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Wrestling as One of the Fine Arts

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Hutch thought it was so cute, throwing Terrible Tessie the lady wrestler at me and talking about double dates. Not that his dating Mrs. Ice in Her Pants Forbes wouldn't be its own punishment, but ... well, I had something else in mind. So I waited a week or so, to make it credible. Then I made my move.

It was finally Friday. We were in the squad room, about ready to go home. Doing a little paperwork, me filling out forms by hand and Hutch on the typewriter. Chatting. Hutch had plans for the weekend and told me about them. Then, walking right into my trap, he asked about mine.

"Oh, I dunno." I made my face a little pathetic. If I do this right, it really gets him. I cleared my throat, like I was going to have to back down about something. "Y'know, Hutch," I said, "that Tessie's still after me."

He grinned. Yeah, buddy, I thought, you think it's funny. Go right ahead, laugh it up.

"She is?" he said. "Thought she was engaged to that Russian guy."

"I don't know about that, but she keeps callin'," I said. It was true she called the station once, and sent a note with a little green plant, and I made sure to tell Hutch about those. But actually when I didn't call back, she laid off.

"Well, go for it then, partner, you got a score."

She's not my type, but that wasn't my point. "She's got all these wrestling moves, Hutch, it's kinda intimidating. I don't get off on being thrown all over."

"No?" he asked, just glancing up.

It's not like it's easy to fool him. "I don't like girls who are stronger than I am," I said firmly. Absolutely no nonsense there. "I don't want a woman to dominate."

"Ah," he said, back to his typing.

"So I was wondering ... " I waited until he looked up again. "Could y'teach me some of the wrestling moves? Kinda even me up with her?" He smiled a little and I said quickly, "Teach me. Help me learn how. Don't just show off wipin' up the floor with me."

He gazed at me for a while and then said, seriously, "You know, Starsk, it isn't something you just catch on to in one practice bout. I don't know how much good it'd do you."

You have no idea how much good it'll do me, I echoed in my head, but kept the amusement off my face.

"Well, yeah, it's an art form," I said, and he rolled his eyes. "It is, for godsakes, what were you just saying?"

"I was saying it's a skill that I'm rusty in myself, and I can't guarantee you'll master it in fifteen minutes, and none of that has anything to do with this goofy art-form thing of yours." He took the triplicate form out of the typewriter, leaned way over to snag a pen off the desk, and signed the bottom of the sheet. "You done with that yet?" He gestured at the form I'd been filling out. I gave it to him and he put both of them in the file box.

"That's it, you know," I said. "We're done."

"Yeah? Wanna go to Huggy's?"

So we did, and had the week's special, which was a BLT and fries. For somebody who drinks that health-shit-shake in the morning and runs and all, Hutch can eat junk food with the best of them. And we talked about wrestling.

"Now," said Hutch, leveling, "you know you can't learn too many moves tonight, nothing fancy."

Got some fancy moves of my own and you know it. But all I said aloud was, "Okay, you're the expert."

He grinned, holding a french fry in mid-air. "Could you say that again? I want to savor it."

"Can it, Hutch."

He laughed and ate the fry, and then a few more, his face getting thoughtful. "This is a challenge."

I kept my mouth shut, but I couldn't stop the grin.

He eyed me as skeptically as if I'd made the smart-ass comment I'd thought of. "What I mean is," he said slowly, then let his voice get normal again, "I coached a few beginners, years ago, but only for matches against other beginners. Hmm." His forehead furrowed a little. "When I threw you, I moved in right away because I knew you wouldn't be ready. You were thinking too much ... about what you were doing and not about me."

I love watching him think. And I love tripping him up when he's missed something.

"I've watched wrestling, remember. More than you, lately, anyway. And the pros don't do that instant throw stuff."

"No, they can't often because they're more evenly matched. They're watching each other, getting each other's moves down. But Tessie knows you're not a wrestler, like I did, so she won't wait." We ate some more. Hutch had mayonnaise on the side of his mouth, but I didn't tell him. "It's not like you don't have quick reflexes, buddy, so it's just a matter of using them."

Another straight line. The boy was just full of them tonight. But I didn't mind even if I couldn't use all of them. Meant he wasn't thinking things through, how they'd sound, what possibilities they had.

