Shawn Spencer and his father, Henry, sat in a diner having just finished their lunch. Shawn hardly listened to his dad talk as his mind kept switching between the cake he wanted and the cute twins sitting at the counter. The girl was blonde with blue eyes, and the boy was a brunette with lighter blue eyes. Both were exactly his type for their respective genders.
Shawn had known he was bisexual for awhile, and his hyper-observant parents started to notice too. He broached the topic with his mom first, but she believed it was a phase. Henry didn't exactly approve, having wanted grandkids, but honestly just wanted his son to be happy. So obviously, Shawn only ever discussed that part of himself with Henry, and his father did his best to support his child.
"Shawn, did you do your homework?"
"Yes," Shawn answered distractedly.
"Finish those beets?"
"Yep. Can I have the fudge cake?"
Henry smiled just slightly. "Quit staring at those twins and close your eyes."
"Dad- I don't want to-"
"Now." Shawn sighed but obeyed and put his fingers to his temples. "Which letter is out in the exit sign?"
"What color is the vinyl?"
"What's vinyl?" Shawn looked confused.
"It's the stuff these seats are covered in."
"Maroon. Close enough. Manager's name."
"She's wearing a name tag. The woman standing at the front door when we first walked in. You saw her."
"Marie." Shawn sighed. "Can I have the cake now?"
"How many hats?"
"Come on, dad!"
"Shawn, you want a piece of cake? How many hats are in the room?"
"Does a beanie count?"
"What do you think?"
"You didn't describe them." Henry knew his kid could easily do it.
"That's not fair."
"Time's almost up, Shawn."
Shawn quickly ran through the memories in his head. "One has a flower, the one the lady's wearing. One has a picture of some kind of lion on the weird guy with the crooked tooth. The last one is on the chef."
"What about the beanie?"
"A beanie's a cap, not a hat."
Henry smiled. "All right, open your eyes."
Henry waved down the waitress. "Get him his cake." The waitress brought it to them with a smile.
Henry laid money on the table and stood. "I'm going across the street to the hardware store. Why don't you share that cake with someone?" He smiled slightly and left the diner.
Shawn looked between his cake and the twins. He jumped to his feet and headed over to the counter.
Present - 2006
Shawn backed into his dark apartment. He stumbled a bit as his companion shut the door behind them. He steadied himself before pulling the tall, muscular, blonde waiter into another frantic kiss. They stumbled, kissed, and roamed their hands all over each other before dropping on the couch; they landed on the remote, subsequently turning on the TV.
The blonde straddled Shawn and kissed his jaw and neck, causing Shawn to moan. His eyes fluttered closed, but not before catching what was on the TV. He grabbed the remote and turned up the volume as the blonde circled his hips. Shawn moaned loudly.
"-at a loss. We really don't know what else to do." The manager on the TV fidgeted and looked extremely guilty to Shawn's hyper-observant eyes once he refocused. He struggled to reach the phone and his companion noticed.
"What are you doing?" His voice, rough with lust, almost caused Shawn to throw the phone across the room and get to the sex already.
"Just- calling the cops real quick."
"Why?" The blonde started to climb off. Shawn quickly pulled him back down.
"Nothing bad. I think I just solved a case."
"You didn't mention that you were a cop." The blonde nipped at Shawn's neck.
"Oh hell no. I'm definitely not a cop."
"Do you have handcuffs?"
Shawn groans. "Yes." The call goes through. "Hello..uh it's the store manager…he did it. The stereo robberies…he's on channel 8 news right now…his hands are a nervous tic. And he won't look the reporter in the eyes…My name? My name is Shawn Spencer." Shawn hung up and tossed the phone away. He kissed the blonde again and switched their positions.
Shawn strolled into the Santa Barbara Police Department. He glanced around the familiar place that hadn't changed since he was a kid, noting each escape route. He wondered if Carl-. Nope. He quickly pushed the thoughts away.
Shawn rubbed his sore wrists gently as he walked up to the counter. "Hello, officer."
"But you gotta go. It was awesome…Well, yeah…yeah." She didn't listen to Shawn at all.
"Hi." Shawn tried to get her attention. "I'm Shawn Spencer." He noticed a few dream catchers and crystals on her desk. Really?
