It began the day Mike, Peter and Micky had defeated Babyface Morales -- who, incidentally, happened to look exactly like Micky.
When the dust had cleared, the identical Mickys were sitting in the police station, with the police unable to tell Morales from Micky. Both sat there, pleading with the detective that he was Micky Dolenz!
After about ten minutes of this, Peter raised his hand and pointed at the one on the right. "That's Micky," he said with utter and unshakeable conviction.
The indicated one burst into a huge grin. The other one burst out, "Aw, but, Mike..."
Peter burst into one of his trademark dimpled grins. "I'm Peter," he said as Micky moved to his side and the gangster was surrounded by police.
Morales dropped the act and fair to turned the room blue with his invectives as he was led away. "Good work, son," Captain Reynolds said, shaking his hand. "How'd you know?"
"Morales was taking his cues from Micky," Peter said simply, shrugging. "He'd say or do things a split-second later."
"Mighty fine piece of detective work, Peter," Reynolds pumped his hand again, then let him go.
Peter was quiet all that evening, memories of that one compliment swirling in his brain and invading his dreams that night.
Two days later, Captain Reynolds looked up to find Peter walking into his office! "Well, hello Peter!" he smiled. "What can I do for you?"
"I want to do it again," he said bluntly.
"Do what again?"
"What I did the other day," he said, pointing at the corner of the room where the doubles had set. "Be a detective."
Reynolds lost his smile. "Son, it's not that simple. A real detective goes to the police academy for a long time, goes through intensive tests and ---" his phone rang. "Excuse me." He answered the phone and looked out the window as he talked to the chief for a few moments.
While he talked, Peter picked up a folder on his desk and began to leaf through it. He found himself looking at descriptions of a robbery ring that seemed to have nothing in common.
His eyes narrowed as he read the reports a second time. Nothing in common at all....except....
"Hey!" Reynolds lifted the folder out of his hands. "Peter, this is police business. Not for the public to loo----"
"Why haven't you interviewed the redheaded woman?" Peter asked.
Reynolds frowned. "What?"
"The redheaded woman." Peter took the folder back and laid it so the chief could see it. "Every robbery, the victim reported talking with a redheaded woman either in a green or a teal dress before they were attacked. Why hasn't anyone talked to her?"
"Let me see that." He reread the reports. "Hang on...." He got up and moved to a map on the wall, tracing something with his finger. "Well, I'll be damned. Every robbery was near Covington Street....."
"......in the heart of the club district," Peter said, standing as well. "Here," and he tapped right in the center of the rough circle Reynolds had drawn, "is the Marquis club. We've played there a couple of times. Really rundown area."
"The Marquis club?" Reynolds echoed, staring at the map.
"Owner's Tim Barningham." Peter's eyes widened and he turned and met Reynolds's eyes. "His wife's got brilliant red hair -- and both times I've seen her, she's been wearing green."
"Damn," Reynolds said, lurching for the phone. "Get me Barnes!" he barked before turning to Peter. "Peter, if you've given us what we need to crack this case...."
Peter tilted his head. "I can be a detective?"
"I will personally see that you're rushed through the Academy! Barnes, this is Reynolds! I think we may just have a break!"
Four days later, a sheaf of papers arrived at the Pad for Peter. They were a nearly-completed application to the Academy, with a note clipped to it giving a 'report-to' date. All Peter had to do was sign them and bring them --- and he would take the first step toward being a policeman.
Two weeks after that, Cadet Peter Tork secretly began accelerated classes at the Los Angeles Police Academy --- his long hair held in check by a leather tieback.
Two years went by, and Peter graduated, looking elegant in his dress blues and neat hat. He'd managed to keep it secret all this time what he was doing.
He burned the midnight oil for several nights straight, and took the test that was, to him, the most important one of all.
July 20, 1969 was a day special in many many ways. Mankind took its first steps onto the moon. Several mothers held their newborn babies for the first time. Several couples united in matrimony.
