"What´s it doing now?!" a loud whine echoed through the class room, that was otherwise filled with busy clattering of
about a dozen police officer´s typing and an occasional clearing of a throat.
And, well, occasional whines, of course.
Sitting behind one of the "all new"-computers at a desk across the one Starsky was positioned behind, Hutch let go of
a desperate sigh and ducked as if to hide behind the large screen. Maybe if he just waited and lay low, the unnerving noise
would go away...
Another sigh. No such luck.
"What does it SAY it´s doing?" he asked, coming up so that he could meet Starsky´s helpless gaze resting on him.
"The monster can talk now?" Starsky asked, puzzled.
Yet another deep intake of breath introduced the answer. "Starsk, look at the screen. - Are you doing that?"
Shooting his partner an irritated look, Starsky exaggeratedly bent forward until his nose almost touched the screen.
Ignoring the childish behavior, Hutch kept up his teacher tone, as he patiently ordered, "Read out loud what you see."
"'Press Enter'," Starsky obeyed, the perfect picture of a sulking little kid.
"Okay," Hutch nodded patiently. "Then press Enter."
"But I just tried that!" Starsky exclaimed. "Doesn´t work."
"It won´t work, I tell ya!"
Once more sliding down in his chair so that he could hide behind the screen, Hutch calmly sing-sanged, "Press Enter,
Since it had only been a week ago he had forced his friend to watch "2001" and had not missed ONE chance to go on his
buddy´s nerves with this running gag, Starsky instantly lifted a warning finger. "Hutch-"
"Try it, Dave," Hutch continued in an unnerving immitation of the computer Hal´s voice. "I promise if you´ll press Enter
now, I won´t blow up in your face, Dave."
"Oh Jezz!" Starsky half yelled, causing a few heads to snap around to them, and practically hit the innocent typing board.
"Here, I pressed... Oh."
"What is it, Dave?" Hutch sing-sanged at the sudden silence across him.
"Uh... nothing," Starsky verbally waved.
Still hidden, Hutch grinned. "Anyhing else I can do for you, Dave?"
"Yes. You can stop immitating this damn puter right now."
"I don´t know what you mean, Dave," Hutch replied, as always SO enjoing this.
"C´mon, be a pal. It´s bad enough we´ve to learn this crap without you reminding me of four hours of my life I´d rather
"You said you liked parts of the movie, Dave."
By now majorly pissed, Starsky bent forward slightly, so that he could half see Hutch, and flashed him a sweet smile.
"Right. And coming to think of it, I suddenly recall the end of the puter vividly."
"You´re not scaring me, Dave."
"You say 'Dave' one more time, being scared will be the least of your worries, Hal."
After a brief pause, Hutch´s head appeared from behind the screen, pure innocence written on his face. "I´m impressed,
Starsk. Didn´t think you paid attention enough to recall the thing´s name."
"Are you kidding?" Starsky replied unenthusiastically, while studying the screen of his conmputer with a frown seemingly
carved into his forehead. "That was the only real character in it."
"Ah, ah, ah!" Starsky warned him, his index finger flying up.
Hutch grinned. "The astronaut."
Nodding contently at the safe without looking at Hutch, Starsky stared at the screen as if afraid hands would reach out
of it any moment to drag him into the human-loathing cyber world of his training computer.
"Anyway," he muttered, trying to still keep up the conversation, "that was one dumb movie. What´s it doing NOW?!" With
the most helpless frown, he bent closer to the screen, then leant back in his chair again, hands held before his chest as
if showing the computer he wasn´t going to touch it.
"Starsk," Hutch replied in a chiding tone, shaking his head. He had turned back to his own screen again and didn´t see
his desperate partner´s struggle with modern technology. "'2001' happens to be one of the best movies ever made."
"Then how come it´s not even ABOUT something? Uh, Hutch, could you have a look at what it´s doing over here, please?"
Not having heard the question, Hutch sighed, eyes still glued to his own screen. "It´s about life, Starsky."
"Not mine. Hutch, please, I think I really could use some help-"
"It´s about everybody´s life. Starting with the beginning of human kind and the spreading of evil and then showing the
"Hey, sorry to interrupt you, professor, but when this piece of junk here says it 'deleted' my report, that doesn´t REALLY
mean what I think it means, does it?" Starsky asked in a close to high-pitch voice, as the first clear signs of panic crawled
forward into his gaze that wouldn´t leave the screen.
That, at last, got Hutch´s attention. The report his partner was talking about was a training exercise the officers had
been given at the beginning of the course, three days ago. If you didn´t hand it in at the end of this, the forth, day, you
didn´t pass the course and had to repeat it.
"What exactly does it say?" Hutch asked, all humor having left his voice for the benefit of his exasperated friend.
"'File has been deleted'," Starsky read.
"And you´re sure that was your file?"