The officer shot him a dark look and pointed to the waiting bench.
"No, that's not for me. I'm here for a commendation. I called in a tip. These are new pants."
She glared at him and pointed to the bench once again. Shawn rolled his eyes and walked over to sit next to the waiting criminal.
During their short conversation, Shawn advised the guy to wipe off the glass shards and rolled his eyes, once again, at the criminal's idiocy when the shards ended up in his boot. He also noticed an officer practicing a waltz in the copy room.
A tall, dirty blonde detective walked up to the bench. "Right this way, Mr-"
"Spencer." Shawn easily noticed they were heading towards the holding cells and interrogation rooms. "Um, so when do I get my money?"
"Yeah. The reward. You guys arrested the store manager." He was led into the interrogation room. Fuck. "Am I right?" He saw a bland room, with a metal table and chairs. There was a two-way mirror and a tall, brunette sitting at the table. Hold on…
"Why don't you let us ask the questions for awhile." The male detective turned around. Those blue eyes-
"Damn." Shawn Spencer stared across the bar. Sitting at a far table, alone, was a tall, muscular brunette with striking blue eyes. The man wore black pants and a tighter blue shirt that made his eyes shine. Shawn could tell from how the man sat that he wasn't quite as confident as he was trying to be and with the way he shifted in his t-shirt, that he wasn't used to wearing clothes like that. He didn't see anything indicating that this guy was here to pick up another dude, but he knew this guy wanted a hook up, and damn it if Shawn wasn't going to try.
Shawn ordered two whiskeys and carried them over to the table. He slid one over to the man and then took the seat across from him. The man, with an eyebrow raised, took a sip of his original drink. He barely glanced at the offered whiskey before nudging it to the side.
"Don't like free drinks?"
"I still have my own, thanks though."
Shawn smiled as the brunette gives him a long once over. He shifted his legs to sit with them a little wider. "My name's Shawn."
"And why do I need to know it?"
"That's true, you don't. But it's nice to have a name to say at climax, isn't it?"
The man laughed. Shawn noticed a shine in his eyes, likely from his slight buzz and actual amusement. The man laid cash on the table and headed out of the bar, merely giving a slight head nod to Shawn. He followed.
Shawn laid naked on his bed, still catching his breath. In the low lighting, he watched as his companion got himself dressed. Shawn enjoyed the view, disappointed when the man pulled on his shirt.
"Next time, you should try a V-neck, show a little stern bush. It's attractive."
"I'll keep that in mind." With that said, the man left his room, and then the apartment.
"Damn." Shawn knew that was one to remember. As he got up to shower, Shawn took pride in the small moment of hesitation his partner showed before getting out of bed. Obviously, they'd both be remembering it.
After his shower, Shawn was thrilled to see a note with a pager number and name on it. Carlton. His short visit wouldn't be boring after all.
Shawn smiled at the sight of the blue-eyed detective. There was a man he never knew if he'd see again. "So which questions might those be? Hm?" He was definitely pleased to see the shock on the detective's face. Detective Carlton Lassiter quickly scanned over the file again, not understanding its contents.
Lassiter looked back up at Shawn. A plethora of emotions played out on his face. Shock. Doubt. Confusion. Anger. Hope. Then back to anger.
The female detective spoke up. "Like where you were the night of the last robbery?"
Shawn rolled his eyes. "I was robbing a stereo shop."
It was Lassiter's turn to roll his eyes. He stood and gave his seat to his partner. She glanced at him with affection. Interesting. He, however, avoided her gaze, without being obvious. He played with a piece of her hair, but he paid her no mind, eyes only on Shawn. What happened to his marriage?
"I wasn't. Man, I don't know. I guess I was doing the same thing you were doing, not solving crime." Shawn may still be bitter from how things ended…he also didn't understand why he was being interrogated, the real reason for the insults. Obviously.
"You're not helping your case here." The woman detective said.
"My case. Wait, wait, wait. I'm actually a suspect?" Seriously?
"Oh you're our lead suspect." Now Lassiter looked way too eager to get rid of him.
"I gave you the guy."
"He had a partner." Lassiter leaned forward on the table.