And then I wondered, because he said, "We'll do this at my place. We can use that big mat I bought for Aikido way back, remember?" and that just seemed too innocent to be believed. Still, his eyes were all level and honest, so I just agreed.

I felt just a little funny about it, though, and that's why I picked up his napkin. Actually I thought about cleaning off the mayo myself, but then I just put the crumpled soft paper in his hand. "Wipe your face, blondie," I told him, hearing my own voice go gruff.

Maybe, too, it was remembering about Aikido, because he'd taken it up right after his divorce and he threw himself into it like he'd found religion. Didn't have a spare moment, never hit the gym any more, didn't hang out at Huggy's. That's when he started eating all that nasty stuff, the butterfly bones and liver powder and so forth. Kept talking about his sensei. Bought robes, or these odd pajama-things, anyway, and all kinds of books and the mat and I don't know what all. It just seemed so un-Hutch that it worried me. Thought he'd shave his head next or something. But he got over it, or mostly.

I didn't have anything to do with it. Just showed up at his place one day and saw that the mat was put away. I realized he hadn't said a word about sensei in a while. I didn't ask any questions. We played Monopoly that night, I remember. Left it half-played on the table when we got tired, and finished the game a day or so later.

That felt good. The sex we had after he won the game felt even better.

I told him later I'd let him win the Monopoly though actually I don't remember whether that was true. But I do remember letting him take the lead over the sex thing. He and Vanessa were supposed to have had this open marriage, and we'd made it from time to time while he was married, but never during that last year or so when things went from bad to worse. Soon as I realized that every time we did it was a bargaining chip on her side, turning on that king-sized Hutchinson guilt, that was it. The look on his face when we talked about it, and I knew I was basically saying, go without, and he wanted to argue and wanted to give in -- I just never want to see him in that place again.

I was thinking about that on the way to my place so I could pick up some better clothes for wrestling. Hutch teases me about my jeans, but they fit just fine to move around in. Still, he didn't need to tell me twice this time. I threw on a muscle shirt and the shorts I wear on the beach, and a jacket over that, and jumped back in the car. I didn't want to leave Hutch alone to think this situation over any longer than I had to.

He's not even slightly stupid, and he'd been avoiding the whole question of sex with me for a while. I hadn't known what to do about it until this Tessie thing came up.

When I got to his place, he was wearing his gym shorts and a t-shirt. He'd already gotten the mat out of the crawl space and moved back some of the furniture. "Give me a hand with the couch," he said, and we carried it back under the skylight. Then we spread out the mat. It took up most of the floor.

Hutch looked around in a satisfied way, dusting his hands. "Okay." Then he turned to me. "Now, the object of real wrestling," and he paused as if to let me get in something about pro wrestling, but I couldn't be bothered just then and he went on, "is to pin your opponent. Not to bounce them as hard as you can and jump up and down on them. Just get the opponent down, on his back -- or her back -- shoulders touching the mat."

"I'm gonna like this," I said, grinning, and if he misunderstood what I was imagining, well, I'd been working hard to get him to.

"So last time," he took me by the wrist and led me onto the mat, "I positioned you like this," put my hands on his shoulders and his own on my forearms, "and you weren't sure what I was doing," and I still wasn't, though I tried to remember. While I was trying, just like before, he ducked under one of my arms and grabbed my thigh and I was in the air.

"Hey!" I think I said, flailing my legs and trying to get them under me, but then my back hit the mat and he was ready while I was still having the air knocked out of me, so he held my shoulders down and leaned on them. Not a hair out of place, looked like, not so much as a deep breath, it was so easy for him.

He sat back on his heels beside me and I got up. "All right," I said, "again."

He stood. I put one hand on his shoulder and braced myself, and this time grabbed his forearm on the other side. He dropped to his left and I tried to move the leg back, but that made me off balance and he just lunged farther and took me down again.

I slapped the mat with both hands and bounced up. Now I backed away, saying, "Come get me at least."

"That's a whole new set of moves," he said, but stalked after me, and at least I had time to watch how he looked down my body and targeted the same leg and went after it, brushing my hands aside as if I had no more strength than a kid, grabbing one elbow like a handle, and just tipped me over again.