"Hutch, I don´t even know how to open another file!" Starsky snapped. "Or, coming to think of it, how I deleted THIS
Hutch ducked at the volume and cast his colleagues an apologetic look, then turned back to his partner. "Calm down, Starsk,
okay? Maybe we can somehow work it out."
"I´m not gonna repeat this God damned class," Starsky mumbled as if telling off the computer. "I´m not."
"No, course not," Hutch replied, sounding as if he was humoring a nutcase, and stood to turn around the desk and have
a look at Starsky´s screen.
His partner instantly rolled back with his chair to give Hutch better access to the stubborn machine, seemingly trusting
Hutch to make it all okay again by his mere presence. "You can fix it, can´t you?" he asked in a small voice, when Hutch ran
a hand through his hair and grimaced slightly.
"You just have to press Enter or somethin´, right? Hutch? Right?"
"This stupid junk-can didn´t really just swallow three days of work, did it?"
Casting his friend a nervous smile, Hutch half shrugged. "No, it more, like, threw away three days of work."
Starsky´s face fell. "Threw away?"
"Yeah, you somehow cleared the wastebasket."
"The what?!" Starsky exclaimed, staring at the screen. "I didn´t even know it HAS a wastebasket!"
"Still, you cleared it, and so the file´s not on the puter anymore," Hutch explained.
"And where is it then?"
Hutch shrugged. "Gone with the wind."
"That´s SO not funny, Hutch."
"I don´t KNOW where it is, Starsk," Hutch shot back and rose to return to his desk, but was held in place by a death
"I want this report back now."
Shrugging his arm free, Hutch made a sympathetic face and sat down behind his computer again. "Tough life, buddy. But
look at it that way - now you know to never clear the wastebasket again."
"But I don´t even know what I did!" Starsky exclaimed in utter despair. "What am I gonna do now?!"
Checking his watch, Hutch made a face. "Well, you COULD start all new, but-"
"Hell, I don´t KNOW what to do, either," Hutch shot back, throwing his hands in the air, frustrated. "You deleted it,
you figure it out."
"I didn´t delete anythin'!"
"Where is it then?!"
Instead of an answer, Starsky glared at him, then at the computer.
"Uh uh - Starsk, you hit that thing, while I´m sitting here, you´ll be in trouble, got that?"
Left hand clenched into a fist as if to scare the machine off, Starsky didn´t look at his partner. "Okay, go take cover."
Hutch sighed. "Destroying the force´s equipment won´t bring back your report, you know."
"But it´ll make me feel so much better."
"Honest - I doubt that," Hutch wise-cracked and, with another sigh, pressed the Enter button on his own typing board
to lean back heavily and cast his friend a consoling glance. "It´ll only be four more days. Piece of cake."
Starsky´s gaze snaped up at him. "Are you´re honestly suggesting I should repeat this course?!"
Waggling his head as if thinking about that possibility, Hutch gave a half shrug. "Wouldn´t hurt you."
"Now that I doubt!"
"No, really, Starsk," Hutch replied, ignoring the sarcastic comment.
"You didn´t actually pass it, anyway, as - I might add - this latest disaster proves."
Starsky frowned. "What´s that supposed to mean?"
"That you can´t tell a computer from a washing machine, pal. Without my help you wouldn´t have gotten it ON today, and
you just deleted your assignment."
"Okay!" Starsky snapped, unnerved. "Okay, so Hal and I don´t get along too well. So technology doesn´t like me. So what?!
I won´t ever need this stupid bunch of wires again, anyway! It´s just Dobey wanting to pay us back for this stunt we pulled
last week! We´re street cops, we don´t really need to know how to contact other planets or whatever with these things!"
For a brief moment, Hutch studied him with an almost sympathetic expression. When he spoke, his voice was very quiet
as if he was talking to a stubborn child, who didn´t want to see the sense of doing his homework. "Just imagine they´ll have
computers in every office one day. Including ours. No more typing machines, only puters. What´re you going to do then?"
"Bribe you into doing the writing stuff," Starsky replied, unimpressed.
"Like I do now." For emphasis, he shrugged.
But Hutch wasn´t to give up that easily. "And what if I´m not there one day and it´s incredibly important. What then?"
"Incredibly important," Starsky repeated, lifting his brows doubtingly. "We´re still talking reports here, aren´t we?"
Lifting his hands as if surrendering, Hutch shrugged once more. "Okay, I give up. Go on denying the future, Unbelieving
Thomas, what do I care? MY report´s safely saved."
Only grumbling answered him, and for a moment he returned to his own typing board, before looking up at his sulking friend
again, Hutchinson Finger raised. "You know something, Starsk? One day you´ll have to accept the necessity of knowing modern
technology, for it´ll be everywhere. Offices, homes, schools - I bet in a decate or so there´ll be puter-controled cars."