"I have to find that guy? I'm confused. When do you guys start chipping in?"
"See your information was good. So good, it could only have come from the inside."
"Inside of what? Look, I've called in dozens of tips, okay? Just check it out." Shawn knew Lassiter couldn't be this stupid. His partner watched the two of them like a tennis match.
"I did. I checked out a whole lot of stuff." He flipped open the file again and took a seat next to his partner. "Like, oh, you're currently unemployed. You've never held a job for than six months. And, you have a criminal record."
Shawn scoffed. "I was 18."
"Oh, 18? Well that makes it okay. Let me just scratch this out." Lassiter couldn't have spoke with more sarcasm if he tried.
"I borrowed a car."
"You stole a car."
"To impress a girl."
The woman finally decided to intervene. "Look, forgive us Mr. Spencer, if this seems far-fetched." Shawn almost forgot she was there. He kept his eyes on Lassiter.
"Would it help at all if I told you that she had a bit of a reputation and I was 0 for, high school?" The detectives didn't care. "Okay, fine. There were extenuating circumstances. The arresting officer was my father. He was trying to teach me a lesson."
"Did you learn it?" Lassiter already knew the story. Why did he have to be an ass?
Shawn shot Lassiter an irritated look. "I learned I hated my father. So sure."
"Pardon me if I'm just a little skeptical. Believable as it is that you solved all these crimes- I'm sorry, what was it?" He glanced down at the file again. "Watching the local Channel 8 news reports."
Honestly, two could play at this game. "I confess. That's not true. Sometimes I watch Channel 5. I prefer Channel 8. The weather girl? Adorable."
"So you're telling us that you can read guilt off of TV interviews?" The female detective looked highly skeptical.
"Don't you try and trivialize police work." All sarcasm turned to anger.
"I think you're doing a bang-up job of that all by yourself. You can't keep me here, guys. I know my rights." Shawn stood and headed for the door. Outside it, the dancing officer from earlier, McNab according to his name tag, blocked his path.
"Good. Then you know you have the right to remain silent. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford one, one will be appointed to you."
Shawn looked at Lassiter in disbelief. "Wait, wait, wait. You're serious?"
His ex smiled. "A few hours in a holding cell might jog your memory."
Shawn scoffed. He had seen people that would be Boogiemen compared to those Tooth Fairies in the cells. Lassiter and his partner stood and cornered Shawn between them and their officers.
"Just give us a reason, Mr. Spencer. That's all we need. How did you get this information?"
"No. It's too late for that. Officer Allen, book him." The desk officer from the lobby started to cuff him.
"Book him? Oh come on, cuffs? What, for the walk back to the lobby?"
"Or you could give us a plausible explanation." The shorter detective didn't appear to want to put Shawn in a cell.
"I -" Shawn glanced around for a way out. The crystal necklace worn by Allen. Perfect. He threw his hands up in surrender, even though it went against all his training. He doesn't surrender. "Okay, Okay. Fine. You win. I got the information because I am a psychic."
Allen dropped her cuffs. Shawn smirked at Lassiter's frustrated expression.
"Get him out of here."
Shawn gasped and fell against the door. "Oh boy!" He looked at Allen. "Your grandma would be so proud."
"You spoke to her?" Officer Allen looked thrilled.
"I did. She's safe, comfortable. She wants you to stop spending all your money on those charlatans." Because it's all a scam.
Allen nodded. "The palm readers."
"The palm readers."
The female detective, man Shawn needed to learn her name, looked confused. "Okay, just to be clear, um, you're claiming to be a psychic, Mr. Spencer."
"How else would I know you two are sleeping together?" Maybe she could stay nameless, she won't be staying long with that out in the air. Lassiter looked ready to throttle him.
Shawn directed to a beat. "One, two, three. One, two, three. One-" He pointed to McNab. "When's the wedding?"
McNab smiled. "May 3rd…wait, how did you know?"
Shawn pretended to interpret the spirits. "I'm getting dance lessons for a wedding reception…and might I add, you are getting good."
McNab was starstruck. "Wow. That's amazing."
"Oh come on! This is ridiculous."
"Need more proof?" Shawn couldn't wait to piss Lassiter off even more. "Go to detention room number two. You'll find all the evidence you need is in" He shook his left foot around. "In his left shoe."
