Comments from this story can be sent to email@example.com and will be forwarded to the author. This story was published in The Fix #8, Amapola Press, July, 1990. This story was scanned/first-proof read by Cyanne, final proof reading by SHaron. Special thanks to both!
A Hard Day's Night
(First story of "Secrets" -- a series)
Closing the door after a hard day's work was sometimes accompanied by pleasant feeling of shutting out the world. Today, Dave Starsky slammed it firmly. He stopped in the kitchen for a can of soda, then collapsed on the couch and kicked off his sneakers. Silence floated around him and he relaxed into it gratefully.
Ten minutes or so later, his idle gaze fell upon a magazine that lay on the coffee table. Picking it up, he saw it was one of those women's things, left by a recent overnight guest. He began flipping through it randomly. A question in one of articles caught his eyes, and he scanned it.
1. Would you die for this person?
Almost did. In his mind's eye he was back behind the liquor store, shoving Hutch out of the way to become a target himself. If that punk hadn't been out of ammo... He acknowledged the rightness of what he'd done, and it was something he would do again if necessary. His eyes traveled to the next question.
2. Is he the most important person in your life?
Right now, yes. He tried to remember a time when it wasn't so, wondered about the future. Intrigued, he looked at the title of the article.
"ARE YOU REALLY IN LOVE?"
In love? More curious than wary, he began to read the entire piece.
3. Does the idea of spending the rest of your lives together appeal to you? Scare you?
Starsky thought about that one. It certainly didn't scare him. Actually, he'd kind of assumed they'd always be together... friends?
4. Do you present an "us" to the world? Send occasion cards together, buy presents, etc.?
"What are we getting him?" His own voice echoed from the recent past, as they spent an afternoon at the mall trying to find the perfect birthday gift for Huggy. He couldn't remember the last time he'd sent out a card that didn't have both their names on it -- unless it was to Hutch, that is. Is that really that unusual? For friends?
5. Are other people obviously excluded "outsiders" from this us, even unintentionally?
Me and Thee... Something in him tried to rebel as he felt the beginning of concern. We're partners, we have to be this close... don't we? He knew plenty of partners who weren't as tight as him and Hutch. It was the way they chose to survive. He forced himself to read the final paragraph.
"If you've answered 'yes' to three or under, you and your friend have definite possibilities. If you answered 'yes' to four or more, congratulations -- you're in love!"
He rose abruptly, heading to the refrigerator for a beer. Suddenly the sweet certainty of a friendship he'd taken for granted had become a source of too many questions.
Questions to which he knew the answers would be a long time coming.