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Kenneth Hutchinson was beyond being bored. He felt as if heīd been caught in a black hole, whenever he checked his watch; and the times when heīd snapped at his babbling partner to finally shut up and have them both savor a moment of silence, had looong faded into history.
 
It wasnīt that stakeouts werenīt ALWAYS boring as hell, but this particular one was heading for the #1 in the Top Five of The Most Boring Stakeouts Of All Times. For almost 18 hours they had by now done nothing but stare at a gray, small warehouse in the middle of nowhere, and Hutch was beginning to fear that if he didnīt get a change in sight some time soon, his mind would start coloring the building for him...
 
There was absolutely nothing else around to look at, no other buildings, no trees - nothing. They had taken the LTD to avoid drawing attention to the car, and it was parked, among some other equally battered looking cars, across the street of the object of their observation, but at an angle that made it impossible to inspect the other cars.
 
Knowing he really shouldnīt do that, Hutch glanced at his watch, sighed deeply and wiped over his tired features. When he blinked his eyes open again, his gaze wandered involunarily over to his partner, and an almost disapproving frown started on his forehead, as he noticed Starsky didnīt look the least bored. More like he was trying to figure out the world formula, a bit dreamily gazing into nothingness, while appearing to be watching the warehouse.
 
The frown slid into a near scowl. How dared the man not being bored?! After all his attempts at driving Hutch nuts with his tradional stakeout-games (guess numbers; guess animals; guess whatever; make up a word starting with the last letter of the previous word; chain of associations; heīd even suggested 'I Spy With My Little Eye', only to find out - after three rounds - that they were always spying something gray...) and having deserved it to be snapped at for that, you would at least have thought heīd suffer as much as Hutch himself.
 
"Penny for your thoughts."
 
Startled by the sudden break of silence, Starsky turned his head, brows lifted questioningly. "Sorry, what?"
 
"Penny for your thoughts," Hutch repeated, and - for the sake of distraction - suppressed the urge to roll his eyes, when a smug grin appeared on Starskyīs face.
 
"Donīt you think mine have gone up in prize under these circumstances?"
 
"I think a penny is already-"
 
"Ah, ah, ah," Starsky cut him off, shaking his head as if at a stubborn child. "At least I HAVE thoughts to sell, Blintz. But," he added with a shrug, "if you want rather go on playing 'who blinks first' with the building, please, go ahead."
 
"Okay, okay," Hutch hurried to say. "Your thoughts are probably worth a million. So - care to share `em with me?" At his friendīs innocent glance, he couldnīt help roll his eyes after all. "Please."
 
Giving a small content nod as he accepted his friendīs surrender, Starsky replied, "Iīve been thinking `bout names."
 
Obviously not sure whether or not entering this conversation would do his mood any good, Hutch carefully repeated, "Names?", sounding as if he hoped heīd gotten it wrong.
 
"Yeah," Starsky said. "How they sort of form people or our image of people. Like, for example," he added, waving at the blond, "your nameīs Ken, but I could never think of you as Ken, because it just doesnīt really fit. Youīre Hutch." He shrugged for emphasis, then continued as if heīd just thought of something else. "And dīyou know why people call you Hutch?"
 
"Uhm... `cause my nameīs Hutchinson?" Hutch tried with a faked sweet, sarcastic smile.
 
Starsky ignored the tone of voice, visibly happy to finally have found a victim for verbalizing his trail of thoughts. "No, you look it. It just fits. Maybe youīd be called Hutch, even if your name was something else."
 
He still had the chance to turn and escape being drawn into the nonsense-conversation awaiting him. It had just started, he wasnīt yet caught.
 
"Thatīs the most ridiculous thing Iīve ever heard!" NOW he was. "You think Iīd call you Starsk if your name was something else, too?!"
 
"Donīt be silly," Starsky waved. "Starskīs not even a nick name. Itīs just my name minus one letter. And you didnīt invent it as a nick name, either, you just didnīt get my name right, when we were introduced."
 
"You know, incidents like that are usually the basis of all nick names. Hutch is just MY name minus five letters, too, because people thought it too long. And," he continued, "it has nothing to do with fitting. Let me remind you that if youīd sat in first row at school, your name had been... Anderson, wasnīt it?"
 