Lassiter pushed past Shawn with a hard shove. "We'll be back in three minutes, with my own cuffs." His partner followed him.
Shawn smiled. "Kinky." He followed the two officers back to the lobby. Maybe he'd get to talk to Carly- Lassiter alone when he gets back.
Carlton Lassiter leaned against the wall that led to the interrogation rooms. His partner, Detective Lucinda Barry, stood next to him. The two of them watched Shawn show off his "gift" to any officer that would listen.
"It was a lucky guess." First Shawn reentered his life, then made a joke of his profession. Now he wanted Shawn to leave, it's his specialty after all.
"He planted it. I don't know. But psychics don't exist."
Lucinda shrugged. "His alibi checks."
"I want him gone."
Lucinda looked at her partner. "He really got under your skin."
"He's an asshole. I'm going to get coffee. Want your usual?" He barely waited for a nod before heading out of the station.
Carlton was feet from his car when heard his past coming to back to haunt him.
"Lassie-Detective Lassiter!" Carlton debated running and then speeding off in his Crown Vic, but knew it would only delay the inevitable.
"Spencer." Carlton turned to face the last person he wanted to see.
Shawn sighed. "Lassiter."
"Come to give me a psychic reading? Didn't know they taught people to be psychics in the military. Oh wait, that was bullshit. You really worked in a coffee house, a wiener-mobile, and even an acupuncture clinic. When would you have time to be in the Special Forces?" Carlton finally let go of that pent-up rage from the last hour.
Shawn was losing his edge, because that was not what he expected to discuss first. He hesitantly stepped closer, trying not to set off the rabid dog that is Carlton Lassiter. "…Lassie, I promise I didn't lie about the military. Some…stuff happened, and I got a file created in place of the one with my military background."
"You can't even lie properly!"
"Don't call me that, Spencer!"
Shawn held his hands up placatingly. "Head Detective Lassiter, you need to quit yelling and chill. Okay? I have to lie because it's classified. I know someone like you respects the Armed Forces and will respect that things are classified. And especially as Head Detective, you know that certain people are just not allowed to have cake because they're gluten free and lactose intolerant. If they're given cake there will be consequences, yeah? Like you don't give cake to civilians, I can't give you the cake that is my Special Forces background."
And, there's the Shawn Spencer that Carlton remembered. He bit his cheek to keep from smiling even a little. "Spencer, that was the worst reasoning for classified information I have ever heard."
Shawn shrugged with a smile. "You're not screaming anymore, so that's a win. Now…about that military background…" He rubbed his neck. "I need you not to tell people about it…I need to stay on the down-low and keep with the false background…so…"
"Which includes being a fake psychic?"
"I am a psychic."
"No, you're full of shit and lies. But you're done here, so who the hell cares." He walked over and climbed into his car. "I don't care if you were military. I don't care if you're psychic. All I care about is that you now stay out of my station and my life." He slammed the door behind him and was speeding off before Shawn could stop him.
Shawn was greeted by a pregnant Chief of Police standing next to his motorcycle. She held out her hand. "Karen Vick, interim police chief."
He shook it with a relaxed grip. "I know."
"Heard what you did in there."
"Oh, you're welcome." He went for a charming smile, but he knew the Chief wasn't thrilled with him lying to her people.
"That wasn't the phrase I was going to use. I was going to say improbable." She smiled. "Possible, yet unlikely."
He shrugged. It was definitely not his best lie. "What can I say? I'm gifted. I was born this way."
"I knew your father. He was a good cop." Shawn nodded reluctantly. "You're nothing like him."
Shawn's smile grew. "I take that as a compliment, ma'am."
"Don't ever call me "ma'am.""
He grabbed his helmet. "Am I still free to go?" She wanted something. Get to the point.
"You familiar with the McCallum family?"
"Of course. They own half the hill."
"Well, there's been a kidnapping." And there it is.
"I had nothing to do with that." He climbed on his bike.
"Would you like to? The Feds are itching to jump in on this case, and I need to make some progress. What I need is a miracle. Or a facsimile of one."
