I don't remember the shooting. I wish I did. It made such an impression on everyone. It was like this big bubble that pushed aside everything around it, sucking the air and conversation like a vacuum cleaner. In the hospital, everyone tippy-toed through the subject while I lay there gritting my teeth, fists clenched, tortured tears crusting the corners of my eyes. I nodded and pretended to understand when they whispered their hearts ou
In other words, I became their reluctant confessional
I'm sorry to be laying this heavy trip on you, Starsk, Huggy would say.
I feel so bad I was inside while it happened, Dobey would say.
And Hutch. My Hutch. He didn't have to say anything at all. Even without words, his raw blue eyes were his silent novena. Full of sweet desolation, balmy pain
I was dead in the hospital a few times cardiac arrest and pneumonia. I died in the rehab joint once allergic reaction to a new med. And Hutch says I died one time after I came home, though I think he was exaggerating a little. Death has so many doors, in his mind there was no way I left any unopened
The one at home a little too much Vicodin. A little too much booze. A little too much self-pity. He asked me in the ER later if it was an accident.
A happy accident, I joked, a feeble attempt.
His face rapidly turned pale, like paint streaming off a brush. Fuck you, he said.
I would have grabbed at him, but my stomach hurt from puking so much. C'mon, I started.
No, he grunted, and turned away. No. He stomped out of the ER, leaving me with very little doubt where he stood on the subject. I felt like a little kid caught with his hand in the candy jar.
I had to take a cab home. The cabbie asked me about the black stains on my shirt, stains from the charcoal the ER staff fed me to soak up the medication. I tossed him an extra $20 and curled up like an elbow noodle in the corner of the back seat.
Hutch was on my couch when I got home, sucking down what was left of my booze. I closed the door behind me and sank to the floor, all the energy and indignation I had mustered up for the trip home... gone. He looked up from the couch.
Don' thin' I'm gonna 'elp you, he slurred.
Don' thin' I wan' you to, I said, too tired to argue. So much for pity melting the mind to love.
I woke up hours later, carpet fibers digging into my eyelids. I looked over at the couch. He was gone. He had to step over me to get out. Fuck him
Before the shooting we were looking for a change. We almost made it, too. We had quit. Badges in the ocean, scanning the want-ads, the whole banana. It's poor relief though, when we change the location, but keep the pain.
We were sharing his apartment because we were subletting mine, worried about money. He was bringing home just about a chick a night, taking out his financial frustrations by fucking whatever walked. Sex was free, after all. I faked sleep on the couch while they grunted and moaned and sweated bullets in the un-airconditioned alcove Hutch calls a bedroom.
I really was asleep when I heard noises coming from the bathroom. I stumbled through the darkness, cursing I knocked my knee into a plant stand. A sliver of light through a crack in the bathroom door. He was in there, puking up a lung from the sound of it. I knocked lightly, whispered Hutch?
The sound of running water greeted my question. I opened the door. He was naked, bent over the sink, rinsing out his mouth. He looked up at me, eyes rimmed red.
I couldn't help it, Starsk, He said, his voice shaking. We were almost there, we were getting into it, you know? And she's moaning all kinds of shit. And then out of the blue, she calls me Tom. And all of a sudden I'm obsessed with who the hell is Tom. And then I realize I can't remember her name either. I have no fucking idea what her name is, damn it.
He shook his head mournfully. What the fuck am I doing? he asked, wiping his mouth with the back of his hand. I reached out and wrapped my arms around his waist, my sweaty chest pressing into his back, my chin on his shoulder, my soft dick pressing into his ass not like an invitation, not that we hadn't before, but it wasn't really do-able this time, with a chick sleeping right in the other room. More like just a reminder that we were in this together a visible vow of eternal, shared misery staring right back at us from the mirror.
So we got our jobs back, and I got shot, and really at that point we were only putting off the inevitable, getting used to what we had discovered during the whole Rigger thing -- which was we were ready to not be cops anymore.
And so we quit. Again. And there we were, me back on his couch, only this time surrounded by inhalers and Ativan, and him fucking everything that moved and calling it Love.