Starsky nodded.
 
"Right. And Iīd be calling you Andy or something right now and feel perfectly okay `bout it. Namingīs just habit," he concluded with a half-shrugged gesture.
 
His partner studied him indignantly. "First of all, how can you say youīre my friend if youīd ever feel okay about calling me ANDY?!"
 
Hutch chuckled.
 
"And second, I never said itīs not habit. But itīs forming too. If the saying is 'Whatīs in a name?' the answer is 'character'."
 
Deciding, for his own sake, to let it pass by uncommented, that, actually, Starsky HAD denied it to be habit, Hutch tilted his head to one side as if listening to the echo of the words. "You know, that sounds nice. I never thought about it that way."
 
A grin working into his eyes, Starsky waggled his head slightly in an understanding gesture. "Well, if I was named after a toy, I wouldnīt want to think about names, either."
 
Hutch didnīt even bother to roll his eyes at that, just dragged one corner of his mouth downwards. "I knew Iīd get that."
 
Letting the grin fully through, Starsky continued, "They didnīt call that guy Ken for no reason, yīknow? It actually has a toy-ish ring to it."
 
"Uh huh," Hutch nodded mockingly, "whereas David spreads style throughout languages all over the world, yeah?"
 
Unimpressed, Starsky shrugged. "David is an okay name."
 
"And Kenneth means king," Hutch replied, having no idea whether that was true, but unable to help firing back.
 
Closely studying him for a moment, Starsky finally winked. "It does not. You just made that up."
 
"I didnīt."
 
"Yes, you did," Starsky insisted. "It means 'Friend of Barbie', and you know that."
 
Hutch sighed, squeezing his eyes shut briefly in his typical gesture.
 
"Thanks, buddy, now I at least know to appreciate boredom the next time I come across it."
 
But the silence following the short-lived discussion was brief, as Starsky suddenly turned his head again to look at his friend, as if asking him and not himself. "You know, I wonder where 'Starsky' originally comes from. I mean, I know itīs sorta like east-european, but I never really asked any of my family."
 
Hutch shrugged. "I bet whoever of your ancestors stepped off Ellis Island first just made it up."
 
"Why would you say that?!" Starsky exclaimed, dismayed.
 
"Oh, come on, Starsk, dīyou really think they call their folks STARSKY in any civilized country? It sounds like a dogīs name." At the last comment, he smirked and started immiating an 'outiside with the dog'-kinda voice. "Here, Starsky, fetch the ball."
 
Starsky only snorted. "So funny. Rabbit cage."
 
"Yeah, okay," Hutch replied, "but thatīs only a nick name." He grinned at his friendīs darkening expression, as he used his own definition against him. "Youīre actually called like that."
 
Folding his arms in front of his chest like a sulking kid, Starsky turned to look ahead as if for emphasis. "I bet it means something cool."
 
"Like what?" Hutch asked through a chuckle. "Iron Stomach?"
 
Though he had to suppress a grin at that, Starsky shot him a grim glance. "More like Iron Fist, Blintz."
 
Hutch laughed. "Sure, buddy. Or Stupid Name."
 
"Okay," Starsky shot back, "what about Hutchinson?"
 
Giving a small, questioning noise, Hutch shrugged once more. "Sounds kinda British, huh? I do have ancestors there, too, I believe."
 
"Oh yeah? Figures," Starsky stated in faked slight disgust. "Probably the one Celtic tribe who had the slowest horses and therefore had to live off the land only." He grinned at his partnerīs scowl, continuing in an interested tone of voice, "Did you know most phaenomenons have their roots in the long ago past? Like vegetarians, they were bad hunters."
 
"Funny, Dog Name," Hutch shot back. "YOUR ancestors were cavemen, after all."
 
"Everyoneīs ancestors were cavemen, brains."
 
"Yeah," Hutch nodded casually, "but we others have developed," he finished with a sweet smile.
 
"Ha, ha. Anyway, I think Iīm gonna ask my mother next time I call her. Itīs really interesting, isnīt it? Maybe 'Starsky' really HAS a meaning."
 
