On a scale from one to ten, Hutch´s mood had just reached negative two. For the hundredth time within the past ten minutes,
he let his thumb and index finger run over his eyes, squeezing them almost painfully shut in the process. His other hand´s
grip tightened on the receiver of the phone which over the past hours had practically turned into an extension of his body.
"Hutchinson," he was just repeating his name, his free hand now supporting his head again, as he leant his cheek on the
back of curled up fingers. He nodded three times, to his own personal rhythym, then the most sarcastic, sweet smile settled
on his face.
"Yes, I know what your computer says, bu..." The smile vanishing, he glanced down at the receiver desperately. "No! Don´t
put me through to... Hello? Hello?!" Only a discreetly unnerving tune answered him, briefly interrupted by the re-occuring
demand to "Please hold the line" that he muttered along with the bodyless voice, as if it was a song he couldn´t resist to
join in humming. After all, he had enough of an opportunity to learn the lyrics by heart that morning.
He had just started unconsciously waggling his head slightly to the music too, when the door to the squad room all but
burst open. Before it had even fallen completely shut again, an excitedly gesturing figure came - more or less - to a halt
next to Hutch´s desk. "Hutch, Hutch, Hutch, guess what I got!"
"Starsky, Starsky, Starsk, I don´t care," Hutch muttered, unnerved, then suddenly straightened up on his chair, shifting
the receiver against his ear again. "Hello? Yes, I´m still here. Are you a real human being?"
"Is that still your bank?!" Starsky asked incredulously.
Hutch only waved at him to shut up. "Yeah, okay, Mr... ?" He paused, listening. Finally, blushed. "Uh... MISS Dawson."
He could sense the wicked smirk cross his partner´s face without even needing to look up. So he didn´t bother. "Well, you
see, the thing is..." he started to explain, but was obviously interrupted again, as he trailed off, mouth still open, once
more listening closely. "Hutchinson," he said clearly after a moment. "Kenneth. - Yes. - Yes." A deep sigh. "No."
Next to him, Starsky started drumming the desk´s surface with his fingers. Hutch shot them a glance, when his attention
was claimed by Miss Dawson again. "No, you see, I AM Kenneth Hutchinson, it´s me." Pause. "No. Me." Another pause. An exasperated
sigh. "Yes, I know what your colleague told you, because it was the same thing he told me, it´s just that it´s not true. It´s...
No, I´m not saying he´s lying, I´m saying he´s... But I AM! What can I do to make you folks believe me?! I... Yes, I KNOW
what your computer says, it´s been saying that for a whole day now, but..."
As he listened helplessly again, his hand snatched forward too fast for Starsky to see and knocked the drumming fingers
to the desk, where it pinned them down.
"How the hell should I know?!" he suddenly exploded, adding more pressure to Starsky´s pinned hand without noticing it.
"It´s your computer! I didn´t give it a reason to believe I´m dead, okay?! And I don´t care if it wants to go on believing
I´m dead, either, all I want is access to my money!"
Ignoring his partner´s whispered plea and repeated tugs at his hand, Hutch frowned. "But it´s my account. - Yes, I KNOW
it´s been blocked, but... Lady, I AM the deceased! What can I say so you´ll give me access to my account again?! I mean, I´m
talking to you here, right?! You can hear me, don´t you?! So either your unfailable failure of a machine made a mistake or
I´m calling to inform you that all this saying 'you can´t take it with you' is bullshit! Whatever you choose to believe, just
let me have my money!!!"
"Hutch, buddy, you´re hur... ow!"
"No, I´m not outta line here! I´m... Oh, yeah?! Well, you go on having to live off what your garbage-eating partner has
to offer you from his fridge for a day and then be called by your landlord, because he can´t book your rent off your acount,
and let´s see how polite your tone of voice remains! Plus having the word of a machine being taken over yours on the subject
of your existeance!"
He closed his mouth for a moment, intensily listening again, and Starsky took the opportunity to urgently nudge his shoulder
with his free hand. He only almost succeeded in having his friend look up at him, when Hutch´s voice suddenly climbed up in
volume. "Oh no! No, you... Lady, I swear, you put me on hold now, I´ll... Hello? I-I am a cop, did I mention that, yet?! I
have a gun too! Hello? Miss Daw..."
As he could hear a cheery tune starting to emerge from the receiver, Starsky saw Hutch´s jaw clenching, his eyes closing
for a brief moment. "I AM holding the fucking line, for-"
"Hutch!" Starsky couldn´t help but announce beggingly through the blond´s enraged exclaimation.
"What?!" Hutch snapped, finally looking up at the curly haired man, whose brows were furrowed in telltale pain by now.
"Huh? Oh." Immediately, Hutch drew back his hand, releasing Starsky´s, so that its owner snatched it away from the desk
in a heartbeat, holding it close to his chest for a moment as if it was a frightened animal he had to soothe. Wincing, he
rubbed it briefly.
Watching the show, Hutch offered a mumbled "Sorry."
Starsky only scowled at him. "Garbage-eating, huh? I believe I can remember a man, who offered you to buy weirdo food last
A rueful look crossed his partner´s sky-blue eyes, and he averted them quickly. "Yeah, yeah, sorry. You know how much I
hate to borrow money."
Casting him a played blank glance, Starsky blinked. "Since when?"
"Since I died," Hutch shot back and was about to add something else, when his attention flew back to the phone. "Hello?
Yes, this is-"
He was suddenly cut off, though, by Starsky reaching out, determined, and taking the receiver from him. "Hey!"
