Samdhi–Hutch’s Early Life (Prequel)
He was born in a farming village, about thirty miles south of Duluth, Minnesota. His mother lived with her parents, and he was the result of her misguided youth. As an act of charity or because she was hoping to inherit the very valuable farm from her family, his mother's older sister decided that he should grow up with her and her family in Duluth. He would address them as Mother and Father and consider himself their child and be quite grateful for that. He was only three, so easy to persuade. Hutch always knew he had another mommy, but she was not very active in his life–actually she was not active at all in his life. In fact, he never saw her after his fifth birthday. She supposedly married an Italian tourist and moved to Rome. But who knows–maybe she made up an alternate person to be her and lives in a Chicago slum–he inherited his ability to lie from some one.
His new home was not unpleasant. It was large and fancy and staffed with a number of servants, one of whom took over his supervision. He really regarded Margaret as his parent, not that he didn't do things to cause her worry–one of his strong points. While he was still little, his dangerous physical escapades kept her on edge, but when he reached puberty everything took a sharp turn, decidedly aberrant in nature. From bringing home stray pets and hurt wild things, he expanded to include stray and hurt people–boys and men, to be honest. Margaret accepted his explanations, but Father was quite suspicious. He questioned him, in round-about methods at first, and then finally he asked him quite straightforward if he was engaging in sex with these people. For some reason he decided to tell the truth that time, and told him he was. He ordered the teenager from the house, since he would be a bad influence on his little sister. Of course, they both knew it was because he feared the gossip of having a queer son, even a misbegotten adopted son.
He went to his mother’s parents, but that was still too close, so he was shipped off to Oregon where his father’s parents lived. He was under no circumstance to reveal the reason for his removal from Minnesota. He finished high school with good grades and tried to behave himself. There were a few encounters with men he found in Portland, but on the whole he was careful and kept his head down. His graduation present from his family in Minnesota was enough money for rent and food and the promise of tuition when he started college. Of course, it was understood that he would not return to Minnesota and would not tell anyone of his extracurricular activities. Being a few months shy of his eighteenth birthday, he decided he would travel on his own. California sounded like an interesting place, especially Los Angeles. As an added bonus, it was warm most of the time, and he’d definitely had enough cold, snowy winters to last a lifetime.
Los Angeles was perfect–hot, but not humid; crowded, but not like New York–he loved it, especially the beaches. He bought an old, cheap car, and explored every beach he could find, but the wild and crazy surf scene at Malibu was his favorite. He loved swimming and soon learned surfing. Every day found him up early and home late, swimming and tanning and feeling great. He learned this was a wealthy area of the city, inhabited by the famous and the makers of fame. His blond looks were in demand, and he had no problems finding those who wanted to take him home, take him places, show him off–it was heady stuff to an eighteen-year-old. He made a few mistakes–trusting the wrong man, staying too long with one person, believing declarations of love too easily–but he learned quickly, and he remembered. That first summer in L.A. was wonderful. He had looked older than his age ever since eighth grade, and he was grateful for that now. It gained him entrance to many places he was actually too young to be legal. Oh, he thought he was hot stuff–all kinds of men vied for his attention: some rich, some powerful, some both. They gave him anything he wanted–clothes, jewelry, the best food at the fanciest restaurants, weekend trips to fancy resorts, gambling jaunts to Vegas, anything and everything.
When autumn came and school started, he actually signed up at a two year college in Santa Monica. He wanted to attend UCLA, but because he hadn't lived there long enough, they charged a lot of money–more than Father would pay. But that was okay, since he could transfer the credits, and he’d be a resident by next year. Santa Monica was right next to Malibu, so wherever he stayed at night, he was close to school. The classes were kind of neat–music, art, design, as well as English and history. Father would have called most of it a waste of time, but he liked it–especially music. He'd always wanted to play guitar, and finally he had the opportunity. Despite his living arrangements, he took his studies seriously, and earned pretty good grades.
But the year was unbearably lonely. Oh, not because he was alone, ever. There was always someone who wanted his attention, or at least his body, but the loveless encounters soon became almost soul destroying. He rented a dump in Santa Monica, because he wanted some place to stay when he didn't feel like hooking up, when he wanted to practice guitar, or paint and not be disturbed, or just to read a book uninterrupted. Granted, he was only eighteen, but he felt much older, and the party life quickly lost its shine and glamour. He decided that he was going to stop sleeping with every guy that came along and save himself for someone worth having. He guessed he wanted romance, but maybe that wasn't possible between guys.
