If Sky Blue and Black was harder to write and not very well received, than Hour of Separation was, in comparison, an easy to raise and well-loved child. This post is about that story, which you can read on Flamingo’s fabulous Starsky and Hutch site. 

First and formost, this is a slash story about two men who love each other, and who, as David Soul once said, “just happened to be cops.” So, be warned, if you don’t like slash, this story is not for you. It’s pure romance from start to finish.

The title, as some have speculated, comes from a line from a collection of poems by Haklil Gibran called “The Prophet.” The line is as follows:

“And ever has it been that loves knows not its own depth until the hour of separation.” 

I had long thought that this idea deserved a story. Because it’s true, you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone; it’s hard to see what you have until someone takes it away from you.

On the show, Starsky and Hutch, the boys are always together, and in fact, Hutch, in one episode, Death in a Different Place, breaks down the percentage of time that they spend together (in hours) and then complains that in spite of that, Starsky is not even a good kisser. (Ah, the madness of the seventies, when characters could joke about men kissing men without having to chop down a tree to prove their manhood afterwards.) Given that they spend so much time together, how would the boys react to being separated?

And indeed, how should I separate them? I didn’t want either of the boys out of their element, I didn’t want them not being cops. I didn’t want either of them in the hosptial (at least not for very long), because I seriously wanted them to be apart. If your very best pal in the whole world is in the hospital, and you are, say, Starsky, you would visit your pal every day, so that’s not much of a separation, although it could involve a whole lot of worry. Same goes for Hutch. So I brought in the new boss, Brown, who is the same as the old boss except in that he simply does not get the boys. He doesn’t understand their closeness and feels that their lack of respect for authority (his) indicates shoddy workmanship on their parts and separates them to teach them a lesson about something. Dobey, for his part, feels the same way Brown does, but understands that who the boys are and what they feel about each other only enhances their performance. On the street, that is. I’m sure it never occurs to him to ask them how their performance is when they’re not on the street.

Exit Doby, for an extended vacation, and enter Brown. Brown separates them and gives them each new partners who are, for the most part, totally unsuitable to each boy’s temperments. (I refer to these grown men as boys simply because that’s what they seem to me to be, and also because of the song, “They Boys Are Back,” which TNT used one year to promote reruns of the show.) The clash in ego and personality leads to fights, misunderstandings, and an astonishing clarity of vision for the boys, because not only do we get to see them through their new partners’ eyes, we get to see them missing each other. And figuring out why they miss each other so much.

From there follows many, many pages of angst, grumpiness, insomnia all set against the stage of a lovely, hot L.A. summer. Part of the fun is that the boys don’t understand just how close they’ve become over the years, and what exactly it is that they like about each other. Of course, there’s a happy ending, with no torture, at least not the regular kind, heh-heh-heh.

The story was a joy to write, and I really got into the whole L.A. atmosphere, and the heat, and just how mean the boys could be to each other, even when they were trying like anything to get along. Anyway, here it is, online, for the enjoyment of everyone.