Rated R for Language
I guess I should tell ya’ a little about myself before I start this thing. My name’s Lt. Ronnie Castlewood and I work IA of Metro Division in Bay City, California. Now, I know you’re thinkin’ ‘yuck! Another IA puke!’ Okay, I can live with that. We’re not liked and never will be for the most part. I’ve heard them all. Infernal repairs and irreversible assholes, just to name a few. Hell, I didn’t become a cop to win a popularity contest. I wanted to offer some small contribution to society. I also thought carrying a gun and bustin’ bad guys was probably the best job anyone can have.
Now, if I start tellin’ ya’ how I wound up in IA, I’d never get this thing told and I know you’re just dyin’ to know what I think about this whole mess. I’m just an ordinary run of the mill divorced cop tryin’ to do a job. I’m not the cops you see on TV. I hate wearin’ ties and I have to have one around this fat neck of mine. I’m usually yankin’ at it whenever you see me.
First off, let me tell ya’ ‘bout a couple of cops. One’s Detective Starsky. He’s a guy that grew up on the streets. To hear him tell it, he ran the streets of both coasts and knowin’ him, I have no doubt about that. He can come off as the goofiest guy you ever saw and just an all around kid. The next thing you know, he’s as intense as a dog with a bone. He’s one of the few cops I’d just as soon remain on their good side.
His partner is just the opposite. Detective Hutchinson. That guy’s got the blond good looks babes are just dyin’ for. Just lookin’ at him, you’d think he rolled off some dairy farm in the Midwest somewheres. This is a cop that comes from money and how in the hell he decided to be a cop with the bucks his folks got, is beyond me. I wouldn’t be surprised if some Hollywood agent took a look at the blond and decided he could be a star. But this guy just don’t seem to care about that stuff.
Now you put these two guys together and you’ve got Starsky and Hutch. You know where the Hutch came from so I don’t have to get into that. They’ve made a name for themselves on these mean streets and not many bad guys will cross ‘em, but there’s a few out there that would love to put those two six feet under. They’ve got a hell of a record and a lot of their busts have stuck.
These two guys are as tight as two partners can be. They’re practically joined at the hip and there’s always some rumor floatin’ around the station about ‘em getting it on. Hey, I’m no tight ass, and if they are, it hasn’t interfered with their job. That’s what I look for when it comes to cops. Do the job and do it clean.
You’re probably wondering what does an IA puke like me have to do with two street cops like Starsky and Hutch? I’ll tell ya. Guys like Starsky and Hutch are what you call unorthodox. They do the job by the book, but they always do it in a way that nobody expects. Those two somehow always find ways to get themselves into trouble and at some point you know IA is gonna take an interest.
Well, the time came for IA to take an interest. Hutch disappeared without a trace and nobody, not even his partner, knew where the guy was. I got the word when the missing person’s report crossed my desk. So I knew if this guy was found breathing, I’d have to be ready. I got his jacket and read up on the kind of cop he was.
I went to Dobey and after talking to him, I found out that his partner was already scouring the streets for his wayward partner. It didn’t seem like it was long before a black and white reported the whereabouts of one missing Detective Hutchinson.
The first thing I did was go see Dobey to find out how Hutchinson was. He gave me some song and dance that it was a case of mistaken identity. I’ve known Dobey a lot of years and for some reason it just didn’t ring true.
I wasn’t likin’ this one bit, so my next step was to the uniforms that reported it in the first place. I couldn’t believe it. I got the same routine from them. You say, well maybe it was the wrong person. An honest mistake. You’ve got to realize that these cops ain’t rookies. These are trained cops and their job is to pay attention to all the details that civilians will miss. Paying attention to all the little crap is a part of our job. I just didn’t buy it and I felt like I was being snowballed.
Then the weirdest thing happened. Starsky disappeared. Well, not kidnapped or anything like that. Suddenly he just wasn’t around and he wasn’t tearing up the streets anymore. I’ve still got a few snitches from my street time I keep in touch with and they said the guy just dropped off the planet. I even talked to Dobey about it and he said that Starsky was taking care of business.
So, I let it alone. I figured Starsky’s got to surface sometime and if not, then we’ve got a problem. Two of our finest disappearing like that ain’t no small thing. So I went about my own business as usual. Shook down a couple of cops that were accused of taking a bribe from some bookie joint and that sort of thing. It’s what I do.
Then word came down of a major run-in with some bad guys in the alley behind a bar. I got called in on it because our two heroes were in it up to their necks. When I got there it was a mess, let me tell you. One dead body and another guy laid up from getting hit by that coke can on wheels.