Ignoring the blond´s near frantic protest, Starsky waved at him, while he spoke, his natural acting talents switching on
immediately. "Uhm... hello? Am I still on hold here? - Oh. Good. Hi, I´m... What? No. No, I´m not. - Well, your machine probably
mixed up calls then. - Oh, no, that´s fine, don´t worry. I enjoyed the music." He grinned sweetly.
Hutch rolled his eyes. "Starsk, give me-" A quick hand clamping briefly over his mouth effectively shut him up. He glared
up at his friend, who chidingly shook his head, before releasing him.
"Actually, you could," he just answered a question, "Miss...? Danes," he smiled audible. "My name´s David Starsky, and
I´m calling about my friend´s account. - Yes. - Well, I wish he could, but he... left us a couple of days ago." At Hutch´s
increasingly dangerous stare, he lifted his index finger - and smiled triumphantly, as he listened to the woman´s response.
"Oh, thank you. - Yes, it is. - Hm? - Hutchinson. Kenneth. Yep. - Yeah, I know, much too young."
For the sake of payback for his mangled hand, he cast Hutch an unbelieving grimace, while stating that.
"Well, you see, Miss Da... Hm? - Oh. Okay, Linda."
He grinned, and Hutch rolled his eyes.
"Hutch´s mother is seriously sick, in fact she´s waiting for a very expensive heart operation she cannot afford, and I
know that..." He paused, then drew in a deep, half-gasped breath, before continuing, "that Hutch has..." Again, he hushed
himself. "I-I mean had... that he had savings for... Oh, you could?" His voice lit up. "Yes, that´d be great. Please. Thank
you." Covering the lower part of the receiver he bent down a tad, whispering to his partner. "She´s checking your account."
Hutch just stared. "What the hell are you do-"
"Yes?" Starsky´s answering to Linda cut him off. "Oh." A surprised look found the blond. "Wow. But, well," he shrugged,
"like I said, it IS an expensive operation."
Understanding what was going on, Hutch again rolled his eyes and motioned for his friend to hurry up.
"Okay, so what do I have to do to get... Uhm, well, no, actually I am his next of kin. - Oh?" he suddenly stated, once
more taken by surprise. "Is that so?"
The grin he presented Hutch with, though, somehow left the blond feeling uneasy.
"No," Starsky continued, his gaze still resting on his friend, grinning like a Cheshire cat, "I didn´t know that. But thank
you for breaking the news to me. So all I gotta do is...? - Okay. - Yes. Thank you, Linda."
And with that he handed the receiver back to his partner, who snatched it out of his hand, staring at him expectantly.
"Well?!" he finally snapped, patience reaching its limits.
"Well," Starsky started to answer, as he slowly wandered over to sink down into his own chair across Hutch´s desk "now
I understand why you´re so freaked about losing your account. I mean, you always said you HAD savings, but that is-"
"They need a copy of your last will, if such a thing exists, and they need a copy of this next of kin-thingy, and then
I´ll officially get a hold on your money."
Hutch stared. "You´re kidding."
"They didn´t even ask for a death certificate?!"
Starsky shrugged. "Why would they? They know you´re dead. The ’puter said so."
"But that´s insane," Hutch exclaimed. "I´m not dead!"
"Yeah, I know. Great day, this, huh? You´re not dead, and me, I´m rich now." He grinned.
"This is not funny, Starsk! What the hell am I supposed to do?! I can´t send them my last will!"
"Cause I´m not dead!!!"
"So? They don´t know that." Watching his partner´s face taking on a slightly reddish tone, Starsky quickly added, "No,
honest, Hutch, think about it. What else can you do? Why don´t we just give them what they want, and then you´ll start a new
account at another bank?"
"Are you serious?! I can´t have a computer file me as dead!"
"Hutch," Starsky said calmingly, "it´s only a computer, okay? It won´t send out androids to really finish you off. It´s
just a mistake."
"You don´t get it," the blond answered agitatedly. "This is NOT just a mistake. It´s the INTITAL mistake. Computers, they´re
all kinda linked. So if my bank thinks I´m dead, then it´ll tell my insurance. And that´ll tell the force, and that´ll tell
the state, and at that point there´ll be no difference anymore between being cyber-dead and dead-dead. If you look at it closely,
life actually does consist of nothing more than your name being saved in the right computer programs."
Starsky only gazed at him, unimpressed. "Did you read 'National Geographics' again?"
Hutch didn´t listen. He was staring at his phone, resignfully. "I better go there to clear this up personally tomorrow."
Seeing the strained expression on his friend´s face, Starsky replaced the teasing smile on his face with a warm, sympathetic
one. "Want me to cover for you for the rest of the day, so you can go now?"
Returning the smile gratefully, Hutch winked, "No, thanks. Hey," he added after a moment´s thought, "wasn´t there something
you wanted to tell me earlier?"
"Huh?" Starsky frowned, then suddenly grinned ear to ear, almost jumping off his chair again, when he remembered. "Right!
I can´t believe I forgot. We have a case!"
Hutch cast him a doubtful look. "A case. And since when is getting a case a cause for celebration?"
"Since it´s a stakeout..." Starsky started, paused, staring at Hutch, as if he wanted to be sure he wouldn´t blink in just
the second his friend would hear the great news following, "...at Disneyland!"
Hutch blinked, but didn´t react it any way.
"Yeah, I´m still here. Just waiting for the part where you say 'Just kidding'."