Suddenly hit by a thought (in a very Starsky-like manner, too), Hutch grinned. "Hey, wouldnīt it be funny if by leaving the last letter, Iīd be changing the meaning completely? Like 'Starsk' would mean something like-"
 
"Save it, Blintz."
 
Though still giggling to himself at his obviously hilarious idea, Hutch obeyed, and, again, brief silence settled, until Starsky asked, "Dīyou think your kidsīll be called Hutch too?"
 
"No," Hutch replied, frowning. "Why would they?"
 
"`Cause theyīll be Hutchinsons," Starsky explained.
 
"But Iīm Hutch," Hutch said in so child-like a voice Starsky had to grin inwardly. "`Sides, my fatherīs a Hutchinson, too, and no one ever called him Hutch."
 
"Not even his friends?"
 
"What friends?" Hutch replied, and they exchanged a smirk.
 
"Well," Starsky stated, "Iīll give my kids cool enough names for them to use their first ones contently."
 
Hutch grinned. "I doubt little Humphrey will really go for it, buddy."
 
"Aw," Starsky made, playing along, as he hit his palm with his fist. "Damn. There goes my first choice."
 
Blinking in faked hurt, Hutch exclaimed in equally faked dismay, "What, you werenīt going to call your first-born after me?!"
 
Starsky stared at him blankly. "Hutch Starsky? Donīt you think thatīs overkill?"
 
Though he couldnīt help a small chuckle to slip out, Hutch didnīt give up his act. "That really hurts my feeling, Starsk, you know?"
 
"Hey," Starsky defended himself, "naming kids after each other is easy for you to say, KEN."
 
At that, Hutch just HAD to roll his eyes. "Itīs not THAT horrible a name really."
 
"Right," Starsky nodded unconvingly. "Sure, right, itīs not. Itīs a great name." Pause. "And you donīt have a middle one by any chance?"
 
Though the tone made him laugh slightly, Hutch couldnīt hide a nervous flicker cross his eyes.
 
Catching it, Starsk froze. After a momentīs thought, the biggest, meanest grin of the day spread on his face. "I always thought your middle name was your fatherīs," he said and - if possible - grinned even wider. "Hutch, what is your middle name?"
 
"No use," Hutch replied curtly. "I wonīt tell. Donīt even try."
 
"Aw!" Starsky whined. "Not fair! You know mine!"
 
Hutch shot him a 'ha, ha'-glance. "Your middle name is Michael. Thatīs even more boring than David. Thereīs only John missing, and youīd have all the boring names around."
 
Letting a scowl break through the amusement in his eyes, Starsky raised his brows at him, as he offered, "Iīll fortget you insulted my names, if you tell me yours."
 
"No."
 
"Huuuuuuuutch!"
 
"No."
 
After the briefest pause - too short, actually, to have Hutch even remotely thinking he was off the hook - Starsky shrugged. "`Kay. Iīll guess then. Mary."
 
Hutch sighed the sigh of the desperate. "Starsk-"
 
"Talbot."
 
"Starsky-"
 
"Oh wait," Starsky said, snapping his fingers. "Itīs probably something brainy. Aristoteles or Horatio or Ceasar or-"
 
"Cicero."
 
It was the lowest mutter ever, but it echoed in the following absolute silence like a yell. Starsky stared at his friend wide-eyed, opened his mouth, closed it, nodded, his head tilted to one side, as if he inwardly listened to the name again.
 
Having watched the show, Hutch sighed again and squeezed his eyes shut as if awaiting to be hit. "Okay, okay," he exclaimed, exasperated. "You can laugh now."
 
To say Starsky burst into laughter would have been an understatement.
 
"Donīt expect me to give first aid, when you choke," Hutch mutterted darkly, watching his nearly hiccup-ing partner, but wasnīt heard, anyway.
 
"Your middle name is CICERO?!" Starsky asked through high-pitched laughter, still staring at his friend incredulously.
 
"If you tell anyone, I swear I kill you," Huch stated, very convincingly, too.
 
Still, Starsky didnīt listen. "And THATīs on your driverīs license?!" he asked, gasping for air. "Kenneth Cicero Hutchinson?!"
 
Hutch only sighed resignfully. "No. Kenneth John Cicero Hutchinson. My grand-fatherīs name had to be in it too."
 
