Disclaimer: This story was written purely for entertainment and is not for profit. It is not meant to trespass in any way on the holders of the rights to Starsky and Hutch.

Aloha Everyone, I know this is a little late, but I wrote this story as a type of tribute to the Fourth of July, which is also the day of my anniversary. After dinner, my husband and I were watching the fireworks go off and this story came into being. This is my first attempt at writing from a first person perspective. Hope it works. Happy reading!


We lay on the large beach blanket; him and I, sprawled out, casually lounging back with our faces to the warm night sky, chatting amiably about this and that, bantering playfully back and forth, while we waited for the Fourth of July celebration to begin. The distant booming was the herald of the excitement to come, and the other spectators and I watched in awe, as the colors sparkled and burst against the ink black backdrop of the heavens.

I could hear my partner’s oohs and aahs, as one display of fireworks followed another. I could feel his excitement and childlike exuberance, as he whistled and hooted and I couldn’t help but smile. There was such an innocent quality to Starsky, that sometimes it was hard to believe that this man was a street tough cop. Yet, this childlike persona was a side of his nature that he only revealed to those he held closest to his heart.

I pondered over that quietly for a moment, feeling honored and humbled that I was one of the chosen few that Starsky had allowed into his life, as the colors showered overhead, lighting up the dark sky in hues of red, blue and green. My partner was a man who harbored a lot inside, and kept his feelings real close about things that truly mattered to him, never divulging anything until he was good and ready. I can respect that in him . . . in fact, I admire that trait. My friend hates to burden others with his troubles, and although I am always there for him, I usually try to never push him into talking, until he is ready to disclose his feelings. I know, he knows, that I am always there for him.

There’s not much about him though that I don’t know already, after all, we’ve been together now for a long time, worked side by side all of these many years, watching each other’s back on the streets. We’ve shared a lot, lived through a lot, all the ups and downs, the joys and sorrows, the good times and the bad. We’ve had some pretty close calls, him and me. I guess that’s why we have such a special bond between us. He’s the brother I’ve never had. It’s always been “me and thee” with him and me.

I could tell that the pyrotechnic show was coming to an end, and the finale was spectacular with many rockets going off at once. The whole sky was illuminated in a shower of sparkling colors and the loud blasts reverberated throughout my body. I glanced over at my partner, noticing that he had become quiet, his eyes were closed, his long, dark lashes lay over his cheeks. The light from the fading bursts of sparklers chiseled and sculpted the shadowy planes and angles on my friend’s face.

“Hey buddy . . . you okay?” I found myself asking, not really wanting to disturb his thoughts, but the look on his face had me worried a bit. He was so still now, when just a few minutes ago, he had been animatedly making enough noise for the both of us.

“Hmm?” Starsky mumbled, opening his eyes as he turned to look at me. I could tell he had something on his mind, although he gave me one of his best lopsided grins. “Whatsamatta . . .you okay Blintz?” he asked softly.

I chuckled, “That’s what I just asked you, dummy,” I said fondly. I could feel my heart fill with affection for my curly haired friend. It never fails to warm my heart, knowing that my partner always puts me first.

“Oh,” he said simply, “I was just thinkin’ s’all.”

At first I wanted to give him some wise crack about not damaging himself from thinking too hard, but something in his tone made me pull back. “Yeah? About what?” was all I said.

I had asked this nonchalantly, enjoying the salty breeze that blew in from the sea. I laid down on the warm blanket, the sand beneath the blanket molding to the form of my back, while I crossed my arms beneath my head, and watched the stars twinkling brightly in the sky. The smoke from the exhibition had cleared by now and I could vaguely hear people making their way back to their cars. For them, the night was obviously over, but for us, I knew it had only just begun.

I glanced once more at my silent partner, wondering what it was he was thinking about. There seemed to be a slight frown upon his face, but in the dark, it was difficult to tell. I closed my eyes and waited, trusting that he would tell me when he was ready. I didn’t have to wait too long.

“Ya know Hutch . . .” my partner’s voice was quiet, reflective, “When I closed my eyes at the end of the show, when the fireworks were still explodin’ . . . it was almost like I was back there . . .” My partner sat so still on the blanket, his arms wrapped around knees that were drawn up under his chin, as he stared out to the black void of the sea.

Back there. I knew immediately what he was talking about, although we very rarely discussed his time in ‘Nam. Starsky hardly ever brought up that subject, and I never really pushed to hear about it. I guess I knew that was a closet in his life that held too many skeletons. The few times that we did somehow stumble upon the topic of Vietnam, Starksy’s comments were very superficial and vague and he would immediately change the subject.