"Aw, c´mon," Starsky chided, nudging his friend´s arm, as he was once more standing next to Hutch´s desk, "admit it´s great!"
"Starsky, a stakeout is a stakeout, and even if it was on the moon. There´s nothing great about stakeouts."
"Who wants to be on the moon, anyway, if there´s a place on Earth, where you can see Pooh Bear and get a ride in the 'California
"Me," Hutch muttered grimly, and before his partner could even start again, continued, "Starsk, I´m begging you here, don´t
do that to me, okay? Please. I just had the week from hell. First my car breaks down, then I let you talk me into having this
freak check on it - which will probably provide me with a free ride in a 'California Screamin´', I might add - then I forget
my mother´s birthday, so that Old Man Hutchinson feels obliged to call me, and then when some sympathetic computer at last
comes to the conclusion that I deserve a mercy killing, I have to learn that in that case my years of savings will probably
be spentd on the tomato´s new interior. The very last thing I need right now is having some jerkhead in a stupid costume trying
to hug me."
"I´d spend at least some of your years of savings on a decent headstone," Starsky replied, nothing in his voice giving
away that he was joking.
"Why, thank you, partner, that´s the nicest thing I heard in days."
"Aw. Really? Love ya."
"Yeah, but I still won´t go to Disneyland."
Starsky didn´t even bother to whine. After all, he had the better arguments. "If you´re not planning to quit the job in
the next five minutes, you will."
Hutch didn´t answer.
"I´m still contemplating."
With a playful rolling of his eyes, Starsky shoved a small pile of files out of the way on Hutch´s desk and sat down on
the edge. "C´mon, Broody Blintz, it´s gonna be fun. All we gotta do is watch some money transaction, and for the rest of the
day we´ll pretend we´re still busy." He shrugged, visibly content with his carefully laid out plan. "Easy."
While feeling his partner´s searching gaze still on him, he suddenly spotted the piggy bank and grabbed it to have it waggle
its way over into Hutch´s direction. "We´re gonna go to Disneylaaaand," he announced, shaking the innocent item a tad harder
at the last syllable.
Hutch watched the piggy bank expressionlessly, then let his eyes wander up to meet Starsky´s. "Did you bribe someone into
signing us up for this?"
"Course," Starsky replied and put down the bank again.
Showing a small, resigning grimace, Hutch blinked up at him. "And why exactly is it you´re doing this to me?"
Starsky smiled - 'Cause you just had the week from hell, buddy.' - and teasingly nudged the blond´s cheek. "Cause
I like how the color of your eyes changes, when you´re suffering, Blintz."
"Nice," Hutch muttered, wiped tiredly over his eyes and with reluctant moves pushed himself to his feet. "Well, then let´s
go change the color of my eyes."
Beaming after him, Starsky jumped from the desk, and, perfoming a very Disney-like prance behind Hutch, followed him to
Surrendering to his grumpy misery, Hutch chose to ignore the cheerfully sing-songed "We´re going to Disneyland,
we´re going to Disneyland, we´re going..." behind him.
"Hey," Starsky asked ten minutes later, glancing over at his friend, who sat on the Torino´s passenger seat with his arms
sulkingly folded in front of him, "what´s your fave thing in Disneyland?"
"The exit," came the immediate reply.
Starsky just ignored that. "I love 'Small World'. I know it´s kinda lame, but," he shrugged, "nostalgic reasons, y´know?"
True to his words, a very nostalgic smile settled on his face, as he explained, "My Uncle Ed used to take Nicky and me every
time we´d come visit, when we were real young. Boy, those were the days." The grin widened. "The first thing Nicky asked me
at our first conversation after I´d moved out here was if I got to go to Disneyland every day now." He cuckled, then
turned slightly to cast his friend, who´d listened politely, a look. "So, Minnesota Kid, when d´you first go?"
"Oh. I´m about to. - Starsky, watch the street."
Though he did turn his head ahead again, Starsky couldn´t wipe the expression of shocked surprise off his face. "Are you
serious?! You´ve never been to Disneyland before?!"
"Yes and nope."
"Hutch, that´s horrible!"
Hutch just sighed, unnerved. "I haven´t been to Australia, yet, either, and personally I find that more horrible."
"But Australia is not the place where dreams come true!" Starsky exclaimed.
"Are you gonna hold the same speech now you held back then when you found out I´d never been to Coney Island?"
"Don´t think I forgot that," Starsky countered, pointing his index finger at him briefly. "We´re still gonna go there.
But this is even worse! I can´t believe you never went to Disneyland! How long have you been living in California now,
Hutch didn´t even have the chance to correct him.
"And, wait a second, are you trying to tell me you never took Kiko?! What kind of big brother are you?!"
"The kind, who doesn´t like Disneyland," Hutch answered, unimpressed.
"How d´you know that?!" Starsky shot back, his appall at that statement made clear by a slightly high-pitched tinge in
his voice. "You have never been there, so how d´you know you don´t love it like everybody else?!"
Hutch only glanced at him. "Starsk, I don´t like Christmas, because of what it´s been turned into. So what makes you think
I´d go for a consumption-centered amusement park that is based on the drawn contortion of children´s books´ classics?" Without
even having to look at the other one again, he added, "Street."
Starsky´s head snapped back to watching where he was driving, yet he looked utterly crushed. "I can´t believe you just
insulted Pooh Bear."
"I can´t believe you caught the referrence."
Too shocked to bother with the insult in that, Starsky asked, "Are you saying you don´t like Disney stuff?"
