Shawn Spencer, Murder...? Anyone...? Anyone...? Bueller...?
It was Burton Guster's first day of kindergarten and he had no idea what to expect. Well, he had some idea of what to expect. For instance, he was really looking forward to learning new things. He especially wanted to learn how to spell really hard words like those Spelling Bee kids he religiously watched on TV. One day, he's going to win that competition, he told himself.
So, when his new teacher turned to him and asked him what he was looking forward to, that's exactly how he responded. What he wasn't expecting was her reaction; a simple widening of the eyes and a glance to his mother who was standing right next to him.
When Winny Guster gave him a pat on the back he relaxed a little. He must have given the right answer. In fact, as he looked up at his mother, he could see that she was beaming quite proudly.
"Well, Burton," the teacher said. "There's a couple of children here already. Why don't you go and introduce yourself?"
He gave a quick nod and rushed off before his mother started gushing to the adult next to her. The last time he hung around for something like that his cheeks hurt for weeks. Plus, his mother had told him that making friends was 'the successful man's way of forming profitable connections'. Whatever that meant. He just knew that friends were good to have.
"Hey," he said as he sat down next to a boy making a tower out of toy cars. Why he was using cars when the blocks were right next to him was a bit of a mystery to him.
"Hey," the kid replied. "I'm Shawn. What's your name?"
"Burton Guster," he replied shyly and held out a car for the boy to add to his tower.
The kid, Shawn, grinned widely as he took the car and tried to carefully balance it on top of another. Unfortunately, his attempt wasn't very successful and the whole pile toppled over and onto the ground. The boy shrugged and began to build another one.
"Why aren't you using the blocks?" Burton asked.
"Cause that's boring," Shawn responded without a second thought. The boy stopped what he was doing and looked up at him, "You're not one of them boring people, are you?"
Burton vehemently shook his head. And, as if to prove he wasn't, he reached over and began making his own stack of cars, concentrating carefully as he placed each car on top of one another.
"Hey, Shawn," a slightly balding man in a police uniform came up to his new friend and ruffled his hair. "I've got to head over to the station now. Are you going to be okay?"
The boy nodded but otherwise ignored the man. The man sighed and looked around till he saw the closest kid - which just happened to be him. He looked him over, "You look like a sensible kid. I'd really appreciate it if you kept an eye on Shawn. You see, he's a bit of a trouble-maker."
Since the scary-looking man was a police officer, Burton gulped as he realised that he might be put in jail if he didn't do it. His parents had told him that jail was for really bad people so he didn't ever want to go there. Besides, how hard could watching another kid be?
Burton gulped and nodded his head enthusiastically, "Y-yes, sir!"
As soon as the cop had left, Burton turned back to his tower. Before they were interrupted, he had managed to stack 6 cars on top of one another. Shawn had been up to 5 cars the last time he had checked.
Who's tower was the tallest now; his or Shawn's? Burton wondered. Unfortunately, as he looked over to check, there was no tower there to use as a comparison. Even the kid had disappeared. Where'd he go?
Burton surveyed the room and had to do a double take before he saw the kid talking to a little girl with blue ribbons tied to her pigtails. She was giggling at something the little boy was saying.
It's only an innocent conversation, Burton told himself. There's no way he's making trouble already.
Nevertheless, Burton found himself heading over to check it out. When he was close enough to hear that they were talking amicably, he began to turn around and find something else to do. He didn't want to annoy the boy by being too clingy; he could keep an eye out for him while he was occupied.
Shawn seemed to have different ideas. As soon as he saw the Burton standing nearby, he grabbed him not once noticing that the boy had been about to leave. He pushed him forwards.
"And this is my new best friend, Gus," Shawn introduced him. "Gus Buster," he clarified.
That wasn't his name! Burton looked at the other boy with a horrified expression on his face. But before he could correct the boy, the girl interrupted.
"Hi, Gus, I'm Abby," she gave a little wave. Barely a second later, she rattled on, "I like fairies, candy floss, the colour blue and playing with Barbie Dolls. I'm five!"
"Uh, hi," he responded shyly. "My name is act--"
"Oh, look, there's another girl," the girl interrupted him. "I'm going to say hi. I don't want her to feel lonely. Nice talking to you, Shawn. Nice to meet you, Gus."
The girl bounded away about as quickly as she had been speaking. Burton stared after her, his brain struggling to catch up with what had just happened.
"Are you okay, Gus?"
Burton twitched, "That's not my name."
"Yeah, I know," Shawn replied flippantly. He grinned, "Since you said you weren't a boring person, you needed a cooler name. I can always give you another one. How about: Buster Grimes?"
Burton glared at him, "That sounds stupid."
"Button Guns?" Shawn suggested. Burton shook his head.
Seemingly undeterred, Shawn continued spouting off random names in an attempt to find one that Burton liked. After a few minutes of constantly shaking his head, he began to feel a little sorry for the boy.
"Look, you can call me Gus if you want," he sighed.
"Really?" Shawn's jaw dropped. It didn't look like the boy had expected him to cave.
"I don't like the name Burton anyway. It's my mean Uncle's name," Burton rationalised. "Plus, I just heard that Abby girl tell that other girl my name is Gus as well."
Shawn grinned and surprised him with a big hug. After squeezing all the air out of him, Shawn let go of the boy. Burton swore that the kid's face would crack if he smiled any wider. It wasn't long after this thought that he realised that, he too, had been smiling like an idiot.
As they walked back to their car towers, the newly dubbed Gus frowned and addressed the other boy. "I just thought of something: what are you going to do with all the names you've just come up with? Some of them were actually pretty cool."
Shawn pondered this for a moment. "I'm sure I can think of something, buddy."
Gus smiled and sat down next to his tower of cars. As he balanced the cars on top of one another, he couldn't help wondering what his new friend would come up with. He was really looking forward to it. Even more than he was looking forward to learning how to spell hard words.