I sat up slowly, not knowing what to say, so I said nothing. I just put my hand on his shoulder and squeezed gently, silently letting him know with my touch that I was here for him.

“I know I never really talk much about the war,” Starsky said slowly, his midnight blue eyes looked almost black in the darkness, as he stared out to the rolling waves, his mind a million miles away, “Guess I don’ like to think about that place . . . too many . . . memories . . .”

He snorted softly and looked at me then, and I could see a sadness there that put a lump deep in my throat. My buddy was hurting, and I didn’t know what to do or say to help him.

“S-Sometimes talking about things can help . . . it-it brings things that we might not want to remember to the light . . . makes us face things that we don’t want to deal with . . .” I said lamely, knowing I sounded like some shrink who was nudging him to spill his guts. I didn’t want him to think that . . . I just wanted him to know that I cared and that I was there for him.

“Yeah . . . I guess,” my partner whispered, although he didn’t seem like he believed what I had just said. He paused so long, that I thought it might have been the end of the conversation when he quietly said, “Some nights in the jungle, the whole sky would light up and the explosions would go on and on . . . it got to be that you didn’t even notice the sound anymore ya know? Then all of a sudden, it would stop and be so still, and your ears would still be ringin’ like crazy.”

“Did you, did you volunteer to go to ‘Nam?” I asked hesitantly, not wanting to say anything that would make him stop, or put him on the defensive. A defensive Starsky will either blow up, or clam up, and I didn’t want him to feel like he was backed into a corner where he had to choose between either of those two options.

“Nah . . .me and Ross got drafted . . . got our slips the same day, went for our physicals, survived boot camp and ended up fightin’ together in ‘Nam.” Starsky said.

I could tell from the softness in his voice that his mind was drifting back to memories he very rarely revisited. In all the years that I’ve known Starsky; he had never spoken about a friend named Ross.

“A buddy of yours?” I asked, making sure my voice was as soft as his, not wanting to disrupt his train of thought, wanting to encourage him to continue, but only if he desired to. There was a wistful smile on my partner’s face then, and his eyes grew soft with some distant memory that his mind recollected.

“Yeah . . . me and Ross, we go way back. Him and me . . . we used’ta ride our bikes around as kids, always tryin’ to outdo each other with the tricks we knew.” I could hear my partner chuckling softly in the dark, as a gentle breeze ruffled the curls in his hair. I could tell this Ross person had meant a lot to my friend.

“After my dad died, and my ma put me on that plane to come out here and live with my Uncle and Aunt Rosie, I was kinda messed up inside, angry and stuff, maybe I was hurt a little bit that my ma would just send me away like that.”

His voice was soft when he said this and my heart ached for my partner. It must have been devastating to be forced to leave all that was familiar behind, to come clear across the country to live with some relative you hardly knew, especially after losing your dad. That was another thing my partner rarely talked about . . . his father. Of course, who am I to judge . . . I never talk about my father either.

“I met Ross the second day I was here . . . he lived across the street from my Uncle’s house. At first I hated him. Seemed to me like he was a know-it-all punk, but then, when I got to really know him, he was a nice kid . . . he had a really good heart.” I could hear Starsky’s soft snort, “I guess at first, he must’ve thought I was a know-it-all punk too, being from New York and all . . .”

I chuckled, picturing my partner as a rambunctious kid with unruly dark curls and sparkling blue eyes that danced with merriment, as he got into one kind of trouble after another. At that moment, I wished that I had been Ross, so that I could have known the boy that Starsky had been. And yet, looking at my partner now, I could still catch glimpses of that kid who rode his bike down the streets acting like a know-it-all punk as he did pop-wheelies with his friend. Hell, there were times now, that he drove that red tomato of his like a know-it-all punk. I smiled in the darkness at that thought, but listened as my partner’s soft voice floated out to sea.

“We spent a lotta time together, him and me,” Starsky continued, “We horsed around, wrestled, played some mean tricks on each other, but there would be many times that he and I would just sit around and talk about stuff. I guess that’s how we got closer. He was a deep thinker, always wonderin’ about this and that. He used to make up “I wonder why” questions all the time . . . it used t’drive me crazy. He knew all kindsa of facts about stupid things . . . he’d say, ‘Did you know this or did you know that . .’ God, that was so irritating!” My partner laughed and looked at me, the dim light from the streetlights caught the twinkle in Starsky’s eye.