Hutch gave that a thought. "I like the two hamsters, who´re bugging Donald," he finally stated.
"Those are squirrels, brains!" Starsky corrected with audible appal. "Gee, when we´re there, you´re gonna get a lesson
in all things Disney, I tell you that."
He wasn´t aware of the increasingly suspicious look he was becoming the target of, untill Hutch replied, "I´d rather get
a lesson in all things case, y´know. Apart from childhood memories and the sadistic pleasure you´ll probably take from trying
to get my picture with the hamsters-"
"Squirrels," Starsky interrupted him. "And, damn, I forgot my camera."
Though flooded with relief, Hutch chose to ignore the interjection. "-I haven´t heard any good reason for us going there
in the first place, yet."
When only expectant silence followed after that, Starsky glanced aside, where he was met by a sarcastically sweet smile.
"What?" he asked uneasily, and let his brows climb up, as understanding hit him. "You´re not believing I´m setting you up
here, are you?"
"In a heartbeat."
"Aw, c´mon! An observation at Disneyland?! Don´t you think that´s too unbelievable to be true?!"
The unimpressed evenness of Hutch´s features wrinkled a bit, when furrowed his forehead, his gaze wandering off briefly
as if needing to follow the far away trail of thought he´d just heard. "Isn´t that logic kinda twisted?"
Starsky just waved. " You know what I mean. You just don´t think up stories like going to Disneyland for the job,
that´s too incredulous to believe. Argo, it has to be true."
"Ergo," Hutch corrected.
After a last very doubtful, very searching glance, the blond seemed to surrender, a small sigh confirming that (much to
his friend´s relief). "Okay. Then shoot."
Hutch rolled his eyes. "Starsk, all you´ve told me, yet, is that our great, great case consists of observing a money transaction
at Disneyland, and that´s about everything that´s happening there legally, anyway. So maybe what with me being the
guy, who´ll most likely write the report later, you want to let me in on some details here?"
Being as irritably and annoyed as he was, he didn´t he catch the sympathy quickly rushing through Starsky´s eyes, or saw
the clear signs of his partner having to swallow a different comment, before answering in half-forced cheerfulness, "You´re
going to write the report? Wow, thank-"
"Okay, okay." Starsky lifted his hands ever so briefly off the steering wheel. "The guy´s name´s Thomas O´Meally." The
quick glance he threw at his friend, as well as the sumg smile that crossed his lips at the curt nod, that acknowledged the
information unquestioned, slipped by unnoticed on Hutch´s side. "Seems he´s using his job as a good runner-base," Starsky
continued, suddenly sounding decidedly more involved, a nuance that passed Hutch unnoticed too, though. The blond had switched
to working mode, and the usually very obvious signs of an idea having hit his partner just went by uncatched. "Has been on
Lawrence´s radar for some time now."
Nicolas Lawrence was the head of a special unit fighting drug crimes among or involving minors, and since his taking the
job a few months ago, he had indeed created a sort of black list of suspects, whom he had checked out in the form of half-official
observation operations, before he busted them himself. His scheme was to have cops from other divisions file official reports
on the suspects, but not arresting them upon watching the actual crime to take place, so that his men could be sure they weren´t
wasting their time with the various cases and could work out a busting plan designed especially for the criminal, depending
on his dealability. Of course, for this system to function properly, there had to be something in for those other cops to
play along. It was widely known and discreetly ignored fact that that was almost always the case.
So there was little wonder in Hutch´s reaction to his partner´s words, that consisted of the most incredulous frown. "Lawrence´s
radar?!" he repeated, taken aback. "What, you signed us in for a Law-Oops?!"
'Law-Oops' was a rather disapproving shorting for Lawrence´s Observation Operation and was, in fact, used by its original
creator himself here.
Smirking at that, Starsky cast his friend a dry-humored glance. "I didn´t exactly 'sign us-'"
"Aw, Starsky," Hutch cut him off in a half-chiding, half-resigning whine. "I can´t believe you did that! I thought we´d
agreed on never doing Law-Oops, because it´s-"
"Wrong," Starsky nodded in a 'gna, gna'-sort of way. "Yes, I know, and on every other day I´d totally agree with you, but
this is DISNEYLAND we´re talking about." A silent moment passed. "Disneyland, Hutch."
"I heard you the first time," Hutch scowled, then, at catching... something cross Starsky´s eyes, added, "And you´re sure
you´re not setting me up, buddy?"
Starsky blinked, the imbodiement of innocence. "Why, course I am. Don´t you think I´d know if I was?"
Visibly reluctant at allowing himself to become convinced, Hutch uttered a grumbled "hm" and after a moment´s thought asked,
"And this O´Meally guy, he´s what, working there?"
"Oh!" Starsky exclaimed and snapped his fingers. "Can´t believe I forgot that! Good thing you asked. See, that´s the real
reason why I," and here he once more shot Hutch a smirk, "signed us in for this."
Hutch only rolled his eyes.
"The guy´s working as Pooh Bear."
When nothing more followed, Hutch let his gaze wander over to meet his partner´s expectant one and lifted his brows mock
appall. "You mean he´s wearing the cost..." he started, making a matching gesture with his hand, and at Starsky´s eager nodding
continued, "Well, then it´s clear, of course. I mean, we can´t have the bad guys swamp Disneyland and sully the sacred
"My point exactly," Starsky agreed gravel, ignoring his partner´s following 'you´re nuts'-kind of look. "Think of this
not as a Law-Oops, but... What´re you laughing at?"
