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The Interview, Part 1
A long time ago (boy, does that sound like Star Wars or what?) I used to write S/H fiction for a zine. Over the years, I've gotten away from the fandom. The other day a friend in another fandom demanded any S/H fic I had lying around and I found this disk. It was full of stories I'd submitted to Nut Hatch Press over the years. In case nobody knows, Nut Hatch Press is out of Austrailia. Anyway, I should archive these somewhere before I lose them. So, Mamma Bird, I'm asking permission for using the list for a couple of the shorter ones. I promise to send them to the archive as I find time. To all the listsibs, the zines under Nut Hatch Press are more or less still available, but I know Jane is pulling way back from fandoms as she tries to deal with new husband, new life, etc. If you ever have a chance to read any of her 'Full Circle' zines, I highly recommend them. Enjoy the story. Toshua (feel free to let me know what you think. All comments can be addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org) The Interview: Rated G. m/m implied, originally published in Full Circle #6 (I think)
"So, what do you want to talk about, Mr. ah...Mr. Hutchinson? Why are you here?"
The tired figure drew in a lung full of smoke, exhaled toward the fan that blew it back in his face, away from the bespectacled man behind the desk. "I'm here, so they tell me, to dry out. Isn't that what the Betty Ford Clinic does, dry out people like me?"
"Yes, that's part of it. But we also want to help people understand why they have a problem. So they won't need our help again. So why don't you tell me something about yourself. Your file says that you have led quite a life." The doctor flipped through several pages in a folder. "You were a police officer, and a lawyer, a very successful one I might add. Married, now divorced. It doesn't say what your occupation is right now though. Care to discuss it?"
"I'm a bum. A drunk, out of work, don't give a damn, bum."
"Perhaps you ought to start at the beginning. What made you quit being a police officer? According to this you were a detective, with a chance for a rise to the top of your field. What happened?"
"I lost my partner."
"Oh...I see...killed in the line of duty, no doubt."
"Oh no. That I could have accepted. I just...lost...him. One day he was there, the next, he was gone."
"You mean he quit."
"He might have. I don't know." Mr. Hutchinson shifted in his soft comfortable chair, fiddled with the crease in his black wool trousers, lit another cigarette. "He just wasn't there anymore. I'd turn around and there would be this stranger in the car with me. I didn't know if I could trust him anymore. So I asked for a transfer."
"Anywhere. Narcotics, juvenile, vice. Didn't matter. I just couldn't be with him anymore. I couldn't handle looking at him anymore, and wondering."
"If he trusted me anymore. Was someone else going to come between us? Would he always be behind me, watching my back? You can't be a cop, on the street, without a partner to watch your back."
"Who came between you?"
"He got married?"
"No. We both fell for the same woman. Only we didn't know it until it was too late. She was playing us against each other. In the end we both decided that she wasn't worth the threat to our friendship, but the crack was there. No matter how many times we tried to talk about it, it was just too painful, there was too much anger. So I left."
"Where did you go?"
"Narcotics for about a year." Long pause for a lung full of smoke. "Then I took an assignment with the DA's office and went back to night school for my degree. Once I had my sheepskin and passed the bar, I hooked up with one of the bigger law firms in San Francisco and left L.A." Mr. Hutchinson shook his head. "Made a reputation for myself for being the cold calculating type that took the dirty cases. Didn't matter what they were. Fraud, embezzlement, rape, child abuse, murder. I handled them all."
"I take it you were a defense trial attorney."
"Special prosecutor sometimes, didn't matter the side. Give me a question to prove, and I'd prove it. Guilt or innocence, no difference."
"I suppose your background in law enforcement helped."
"Oh yeah. I knew all the right places to look for the dirt on anybody that was opposite my client. Knew all the right questions to ask on the stand."
"Your file says you got married."
Hutchinson stretched, got up and walked around the sparsely decorated office. He stopped in front of an aquarium, watched the fish, carefully took the cigarette away from his mouth so the ashes wouldn't drip into the water and harm the fish. "Married. You could call it that. Once I started making a name for myself, this pretty little legal secretary started showing a lot of interest. One thing led to another and before I knew it, there I was. She got what she wanted, a name to flash around, fancy house and car, money to shop with."
"And what did you get?"
"Me? Someone to sleep with. Someone to argue with after a long day. Someone to point out all my faults when I came home after winning a big case. Someone to blame falling into a bottle on the weekends."
"How long did it last?"
"Three years. Came home from court one day, found divorce papers nailed to the door with a knife, the house empty. She made a very sympathetic witness in divorce court. The withdrawn husband, never there, dedicated to his work. Gave up her career in the legal field for him. Bought her affections with elaborate gifts. Never there when she needed him. And when he was, to busy getting drunk to notice or care. Blah, blah, blah. Even I would have believed her."
"What happened? I assume she got a large settlement."
Hutchinson turned away from the fish, smashed the cigarette into the ash tray, ground the remaining stub against the filter until there was nothing left, a wolfish gleam in his eyes. "No, she didn't get a fucking dime. My attorney, with help from me, knew of every man, every little fling, every bank account where she'd socked away money that I'd given her. We made her out to be the gold digger that she was. The judge gave her enough money to start over and one of my cars." He lit another cigarette, sighed through the smoke, whispered, "She didn't deserve what she got. I admit it, I wasn't a husband to her. I probably put her through hell." He exhaled toward the ceiling. "But, hell, I won didn't I? Isn't that what life is all about? Winning and losing?"
"I wouldn't know. What do you think?"