And Officer Peter Tork's score on the test earned him a gold shield and the rank of Detective. As he shook Reynolds's hand, he wept tears of pure joy.
His dream was now reality.
That October, he wore his dress blues to a costume party and no one batted an eye.
It was Thanksgiving when he was discovered.
Micky had caught him studying a mysterious folder at the table, but when he went to find what he'd been reading, the folder had vanished.
Out of the blue, Peter announced he'd gotten them a five-week gig at the Jamboree. Suspicious Mike called him on it, and Peter -- with a glare that was so surprising it literally shut Mike up -- said simply, "I got it. We get paid for it. That's all."
It was at their second gig there that Micky realised things would never quite be the same again. From his vantage point behind the drum set, he got to watch his friends' backsides quite a bit. On the first gig at the Jamboree, he'd noticed Peter's reticence, his not quite willingness to move around as much as usual as he played.
But on the second gig he saw the gun.
It took him a little while to realise what it was. At first all he saw was a strange bulge at the rear waistband of Peter's jeans. But as the concert wore on, the bass guitar strap rode Peter's jacket up for a second, and the grip was plainly seen.
Micky went cold all over. As soon as the gig ended, he tried to confront Peter about it. He pulled him to the side. "We gotta talk."
Suddenly Peter frowned and a hand flew to his ear, covering the earpiece there. Earlier he'd told his bandmates that it was a transistor radio and he'd have it turned off onstage. "Later, Micky," he said, breaking into a run and racing out the back door of the club.
Startled, Micky followed him --- and saw Peter draw the gun as he ran after a man who was throwing bags of drugs into the alleys as he ran past them, obviously trying to get rid of evidence. Micky frowned. "What in the...."
Micky's jaw slammed open and he had to clutch the side of the building to keep upright as his world shattered around him and reformed into something he didn't quite understand.
Peter had screamed those words. Peter had fired a single shot and brought the runner down with a bullet in his calf.
Peter carried a gun. Peter used a gun.
The men who ran up to him and arrested the runner praised him for the 'clean takedown', for the 'bust' -- one even teased him and tousled the long hair, and Peter laughed at it!
"Omig-d," Micky breathed, almond-shaped eyes huge. "....my G-d.... Peter's a.... Peter's a cop?"
Micky kept what he'd discovered to himself. He figured if Peter hadn't told them he was a cop, there must have been a very good reason.
That didn't stop him from doing a bit of snooping, however.
Over the next few weeks, Micky discovered that Peter rotated between Vice, Robbery and Homicide -- which Micky very quickly learned how to tell. The Homicide cases, Peter was just a shade quieter at home, a bit protective -- and he had vicious nightmares.
Micky also found out Peter worked directly under Captain Reynolds, that he drove a nondescript blue car at work, and that he worked in both Malibu Beach and nearby Malibu -- and even in Los Angeles itself at times.
And he worked alone. Unlike other cops, Peter couldn't keep a partner! He'd occasionally have a partner, Micky'd observe --- but they never lasted long. The 'click' that occurred never seemed to happen. Micky could see that quietly eating at Peter's soul.
One night, Micky watched from the top of the stairs as Peter moved to the kitchen, bleary-eyed and trembling.
Another nightmare, Micky thought. Must be in Homicide again.
He saw Peter put a pan of milk on to heat, then go to the cabinet and take out the Pepto-Bismol. Unscrewing the cap, Peter brought the bottle to his lips and drank a large swig of it straight down.
Micky winced. Correction: he is DEFINITELY working Homicide -- a BAD one.
Peter sat at the table, nursing his warm milk. Micky watched him for a few more moments, then he went back into his own bedroom.
But the images of Peter's defeated posture and troubled appearance haunted Micky and kept sleep at bay. It must be horrible, Micky thought. Out there day after day, never knowing what you're gonna face next..... Not really trusting anyone to watch your back because you're different....
Sleep finally arrived with two words repeating on an endless cycle in Micky's mind.
Three days later, unbeknownst to anyone -- even Peter -- Micky went to see Captain Reynolds.
