Happy Hour

"You ordered room service?" Shawn looked at the tray in dismayed surprise. "You realize we're a block from the beach and open-air restaurants, right? We could be eating with a view of the ocean." The curtains of the hotel room were open, but their room had views of Honolulu rather than the beach, and the room itself wasn't anything exciting.

"I am on vacation, Shawn," Gus explained with a note of impatience in his voice. "That means treating myself, and that means room service." He sat down with a flourish as if to make his point, and removed the cloches over the plates.

"Fine." Not wanting to go hungry, Shawn sat down across from him and studied the choices. He reached for the sticky bun, and Gus slapped his hand.

"The sticky bun is mine. My prize, my vacation, my sticky bun. You can have the croissant or the cinnamon roll."

"Croissants are too crumbly," Shawn complained, taking the cinnamon roll. He glanced at the newspaper that was on the table, and saw that it was open to the horoscopes. "Get this, you're supposed to be open to new things today. 'You'll be amazed at today's experiences. Go with the flow, because things won't be what you expect. They'll be even better!' Could these horoscopes be more vague?"

Gus turned the paper around. "It really says amazed? There's a maze on our tour today."

"Really? You booked a tour?"

"It's like those corn mazes, but it's pineapple plants on the pineapple farm."

"They grow pineapples on a farm?"

"Where did you think they grow?"

"I dunno. I never thought about it." Shawn picked up a chunk of pineapple and popped it into his mouth. His eyes closed. "Oh my god. This is the best pineapple I've ever eaten."

"Because it's grown here. That's why we're going on a tour to the pineapple farm." Gus ate one of the pineapple slices. "At the farm's gift shop they have pineapple ice cream."

"Maybe this won't be the lamest vacation after all."

"Why aren't you excited about being here?" Gus asked. "I win a free trip to Oahu and pick you as my plus one, and you act like you're the one doing me a favor."

Shawn shrugged. "Other than going to the pineapple farm, which, I admit, is kind of awesome, what else are we supposed to do? Hang out on the beach, watch the waves, swim? We live in Santa Barbara, man. That's our life every day."

Gus sniffed. "I am going to sit on the beach, wearing a lei, and drink a Mai Tai out of a coconut cup with a little umbrella in it."

"That's very specific."

"It's in the hotel brochure, Shawn. Which I left on your desk and told you to read. Happy hour on the beach every day. Complimentary leis and Mai Tais."

"In a coconut cup with a little umbrella."

"That's right. That's what I expect from my vacation."

"Well, your horoscope said things won't be what you expect," Shawn reminded him.

Gus returned his attention to the horoscopes. "Did you read yours? 'You have a strong imagination, but for now you need to get your head out of the clouds. Be true to your real self. There will be plenty of time for flights of fancy later."

"Like I said. Vague."

"It's right, though," Gus said. "You're on vacation. This week you don't have to pretend to be psychic."


But the message of those horoscopes was repeated. At lunch, a fortune cookie told Shawn to "Be Your Real Self" and the one for Gus told him to "Let Go of Expectations." After the pineapple farm tour, Shawn convinced Gus to crash the party for a convention being held at their hotel, and the entertainment included a tarot card reader. The reader told Gus to let go of his expectations and go with the flow to enjoy his vacation. She told Shawn that it was important to be his true self for the next few days, and that he shouldn't pretend to be something he wasn't.

"What do you do for a living?" the reader asked Shawn as she picked up the cards.

"Funny you should ask," Shawn began. "I'm —"

"He's a detective," Gus interrupted. "A normal, ordinary, private detective."

"And —" Shawn started.

Gus stood abruptly and grabbed Shawn's arm. "It's time for happy hour. You know I need that Mai Tai."

Shawn chuckled as Gus pulled him away. "Tell me you didn't believe that reading. As a fake psychic, I promise you that psychic powers aren't real."

"That's the third time today you've gotten the same message. Call it whatever you want, I'm not going to ignore it, and you shouldn't either."

"Is that Lassie?" Shawn stopped walking and stared.

