Author's Note- Written for E-Pony's 'Cliché Challenge' on shgfanfic (a Yahoo group). The challenge was to write a story using as many typical Starsky and Hutch cliche's as possible. This story, however, is a little different...


Starsky watched as Hutch raised the taco to his open mouth.

"What are you doing?"

Hutch's hand froze in mid-air, the taco just inches from his chin. "What?"

"You can't eat that."

Hutch blinked. "Why not?"

"Because you've spent the last five years riding me about eating junk food like that, that's why."

Hutch lowered the taco, his hands resting in his lap. "I've been riding you for eating the junk food you pick up on street-corner kitchens, not for eating authentic cultural cuisine." His glanced out the windshield. "The light's green."

Starsky took his foot off the brake and pressed on the gas pedal. He huffed quietly, glancing at the sub sandwich resting in his lap. He had bought it by choice. A choice he made deliberately to impress Hutch, thinking the blond would appreciate Starsky putting something 'healthy' into his body.

"What, are you mad now?" Hutch asked, interrupting the silence. "I haven't eaten off this, if you wanna trade…"

"No, no, I'm fine," Starsky said haughtily. "Me and my sub will just sit over here and watch you eat that two dollar taco."

"Starsky, come on," Hutch tried, turning a little in his seat. "Just trade me, will ya?"

Starsky dropped one hand protectively over his sandwich. "No, forget it. I-"

"Attention all units in the vicinity of 55th and Mill street, please respond to a Code 3 459. I repeat, burglary in progress at 55th and Mill street, who is responding?"

Starsky grabbed the mike.

"What are you doing?" Hutch asked. "We're twenty minutes away from there!"

"We're already headed in the right direction. If we hurry, we can be there in ten."

Hutch's eyes grew big. "If by 'hurry', you mean hurl this striped tomato through every crowded intersection, than forget it!"

Starsky looked Hutch dead in the eyes as he responded to the call. "This is Zebra Three, we're on our way."

Hutch narrowed his eyes. "I can't believe you. You just said you were enjoying the peace and quiet."

With all hopes of eating utterly gone, Hutch balled up his uneaten food in it's wrapper and raised his hand to toss it into the Torino's back seat.

"Hey!" Starsky snapped, pointing to the floorboards.

Hutch looked down. "Oh. Right."

He picked up the trash bag Starsky had left there and dumped the food in it instead.

As he was bent down, Hutch asked, "Hey, what are those?"

Starsky glanced at his feet, where Hutch was pointing. "Those are my shoes, Hutch."

"Those aren't your shoes, those are Nikes."

"The Adidas hurt my feet," he shrugged. "Hit the light, would ya?" Starsky prompted, reaching to turn the sirens on.

The Torino was rapidly picking up speed as they traveled down the street. The highway exit was up ahead, and from there they could get to 55th.

Starsky hated being the last one on the scene.

Hutch pulled the mars light out from under the seat, rolling down the window with the other hand. "Hit it," he said as he transferred the light to his right hand and reached out to toss the light onto the Torino's roof.

The light bounced off the roof with a heavy thump, then sailed through the air and fell to the ground where it shattered upon the curb.

Starsky watched the red glass get smaller and smaller in the rear view mirror. "Aw, Hutch, come on! That's the third one this month!"

Hutch sat pressed back against the seat, annoyance written clearly on his face. "I keep telling you, tomatoes aren't magnetic! If you would just drive a normal car, things would be a lot easier."

"Well, if you're defining normal by the ability to actually turn on and run for more than fifteen minutes, that maybe you shouldn't be calling the kettle black."

At that, Hutch clenched his jaw and remained silent.

Starsky steered the car onto the highway and pressed the gas pedal to the floor. The heavy car quickly accelerated through the gears, running strongly on it's eight-cylinder engine as it darted between other motorists. Starsky pulled up alongside a dark green Pontiac, intent on passing the vehicle, and glanced at the driver.

It was a woman.

A young, blonde, very attractive woman.

His foot jumped off the gas pedal as if he were electrocuted and the car immediately began to slow.

"What are you doing?"