He transferred to UCLA over that second summer and spent almost every day either at a summer music class or at a beach spot north of Malibu surfing. He connected with a few guys, but only once in a while, when he was really desperate. A beautiful girl in his class caught his eye. She was definitely star material, and he wondered if she were an aspiring actress. You never knew who was at UCLA, since they offered a world famous acting and theater curriculum that was accordingly popular. Her name was Vanessa, a rather classy name, which seemed to suit her exactly. Her dark hair shone with luster and health, piled casually up on the hottest days, with very little make up to hide her beauty. It wasn’t difficult to engage her in conversation, since she seemed to be flattered by his attention. He had dated some girls in high school, had had sex with quite a few, but sex with girls was tame compared to what he enjoyed with guys. Getting it up wasn’t a problem, but coming back for seconds was.
His first few dates with Vanessa were great. They talked and laughed and took in the night life in Westwood. They looked good together–her dark-as-night hair and his sun-bleached-blond hair– drew attention and comments everywhere they went. He bought her flowers, took her to movies, wrote love songs, played them for her on his guitar, and paid her extravagant compliments. She filled every one of his requirements for romance, and he was captivated. Maybe he had just been waiting for the right girl.
Their first time having sex was out of this world. Vanessa was almost like a guy in bed, wanting it rough and hard, never backing down from a new challenge. He’d told her he lived in dorm housing and had a not very understanding roommate, therefore no place for them to go. But that was all right with her–a rented motel room was fine, private and a bit risque. It seemed to appeal to her sense of fun, but cut into his savings quite deeply as the motel dates became frequent. He decided to rent a furnished, nicer place in Westwood. His father paid three quarters and Vanessa was able to pay the rest. They essentially moved in together. Van wasn’t much of a housekeeper, but he didn’t mind doing some housework, and having their own place was worth the sacrifice.
One rainy evening near Christmas they got drunk, took a turn around plane to Vegas, and got married at a twenty-four hour chapel–he was nineteen and she was twenty-one. At the beginning it was all fantastic sex and the sweet romance of new love, but as the year wore on, that initial glow began to fade. He knew nothing of marriage except what he had read in books, and she got tired of the limitations created by two students in school with a very tight budget–she didn’t like planning cheap menus instead of going out to eat at the popular restaurants; she didn’t want to stay home because Hutch had some paper due; her fledgling career in modeling meant she needed to be seen out and about. Soon they were arguing more than they were making love–a slippery slope to unhappiness and dissatisfaction. They both missed the men of their past.
When he returned home one day to find her possessions gone and read her good-bye note, he wasn’t particularly surprised that she had left, but he was overwhelmed with feelings of defeat–he didn’t know how to make a woman happy. Why did he even bother trying? He thought he was doing what all husbands did, but obviously he had no idea how a husband was supposed to behave. He only knew that he hadn’t done what was needed. And it hadn’t lasted a year, or even until his twentieth birthday
He tried to contact Van, but couldn’t–her parents had no idea where she was staying, or that’s what they told him, and he didn’t know any of her friends. She had said in her note that she was returning to Nevada to get a quickie divorce, six weeks she’d estimated until all that had been done was all undone–another little piece of paper that would determined his life. He owned nothing but a cheap car, so she’d get no spousal support nor any kind of property settlement. Was there nothing more to marriage than this–eight months, most of it spent arguing, and nothing else?
He’d thought he’d really loved Van, but his reaction to her leaving proved he hadn’t. Oh, he’d got used to her being there, used to her scent in the apartment, the mess she left in the bedroom when she got ready to go out, but not enough to miss her. One more failure in his life to add to the others. His family didn’t want him anywhere near them; he had no close friends to turn to; he had no specific goal to work toward. Both years of college he had spent his time mostly in pursuit of things he wanted to do, not in pursuit of a degree with which he might earn a living someday. He supposed he’d have to choose something soon, but he had no idea what. It took too long to become a doctor or lawyer, besides both professions sounded kind of stuffy. He guessed he could become a teacher, an accountant, or a pharmacist, but none of those sounded very interesting to do for the remainder of his life. It was all so depressing.
