All the Fears of Childhood

by Laura Castellano

Rated PG

Summary: Getting Starsky to the dentist is a tough job for Hutch. Getting him through the visit is even tougher.

Note: Another of my phobias--dentists are just below spiders in my hatred list. Luckily, I've known my dentist for 20 years, and he knows what a wimp I am. This story is based on a true occurrence. Lucky for me, I had a "Hutch" who took care of me then, too.


For the tenth time that hour, Starsky groaned and Hutch followed the sound with his own irritated sigh.

"Look, Starsk," Hutch explained patiently, "you have two choices. Go to the dentist, let him fix what's wrong, and hurt for a little while, or be in pain until that tooth falls out on its own. If it was me, I'd choose the dentist."

"Easy for you to say," Starsky muttered around the finger that pressed against the aching tooth in a vain attempt to stem the pain. "You didn't have the dentist from hell when you were a kid."

"How do you know?" Hutch asked, amused.

"Because I did. I doubt he practiced in New York and Duluth."

"Actually, my dentist was a very nice guy," the blond reminisced. "Dr. Norton. Always gave really cool toys, too. And candy."

"Your dentist gave you candy?" Starsky stared.

"It was sugar free candy," Hutch responded defensively.


"What did your dentist give you?"

"A phobia."

Hutch laughed out loud at that one. "Come on, Starsk, he couldn't have been that bad."

Starsky glared. "You don't think so? Did your wonderful Dr. Norwood--"


"--Norton, whatever, did he ever laugh at you when you cried?"

"I didn't cry."


"You cried at the dentist? I thought you were tougher than that."

Starsky sighed. "Haven't you ever seen that movie, Marathon Man?"

"Of course I've seen it, but--"

"That guy was my dentist."

Hutch grinned. "Your dentist tortured Jewish people?"

"My dentist tortured everybody. He had a special hatred for obnoxious, hyperactive Jewish kids."

"Like you."

"Hey, we are what we are."

"What was his name."

"Dr. Smith. Can you believe that? Probably wasn't even his real name."

Hutch just shook his head as Dobey emerged from the inner office.

"What are you two still doing here? I thought you were out investigating the Bleekman case."

"We're on our way, Captain. I was just trying to persuade Starsky to make a dentist appointment."

"In all the time I've known Starsky, he's never willingly gone to the dentist. Why would you think he'd start now?"

"I keep hoping."

"Well if your partner's going to come to work with a toothache, I suggest you actually get some work done. Get out of here."

"Yes, Cap'n."

"And Starsky?"

"Yes, Cap'n?"

"Stay away from the whiskey."

Starsky sighed as he and Hutch left the squad room. "You told him, didn't you?"

"Me? Of course not."


"Starsky, you bummed a drink off every suspect we interviewed during that case. I wouldn't be surprised if one of them called in and reported an alcoholic cop. Probably Vic Rankin's wife."

"She was a weird sort," Starsky agreed. "But that was nearly seven years ago. How the heck can Dobey remember that?"

"You know Dobey, he never forgets the stuff he can hit you with later."

"I'd crack an elephant joke right now, but I just hurt too much."

"Consider it cracked," Hutch grinned.

Questioning Andrea Bleekman about her husband's death was like visiting Cabrillo State all over again. Starsky wasn't sure if her ditziness was an act or not, but if it was, she was good at it.

"I told you a dozen times already," Mrs. Bleekman argued. "I didn't come home until after midnight. Tim was already dead. He'd been dead for hours."

"How do you know that, Mrs. Bleekman?"

"That's what the coroner said," she told Hutch with a wide-eyed stare and a bat of innocent green eyes.

"But at the time, did you know for sure your husband was dead?" Starsky pressed, holding his hand to the side of his jaw.

"Did somebody hit you?"

"No. Toothache. Could you answer the question, please?"

"It was pretty obvious he was dead. There was blood all over the place. It was icky. All over my nice beige carpet."

"Ma'am, the evidence shows that your husband bled to death slowly, and that if an ambulance had been called earlier, he would probably have survived. What we're trying to establish is why you didn't phone for emergency services at once."

She turned back to Hutch. "Huh?" The look on her face would have been priceless if it wasn't so frustrating.

"Why didn't you call an ambulance?"

She sighed. "I told you," she snapped. "Are you stupid or something? Timmy was dead already."

"How do you know that if you didn't examine the body?"