"Uhm... nothing," Hutch waved, suppressing another chuckle. "Nothing, buddy. You just drive."
And so Starsky did, but not without stealing a discreet and very satisfied glance at the continously giggling blond next
"And this is what your childhood dreams look like?"
Unimpressed at Hutch´s challeging tone, Starsky handed him a folded map of the park and sat down next to him on the bench
he´d left Hutch to wait, while he had gone for the map and...
Staring down at the pink cotton candy that had just been unceremoniously shoved into his free hand, Hutch opened his mouth
to protest, but was kept from it by Starsky pointing his index finger at him in a fairly acceptable version of the original
Hutchinson Warning Finger. "Eat that. And one more comment about my wonderful childhood memories, and your next one´s gonna
be neon green." With that, he took the map over again with a very parent-like gesture.
Surrendering to at least sniffing at the pink fluffy stuff he was forced to hold, Hutch watched his partner unfold the
map, busily scanning their surroundings. "Okay, we´re here," he said, pointing at some spot on the map.
Absently tugging at one fluffy pink thread, Hutch bent over a little to also get a look at the map. "Okay, and does it
say where the Poohs usually are too, so that we can-"
A sudden, over-excited happy cry cut him off, startling him to the point of flinching, and when he shot his happily grinning
friend a questioning look, he suddenly found the loose thread of cooton candy in his fingers. Slightly disgusted, he looked
around for any place to dispose of it, and upon seeing that a waste basket was only on Starsky´s side of the bench, shoved
it into his mouth with a discreet grimace.
Too busy enjoying his latest discovery on the map, Starsky didn´t notice, but jumped to his feet instead, looking about
to just grab the blond´s arm and drag him with him, in case Hutch would refuse to what was going to be suggested their first
"Okay, before I say where he headed, let´s agree on a basic thing here," he started, teacher-like, while Hutch watched
expectantly, monotonousely chewing, as he tugged at the forth thread of fluffy pink already.
"Which is?" he mumbled out through pure sugar, pulling at more cotton candy without looking.
"We´re going t... Are you eating the stuff with your fingers?"
Hutch rolled his eyes - "Staaarsky." - but continued to do exactly that nevertheless.
Waving a quick 'hey, fine with me'-gesture, Starsky suppressed a grin and said, "What I wanted to say was, we´re going
to 'Space Mountain'."
Hutch watched, chewing. "Kay," he finally said with a shrug, pushing himself off the bench himself to stand next to his
partner, whose incredulous look he either ignored or didn´t see. Instead, he tugged at yet another, somewhat larger piece
"Uh... kay," Starsky quickly grinned, reached out to turn Hutch into the direction they were going and took the lead.
"Starsk?" a rather uninterested question could be heard a minute later, once more muffled around sugar.
"What exactly is this Space thing, by the way?"
"Oh." Starsky shrugged, smiled, patted Hutch´s shoulder, glancing at the rapidly shrinking pink cloud in the process. "It´s
new. I´ve seen, like, pictures of it, but they only finished it last year. Isn´t that just too great? Here´s your very first
time at Disneyland, and you get the chance to see something completely new."
Still chewing, Hutch frowned. "That made absolutely no sense, Gordo. And at this Space Hill-"
"Yes. There we´re going to find our Pooh?"
Hutch slowed his steps, casting his friend a warning glance, that was sort of spoiled by his tugging at pink fluff. "Starsk?"
Starsky´s face fell to a pleading sick puppy look. "One ride. Hmmmmmm?"
"Okay, listen, here´s what we´ll do. We check out 'Space Mountain', and then we start looking for our guy." Blinking eyes
that seemed to have grown to twice their side - thereby giving a very convincing immitation of Bambi - he curled his lips
to a boyish smile.
Hutch chewed in silence for a moment, then lifted a slightly pinkish index finger. "No more begging then?"
Starsky quickly shook his head.
Rolling his eyes, Hutch sighed, shoved some more of the cotton candy into his mouth and nodded.
Starsky jumped. "Yay!"
And off to 'Space Mountain' they headed, Starsky bouncing excitedly along, while Hutch contionued to get rid of the annoying
pink stuff he thought just tasted horrible. In fact, he couldn´t imagine the neon green stuff being as bad. Maybe he´d check
that out later...
They had almost arrived on at their destination point, when Hutch nudged Starsky´s shoulder, frowning at a scene he´d just
witnessed. "Uh, Starsk, what..."
Following his partner´s glance, Starsky saw the bulky man too, who had just puposely dropped a piece of litter, that had
been instantly picked up by a clearly identified Disneyland employée.
"Oh," Starsky winked, "they do that sometimes, kinda like check-ups. I once read that if there´s litter lying around anywhere
in Disneyland for longer than 15 seconds, someone´s going to be fired."
Looking down at the nearly empty stick that had once held the pink cloud of sugar, Hutch looked around and quickly threw
it in a nearby waste basket. At Starsky´s amused chuckling, he just lifted his brows. "I´m all on the workers´ side." Scanning
the spotless ground once more, a smile of his own tugged at one corner of his mouth, though. "So, is that why you like the
park so much really, or are you such a neatnik, because that´s the only part of Disneyland you can take home with you?"
"I´m not a neatnik," Starsky replied unimpressed.
"But you can´t have anything lay on your floor for 15 seconds either," Hutch pointed out.
"That´s so not true. Course I can." A pause. "I just don´t like it."