"You must be out of your damn mind if you think you're going to distract me by pretending to see Detective Lassiter. It's a good thing he's not around, because —"

"Hey, psychic!" called out a familiar voice.

Gus whirled around. "Lassiter? What are you doing here?"

The lanky detective strolled toward them. He was the only person in the vicinity wearing a suit. "The chief learned I have three months of unused vacation and insisted I take a week off."

"Why Hawaii?" Shawn asked.

"I planned to stay home and study cold cases, but the chief insisted I travel someplace. There were cheap last-minute flights here."

"And we're here," Shawn added. "Everyone at the SBPD knew we were going to be in Honolulu this week."

"What?" Gus looked at Shawn and then at Lassie. "Why would you choose to spend your vacation with us?"

"Yeah," Shawn added. "You usually want to get away from us."

"This is my chance to study you," Lassiter explained. "I realized I've been too distracted by the cases I'm working to figure out how you pull off the whole psychic act."

"You plan to spend your vacation tailing us?" Gus asked.

Lassiter smiled. "That's right."


"This restaurant had better be fantastic," Gus said as they opened their menus. "You spent so long getting recommendations that we missed happy hour."

"You can get your Mai Tai and lei tomorrow," Shawn promised. "We couldn't just have dinner at the hotel, not with Lassie tailing us. That would be too easy."

The dinner was, in fact, amazing. But Gus couldn't stop glancing at the table where Lassie sat. For the first half hour, the detective had blatantly stared at them, but the food was so good that he was actually paying more attention to his meal now. "This is strange," Gus complained. "Why didn't he sit at our table when you offered?"

"Eavesdropping is more fun," Shawn said. "Better get used to awkward meals for the rest of this vacation."

"We're ordering room service for breakfast," Gus insisted.

"Every morning," Shawn agreed.


In the morning Gus again slapped Shawn's hand away from the sticky bun and made a point of taking a big bite out of the coveted item. "Where are we taking Lassie today?" he asked after he'd swallowed.

Shawn picked up a danish, sniffed it, and smiled when he realized it had a pineapple filling. "You're the one with all the brochures."

"And you're the one who thought they were all boring yesterday."

"That's before I knew we could torture Lassie by making him do every cliched tourist activity."

Gus walked over to pick up his stack of brochures. When he turned back around he frowned. "Shawn!"

Shawn paused in the act of piling all of the pineapple slices into a bowl. "What?"

"You have to share the pineapple."

"Fair enough," Shawn agreed, and counted out loud as he placed half of the slices on Gus' plate.


It was, in Gus' opinion, the perfect vacation day in Hawaii. They learned to make leis. They walked through a nearby resort that had South African penguins, flamingos, and other interesting birds. They ate Kalua pork and Huli Huli chicken from a food truck, argued over whether pineapple or banana smoothies were best, and then spent a few hours on the beach building sandcastles.

Lassiter built a sand police precinct, and his competitiveness led him to achieve the smoothest edges for his walls. But he grimaced when he stood, sand covering his dark suit and probably filling his shiny shoes.

Shawn shook his head. "This isn't going to work. C'mon, Lassie." He led the way off the beach.

"Where are we going?" the detective asked, sounding deeply suspicious.

"You can't tail us when you stick out like this. It's embarrassing. You need to fully embrace your undercover role as a tourist." Shawn stepped into one of the shops that sold men's resort wear. "I raided my dad's closet before this trip," he said, gesturing at his shirt's bright yellow pattern. He picked up the most gaudy shirt on the rack. "Try this on."

The sand in his suit must have been supremely uncomfortable, because Lassie didn't grumble very much about his wardrobe makeover. By the time they left, Lassie had a collection of colorful shirts, sand-colored slacks — he'd vetoed shorts with the excellent point that he needed more coverage to prevent sunburn — a straw hat, and flip-flops.

Gus insisted they make one more stop, stocking up on sunscreen. It was fun to annoy Lassiter, but they didn't want him to suffer too much. Then they accompanied him back to his hotel room to drop off his purchases.

"You pick the restaurant for dinner, Lassie," Shawn said.

"Dinner?" Gus checked his watch. "We missed happy hour!"