"Dammit," I said to the ceiling. "What am I doing wrong?"

He gave me a little smile, his hands still on my shoulders. "Nothing." Then he let go and got up. "Once you start."

I heard that, so this time I tried to make the first move, diving at him almost before I was all the way up off the floor. But he was all prepared, moving back at me already, and I couldn't get below his grasp the way he had with me. My shoulder hit him right on the sternum and he grunted at the impact. I pushed and so did he, but his leverage was better, coming from above, and though I'd reached his thigh I couldn't pull it out from under him. I pushed harder with my shoulder, and his hands were on my biceps and his whole weight was leaning on me. I thought there ought to be some way to use that. I tried twisting to get at his other leg, but he suddenly moved back and I almost fell forward.

"I thought it was defense moves you came here to learn," he said, and at least he was beginning to sound out of breath.

"I'm trying to use my quick reflexes," I answered, and made a dive in his direction, almost a football tackle.

He dodged to the side and I hit the mat on hands and knees, and then he was on my back.

"Don't let yourself be pinned," he said, his breath hitting my ear hard between the words and his voice low. I locked my elbows and dug my knees into the mat.

It felt a lot like a sexual position. His hands were on top of mine and his chin was on my shoulder and his hip bones pressed against my ass. He covered me. He was warm.

He was also thinking about wrestling and not about sex, as I could tell only too well from what was not pressing into my ass. He put his arm around my waist and tried to tip me over, and as soon as I leaned to that side, shoved one of his knees between mine and forced my knee out from under me. I had just enough warning to shift my weight again, but then he got one leg twisted around mine and shoved my opposite arm and I was flat on my stomach, and then I had no way to stop him rolling me over, though I did try, twisting and squirming and trying to act heavy.

"You can't," he said, "hang onto the mat," which I'd just found out for myself, thank you. "This is about bracing against each other." And he was up again.

"Let's," I started, "let's try," trying hard not to pant, "that starting position, you know, again." We stood for a few seconds, and then he nodded and reached for my wrist, but I held it away. "It's gotta be an advantage, for you, if you put me right where you want me," I said.

"Well, how's this," he said and just threw himself toward me. Not unlike something Tessie might've done, actually. He reached for my neck or shoulders and I grabbed at his arms, and we pulled and pushed. I leaned hard to one side, trying to tip him over, and he said, "Good move," but curled his arm around mine on the other side and braced himself against my ribs to push back, then lifted and stepped in, turning me over his hip and throwing me again. I had tried to copy that wrapping move, got one of my ankles hooked around his, and he'd been charging in so hard when I went over that both his feet left the floor, kicking above us as I pulled him down with me.

I hadn't actually meant to. In fact I was sorry as he thudded down on my ribs. But he bounced up again and I was really against lying there and taking it, so I heaved myself up after him and tried another tackle, grabbing him around the waist and leg and just shoving as hard as I could. I was on one knee and trying to push up, he was hanging over me and trying to push down, and nothing happened for a moment. Then he bent his knees and rushed into me, shoving me back across the surface of the mat, and I dug in my feet and charged back, and he stumbled. I got up and he went down and I fell on top this time, but somehow he rolled and got me on my back again.

"You're --" he gasped "-- a natural." Then pulled back, but he was still on hands and knees.

This was turning out to be quite a workout. Sweat was soaking through our shirts and the tang of it was in the air. I looked over before I sat up and saw that he was at least partly hard, his cock hanging down low and big in his shorts. He was flushed. We were both breathing like trains.

He looked wonderful. Damn. He did. I wanted to be the one riding his back, so before he had time to collect himself I rolled up and lunged. Got on top of him, sort of, and tried to push him flat. He seemed the size of a horse just then, his back too broad and his limbs too long for me to cover, and though he collapsed at first he bucked and arched his back and tried to slide out from under me. I tried to hook one knee under him, mostly for the wrestling, and brought the other leg up around the outside to try and get some purchase to turn him over. He twisted and we slid around together, shuffling around an arc that turned us both completely in a circle without giving either of us any more advantage.