Starsky continued driving alongside the Pontiac, making it quite obvious that he was trying to subtly catch the blonde woman's attention. When she finally looked over, he flashed her his most charming, teeth-revealing grin.

She rolled her eyes and floored it.

Starsky became aware of Hutch's chuckling. "What's wrong, Starsk, having an 'off day'?"

Starsky's smile fell and he turned his attention back to the road. "She must have caught sight of you," he grumbled, refusing to look at his partner.

Ten minutes later, the Torino silently turned onto Mill street and came to a gentle stop next to a marked police car. Starsky and Hutch exited the vehicle and joined another officer who was crouched behind the open door of his patrol car.

"What's going on?" Hutch asked, reaching for his gun.

"A woman was coming home from the grocery store and noticed the front window of her house was broken. She heard movement inside and ran to a neighbor's house to call the police."

"Do we have an ID on the suspect?" Starsky asked, squinting at the sunlight reflecting off the victim's house.

"That's a negative, detective."

Starsky looked at Hutch over the officer's head. He nodded once, then jerked his head to the side.

Hutch furrowed his brow and his face became a question mark.

Starsky's eyebrows raised and lowered as he dipped his head forward, then swung his chin in the direction of the house once more.

Hutch shook his head and shrugged his shoulders.

"Oh for Pete's sake," Starsky blurted, stomping his foot. "Let's go see who's in there!"

"Why didn't you just say that?" Hutch muttered, but Starsky was already jogging towards the house.

Starsky made his way over the two-lane residential blacktop road, his movements echoed by the sound of denim rubbing denim. The sound struck him as odd- normally his snug-fitting jeans were silent. Maybe this pair of jeans had finally gotten worn out. They were a little loose.

Starsky ducked behind a large oak tree at the edge of the property. Seconds later, he was joined by Hutch.

"All right, same as always, you go high and I'll go low."

"Wait, I thought I went high and you went low."

"No, that was just that one time, remember?"

A crash sounded from inside the house. Starsky looked to Hutch and held up one finger, then two, then three before darting across the lawn and crashing into the side of the house. Hutch followed, moving around to the back of the house and out of sight.

Starsky rolled against the house and slowly leaned over, just barely peering through the window. Clothes and trash were strewn about the floor haphazardly. There was a puddle of water under a kitchen chair, and most of the lower cabinets were open. The suspect wasn't just robbing the place, he was looking for something.

But what could be of such high value in the home of middle-class working family?

After decided that Hutch had enough time to get to the back of the house, Starsky made his way in through the open front door. He was well aware of the other cops aiming their weapons at his back, holding a steady point should anything go wrong.

There was a rustling sound from the next room and Starsky edged his way forward, all senses on high alert in case there were more than one bad guy in the house with him. He systematically checked the corners, behind furniture and up on the staircase, all with stiff arms and a tight grasp on his gun. His heart was pumping hard with anxiety, then it skipped a beat at another sudden crash from the kitchen.

He would have to go in. Something deep inside him hoped desperately that Hutch was in position.

Starsky tried to control his breathing as he coiled into himself against the doorframe. The sound of cellophane crinkling filled the kitchen and Starsky drew a deep, steadying breath.

"Police, freeze!" he shouted and swung around the doorframe.

His actions were mirrored by Hutch on the other side of the room, so that they stood with their guns pointing at each other before redirecting their aim towards the ceiling.

There was a heartbeat of stunned silence where Starsky realized exactly what had just happened, then a strange chirping sound filled the room. Starsky dropped his gaze, noticing for the first time the dark shape on the floor between them.

A raccoon blinked up at them owlishly, one paw deep inside a bag of potato chips.

It licked it's lips, then went back to eating.

Starsky finally let out his breath and brought his gaze up to meet Hutchs'.

Hutch lowered his gun to his side, looking both annoyed and relieved at the same time.

Starsky smiled and holstered his weapon. "Look Hutch, it's just a possum. Guess we need to get animal control in here, huh?"

"It's a raccoon, Starsk, and don't get too close. It might have rabies."

