"Hey, Hutch," Starsky said, rustling the paper, "wait'll you hear this!"
"Don't tell me you're reading another of those tabloids, Starsky," the blond said patiently as he sipped his coffee. There was a lot to be said for lazy Sundays in bed with his partner...except when Starsky insisted on reading him bizarre pieces of news. "What is it now? 'I gave birth through my nose?' or is it 'My wife is really a Martian.'"
"She was a Venusian, not a Martian!" the darker man said peevishly. "You never listen to me."
Hutch shook his head. "I told you nothing in there is for real, it's all made up!"
"Not this paper!" Starsky said indignantly. "This is the VenicePlace Gazette! It's all the news about the folks right in our own building, and our own neighborhood! It is so real!"
Hutch rolled his eyes. "Oh, brother. Not more updates on the continual renovations in the basement. I think they're keeping an animal down there. It smells bad. And in so far as 'real' is concerned, considering the kind of neighbors that keep moving in here, I'd have to question the veracity of anything that shows up in that rag. Even the cab drivers are wierd. You know I think we're the only men left in this building?"
"A'Course, we are, Blondie. The Super planned it that way. Now, will you shut up and listen? This is a great story."
Hutch sighed, but paid attention as Starsky read:
"A writer dies and due to a bureaucratic snafu in the afterworld, she is allowed to choose her own fate: heaven or hell for all eternity."
"Is this a slash writer or a real writer?" Hutch asked.
Starsky peered at him in annoyance. "What's the difference?"
"Well, one writes smarmy slutty pornography with no socially redeeming value, and the other writes true literature."
Starsky smirked at his lover. "You're just grumpy 'cause they like my butt better. Now, shut up and let me finish." He straightened out the paper and continued. "Being a very shrewd dead person, the writer -- who clearly must be a Starsky-prefering slash writer -- asks St. Peter for a tour of both.
"The first stop is hell where she sees rows and rows of writers sitting chained to desks in a room as hot as a thousand suns. Fire licks the writers' fingers as they try to work, demons whip their backs with chains. Your general hell scene."
"Sounds like one of those rooms in the basement," Hutch murmured.
Starsky nodded. "Yeah, I think they're reserving that one for Flamingo. Stop interrupting." He went back to the story. "'Wow, this sucks,' quoth the writer, 'let's see some heaven.'"
Starsky showed him the paper where the word "quoth" was written, then when on. "In a moment, they were whisked to heaven and the writer saw rows and rows of writers chained to desks in a room as hot as a thousand suns. Fire licks the writers' fingers as they try to work, demons whip their backs with chains. It looks and smells even worse than hell."
"'What gives, Pete?' the writer asked. 'This is worse than hell!'"
Hutch looked at him, now intrigued.
Starsky smiled. "'Yes,' St. Peter replied, 'but here your work gets published.'"