Felt good to be on top, too, even though Hutch's ass was too far up my body, so my cock was left dangling in my shorts and his upward heaving punched into my stomach until I got more interested in breathing than in teasing him. The sweat had soaked his shirt where my face lay and all the muscles in his sides and back kept working. I almost bit him but it wasn't time for that kind of play yet.

But I was enjoying the position too much, and Hutch must have felt my attention shift, because he shot out suddenly and I couldn't keep him. He spun around and we both got to our feet, crouching, and for the first time it really felt like the wrestling I'd watched other people do. Wilder than before but something, I don't know, not completely serious in it.

And then Hutch leapt at me again. Hit me so hard we just traveled, the room around me shifting, and I had to focus on him because nothing else was stable. I grabbed over his back, at his waist, which ought to have been good for something but didn't seem to matter. I twisted away and his hands slipped, and I found myself facing away from him, on one knee with him hanging onto my lower leg and foot. That was a bad idea so I turned back, tried throwing myself on his back from this end, and his head slid across my pelvis and my face was on the slope of his ass. I think I opened my mouth as my head was turning, nose and chin and cheek against Hutch, and if he hadn't known I was throwing a rod, there was no hiding it any more. It was all I could do not to groan, not to bite, to remember I was letting him be the expert here. And to remember to wrestle. Wrestle, I thought, oh, right, turn him over, except it was my legs that were leaving the floor. I let go and rolled away from him and he lunged after and caught me before I could get up.

He didn't just pin me down quick this time. He shifted around until I was immobilized, lying flat, held at shoulders and thighs and shins. His head was closer to me than it had been so far, kind of hanging down. He was really puffing, and the sweat was dripping down his skin and off the ends of his hair. One advantage of being underneath -- mine was running down the sides of my face. I felt it slide down my neck and in the creases by my eyes. Must've looked almost like crying, but Hutch's eyebrows were dripping too.

It was getting to be too much of an artistic challenge. I couldn't keep pretending I hadn't planned it would end up this way.

Hutch looked down and I looked up.

I see him all the time, of course. But sometimes, it's just different. Like after the explosion in the warehouse basement that blew both of us against the wall. He pushed me off and put me on my feet but I wasn't ready yet. For a second I thought I might never be ready to step away.

Now I took the time to feel the weight of him suspended above me again and his hands clamped on my arms and his shins across mine. His harsh breathing seemed to go right into my lungs. I felt the drops of his sweat like rain. They landed on my cheeks, my forehead, near my chin ... one hit my mouth, and then another one in the same place, and I opened my lips just slowly, feeling its wet slide in and tasting its bitter salt.

His mouth opened at the same time, as if it was happening to him.

He tastes so good. I licked my lips.

That was the last straw. He dropped down onto me, his whole body, his mouth, his hands moving up to my shoulders, my hair. Mine the same, tangling in those wet strands, holding that solid skull -- I lifted my head into the kiss and taught him what I know about wrestling.

We joke about this. He says I'm not a good kisser and I say he doesn't even know a good kiss. But when it's going on there's no joke about it, his mouth's so deep and his tongue's so strong, we dive in farther and hang on tighter than we can with women and there's nothing else in the world so hot. I worked my jaw and he pulled up against my hands until he could lick around my lips, and around again, but I caught his tongue, sucked it in, rubbed it with mine, pressed my teeth to his.

His knees had slid to each side when he dropped on top of me, and I spread my legs wider, dragging his apart and pressing our cocks together. Raised my hips. He groaned. Damn, that makes me wild, his voice all deep and vibrating in my mouth. I rubbed his shoulders, his sides, his hips, grabbed his ass, arched against him, and he kept groaning.

He knows what drives me nuts. We fly so high together. More than once we've never even gotten naked.

I thought this might be one of those times. We were so sweaty it was hard to tell, but it was sure damp down there and I was close to exploding. Hutch humped and I felt the bloom of his pre-come soaking through the layers of cloth, and I shuddered. When he does that just for me, I can't help it -- feels like a jolt of current right through me. I broke away from his mouth and arched my neck and gulped in some air. He just moved those magic lips down onto my throat and licked and nibbled and sucked like he wanted the whole area to be one big hickey, and though it would've been embarrassing the next day I could've cared less then. I kept breathing hard and shallow, because his weight was still on me and he's heavy. I kept grabbing his ass because I wanted to feel it, reaching my fingers into the crack, bunching the soft cloth in there, teasing and fiddling around because I know what makes him crazy too. He's not much for being really fucked, but he loves to be played with and a lot of women won't.