I stared at my friend, open-mouthed. Was that why Starsky liked reading trivia books all the time, telling one fact after another until I wanted to pull all of my hair out? And his “Ever wonder why” questions that he constantly made up . . . it drove me to the brink of insanity at times. I was about to make a comment about that when my partner started talking again.

“He kinda helped me get through a lot of the hard times I had when I was a kid, he always made me feel special ‘cause we were friends and stuff, and he had this way of making me take a look at myself from a different angle. Made me see that some of the choices I’ve made with my attitude and my actions weren’t really too bright. He always used’ta say t’me, ‘Hey if you don’t like the direction you’re headin’ into . . . then CHANGE!’ I tell ya Hutch, that used’ta really piss me off when he always said that. He made it sound like it was somethin’ easy t’do.”

I heard Starsky heave a heavy sigh. The gentle sound of the tide’s ebb and flow was soothing, as my partner continued his discourse, his voice soft and melancholy.

“I remember one night in the jungle . . . it was rainin’ real hard . . . sometimes it seemed like it would rain forever in ‘Nam. Me and Ross were sittin’ out there whisperin’, hiding behind all that green stuff you like to talk to . . .”

He looked at me when he said that and grinned. I snorted softly, waiting for him to continue which he eventually did.

“We were sitting there, soaked to the skin. And we got to talkin’ about girls, about home, and about why we were in ‘Nam. Sometimes things got so crazy there, seein’ your friends dyin’ before your eyes, not knowing when it would be your turn. I was just glad that Ross and me were there together ya know? We would watch each other’s backs out there with the VC’s, when they threw us a surprise party . . . kinda like how you and me watch each other’s back out there on the streets.”

I nodded silently, feeling the heaviness in my heart, knowing that this conversation was leading to something that my partner had buried for a long time. It saddened me to know that there was so much inside of my partner that he kept under lock and key, and I wondered for the hundredth time why he was being so articulate and open about his past tonight.

Starsky chuckled softly, “Ya know . . .we couldn’t figure out why we were in ‘Nam that day. I mean, we knew were fightin’ for our country, tryin’ to help South Vietnam fight for freedom against the communist takin’ over. We knew we were Americans, and America stood for freedom. We knew that, but out there, that didn’t mean squat. All those idealisms were meaningless. Out in the jungles of ‘Nam, it was just about survival and making sure that the person you cared about was safe.”

My partner took a deep breath and for a moment he was quiet. I was quiet too. I didn’t know what to say. What could I say? While I was studying in college, bravely protesting the war and America’s involvement in Vietnam at safe university rallies, my partner was sitting out in the rain with his friend, wondering if they would survive, seeing the horror of things, I myself, have never known. Oh, I’m sure I’ve seen many things on the streets that would turn people’s stomachs, but I’m quite sure that the things my buddy witnessed in Vietnam were worse. Freedom. How ambiguous that word was. I quickly turned my attention back to my partner as he began to speak again.

“I guess Ross and I started talkin’ ‘cause one of our buddies got blown up that day and it shook us. We were feelin’ sad and scared. I remember Ross tellin’ me that he wanted t’go home, that he missed his folks, that he missed his girl. He started talkin’ crazy like, tellin’ me that God spared only those people who was supposed to go back for a purpose. Had no idea what the hell he was talkin’ about and it started givin’ me the willies. I told him to shut up. I told him that everyone dies . . . some of us go earlier than others . . . maybe God chose us because we were dyin’ for a purpose.”

Dying for a purpose. I wondered if that’s what Starsky and I were doing every time we went out on the streets to do our jobs. The thought shook me, as I remembered the countless times that either Starsky or myself came close to ‘dying for a purpose.’

For a while my partner just sat there, lost in his own thoughts. The cool, night breeze blew gently; everything was quiet and still except for the sound of the waves washing up on the shore. We sat there, he and I, huddled together, as the stars twinkled above. I finally glanced over at my silent partner, dreading to ask, but needing to know . . .

“What happened to Ross?” I asked softly. I knew he heard me, because I saw my partner flinch and then take a deep breath, letting it out slowly, but he never turned in my direction to look at me. He just kept staring out to sea. I began thinking that I shouldn’t have asked him that, he was obviously not ready to talk about it or he would have. Maybe he was shutting down because I was poking my nose into his closet again . . . a closet I had no business rutting around in . . .

