“Well, that was a big waste of time,” Juliet said with a sigh as she sank down on the hotel’s freshly made bed. For the past six hours, she and Gus had been sitting in the small bar across the street from the hotel, the bar where Shawn had gotten in so much trouble the night before. They’d watched everyone going in and coming out, all the time pretending, lamely, to be on a date. “Officer Prize wasn’t on patrol, none of last nights customers returned tonight. Furthermore, there was no evidence that someone was using the bar a drop for a prescription drug smuggling ring.”
“Not necessarily,” Gus said. “The bar tender was overcharging people. If Shawn was right about that, he was probably right about the other things too.”
“But it doesn’t prove anything,” Juliet said. “At least not anything that can help us. Let’s say that Shawn did have a legitimate psychic flash and saw Ruiz and his mother . . . saw that that they had been intimate. Shawn still had the drugs on him.”
“It proves that Ruiz is a liar. If he lied about the affair, he probably lied about more,” Gus said. “We’ll have to stick to the guy until we uncover all his secrets.”
“You’re right,” Juliet admitted. “And we’ll have to call Dr. Spencer.”
“Call Shawn’s mom?” Gus said. “And do what, ask her if she had a hot Latin lover?”
“Well, not in so many words,” Juliet said. “But the facts point to her. After all, she’s the one that sent him here.”
“Mrs. Spencer was never a great mom,” Gus admitted. “When we were six, she rented Halloween for us because Shawn asked. She was busy in her office while we watched it. Mr. Spencer was working late, and she didn’t want us running around the house. I didn’t sleep for a week.”
“That explains so much,” Juliet said.
“But she’s no Joan Crawford,” Gus insisted.
“The point is,” Juliet pressed, “that we won’t know what her involvement was until we talk to her. It could be perfectly innocent, it could be that Shawn and Ruiz meet by coincidence . . . “
“Or Shawn’s mom could have set him up?” Gus said. “Is that where we’re going?”
“We don’t know,” Juliet said. “Ruiz lied, Shawn’s being . . . unhelpful, and Dr. Spencer might know.”
“Fine,” Gus said. “But you’ll talk to her. And you’ll be the one to tell Shawn. I’m not getting in the middle of that mess.”
“Shawn and his mother have issues,” Gus said. “He never talks about it—and I don’t want to be the one to make him.”
“Every kid has issues when their parents’ divorce,” Juliet said. “It’s perfectly normal.”
“Not every parent leaves in the middle of the night without telling her son. Not every parent refuses to visit. But despite being totally abandoned, Shawn still skipped town and ran after her as soon as he could—he didn’t even stay to hear my graduation speech.”
“I don’t think you can blame his mother for that,” Juliet said.
“He has issues,” Gus asserted. “And I don’t want to be involved.”
“Fine, I’ll make the call and I’ll talk to Shawn about it,” Juliet said. “And who knows, his hearing is tomorrow. Maybe there was a procedural issue and he’ll get off.”
“I suppose we can always hope,” Gus said. “When is it?”
“Then we’d better get to sleep. Flip you for the bed?”
Juliet looked at Gus the same way she’d looked at her brothers when they’d tried to trump chivalry with equality. Juliet was a proud feminist, who had proven herself as able as any man, and more able then most, in a very difficult, masculine field—but she knew that women’s lib had it’s limits. It was late, she was tired, and there were older laws that ought to come into play.
“Oh, yeah, of course,” Gus said, slightly embarrassed. “You take the bed. I’ll just sleep out here on the couch.”
* * *
The hearing started on time, which Juliet found amazing. Officer Prize testified that Shawn had acted erratic, threatening, and had turned violent when approached by the police. Dr. Ruiz had testified that Shawn was trying to self-medicate his undiagnosed ADHD and was really an object of pity, not a criminal. Then it was Shawn’s turn to speak. The court had provided him with a translator, but something about the way Shawn spoke defied translation. His quick wit and word play, which was so effective in disarming Chief Vick, became awkward and boxy.
“Your Honor,” Shawn said. “Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Shawn Spencer and I am the head Psychic for the Santa Barbara, California, Police Department. If you need to verify that, I see that the lovely Detective Juliet O’Hara is in the courtroom today. She will vouch for me. Why don’t you wave at him, Jules?”