Hutch grinned. "Right. I bet they programmed you, when you were a kid. 'Don´t be a slob, Davy, or the Disneycreatures will
avoid you at Disneyland.'"
Unimpressed, Starsky made a show out of looking around. "I haven´t seen them aproaching you, yet, come to think of it."
"Who d´you think I bought the map from?"
Surrendering, Hutch lifted his hands. "Okay, okay, Disney creatures love you, I won´t argue with that. Are we at this Space
"Yes, that. I´m kinda hungry."
Starsky´s eyes popped into impressing size again. "You´re what?! You just downed your own weight in sugar."
Hutch didn´t listen, but pointed at a huge silver dome appearing in front of them. "That it?"
Instantly forgetting his friend´s uncharacteristic appetite, Starsky turned his head and grinned. "Yes! Uuuhhhh, isn´t
this great? 'Space Mountain'! I always dreamt of coming back for that."
"Yeah, okay, so one ride, and then we go look for more food," Hutch said, paused, frowned. "Uh... I-I mean Pooh. Go look
With that, he took over the lead, speeding his steps, while his partner - stifling a huge grin - followed him.
"That was so cool!" Starsky announced some time later, throwing a regretful glance back over his shoulder at the silver
dome. "And you sure you don´t wanna go once more?"
Busy sniffing at what he was carrying along on a paper plate, Hutch just ignored him. "What´s this again?" he asked instead,
already shoving a piece of it into his mouth.
"Churros," Starsky explained, all sulking over not going on Space Mountain again forgotten in an instant. "Like em?"
Hutch waggled his head. "Yeah, hey´re o´hay," he muttered around a mouthful of the stuff.
"Hm-mm," his partner nodded. "Glad to hear that. Well, what d´you wanna do now?"
"Find Pooh," Hutch replied absently. "Hey, this stuff is really good."
"I know, Hutch," Starsky nodded, watching the sugary stuff disappear, once again, in an impressve speed. Trying to blink
innocently through an amused grin, he quietly asked, "Need more?"
Again, Hutch didn´t listen. Slowly, slightly, but, Starsky figured, absolutely obviously, something was starting to happen
to him. Something... good.
"What´s that?" he was asking just then, bending his head a bit to look up.
Following his gaze, Starsky answered, "That´s the 'Peoplemover'. It stretches all over this part of the par... Oh hey!"
He snapped his fingers. "We could use that to look for Pooh."
And at that point it became obvious. Whereas pre-sugar Hutch would have started complaining and getting sarcastic, this
Hutch gave it a thought, swallowed his last piece of churro - and nodded. "Yeah, let´s do that."
As the piercing stare next to him just didn´t go away, Starsky threw his hands in the air surrendering-wise. "Yes, okay,
I admit it, it´s lame! Happy now?"
Yet, when there was no answer from Hutch, he finally turned his head to really look at the blond for the first time since
they started their - lame - journey over 'Tomorrow Land', and frowned. "Uh... Hutch?"
"Hm?" his partner muttered, startled out of his thoughts, and looked at him. "I-I´m sorry, d´you say something?"
Wisely swallowing back the first thing that jumped to his mind - 'You´re not REALLY looking for Pooh Bear down there,
are ya?!' - Starsky smiled slightly wickedly. "Enjoying yourself?"
"Uhm..." Hutch blushed.
The grin widened. "You LIKE this!"
"Am not," Hutch defended himself. "I´m trying to find a Pooh Bear costume."
"Sure y´are," Starsky nodded mockingly.
"Uh huh. Did I tell you about the 'Skyway', which is, like, a hundred times this high?" At Hutch´s instantly widening eyes,
he just had to laugh out loud. "What was that about no begging, Blintz?"
Before they decided to head for the 'Skyway' - of course out of pure job-caused reasons; after all, what a better way to
look for a giant Pooh Bear than from high up above? - Hutch found yet another sugar made chewable food to try out, and by
the time he had downed that, he was about as far away from still thinking of their 'case' as possible.
"I wanna see this thing you and Nicky went to. What you told me about. Tiny Earth?"
Starsky smiled warmly. "Hutch, that´s for ki..." But the moment he thought it, he hushed himself. Hadn´t that been the
reason he´d taken his friend here in the first place? Because it was for kids? "Sure, we´ll do that, buddy."
The noise that escaped his friend at that could only be described as a happy giggle, and it was such an UN-Hutch-like too,
that Starsky couldn´t help casting him a qick sceptical frown. "Uh... Are you feeling alright?"
"Sure! 'Skyway'! Let´s go!" Hutch announced, and off he went for the Skyway, leaving his partner to watch after him, before
hurrying to catch up with him.
'Guess I just found out why he usually doesn´t go for candy...'
They shared the 'Skyway' ride from 'Tomorrow Land' to 'Fantasy Land' with an eight-year-old and his stressed looking mother,
who didn´t seem to be enjoying the ride as much as her over-energetic son. Or, for that matter, as much as the two other adults
she had cast so hopeful, relieved smiles at upon their entering the basket.
The moment they had reached a slightly impressive height, the wide-eyed boy leant over the edge of his seat to look down,
causing the whole construction to sway slightly.
"Timmy!" his mother chided, reflexively reaching out to hold on tighter to the pole next to her, and threw the detectives
an apologetic look, adding, "It´s his first visit."
"His too," Starsky replied and glanced over at Hutch to watch the anticipated reaction. Quite the contrary to that, what
he did catch was a secret grin and a quick brow-waggle being exchanged between his partner and Timmy, the eight-year-old.
