Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
By Maquis Leader
Rated: R or light NC17 for language and sexual situations
Author’s note: Set after Death In A Different Place
Chapter 1 ~ The Cyclone
“You know you can't hold me forever
I didn't sign up with you
I'm not a present for your friends to open
This boy's too young to be singing the blues
So goodbye yellow brick road
Where the dogs of society howl
You can't plant me in your penthouse
I'm going back to my plough”
Starsky eyed the crowd warily. A number of them were staring at Hutch with avid interest. Any one of them could be the killer.
A flash of red to his right made him turn his head. One of the other performers was glaring at Hutch as he sang. Arms crossed over the large bosom, and bright red lips set in a thin line. Or it could be someone backstage.
A hand on his ass made Starsky jump and turn. A platinum blonde in a pink mini winked and sashayed past him, continuing on toward the dressing room.
“What do you think you'll do then
I bet that'll shoot down your plane
It'll take you a couple of vodka and tonics
To set you on your feet again
Maybe you'll get a replacement
There's plenty like me to be found
Mongrels who ain't got a penny
Sniffing for tidbits like you on the ground”
Onstage, Hutch finished the song and bowed as he left the stage. The crowd whistled and clapped as he blew them a kiss.
The bright ‘thank you so much, I love you all’ smile faded as he stepped backstage. “Anything?”
“A pat on the ass, a couple of phone numbers, and an offer for a threesome.” Starsky shook his head. “Other than that?”
“Other than that.” The blonde walked past him.
“Nothin’.” He followed Hutch back to the dressing room.
“You were beautiful, sweetheart!” One of the girls called out.
Hutch turned and smiled. “Thank you, honey.”
“I’m never getting used to this.” Starsky muttered as they went past performers in the process of turning into women or changing back into men. He kept his eyes carefully trained on Hutch’s back. Which didn't necessarily help considering what Hutch was wearing.
“You’ve got the smoothest voice.” A redhead who was wrapping tape around his chest to create the illusion of cleavage eyed Hutch and licked his lips.
“My voice isn’t the only thing that’s smooth.” He winked, making the man giggle.
“What are you doin’?” Starsky hissed as Hutch finally reached the corner of the room he was using for a dressing area. “What are you doin’ flirting?”
“Starsky, honey, take it easy.” Shrugging, he turned to face his partner.
“Take it easy?” He reached out and grabbed the back of Hutch’s neck and pulled him closer. Putting his mouth close to Hutch’s ear, Starsky whispered softly.
To the others, it looked as if Starsky was jealous, and they snickered and giggled. This was a new development. Until now, Hutch had been the jealous one, flaring up anytime someone so much as looked like they’d make a move in Starsky’s direction.
Starsky was the protective one, hovering over his partner, even going so far as to block their view when Hutch dressed. Not that looking at Starsky’s leather clad body was in any way denying them a treat.
“Oh… I knew he had a hot temper.” The redhead said to the man putting on lipstick next to him. “That tight package all wrapped up and ready to explode.”
“Which package are you talking about?” He looked over the top of his lipstick at Starsky’s ass encased in tight black leather.
“My feet are killing me.” Hutch murmured.
“Yeah?” Starsky leaned in closer, aware the others were watching what they assumed was a lover’s tiff. “My thighs are raw from this fucking leather.”
“Oh… “Hutch grimaced in sympathy and patted his partner’s hip. “You win this one.”
“Spot anybody suspicious?” He backed Hutch up, putting a hand on either side of his head and pinning him to the wall.
"They're all suspicious." Sliding his fingers into the curly hair, Hutch laid his cheek against Starsky’s in what he hoped their audience saw as a conciliatory gesture.
"More than the usual kind?"
"Not even a twitch." Hutch was aware of the tittering and talk around them. "It really is us against the world in this place, isn't it?"
"And I'm beginning to wonder about you." Starsky stepped back and looked Hutch over. The long leopard print dress clung to a shape forced into curves nature hadn't intended.
"Watch it, buddy, I've had offers." Hutch slapped his partner on one hip, knowing it would sting like hell through the leather.
"Son of a – " He bit his lip.
"You know what they say, love hurts, baby." Hutch stepped around Starsky and sat down at his dressing table. "You smeared my lipstick."
"How?" Checking himself in the mirror, Starsky found Crimson Lady lipstick on his cheek. "You know how much therapy this is going to take?"
"Who's the one in the dress?" He tossed a tissue over his shoulder.
"I ain't shavin' my chest," Luckily, Starsky’s hairy chest had kept him out of a dress; instead, he’d taken on the role of Hutch's boyfriend. He scrubbed at the lipstick. "Might scare it off, and I'd end up looking like you."
