DETECTIVE KENNETH HUTCHINSON LOST
Hutch is missing and the city seems to have been repopulated with tall, blue-eyed, blond men.
An established relationship story.
Written: March 2012. Word count: 1,100.
Hutch was missing. Gone. Vanished. Lost.
Starsky still can't believe it. He doesn't want to believe it. But facts are facts. Facts don't lie. And the fact was that Detective Sergeant Kenneth Hutchinson was missing. Hutch, his partner; his best friend; his other half; the other part of me 'n' thee; his salvation; his world; his lover was missing.
Hutch had been missing for seventeen days.
Seventeen days during which Starsky had barely ate, slept or gone home. Seventeen days and they were no closer to finding him than they had been on the day he'd been abducted. There were no positive leads, nothing, even Huggy with all his connections had come up with nothing. It was as if Hutch had never existed.
They had had plenty of possible sightings and useless leads, but none of them had turned out to be Hutch. Starsky was beginning to think the entire city had been repopulated with tall, blue-eyed, blond men, because everywhere he looked, every corner he went around, he saw another.
To begin with he'd gone off eagerly chasing down each sighting, following up each lead, but as the days wore on and all he found was another non-Hutch Hutch, his spirits sank and he had to force himself to get into the Torino and drive off on what would be another futile errand. But as he had nothing else to do, he went, he followed them up.
"Go home, Starsky," Dobey said to him as he trudged back into the station after yet another tall, blue-eyed, blond man had turned out not to be Hutch.
"Nah, Captain. I'm okay," he said, as he poured himself yet another mug of thick, black, hours old, stale coffee.
Dobey was silent for a moment. Then he looked at Starsky. "Starsky . . ."
But Starsky just turned away, pulled out his chair, turned it around, straddled it and picked up the phone. He felt a hand on his shoulder for a fleeting second and then he heard Dobey walk away, go into his office and shut the door. Starsky put the phone back down and put his head in his hands.
He knew what Dobey had been about to say or at least hint at. Of course he did; he'd been a cop for enough years to know that the more time that went by after someone went missing, the less the chances of finding the person alive were.
But he shook his head. He wasn't going to even allow himself to think that, not for a moment. He had to find Hutch, somewhere among all the tall, blue-eyed blonds, was Hutch. He had to be. Starsky couldn't, wouldn't, consider anything else.
Three more days went by.
And then another three.
And then another three.
And then another.
And then Starsky stopped counting.
What was the point of counting any longer?
One day was just like the next. He'd sleep when he could no longer keep his eyes open. He'd wake up, shower and shave (either at home or at the precinct, it all depended on where he'd fallen asleep). He'd dress in clean clothes. Eat something, anything, because he kept hearing Hutch tell him he had to eat. He'd pour a cup of coffee. Push some papers around his desk. Call Huggy and wait for the next call that would put him on the trail of another tall, blue-eyed, blond man who wasn't Hutch.
Then one day he woke up and realized he'd given up hope of finding Hutch alive. And somehow, in some strange way he realized letting go of hope hurt less than going on hoping. He still followed up the odd lead, but they came in infrequently now, and there were times when rather than go and find another blond who wasn't Hutch, he'd send a uniform cop instead.
He did his job. He caught criminals. He did his paperwork. He went home every night and slept on the couch; he still couldn't bring himself to sleep in the bed he'd shared with Hutch. He went to see Huggy most evenings after work. He even went to Cranshaw's retirement party. He called his mom every week; did his laundry; washed and polished his car; took the trash out; tidied up from time to time. His life went on, but he wasn't living it, he merely existed.
The days had turned long since turned into weeks and into months when he woke up and realized a whole year had gone by. Three hundred and sixty five days. Three hundred and sixty five days since he'd last seen Hutch. Three hundred and sixty five days since he'd last kissed Hutch. Three hundred and sixty five days since he'd last made love to Hutch. Three hundred and sixty five days since he'd last touched Hutch. Three hundred and sixty five days since he'd last been hugged by Hutch. Three hundred and sixty five days since he'd last heard Hutch's voice. Three hundred and sixty five days since he'd last laughed. Three hundred and sixty five days since he'd last cried. Three hundred and sixty five days since he'd last cared about what he ate. Three hundred and sixty five days since he'd last cared about anything. Three hundred and sixty five days since he'd last lived.
He took out his Beretta, held it between both hands and looked at it. He didn't want any more days to go by. But they would. Days did that. Life did that. He turned the barrel towards him, flicked off the safety catch and let his finger tighten over the trigger. But then with a sigh, he put the safety catch back on and reholstered it. He couldn't do it to his mom. Death on the job would be hard enough for her; death by his own hand would kill her.
He started counting the days again; crossing them off on the calendar he'd stuck to the icebox. Five. Ten. Fifteen. Twenty. Thirty. They all go by and he goes on existing.
Another twelve go by. He can hear the phone ringing in his apartment as he gets out of the Torino. Taking the stairs two at a time he slammed open the front door and raced for the phone. "Starsky."
"Starsky. It's Huggy. We've found him."
Starsky sank to the floor, leaned against the wall and stared at the phone. "Starsky? Starsky, are you there? Hey, Blondie, get over here and tell him you're alive."
"Starsk? Babe? Come and get me."
He didn't even try to stop the tears that pour down his face.
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