Maybe if he went out to some of his old haunts, he would feel better. A couple of drinks would cure his blues. Hip, hip, hurray! Wasn’t that the way one celebrated a divorce? Celebrate. He carefully dressed in tight white jeans and a soft blue chambray shirt, sleeves rolled up to below his elbows. His hair was a bit longer than normal and he made sure it flopped over his forehead so he could casually brush it back from time to time. The summer sun had already done its yearly treatment, bleaching the top layer of his hair platinum and tanning his skin a deep bronze. No one would ignore him tonight.
His prediction held true, just as he knew it would. When he entered the first club on PCH, he walked slowly toward the bar, letting all the clientele take a look. He knew from experience that he looked at least twenty-one or two, brimming with self-confidence. A smile full of invitation lighted his face, and a come-and-get-it glance as each guy’s interest trailed over him. His loss of Vanessa was a barely noted glitch in his periphery. He knew where he was and what was expected of him.
The expectation for his future seemed elusive–he wallowed in self-pity for a while, and wondered what was to become of him. Another year of college seemed pointless, even though he signed up for a full course load, since Father seemed willing to pay. It kept things on an even keel with his relatives, and focused his life. Besides, he could use all the credits possible, even though he hadn’t yet declared a major.
It would have been easy to pick up one of the girls in his classes–they were more than willing–but after Van he had no interest, and it wasn’t long until he was back in the old routine of letting himself be picked up for a night or a couple of weeks or in exceptional cases a couple of months. These last were in some ways the best and the worst. The stability made him happy and let him relax for a period of time without the need to go out looking, but they also meant having to watch closely for any possessive moves, the kind that said, mine! No, he was never that. So far he had avoided that trap. He also avoided the over-the-top kind of gifts. No cars, or fancy watches, or extended trips abroad, nothing that put him in the guise of a dependent. And he retained his own place, a small apartment in a quiet neighborhood, close to Westwood and the beach, but somewhere he never took anyone.
And so his third year of college progressed. He still didn’t know anything that he could aim for as a life’s work, didn’t know if there was anything he was interested in. He tried out classes in lots of areas–music, art, science, psychology, business, languages, premed, prelaw, anything at all. He got good grades in everything, but none of them held his interest, except music and art and abnormal psychology. He loved music and art, but the need for public performance and demonstration left him shaken to the core by a crippling stage fright–he couldn’t get around those, if he was to choose either as the basis for a career. Abnormal psych fascinated him, but there was not a career in psychology that didn’t begin with a long stint in all the other areas of psych–he couldn’t see classes in family counseling or hours in experimentation on lab animals as anything he could survive.
A job fair came to campus during the third quarter, something he almost didn’t attend, but finally stopped by at the encouragement of a psych professor. It was much like he envisioned–business personnel looking for students to sign up to their various sites of money making career tracks–nothing he was interested in. About to leave, he was called over to a booth manned by the LAPD. What could they possibly want at a college job fair? No one he knew or anyone they knew considered being a cop any sort of career track. But the booth was manned by a rather well-dressed, tall and handsome man named Sgt. John Blaine–he definitely would be no ones idea of a slob cop, drinking beer and eating doughnuts.
Blaine smiled in a friendly way, and extended his hand in greeting. Hutch was impressed with his quiet friendliness and educated speech. This man was a great representative, reeling in a number of students to listen to his words of enticement. Hutch had an epiphany this day, an honest to goodness awakening of his spirit. He suddenly realized his future was decided–he would become a police officer, his goal a major crimes detective. The one stumbling block to his plans was his age. He wouldn’t be twenty-one, the minimum age, until the end of August, so he would have to delay starting at the Academy until the very end of the summer. That was a disappointment, but something he could handle.
No other occupation had piqued his interest as much or appealed to his imagination in quite the same way. He took all the brochures available, listened closely to Blaine’s explanations, could hardly wait to get home so he could read all of the literature. He stopped by one of the libraries to pick up some books on the topic, almost floating on a cushion of air as he found the volumes he wanted and checked them out.