Mrs. Bleekman looked horrified. "You wanted me to touch him?" she squeaked.

"Did your husband move, or make any sound?" Starsky probed.

Now it was his turn to fall under her 'what-kind-of-idiot-are-you' gaze. "Dead people don't move or make sounds, Detective Hutchinson."

"No, I'm--oh, never mind. Tell me again what time you arrived home?"

"About eleven-thirty."

"Before, you told us it was after midnight," Hutch reminded her.

She shrugged. "Before, was dark, I know that."

Hutch worked very carefully and managed to refrain from rolling his eyes. "Did anyone see you arrive home?"

She snorted as if in disbelief at the question. "Nobody's awake at that hour."

"Mrs. Bleekman--"

"You can call me Andrea," she purred, reaching over to lay her hand on Starsky's arm.

He managed to sit back in the chair, pulling his arm away, he hoped, without seeming rude. "Andrea," he corrected, giving her his best fake smile. "Did you look at your watch, or a clock, perhaps? Anything that would help us pinpoint the exact time of your arrival home?"

Her brow furrowed as she thought. "No, I guess I didn't. I never wear a watch, anyway."

Hutch bit back an exasperated sigh.

"Oh, wait, I do remember something!"

"What's that?" the blond detective asked, trying very hard to remain polite.

"James Rooney's radio show was on. I know because I was listening. In my car."

"James Rooney?" Starsky asked.

"Talk radio," Hutch supplied. "Show runs from ten till two."

"Ten at night until two in the morning?"


"Long show."

"He has a lot to say," Andrea put in. "I love his show. I never miss it. I might have sat in the car after I got home until it was over."

"You might have?" Starsky asked, now rubbing at his jaw.

"I can't really remember. Sometimes I do. I'm just not sure if I did that night or not. Did someone hit you?"

"No, ma'am, I have a toothache."

"You should see a dentist."

"Mrs. Bleekman, can you think back and try very hard to remember if you sat in the car or not that night?"

She closed her eyes, palms face-up on her lap as if meditating, for a good ninety seconds. The detectives exchanged looks, and Starsky was about to ask if she'd fallen asleep when she opened her eyes and smiled brilliantly.

"What time was my husband stabbed, again?"

"Between nine and ten," Hutch told her. For the fiftieth time, at least.

"And when did he actually die?"

"Time of death was fixed between eleven-thirty and eleven-forty-five."

"Then I'm sure I did. I sat in the car and listened to the entire show. I love that show. I try never to miss it."

Starsky shot Hutch a look and, as if on cue, both detectives stood.

"Mrs. Bleekman, we may have some more questions for you later."

Andrea stood as well. "Are you going to arrest me?"

"Not at this time, no."

"Darn," she pouted, sidling up to Starsky. "I was hoping to give you a chance to use those cuffs."

"Uh--yeah--uh--we'll be in touch," he stammered. Starsky grabbed Hutch's arm and practically pulled him out of the house.

Hutch managed to contain his laughter until they were in the car, then gave in to the urge until there were actually tears running down his face.

Starsky was not amused. "Some friend you are," he groused. "First I have this awful toothache, then I get hit on by the ditziest blonde I've ever met."

"Oh come on, Starsk," Hutch answered, still chortling as he pulled his battered Ford into traffic. "You've had girlfriends ditzier than that. Remember the one who thought she'd hit a home run while bowling? Besides, Andrea Bleekman's not really a blonde."

"How can you tell? I didn't see any roots."

"Because her hair was all one shade. Like you get with hair color. Natural blondes have differing shades throughout their hair."

Starsky stared at his partner as if he'd lost his mind. "How do you know so much about hair color, Blondie?"

Hutch shrugged. "When you date a beautician, you learn all kinds of things."

"Mindy told you about hair color?"

Hutch blushed slightly. "She told me about the colors in my hair."

"Did she, now? Interesting conversations you two have. Did she comment about hair color in other--"

"Starsk. Shut up."

Starsky did, but got in some valuable chortling time himself.

He thought they were on their way back to the precinct to make a report of their practically-pointless meeting with Andrea Bleekman, but Hutch suddenly turned down an unfamiliar street.

"Where are you going? Did all that hair color bleach your brain? Precinct's back that way," he informed his partner, jerking one thumb over his left shoulder.

"The day I bleach is the day you perm," Hutch informed him.

"God forbid."


"So where are we going?"

"You'll see."

