Ghosts From the Past
Around six o'clock in the evening on a Friday night, the two street detectives stood at a gate inside the city's airport waiting to pick up a much unexpected arrival. Two days before, Detective Ken Hutchinson, or Hutch as most people called him thanks to his partner, David Starsky, received a call from his father, who still lived in Duluth, Minnesota, to tell his son he would be visiting San Francisco for work and that he hoped to be able to stop by Bay City for a visit.
The truth was, Hutch and his father were not very close, due to the fact that Hutch had decided to drop medical school and leave home for becoming a cop in California. When he found out his father wanted to visit him, he wasn't thrilled. Starsky, on the other hand, was a little curious to meet the man and was happy to poke fun at his partner's discomfort, as he knew the blond man would be if the roles were reversed.
Captain Dobey had given both Hutch and Starsky the night off so that they would be able to spend the evening with the man. Hutch wasn't entirely sure he was grateful for the gesture. A part of him wished he had work as an excuse, so that he wouldn't have to suffer through an uncomfortable evening. However, he was grateful that his partner and best friend was willing to be right there beside him as he always was.
About ten after the hour, men, women, and children began to come out of the gate and within five minutes, Hutch spotted his father, who was wearing a very expensive suit. Hutch had come from a very wealthy family, thanks to his father and grandfather, among farther generations, all being doctors. This explained why his father wished his son had followed in his footsteps. Instead, he had become a cop; a detective, who was paid very little and worked among the filthy and frightening streets. This was not a life Kenneth Hutchinson Senior was very proud of his only child for.
"Hello, Dad," Hutch spoke first as he walked over and stood in front of the man before him. "It's good to see you again. It's been a while. How are you and Mom?"
"We are good, Ken," he replied. "Thank you. It looks like you appear to be well too. Your mother will be very happy to hear it. I thought we were going to spend some time alone together this evening. Who is this?"
As his father stared at his partner, Hutch answered, "I'm sorry. Dad, this is my partner, Detective Sergeant David Starsky. I've written you and Mom about him. I wanted you to meet him and he's pretty excited to meet you too."
As Starsky stuck out his hand for a hand shake, he responded, "It's a pleasure to meet you finally, Sir. It is good to meet the man responsible for raising the proper, health nut, and freakishly smart, Ken Hutchinson."
"Yes, I see," Hutchinson Senior replied without responding to the hand gesture and then began to act like Starsky was no longer there. "Ken, is there a nice restaurant we could go to for dinner? I am famished."
"There's actually this great spot called The Pitts, where we go to all…" Starsky began to say before he was gently cut off by his partner.
Hutch said, "Sorry, Starsk. I don't think that The Pitts is the kind of place my father had in mind. He's used to something a little different. If you still want to come with us, it'll be my treat."
Hutch's father responded, "No offense to your friend, Son, but I was hoping to talk with you in private tonight. I am only here for a few days and I…"
"Offense taken, Dad," Hutch interrupted angrily. "Starsky's not only my partner, but he's my best friend and I wanted him to join us tonight. I wanted you to get to know him. Instead, you've been rude and are acting like he isn't even here."
"It's all right, Hutch," Starsky answered. "I get it. If you want me to join you, I'm here. Otherwise, I can find something else to do tonight. I am sure there a few lovely ladies looking for a handsome guy to dance with."
Hutch's father replied, "That's all right. If you wish to join us, you can."
Starsky began to walk away as he responded, "Great! I'll go get my car ready while the two of you catch up. See you in a few."
"Why were you so rude to him?" Hutch asked as they slowly walked in the direction of the parking garage. "Is it because he grew up on the streets and he's not proper like you or me? Starsky's like a brother to me. He's saved my life countless times and he's taught me a lot."
"I can see this," the man answered. "He's made you turn into a boy I hardly recognize anymore."
"I'm a man who has chosen to make his own decisions," Hutch answered firmly. "I left home and became a cop because I did not want to grow to be like you. Unless you can apologize to my partner and treat him better, we will drop you off at your hotel and you can forget about spending any more time with me. I know I promised Mom that I would try to get along this time, but I won't do it at my partner's expense."
As they stepped outside the airport, Starsky was getting out of the driver's seat of his red and white striped Torino, but he was staring off at something in the distance and before Hutch could call out to him, Starsky suddenly took off running at full speed toward whatever it was he was looking at.
Hutch shouted, "Starsk? Starsky! Dad, get in the car and stay there. I'm going after him."
Hutchinson Senior stared as his son ran off after his partner and got into the passenger's seat to wait for them to return. He found that Detective Starsky was very odd and he could not understand what made him and his son such close friends, as they were both very different people.
When Hutch finally caught up with his partner, he appeared to be searching frantically for something that was no longer anywhere in sight. Hutch saw that his friend had become completely pale. It was a look he didn't see on him very often and it troubled him to see it now.
Hutch was the first to speak as he asked, "What's wrong, Starsk? Are you all right?"
When Starsky turned to face him finally, he saw real fear in his eyes as he quickly asked, "Did you see that guy? It can't be."
"What can't be?" Hutch tried again. "I didn't see anyone, Starsky. Who did you think you saw?"
"No one," Starsky replied as he began to walk back toward his car. "I must have lost my mind for a second there. It couldn't have been him. Sorry to leave you and your dad like that. He must really think I'm crazy now. I never meant to give him a reason to."
Hutch put his hand on his partner's shoulder gently and responded, "Don't worry about my dad. You look like you've just seen a ghost, Buddy. Talk to me."
Starsky shook his head and answered, "I promise you, it's nothing. However, if you don't mind, I think I'm just going to head home for the night. I'm a bit more tired than I thought. I guess my head's telling me I need more sleep. I'll drop you off at the station so you can pick up your car."
When the two detectives made it back to the car, Hutch's father asked, "Is everything all right?"
"Everything's fine, Sir," Starsky replied as he sat down in the driver's seat. "I am sorry about that. I thought I saw someone, but I was wrong. I'm going to drop you and Hutch off at the police station where we work so that he can get his car. I'm gonna head home to get some sleep. I'm more tired than I realized."
"We don't usually get a whole lot of sleep between chasing down the bad guys and trying to have a social life," Hutch continued in order to draw his father's focus away from his friend. "I'll take you out to this great Italian restaurant I know of and we can have that talk after all."
The drive to the station was unusually quiet. Starsky and Hutch usually bantered back and forth about frivolous things, but neither one of them were in the mood to talk anymore. Starsky had tried to reassure Hutch that he was fine, but the blond couldn't shake the fact that he knew his partner was lying to him, just so that his evening with his father wasn't ruined.
As they arrived back at the station and both Hutch and his father got out of the car, Starsky called out to his friend before driving away as he said, "I'll see you in the morning, Hutch. Have some fun tonight, would ya?"
Hutch gave him an uneasy smile just as he sped off and then turned back to his father, who finally spoke up asking, "Is Detective Starsky usually spooked this easily?"
"We see a lot of bad things on these streets, but no, he's not usually like this," Hutch responded. "So, our Captain is probably still here, if you would like to meet him. He's a good man."
"I'd like that," Hutchinson Senior answered. "Then, Italian sounds good."
"Great," the detective replied. "Let's go."
Hutch gave his father a tour through the precinct before he met up with Dobey. He tried to shake off the bad feeling that what happened tonight wasn't something he should shrug off so easily and that something much worse was coming, but he couldn't. He thought about telling Dobey about it, but then, there wasn't much to tell. Hutch never saw the guy Starsky had chased after. So, he decided that as soon as he dropped off his dad at his hotel in town, he would head over to his partner's home and check to make sure he was really all right.