Juliet wandered into the dark squad room, a cup of coffee in her hand. She jumped slightly when she saw Henry Spencer sitting at a desk, resting his forehead on his hand as he stared a picture.
“Mr. Spencer?” Juliet called quietly, setting down her coffee and coming over to stand by the man. She knew he was taking the death of his old partner hard.
“He was the one who taught Shawn to pull all of those stupid pranks...” Henry said softly. Juliet frowned in confusion then stepped forward to look at the picture in his hand. She smiled to herself when she saw a young Shawn, maybe 7 or 8, sitting a top Stan’s shoulders, a huge grin on both of their faces. The two were holding water pistols and wearing plastic masks that they had pushed up to the top of their heads.
“Santa Barbara was suffering a heat wave, and it was making everyone crazy... In the middle of the afternoon, they came rushing into the station, wearing the masks and carrying these bright yellow water pistols. He yelled out in this little voice ‘Hands in the air! This is a stick up!’”
“Oh, he didn’t!” Juliet gasped, laughing.
“You better believe it. Right into the middle of a station filled with armed, overheated, grumpy cops. And my partner was helping him.” Henry chuckled. “At first, no one moved. Then Shawn grabbed one of the smaller deputies and yanked him down by his arm so he could point the water pistol at the deputies head. You should have seen the poor guy’s face, it was his first day and it actually seemed frightened by the idea of a child holding a water pistol to his head.” He guffawed.
“He has the man bent way over, pistol to his head and yells ‘Let me see those hands!’. Then Stan joined in saying ‘You heard the man! Hands in the air!’”
“Did they know it was Shawn and Stan?” Juliet couldn’t help asking. Henry thought for a moment, then chuckled.
“Stan was still wearing his uniform, and they had known Shawn since he was a baby. I think they were shocked by the ridiculousness of it.” He replied.
“What about you?” she pressed, curious.
“Ah... Well, I was at my desk at the time. When they started yelling for hands, I ended up raising my hands first, then everyone followed.”
“You’re a good dad.” Juliet said softly. Henry turned his head to look at her with an odd expression on his face. A small sad smile flickered across his face before he looked back to the photo.
“Shawn then ordered everyone outside, or he’d ‘blow this poor dummy’s brains out’. By that point everyone had gotten the joke and for the most part headed outside. As soon as they got out there, Shawn and Stan ran past them and took cover behind a couple of squad cars, then started lobbing water balloons and shooting their pistols.”
“Oh, I can’t even imagine the officer’s expressions when that happened!” Juliet exclaimed, laughing heartily.
“Utter confusion. One officer started yelling ‘what do we do?! We can’t call for back up!’ It was chaos for a good ten seconds until they noticed the buckets of balloons and pistols right next to the door. Then all hell broke out!” Henry pantomimed the panicked officer before breaking down laughing again.
“It took only another fifteen seconds or so for friendly fire to start, then everyone was running to take cover. Shawn had planned well, so every good spot had ammunition. The two of them set up this whole routine hours ahead, stashing buckets of water balloons and water pistols in the parking lot. Stan later told me that Shawn planned it himself. He kept it a complete secret to everyone, I never had a clue.” His laugh was hollow.
Juliet smiled, imagining a tiny Shawn sneaking around, planning.
“At the end, there was a giant showdown between Chief Fenich and Shawn. Stan had been ‘taken out’ a little bit earlier.” Henry smiled at the memory.
“Fenich had the last water pistol besides Shawn’s. They squared off like an old western, Shawn told him ‘This town ain’t big enough for the both of us, Johnnie’. In the end, Fenich won and Shawn died a dramatic death, cursing ‘those durned coppers’.”
“Oh wow!” Juliet shook her head at the idea of Shawn calling Lassiter’s idol ‘Johnnie’.
“When Shawn finally ‘died’, everyone started clapping and cheering. Shawn and Stan took their bows then Stan put him on his shoulders and they took a victory lap, giving everyone high fives. A reporter had shown up by accident part of the way through the battle and took pictures.” Henry tapped the picture against the desk with a wry smile.
“For the rest of the summer, Shawn always kept a small water pistol tucked into his waistband when he came by the station, ready to help ‘motivate’ tired officers and get revenge on Fenich. The Chief ended up keeping a water pistol in his office until the day he retired.”
“Oh! I know that pistol!” Juliet suddenly exclaimed. Henry looked at her in confusion. “It’s still there! Chief Vick said it was passed down as a tradition, to protect against future attacks. I never asked her who it was to protect against, but when I asked Carlton about it, he said he’d never seen it until Shawn started working here.”
Henry looked at her in surprise then doubled over laughing. If there was one thing that Chief John Fenich was ever afraid of, it was Shawn Spencer and Stan Murdock, up to their crazy stunts.