© by Elsa
“Detectives Hutchinson and Starsky, please?”
A tall man, slender, well-built with a healthy tan and thick brown hair, dressed in a tailor-made dark blue suit, stepped into the office and raised his voice to get attention.
“Right here,” Hutch answered as he turned around and got up from his chair. Starsky sat opposite of him, typing with two fingers, finishing up yet another report. He was back at work again after he’d nearly been killed in the Gunther shooting, but he wasn’t up to much more than desk duties so far. Nevertheless he was happy to be back at work again, no matter his still slow start and meagre role in the station’s activities.
Miller extended his hand, shook Hutch’s and did likewise with Starsky. “My name is P. Miller.” Hutch offered him a chair.
“Mr. Miller. What can we do for you?”
“I’ll cut to the chase. I’m here on account of your expenses.”
Miller took his briefcase, opened it and took out a file that was more than two inches thick. Detective D.M. Starsky, was printed on the label. There was another, slightly thinner but otherwise similar folder underneath, undoubtedly carrying Hutch’s name on the label.
“This, gentlemen, is the result of the last 24 months. I don’t intend to read each page out loud. I’m giving you a short summary: 27 bills for repairs of a broken vehicle Ford Gran Torino. 47 complaints filed about damage to other people’s cars – all of them had to be paid by the station. 24 claims on damaging property, resulting in a similar amount of payments. Payments to informants and contacts: 2800 dollars.” Miller stopped and lowered the file. “All in all, Detective errr…” He looked to read the name on the label, “Starsky, you are putting in too much expense accounts.”
Starsky had looked puzzled at Miller as he read the numbers and figures. “That’s why I have a good insurance,” he said slowly, not understanding what the fuss was all about. “Comes with the business.”
Miller nodded. “You’ve taken sufficient care of your insurance and paid your policies, we’ve checked. But the department can’t keep on covering expenses like this, Detective. The insurance policies are rising sky high. If you don’t slow down on causing damage to other people’s property, you will find that Finance doesn’t take lightly to such behaviour.”
Hutch raised his hand and pointed to Miller. “Hey – wait a minute.”
Miller ignored him. “Fact is that you two are putting Finance on too much expenses. There simply just isn’t enough money for that.”
“For what?!” Hutch spat. The usually gentle face darkened with disdain.
“For all that I just mentioned - you want me to repeat that? I haven’t even started on your file.”
“I heard you just fine. Do you think we’re doing this for fun?”
“I’m stating that you are driving up the costs of Finance enormously. Much more than any other team in this department.” He flipped open the folder again and took out a sheet of paper. “You want me to recite some more? Randomly? 17 hospital bills. 23 minor injury treatments, equal amount of bills. Medication: 1400 dollars. Extra checkups: 3200 dollars. Loss on personnel due to absence: thousands of dollars.”
Hutch could only just keep himself from ripping the paper from Miller’s hands. “Detective Starsky has been shot in the line of duty.”
“Hutch…” Starsky rose, put a hand on Hutch’s arm and tried to make him move aside.
“Several times. He’s been poisoned, battered, beaten, abducted – hardly a walk in the park, is it?”
But Hutch couldn’t be stopped anymore. “Detective Starsky has earned his stripes in the field, where he’s worked very hard to make sure that the streets are safe for people like you. And if you think for one second that either he or I are impressed by your—“
“Hutch…” Starsky voice was more urgent now, but thinner too.
“What?” Impatiently the blond turned toward his partner. Immediately he was struck by the slightly greenish tinge on Starsky’s cheeks and the colourless lips.
“Lemme through… think I’m gonna be si—“
Without further introduction the dark-haired officer threw up – all over Miller, who happened to be exactly in the way. Starsky gagged and retched, clawed in the air to find something to hold onto and clenched his fingers in the fabric of Hutch’s sleeve.
The blond grabbed his friend the second he lost his balance and lax, Starsky sank to the ground, carefully lowered down by the blond. Hutch took no notice of Miller who sat, eyes opened wide in pure disgust, nearly glued to the chair. Goo dripped off of him.
“Starsk… oh boy… what’s this, hey?” Hutch quickly took off his coat and bundled it up as a makeshift pillow that he gently put under Starsky’s head. He tapped a cup of water from the water cooler in the corner and helped his partner to it. “Stay down a bit more, buddy. You look awful.” He found some tissues and tidied him up a bit. “There you go. That’s better.”
Shakily and feeling a bit embarrassed, Starsky sat up after a few minutes.
“You’ve done enough for today, Starsk,” Hutch decided as his partner sank shakily in his chair and ran a slightly trembling hand over his features.
“I’m sorry. I don’t know where that came from.” Starsky took another sip and threw the empty cup in the bin.
“You’re going home, and that’s that. I’ll drive. Where are your keys?”
Starsky handed Hutch his keys and allowed the other to support him. He was wobbly, and weak as a kitten still. Every time he overdid himself a little, he paid for it dearly. Maybe he should have gone home an hour ago.
Hutch made sure he got out of the office without further unpleasant surprises and into his car, where he closed his eyes tiredly.
“What’s wrong? More coming?” The blond leaned forward to open the door in case Starsky was going to be sick again.
“No. Aren’t you forgetting Miller?”
A chuckle, tired but cheeky, escaped from Starsky lips.
“Starsk – you sure know how to convince a guy.” Hutch grinned. “I’m sure he’ll think twice before he comes back and moans about expenses.”
“I guess. Take me home, Hutch. I need my beauty sleep.”
Hutch threw a sideway glance at Starsky. A wan smile played around his lips. “What’s so funny?”
“Miller. Do you think he’ll charge me for the expenses to get his suit dry-cleaned?”
Elsa, October 2004