"Hutch, unless there are serious painkillers at the end of this road, I don't want to go there. I want to get this report done, go by your place, and see if you have any Vicodin left over from that gall-bladder surgery of yours."

"What makes you think I'd give it to you if I did?" Hutch asked with a sidelong look.

Starsky tried for his best 'I'm hurting' expression. "Because you love me?"

Hutch snorted. "You're gonna have to come up with a better reason than that, buddy."

"Because I'm in terrible pain? Hell, Hutch, I'll pay you for it if you want! I'll even agree to do your laundry! Seriously, I'm hurting bad."

"I know. That's why we're going here." So saying, he pulled the car into the small parking lot of a nondescript brick building.

"Where is this?" Starsky looked around and finally spotted the tiny sign mounted near the door.

Weldon McCarty, D.D.S.

"Oh, no. No way. You tricked me!" he accused.

"Darn right I did," Hutch agreed, hurrying out of the car and around to Starsky's side of the vehicle. "And you have an appointment in ten minutes. Come on."

"I didn't make an appointment."

"I did."

"I'm not your kid, Hutch, you can't just make dentist appointments for me behind my back."

"Then stop acting like one. And I guess I can. I did. Come on."

"No." Starsky obstinately refused to exit the car. "I'm sitting right here until you get in and drive me back to work."

Hutch sighed, and with one quick move had Starsky out of the car and thrown over his shoulder.

"Hey!" his partner yelled. "Put me down, you big bully! Hutch!"

Hutch dropped Starsky to his feet, but held on to his arms so he couldn't run.

"Look, Starsky, I'm tired of hearing you bitch about that tooth. I'm tired of seeing you in pain. You wouldn't do anything to help yourself, so I took matters into my own hands."

Starsky's eyes were wide with fear, and it occurred to Hutch that this was no act. He tried his best to calm his partner.

"This guy is my regular dentist. He's great. No pain at all, really. Just a little stick when he deadens you, and--"

"Oh, God, that's the worst part." Starsky's face was pale, and he actually began to sag against Hutch's supporting grip.

"I'll tell him to give you the nitrous."

"The what?"

"Gas. Relaxes you."

"You mean I won't feel anything?"

Hutch grinned, urging Starsky toward the door of the office.

"Oh, you'll still feel it. You just won't care."

"Believe me, Hutch, I'll care."

Hutch managed to get Starsky inside, but didn't relinquish his grip on his friend's forearm.

"David Starsky," he told the pretty brunette receptionist behind the counter. "He has a four o'clock appointment."

"Yes. Mr. Starsky, have you seen us before?"

Starsky was staring at the door that led into the inner sanctum, and seemed incapable of answering, so Hutch replied that Starsky was a new patient.

"I'll need him to fill out these forms," she said, handing them to Hutch with an odd glance at the curly-haired man by his side.

"Come on, Starsk, let's sit down."

"Hutch, I wanna go home," Starsky whispered urgently. "Please?"

"Sorry. Now sit down and help me fill out this stuff. I know you have the same insurance coverage I have, but I need to know your ID number."


Hutch sighed. "Give me your wallet, Starsky."

Starsky obeyed, seemingly without even knowing what he was doing. His pallor had deepened, and Hutch pushed him into a chair, afraid if he didn't, his partner would pass out right there in the waiting room.

Starsky never took his eyes off the door.

Hutch searched until he found Starsky's dental insurance card, and completed the information required on all the forms. "Stay here," he ordered before getting up to return them to the receptionist. He thought he heard a slight moan in response.

"I forgot to tell you when you came in," the receptionist informed him. "Dr. McCarty is out sick today. His associate, Dr. Smith, will be taking a look at your friend."

Hutch turned around and was just in time to catch Starsky before he bolted from the office.

"Starsk, stop. Just sit down."

"Didn't you hear her?" Starsky demanded, twisting the arm that Hutch held firmly. "Dr. Smith! Hutch, I told you, he's the dentist from hell!"

"I seriously doubt it's the same Dr. Smith you had when you were a child," Hutch reasoned, as if talking to a six-year-old. "That guy's probably dead by now."

"I don't know, he wasn't that old. Hutch, I can't do this. Don't make me go through with this."

"Starsky, you need to have this taken care of. If I let you leave now, it'll be another six months before you get up the nerve to finally make an appointment on your own, and by then I'll have been out of Vicodin for weeks."

"Mr. Starsky?" the pert young dental assistant called from the doorway. "We're ready for you now."