Starsky blinked, looking at Hutch as if he´d just announced he´d seen aliens camping in his backyard recently. After
a pause, he gave a slow, 'yeah suuuure'-kind of nod. "Right, Hutch. Puter-cars. Sure. Will they be able to fly too?"
"I mean that!"
"Hm-mm. No more 'all night sci-fi features' for you, Blintz." Shaking his head, he added as if talking to himself, "Gee,
is this what happens when you raise your kids with no tv?"
Casting him an annoyed, yet sweet smile, Hutch nodded like he was agreeing. "Yeah, you go on laughing, while I revise
my report, okay?"
The amused grin instantly vanishing, Starsky made a face and once more sat back, sulking, staring at his partner, who
grinned smugly. "Grind."
"What was that?" Hutch asked innocently.
Shooting him a grim smile, Starsky winked. "Nothin´. - Hey, you do realize, that when I´ll be doomed to another four
days of this, you´ll be playing glued-to-desk for that time too, don´t you?"
Unimpressed, Hutch shrugged. "I can always ask for a temporary
partner - partner," he added sweetly, looking up at a scowling Starsky. "Maybe this uni-rookie, who looks like - what
d´you say - Veronica Lake?"
"Mae West," Starsky corrected with a snap. "And don´t you make a move on my soon-to-be-date, or I´ll tell Dobey whose
idea it was to mess with the vending machine."
"Uhm... that was your idea, Starsk."
"I won´t mention that," Starsky stated, lifting his brows in an eerie looking mixture of innocence and pure wickedness.
Hutch´s face fell. "What d´you want?"
Starsky folded his arms in front of him mutely.
"Oh, come on, we´ve to hand this thing in in," Hutch checked his watch, "three hours!"
"So? You wrote YOUR report in three hours." At his friend´s surprised gaze, Starsky rolled his eyes. "Didn´t you think
I noticed you´ve been doing nothing but playing jump'n'runs since Monday?"
A very, very trapped looking expression settled on Hutch´s face, as he glanced across the room at the young man leading
the course. From out of the corner of his eyes he could see Starsky´s grin widen.
"But, don´t worry, buddy," Starsky said calmingly. "I won´t tell."
Knowing he´d been made, Hutch sighed in frustration, his shoulders slumping, before he pushed himself out of his chair,
shuffeling over to Starsky´s desk. "Move your ass, I don´t have much time."
"Aw," Starsky said, presenting him with the most mocking grateful smile, "thanks so much, pal. You´re a real friend."
And with that, he strolled off to sit down in Hutch´s chair, instantly fascinated by the figures of the game his partner had
been playing there.
Before his fingers had even touched the typing board, though, Hutch´s stern voice held him back. "Don´t touch anything,
Hands flying up, Starsky shot him an innocent look. "Wasn´t going to."
"Hm-mm," Hutch mumbled, unconvinced, and started to work.
Two and a half hours later, he was finished with Starsky´s training report, saved the file and stretched his aching muscles,
glancing at his partner, who seemed to be half asleep in his chair, since he hadn´t been allowed to get anywhere near Hutch´s
typing board for the entire time.
"Looks like next week is safe now, buddy," Hutch informed him, receiving a momentarily puzzled look, before Starsky had
fully woken up from what seemed to have been a bored day-dream.
"Huh? Oh. Great. Thanks, Hutch."
"Yeah," Hutch winked and stretched again, then stood up. "Listen, I´ve to go, be right back."
Starsky nodded, watched his friend heading for the men´s room and stood to reclaim his own seat, when he stumbled slightly,
due to not really being fully awake yet. In order to keep his balance, he reflexively grabbed for the desk - and found himself
staring at his own hands resting firmly on Hutch´s typing board.
A red-framed question appeared on the screen.
Near panic, he glanced over his shoulder, but Hutch was still out of the room. 'Shit, he´ll kill me if he finds out.
Okay, think... what´s it saying?'
Reading the question, not understanding a word, he settled for pressing the 'yes'-button and watched in terror as the
screen went completely white.
"Okay," the young teacher´s voice suddenly talked over his breathed out whisper of despair, "everybody save your reports,
please. I´m going to print them out after class and you´ll get the results tomorrow. Thank you for attending, and I hope I
won´t see anyone here again. Goodbye."
His head snapping around to see the other officers leaving just when Hutch re-entered the room, Starsky did the only
thing he could do - flee.
"Uh, hey Hutch, you, uh, y-you just need to save your report so Grady can, uh, print it out, `kay?"
"Yeah," Hutch nodded, heading for his desk. "Sure. Wait a sec, I´ll be right-"
"I´ll be outside in the car," Starsky cut him off, turned and practically ran from the room.
Two floors later, when he´d already opened the building´s door, he could still hear the enraged yell calling after him.
Speeding up, he ignored Hutch´s parked LTD and waved for the first cab he saw passing by. "Outta here," he told the driver.
"And make it fast."