How could Shawn deny someone like Karen when she was desperate. "Sure. I'll even do this pro bono." He winked.
Karen smiled. Her now cold eyes showed how she got to be Chief. "And if this psychic thing is a scam, we will prosecute. You know hindering a police investigation is a criminal offense."
Fucking hell. "I nev-." He stopped himself and nodded. "Sounds good."
Chief Vick hobbled back up the stairs of the precinct.
Well, he may as well have fun with it.
Shawn strutted into Gus' office with pineapple smoothies. He took everything in about the room in seconds. Computer games? Seriously? "I've got a job for you!"
Gus rolled his eyes. "I already have a job."
"Really? They're paying you to play video games?"
Gus, the epitome of a deer in headlights, sputtered. "How do you do that?"
"Come on. Left hand space bar; right hand arrow keys." He handed his best friend the second smoothie, once he finished looking put out. "You should ask me a challenging question every once in awhile, just for kicks."
Gus leaned back in his chair and sipped his smoothie. "I can't go anywhere, I'm behind on my route. I got new samples of ceromoxicyllan."
"Oh, man. I'm sorry." He held a hand to his chest. "I didn't realize the new butt cream had come in. So you're not interested in helping me with a job, which might I add, is something we've dreamed of doing since we were eight?"
Gus silently returned to his work, uninterested. Exaggerated facial expressions, raised shoulders. Scratch that, definitely interested.
"Come with me."
"Uh, no. I'm never doing anything blindly with you again." He turned and paused, seeing Shawn had silently gotten candy from his drawer. How did he do that? "..I learned that at the Mexican border, twice."
"Okay, fine. But bear with me on this one. We're going to be psychic detectives!"
"Oh! See? No explanation necessary." He pretended to stand. "Let me get my coat." He went back to playing his game.
"Gus, that's not getting your coat."
"You're right Shawn, I'm not."
Shawn sighed exaggeratedly. "All right, you want to sweat the details? Fine. The cops think I'm a psychic, and now we are investigating a kidnapping."
And Shawn's finally had one concussion too many. "You can't be serious."
"Of course I'm serious!" He sat on the edge of his friend's desk. "Six days ago, Camden McCallum Jr., sole male heir to McCallum Textiles, was seen being forced into his Range Rover at the municipal dog park. No one's seen him or the dog since."
"They took the dog?"
Hook, line and sinker. Shawn smiled. "You see what I mean? I need you!"
Gus rolled his eyes. "You were a Special Forces Intelligence Sergeant. You don't need me for this."
"Just for today. I can even show you what the forensics guys do wrong." Lights back in his eyes. Perfect.
They left Shawn's bike at the Gus' work and took the blue Echo, lovingly called the "Blueberry."
"Now pay attention." Shawn read off the papers he was given. "18 months ago, Camden McCallum ran his father's cigarette boat into the Morro Bay Aquarium. That was right after he got caught with that hockey player's wife."
Gus nodded along. "Yeah, I remember that."
"Guy hadn't been out of the papers in five years. Since that day, nothing. Not a single news story. Not so much as a dented motorcycle."
"Okay. What do you think?"
"I think Camden McCallum was too good at what he does to stop. He was having fun. Beautiful women, fast cars. If he stopped cold turkey, something definitely caused it."
Gus agreed. "So how is doing all this keeping your head down? You told me you were meant to lay low."
"It's just one case, Gus. From what I've seen, those officers need all the help they can get."
Gus and Shawn climbed out of the Blueberry. "How should we introduce ourselves? Don't say "psychic." They'll shut you off. Say something vague." He followed Shawn over to the trash cans. "Like Alternative Tactics Division."
Shawn was taking everything in. The cars in the driveway, their license plate numbers, how many seconds it would take to hop the wall, who just brought out the latest trash bin. "Uh huh. I was thinking the Bureau of Magic and Spell Casting."
From that tone, Gus knew Shawn wasn't even listening. "Seriously, rooting through the trash?"
Shawn already had a plastic glove on and was digging through the garbage with efficiency. "Everything you need is right in front of you. You just have to pay attention to it." Broken lampshade, trash bags, dog food bags. Bingo. For Gus' sake, he explained his thought process. "See? Berenson's brand. High quality dog food, no additives, and no preservatives. There's no reason they should have three bags opened simultaneously with one dog."
