Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. I do not own any of the characters of Psych and am not affiliated with the show or USA Network. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.
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Caution - the "s-word" is used twice in this chapter. No offense intended.
Shawn momentarily stopped leafing through the stack of case files on top of Lassiter's deserted desk and looked up at his best friend. "What?" came the slightly irritated reply. "Come on, Gus! We need a case. We're out of money for the month and we still have to pay the light bill for the Psych office. Just blow off the rest of your route today and help me out here."
"We wouldn't be behind on the bills if you hadn't spent all the money from our last case on that stupid poster! And if I keep missing my appointments, I won't be able to pay my bills! It's called responsibility, Shawn. Try it sometime!"
"Hey! I'll have you know that 'Kolchak The Night Stalker' was a classic TV series, way ahead of its time. Besides, it was autographed by Darrin McGavin himself! It was too awesome to pass up! Now man-up and help me out here. Lassie and Jules could be back any minute."
Shawn paused to look up from the stack of files and quickly scanned the SBPD station. It was 12:30 pm and mostly deserted. The few people that were still in the building during lunch hour were clustered around the large box of doughnuts that Shawn had brought in and placed on the break room table. Shawn's distraction was working, buying him precious time to gain the information he needed by snooping through Lassiter's current caseload. Shawn returned his attention to the stack of files and resumed his search.
"No way, Shawn. I'm not helping you steal another case from Lassiter. That's three this month already! He's getting pissed off."
Shawn scoffed, then looked at up Gus. "Dude. When is he not pissed off?"
Gus thought for a second. "Ok, point taken. Just hurry up, Shawn." Gus moved to the front of Lassiter's desk and kept his eyes trained on the break room door.
Shawn resumed his frantic search. He opened file after file, using his uncanny observational ability to quickly scan over the pages. Then suddenly he stopped and began reading through one in earnest.
"Gus! Dude!" Shawn exclaimed. "This one's perfect! Some rich widow's precious little micro pooch got stolen. Even Lassie doesn't want this one. See? It came in this morning but he stuffed it at the bottom of the pile with the older cases."
Gus frowned. "You'd better be right about this, Shawn."
"Dude, trust me. It's a little shivering rat dog. You really think Lassie wants to stop busting murderers and drug dealers just to look for a missing rodent? It's wearing a collar that's worth half his yearly salary!" Shawn thought for a moment. "I'll bet my magic eight ball that we can even convince her to give us a reward for finding..." he paused to look at the file, then giggled. "...Hercules?"
"Hercules?" Shawn repeated. "How lame..."
"Shawn! Just hurry up and put it back!" Gus said urgently in a hushed tone of voice. His eyes darted around the station as he began to look flustered. "You've been here almost five minutes. You're going to get caught soon. Those doughnuts won't last forever!"
"Relax, Gus," Shawn whispered. "I even threw in some bear claws. They'll be in there a while." Shawn replaced the folder back at the bottom of the stack, being careful to arrange the files exactly the way he had found them. "Ok, we're good to go. Now all I have to do is have one of my 'visions' in front of the chief and convince her to put us on this case. Ooh! I can act like I'm channeling the Chihuahua! You know how they shiver constantly..." Shawn started shivering violently.
"Shawn!" Gus snapped as he smacked Shawn's arm. "Cut it out! Let's get out of here before we-"
"What the...Gus? Spencer?" Lassiter's voice cut through the station as he approached his desk. He wasn't in the break room partaking in the donut feast with the other officers. Instead, the Head Detective had been in the evidence room at the opposite end of the station, diligently working through his lunch hour. Unfortunately that meant Gus was looking in the wrong direction, and he failed to see Lassiter in time for them to make their escape unnoticed. As soon as Lassiter saw Shawn and Gus, his face crumpled into an angry mask. "Get the hell away from MY DESK!" he thundered.
Shawn realized the best defense was a good offense. He smiled and threw his arms out wide. "Lassie! There you are! Hugs from my favorite crime-solving dawwg?"
Lassiter glared at Shawn, his dark eyebrows knitting together. "What do you want, Spencer? I'm busy," he growled as he made his way behind his desk.
Shawn stuck out his lower lip in his best pouting face. "So...no hugs then?" Then he grinned. "Come on, you know you want one. You're like a burnt campfire marshmallow. Blackened and hard on the outside, but with soft, warm, somewhat runny marshmallow goo on the inside." Shawn paused for a moment. "Ok, now I want marshmallows. OOH! Lassie! Let's make s'mores!"
Lassiter took off his suit jacket and sat down heavily in his chair. He looked tired and extremely annoyed. "Cut the crap, Spencer. I'm busy. Go pester someone else with your juvenile bullshit." Lassiter frowned as he began searching through the pockets of his jacket.
Gus raised his eyebrows, and Shawn slapped his hands over his ears. "Lassie! Such language! Do you kiss your mother with that mouth?" Shawn paused, then suddenly formed a disgusted look on his face. "Eww! Please say 'no'!"
Lassiter sat up in his chair and glared at Shawn. "GO AWAY!" he bellowed.
Gus decided it was time to save his friend from the Detective's wrath. "Come on, Shawn, I'm hungry. Let's go get some tacos." Lassiter seemed even more agitated than usual, if that was at all possible. Gus didn't want to push their luck after coming so close to getting caught rummaging through Lassiter's case files. He just wanted to leave before Shawn really did get them into trouble.
Shawn looked at Gus. "Ok, but only if I get one of those toothpicks with colored plastic on the end." Shawn looked at Lassiter, who was busy pulling the contents out of his pants pockets and putting them on his desk. "Lassie? You want tacos? Or perhaps a nice burrrrrrito?"
Lassiter looked up from his desk momentarily. "No," he grunted flatly as he dismissed them from his presence. He started opening up the drawers of his desk, muttering, "I know I left it somewhere around here..."
Shawn turned to Gus as they began to walk away and whispered, "Dude! That was so close! Great job as look-out, Stevie Wonder!"
"Hey! I told you to hurry up, Shawn! And for the record, I consider a Stevie Wonder comparison to be a compliment!" Gus tugged at Shawn's elbow. "Come on, let's go. I really am hungry.
Shawn and Gus began walking towards the front door. Suddenly, Shawn stopped and turned back to look at Lassiter, who was rummaging through every drawer in his desk. "What is he looking for?" Shawn wondered.
Gus noticed that Shawn had turned back around and pulled on his arm. "Come on, Shawn. You're going to get us in trouble. Besides, I have to finish my route."
Lassiter opened the top left drawer of his desk, leaned down to peer inside to the back of the drawer, and smiled. "Finally! There it is! Been looking for this stupid thing all day! Cost me almost three hundred bucks and I damn near lost it already." He triumphantly removed a small silver rectangular object from the drawer and examined it closely. The device was slightly over two inches long, about one inch wide, and almost wafer thin.
Curious, Shawn took a step back towards the Detective's desk, trying to see the mysterious object. He saw a small red light on the top of whatever it was Lassiter held in his hand.
Lassiter's brow furrowed as he scrutinized the device. "That's funny, didn't realize I left it on..." he muttered to himself. He pressed a button on the side of the device. Shawn heard it beep, and saw the red light go off. Shawn's jaw dropped open and he felt his stomach do a sickening flip as he realized what it was that the Detective held in his hand.
It was a digital recorder. It was on. And it wasn't playing back any sound, which meant only one thing.
It had been set to record.