First thing I did was to go check out Hutch. I didn’t even get five feet from the car when Starsky stepped right out in front of me with daggers in his eyes. He sure didn’t want nobody near his partner. But, hey. I’ve got a job to do and I tell him that.
“Hutch, has got some recovering to do, Lt.”
“He’s gotta talk to me sometime, Starsky. You know that.”
“Later, we’ve got business to take care of and then I’m takin’ care of him.”
Starsky did an about face and he drove off. He couldn’t take his car since it was part of a crime scene. I got told that one of the boys took it down to a buddy of his that always kept a steady supply of windows for Starsky. Geez, and I can’t even get my tires rotated without calling ahead for reservations.
Anyways, I figured I’ll check the scene out and see what went down. First I went to the ambulance to check out the perp. The EMT handed me a small leather pouch. I opened it up and I’ll be damned. It was the wham bam thank you ma’am I’d been looking for. The punk was a user. But then when I started lookin’ the guy over, he didn’t look like no junkie.
Now, I’ve seen junkies of all types and I figured I’d dealt with about every kind there was. It’s just one of those things that a cop like me knows. I did used to run the sewers at one time or another. I told the EMT to check the guy for tracks and he had zilch. When I talked to the perp, he clammed up. I couldn’t exactly interrogate the guy when he was in the back of an ambulance with an EMT hovering over him.
So I thought I’d better check the DB since it looked like the two were in cahoots. I cornered the coroner. Okay, I’ll quit the stupid jokes. I asked if he was a junkie and she explained there was nothing to say so. I told her to check for tracks and none existed.
I walked back to my car wonderin’ what the hell was going on. I was missing something. This guy’s carryin’ a kit and the other’s dead. They were lookin’ to take Hutch out from what I was getting from the uniforms on scene. I’m missin’ a big piece.
I went back to my office which is too damn small and gets too damn hot during the summer. Yeah, I know, but I keep hopin’ someone will see that I deserve an air conditioner. So, here I am lookin’ down at the reports I need to fill out and I don’t have anything to put in them. I must’ve stared at ‘em for a good hour. I got nada.
What do I do when I’m thinkin’? I light a smoke. Did I tell ya’ I smoke like a train? Well, while I’m thinkin’ I take a trip to the coffee machine and the one I use goes right by booking and do you want to know what I saw? Starsky and Hutch bringin’ in one of the biggest drug dealers on the coast in cuffs. Ben Forest. I couldn’t believe it!
I thought, now I’m gonna find out what the hell’s been goin’ on. I was happier than a tom cat in a room full of…well, I ain’t gonna finish that thought. So, I hightailed it to their desks and decided to wait them out. I got to lookin’ at my watch and it’d been way longer than what it takes to throw the book at somebody. I’d better talk to Dobey.
I told Dobey, that I’ve got to get Hutch’s statement about where he’d been. I got this weird feelin’ the way he hem hawed and wouldn’t look me straight in the eye. Now, Dobey’s a top cop. He’s busted some ass and every cop I know respects the big guy. Not many people will cross hairs with the man. But seein’ him, I knew I had to put the screws to him.
“Captain Dobey, you know I’ve got to talk to Hutchinson. It’s procedure.”
“You’ll have to wait for Starsky’s report. I gave them both two weeks paid leave.”
“You what?” I couldn’t believe it. The ink ain’t even dry on Forest’s arrest and they’re gone. “A cop was kidnapped and you let him go on vacation!”
“Now, wait a damn minute, Castlewood! Hutchinson needs time to recover and as I cop I expect you to understand that!”
Okay, breathe in and breathe out. A girl told me once that I’ve gotta relax more and not get so worked up. Now, there are other things I’d rather be doin’ than breathin’ in and out like some yoga freak, if ya’ know what I mean. Sorry, forgot who I was talkin’ to.
“Okay, Cap. You’re right. Why don’t you tell me what hospital he’s getting’ checked out at and I’ll get the reports from the doctor.”
Aw, damn. Dobey’s not lookin’ at me again. “He didn’t require an examination.”
“Well, why did he need two weeks off?”
“He had a rough time of it.”
Dobey was getting real quiet and I got this weird feelin’ again. It was like I should understand, but I didn’t. He knew something, but he wasn’t gonna say a word. “What’d they do to him, Cap?”
“You’ll get Starsky’s report and Hutchinson’s statement when they get back.”
I could tell the way Dobey was lookin’ at the reports on his desk, this conversation was over. I couldn’t have pried the KFC secret recipe from the big guy. So I left and went to the only other person that could give me the answers I was lookin’ for.