Shawn put all the trash back and threw away his glove.
"Do you keep gloves in your jacket?"
"That's what you took from all that? Yes, I grabbed some at your office before we left." He led the way inside. "Now is it entirely too early for me to have a theory?"
Gus sighed. "For the role we have, yes. For the experience you actually have, no."
"Okay, then we'll look at more evidence." He shrugged and they entered the house.
Everyone looked their way, and Shawn took it in stride. Gus immediately panicked.
"Shawn, they know. I can feel it."
"Great, now we're both psychic."
Gus nudged his friend, hard. "You're not psychic."
They kept their voices down and headed into the photo filled, two-story entry. "Let's be clear on one thing. The only way they can absolutely prove that I am not psychic, is if I tell them. For the sake of my career, that is one thing I will never do."
"Oh. What are your superiors going to think of this stunt?"
Family pictures. More photos of the daughter than the son. He heard steps upstairs, heading their way. "Now is not the time for that question Gus." He paused. "I love a woman who reads Vonnegut."
"Really, now?" The woman in question appeared on the stairs.
Shawn winked at Gus before turning around.
"I'm Katarina McCallum."
"Well, I'm thoroughly embarrassed. I'm sorry." He held out his hand. "I'm Shawn Spencer. The chief called me in." He held her hand an extra second. "Everything's gonna be okay."
She smiled gratefully. "Thank you for saying that. I have the same feeling."
"Sibling intuition. Keep hold of that."
The three of them headed into the main rooms of the house. 17 officers. The Chief. Head and Junior Detective. 15 windows in total, 5 of which don't open. Photo albums. Shawn smiled at Katarina once more before heading that way. He opened the photo albums.
"What are we looking for?"
Shawn lowered his voice. "Houses in the family for hide out. Friends of relevance. Vehicles of interest." He noticed a few photos of Camden's friend Malcolm with a much younger dog at a cabin. When looking in more recent photos, Malcom in nowhere to be found. Interesting.
"Shawn, slow down. How can you process anything flipping that fast?"
Shawn smirked. "I'm psychic, Gus. I just need to glance the photos to feel what I need."
Gus rolled his eyes and popped one of his samples.
"Is it ethical to sample your own samples? Seriously, Gus it'll be fine. You can leave if you need to, but they don't know. Promise."
"Mr. Spencer." Gus jumped. Lucinda raised an eyebrow but said nothing. "The sketch artist is here for you."
"Fantastic. Gus, chill. I'll be right back." He walked off. Now, who to have them sketch. He had a hunch, but they needed more than hunches and gut feelings in law enforcement. Camden it is then.
Gus joined him twenty minutes later as the artist was finishing the sketch. "The missing guy? Seriously, Shawn?"
Katarina and the detectives walked over. "Cam? What, why?"
Shawn was ready. "I had a vision. I saw his face, which is great. It means he's still okay."
Gus pulled Shawn away. "How could you tell her that? You have no idea if he's okay."
Shawn shrugged. "I purposely said 'still' in case he isn't. But my gut says he is, Gus. Oh! Mr. McCallum. I have a question for you."
Mr. McCallum turned to him. Huh. Seems there is another skeptic in the building.
"Just one question, sir. How did he feel about the dog?"
"Well, he loved the damn thing. Didn't do anything without it."
Shawn nodded. "Thank you, sir." The man couldn't seem to walk away fast enough. He walked back to his friend.
"That's it? Seriously, I get you know what you're doing, but even pros need to ask more than just about the dog."
"Want me to explain some forensics to you?"
Sometimes, Gus felt whiplash with how Shawn jumped topics. "Absolutely."
When Gus had to get back to finish some paperwork, Shawn let him go. He was hoping to talk to Katarina again, as well as Lassie. Speaking of which, the detective hadn't stayed in the same room as him for more than a minute. All he had wanted for Shawn to leave his life. He would. After they talked again. And solved a kidnapping.
Shawn used a device in his jacket that gave him numbers off phones nearby. After borrowing Lucinda's phone briefly, he had Lassie's number, plus several others that could come in handy. He was glad he thought ahead, because the Head Detective snuck out while he was upstairs with Katarina.
