got big ones,” he muttered and wiped down the beer stained bar top yet again.
The Torino was parked illegally right outside the door. Starsky released his buddy hold on Hutch’s shoulders and walked to the drivers side searching the pocket of his black leather jacket for his keys.
They stared at each other over the hood, but instead of an easy rapport between knowing blue and bluer eyes, there was a hesitancy. As if they could no longer reveal their souls to each other for fear of spontaneous combustion.
Starsky cleared his throat.
“Ya need a ride?”
Starsky knew Hutch did.
“No, I’m good,” Hutch lied.
Starsky raised an eyebrow. Normally he would ask Hutch how was getting home, if he were feeling alright, invite him to his apartment for R&R, and try his best to put a smile on that gorgeous face.
“See ya, then,” was all he said as he slipped into the driver’s seat and turned the key.
Hutch backed up and watched Starsky drive away. He turned and walked in the general direction of Venice Place. He wanted to walk and think. He didn’t care if he found his way in the night. He didn’t care how far it was. Or if the neighborhood was safe to walk in. He was drunk on self- hatred. High as a junkie with a C-note on regret and self-recrimination. The dirty, dark streets matched his mood.
“If I’m lucky, I’ll lose my way and drop into the bay. No one will miss me. Not even you, Starsk. Especially not you, Starsk.”
Hutch was done analyzing why he had slept with Kira. Why Ken “can’t keep it zipped up” Hutchinson had slept with his best friend’s girl.
“Something is wrong with me. Down deep. down real deep, Starsk. I’m a horrible person. Every single person in my life has told me so. Sometimes they say the words, but most of them, like you Starsk, they give me the look. I see that look in my nightmares. The ‘I’m so disappointed in you’ look. The ‘ I thought you were something you’re not’ look. The ‘I don’t love you anymore’ look."
Hutch took a deep breath to hold back the brimming tears.
“That look is on your face now, Starsk”
Hutch stepped off the curb at the corner, his ears were immediately assaulted with a blaring taxi horn and a belligerent driver telling him where he should go and what he should do with himself when he got there.
“Hey! Starsk? Is that actually possible?”
Then he realized he had taken to talking to Starsky in his head. The alternative of talking to the real Starsky in real life made his stomach flip and took his breath away.
“Oh, God. What have I done.”
Hutch had been asking himself that question all day.
“I don’t know, Honey, but maybe we can do somethin’ real nice. to-get-her. Huh?”
Hutch looked up at the “Lady” as she smiled and touched his arm. His cop’s brain took in the worn stiletto heels, mini skirt, tube top, the hair, dyed a color unknown in nature and the cheap make-up.
His other brain hoped for warm comfort on a cold night. Both brains toyed with the idea. He felt that lonely.
Another lady came out of the shadows.
“Lily, you don’t want his kinda trouble. He’s a cop. Usually hangs with that curly haired cop at Huggy’s.”
The two friends joined arms and started to walk away.
“What’s wrong, cop? Your boyfriend decide he no like blondies any more?”
The ladies laughed and Hutch was gifted with a double disappointed look.
“Looky here, Starsk! I can earn the look just by walking home! Great, Huh? Oh. yeah. You don’t care anymore, do you?”
Hutch started to walk again. He let the noisy silence of the city streets fill his senses willing his thoughts to leave him the hell alone. Alone. He felt so alone.
“Starsk? I’m sorry, buddy. This is it. I can’t do alone again.”
My fault, my failure,
is not in the passions I have,
but in my lack of
control of them.
Hutch sat at the kitchen table at Venice Place. A single candle lit the room. Shadow leaves from Hutch’s many plants dotted the walls and wavered in the candlelight. Hutch watched them. They seemed strikingly beautiful even though they were just a trick of the light. He wondered if his shadow plants would follow him. It would be less lonely then. He shook his head.
On the table before him was the kit he had purchased one night in a Bay City dark alley right after Starsky helped him kick his forced addiction to Heroin. He had never gone as far as buying the drug, so the kit sat pristine and unused, hidden from Starsky in an old ski jacket in his closet.
Tonight it was open, everything he needed was spread out on the table, including enough big H to kill a horse, or one very burned out blond cop. A pencil and a paper from his battered notebook was waiting patiently for the right words to enter his mind.
I will find the right words
and they will be
Once Hutch had decided how and when to end his life, a strange calm had enveloped his mind. He had toyed with the idea since puberty. Sometimes writing sad songs and singing them to himself as a lament throughout the endless nights. In recent years, he would sit at this table, staring at his gun or bottles of prescription painkillers hoarded for a just a night like this.
“But on those nights, Starsk. You would find me and talk to me. Hold me through the night. Help me keep on living one more day. You loved me.”