"Not like a caveman, you mean?" Underneath the dressing table, Hutch kicked off the high heeled pumps. "If our killer doesn't make his move soon, I'm going to be permanently crippled."
"Gimme your feet." Starsky pulled a chair close to him and sat down.
"Come on." He patted his leg. "My Aunt Edith gave the best foot massages this side of Sweden, and she taught me how to do it."
“What the hell.” Hutch lifted a foot up onto his partner's leg. After a moment, his eyes closed and he sighed. "Oh, that's wonderful."
"Told you." Grinning, Starsky carefully massaged Hutch's foot.
They'd gone undercover to catch a killer who had murdered at least five men in the past two months. The fact that the men were all gay and performed in drag had kept it out of the papers and on the bottom of the investigations list.
Not until Sugar was almost victim number six did the case come to Starsky and Hutch's attention. A call from Huggy had brought them to the hospital where the flamboyant man lay in a coma. He’d been strangled with a silk scarf and left for dead in his dressing room.
Captain Dobey had gotten the Chief's reluctant permission to send the two of them undercover to try to catch the killer.
After John Blaine’s death, and their investigation, they were known to the clientele of the Green Parrot. However, a friend of Sugar's, Ree, owned a club where they could blend in. Blend in after getting a lesson in drag and leather, that is.
The ‘girls’ thought they were both sexy and the partners had found themselves playing the role of a committed couple with a little more realism than they'd intended. Starsky had quickly taken up the role of protector for his 'delicate songbird', crossing his arms across his chest and glaring at any would be suitors.
Hutch had found himself in the jealous lover role as a way to keep Starsky from punching anyone. The first night they were undercover, one of the 'girls' had grabbed Starsky's ass and made a crude suggestion about what could be done with it.
To keep their cover from going up in a puff of smoke, Hutch had thrown a hissy fit worthy of any diva in the room. He'd tossed a drink in the man's face and threatened to scratch his eyes out.
Then he'd dragged his 'poor baby' off to a booth to cuddle. The embrace had hidden the fact that Starsky was barely holding in his laughter. The ruse had worked, and they hadn't been bothered since. Flirted with, but it was strictly hands off. Most of the time.
"Feel better?" Starsky grinned as Hutch lifted the other foot and laid it in his lap.
"Much better." He chuckled. "Now we know what line of work you can go into if we ever quit the force."
"Lookee, lookee!" A loud voice called out. "Someone's getting flowers!"
Starsky and Hutch looked up, their eyes meeting. The dead men had all received flowers the night they were murdered. Sugar had had a bouquet of red and white roses in his dressing room as well. Now they waited to see who would get the flowers. This would finally give them a solid lead. And get them out of Ree’s club.
Hutch's eyes widened as Rob swept up to him in a swirl of blue chiffon. "Here you are, darling!"
"For me?" He took the bouquet of red and white roses.
"Who's sending you flowers?" Starsky plucked the card from the flowers.
"That's mine, thank you!" He snatched it from Starsky and opened the envelope. "’From your most ardent admirer.’"
A look passed between them; the card was exactly the same as the other victims had received.
Hutch's smile was genuine. Not only did they have a lead, they had one that wouldn't endanger anyone else in trying to trap the murderer. It was worth squeezing into a bra and pantyhose to catch this killer. And beating out the other ‘girls’ was icing on the cake.
"So, who's your admirer?" Knowing they needed to keep playing their undercover roles, Starsky snatched the card back. "Someone's been hitting on you? Behind my back?"
"Of course not, Starsk." Lifting the flowers to his nose, Hutch sniffed at the delicate scent. "Aren't you happy that I have someone who admires my singing?"
"So long as that's all he admires."
"Oh, and here's a note!" Rob cooed as he handed over a small envelope. "Did I forget to give that to you, darling?"
"I think you did, darling." Hutch took the envelope and waited for Rob to leave. When the diva plopped a hand on his hip with the obvious intention of going nowhere fast, he shrugged and opened the note.
"Another admirer?" Starsky asked. "Should I be worried?"
Scanning the note, Hutch shook his head. "He only wants to meet me and have a drink."
"When?" If the killer wanted to set up a meet, they might be close to solving this case and locking the creep away forever. "And what am I supposed to do while you're meeting this admirer?"
Rob looked back and forth between the two. There seemed to be a code in the way that they were talking. "You know… you two are just not right. Something's just not kosher. It's almost like you're straight."
Maybe 'cos we are? That wasn't their cover, so Starsky slid his hands up Hutch's ankle to massage the calf of his leg.
Hutch jumped and nearly dropped the flowers and the note. "Straight?" He squeaked out.