Starsky moaned again, his eyes closed tightly, and Hutch led him toward the room the girl indicated.

Hutch looked at her nametag. "Uh, Rebecca," he told her, "my friend's a little nervous. Is it all right if I stay with him?"

"Sure," she agreed. "Mr. Starsky, can you tell me which tooth is causing you problems?"

Starsky didn't open his eyes as Hutch guided him into the chair, and in response to the dental assistant's question, he only shook his head tightly.

"It's on the lower left side," Hutch told her. "He's been hurting for weeks now."

"All right. I'll need to get an x-ray." She took a protective shield off the wall and covered Starsky's torso with it. He seemed not to notice. But when she tried to get him to open his mouth to receive the x-ray film, she found another problem.

"Mr. Starsky, could you open up, please?"


Hutch sighed again. "Starsky, this is just for the x-ray. You know that doesn't hurt."

"Does, too."

Rebecca tried to use the opportunity to slip the film into Starsky's mouth, but his jaws snapped shut too quickly. Hutch gave her a 'now what' look.

"I'll be right back," she told him with a wink.

Starsky was gripping the chair arms so tightly his hands were as white as his face. Hutch was a little disturbed--he'd known Starsky hated the dentist, but he'd never accompanied him to an appointment before, and had never seen his partner exhibit this level of terror about anything.

"Starsk?" he asked, rubbing one of the gripping hands lightly. "You with me?"

"Hutch, take me home, please. Please."

"Mr. Starsky," came a booming voice from behind them. "I'm Dr. Smith."

Starsky felt the bottom drop out of his world when he opened his eyes and stared into a face from his nightmares.

"No," he whispered, closing his eyes again and shrinking back against the chair. "No, it can't be you."

Dr. Smith looked puzzled. "Excuse me?"

Hutch glanced quickly at the dentist, who couldn't be more than forty years of age, and put his hands gently on both sides of Starsky's face.

"Starsk, open your eyes and look at me for a second. Come on, it's me, it's Hutch."

Starsky finally obeyed, locking his eyes with his partner's.

"Starsky, this isn't your childhood dentist. Look at him. He's our age. Look, buddy."

Slowly, Starsky raised his eyes to examine the dentist standing beside him. Hutch was right, the man was about their age, but his features were still horrifyingly familiar.

Starsky gave another pathetic moan and squinched his eyes tightly shut.

"Rebecca, start him on some nitrous, please," Dr. Smith instructed. "Could I talk to you outside?" he asked Hutch.

"Sure. Starsky, I'm going to step outside the room for just a minute."

"No!" Starsky protested, his eyes flying open to search desperately for Hutch. "Don't leave me, Hutch!"

"Mr. Starsky, Rebecca is going to start some nitrous oxide on you," Dr. Smith said, his voice low and soothing. "It doesn't hurt, and it'll help you relax. I want to talk to your friend for a moment, and then I'll come back and talk to you. Will that be all right?"

"I-I-" His eyes met Hutch's again, and read encouragement there. "Okay," he agreed weakly.

"You're doing fine, Starsk," Hutch assured him, patting his shoulder on the way out of the room. "I'm sorry, Doctor," he said as soon as the door closed behind them. "I knew he didn't like dentists but I had no idea his fear went this deep."

"It's quite all right. I've seen worse, believe it or not. What I wanted to ask you was about something he said. He seemed to think he recognized me."

Hutch nodded. "You have the same name as the dentist he had when he was a child. I don't know what that guy did to scare him so, but when he heard the receptionist call you 'Dr. Smith' he just kind of panicked."

"Kind of?" Dr. Smith smiled. "Where is David from, if I may ask?"

"New York City."

"Ah. Well, New York is a big place, but it's just possible the dentist he remembers is my father. He practiced there when I was a child. We moved out here to California when I was sixteen. And I do look a lot like my father."

"Oh, brother." Hutch swiped at the hair that wanted to fall into his eyes. "Do you think? No wonder he was so scared."

"I'll tell you what. I'll put on a surgical mask before I go back in to see him. That'll help hide my face. And the nitrous has mellowed out many a frightened patient."

"Can I stay with him while you work on him?"

"I think you'd better. I'm pretty sure you were the only thing keeping him from going right through a window."

The two men re-entered the examining room to find Starsky still in the chair, which Hutch considered a victory at this point. His nose was covered with a mask through which the nitrous was being administered.