"I don't know what I think. I used to believe in right or wrong. That's why I became a cop. But a cop can't believe in right or wrong, good or evil. A cop's supposed to believe in justice. So I became a lawyer. To fight for justice. And you know what, there is no such thing as justice. If you've got the money and can stand being made a spectacle of, you can get by with anything. Some of the people that I got off were so guilty, it'd make you sick. I'd go home and throw up over what I'd done that day. And go back and do it again."
"If you felt that strongly, why did you defend the ones that were guilty? Why didn't you stick to things that you knew would serve justice?"
"Money, doc. After awhile, I was just in it for the money. Money could drown your sorrows, buy you women, fancy vacations, fame. But you know what money won't buy?"
"Money won't buy you a sound nights sleep. Money won't let you look some poor person in the eye when you just took him to the cleaners because he couldn't afford an attorney and settled for a court appointed one. Money won't make right all the wrongs that you've done in its name. That's when I quit, climbed into a bottle and didn't come out until I landed here."
"So now what are you going to do? Go back to being a lawyer?"
Hutchinson studied the room, rows of books neatly on the shelves, framed certificates on the walls, artwork to soothe the eye. "I don't know. I just know I want the hurt to go away. I want to have a reason to get up every morning. Something more important than opening a bottle of Scotch. I want to help, not hurt." He snubbed out another cigarette, went to light another one but the pack was empty. The doctor opened a drawer, offered him an unopened pack. Hutchinson smiled. "Put it on my tab. I'm good for it."
"I know. If you were honest in your financial statement, you can live quite comfortably for several years on your investments and assets. Perhaps, once you have finished this program, you can start over, change your priorities in life, help instead of hurt. You were helping when you were a cop. Didn't that make you feel good?"
"Yes." Hutchinson prowled around the room again, looked out the windows. He squinted against the sunlight that penetrated the smog.
"What was the highest point in your police career?"
Hutchinson settled down into the chair again, laid his head back into the soft cushions, looked at the swirled ceiling patterns, let his mind drift back almost twenty years. "There were so many. Stopping a serial killer, rescuing a kidnapped girl, busting a child porn ring." He smiled slightly. "Starsky used to say I was a White Knight, riding to the rescue."
"Was that your partner's name?"
"Yeah." The soft voice went hoarse for a moment and the light blue eyes closed. "I don't think I've said it aloud in years."
"Do you know where you old partner is?"
"No. I haven't seen or heard from him since I left the L.A. police force."
"If you were so close that you couldn't work with him after your argument, weren't you curious about what he was doing, how he was doing? How many years were you partners?"
"A little over eight years. Our partnership lasted longer than my marriage, either one of them."
"You were married before? It's not on my records."
"Years ago, while I was still a cop. She was murdered."
"Murdered? How? Over what?"
"She was killed with my gun over a pretty big diamond. For awhile there was enough circumstantial evidence to make it look like I did it. But my partner proved me innocent and set up the bad guys."
"How did that make you feel?"
"Honored. To have someone that trusted me that much, that loved me that much, that he would risk his life, his career on my word, on his knowledge of me." Hutchinson smiled, face lighting with the memory.
"Did you love hi-her?" The doctor made a note to himself. Where was Starsky?
"Once. But she couldn't handle me being a cop. The hours, the people, not knowing if I was alive or not. So she left. My partner got me through it. Then he got me though it again when she came back into my life and was killed."
"Were there other reasons to give up being a cop?"
"Sure, corrupt system, corrupt cops, corrupt judges. Always battling something that's bigger than you are. Seeing your ideals thrown into your face every day. Watching the dirty cops driving the fancy cars and living in the fancy homes."
"Being a lawyer brings its own satisfaction, doesn't it?"
"Yeah, sometimes. When you put away a real sleaze bag for a long time. But these days, that type of feeling comes less and less."
"So that brings us back to why you're here."
"Guess so." Hutchinson snubbed out another cigarette, declined the offer of another one.
"Mr. Hutchinson, I don't have any miracle cures. But I think we have made headway. My secretary has scheduled you for another appointment for later in the week. Perhaps during our next session we may come up with some answers."
Hutchinson got out of the chair, took the doctor's hand in a firm shake. "Thank you for the time. Until later." He closed the door firmly behind him.
Three hours later, Doctor Thompson looked at the file in front of him. What had he done to deserve what he was being handed? The door opened and his newest patient barreled in, all dark energy and contained force.
"Ah, Mr. Starsky, right on time. Please come in. Cigarette? No? Why don't you sit down and tell me what's on your mind." The doctor leaned back in his seat, surveyed the dark haired man in front of his desk, wondered if the gods were playing tricks or being kind.
"Please, call me David." He shook the doctor's hand, looked at the soft leather chair and walked to the window instead. In once controlled, swift movement he pulled the drapes open so the twilight sun could touch his face. He made no effort to speak and the silence became uncomfortable swiftly.
"Ah, Mr. Starsky. You did ask for this interview?"
"Why do you call it an 'interview'? I'm not applying for a job. I don't need interrogating. How about 'session' or 'discussion' or even 'chat'?" The voice was soft, slightly baritone, completely in control. He turned around, leaned against the window, crossed his arms. The dark blue eyes were hard.
The doctor noted the posture, mentally congratulated the man in front of him on his body language commands and settled in for a long hour. "We can call it anything you like. You're paying for my time. How about 'chat'?"
The doctor took off his glasses, rubbed the lens with a tissue, put them back on. He opened the file folder in front of him, pretended to study it for a moment, then closed it. "Your file says that you are undergoing treatment for clinical depression. Is that correct?"
Starsky shrugged, turned back to the window. "That's what they say."
"What do you say?"
"I say that I've reached a crossroads and I am reviewing my options on which road to take."