Now, I’ve seen my share of bad guys and this one has got to be one of the all time bad guys. If there was a hall of fame for bad guys, Ben Forest would’ve been inducted when he was 12. This Joe was suspected of mafia hits, prostitution rings, bookie joints, but he made his dough with dope. He had that shit running through the streets and cops drooled over taking a clown like this down.
Problem was I couldn’t talk to the guy. He had his three piece suit of a lawyer in with him and the D.A. already beat me to the punch. He was talkin’ to cut some time off of the long stretch he knew he was gonna get because of his goon singin’ like a canary. Forest wouldn’t have gotten the time of day if he’d talked about torturing the hell out of a cop.
When I got done workin’ I headed to my favorite watering hole. I’m a guy that will walk the deserts of the Sahara for a good drink and some sweet company. Thing is, I couldn’t get this mess out of my head. What happened to Hutch? Somethin’ did since nobody wanted me to talk to him. I got this paranoid conspiracy crap workin’ overtime in my brain now and I really hate that shit. I’ve got an overactive imagination and I know if I don’t get the answers to what happened with Hutchinson, it’ll eat away at me.
So, I know that somethin’ bad happened to the guy. There’s a lot of rotten things a human being can do to another human. I’ve seen it and it’s usually pretty damn ugly. The only thing that I can think of, somethin’ happened to Hutch that was so bad, that his Captain and partner are willin’ to risk everything to keep a lid on it.
I began at the beginning and started rollin’ around everything I knew from the time Hutch went missing. I thought about every single thing piece by piece and let it bang around my head like a cue ball. I never said my thought process was pretty, so take it or leave it.
I thought about the time Hutch was last seen, and then supposedly found, then Starsky goin’ underground. Then there was that mess in the alley. I couldn’t get that stuff out of my head. Wait a sec. Hutch was sittin’ in the car waitin’ for his partner. I saw him and at a glance he looked okay.
Okay, time to slow motion it down. It was right before Starsky cut me off at the pass to see Hutch. Hutch did look like he’d been through the wringer and then he rubbed his face. His hand shook a little. Well, maybe the guy was rattled. They were gonna off him. Damn it! He’s an experienced cop! Street cops like him don’t get rattled.
This was starting to piss me off. Where is that damn bartender? I need a drink. Holy shit! I know what I was missing! Oh, no way! Would someone actually do that to a cop? Why? Starsky and Hutch weren’t workin’ on any major cases.
First I hauled my ass to the precinct and got both of their addresses. I sure as hell wasn’t going to call the guys. They’d take off on me and I gotta talk to ‘em before some other bozo figures this out.
I went to Hutch’s first. No cars, but I knocked anyways. Damn, they’re not here. I pushed my clunker hard to get to Starsky’s hopin’ they were there and not out of town. I breathed a sigh of relief seein’ his car parked out front. Okay, I’ve got to watch my mouth. I’ll usually shoot my mouth off sayin’ the first thing that comes to mind which is not always a smart thing to do.
When Starsky opened the door and saw me first he was surprised, then he got on the defensive. Well, who can blame him? If it were my partner, I’d feel the same way.
“What do you want, Castlewood?”
Okay, how do I say this? I know your partner got juiced up. No, too blunt. And I’m lousy at tact. “I need to talk to Hutch.” I said it real nice like bein’ real careful of my attitude.
Then I heard a door closing. I gave Starsky a look tellin’ him that it’s now or never.
“I’ve got company. You’ll just have to wait till my leave’s over.”
Starsky started to shut the door and like the stupid cop I can be sometimes, I put my hand on the door and didn’t let him close it. Now, I knew I was goin’ were most sane people feared to tread, with the six feet under look he was givin’ me. “If I can figure it out, how long do you think it’ll take for someone else to come along and put two and two together?”
Now, the last thing Starsky wanted to do was to let me in. But let me in he did. I felt kinda nervous walkin’ into his place. Fact of the matter is, I was waitin’ for the guy to whack me. Okay, he wouldn’t have done it, but seein’ the wheels turnin’ in his head made me wonder if he was thinkin’ it.
“What are you going to do about it?”
It was a point blank question that deserved an answer. Only, I couldn’t give him one. “I have to talk to Hutch, Starsky. You know I’ve got to.”
“You can forget it!”
Damn, this guy don’t want anyone like me near his partner. Its common knowledge Starsky and Hutch don’t even have a liking for IA. And I can imagine having an IA cop in your living room who knows what happened to your partner doesn’t exactly make for a friendly atmosphere, if you get my meanin.