"I'm here, Starsky." He took one of his partner's hands, which was only slightly more relaxed now. Starsky squeezed it for all he was worth.

"Mr. Starsky, can you tell me where you're hurting?"

Starsky opened eyes that were still filled with fear. "I--uh--left side."

"Top or bottom?"


"I'm going to need that x-ray in order not to have to hurt you. Do you think you could let Rebecca take it now?"

Starsky hesitated, and Hutch urged, "Go ahead, Starsk. I'll be right here."

"Fine," Starsky muttered in defeat. "Just get it over with, huh?"

Rebecca asked Hutch to step outside for a moment, accomplished the task as quickly as was humanly possible, then removed the shield. She gave the film to another assistant, then returned to Starsky's side along with his partner.

"I'm going to poke around a little," Dr. Smith said. "I'll try very hard not to hurt you, all right? You tell me if I hit the tooth that's giving you a problem."

Hutch didn't think his friend's grip on his hand could get any tighter, but he was proven wrong as the dentist began to probe Starsky's teeth. He saw one tear sneak out of the corner of Starsky's left eye, and looked away quickly. It seemed too much of an intrusion to watch his partner's terror. When he looked back a moment later, the tear was gone. Rebecca must have wiped it away, he thought. She was talking quietly into Starsky's ear, murmuring a steady stream of soothing, gentle words of encouragement.

Suddenly, Starsky jerked in the chair.

"I think we've found it," Dr. Smith announced. He pulled the light down to take a closer look.

Starsky opened his eyes and found Hutch again, and between the soft voice of Rebecca and the steady gaze of his partner, he managed to endure the dentist's probing with only a few slight gasps of pain.

"Here's the x-ray, Doctor," said a voice from the doorway. Dr. Smith took the exposed film and examined it, then put it aside. It had only confirmed what he'd already been able to see--a nasty cavity.

"I'm going to put a topical anesthetic on the place where I'll give the shot, so it doesn't hurt when the needle goes in," he said, more to Hutch than to Starsky, since the patient was practically in another dimension at this point.

"Good, thank you," Hutch nodded. "Starsky, did you hear that? He's going to deaden your mouth so you don't feel the shot."


Dr. Smith held up a swab soaked in medication for Starsky to see. "This is what I'm going to put in your mouth now," he told his patient. "It won't hurt a bit. I'm going to swab it over your gums and in a few minutes, you won't feel a thing. All right?"

Starsky nodded. His grip on Hutch had relaxed marginally, but he was still holding onto the chair arm for dear life.

After swabbing Starsky's gums, Dr. Smith stood back and waited for several minutes for the medication to take effect. Starsky closed his eyes again, and floated on a nitrous cloud. This wasn't too bad, actually, he told himself. So far the only pain had been from the dentist probing at his cavity, and the gas truly was relaxing him somewhat. He forced himself to let go of the arm of the chair, and wondered if he'd broken any bones in Hutch's hand yet.

"Are you still with us, David?" Rebecca asked.

"Unfortunately," he slurred around a tongue that was quickly going numb.

"Good, that should have done the trick." Dr. Smith gently pried Starsky's mouth open, and before the detective could protest, administered the Novocain injection.

Starsky felt nothing but a slight pressure against the back of his mouth, but the knowledge of what was occurring and what was to come only served to increase his fear. He held to the chair arm and Hutch's hand even more tightly, and just concentrated on breathing.

"I'll give that a few minutes to take effect," he told Hutch. "Call me if there's any problem."

"Sure. Thanks," Hutch said absently, his mind still on Starsky as the dentist left the room.

"You're doing great, David," Rebecca encouraged.

"Is he going to have any after-effects from the nitrous?"

She shook her head. "He'll feel lightheaded for a few minutes after I turn it off, but I'll give him some oxygen before he gets up out of the chair. Most of our patients are able to drive themselves home after receiving it."

"I'm driving."

"Given his current state of mind, that's probably best," she smiled.

Starsky was dimly aware of the two of them making small talk while he lay in the chair, but was unable to make out what they were saying. Sound was messed up for him, as if it was coming in slow waves rather than the normal frequency. It was like the wormhole effect he'd seen in a Star Trek movie, he thought. He almost wanted to laugh, but it seemed to be too much trouble at the moment. Instead, he just let his body relax into the chair.

"All right, let's get this job done," Dr. Smith's friendly voice came from behind him, and Starsky felt himself tense up at once.

