IF I JOIN YA? -- SCENE ONE
stared incredulously into the rear view mirror as reality registered and the
LTD took the right turn. Should've known...trust him with your life,
sure. But not with your dinner.
he considered pursuit -- take the next right turn -- catch up -- that heap
would never outrun the Torino -- use the Mars light, maybe, if other traffic
proved a problem....
there was no guarantee that he'd pick up his errant partner. Abruptly, the
chasing game lost its appeal. It was no later than late afternoon but it had
been a long crowded day, culminating in the garage shoot-out with Zale and
Canelli. And as on all such days, Starsky was aware of a certain wind-down
process to be gone through...one of the ways in which police work was
different from other kinds. This job was a whole life-style. Work time and
leisure time never really slotted into separate, neat compartments. He recognized
the feelings after any shoot-out, unavoidable as they'd been
warned from the start, but becoming no easier with experience.
new place for dinner might have helped in this familiar aftermath. His
suggestion hadn't perhaps been made deliberately with that thought, but he
acknowledged that he'd had the connection somewhere in mind when he'd urged
Hutch to try its cuisine. And they'd been working together long enough for
Hutch to have known that, to have gone along with it. Couldn't he just humor
a person -- just for once? Instead of making that treacherous getaway.
follow you...." His partner's facile assurance, not five minutes
since, echoed in his memory. Should've known....
drove on. What now? Stop off for a beer? Then another beer...? Drinking
alone wasn't what he needed right now -- no substitute for the presence of
the partner who'd shared the hazards of the past few hours. And if beer was
any support, there was beer right there at home in the refrigerator. TV? --
the all-American panacea, he thought wryly. Beer.... TV...sleep....
Probably what Hutch had in mind for himself anyway.
Dinner...who needs it?
than a half-hour later, he pulled in outside his apartment, locked the
Torino and headed for his own front door. Slumped on the sofa, beer can in hand, he
distantly the prospect of a shower. It took another ten minutes for
resolution of form.
was setting down the empty can when the knock sounded. Visitors? Did he
really want visitors --? The knocking sounded again.
-- coming --" He opened the door and his visitor thrust a couple of
boxes upon him.
"Would you hold this, please?"
stood there on the threshold, the packages clutched to his chest.
could I come in, please?" Hutch smiled ingratiatingly and squeezed past
him to deposit the six-pack on the kitchen counter.
kicked the door shut and followed him into the apartment.
hot." Hutch gestured toward the cardboard containers.
noticed. Pizza, huh?" He raised a quizzical eyebrow. Hope -- of more
than food -- fed zest into his question.
With everything." Hutch paused. "You didn't eat already?"
swallowed his spontaneous question...why'd you change your mind like
that?...no need to bother with words or with reasons. The day's tensions
receded. Magic -- worked by a pizza? And by a partner...
-- no," he answered. He couldn't stop the grin. "Work fast, don't
shrugged deprecatingly. "It's nothing. My treat." His look held
if I join ya?"
is nothing more important to a patrol officer than the partner with whom he
will share more waking hours than with a wife; upon whom he is to depend
more than a man should, with whom he will share the ugliness and the tedium,
the humor and the wonder..." Joseph Wambaugh: The Onion Field