He turned and looked at her, with his fake-serious expression—the one he always wore after he said something idiotic but still expected everyone to take him seriously.
“The defendant claims to be a psychic,” the translator said very dryly. “He claims he is employed with the police in Santa Barbara California. There is a detective here who can speak on his behalf.”
“Will the detective identify himself?” The judge asked.
“Yes, your honor,” Juliet said, before the translator could speak. She stood up and addressed the court calmly and professionally. “I am Detective Juliet O’Hara from the Santa Barbara Police Department.”
“Bailiff,” the judge said. “Could you please take her badge number and verify this young woman’s identity?”
They waited while Juliet’s identify was confirmed. Shawn fidgeted nervously, whistling White Snake songs and trying to balance a pencil on his index finger. Juliet had no idea why he was acting so childish, either he didn’t know how serious his situation was, or he wanted to look mentally incompetent.
Eventually, her identity was confirmed and she was allowed to testify on Shawn’s behalf. “Shawn Spencer has worked as a consultant for the Santa Barbara police department for over two years,” She said. “He has proven to be very trustworthy, and has uncovered key evidence in several high-profile cases.”
“And, what do you think of Dr. Ruiz’s hypothesis?” the judge asked.
Juliet looked the judge in the eyes, but she could feel Shawn and Gus staring at her. “I am not qualified to give opinion on that.”
“Can you describe his behavior for us?” The judge asked. “His usual behavior?”
Juliet’s palms began to sweat. “He jokes around a lot.”
“While he is helping you investigate crimes?”
“Would you classify that behavior as professional?”
“Not for a police officer, no,” Juliet admitted. “But he’s a professional psychic—so, as long as he gets results, it’s not really my place to judge his behavior.”
“And, he gets results?” the judge asked.
“Every time,” Juliet assured him.
“Thank you for your testimony, detective,” the Judge said. “You may sit down.”
Juliet lowered herself back into her seat and glanced at Gus.
“You had to tell him that Shawn was unprofessional?”
“Gus, I’m not going to lie,” Juliet replied in a harsh whisper. “He does joke around.”
“He needs our help.”
“Nothing we do can help him, if he won’t help himself,” Juliet pointed out.
“Mr. Spencer,” the judge continued seriously. “Will you please explain your behavior on the night of your arrest?”
After the translator gave Shawn the question in English, Shawn said, “Simple, your honor, I was fed an overdose of Addmercall, wait no . . . Eddermall . . . um, Attertall . . .”
“The defendant claims to have overdosed on Adderall,” the translator said, not bothering to wait for Shawn to get the name right. “But he claims he was fed the drugs.”
“That is, it was slipped in my beer when I wasn’t looking and it made me go a little nuts. I did not take it knowingly or willingly,” Shawn continued.
“He claims it was put in his beer without his knowledge or consent,” the translator said.
“And what of the drugs that were found on your person?” The judge asked through the translator.
“They were put there—most likely by the same person who drugged me, but not necessarily. The question this court should be asking is not whether I’m hyperactive, but whether there is a prescription drug smuggling ring being run by the police department.”
Juliet’s jaw dropped. “He didn’t tell us about that,” she whispered to Gus.
“I have no idea what he’s doing,” Gus said. “This can’t be good.”
“He claims that the same person or group who drugged him put the pills on his body,” the translator said. “He claims that the court should not determine whether or not he has ADHD. He further contends that the police department is smuggling prescription drugs.”
“That is a serious accusation, Mr. Spencer,” The judge said. “Can you offer any collaborating evidence?”
The translator repeated the question.
“No, Your Honor,” Shawn said with a sigh. “I cannot. It’s a . . . it’s just a feeling I have—a very strong, psychic, feeling.”
“He has no evidence,” the translator said. “He has divined this information psychically.”
“More like witchcraft,” the judge muttered.
“Your Honor,” Shawn said, his voice had just a hint of desperation in it. “You heard Detective O’Hara’s testimony. But if you don’t trust her, let me prove myself. If I can prove to you, right here, in front of everyone, that I am a psychic, will you at least investigate the case?”
“He desires to prove he is a psychic,” the translator said.
“There’s no way that’s all I said,” Shawn commented quietly, apparently to himself. “I said, like, five sentences. That was barely one.”
