June 19th- Car Talk Part 3 by M H E Priest

Note: The Car Talk stories are a group of stories connected only because the action in each story takes place in a car. The stories are not continuous. 

#3 – Uncovered

Starsky was so engrossed in the evening newspaper that he didn’t notice Hutch clear his throat. It took a jab to his thigh to grab his attention.

“You’re gonna hurt your eyes trying to read the paper with just the dome light, Starsky. Besides, it’s not the best thing to be lit up like a whorehouse for anyone to see us. This is a stakeout after all.”

“Almost done with this article. And are you callin’ my beautiful car a whorehouse?”

“If the description fits… What’s this article about, anyway?”

“Teddy Kennedy proposed this bill today that’d guarantee full health care to all Americans.”

“That would cost a boatload of Benjamins, though. Who’s gonna pay for that?”

“How do I know? But think about it, Hutch. Me or you gets a serious illness or injury, we wouldn’t go broke, or take years to pay it all back.”

“Well, it would be better if you did healthful things so you wouldn’t get sick, like eat a few vegetables and some fruit every once in a while.” When Starsky opened his mouth to protest, Hutch cut him off with “the finger-sword of Viking menace,” as Starsky had dubbed it years ago. “And the tomato sauce on the pizza or spaghetti isn’t enough.”

“Okay, okay, I’ll think about it. Anyway, we’re more likely to get hurt. Only way we can stop that is ta give up playing sports, stay outta bar fights, not pet stray dogs or bears or snakes, not date psycho nurses, not be cops no more. Oh, wait, we tried that, but people still tried to kill us.”

Hutch stiffened in his seat as a frigid breeze blew through him. Inexplicably panicked, he looked at Starsky, who seemed frayed and feathery around the edges, pale, distant, as if drifting away. He rubbed his eyes with his knuckles and when they reopened, everything was back to normal.

Starsky put his hand on his friend’s shoulder. “Hutch, you okay, babe? You got this kinda weird look on your face for a couple seconds and you went kinda… frozen. You gettin’ sick?”

“Uh, no, no, I’m fine. Just a little… indigestion, I guess.” His reply sounded uneasy to his ears.

“Yeah, gas can be life-threatenin’, ya know. You gotta belch, well, let ‘er rip. You’re among friends here.” After a quick, reassuring squeeze, Starsky’s hand returned to holding the paper.

Hutch laughed softly through his nose. “That I am.” Quickly, he turned serious. “Uh, Starsk, let’s change the subject, okay? Let’s not talk about illness or injury or anything life-threatening. Okay?”

Two beats of silence, then Starsky said, “Sure thing, Blondie. Oh, did I tell ya I got some more ping-pong balls to replace the broke ones? Figured we could have a rematch tomorrow if things are still quiet.”

“Sure. You do know I’m gonna beat your sorry butt this time, right?”

“No way, ya big lummox. I’m more fleet of hand and foot than you.”

“More like hand-foot-and-mouth disease.”

“What’s that? Sounds like an insult, and not a very good one. Don Rickles you ain’t.”

“Look it up, mushbrain. You wanna make the game interesting?”

“Sure, if there’s a decent bet on it. Whatcha got in mind?” Starsky rubbed his hands together in delightful anticipation of a coming competition.

“How about country-western song titles while we play? Let’s work out the details while we wait for Boyle and Larson to show up.”

Author’s Note: According to Ultimate70s.com, Senator Edward Kennedy proposed a national health insurance bill on May 14, 1979.

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22 Responses to June 19th- Car Talk Part 3 by M H E Priest

  1. MatSir says:

    Maria, you have such a magic touch with words. Hutch’s eerie vision gave me goosebumps, while “the finger-sword of Viking menace” made me laugh (and I will probably steal it for future use). Thank you and Happy Solstice!

    • Maria (MHE) Priest says:

      Aw, gee whiz, MatSir! Thanks! And you can “borrow” that phrase any time. Happy Solstice to you, too.

  2. Kira says:

    Ha! A new name for the “Hutchinson finger”!
    Great one! Thanks for your story!

  3. Lapfordlass says:

    I also loved “The finger-sword of Viking menace”!
    The little premonition followed by the mention of ping-pong balls sent a little shiver down my spine!
    Great writing!

    • Maria (MHE) Priest says:

      Thanks, Lapfordlass, not only for telling me what you thought about the finger-sword and the ping-pong balls, but for the compliment of my writing.

  4. Onnakarot says:

    Oh no! danger lurks round every corner for our poor boys. But as Hutch says, let’s change the subject and think about their love for each other and all the amazing, beautiful things the future holds for them.
    Wonderful read, thank you!

    • Maria (MHE) Priest says:

      Thanks, Onnakarot. Yes, danger lurks too closely, as so well demonstrated in kat’s One Less Day vid, which I just watched. And it’s love that carries all through to a peaceful, beautiful future.

  5. Nancy Roots says:

    I agree with the other comments left here, M H E Priest. Your words made this very vidid in my mind. Thank you for this Solstice gift! KUDOS

  6. Pat says:

    “… not be cops no more. Oh, wait, we tried that, but people still tried to kill us.” That line had me chuckling, Maria! But then the sudden chill of the last part, mitigated only by the fact that we know Starsky didn’t die, put this little gem in perspective. Thanks for this lovely Solstice gift!

    • Maria (MHE) Priest says:

      Thanks, Pat. I was channeling Starsky pretty strongly in that full piece of dialogue. And glad to hear that the chill didn’t last long.

  7. Laurel Van Dyke says:

    That was great. I love Pre-Sweet Revenge stories with foreshadowing.

    • Maria (MHE) Priest says:

      Thanks, Laurel! I think this was my first attempt at such a story and I appreciate you letting me know it “was great.”

  8. silver chipmunk says:

    Oooohhh… Ominous. Thank you.

  9. Jennifer C says:

    Nice series end. And a little history thrown in there. Thanks!

  10. Maria (MHE) Priest says:

    Thanks, Jennifer! I was surprised myself to find out Ted Kennedy had proposed this bill – and I was reading newspapers religiously at the time. But that was 41 years ago… at least that’s my excuse.

  11. hardboiledbaby says:

    Great banter, as always. Love how you’ve given us a heart-squeezy pre-SR fic, with historical context to boot. Thanks, Maria!

    • Maria (MHE) Priest says:

      Thanks, HB-squared (how do you like that nickname – given with the utmost respect for a new friend and very talented writer)! So cool you think my banter for them is great! That was the second thing that attracted me to the series; the first, of course, being two gorgeous men who obviously cared deeply for each other.

  12. Garrideb (Monica M) says:

    Oh noo… a funny story, but with an ominous chill running through it! Like other commenters, I loved the whole paragraph with the viking finger description.

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