"Unless my gaydar is really screwed up – " Rob looked them over again. "You two aren't registering."
"Well, Starsky and I just discovered our love recently." Hutch jumped as Starsky pinched his calf. "Maybe that's what's throwing you off."
"Maybe." Walking away, Rob shook his head. "There's something odd about you two."
“The guy in the dress thinks we're weird?”
“That hurt.” Hutch rubbed his leg.
“Love hurts, baby.” Starsky dropped Hutch’s feet to the floor as he stood up. “What say we go meet your admirer.”
“Not we. Me.” Hutch tossed the roses on the table and reached down to feel underneath for his discarded pumps. “I go to meet him with my jealous boyfriend, it might scare him off.”
“I don’t like it.” This creep had already murdered five other men; he didn’t intend for Hutch to be number six.
“You’ll be close by.” Patting Starsky’s shoulder, Hutch looked in the mirror and adjusted his wig. “How do I look?”
“Adorable as always.”
“My breasts are crooked.” He tugged at the straps of his bra. “Damn it – how do women deal with these things?”
“Women’s are usually attached. Been my experience anyway.” Starsky brushed his hands away. “You’re just making them worse. One of them is pointing to Catalina.”
“Just get them level, would you?” Waiting as his partner adjusted the rice filled nylons that passed for breasts, Hutch caught a glimpse of them in the mirror. There he stood in a leopard print dress, blonde wig, and red lipstick while a leather clad Starsky adjusted his breasts. “I never imagined this at the academy.“
“I imagined a lot of things.” The sapphire eyes twinkled. “Copping a feel off you wasn’t one of them.”
“Don’t get used to it.” Picking up his matching leopard skin muff, Hutch walked toward the door leading into the club, careful to walk the way he’d been taught. “Does this look right?”
“You honestly expect me to answer that?”
Out in the club, Hutch looked for a man sitting alone at a table. The note had said he’d have a vase with a rose. After a moment, he spotted him. “In the corner – end of the bar. By the door.”
“Got him.” Starsky moved past him and headed for the bar.
Strolling across the club in what he hoped was a sexy walk, Hutch smiled as he approached the table. The man was wearing a black overcoat and had an old fashioned fedora pulled over his eyes. “Well, hello there. Thank you for the flowers.”
“They pale beside your beauty.” The man patted the chair next to him. “And your voice makes the birds jealous.”
A few feet away, leaning on the bar, Starsky almost choked on his beer. “What kind of line is that?” He muttered.
“What kind of line would you like, sugar pie?”
A slim, red fingernailed hand slid down his arm, and Starsky turned to see Bijoux lean on the bar next to him. “Bijoux.” He said noncommittally.
“You look so sexy tonight.” Bijoux ran a red fingernail along the dark blue silk of Starsky’s shirt. “I could just eat you up.”
“Now, Bijoux, you know Hutch is the jealous type.” He took a swig of his beer. “Did you ever get the daiquiri out of your wig?”
“I wouldn’t worry about that bitch.” Bijoux hissed as he pressed himself against Starsky’s side. “He’s screwing around on you.”
“Do tell?” Thinking of Hutch sneaking around to be with one of the men here made him grin.
“He’s leaving with Mr. Not So Tall, Dark, and Mysterious.”
“What?” Turning, he saw Hutch going out the back door of the club with the man in the overcoat. “Shit!”
“Told you.” Bijoux ran a hand down Starsky’s belly to cup his crotch. “Don’t worry, honey, I’ll do you right.”
Grabbing Bijoux’s arm, he twisted it up. “Touch me again, and I’ll cut it off.” Shoving the man out of his way, Starsky took off after Hutch.
He jerked the door open and ran out into the alley to find Hutch struggling with the other man. “Hey! Get your hands off!”
“You’ll never be better than me!” The man shoved Hutch against the wall of the club before turning to run down the alley.
“Hutch!” Stopping next to his partner, he searched for wounds. There was a long silk scarf wrapped around Hutch’s neck.
“Go on!” Hutch pulled at the silk. “Catch him!”
Confident that Hutch wasn’t hurt, Starsky ran after his attacker. “Police! Freeze!” The boots he was wearing weren’t made for running, but he was steadily gaining on the other man.
Hutch tugged the scarf loose enough to breathe and ran after Starsky. A few steps later, one of his high heeled pumps twisted under him and his ankle bent, causing him to stumble. He grabbed the edge of a trash dumpster, barely managing to keep himself from falling face first. “Starsky, be careful!”