Shawn texted Carlton, then proceeded to stay up all night hoping for a response. After two hours, he grabbed his go-case and went off to do some recon. By midnight, he had everything he needed. Civilian cases were a breeze. He then proceeded to sit in the parking lot of Gus's complex until sunrise, making sure everything connected.
At 5:45 he used his friend's key and entered his apartment. By 6:05 he had coffee ready and photos laid out. He slammed a few cabinets until he heard Gus in the hall.
"AH!" Gus ran in with his samples case, ready to swing.
"Oh, Gus. I hate to imagine what the rest of your plan was. I gave you a metal bat so you wouldn't have to do this." He handed Gus coffee once his hands were free. "Also, fake rock. Far less effective on the second-floor landing. Now sit. I solved the case."
Gus followed, still trying to catch up. They sat at the kitchen table. "Alright, who kidnapped him?"
Shawn smiled. "Nobody."
"Perfect! Call the Chief at home. Tell her the crime is solved. Because apparently, we imagined the whole thing!"
"You done? Now, nobody kidnapped him, because he did it himself."
Shawn shrugged. "See for yourself." He slides his tablet to Gus, already displaying photos from last night.
"Dude, is this a tablet?" Of course Gus was more intrigued by the device than the case.
"Yes, it's a tablet. No, you can't get one. They're not on the market yet. I got it through work, hence I never showed it to you until now. Now focus." He used the pen tool to click through the photos for Gus.
Clear as could be were photos of Malcom and Camden at a small cabin. They sat at a fire, with the dog running after a ball. Even in the dusk lighting, there was no mistaking them. All the photos were timestamped as well.
"So here's the thing. Camden didn't offer to clean up his act voluntarily. Apparently, Daddy threatened to cut him off permanently. This was about 18 months ago."
Gus looked up from the tablet. "18 months?"
"But wait, there's more. He had help." Shawn points to the other male in the photos. "Malcom Orso. He's the only friend of Camden's that didn't go on to fame, fortune, or rehab."
"But the cops must've talked to him."
"Nope! That's the thing. Malcom hasn't been seen with Camden for quite some time. To be exact-."
"Almost to the day. They'd been planning this thing for over a year."
"Shawn, this is good. Where did you get all this?"
Shawn shrugged and took their empty mugs to the sink. "I talked to Katarina last night about Malcom and Camden. The cabin I saw in some photos. Pulled all the timing together with what I learned. Then I got the photos last night when I went to the cabin."
Shawn smiled. "Wanna join me for another day of being a psychic?"
"How are you going to reveal what you know without revealing that you aren't a psychic?"
"That's part of the fun. Now go put some clothes on, the detectives are meeting for breakfast at 7!" Gus hurries off to get changed. Shawn spots his favorite fruit. "Should I slice this up for the road?" He quickly set off slicing it without listening for the response.
It definitely ruined the morning vibe when an officer pulled them over for speeding.
"Dad card or military card?"
Shawn sighed. "Dad card sadly. I'm not military in this town right now."
The officer reached their window. "Morning, gentlemen."
"Hello, Officer." He handed the officer his license and registration. Stuck in between was his dad's business card.
"Whoops. It's my dad's old police business card. Must've stuck to my ID. Guess I've been carrying that in my wallet for ages. Can never be too careful coming from a family of cops."
"Henry Spencer's your dad?"
Regrettably. "Yes. Yes, he is."
"Well how'd old Henry doing?"
"He's great. Retired. Was living in Miami, but he's been back for almost a year now I think."
"Oh yeah, I saw him just three weeks ago at Home Depot. Tell your dad the King Fisher says hello." The officer hands back the cards.
"Will do. Thank you, Officer." Shawn smiled until they pulled back onto the road.
"Why didn't you tell me your dad was back at the house?"
"It didn't matter until he reached out. Which he hasn't. I had enough on my plate without his nose in my business."
Gus nodded in understanding.
"All right, Gus, let me do the talking."
"Is that even an option?"
Shawn pushed Gus towards the detectives.
What a way to ruin a day. Carlton already ignored Shawn's text and the man himself. Why couldn't he get the message. He just wanted eggs and coffee. Was that too much to ask?