After he read all the brochures, he had a few concerns: the morality clause; the background check; the polygraph test. All the concerns involved his sexual activities. Santa Monica and Malibu were not part of Los Angeles so his life in those places would not be examined. He’d only lived in Santa Monica for a short time, and he’d kept his cruddy little apartment separate from his social life, like he now did his Westwood apartment. From now on he would keep everything in its categorized place–nothing to find out. If the morality clause mentioned homosexual matters, he would lie, of course–not the best way to start out, but it couldn’t be helped. And what about the polygraph? What questions would he be asked? And who would they talk to in the background check–his family, his friends, his teachers? He knew Father and Mother would say nothing, his grandparents in Oregon didn’t know anything to say, and no one knew where his real mother was. Somehow, if he got through this beginning part, everything else would be gold.
With all the paper work he needed to fill out–the application, the essay he had to write about why he wanted to become a policeman and what about himself made this a job he could fulfill, the letters of intent to his family, the written test on general subjects–and the interviews with the head of the Academy and the Police Board, the physical, the drug test, kept him busy for most of the summer months. The phone call to his home was not exactly the easiest, but it arrived at the conclusion he wished. The reason for his move to Oregon would be glossed over, and his grandparents there knew nothing except what he wanted them to know–he was a typical kid who’d done well in school. Mother’s parents would say nothing of the real circumstances surrounding his birth. In turn, he would not return to Minnesota nor contact anyone who lived there.
No one wanted him to start that September–he was too young to commit to such a strenuous life. But he persisted, passing everything with far above average scores, no lying needed. His essay was far superior to any of the other hopefuls, in fact, the Commandant intended to read part of it to the incoming cadets. Gradually, he changed minds, and even though he wouldn’t be twenty-one until the week classes began at the Academy, he finally persuaded all that he was ready to begin. He was excited and a bit scared–his life was about to make a major change. He felt confident that he had made the correct decision, but little butterflies of nerves were taking flight in his stomach.
It had been almost four months since he had even been to a gay club, let alone picked up a man. He saw this choice as something he could choose not to make. Girls would be fine when he felt the need. Perhaps he could become the heterosexual he was expected to be. The little voice of desperation he felt was squashed down, ignored.
The first month of Academy was the toughest of his life. Not the academic part, although that wasn’t a piece of cake, but the demanding physical part, the need to work as a team, the classes in handling a gun–both a rifle and a pistol–the learning to think like a policeman, always be on guard, yet always remember that the citizens must be respected. Hutch’s quick, cold irritability had to be suppressed when the entire class was made to do an exercise over because one cadet did something wrong, or when he missed a jump on the obstacle course because someone had moved the hurdle and forgotten to put it back to its original place. He lived in the dorm now, with a roommate who tended to spend most of his non-class time hanging out with a few other guys who all thought as long as they could run and shoot they’d make good policemen. Hutch spent a lot of his free time alone. He wasn’t too anxious to make friends with anyone, somehow secrets had a way of leaking out.
At about the six week point, he finally got everything down to a comfortable routine, but it was never all right to slack off. He did wish he had a friend with whom to talk things over–he knew it’d be easier to get through the hard stuff if he could share it with someone. Making friends had never been one of his strong suits, and somehow all his fellow cadets seemed to already have friends they had come to the Academy knowing. Most of them were local guys, who’d wanted to be cops most of their lives. He felt like a stranger amongst them, unsure of what to say or what to do except while in class. He felt like an intruder, muscling in on a game he’d never played, but somehow had a knack for learning, showing off to the local kids. No one asked him to come home with them when the game was over. But, in any case, he aced his classes, both academic and physical, scoring at the top of his class.
His high grades gave him preference from his future commanding officers, but made him even less popular with his fellow rookies. Since his future depended right now on those commanding officers, he was pleased with their acceptance of him. Of course, his fellow rookies would determine how he was viewed in the field, but he would just have to hope he could convince them once he was partnered with someone. The fact that there was absolutely no one who attended his graduation ceremony was what he’d expected, although there was an emptiness inside that felt like a hugh hole in his stomach, a hollowness through which an arctic wind blew.