“Starsk, it’s okay.”
There he was. Coming into the living room still lookin’ like hell. I’d say he went through hell from the looks of it. It was obvious he had the holy crap beat out of him, plus the death warmed over look. Okay, Ronnie, let’s just start it easy goin’ like. Don’t want to spook him and I don’t even want to know if there’s a worse side of Starsky. “I know what happened to you.”
Hutch just had this real peaceful look on his face and he didn’t even look pissed. He didn’t even get nervous or anything. Whaddya know bout that? Maybe he knows somethin’ I don’t.
“Let’s have a seat,” he says.
Lookin’ at Starsky, I could tell he’s thinkin’ this is a lousy idea and he’s just waitin’ to pounce on me. So I sat down in a chair and Hutch bein’ the guy he is offers me a beer. Well, I damn near fell over. First off, this ain’t even his place. It’s his partner’s. He acts like it is. Secondly, he offers it to me like I’m some old high school buddy.
“No, thanks.” Now, I’ve got to talk to him about this and findin’ the words just won’t come.
Hutch is somethin’ else. He gives me this it’s okay look and the next thing I know he starts talkin’ to me real soft like. He tells me about this chick he helped out and how much he cared about her, then he’s tellin’ me about how he got nabbed right out of his own place. As he’s tellin’ me about this hell, I watched him real close. I could tell it bugged him. That’s a lousy word for it.
The guy went through hell by bein’ hooked on the shit we put our necks on the line to stop. He don’t remember a lot, but he knows how it felt and he told me. First I was pissed at the assholes that did this to a righteous guy like Hutchinson. Then as he told me more, I got this sick feelin’ in my gut. I thought I was gonna loose that booze that was sittin’ at the bottom of my empty stomach.
“I’ll take that beer.” That was all I could think of to say.
Next thing I know I had a beer in my hand and I drank that sucker down for all it was worth. Starsky was standin’ real close to his partner like a lioness protectin’ her cubs waitin’ for the axe to fall. I think he expected me to read them the riot act and report it immediately. Hell, I didn’t know what to do.
I was feelin’ like I was the one that got kicked in the gut and I know I didn’t go through that hell on earth. Shit, I wish it was me and lookin’ at Starsky, I know he wished the same thing.
So, I told them thanks for the beer and left. I went to my car and went back to my lousy apartment. I’m payin’ alimony and child support so, I’ve got to live in this du…Ronnie, if you ain’t the biggest dick on the coast, I don’t know what you are. What the hell is the matter with me?
A cop told me about a hell he damn near didn’t make it out of, and I’m gonna start bitchin’ about my life! Not just any cop. I read his jacket and this guy is one of those few and far between cops you hear about. He sticks his neck out for the little guy and takes down the worst society’s got to offer.
Even with the shit he went through, he didn’t even ask me to keep my mouth shut. He didn’t tell me to lie or anything. I don’t get that. Okay, I know. That’s just the kind of guy he is.
I went to work the next morning like a man on a mission. I knew what I had to do and I had no qualms about doing it. So in the first time in 17 years of bein’ a cop, I falsified a report. Yeah, I lied about it and I ain’t gonna tell you any different. I got the forms out and spent the morning putting together the best report of my life.
I slapped ‘em together and took ‘em to Dobey making sure he got them to his boys when they got back from leave. He gave me this weird look like I had horns growin’ out of my head after looking them over. I even touched my head to make sure there were none there.
Now, I hate mushy scenes and I was not about to be in the middle of one. I took off out of his office and took the rest of the day off. Then I took the day after that off. I just felt like I had to look at my life again. It’s full of booze, stale cigarette butts and women I wouldn’t take home to my mother if my life depended on it.
Now, I’d like to tell ya’ that I got back together with my ex-wife and we lived happily ever after. But she married some yoyo who works for the DMV. Okay, I can’t bitch. He’s good to her and the kids.
Fact of the matter is, I’m seein’ a real good lady who works in records. Minnie. A real heart of gold, if you ask me. I don’t touch the hard stuff anymore and after her reading me the riot act, I gave up the smokes. Did I tell you she’s another one you don’t want to get on the wrong side of?
To end this story, I’ll tell ya’ that I’m still doin’ the job and workin’ IA only I got my act together a little better before this mess even started. I see Starsky and Hutch in the hallways sometimes still bein’ themselves like always. But whenever I hear one of the guys in IA bitchin’ about them, I think back to that time at Starsky’s. My hats off to those guys and if I could stand a mushy scene, I’d tell ‘em both thanks. Just wish I didn’t have to wear these stinkin’ ties.