“The court will not allow this hokum,” the judge said. “However, the defendant is, apparently, credible. His accusations are serious and his case cannot lightly be dismissed. The defendant may be released on 100,000 pesos bail until his accusation is investigated further.” The judge struck his desk with his gavel. “Case dismissed. Next defendant.”
“Your Honor,” Dr. Ruiz said, standing up and approaching the bench. “Is 100,000 pesos enough? Isn’t he a flight risk?”
The judge looked at the doctor, annoyed. “If your accusations are correct and Mr. Spencer very foolishly took the medication for himself, then he is barely a criminal. If his accusations are correct, then he is not a criminal at all. My ruling stands. Next defendant.”
The translator spoke to Shawn softly, presumably communicating the judge’s ruling. When he was done, Shawn looked up and smiled at Juliet and Gus.
“Did you hear that guys?” he shouted at them as one of the bailiffs put him in handcuffs again. “I can totally help you with the case!”
“As soon as we bail you out,” Gus said. “It’s over $7,000, and all the banks are closed until Monday.”
Shawn, apparently, didn’t register Gus’s comment. ”I’ll see you soon, Jules!” he called, as the bailiff pushed him through the courtroom doors and back towards the jail.
“Well,” Juliet said, turning towards Gus. ”I guess that went well.”
“We got to find a bail bondsman,” Gus said with a sigh. ”And the fee is coming out of Shawn’s pay.”
* * *
“See you later,” Shawn called after the officer once he was, once again, locked inside his holding cell.
“You look happy, man,” Sal said, approaching Shawn from the back of the cell.
“Yeah,” Shawn said. “My hearing went Okay, my friends will post my bail and I’ll bring down a ring of corrupt cops by the end of the week.”
“The cops are out to get you?” Sal asked.
“Not all of them,” Shawn said. ”Just a special few.”
“I’m sorry, Shawn,” Sal said, sounding truly regretful.
“It’s no big,” Shawn said, his good mood slipping as he saw how upset Sal was. ”How are you doing, buddy?”
“I’m really sorry, Shawn,” Sal said. “You were right about Daria. I talked to my trainer, he said it’s true. He said everyone knows.”
“Dude, I’m sorry,” Shawn said, patting Sal’s arm. The fighter’s muscles were tense and his hands were in fists.
“I just want you to know, I’m glad you told me,” Sal said. ”So this, this isn’t about that.”
“It’s cool,” Shawn said, trying and failing not to tense up in preparation for the beating that would quickly come. ”Just do me a favor and, ah, avoid the face.”
“You like to be the pretty boy,” Sal observed. “I won’t touch it.”
“Sweet,” Shawn said. ”Since we’ve got that out of the way, you might as well go.”
“Go?” Sal asked.
“Unless you’re waiting for something.”
“You’re a good guy, Shawn, the real deal. I wish I didn’t have to do this.”
“I know,” Shawn said. ”Just . . . please, get it over with.”
“All right,” Sal said. ”Here I go.”
Suddenly, the huge fighter grabbed Shawn by his shirt collar, lifted him off the ground, and slammed him into the bars. The first time it hurt like hell. The second time Shawn was sure he felt his skull crack. The third time, the world in front of him exploded into a wash of bright white light then everything faded into darkness.
* * *
Juliet read carefully through the bail bondsman’s contract. His fee was 10% of the bail money, to be paid up-front. Gus was on the phone with his bank, trying to raise the withdraw limit on the Psych debit card.
“No, I cannot wait until Monday,” Gus said. “If I could wait until Monday, I’d just go to the bank and make a withdrawal, this is an emergency. . . . . Yes, I would like to speak to your supervisor . . . .”
There was a very long pause.
“I can’t believe it,” Gus exclaimed, pulling his cell phone away from his ear. “They just hung up on me! I was on hold for twenty minutes, and they cut me off!”
“Oh,” Juliet said, empathetically. “You know, if you needed a few hundred dollars, I could . . .”
“No,” Gus said solidly. “It’s not your responsibility.”
“I know, but . . . .” she was interrupted by Gus’s phone ringing. “Hey, maybe they’re calling you back.”
“No,” Gus said. “It’s Shawn’s dad.”
