June 2nd- Filling a Blank by MatSir

David Starsky was a bit different growing up. He was left-handed, in spite of the efforts of several teachers and relatives. He was very bright, but never seemed to be able to prove it at test time. He was the son of an honest cop living in a neighborhood of dubious transactions. And he didn’t have a middle name. All of his classmates had a middle name; some had wonderfully embarrassing names to spare, but not him. In the ‘middle name’ space of the birth certificate, there was just a blank.

This anomaly was the result of a battle between the Starsky and Katz camps over what to name Michael and Rachel’s firstborn (who also had the luck to not only be the first grandchild on both sides, but also the first male in nearly 10 years). The day before his bris, debates were still going, and Michael, watching his wife fight back tears, found his voice.

“Quiet!” he ordered the bickering mass. Then he knelt in front his wife and said, “Forget about everyone else – what do you want to call our son?”

Rachel only paused a moment before saying, “David. I want to name him David.”

Abra Katz, Rachel’s mother, didn’t say a word, just concentrated on the floor.

Michael’s father, Nicholas, spoke first. “After your brother? But, honey, that goes against tradition. It’s bad luck to name a baby after a living person.”

“No, Rachel, no! He’s just missing; they haven’t… it’s only been 3 months, he’s just lost.” Her father looked anywhere but at the photos on the mantel. “Are you trying to bring sorrow to us?”

“I’m sorry, Papa. I am. I don’t ask you to believe me, but I know David isn’t coming home.” Days before the army’s telegram, she’d scared Michael by bursting into tears during dinner. He believed her grief; she and David had been closer than twins. She hadn’t really smiled again until she’d held their son.

He laid his hand over hers, felt the tiny puff of his son’s breath, and smiled at her. “David is perfect.” Then he turned to face the others. “His name is David.”

After a tense moment, Leah Starsky, Michael’s mother, started talking again, pushing for the baby’s middle name to, at least, be in honor of one from their side of the family.

“I said his name is David. That’s it!” Michael ignored the gasps and grumbles. Rising to his feet, he made his way to the front door and opened it. “Davey’s got a big day tomorrow, so we’ll see you all at 2 o’clock. Thanks for coming.”

The grandfathers said nothing. Michael’s father, because a man should be shown respect in his own home, and Marvin Katz, Rachel’s father, rarely spoke at all after that day.

As the quiet descended on the Starsky home, Michael sat next to his wife and son.

“Our Hero.” She smiled and kissed him.

Thirteen years later, Dave Starsky, 2800 miles from home, grief-scarred, terrified and determined not to let it show, stood in his new school’s office. He was carefully filling in all the blanks on the forms, proving that being a lefty wouldn’t hold him back.

LAST NAME: Starsky

FIRST NAME: David

MIDDLE NAME: __________

He started to move onto the next blank, then hesitated. He was here for fresh start, a chance to become a man someone could be proud of, like Ma was of Uncle David and Pop. He stared at the empty spot. After all, he reasoned to himself, when someone came to Temple and converted, symbolically starting a new life, a new name was part of that tradition.

He filled in the blank.

MIDDLE NAME: Michael

Still my hero, Pop

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Author’s Note: No religious or cultural slight intended. This was inspired by a discussion about Starsky sharing a (fanon) name with his father. (If Starsky’s father was alive when he was born, naming him ‘Michael’ would have been discouraged.) I got the idea for him to adopt the name from my (non-Jewish) grandfather who lost his favorite brother too young. Going to school, my grandfather added his brother’s name to his and kept both names the rest of his life.

And a Thank You to Flamingo Slim, for helping me change horses mid(life)stream.

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21 Responses to June 2nd- Filling a Blank by MatSir

  1. provencepuss says:

    this is a lovely backgrounder to Starsky’s character.

    I see no reason for your author note btw.
    I was a named to honor my recently dead paternal grandfather, Hilda, (or whatever it had been before it was anglicised when they arrived in London) but as my maternal grandmother had the same name & was: 1, alive and 2, not my mother’s favourite person my mum went for the name of an actress she thought was beautiful :D.

  2. susan says:

    Very nice background! Very original and wonderful story idea. (In my Jewish family everyone is named after somebody, myself included. But they have honored living and deceased loved ones. Perhaps because they aren’t particularly orthodox, just traditional.)

  3. Duluth says:

    This is why new writers are always welcomed into the fandom. Such unique perspectives can really make an impact. I loved this story so much!

  4. Sam KW (Samudee) says:

    Ah! This is wonderful- Like a breath of fresh air. Just what I needed today. I LOVE reading Starsky’s childhood , background and anything that describes him when he was a kid.
    Love this part "Thirteen years later, Dave Starsky, 2800 miles from home, grief-scarred, terrified and determined not to let it show, stood in his new school’s office. He was carefully filling in all the blanks on the forms, proving that being a lefty wouldn’t hold him back"

  5. marianrose says:

    Thank you for this lovely writing. It is fascinating to read about the background of Starsky or Hutch. I love reading about experiences that shaped these characters. Well done!

  6. spencer5460 says:

    I agree with Sam – such a fresh idea, yet so S&H. I loved it from “He was the son of an honest cop living in a neighborhood of dubious transactions. . . ” and all the way through.

  7. Dawnebeth says:

    I loved this! Such a sweet tribute to his father. I have fought the fanon notion that Starsky’s father was named Michael. I liked you solution very much.

  8. myhnabird says:

    This is wonderful! Thank you for a believable background story and for the tiny glimpse of “our” Starsky as a young lad.
    Mary

  9. Nancy says:

    Well done and nice new ideafor who Starsky is!

  10. mvernet says:

    “I’m sorry, Papa. I am. I don’t ask you to believe me, but I know David isn’t coming home.”

    Thank you for remembering the MIA’s. Many of us still do. This is a beautiful and moving story. The ending is perfection.

  11. bee says:

    I love S&H childhood stories and this one’s just beautiful…!!!
    ;D

  12. Kat says:

    This was such a sweet story. I really enjoyed it.

  13. Dianne says:

    What a wonderful perspective on David Starsky’s beginnings. Beautifully written as well. Thank you for sharing. Looking forward to reading more of your works.

    Dianne

  14. wightfaerie says:

    Very nice. Love the idea of a young Starsky deciding to put his father’s name as part of his own.

  15. Terri says:

    What a lovely vignette. Powerful, too.

  16. Jennifer C says:

    Interesting and different insight! Thanks!

  17. Keri says:

    Very fresh piece full of compassion and real emotion. Nice job, thank you!

  18. LauraY says:

    Lovely story. What a wonderful idea and enjoyed your writing style. Especially liked “Thirteen years later, Dave Starsky, 2800 miles from home, grief-scarred, terrified and determined not to let it show, stood in his new school’s office. He was carefully filling in all the blanks on the forms, proving that being a lefty wouldn’t hold him back.” and the final sentence. Well done!

  19. Elaine says:

    Great story! Thanks for sharing.

  20. hardboiledbaby says:

    I enjoyed this lovely backstory, and the history behind Starsky’s middle name. Thanks, Matsir!

  21. wanda horvath says:

    i love when a writer adds back round to a chararcter it give more insight into who he is. this is a great story.

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