Disclaimer: Yeah, right. :P
Summary: Solving a crime and selling a few goldfish at the same time is easy, especially when you're Shawn Spencer and Burton Guster.
Genre: Humor, Friendship, Mystery
After a long five months, I finally managed to have the first chapter finished. Go me! (I promise it won't take another five months to get this story done.) Written for ficwriter1966, thank you for allowing me to have extra time to write this! :)
Prologue:The Broadview Pet Shop was one of the largest pet shops within the Santa Barbra lower district, and on any given day, the spacious parking lot was usually full with eager children, and their not-so eager parents.
Those Chinless Chinchillas
Those Chinless Chinchillas
However, on that particular warm and overcast Wednesday afternoon—four days before Halloween—only two cars sat out in the parking lot, a silver Prius and a blue Echo.
“Do you want to tell me why we’re here, Shawn?” Gus asked, as he followed behind Shawn.
“They have chinchillas, Gus!” Shawn answered, animatedly. “Although,” he paused to turn to his friend just outside the pet shop doors, “why exactly do they call it a chinchilla? It has no chin.”
“We sat in the parking lot for about…” Gus glanced down at his watch. “…twenty minutes, just to see some chinchillas?”
“Not just any chinchillas! I wanted to see if the news about the man-eating chinchilla was correct! And now…I see there’s no such thing as a man-eating chinchilla.” Shawn seemed almost disappointed, but grinned at Gus. “They have man-eating piranhas though!”
“Yes, because we want a man-eating piranha in our office.”
“Of course we do, buddy!” Shawn told him. “Or, we can give it to Lassiopolous as a happy man-eating piranha day present!”
“Shawn, there’s no such day!”
“There’s a penguin appreciation day, and a pineapple day!” he bounced excitedly, as they continued into the pet shop. Gus didn’t respond, as both continued forward to stare at the humongous birdcages. Shawn stepped forward, and pulled a brown bag from his pocket. “Wanna feed the birds?”
Gus grabbed the bag away from his friends, “No. There’s a law against that.”
“Really? Like no…?” He didn’t even get to complete his sentence, as one of the employees sped down the aisle toward them.
“Thank God! You’re here!” The employee, dressed in a bright red shirt with black pants cried, as she stopped to stare at Gus (and the bag in his hand). “I hope you aren’t feeding the birds, there’s a law against that.”
“See?” Shawn teased. “I told you so.” Gus shot an annoyed glare toward his best friend, before he glanced back at the employee.
“I don’t think I can take another moment of this!” The employee continued on, as she glanced around wildly. “I think they’re out to kill me!”
“Who?” Shawn asked, eyes wide. “That serial killer guy from The Mentalist? I swear that smiley looks just like…”
“Miss.” Gus interrupted Shawn’s prattle. “Have you called the police yet?”
“Of course I have! They won’t listen! I’ve worked here five years, and they keep telling me nothing is happening! That it’s all in my head!” She cried, before she glanced over at Shawn. “You believe me, right John?” Gus opened his mouth, when Shawn elbowed him.
“Of course I do…” he quickly paused to glance at her nametag. “Ashley!” The employee smiled brightly, as she hugged him.
“Thank you!” Ashley exclaimed. “The bosses don’t believe me, and I keep hearing these odd noises!”
“You work in a pet shop, isn’t that normal?” Gus asked, and Ashley glanced at him in curiosity as she let Shawn go.
“This is my bodyguard, Lemuel Sozzlewedges. He protects me from myself, see?” Shawn moved to punch himself, when Gus slapped him. “Ouch! Not so hard, Lemuel!” He rubbed his sore arm. “Anyway, how may I, John…” he ignored Gus’s glare. “Be of assistance to you?”
“If I stay here for another minute, I’ll go insane!” Ashley cried frantically, as she glanced around the rather silent pet shop. “So, please…!”
“Stay with you? Serenade you? Play Twister?” Shawn paused. “Scratch that, serenading is only for Jules.” He then turned to look at Gus. “Do you think she’d appreciate something Phil Collins?”
“Shawn.” Gus responded, before he glanced at Ashley. “He’s not really…”
“Flexible!” Shawn interrupted. “He means I’m not flexible.”
Ashley blinked. “Okay then, but do you think you could take over my shift?” Shawn beamed and Ashley threw her arms around him again. “Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!”
“John!” Gus hissed. “May I talk to you?”
“Certainly, Lemuel!” Ashley left him go, so he could follow Gus away from Ashley.
“Shawn! Are you out of your mind? You don’t work here! You know nothing about animals!”