And I love to play with him. So much of him and it's all Grade-A meat. I wanted it, wanted his skin and the bare heat of his cock, the little clenching ring of muscle and all the sweat, not just the damp soaking through his shorts, so I clenched my teeth and pulled my hands away. It wasn't easy. No, not after working him so hard to get to this point. I slid my hands back under his shoulders and shoved. Had to get his attention, which at the moment was on my chest, working across in the scooped neck of my shirt where the hair just starts, nipping like he actually wanted my hair stuck between his teeth. He mumbled, almost growled, and kept going, and I shoved again. "Hutch." It was the first real word either of us had spoken since we traded the art of wrestling for another art. And then I thought of the best way to get his attention -- always the best, unless he's just in an evil mood.

"Ouch," I said, "let me breathe, will ya?"

He rolled to one side right away.

My cock was so full and throbbing that it took something really special to get blood somewhere else, let me tell you, or get me to feel much anywhere else on my body but a sexual tingle. Fact is, though I'd known I couldn't breathe properly, it really hadn't mattered. But the way he moved the minute I asked, that made my heart clench and feel like it was the part full enough to explode. All I ever have to do is tell him I need anything, and he'll be there to give it, or do his damnedest. And even when his damnedest has been something I personally thought was cracked, like him sitting down to do geometry for God's sake, when he thought we were trapped in that airtight room, to figure out how long we could breathe in there instead of getting us the hell out, even then I knew what he meant by it.

I bent to kiss that big, big heart of his through the wet cloth of his t-shirt, and he put one hand on my neck, still panting and wanting but gentle when I asked.

It's no wonder his women love him so. Girls who love me like to play, like the wild side. Girls who love him want to be taken care of. And he does. He'd take care of all of us if he could. The whole world. And it makes us so perfect when we're making it together, me wild and him caring for both of us, that we can push each other higher than the sun.

That's what I wanted to do right then. It'd gone way past the tricky little seduction I started with. I cupped my hand over his cock to feel the strength and heat of it and he said, "Starsky!" his voice all harsh.

"Not teasing," I soothed him, my own cock aching for him, feeling the tension all over like when we were wrestling. I put my hands on the waistband of his shorts. "Let's get these off you."

He turned away and got to his feet, peeled off the shorts and shirt so fast, I just sat on my heels watching the sculpted body moving so gracefully. He's only a klutz sometimes. He dances when he makes love. Naked, facing me, rod standing up so proud, he looked like one of those statues, marble and gold. "Well?" he said. "This a one-man show?" And he put one hand on his hip and the other on his cock as if he would jack off right there in my face.

Sometimes he's the one who likes to play. Not like I mind.

So I knelt up, reached for him, just my fingertips, and my hands were shaking and I knew he could see it. I touched the outsides of his knees, traced around the bone and up, lightly, against the grain of his hair, slowly, dragging it out. He closed his eyes and grabbed himself, using both hands.

"Show me," I said real soft. Another change of plan, but I'm adaptable.

I felt so edgy, like a jangling noise all over inside, that I couldn't be still, and yet I wanted to hold this moment, take a long time drawing lines up and down the hard muscles and in the tickling peach-fuzz hair. A long time to see him showing off until it nearly killed him, palms and fingers working, pumping and pinching and drawing circles around the head of that monster dick that just got bigger and redder and leaked one cloudy drop after another.

It jumped in his hands again and I gasped. He was going to come and so was I, without even touching myself.

But when he heard me, he opened his eyes, clamped hard on his cock with both hands, and I could see how tightly he squeezed it. Then he took a couple of deep breaths and looked down at me, held me with his eyes while he knelt again, and this time it was his fingers that touched as lightly as dry paintbrushes on my cheeks, down my neck. He picked at the thin strip of cloth on my shoulder. I didn't move. "Let me," he said. Took a breath. "Touch you. Bring you off."

Let him! You'd think this wasn't all about getting him to.

