Authour’s note: This is a story told through drabbles. Each chapter is exactly one hundred words long.
By the time they found Starsky, he had been in the madman’s hands for nearly four days. When Hutch and Huggy burst in, the firefight that followed was swift and decisive.
The madman lay dead, and Starsky was freed. He’d been beaten. Starved.
”Hutch!” he’d cried – then simply silently smiled.
All at once, things began to add up.
The way Starsky’s head turned constantly as if to keep them in the best light.
The way his eyes were never still – flicking from one man to the other – and Hutch suddenly knew.
“Oh my stars – Huggy, he can’t hear!”
“What do you mean you’re not ready to get outta here?” Hutch roared.
Huggy put a hand on his arm. “He can’t hear you, man. I doubt he understands you now.”
Hutch glared at him.
With a growl, Starsky lifted Hutch’s gun from its holster and turned to the corpse of the man who’d held him prisoner for so long. “This is for taking my hearing, you son of a bitch,” he growled as he pumped two bullets into it.
To calm down, Starsky took a few deep breaths. Then he handed the gun back to Hutch.
“Now I’m ready.”
Not the words Hutch wanted to hear. “Sorry?” he repeated incredulously. “B-but…”
The doctor held up a hand. “He fell asleep during the examination. Until he wakes up, I can’t finish the testing to determine how much hearing loss he possesses.”
Hutch’s eyes widened. “You mean he’s not completely deaf?”
The doctor smiled as he shook his head. “During the examination, he reacted to some stimuli. His eardrums have been perforated, but they will heal. The testing will show us what he’s lost and how much he will regain.”
Standing guard as Starsky slept, Hutch wept thankful tears.
Hutch was pissed.
Starsky’s testing had been over for hours now, and nobody was telling him anything. So when the doctor arrived, he was ambushed by an angry blond.
The tired doctor gestured toward his office and began, “Look, Officer Hutchinson, why don’t you come into my office and—“
Truly upset by now, Hutch pointed his finger toward the door. “That’s my partner in there, and I want to know what’s going on!”
With a sigh, the doctor met Hutch’s eyes. “All right, I’ll give it to you straight. Right now, it’s almost as if he doesn’t want to hear.”
Don’t want to hear?
What the hell kind of lazy, cockamamie, stupid diagnosis is that?
Of course I want to hear!
The notes contain fancy words like “Hysterical deafness” and “…probable attempt to escape from pain…”
Okay, first of all, I am not hysterical. Mad, yeah. Hysterical? No way!
Second, I’m a cop. I’ve got resources – people I can turn to. If I wanted to escape pain, why the hell would I cause myself more by bein’ deaf?
It don’t make sense!
Don’t want to hear? That’s pure bull. I want to hear more than anything!
So why can’t I?
All this time as partners, and they were reduced to communicating through notes. Starsky’s sudden imprisonment in a silent world was frustrating them both.
Hutch found himself wondering, not for the first time, if it had been him, how quickly he would adjust. Would he have as difficult a time as Starsky was?
For Starsky’s part? He just wanted to hear again.
Suddenly, it became a classic case of the universe’s perfect timing. At that very moment, the doctor came tearing up to Starsky and Hutch, eyes and face aglow.
“Detectives!” he cried excitedly. We think we’ve found it!”
The new kind of X-ray told the tale: a tiny blood clot in the area of the brain that controlled hearing. Surgically removed, Starsky would hear again. If something went wrong, the risks were permanent deafness, paralysis, or death.
It was only a matter of moments before the choice was made. Despite the risks, Starsky would have the surgery.
A slim chance was better than no chance at all.
The night passed slowly. All too soon, it was time.
The partners’ – heart’s brothers’ – hands were gently coaxed apart. A sleeping Starsky was wheeled into the operating room.
And Hutch prayed.
Surgery removed the blood clot, but Starsky would never be the same again. The clot had started bleeding before they could get to it, and as a result, Starsky suffered an irreparable mild case of brain damage.
Final result? Personality intact. Memory intact. Four senses intact.
His hearing, however, was completely and irrevocably gone.
Together, Starsky and Hutch grieved, raged, planned, and began to slowly adjust. When Starsky left the hospital, Hutch was by his side.
It was an altered version of reality they found themselves in, but they would face it as they had before.
Me and Thee.
Return to The Realm