“Don’t be a man-eating raccoon, Gus.” Shawn told him. “Of course I know about animals! I worked in a zoo!”
“For two days.”
“And in those two days, I learned how to do this!” Shawn lifted his hand to his mouth, and made a semi-loud noise, which caused the birds to loudly chirp.
“To sound like a dying cat?” Gus asked, before he received a grin in response.
“You wound me, Gus.” Shawn exclaimed, as he moved his hands to his ‘heart’.
“Other side, Shawn.” Shawn moved his hands to rest on his heart. “If you’re going to this, at least have the right organ. Nothing irritates…”
“You mean my lungs aren’t my heart?” Gus glanced at Shawn, with his eyebrow raised. “Next, you’re going to tell me…”
“In the years that we’ve done Psych together—we’ve managed to impersonate singers, doctors, priests, grief counselors, and even Detective Lassiter.” Gus interrupted. “That was all for a case; but this…this isn’t a case.”
“Of course this is a case!” Shawn cried. “Ashley is a very frightened…”
“…and clearly hallucinating girl.” Shawn moved to interrupt, when Gus continued. “She called you John.”
“So? She was frightened! If I were frightened, I’d mistake you for someone else too…maybe, even a girl.”
“We’re not doing this.”
“It’s not like you have something better to do.”
“I have a job…!”
“…which you finished yesterday, and I have a job! Here!” Shawn argued. “Besides! Haven’t you always wanted to run a pet store?”
“Not even for a second?”
“Not even for a second, Shawn.”
“Really? Because your eyes are telling me yes.”
“My eyes are telling you, we’re not doing this.”
“You won’t have to do anything! I promise!” Gus paused to stare at him.
“Absolutely nothing!” Shawn repeated. “You may have to appear as one of those men, who appear busy—but they really aren’t.”
“You mean a member of upper management?” Shawn nodded, and Gus sighed. “Fine,” Shawn jumped up and down in excitement. “But absolutely nothing, Shawn. I mean it!” Shawn nodded, and hurried back to Ashley (with Gus on his trail.)
“Ashley; one question!” Ashley nodded. “Do we get paid?”
“Then yes! Myself and Lemuel…!”
“Lemuel and I.” She corrected.
“Yes, yes. That too…will take over your shift!”
“Thank you!” Ashley squealed, before she began to head toward the front doors. “Your stuff is in the back, and for now, all you need to do is help the customers.”
She escaped, leaving the two alone.
“This is going to be fun!”
“She didn’t even tell you want to do!”
“She said, and I quote:” Shawn cleared his throat. “Everything is in the back, feel free to feed the birds, Lemuel…”.”
“She did not! And stop calling me that!” Gus paused for a few moments. “Do you even know where the back is?”
“I’m assuming it’s in the back, Gus.” Shawn answered, sarcastically. “Where else could the back be? Outside? In the bathroom? Under the Yellow Submarine?”
“Funny.” Gus replied. “I meant the backroom, where they keep the supplies!”
“Oh, yes—there’s that too! Lead the way!”
“I don’t even know where I’m going!” Cried Gus, and Shawn moved his hands to his head.
“I sense, we should go…” He paused, to stare at one of the bird cages. “That way!”
“…we should go into a snake cage?!?”
“Don’t be silly, Gus! We should go around it!”
Shawn made his point, as he walked forward and around the glass enclosure of snakes, only to tap on the glass. “I think they’re hungry, Gus! Quick! Hand me one some of your tic-tacs!”
“Shawn, snakes don’t eat tic-tacs and they’re sleeping! Leave them alone.”
“What about bread?”
“You are not about to feed them bread!” Gus warned, before he continued in the direction of the so-called backroom. Shawn followed, looking at the various animals along the way.
Eventually, after several wrong turns and a brief chinchilla encounter, both arrived in the back of the store.
“Here it is.” Shawn whispered, as he stared at the door, which read: EMPLOYEES ONLY in bold, black print. “What do you think is back there? A secret bred of animals? A dead body? That thing from the movie Arachnophobia?”
“It’s just a backroom, and that thing was a ginormous spider!”
“Backrooms hold secrets, Gus! Why do you think Wal-Mart has one? Nefarious things go down in it, that’s why.” Shawn whispered. “I bet they hypnotize people there…”
“Based on what? How happy they are?”
“It’s like one big happy love fest!” Gus nodded in response, reluctantly and Shawn placed his hand on the door to open it. “Just promise me one thing?”
Gus rolled his eyes. “What?”
“You won’t sell them your soul.” Gus only shook his head in response, as Shawn pushed the door open.