We stripped me quickly and lay down, me on top at first, but I really wanted to feel his ass again, so we ended up on our sides, foreheads together or kissing sometimes, his top leg hooked over my elbow so I could rim him with my fingers while he stroked us off together. He does that so good, I never can find the words to describe it, how his palm holds us and his fingers tickle us and we just seem to melt together. When that happens I always want to tell him, give it back to him in words, but I never know what to say and I'm too wild to make sense anyway. I tried then, said "Hutch" and "beautiful," I think, and he was smiling and when I pressed into his ass I thought he'd squeeze the end of my finger right off. Over and over. Higher and higher. Time for one last kiss and I took it, said "Mmm," into his mouth, and that was it. Damn, I love that, when he throws his head back and comes in my arms. I love feeling it happen, love coming with him, love cooling down again with him, kissing each other, holding tight. I was hanging onto the inside of his thigh and he’d moved his hand to my hip, lowered his leg. We lay right there on the floor, totally comfortable.

He swallowed and said, "I don’t think this was ever about Tessie. Was it?"

"You really are the brains of this outfit," I told him.

"Ha," he said. "Ha." He moved his hand to the nape of my neck and massaged. His eyes were closed and he seemed relaxed, but when I stroked between his thighs he looked at me again and there was an odd kind of sadness there. I took my hand out of that warmth and his eyes got even sadder before I touched his shoulder, and then his face, up near his hair. It wasn't the first time I'd seen him that way after sex, and I wondered if that was why he'd seemed off it lately, with me anyway.

"Hey," I said. "Wasn't it good for you? Hutch?"

When he shut his eyes this time I got the idea he didn't want me to see what he felt. "What do you mean?" he asked, looking like he was drowsing off. "Think I was faking or something?"

But, see, it's not easy for him to fool me either. "Tell me," I said.

"Okay." But it was too easy and his eyes were still shut. "It was great, buddy. Felt wonderful. Don't even mind how you tricked me into it, though it was way too much trouble to take when you could've just asked me. It's," and he kind of caught his breath, "it's always good. With you."

I hugged him. At times like this I wish I was better with words. I wish I could talk and fuck at the same time so I could tell him when I know he'd really believe it. "Hutch, it's so good when you do us. So beautiful and wild and fine. Hutch, you know that, don't you?"

"Yeah." His voice was real low.

I didn't know how to convince him. So I just held on tight. I rubbed his back and nudged my head under his and he held me pretty tight, too. "You're an artist," I said, and though my voice was muffled I knew he could hear me.

He kind of laughed then. "You," he said, "are a con artist."

"Hey, there's all kinds of arts," I said, and I meant it. Like friendship. And beyond, whatever this is we have, so special I don't have an exact name for it.

"Well," he said eventually, "one art I really don't want to acquire is sleeping on the exercise mat. Can we move it to the bed?"

So we did, or anyway we got up, and Hutch used his t-shirt to clean up the spatters on the mat. He didn't bother to put anything back on, and neither did I, just balled up the clothes and took 'em into the bedroom. I watched his big frame walking in front of me--he looked less graceful, tired, a little strained, and seeing that made me sad. The art of understanding Ken Hutchinson is one I'm still acquiring, and it's a lot harder than wrestling.

I wanted to do something for him, so I went into his bathroom, cleaned myself off while I was there, and got him a washcloth and towel. Then, seeing how he stood there, I didn't just hand them over: instead I wiped him down, chest and belly and groin, and he just watched, a little puzzled looking.

"Get in bed," I told him, and he did, sliding across. And then I thought of his date, and asked, "Should we set your alarm? When you meeting whatshername?"

He just shrugged and flipped the covers back for me. "I'm wiped," he said, and lay down on his side, facing away. "Don't want to think about the alarm. I'll call her." Then, after a pause, "Thanks, though."

I got in after him and lay on my back. "Okay," I said, and it probably was. Nothing I could do about it then, anyway. I was pretty tired too, and drifted off almost right away.

During the night Hutch turned over, and I woke up and found his hand was on my chest. Cupped over my heart.

Even in his sleep, even without words, he says things better than I do. Or maybe it's that neither of us is ready to say some things aloud.

Timing's an art too.

This time, I just put my hand over his and went back to sleep.