The next four days followed the same pattern. Room service breakfast. Leading Lassie to every tourist destination that Gus could dream of. Trying local food specialties. Missing happy hour.

On the last day of their vacation, they visited a tropical-themed cat cafe. Initially Lassie stood in the corner, watching the cats with a grimace, and complaining that one of them was approaching in a hostile manner. "I'm watching you," he'd mouthed at a tabby that walked toward him.

"Relax." Shawn had been seated on the floor cuddling a dark Burmese, and he stood up to hand the purring creature to Lassie.

The detective finally unbent enough to sit at one of the tables while holding the cat. "I don't get it," Lassie said after a few minutes. "In Santa Barbara you can't go an hour without announcing a psychic revelation, and here… Nothing? Are you planning to abandon the act?"

Gus looked anxiously at Shawn, remembering the warnings from the first day of their vacation.

A kitten started climbing up Shawn's shirt. He freed his sleeve from its claws and distracted it with a cat toy that looked like an octopus. "It's only been a couple of years since I came out publicly as a psychic," he finally said. "I'm well aware that a lot of people think of psychics as fakes and charlatans. Mostly I take their derision in stride, but Gus insisted I take a break from it all during this vacation." He turned his attention to his best friend. "Thanks, buddy. I didn't realize how much I needed that."

Gus petted the fluffy Persian that had settled in his lap. "Who's a pretty kitty?" he cooed at it.

"And now that you're wrapped up in kitten love, I'm going to share something that might be slightly upsetting," Shawn said. "You see, on Saturdays they hold the happy hour early."

"We missed it again?" Gus asked.

"That's right. But if it's any consolation, I read the Yelp reviews, and sixty-nine percent of reviewers say the Mai Tais are subpar. So you'd only have been disappointed if we'd actually made it there."

Gus scratched the cat's ears. "You're right. I'm too relaxed right now to get mad at you." He met Shawn's eyes. "But you owe me."


Three days later, Shawn walked up to a beach-front restaurant in Santa Barbara, where he ordered two drinks. He wore a lei, with a second one dangling from his arm. While he waited, he saw someone familiar. "Lassie?" Shawn slid into a chair at the detective's table. "Look at you, getting use out of your resort wear."

Lassiter held up his glass in a mock toast. "Detective O'Hara insisted after she saw the photos you and Guster shared with her."

Shawn noticed the extra plate on the table. Jules had met Lassie here for brunch, but now he could see her on the beach, chatting with Gus. "They played us, you know. As soon as I got home and tuned into my psychic abilities again, I saw it."

"Please don't do the psychic routine."

But Shawn was already holding a finger to his brow in his signature move. "It started with the chief, worried that you needed a vacation. But how to convince you to get away and do something other than study cold cases? Trips to Hawaii had gone on sale." Shawn flashed back to peeking at Gus' browser history. "When Gus mentioned to Jules that he was awarded extra vacation time and wanted to take a bargain trip to Hawaii, he complained that I'd resist doing the touristy activities he loved." Shawn stood up, for extra drama. "Jules brought together Chief Vick and Gus." He'd seen the three of them in a conference room, and they'd jumped guiltily when he snuck up on them. "Gus pretended he won a vacation to Hawaii, so I wouldn't try to convince him that we should go someplace else. They knew that if you followed us there, you'd decide to tail us. That motivated me to embrace every Hawaiian vacation cliche to annoy you. Both of us ended up having a real vacation as a result, and returned to Santa Barbara more relaxed because of our friends' conniving."

"It was nice of them," Lassie conceded.

Shawn flopped back into the chair. "They're good friends."

"Still…" Lassie frowned. "I don't like being manipulated. If I thank O'Hara, she'll think she can get away with that kind of thing in the future."

"I'm sure you'll find a way to let her and the chief know you're onto their scheme." Shawn looked up as the bartender arrived with two Mai Tais in coconut cups with little paper umbrellas. "Thanks." Taking the drinks, he stood up again. "Catch you later, Lassie." Then he carried the drinks out to the beach. Time for the long-awaited happy hour.