Rebecca saw it, and Hutch felt it in his hand. Dr. Smith noticed, as well.

"Keep that nitrous steady, Becca," he requested. "Hang in there, David. This won't take long, I promise. I'm going to use the drill on you now, and it's going to sound a bit scary. You might feel the vibrations, but it shouldn't hurt at all. If it does, you tell me."

"'n'kay," Starsky mumbled.

He heard the sound of the drill starting up, and was suddenly filled with terror. "Hu-Hu-" He couldn't speak, couldn't form a coherent word at all, but Hutch was there, and he knew.

"It's all right, buddy, I'm right here. I won't let anyone hurt you, I promise."

Another tear made its way down his cheek, and Rebecca made it disappear without comment. "You're doing fine," she told him again. "Almost finished with the drill."

Starsky let go of the chair and groped for Hutch with his free hand. Hutch grabbed him, and held on tight to both Starsky's hands while the dentist quickly finished drilling.

"Done with that," he said at last. "Now I'm just going to fill the cavity. No scary sounds this time, David."

It occurred to Hutch that Dr. Smith had slipped into the mode of talking to Starsky as if he was a frightened child rather than an adult, but for some reason he found he didn't mind. The dentist didn't sound condescending, he sounded as if he cared what Starsky was feeling. He wondered how this day would have gone if Starsky had had this Dr. Smith as a kid.

Starsky, who would swear he remembered dental visits lasting at least four hours when he was a child, was surprised at how quickly the cavity was filled. It couldn't have been more than five minutes before the dentist withdrew from his mouth for the last time.

"Give him some oxygen," he advised his assistant. "David, you did great. We're all finished. I think that's going to be a solid filling."

"Thanks, Doctor," Hutch said gratefully.

"I'm going to give him a prescription for a couple of days worth of painkillers," the dentist continued, talking to Hutch now. "He might not need them, but I'd rather he didn't have to experience any unnecessary discomfort. Sometimes when a tooth is traumatized, it will still give some pain for a few days even after the problem has been taken care of. If he's still hurting by Wednesday, you should give me a call."

"I'll do that." Hutch stuck out his hand for the doctor to shake. "Thank you," he said again.

"You're welcome," Dr. Smith smiled. "David, you should be fine now."

"Thanks." Starsky peered up at the dentist, looking closely at his face now that he was no longer under the influence of the nitrous. "What's your first name, Doc?"

"Llewellyn," Dr. Smith replied. "Not a name you easily forget."

Starsky blanched again. Hutch noticed at once.


"It's--I--I'm sorry," Starsky apologized. "You have the same name--"

"My father was a dentist in New York when I was a kid," Dr. Smith told him. "Your friend and I think you might have been one of his patients."

Starsky nodded, color coming back now that he was forcing himself to realize this couldn't possibly be his childhood nemesis. "You have the same name."

The dentist nodded. "He never was very good with children, I'm afraid."

"You can say that again. That guy traumatized me for life. Sorry, Doc, but that's the truth."

Dr. Smith's eyes crinkled as he smiled. "No offense taken, David. I'll have the receptionist give you my card. Maybe I can undo some of the harm my father inadvertently did," he chuckled.

"You going to make it?" Hutch asked his partner as he guided him carefully back to the reception desk.

"I'll live."

"Good. I was beginning to wonder for a while there," Hutch grinned.

"But I think you ought to pay for this."

Hutch swung around to glare at his partner. "It's not my mouth," he pointed out.

"But it was your idea. And you tricked me into coming here in the first place."

"It was for your own good."

"That's what people always say."



Hutch pointed at the receptionist. "Pay the woman. Now."

Still pretending to grumble, Starsky obeyed.

"Now we'll go get your prescription filled before the Novocain wears off. Wouldn't want you going all sissy on me," the blond nudged.

Starsky pulled the paper out of Hutch's shirt pocket and squinted at it. He turned it one way, then another, trying to read the writing, and at last announced triumphantly, "It's Vicodin."

"Yeah? So?"

Hutch waited while Starsky got in the car, then fastened his seatbelt.

"I don't need to fill this," his partner informed him. "I'll just steal yours."

"Then you have to do my laundry."

"Uh-uh. Not after you kidnapped me and dragged me off to see Dr. Szell. You're lucky I'm still speaking to you."

Hutch opened his mouth to speak, thought better of it, and settled for stomping on the gas and swerving into the street before Starsky could come up with any more bright ideas.


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