Starsky shook his head, swallowing past a starting hiccup. "And you DARE say my name sounds like a dogīs?!"
 
"Hey," Hutch said defensively, "Cicero was a brilliant philosopher. A great man."
 
"Hm-mm," Starsky nodded eagerly. "With an absolutely hilarious name!"
 
"I didnīt choose it myself," Hutch tried, but, of course, wasnīt going to hear the end of this for a long time to come.
 
"I canīt believe they let you in the force! Didnīt the guy at the signing table at the academy just die from laughing?"
 
With an almost sulking rolling of his eyes, Hutch folded his arms in front if his chest. "Itīs not THAT fun-"
 
"I beg your pardon?!" Starsky cut him off, widening his eyes. "I havenīt laughed this much since you showed me your car... Cicco!" he finished and once more burst into laughter. "Can I call you Cicco?"
 
"If I can call you Mickey," Hutch replied sarcastically.
 
"You know," Starsky said, once more trying to catch his breath. "Thatīd almost be worth it." He let an inspecting glance wander over his friendīs face and giggled almost hysterically again.
 
Hutch sighed. "Starsky-"
 
But his partner had obviously just had a new thought. "And," he interrupted him, "they couldnīt call you Mozart, because that was a kid a house in your street?"
 
"I knew you I shouldnīt have told you," Hutch muttered remorsefully.
 
"Yeah, well - Cicco," Starsky giggled, ignoring the look to kill he was the target off, "thatīs the kinda thing you donīt tell ANYONE. The least me."
 
"At least," Hutch tried feebly, "my family name sounds normal."
 
Starsky wasnīt impressed. "Hutch... Cic..." Another giggle. "You upped the score too high for rescue missions. Cicero tops whatever else. My last name could be Tweetybird, it wouldnīt matter."
 
"It would match your state of maturity, though," Hutch observed grimly.
 
Starsky just winked. Nothing was going to spoil his mood for a long time to come. "Dīyou at least ever thought of sueing your parents for pre-birth cruelty?" he chuckled.
 
Hutch frowned. "Are you aware of the fact you keep on insulting me here? Has it never occurred to you that maybe I like my name?!" He watched the reaction to that for a moment, then asked dryly, "Shall I call an ambulance or will you be able to stop laughing by yourself?"
 
Starsky feebly waved a weak hand, panting out, "Gimme...some time...Cicco."
 
"If you call me that one more time, I swear Iīll punch you."
 
"Okay, okay, okay," Starsky coughed out, then drew in a deep breath, trying to calm down, and straightened on his seat. "Iīm sorry." A snorted laughter broke free, but he quickly bit his lip, casting his friend an apologetic glance. "How `bout," he added after a moment, "we go back to playing stakeout-games?"
 
But Hutch wasnīt looking at him, he was staring at the gray building through narrowed eyes. "Yeah," he answered slowly, dread audible in his voice, "I know one too. Itīs called 'Pay Attention', and we just lost the first round."
 
"Huh?" Starsky made and also turned his head, then frowned. "Whose car is that?" he asked, referring to a green Mercedes parking on front of the buildingīs entrance. It was empty.
 
"I donīt know," Hutch snapped.
 
"Didnīt you look?"
 
"Did you?!"
 
"Aw..." Realization sinking in, Starsky sank down in his seat. "No. That doesnīt mean weīve to sit here til they come out again, does it?"
 
Hutch shot him a reprimanding scowl. "See where laughing at your partner gets you, pal."
 
"Oh yeah?! See where having a stupid name gets ya!" Starsky shot back.
 
"Anyway," Hutch sighed, slightly throwing his hands in the air, "we just signed up for the next shift. Greatness."
 
Silence settled, as the detectives seemingly tried to make up for their mistake by staring the car into the ground.
 
"Hutch?"
 
"Hm?"
 
"If we donīt play a game, Iīll fall asleep."
 
"Oh hell. Okay. What?"
 
"How `bout `nother round of  'I Spy...'? We do have a new option now, after all."
 
Rolling his eyes, Hutch gave an unenthusiastic nod. "Okay, you start."
 
"I spy with my little eye and that has the most funny name ev-"
 
"Starsky!!!"
 
THE END

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