No one would believe he actually did it. They would probably assume it was an accidental overdose. Maybe that way, Starsky would be allowed to keep the money and things Hutch left him in his will. Starsky, his next of kin, his chosen family, his reason for living, the love of his life.
Hutch picked up his pencil.
We turned at a dozen paces,
for love is a duel,
and looked up at each other
for the last time.
Starsky sat at his kitchen table, nursing a beer. He was far from drunk. He took a sip from the now warm bottle, grimaced and returned to his important project of peeling the label off the bottle to create the smallest strips possible. With his hands occupied, his mind was busy talking things over with Hutch.
“Hutch, I really screwed up big time, buddy. That’s what I get for playin’ games with people’s lives. That’s what I get for lyin’ to ya. But I never thought you’d sleep with her! You always amaze me with your passion.”
Starsky had lied about being in love with Kira. She was a convenient way for Starsky to get a reaction out of Hutch. Starsky was worried sick about him. He could feel the pain radiating off of him as they drove around together.
“Your red hot passion is what I love about ya, babe. But you’re burnin’ out. Burnin’ up. The smoke is killin’ us both.”
Starsky rubbed his face and stood up. He took to walking aimlessly around the empty rooms of his apartment.
“What am I gonna do? I always talk this kinda stuff out with you, Blintz. I’m still talkin’ it out wit ya and ya ain’t even here. The look on your face when I left ya at Huggy’s. It made me want to grab ya and never let ya go. So what do I do? Turn the knife a little more. Leave ya hangin’ all guilty and miserable and...”
Starsky felt the hairs on arms rise in goosebumps. A dozen flashbacks of Hutch balancing on the edge of madness came to his mind. Starsky was always there to gently guide him back to the life they shared. But this time, Starsky’s pride and confusion was holding him back. Hutch had no idea that he was set up.
“Oh, God! What have I done?”
Starsky grabbed his jacket and keys.
the only people for me are the mad ones,
the ones who are mad to live,
mad to talk, mad to be saved,
desirous of everything at the same time,
the ones who never yawn or say
a commonplace thing, but
burn, burn, burn
like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding
like spiders across the stars.
Starsky pulled up to Venice Place and slammed the Torino into park. He took Hutch’s stairs two at a time. He reached for the door knob, somehow knowing it would be open. Soft, flickering candlelight brought his attention to the kitchen.
“Hutch? It’s only me.”
Starsky walked slowly into the kitchen. He stopped. Fear grabbing him by the throat as he took in the scene before him. He swallowed. It wasn’t too late. He had a chance.
Hutch sighed wearily.
“Just go, Starsk. Let me go. You can say you tried to talk me down. Say whatever you want. I’ve still got your back. Just leave.”
Starsky came closer. Close enough to see that Hutch was just starting to heat up the Heroin in a bent teaspoon. Close enough to see that Hutch wasn’t high.
“Fat chance a that happenin’, Blondie.”
Starsky kept his tone light and calm. He grabbed one of the kitchen chairs, twirled it and sat down planting his arms across the chair back. He rested his head on his arms, facing Hutch.
“Starsky, please. Leave me alone. I don’t want your help. I’m done, finished. I can’t take any more. Do you understand? If you stop me from shooting up. I’ll get my gun, and there is nothing you can say or do to stop me!”
Starsky’s lips began to quiver. His eyes filled with tears. He had to find just the right words.
“You did nothin’ wrong Hutch. It was all me. I set you up for a fall. I never loved Kira. I wanted to get you back, I had a crazy plan you were gonna get jealous and I don’t know… show me how ya feel about me. I wanted… needed me and thee back.”
“What the hell are you talking about? You set me up? I slept with your girl!” Hutch was incredulous.
Hutch stood abruptly knocking his chair over. He threw the spoon in his hand at Starsky. It’s warm liquid contents splashing across the table and Starsky’s arm. Hutch stood and started to tremble. Starsky kept very still.
“I was wrong, Hutch. So very wrong. I don’t know why I thought it could be a good idea. I… I was desperate to reach you!”
“Reach me? Where did I go? When did I leave you? When wasn’t I there for you? I had your back, Starsk. That was all I had left. The only reason I kept breathing. Protecting you was keeping me alive. But then I turned my back on you . I broke your heart. Broke the trust. For what? For an affair with a two timing bitch? For a stroke to my already incredibly big ego?“
Hutch grabbed the still burning candle and flung it against the wall. Hot wax burned on his fingers and he welcomed the brief pain.
“Reach me? You...you should have dumped me a long time ago. You should've left me to bleed to death when I was shot and taken Meredith as a partner. I wanted to die you know. It would have been so easy. Easier than seeing you lose faith in me. Easier than watching you give up on the trust!”
Starsky was on his feet, reaching for Hutch.