Taking pity on the poor Mom, he was just about to suggest holding onto her chosen support again, but didn´t have the chance,
before the basket was violently jerked to first Timmy´s, then Hutch´s side.
"Timmothy K. Keller!" the woman shrieked, paling untill her color of face matched that of her knuckles, as she clung to
the pole as if for dear life.
The look she shot her son had Starsky wondering it it should be reported to Amnesty. Yet, all ironic humor was instantly
washed off his face, when only a split second later he suddenly found himself being the target of the same glare. Only now
did he realize he had joined in on Hutch´s and Timmy´s stifled giggling. Hushing himself, he quickly turned to scowl parently
at his partner. "Hutch! That´s... uh... dangerous. Don´t do that."
It was definitely hard to keep the stern look when faced with the strange mixture of child-like remorse, giggly excitement
and perfectly grown up surprise at being chided displayed on the blond´s face, but under Mrs. Keller´s close observation,
Starsky managed. "You two keep this up," he warned, glancing at Timmy too, "and you´ll end up in Disneyland Jail."
Upon hearing the last word, Timmy went completely white and cast his mother a frightened look. To Starsky´s utter amusement,
she only lifted his brows in an 'I told you so'-kind of manner.
By now the only one still smiling, Hutch looked from Timmy to Starsky and back. "What´s Disneyland Jail?"
"That´s where they put the bad guys round here," Starsky explained gravely and was supported by Timmy Keller, whose head
bopped up and down affirmatively.
"Nobody ever gets outta there again," he whispered, and now it was Starsky´s turn to emphasise the words by slowly shaking
his head. "Nope. Nobody."
A tiny sceptical frown dug into Hutch´s forehead and settled there. "You´re kidding me, right?"
"No," Timmy insisted. "It´s true! Nobody who´s ever gone there came back. They keep you in Disneyland Jail. How
come you don´t know that?!" he added, suddenly dismayed by the realization that had obviously just hit him. The guy didn´t
know what Disneyland Jail was!
Stifling a grin, when he noticed his partner for once had actually nothing to reply, Starsky winked, rolling his eyes,
"Never mind him. He doesn´t know anything. He hasn´t even been to 'Small World', yet."
The second the name had left his lips, he knew it had been a mistake.
And not only did Mom´s rapidly darkening glare confirm to that, but also her son´s reaction, that consisted of a disbelieving
"awwww", immediately followed by the beginning of Disneyland´s most notorious song. "It´s a small world..."
Pretending he hadn´t caught the sarcastic "Great. Thank you" being mouthed at him by Mrs. Keller, Starsky presented the
happily singing boy with a forced smile. His muttered, "Right. That." though was, of course, drowned out by the 'Small World
Unaware of any faux-pas on his partner´s side, Hutch tilted his head aside slightly, smiling as he listened. It didn´t
take him a minute to learn the lyrics...
"Okay, where to now?" Starsky asked through a relieved sigh, as he watched Mrs. Keller practically drag her still singing
son away into the crowd some time later. He could still feel the unnerved woman´s piercing glare actually burn into his skin,
as it had for the rest of their decidedly too long (and too cheerfully loud) journey across 'Fantasy Land'.
Hutch didn´t need to be asked twice. "'Small World', 'Small World', 'Small World'."
"Hutch, you´re getting on my nerves with that damn tune already, and you really think I´m going to take you there now?!
Are you kidding? Plus, it´s a kids´ thing, okay? It´s for when you´ve never been to Disneyl..." Trailing of, as he
suddenly listened to his own words, Starsky grimaced slightly, about to give in, and looked up at his friend´s face, where
the most heartbreaking sick puppy look he had ever seen had obviously just appeared there out of nowhere.
'Oh my God, I created a monster.' He couldn´t help chuckling, if somewhat helplessly. "Is that what happens, when
you eat sugar, Blintz? You turn into me?"
Playing along perfectly, Hutch just repeated "'Small World'" and blinked.
Surrendering with an overly dramatic sigh, Starsky nodded and pointed into the direction they needed to go. "See my eyes
change their color?" he quipped on the way, but there was no missing his smile.
"It´s a small wo-horld-"
"Oh," Hutch smiled ruefully at the unnerved whine next to him. "Sorry. It´s funny, I think I don´t even notice it, when
I´m humming this so-"
"Don´t worry," Starsky cut him off, rolling his eyes, "I do. And, by the way, humming is something else."
It was late afternoon by now, and the mission of the day had long ago turned from 'looking for Pooh Bear' into 'trying
to get Hutch forget the 'Small World' tune'. No need to mention that success had yet to grace their efforts, that had at least
been various, including climbing the 'Matterhorn', from where they had just returned to the ground again, tired and still
"Sorry," Hutch apologized in his newly discovered little boy lost voice again, then smiled expectantly. "What d´we do now?"
Starsky could´t help but laugh, all irritation forgotten. "It´s up to you," he answered, as he had all day long. "We could
go and see if there are any Chips and Dales walking round here. Even though I didn´t bring my camera," he added teasingly.
Hutch blinked questioningly.
"The hamsters, Hutch."
"Oh," the blond beamed. "Hey, that´s... oh." His face fell.
"I just remembered the reason we´re here."
"Huh? Oh, you mean..." Starsky winked. "Don´t worry, that´s-"
But Hutch had already reached out to grab his friend´s arm to look at his watch. "Aw, look at this, we spent all day here,"
he muttered, sounding decidedly ashamed. "And we haven´t even seen anything Pooh-like, yet."