"Oh yeah, like on that Cujo movie!" Starsky took a step back and his voice dropped. "You think they have a dog?"

Hutch blinked and smiled, then began chuckling. "Come on Gordo, let's leave this mess for the uniforms. I never did get lunch."

The two exited the house through the front door, hands up to alert the waiting officers that there was no imminent danger. Once the word had spread that the perpetrator was of the four-legged variety, most of the police cars drove off and the suburban street turned peaceful once again.

Starsky and Hutch walked back to the Torino and got in just as the large white animal control van pulled up in front of the house. Satisfied that the job was being taken care of, Starsky threw the car in reverse and stomped on the gas.

The car rocketed backwards all of six feet before a blaring horn and loud crash stopped the Torino dead in it's tracks.

When Starsky's head cleared, he twisted around to find he had backed right into another car that had presumably been driving down the street behind him. The driver of the second car was shaking his head gingerly, then began sorting out his surroundings.

"Oh man," Starsky groaned, realizing that his rear bumper was most likely permanently embedded in the other guy's left rear fender. He looked to Hutch. "You okay?"

Hutch put a hand to his head then sucked in a deep breath. "I think so. Did you just hit somebody?"

"Yeah. I'm gonna see how bad it is," Starsky replied, looking carefully at his partner. Satisfied that the blond was not bleeding or harboring any skull fractures, Starsky opened his door and stepped outside.

"Oh come on!" he exclaimed, taking in the complete wreckage with astonishment.

Not only was this the first time he had ever backed into another car while driving the Torino, but it was also the first time he actually hit another Torino.

Another, Ford Bright Red and Wimbledon White-stripped, 1975 Gran Torino.

A laughed bubbled up from the other side of his car and he turned, mouth still agape, towards Hutch.

"What are the odds of this, huh Starsk? I mean, seriously, you should go buy a lottery ticket or something!"

Starsky began to feel as if this entire day had been off, and this was the proverbial icing on a really bad cake. Enough was enough.

"…I mean, two tomatoes in the same city? Wait till Dobey hears about this!"

"It's not like I have the only one, Hutch!" Starsky interjected. "As hard as it is for you to believe, I do not own the only car that looks like this! People everywhere do not see this car and automatically think of me!" Starsky hit the Torino's roof for emphasis.

"Excuse me," the driver of the second car began. "But if you two are done, I'd like to discuss the little matter of you hitting my car."

"Yeah, about that," Starsky began, his hands palm up in submission, "I'm really sorry. I can't believe-"

"Save the sob story," the man snapped angrily. "I want all your information and I want one of those police officers over here to haul your reckless tail to jail!"

Starsky paused, incredulous that he was being spoken to this way. "Listen mister, I just happen to be a detective with the Bay City Police Department! Why don't you just cool it for-"

"Boy, the police force let's anybody in these days, huh?" The man took a step closer to Starsky and the detective actually took a step back. "Where'd they find you two turkeys, bouncing drunks at a strip club?"

"Now listen here," Starsky tried to gain back some of the ground he was rapidly losing. "This was an accident, you-"

"Accident my hide! You probably have your little cop buddies over there as false witnesses to prove that I hit you! Boy, you pigs will do anything to meet your monthly quota, won't you?"

Hutch stood off to the side, his eyes bouncing from one Torino owner to the other like he was following a ball in a tennis match. Starsky could handle this, couldn't he?

Starsky found himself backed against his car as the large, angry man loomed over him, jabbing a meaty index finger at his chest.

"…Well I'm not gonna take it! Your days of picking on the little guy are over, you hear me? The middle-class working man is rising up!"

Starsky was fairly certain that had the man actually laid a hand on him, Hutch would loyally jump to the rescue. However, Starsky did not want to wait that long.

He locked gazes with Hutch and the blond's eyes grew wide with understanding.

In the next second, the two detectives dove inside the Torino, Starsky shifted into 'drive' and stomped on the gas, and the vehicle was off and making the cleanest escape in the history of Bay City.

Because sometimes, Starsky's jeans weren't tight, Hutch did eat junk food, and the good guys didn't always win.

END