Two days after that, Cadet Micky Dolenz went to his first class at the Los Angeles Police Academy.
January 12, 1975. Peter knocked on Reynolds's door. "You wanted to see me, sir?"
"Peter," Reynolds smiled. "After a very long time, we finally have a permanent partner for you."
Peter moaned. "Sir, we've been through this..."
Reynolds went on as if Peter'd not spoken. "He passed the detective's exam yesterday. Specifically requested you as his partner."
"A rookie?" Peter let out another moan. "Sir, you know I have trouble with a partner! I've never been able to find one I trust implicitly and now you're putting me with a rookie?"
From behind Peter came a voice he had never expected to hear at work. "I'm hurt, Big Peter.... if you can't trust me by now...."
Peter whirled so fast his blonde bangs bounced against his forehead. "MICKY?!?"
"Surprise," Micky grinned.
"B-But...." He scanned Micky up and down. His eyes widened as Micky slowly pulled back his jacket, revealing a holstered gun on his right shoulder.
"Yeah," Micky grinned in reply to the body language. "I'm a southpaw -- switched in school." The grin widened. "And now I'm a cop -- just like you."
"Who better to watch your back than someone you already trust?" Micky spread his hands.
Peter turned to Reynolds, who held up a hand. "It was his idea. I had nothing to do with it."
Peter turned back to Micky. "We have to talk," he growled, grabbing him by the collar and dragging him out of the office.
"Dismissed," Reynolds chuckled.
Once the shock wore off, something happened that surprised Peter -- he and Micky 'clicked' as partners. And over the weeks and months that followed, their solve rate went through the roof. Peter's solve rate had always been good -- but together with his old friend, it became amazing!
And their roommates and bandmates were still in the dark! Mike and Davy knew they held jobs with occasionally odd hours, but beyond that, they didn't seem interested in details.
In the fall of 1977, though, that changed. It started when the partners were called into Reynolds's office and given a folder.
"This guy's killed seven women in two cities," Reynolds said grimly. Two here in Malibu Beach."
Peter looked through the folder and sighed. "No one we know."
"Yet," Micky sighed as well.
"You'll be working with a pair of detectives from Bay City, where the other murders took place," Reynolds finished.
Peter nodded slowly. "When will they be here?"
"Tomorrow. Their names are David Starsky and Ken Hutchinson."
The next morning, Peter and Micky walked in to find Reynolds looking a bit shell-shocked. "Captain?" Micky asked.
At that, the two figures seated in front of Reynolds’s desk stood and turned. Peter and Micky both blinked at them, their jaws unhinging.
Peter stepped forward. "Peter Tork."
"Ken Hutchinson," he introduced himself. "Hutch to my partners."
"Hutch." Peter's eyes scanned him, marveling at the irony. The straight, fine blonde hair... the jeans and light brown jacket exactly like he was wearing....
"Then you gotta be Starsky," Micky said, shaking his head and grinning. "Like your hairdo."
"You would," a Brooklyn-accented voice shot back as a crooked grin appeared on his face. "And you gotta be Micky."
"Right on one. Like your tailor, too."
Laughter and a left arm stole around Micky's shoulders. "Got anywhere’s about here we can sit, talk, eat, and compare notes?"
Micky's face lit up. "You like Italian?"
Reynolds couldn't stop the double-take as both blondes rolled their eyes in perfect unison.
The four were leaving the restaurant and making plans to go to the Pad for the rest of Peter and Micky's research when gunshots rang out.
They dived in two directions, and came up warily. "SEE ANYTHING?" Peter called.
"NO!" Hutch called back. "YOU?"
"NO!" At that instant the gunfire started again, pinning down two while driving the other two away. "REHOOK UP AT THE PAD!" Peter screeched.
No answer. "Dang," Peter sighed, sinking beside his curly-haired partner. "You think they can find the Pad?"
"I know they can," came the answer in a strangely accented voice. "Mind givin' me a hand here?"