“Shawn asked me not to tell his father about this,” Juliet said as Gus answered the phone.
“Hi, Mr. Spencer,” Gus said tentatively.
Juliet watched as Gus’s nervous expression quickly turned to one of deep concern.
“What is it?” she asked.
“Yes, I am here,” Gus said, presumably to Henry. “But I didn’t know.”
“What’s going on?” Juliet asked.
“Yeah, yeah,” Gus said. “We won’t. . . . Juliet, I mean, Detective O’Hara, is here too.”
“Gus, what’s going on?” Juliet asked anxiously.
Gus glanced over at her. “Shawn’s in the hospital.”
“Oh my God,” Juliet said. “What happened?”
“I don’t know,” Gus told her quickly before returning his attention to the phone. “We can explain it all when you get here. Don’t worry, we’ll watch him.”
Gus hung up and looked at Juliet. “They moved him to Blessed Virgin Hospital.”
“That’s only three blocks from here,” Juliet said. “Lets go!”
“Yeah,” Gus said soberly, slipping his cell phone back into his pocket. “I guess we don’t need bail money, now.”
“Did Henry know what happened?” Juliet asked.
“He was attacked by a fellow inmate,” Gus explained. “By the time the guards got there, he was already unconscious. He hasn’t woken up.”
Suddenly, Juliet’s fear and pity turned into a wave of anger. “All right, that’s enough,” she said, pulling out her cell phone and pressing 2 on her speed dial.
“Enough of what?” Gus asked. “You’re not leaving, are you?”
“Of course I’m not leaving,” Juliet said. “But I’m not going to try and solve this case the Psych way anymore. Shawn has flashes of inspiration—which is great for him, but I don’t.”
Juliet heard a click as someone answered her call. “This is Detective Carlton Lassiter, SBPD,” her partner said in his normal, languid voice.
“Lassiter, it’s me,” Juliet told him. “O’Hara.”
“O’Hara,” Lassiter said. “Where are you? The chief said you were called away on a family emergency. I hope everything’s all right.”
“Not a family emergency,” Juliet admitted. “A friend emergency.”
“A friend . . .” Lassiter asked. “You’d take time off work to help a friend?”
“Of course I would,” Juliet said. “And, actually, I need your help too.”
“What do you mean?” Lassiter asked cautiously.
“I’m in Tijuana with Shawn and Gus.”
“Spencer and Guster?” Lassiter said, disgusted. “You dropped everything to help them?”
“Shawn got muddled up in something—I’m not sure what exactly. He claims that there is some sort of prescription drug smuggling ring run by corrupt cops.”
“Well, that sounds plausible,” Lassiter said sarcastically.
“Shawn’s said crazier things and they’ve turned out to be true,” Juliet pointed out. “If that’s really going on, some one in the Chula Vista P.D. must be working on the case—and they probably don’t realize Shawn’s arrest has anything to do with it.”
“Wait, Spencer got arrested?” Lassiter said. “And I wasn’t there to see it?”
“I know you have friends in Chula Vista. I need an introduction so I can collaborate with whomever is in charge of the prescription drug investigation.”
“I have half a mind to go down there,” Lassiter said. “It’d be worth the four hour drive just to see him behind bars.”
“Well, it’s too late for that,” Juliet said.
“What, you bailed him out already?” Lassiter whined.
“No, he was assaulted in his holding cell. He’s in the hospital.”
“But he’ll be back in jail soon, right?” Lassiter said eagerly. “A couple Advil, a bandage or too, and then . . .”
“He’s unconscious,” Juliet said. “I think he fell into something bad and I think people are trying to silence him. He could die.”
“Fine,” Lassiter sighed. “I know a few people I could call.”
“Thank you, Carlton,” Juliet said.
“Just to make it perfectly clear, I’m helping you, not him.”
“Good,” Lassiter said. “I’ll give you a call when I have your meeting.”
“And be careful, O’Hara. Mexico can be a dangerous place.”
“I can take care of myself,” Juliet said, rolling her eyes.
“I know, I know,” Lassiter said. “But . . . if Spencer found himself in a situation he couldn’t talk himself out of . . . “
“I’ll be very careful,” Juliet assured him.
“You do that, O’Hara,” Lassiter said gruffly. “I’ll call you back within the hour.”To be continued . . .