"We have a breakthrough! It's important."
"I also have something important. I call it breakfast. Make an appointment."
Shawn was reaching the end of his patience for Carlton. "But this is-"
"Stop. You don't have my interest. You don't have my ear. Find a beat cop. Tell your story. Maybe I'll read the report. Good day, gentlemen. After you." He opened the diner door for Lucinda.
"Detective! Don't sit by the window. I forecast rain."
Carlton rolled his eyes. He made sure to request the window booth. The skies were clear and he wanted to prove Shawn that he wouldn't listen to him anymore. Lucinda sighed but followed.
"You're mad because he pegged us as a couple."
"He was tipped off. Did you tell anyone?"
"Why would I tell anyone? Let everyone think I'm working my way up the ladder the hard way? You're barely separated."
Carlton sighed. This again. "It's been five months."
"So the plan was to annoy them into believing you? I expected better."
"Janice works the table by the window."
"So? Janice always chomps her gum, causing spit to rain on the customers if they don't know how to handle her."
A few moments later, they watch as Lassiter stormed out of the restaurant. He crossed the street. "What, Spencer?! I am done with your shit."
"It's not shit, I had a vision, Lassie-frass. I saw red and yellow kayaks. The numbers 8, 1, and 3. And a road sign! It had bullet holes, two of them!"
"That's it, Spencer. I'm arresting your ass."
"Wait!" Shawn clutched his head before falling into Carlton, who caught him on instinct. "I- I'm getting more! I see a dog, and bones. No, wait, rawhides." He leans his head back to see Carlton. "The numbers, they're for a highway."
"There's no highway 813." Carlton pushed Shawn into Gus.
"But there's a highway 138." Lucinda spoke up from behind the men. "It's worth checking out."
"For fuck's sake. Fine. But we're stopping for coffee." Carlton led the way to his car.
Shawn tried not to be thrilled that Carlton remembered how he took his coffee.
Shawn would normally wait three days to call, but he was only in town for another week. He dialed the pager number and then waited. A few minutes later his phone rang.
"Hey Carlton, it's Shawn. I was wondering if you wanted to grab coffee today?"
"Sure. Does 2pm work?"
"That's perfect. Café Aroma?"
"I'll see you there, Shawn." Carlton hung up.
Shawn smiled. He showed up 5 minutes early to see Carlton already at an outside table. The man wore slacks and a button up with a tie. The tie was a deep blue, making his eyes glow. He definitely knew how to use his eyes to his advantage. His sleeves were rolled up to look casual and a weapon was holstered on his ankle. That means the undercover cop vehicle in the lot is likely Carlton's. Detective. Interesting.
Shawn walked over with a smile. "I feel a little underdressed. If I knew this was a fancy joint, I would have wore my bowtie T-shirt."
"Of course that's your idea of dressed up." Carlton rolled his eyes but his mouth hinted at a smile. He took in Shawn's black T-shirt and faded plaid shirt. "I came here from work. I have to be back in an hour." He motioned for Shawn to sit.
Shawn dropped into his chair. "What do you do?"
"I'm Head Detective of the SBPD."
Shawn whistled in appreciation. "Impressive. No wonder you like to be in control, Carly."
"You made me work for it, which was a nice change."
Shawn watched Carlton's body language. He tensed up early on, but as they exchanged quips, he seemed to relax. His posture stayed stiff however, hinting that he was used to being stern and tense, likely at work. "I've been climbing the totem pole on the daily. Doesn't happen by rolling over."
"Whose totem pole are you climbing?"
"United States Army. Just finished Special Forces training." Carlton looked skeptical. "I know, there's many points of craziness in that statement. "Don't Ask Don't Tell." I have a cuddly appearance and puppy dog eyes. Oh and I don't sit like I have a stick up my ass. But it's true. I'm a Green Beret."
Carlton smiled. Shawn did appear cuddly. "Okay. I'll go get us some drinks, then you can tell me how someone so soft earned a Green Beret."
"I'm not soft! I'm cuddly. There's a major difference Carly."
Carlton stands. "Whatever you say. What can I get you?"
Cinnamon. Military. A man truly after Carlton's heart.