Starsky caught up to Hutch’s attacker and threw himself onto his back, dragging them both down to the ground. Avoiding the slapping hands, he pulled his cuffs from where they hung on his belt and locked them down on one flailing wrist. “Come on, hold still, it’s over!”
“No one is better than me! No one!” The man hissed as he tried to scratch Starsky’s face with his free hand.
“Yeah, yeah, nobody’s better. Roll over.” Jerking on the cuffs, Starsky forced the man over on his stomach and sat astride his hips. He pulled the man’s free hand up to lock the other cuff on it. “There, now you’re the best in cuffs.”
“You leather clad cretin! Let go of me!”
“Cretin?” Starsky stood up and pulled the man to his feet. “I’m insulted. I think.”
“You got him?” Hutch yelled.
“I got him.” He pushed the man down the alley toward Hutch. “He coulda killed you, why didn’t you shoot him?”
“Couldn’t get my gun out of my muff.” The butt of the Magnum stuck out of the spotted fur.
“You could have shot through it.” Starsky glared at him. “Instead of letting him strangle you.”
“I paid fifteen dollars for this thing!” Hutch was leaning on the side of the dumpster, rubbing his ankle. “I don’t know how women run in these shoes.”
“They don’t.” He threw the guy against the side of the dumpster. “They always sprain an ankle and then the bad guy catches them.”
“I’m not surprised.” Grabbing the man’s chin, Hutch turned his face up to get a better look at him. “You’re under arrest, by the way. Starsky, read him his rights.”
“I caught him, you read him his rights.”
“He ran like a girl.”
“So did you.” Starsky grinned at him.
“Hey, don’t we know this guy?”
“Looks a little familiar around the eyes.” He squinted. “Hey, he looks kinda like that the guy we saw the other night. The one with two first names.”
“The amateur show.” Hutch snapped his fingers. “Amber something.”
“Amber Charlotte!” The man stamped his feet. “I’m Amber Charlotte!”
“That’s it.” Starsky nodded. “You did Gypsies, Tramps, and Thieves. I liked it.”
“That’s because I’m better than this bitch!” Amber sneered at Hutch. “I’m better than anyone and soon everyone will know my name!”
“You’re not wrong there, buddy.” Testing his ankle, Hutch found it was tender but not too sore to walk on. “But your Cher really needs some work.”
“You didn’t like it?” Starsky started to search his pockets and then realized he didn’t have any. “I don’t have the card. Amber, you have the right to remain silent, so shut up.”
“I don’t have to talk to you, anyway.” Amber turned and stuck his nose in the air. “I’ll talk to the press.”
“I heard the competition in show biz was a killer, but this is ridiculous.”
“Starsky, you in that leather outfit is ridiculous.”
“Says the blonde in the spotted dress.” Starsky looked down at his leather pants. They chafed but he looked sexy as hell in them.
“I’ll have you know this is an original knock off of a Bob Mackie original.” Hutch smoothed his wrinkled skirt.
“And you look cute, sweetheart.” Laughing, Starsky reached out and pinched Hutch’s cheek.
“You say that now, but will you respect me in the morning?”
“I think I lost respect for you when I had to help you make your boobs.”
“It’s all about the breasts for you.”
“Come on, superstar.” Starsky pulled Amber away from the dumpster. “Time to go meet some fans.”
There was a sound from the dumpster and Hutch jumped back. It was probably a rat living off the club’s garbage. He had taken a step away from the dumpster when he heard the sound again and realized it was a moan. “Starsky. Did you hear that?”
“Hear what?” The other man stopped.
“I thought I heard something in the dumpster.”
“Probably a rat.” Starsky shuddered. “They get big as cats.”
“I don’t think so.” There was another moan. “Starsky, I think someone’s in there.”
Pushing Amber toward Hutch, Starsky climbed up on the edge of the dumpster. “I don’t hear nothin’. If this is a joke…”
“Starsk, I’m serious.”
The baby blues convinced him that his partner wasn’t pulling a fast one, and Starsky began to dig tentatively through the trash. Bottles, papers, and rotting food was shoved to one side until he hit something soft. “What the – “
Digging deeper, he got a grip on whatever the item was and pulled it up. His eyes widened as he realized it was a hand. “Hutch! There’s someone here!”
Looking over the side, Hutch watched as Starsky uncovered a woman. Naked and badly beaten. “You stay with her, I’ll get help.”
“Hang on, you’ll be fine.” Stripping off his shirt, Starsky laid it over the woman – a young girl really, he realized as he pulled more of the trash off of her. “You just hang on, darlin’.”
Her lips moved and he leaned closer. “What?”
“H – home – want to – go home – “
“We’ll get you home.” He squeezed her hand. “I promise, we’ll get you home.”