The first indication of how his probationary time would be spent came when he was assigned to the Harbor Division, an area of docks, cargo ships and their crews, hippies and their penchant for setting up housekeeping on the beaches, as well as the tourists who roamed the area’s shops in search of souvenirs that somehow reminded them of Los Angeles. Harbor sounded so nice, but was really a pretty rough area. There were few innocent citizens to protect and serve. He hated rousting prostitutes, and the sailors who frequented them, but had no qualms about their pimps, who deserved every arrest made against them. He learned quickly who could be trusted and who to keep an eye on. He also learned to keep his opinions to himself–those in charge did not like to be questioned, especially by a snot nosed rookie. Evidently, he made the right choices, said the right things, impressed the right people. He passed his probationary assignment with ease. He was twenty-two.
The next four years he gained a wealth of experience in both field work and office politics. He became adroit at calming hysterical citizens and angry bosses. His fellow policemen came to respect his knowledge and abilities. One senior detective even took him under his wing, giving him advice, warnings, and encouragement–Luke Huntley and his wife Doris became like a substitute family, inviting him for holidays and offering him a place to go when he needed one. And he was grateful. Of course, they knew nothing of his secret life.
He really tried to stay away from the bars, and he never indulged in street trade, but once in a while the urge became too strong to resist. For those times he chose a bar in a town far from Los Angeles, chose someone young, but sure of himself, and was careful to never reveal his name or profession. Usually, he dated women from whatever station to which he was assigned, and was happy with that. No one commented on the fact that he had no steady girlfriend, didn’t date often, and seldom dated anyone more than once. It was the seventies and he was young, good looking, and in demand. He found a new place to live that he loved–it was a small cottage in Venice with a canal nearby. It was technically part of Los Angeles, but definitely a separate neighborhood where he was completely unknown and he made sure he stayed that way. No friends meant no explanations, even though he frequently was lonely and once in a while wondered if his chosen career was really all that he’d imagined. He decided to find a college that offered courses in Criminal Justice and complete his degree.
When the opportunity arose for him to become a detective he jumped at it, passing the exam with ease. No more traffic detail, or stolen bicycle recovery, no truant teens or kicking deadbeats out of crappy hotels, no more street patrol or answering silent alarms–now he would really be a policeman–finding clues, solving crimes. His first assignment was to robbery in the Valley area with Captain Mike Ferguson in charge, and something about the way Ferguson looked at him put him on immediate alert. He tried to make the captain like him, but he never knew where he stood with the man, always aware of what he wore, how he spoke, how he came across. He was certain at times that Ferguson knew his secret, but how could he? He took no chances–stayed away from the bars, joined the softball team and the bowling league, attended every social function with a pretty girl on his arm, kept his hair short and his voice low. Nothing seemed to make any difference, so he finally just concentrated on his job, which he found fascinating if a little clinical. It was something he did with great success, earning a commendation for interpreting some puzzling clues and stopping a gang of bank robbers. The Commissioner was pleased with this arrest because the corporate citizenry was pleased. Unlikely to be turned down for a requested transfer, he was promoted to Detective II and went back to the Harbor area, where he breathed a sigh of relief. He was twenty-seven.
The following two years were an easy stretch, working robbery detail and finishing up his course work for his degree. With the department’s emphasis on education, he found it fairly easy to schedule his work around his classes. And he felt secure enough now, away from Mike Ferguson’s too knowing looks, to visit his ‘safe’ places again. And was he glad! He’d attempted to talk himself out of his addiction to men, but he hadn’t been too successful. There was always a willing body looking for another, and he enjoyed these one-time meetings, nothing permanent or too serious–a fun time with nothing to worry about...except....
The college required all graduates to come to the ceremony and to wear a cap and gown. He invited Luke and Doris, but Luke was on the job and Doris was too shy to come without him, so he was on his own again. He’d made no friends at Harbor Division, at least not the kind that you invited to a personal function. But he had put in for an opening for Detective Sergeant in Metro Division, homicide, and his promotion had come through. Metro was the hotshot division of the LAPD–the place where all the best went–and he wanted to be there. It would be a challenge, but he was up to it–he hoped.
Finale, one of his favorite far away places, was the chosen destination for tonight. It was the night before his switch to Metro, and he felt the need to lose himself in a bit of pick up routine and the arms of a man. Who knew? Maybe Captain Dobey was like Mike Ferguson, and he’d have little opportunity to enjoy himself for a while. Something his grandmother had said when he was little came back: Expect the worst; hope for the best. And was he hoping.