As Shawn Spencer stirred to life late one foggy morning, he immediately realized two things: he was lying on top of a bag of Doritos, and Juliet O’Hara was not a significant source of body heat.
“Jules,” Shawn mumbled, gently shaking his girlfriend’s shoulder. “Jules? Babe?”
Against his stomach Juliet made a sound that Shawn normally associated with lawnmowers, her mouth splaying open against his navel as she hugged his hips like a lost child. “C’mon.” The ticklish tease of her breathing made him giggle involuntarily. “Juuliet? C’mon, get up. It’s Gus’ turn to cook. Yummy Gus food has been promised to me, but I can’t eat it because you’ve got me in a bear hug. It’s quite an impressive bear hug, but I don’t like it as much as I usually do because you’re lying between me and the promise of delicious flavor.”
The bedroom door creaked open and a familiar head ducked inside. “I know you’re not sleeping through my famous buckwheat pancakes.”
“JULES! There are pancakes!”
Shawn’s excitement made Juliet’s eyes flicker open. “Stakeout privileges,” she reminded him, rolling over.
She frowned at him. “I was up until three AM and had to shoot a clown in the knee, guys.”
“Mister Bonko’s going to need extensive reconstruction surgery,” Shawn said.
“That’s our little sharpshooter!” Gus piped.
Juliet groaned. “We’re very proud of you,” Shawn said. “But that shouldn’t get between your mouth and the hundreds of hours Gus spent slaving over his special pancakes.”
“I used a mix, Shawn.”
“A mix someone else spent hours slaving over.” He kissed her forehead. “Don’t disappoint Betty Crocker, Juliet. Be the change you want to see in breakfast!”
“I need four more hours,” she said, shoving Shawn away. “Feed him for me?” she told Gus.
“Already on it. Come on, Shawn, she knows how to use a microwave.”
“But togetherness! Nuclear families!” Shawn took an audible sniff of the air as Gus dragged him away by the collar of his pajamas. “Do I sense a hint of banana in the air?”
“Well,” Lassiter observed as he bent closer to the vic who lay sprawled across the multicolored tiles of the candy store, “It looks like he won’t be getting up.”
“You are correct, Lassie. I guess we know what he’d do for a Klondike Bar now,” Shawn declared, snacking on large handfuls of candied popcorn. Gus had picked up two oversized Snickers bars but had managed to maintain his focus.
“Actually, it looks like a robbery gone bad,” Juliet said, pointing with a gloved hand toward the vic’s head. “One bullet wound, one exit wound. If it were personal it would be bloodier.”
Shawn disconnected from the rest of his world, his eyes zooming immediately to the half-opened drawer, which was stained with several chocolate-covered fingerprints.
His own fingers raced to his temple. “Oooh, Mister Wonk-air! I’m having a vision…”
“Of course you are,” Lassiter sneered, slapping his gloves off.
“The perp,” Shawn said, his voice rising to silence Lassiter, “loved chocolate. Lassie, check the shop’s website and find out if they’ve had any contests filled with creamy goodness.”
Gus had already put his Blackberry to good use. “Two months ago they had a fudge-eating contest!” Gus paused, frowning. “How did I not know about this? I’m on Jolly Cholly’s E-Vite List!”
“Just keep scrolling until you find something,” Lassiter complained.
“The loser was the world fudge eating champion! He goes by the name of Harry Smilac, and he makes hundreds of dollars a year travelling the world entering these things. Apparently he had one ounce to go with ten minutes on the clock when he choked on a pecan.” Gus frowned. “That’s what you call tough luck.”
“Let’s find this man and have him brought in for questioning,” said an exhausted Lassiter. He was already headed out the door.
“Coming,” Gus said, his eyes locked upon the mountain of Turkish taffy which sat unguarded and out in the open next to the register.
“Aww, buddy – want some sugar?” Shawn asked, looping his arm around Gus’ neck.
“Who doesn’t?” Gus responded rhetorically, his eye on the prize. “I just need a little afternoon kick!”
“One piece,” Juliet teased.
Gus frowned and plucked one bubblegum-flavored bit of taffy from the mound before following Shawn and Juliet outside.
Ten hours later the boys were hanging by their collars on a hook over a vat of boiling sugar. Harry did not fool around, had come prepared, and was quite happy to watch the boys die.
Gus tried to face their possible deaths with all the bravery he could scare up – which, unfortunately, wasn’t much. “Shawn! If I go before you…promise me you won’t let them turn me into a bag of Goobers!”
“I promise, pal – nothing but the best Raisinettes for you!” Shawn’s eyes focused on the catwalk above them. Maybe if they could get enough momentum they could swing their way to safety.
It was an idea that died a quick death due to Gus’ motion sickness. “Deep breaths, buddy,” Shawn encouraged his lover. His antic mind had moved along to the next idea by the time a series of gunshots rang out.
One caused a shower of sparks to rain down on the boys’ heads, another ricocheted off of the chain attached to the hook. One last gunshot rang out from the back of the room, and both boys watched in slow-motion as Harry sank to his knees, a bullet lodged in his forehead.
To their surprise, Lassiter stood over the man’s body, his expression showing intense satisfaction. “Lassie! Where’s Juliet!?” Shawn called.
As if he had been answered by an angel on high, the chain began to groan, the hook moving westward and closer to the catwalk he hadn’t been able to reach on his own.
Shawn glanced up before his feet hit the metal steps. Jules stood in the master control booth, waiting for them with a smile on her face.
Two depositions and a very stern talking-to from the Chief later, they were safely back home and in a celebratory mood.
“Well,” Juliet said, popping the tab of her beer. “Another successful day.” She pecked Shawn’s cheek, then twisted to her right to kiss Gus’ lips. “And thank you for letting Carlton save the day this time,” she added.
“Letting,” snorted Gus, which earned him an elbow from Shawn.
“All in a day’s work, my love,” Shawn said grandly.
“Well, I know just how to celebrate,” she said, getting up and running toward the bedroom. Shawn and Gus shared a grin and started unbuttoning their clothing, but when Juliet returned she carried a different sort of toy.
“Wii Racing!” she crowed.
“Oh girl, it is ON!” Gus said, grabbing the controller out of Jules’ hands.
“But I wanted…” Shawn protested.
She bit his bottom lip. “Lat. Er.”
“Yes, ma’am,” he said, taking the WiiMote from her hand.