"Speaking of Pooh," Starsky suddenly announced, ignoring his friend´s dismay. "I´d say it´s time for a little something,
don´t you think? When was the last time you had sugar?"
Seeing that his partner was actually looking like he considered answering that question, Starsky quickly used the opportunity
and gave Hutch´s shoulder a gentle shove. "C´mon, I know the perfect place to end your first visit at Disneyland." At the
miserable, doubtful gaze that found him, he smiled encouragingly. "They even have Blintz, y´know?"
That, at last, at Hutch grin wryly. "So what´re we gonna tell Lawrence?" he asked some minutes later, while he was strolling
along beside Starsky, who shrugged.
"We WERE here, weren´t we? And can´t say we didn´t search the park thoroughly too," he added with an amused snort. "If
Pooh´s not in, he´s not it. That´s not our fault, ri-" Coming to a reluctant halt, when Hutch suddenly stopped next to him,
he hushed himself, turned to look back at his partner. "Hutch?"
Hutch just looked at him, a frown beginning to show. "What did you say the guy´s name was again?"
Starsky´s gaze darted away, then back. "What guy?"
"Why, Pooh Bear´s name is Pooh Bear."
Starsky´s shoulders slumped. "Thomas O´Meally," he mumbled.
"As in 'O´Meally, the alley cat'?" Hutch quoted, taking a step closer.
An uneasy grin rushed over Starsky´s features. "I thought you don´t like Disney movies," he wise-cracked, ducking his head
a bit, when Hutch approached him even more.
"Well, I do know 'Aristocats'," Hutch replied, snapping his fingers, "and I thought the name sounded familiar all along,
but I just couldn´t place it."
"Maybe you didn´t really want to?" Starsky suggested, showing a brief sweet smile, that faded instantly at his partner´s
scowl, though. "Sorry."
"So you did set me up, right?" Hutch asked.
Starsky looked up at him, down again, and nodded surrenderingly at last, throwing his hands in the air. "Yeah, I did. But
you can´t tell me you didn´t play along at least partly. I mean, come on, d´you really believe I´d sign us in for a Law-Oops?!
If I wanna drag your sorry behind to Disneyland, I can do that any day without anybody´s help just fine."
Hutch opened his mouth - and closed it.
Watching the gesture, Starsky suddenly smirked, all nervousness gone. "You really believed there´s a bad guy using the
Pooh costume, didn´t you?" Incredulous, he shook his head. "Man, Hutch, don´t you know all those Disney creatures are checked
by the Disney government and all, before they´re allowed to live here?"
But Hutch wasn´t over staring at him, yet. "Wh-what did you tell Dobey where we´d be all day?"
Starsky shrugged. "Off. Oh, don´t worry, took my days."
Hutch blinked, his eyes widening a bit. "You used up one of your free days for me here?"
"So you could drag me to Disneyland?"
"Even though I said I didn´t like Disneyland?"
A sudden thought hit Hutch. "Even though," he continued, his voice much softer than before, "I´ve been one helluva pain
in the ass all week and didn´t deserve any of this?"
"Especially because of that," Starsky nodded. "Yup."
Now it was Starsky´s turn to think, but in the end, he just shrugged again. "Seemed to be a good idea at the time." He
smiled. "So, are you mad at me?"
Hutch only stared at him, opened his mouth, but couldn´t think of anything to say, closed it again, repeated the process.
Starsky grinned. "Good," he nodded and patted his friend´s shoulder, thereby shoving him into motion again. "Then let´s
go eat, I´m starving."
It took Hutch some more moments to finally find back his speech, but when he did, his voice was as warm as his smile. "Hey
Starsky winked, but the smile in his eyes couldn´t be missed.
"How did you do it, anyway, that we saw no Pooh Bear?" Hutch wondered after another few minutes, casting his friend a questioning
look. To his surprise, a mischievious little grin crossed Starsky´s lips.
After a moment of staring at him in disbelief, Hutch laughed out loud, Starsky joining in soon.
The next day, Starsky was sitting in his parked car, reading a magazine, when the passenger door was all but jerked open
and seemingly instantly dragged shut again, the entering having taken in between to fast for the human eye to catch it.
Without even looking up, Starsky asked, "Well?"
He heard a deep intake of air, "I am back among the living."
When no more came, Starsky lifted his head to look at his visibly pissed off partner. "But?"
"But," Hutch shot back, "after almost one hour of trying to find the person responsible for computer failures in there,
I´m not quite so sure anymore that´s an upside thing!" Letting go off the rest of that deep breath, he ran a hand through
his hair. "Jeez, I swear, Starsk, now that I met my bank´s employées, I know why they have a computer doing their jobs!"
Starsky was not impressed. "But you are a living person again?"
"And you have your account back."
"Well, that´s good, isn´t it?"
"Yes, it´s good, but-"
"Hutch," Starsky interrupted him calmly. "You´re alive, you have a computer´s opinion on that fact to prove it, you have
your money back, and when you´ll get home, your car will be waiting for you in all its crappy ugliness. Life is good." As
if for emphasis, he started the engine, set back and maneuvered them into Bay City traffic.
"You know something, Starsk?" Hutch asked after a moment. "You´re right. Life is good." With that, he leant back in his
seat, let go of a satisfied sigh - and started humming quietly. "It´s a small world..."
Throwing him a startled glance, Starsky opened his mouth to protest, but thought about it and cheerfully joined in.