Peter holstered the gun and dropped beside the man. He took his handkerchief and pressed it to the bleeding shoulder. "Lovely, I would get stuck with you..."
Starsky managed a cheeky grin. "What, my natural magnetism too much for you?"
"Shut up and let's get you taken care of." He sighed. "I hope your partner can handle mine."
"He's a handful."
As they broke cover, the gunshots started again. This time, though, they returned fire and smoked the shooter out --- winging a slight man as he darted into a car and away.
Peter cursed and holstered his gun. "That went nowhere fast...."
Micky and Hutch drove to the station and began to pore over both mug books and the case files. "Weren't we supposed to go to your house?" Hutch asked as he handed Micky a cup of coffee, somewhat amused when Micky took it with his left hand.
"Yeah, but it'll keep a bit," Micky said, not raising his eyes from the mug books as he drank, wincing at the bitterness. "Two sugars," he said, handing it back to Hutch without looking. "And cream."
Hutch let out a snort as he moved back to the pot. "You drink your coffee loaded with all that junk?"
"Now you sound like Peter," Micky laughed. "I drink my coffee like I drink my coffee!"
"Bet you like doughnuts and Mexican food, too," Hutch commented as he handed the loaded coffee to Micky and sat down opposite him in the seat that was usually Peter's.
Micky looked up at last, startled. "How in the world did you know that?"
A slightly-dimpled smile shone out. "Because you're eerily similar to another curly-topped, left-handed partner I work with."
"And you're too close for comfort to a certain dimpled blonde partner I work with," Micky chuckled. "Good thing you're not a musician on the side." He took a sip of his coffee.
"I play guitar and have recorded a few demos," Hutch replied smoothly and truthfully.
He ended up wearing Micky's coffee.
Mike and Davy shot to their feet, startled, as Peter bombed into the Pad, supporting a curly-haired man with blood on his shoulder. "First-aid kit!" he bellowed curtly, startling them a second time.
Davy shook himself out of his stupor and bolted for the bathroom. Mike ran over and helped Peter move the man to the couch. "Pete...Micky...what happened?"
"Half right, cowboy," a strange voice said and the curly head tipped backward, revealing a face that was totally unfamiliar to Mike. The similarities were only surface deep -- hair, slender build and clothing. The almond-shaped eyes were sky blue, not the nut-brown of Micky's.
"Who the hell are you?" Mike gasped, jerking backward and raising his head, his eyes snapping a demand to Peter.
Peter saw, registered, and summarily-- DISMISSED! -- Mike, taking the kit from Davy and pulling off the man's jacket, working on his shoulder. "This is Dave Starsky," he said as he tended the wound with the obvious ease of one who'd done it before!
Davy gasped at the shoulder holster. "Mike, he's armed!" he gasped, his accent thickening as his emotions deepened.
"Peter?" Mike asked, tension in his voice.
"Yes, he's armed," Peter said, firing one of Mike's own Glares at him. "Deal with it. So am I."
A beat. Two.
"WHAT?!?!?!" burst from Mike and Davy at the same time.
Peter rolled his eyes heavenward. "I don't have time for this..." He pulled one side of his jacket back and revealed his own loaded shoulder holster.
"Oh, shit," Davy breathed, forgetting to censor himself.
Under the circumstances, Mike let it slide. "Peter, what in the world is going on here? What have you gotten mixed up in now?"
Peter ignored him again, focusing on bandaging Starsky's shoulder. "How's that?"
Starsky raised his arm experimentally and sweat popped out on his forehead. "It'll do. Where are they?"
"They should have been here by now," Peter sighed. "I hope they didn't run into trouble...."
"Peter, answer me!" Mike demanded.
"That's it," Davy growled, backing up toward the phone. "I don't like any of this, I'm calling the police!"
"No need," Peter said, flipping a slender wallet to Mike.
Mike opened it and turned five shades of pale. He looked from the wallet to Peter, and back again. Then something happened that had never happened in the decade the Monkees had been together.
Mike Nesmith fainted dead away.