One night as I slept on that couch, with the soft clank of his refrigerator coils shaking their ancient mechanical dance, I awoke. I took a piss and not yet willing to back to drug-assisted sleep wandered the apartment.
I walked past the alcove where Hutch slept. He lay in his bed with some chick, a blond of course, fresh-faced both of them were She reminded me a bit around the edgesof Abby. She was in a t-shirt, tangled up in a sheet, sleeping with her mouth in a tiny o.
He slept naked, coiled around a pillow, grasping it in the intimate way that he should have been grasping her. He was no longer the lean, sinewy Hutch of our early partnership. That enthusiastic illusion of youth had fleda few years ago after one too many busts -- one too many hypes and skanks and rotting babies in dumpsters. But there was a hint of the old Hutch in the way a muscular leg bent at the knee. In the way a solid arm wrapped around the pillow. In the way a vein pulsed in his lean neck.
A breeze floated in from an open window. The couple stirred, settled back to sleep. I felt a coolness on my bare chest.
That should have been my cue to head back to the couch. Instead, I watched that muscular leg resettle around the pillow. As I watched, I reached down and grasped my growing erection inside my boxers. I imagined myself as the pillow. I was naked in the bed, with his arms around me, with the breeze floating past. I was young. I was fresh-faced. I wasn't scarred.
I cupped my fingers and rubbed the pre-cum over my cock head as I looked at Hutch's strong legs. I saw in my mind's eye those leg muscles clenched around my thighs. Saw the soft ass tighten and release. I grabbed the base of my cock with one hand, moved that hand up and down, while the other one fondled my soft sac. I pictured Hutch's large, strong hands fondling my balls, as I hefted gently.
I began to see white and feel the buzz of release and realized almost too late that if I didn't take this elsewhere, I was going to have a problem. I stumbled to the darkened bathroom and finished there, one hand on the back of the toilet, the other quickly jerking me off to completion.
Dazed, I stood upright, ready to walk back to the couch. But those same large, strong hands in my fantasy stopped me.
What's her name? a familiar voice whispered.
She's your fuck-of-the-week. How would I know? I growled back.
She left a name at which the world grew pale, the owner of the voice maneuvered me over to the sink as he recited, to point a moral, or adorn a tale. He bent me over, kissed me on the neck, behind the ear, sucking gently at the skin there. I felt my body respond.
But... I protested in a heated whisper.
She's asleep, Hutch said, his voice ragged.
Won't she.... I tried again, and was interrupted by his hand on my groin.
She is nothing. I could hear him fumbling in the medicine cabinet overhead, feel him preparing me. I gasped as one finger, then two, entered quickly. I shivered. The moon shone from the glass block window in the bathroom. I imagined that he glowed, a ball of white flame enveloping us both.
My elbows on the vanity supported me. I leaned my forehead on the cold chromed faucet. His one hand stroked me back to hardness. His other hand, with long, clever fingers, continued to delve deep inside.
Suddenly he pulled out his fingers and pressed his full, hard cock into my asshole. The vanity shook as I gripped the sink. I gasped with the stinging pain, then the liberating friction, then the joyful sweetness. I cried. I was handsome and whole again. He was my redeemer again. We were young and free and saving the streets from miscreants and misdemeanors.
Oh dear, sweet God in heaven, this was fucking at its finest. This was a fine fuck.
This was a fuck. A mindless fuck.
Hutch, I reached into that tiny part of my brain that was still intact, reached back with my hands, put my hands on his hips the best I could.
He stopped. Puzzled. Began again.
Hutch, I repeated the motion.
He stopped again.
I turned my head, looked back. We flew high from pleasure that had long since ceased to please. We looked into each others eyes, shrouded by moonlight and shadows.
He slowly withdrew from me.
We wept. I sat on the vanity. He sat on the toilet, his hand on my knee.
He eventually went back to bed, to the blond, fresh-faced woman whose name he did not know.
I went back to the couch, took my sleeping pill, and had drug-induced dreams. I dreamed of the touch of a vanished hand, the sounds of a stilled voice.
The next morning, I awoke to the clatter of breakfast dishes and Hutch saying to someone, I'm sorry sweetheart, I've forgotten your name.