Since Starsky and Hutch had worked eleven days straight through New Year’s, Captain Dobey had given them a three-day weekend. They decided to spend their time off taking care of little things that they’d let slide over the past couple of months of working double shifts and long hours. The other thing they decided was that there would be no shoptalk. Just hanging out and enjoying their time like, as Starsky said, “regular people do.”
“What do you mean regular people? We’re regular people?” Hutch responded.
“Right. We’re about as regular as they come.” Starsky said with a chuckle.
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“I can’t respond to that without violating the agreement. We’ll talk about it Monday over beers at Huggy’s. Deal?”
Hutch smiled. “Okay.”
Hutch was the one who came up with the no shoptalk rule. Starsky was determined to give him three straight days without thinking about being a cop. No criminals to catch, no paperwork to do, no cases to solve. Just a couple of guys working on their cars, doing a few home repair jobs, and running errands they never got to do when they were working. Part of today’s mission was to fix the drain in Hutch’s kitchen sink. The past few months had seen it get steadily worse and drain cleaner wasn’t solving the problem. Soon, Hutch wouldn’t be able to use it at all.
Starsky walked into the kitchen and set two toolboxes on the floor. “Better get your drill.”
Hutch retrieved it and they started to hook up what they needed.
“Why do you have your own plumber’s snake?” Hutch asked.
“The drains in my last apartment were always getting clogged and it seemed to happen on the weekends or on a holiday. You know plumbers get triple on holidays? Should have been a plumber.”
That suggestion sent a chill through both of them and they both said, “Nah.”
“Landlords are supposed to take care of things like that,” Hutch said.
“Uh-huh. That and my ma has the rights to a lovely bridge in Brooklyn I could sell ya.”
They worked quietly for a few minutes getting everything ready. Hutch hadn’t done much plumbing, so Starsky took the time to explain what they needed to do. Hutch wanted to do it himself, so he grabbed a big pair of pliers and started to use the tool on the slip nuts.
“No, better use the pipe wrench,” Starsky said, handing him another tool.
“What difference does it make? Pliers would work.”
“Always use the right tool for the right job, Blintz. My pop taught me that.” Starsky felt a little sorry for Hutch that his own dad wasn’t much of a do-it-yourselfer. The Hutchinsons had so much money, Richard Hutchinson just paid to have whatever he needed done.
Hutch sighed and took the tool. Starsky squeezed a bucket past him and put it under the trap to catch any water.
“We should put in a garbage disposer while we’re at it,” Starsky said.
“What, and give the sink one more way to torture me? No thanks.” Hutch’s voice was muffled since he was under the sink and facing the back wall. They finished taking apart the drain to the wall, got the snake in place and Starsky stood back to take over the drill part. He turned on the drill and they slowly worked the snake down into the drain. After several minutes, Hutch thought he saw that the standing water had dropped and he leaned in to take a look. That’s when the unexpected happened. The snake grabbed a chunk of Hutch’s hair and he had to hold onto the hair to keep the snake from yanking it out of his scalp. He realized that he should have gotten that haircut he meant to get two weeks back, and he started to call for Starsky to turn off the drill.
Unfortunately, the noisy drill was drowning out Hutch’s “Stop, stop,” command. Hutch had two choices. Let go of the snake, or let go of the hair so he could signal Starsky to stop. Neither one seemed good. He chose releasing the snake. As soon as he let go, he felt the hair rip out of his scalp and he put his hand up to stop Starsky, which he did instantly.
“Shit!” Hutch said as he put his hand up to his hair.
Starsky walked over and saw the big clump of hair tangled around the snake, his eyes wide. “Geez, Hutch, what happened?”
“Guess you didn’t hear me telling you to stop?”
“No, sorry. I couldn’t hear a thing. The drill was too loud and you had your back to me. You okay?”
Hutch pulled his hand down and noticed the hair on the snake. “Dammit! How bad is it?”
Starsky looked at the patch of now pink scalp with tiny pinpricks of blood on it and gulped. Near Hutch’s part, he was missing about a quarter-sized piece of hair. “Uh, not too bad,” Starsky stammered.
Hutch stood up and pushed past him to go look in the bathroom mirror for himself. While he did that, Starsky checked to be sure the drain was clear and started backing out the snake by hand.
“NOT BAD?” came Hutch’s shout from the other room. Starsky was doing his best not to laugh and
Hutch knew it.
“Don’t you dare laugh,” Hutch said as he walked back into the room, his face red with anger. “This isn’t funny! I don’t have enough hair to lose.”
That did it. Starsky couldn’t help himself. He sat on the floor laughing so hard he couldn’t stop. Eventually he was holding his stomach with both hands lying down with tears streaming down his face. Hutch couldn’t help it, he started laughing, too.
“Guess I’ll be parting my hair on the other side for a while. You think it’ll grow back?”
Starsky looked closely at it and said, “Aw, sure it will. You just gotta do the comb over for a while.”
“Very funny. Especially from a guy with enough hair for three people.”
After everything was put away and reassembled, Hutch took a quick shower so he could coax his hair in the other direction. As they walked out of the apartment to head over to Starsky’s for their next chore, Starsky said, “Well, now I guess you know why plumbers usually wear a hat.”