“No! I never lost faith in you. I never stopped trusting you! No matter what mind games we’ve been playin’ I always trusted you with my life, partner. I...I still trust you. I love you, buddy.”
Hutch stepped back and held up his hands, putting an invisible barrier between them that was as strong as any force field of the imagination could be. It stopped Starsky cold.
“Starsk, you don’t understand! If you didn’t mean it, if you never loved Kira, even if you think you lied to me, none of that matters because this is what I do!”
“No! Listen! This is what I do! I’m worthless! I can’t be trusted with love. I’m unlovable! I’m bad news. I seek the end of a relationship the minute I begin one. You’re the best thing that ever happened to me, Starsk. And I treated you like garbage. It’s what I do. I dissapoint. I screw up. I hurt people. I don’t deserve to be loved.”
Starsky took a deep breath to steady his trembling voice.
“You listen to me, now, Hutch. You are a beautiful, carin’, lovin’ soul. I am honored to be your friend. There is nothin’ you could do to lose my love, babe. Nothin’.”
Starsky moved slowly towards Hutch until he could touch him. He took him into his arms and enfolded Hutch in love. Hutch melted into the embrace with a heartfelt sigh.
“Hutch, I’ve seen you at your best and worst, but I ain’t never seen nothin’ that would make me love you less. I love you more each day. More and more and more, as time goes on. You deserve to be loved. And I am so proud you let me be the one to love you.”
“So, you f...forgive me?”
Starsky looked at Hutch and was taken aback by the soft vulnerability in his eyes. After all that had happened, this was what it came down to.
“Said already, ya big dumb blond, there is nothin’ to forgive. I must admit, you sleepin’ with Kira did a number on my ego and my mind, but I learned my lesson the hard way. Don’t mess with a blazing, yellow rocket flame like yours or you’re gonna get burned.”
Hutch closed his eyes. He had never known unconditional love before. His emotions were so overwhelming he began to shut down. He felt like he couldn’t catch his breath. Feelings of terror ran through his body. He felt the world spinning around him but he was standing still. He held onto Starsky while all his carefully constructed walls began to crumble. And Starsky never let go.
There was nowhere to go
so just keep rolling under the stars.
Hutch woke up slowly. He was aware of being face down, the sweet linen smell of his pillowcase, warm and slightly damp from his breath, reassured him that this was his bed. Someone was playing with his hair, sending soothing signals to his brain. A soft familiar voice was having a one sided conversation.
“Starsk?” he called sleepily.
Starsky hung up the phone, placed it back on the nightstand and smiled.
“Mornin’ babe! How ya feelin’? Ya gave me a scare last night. Well, several to be exact.”
“Don’ memember,” he mumbled.
“What do you ‘memember’, babe?”
“You said you were wrong.”
“Yeah! Ya would remember that!”
“I remember you holding me, Starsk. Telling me it was going to be alright.”
“Ya sorta crashed. You got pushed to the edge and I helped with the pushin’. I’m real sorry, babe, but it is gonna be alright. I got it all worked out.”
“Uh, oh!” Hutch groaned into his pillow.
Starsky chuckled warmly. He started to rub out the tight muscles in Hutch’s neck.
“You really do take good care of me, Starsky. Thank you.”
Starsky stopped momentarily.
“Doesn’t seem like it to me, lately. But that’s all gonna change. And it’s gonna change today.”
Hutch lifted his head.
“What’s going on, Starsk?”
“We are goin’ on the road.”
“We are takin’ my car and takin’ a road trip. A long road trip to nowhere in particular.”
Starsky sat back on the bed, never losing physical contact with Hutch.
“Hutch, you need to get away from the job and figure out what ya really want. And we need to work out why we have been such asses to each other this past year… I love ya , buddy. I don’t want to lose ya. I won’t lose ya.”
Hutch slowly got up and pulled Starsky into a tight embrace.
“Starsk, I love you, too. I’d follow you anywhere or nowhere in particular.”
They pulled apart both suspiciously teary eyed and sniffly.
“So, get your toiletries together, and grab your guitar. I got everything worked out. Don’t worry your little blond head about a thing.”
Hutch smiled and headed to the bathroom for a quick shower. He turned to watch Starsky packing a bag with his clothes. Just as he was overwhelmed with fear the night before, he was overwhelmed with a sense of joy and freedom he’d never experienced before.
“We’re really going to do this?”
“Yup. Trust me?”
“With my life, babe.”
“We’re gonna be okay, I promise.”
“D...Do you think we could go to the Grand Canyon? I...I always wanted to see it.”
“Sure, Hutch. We can even ride the donkeys if you want.”
Hutch laughed. A warm joyous thing that made Starsky grin.
“Two asses on two asses. Sounds about right!”
I promise that I shall never
give up, and that I’ll
die yelling and laughing.