“He died in ‘Nam,”

My inquisitive mind, that was so busy beating me up at that moment about not minding my own business, suddenly stilled. Somehow I intuitively knew that this was what he was going to say. I don’t know why his simple sentenced shocked me so. Maybe it was the way he said it. So sad like, his voice so small and soft that it was carried away by the wind, but I heard him just the same. Before I could stop my mouth from opening, I heard myself saying, “How’d he die?”

I could have kicked myself for asking. I mean, I had just given myself a kick in the ass for pushing this conversation, for digging into something that Starsky had obviously put to rest a long time ago, and yet, curiousity got the better of me.

“We were sent out front on a reconnaissance mission, trying to find out where the VC’s were staked out. I remember we were high up in this tree, scoutin’ around. He was on the right side of the tree branches and I was on the left. We were talkin’ about goin’ home, reminiscing about some fun times we had in the past, and then all of a sudden, he started tellin’ me that I was his best friend and how I made a difference in his life. He started thankin’ me for being his buddy and I felt kinda weird because we’ve never talked about that before . . . I mean, we always knew we were best buds, but we just never said it before.”

Starsky looked at me then, and I nodded, silently encouraging him to continue. My heart bled for him, for the young boy that he was back then, facing the horrors of a place he shouldn’t have been in, for his friend who stood beside him through thick and thin. I dreaded to hear the rest, as Starsky once again looked out to the ocean, his voice was whisper soft.

“And then . . . and then, I was just about to tell him that I loved him too, when this blast came out of nowhere. Must’a been a grenade or something, blew up the part of the tree Ross was on. One minute he was there and the next minute he was gone Hutch . . . he was just gone. There wasn’t a scratch on me anywhere from the blast . . . but he was gone. I sat there on my half of the tree, while his half was burning from the small explosion. . . . and he was gone . . .”

My partner’s soft words painted a gruesome picture in my mind. There was so much sadness in Starsky’s voice, and I found myself squeezing his shoulder again. My partner turned to look at me then, his midnight blue eyes radiating all the anguish he felt from the open wound in his heart, and the lump in my throat grew heavier. Starsky gave me a weak grin and patted my hand on his shoulder before he softly continued.

“The rest of the war was like a blur, just operated on remote ya know? Dodgin’ bullets, doin’ my duty like the rest of the guys, but it was like a part of me was missin’, like my heart was gone somehow . . . taken away with Ross that day in the tree. I kept askin’ God why He took Ross away and why He left me behind . . . and the more I thought about it, the more pissed I got. I kept thinkin’ it should have been me ‘cause he had a great family and his girl waitin’ for him back home. When I finally got home to the States, I was like a different person . . . hard inside, angry, and I guess it didn’t help much with the way we were “welcomed” back as vets. Got a job drivin’ around a taxi for a while before I finally decided to become a cop. I guess John Blaine’s influence was still with me . . . Ross and I used’ta talk about becoming cops all the time; especially after John told us some of his stories about working on the streets. He always made it sound so excitin’.”

Starsky chuckled at that, remembering his mentor with fondness. I chuckled too, “Yeah, John was a good guy.” I said, “I’m glad he made those stories sound so exciting.”

I couldn’t imagine what my life would be like if Starsky hadn’t decided to join the Academy where we met. I remembered how serious Starsky was back then, how focused and tough he seemed. It had taken us a while to develop the friendship we have today, but I wouldn’t trade it for any other relationship I’ve ever had.

“Yeah,” Starsky smiled, his eyes shining in the dim light, “That’s how I met you, Hutch.”

“Yeah,” I said, smiling back, feeling a warm, tingling feeling spread throughout my body.

God, I loved this man. He was my best friend and the greatest influence I have ever had in my life. I mean, I considered myself a fairly knowledgeable guy, studied a lot about life in school from teachers of great caliber, but Starsky . . . Starsky ‘lived’ life and experience had always been his teacher. I was so full of . . . of feelings, but all I could say was ‘yeah.’ I continued smiling, feeling the unconditional affection and love my partner sent my way, and I listened as he continued speaking in that soft tone of his.

“Tonight, as we were watchin’ the fireworks, I got to thinkin’ how lucky I was. I mean, I guess I’ve always known that . . . jus’ kinda took it for granted somehow. But it really hit me tonight Hutch, when I closed my eyes and just listened to all those explosions goin’ off. Everythin’ makes sense now. Ross dyin’ the way he did, tore a hole through me . . . ‘cause I . . . I never got to tell him how much he meant to me. But I know he knows . . .

The way I figure, God put him in my life to help make me a better person . . . to set me on the right track ya know? Maybe he fulfilled his purposed in life and that’s why God took him home.”

“Yeah,” I said softly, thinking about what my partner had just said, “Or maybe Ross was right and God didn’t take you because you had a purpose for coming home. You came into my life when things were so messed up . . . my marriage was on the rocks, my family wasn’t thrilled about my career choices . . .I was lost and alone and maybe God put you in my life because He wanted you to help me be a better person huh? I said softly.

He looked at me then, my partner did, a shy smile tipping the corners of his mouth, his sparkling eyes shining softly in the dark. “Ya know Hutch, I realized that I was lucky because I could be sittin’ here on the beach, watching the fireworks with you, and we can do that because we have the freedom and the liberty to do so. Even though I didn’t understand what I was fightin’ for back in ‘Nam, I do now. It’s what we do everyday as cops, by tryin’ to help those who need help, by tryin’ to keep the scums and freaks off the streets, by tryin’ to uphold the law and justice . . . we’re fightin’ for freedom Hutch, and freedom is priceless, though it has a high cost.”

I knew my partner was thinking about his childhood friend, not much older than a boy when his life was cut short and it made me sad to think about that. I would have really liked to have met Ross and I silently wondered if he would have become a cop like us. He probably would have made one hell of a cop . . . like Starsky was. Yes, the freedom and the liberties we enjoyed most definitely had a high cost. I looked at my partner and smiled, laying my hand on his shoulder, feeling the lump in my throat come back as I said gently, “Freedom is priceless buddy, but so is your friendship.”

I could see the undisguised love in my partner’s eyes right then, before he looked away, dusting away some imaginary grains of sand off the blanket as he struggled to get a handle on his emotions. I squeezed his shoulder gently, “Ready to go?” I softly asked.

“Yup,” he said, smiling sheepishly, his eyes widened as an idea took hold of him, “Hey, hey, they’re supposed to be paintin’ the squad room tomorrow. Tell ya what, I’ll bring my paddles and we’ll play a couple of rounds of ping-pong . . . the loser has t’buy a three course meal at this expensive restaurant that just opened up!”

I laughed out loud, dusting some sand off my pants as I got to my feet. It would be just like my partner to think of something like that. I stuck out my hand to feel his firm grasp as I pulled him to his feet, watching as he flicked the large blanket and folded it into a neat rectangle.

Talking to my partner tonight gave me a lot to think about. I mean . . . I never really thought about our jobs in that way . . . that we were fighting for freedom . . . ‘Maybe I need to change my attitude a bit,’ I thought to myself, knowing I’d been feeling disgruntled and dismayed about the job now for quite some time.

I remembered what Starsky said his friend used to tell him, ‘Hey, if you don’t like the direction you’re headin’ into . . . then CHANGE!’ He was right, I needed to change my way of thinking. Maybe all the senselessness I’d been feeling was for naught. Maybe . . . just maybe . . . we were going out there as soldiers for a cause . . . and that laying our lives on the line everyday was the sacrifice we paid for the mission . . . that we were ‘dyin’ for a purpose’. The thoughts swimming around crazily inside my brain made me pause, and I shook my head to clear it.

My partner looked at me then, a big lopsided grin plastered all over his face. “Well Blintz? Ya never answered me . . . we on for tomorrow . . . huh?” At the blank look on my face, he said impatiently, “Tomorrow? The expensive restaurant . . . loser buys a three course meal of the winner’s choice?”

“Only if you’re ready to buy me that meal, Gordo!” I said cockily, laughing as I turned and slapped my partner playfully on his back, nudging him roughly with my shoulder, as we walked back to the Torino.

I smiled as Starsky chuckled, “Don’ count on it Blondie.” He snorted loudly.

I laughed, feeling suddenly overjoyed for some reason, enjoying our playful bantering as I began to look forward to our friendly competition tomorrow. Yes, I was lucky too, especially because I had friend like Starsky, and our friendship, like freedom, was priceless.

oo finis oo

Author’s note: The part about half of the tree blowing up really happened to my uncle and his best friend. They were sent out on reconnaissance in WWII, sitting in a tree when it happened. My uncle kept saying to me . . . “and he was gone . . . one minute we were laughing and the next minute after the explosion . . . he was gone . . . only the fire was blazing in the branches where he was just sitting . . .” I never forgot that conversation and I filed it away, to perhaps, one day use in my writings. Today is the day!


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