Chapter 8: The Chase
The next morning, Gus entered the Psych Office carrying his sample case, tap dancing and whistling Nat King Cole's L.O.V.E. The early mornings were the only time Gus could get his real work done before Shawn could get him involved in another wacky adventure. When Shawn was still asleep, the Psych Office was the only place he could work without distraction.
"Ahem! Hem!" coughed Shawn, announcing his presence.
"Shawn!" Gus was surprised to see his friend awake and hard at work at such an early hour. "You're here early!"
"Yes I am. Nice moves Gus! Your pitch is a little off though."
Gus responded only with a "Tsk." He did a double-take when he saw that the Psych Office was in perfect order and that Shawn had removed all of his toys and anything remotely childish from his desk.
"You seem chipper this morning," said Shawn. "I take it the airport pick-up went well?"
"Indeed it did!" said Gus proudly. "You were right. I was totally over-reacting. Rachael was excited to see me and she said that Max missed me too. And it also didn't hurt that she couldn't have enough negative things to say about her ex. That dude sounds like a jerk! Rachael said she was lucky to find a decent man like me."
"See Gus! What did I say? I'm glad this is working out for you."
"Thanks Shawn. Also, Rachael wanted to know if you and Juliet would be interested in a double date tomorrow night. She said that since she is now invested in me, she wants to get to know my friends better."
"Sorry, Gus. I'd love to but I have big plans. Maybe Saturday night?"
"Um sure…" said Gus confused, "I'll see if Rachael is free Saturday. So, what are these big plans anyway?”
"It's top secret. I'll tell you later though."
Gus squinted suspiciously at Shawn. "What are you up to?" he said in a serious tone.
"I'm not 'up to' anything except level 7 of LEGO Lord of the Rings. I'm just making some plans for Jules and I don't want you or anyone else to spoil the surprise."
"Come on, Shawn!" argued Gus angrily. "Vault of Secrets! You can tell me. I'm your best friend."
"Gus, I wouldn't trust your vault with the Secret Life of Walter Mitty."
"That hurts, Shawn," said an offended Gus.
"I promise, buddy," said Shawn, sighing and getting serious. "I'll fill you in later, but for the time being I need to keep this to myself. Ok?"
"Um…ok" said Gus, not fully satisfied. "…So Shawn? May I ask why you are here so early today?"
Shawn ignored his friend’s inquiry.
"Hey, Gus, have you seen the photo of Jules and me that was sitting on my desk?" asked Shawn, looking all around his desk and in his drawers.
"I'm sure it's around somewhere," said Gus annoyed. "Don't change the subject."
"I'm serious, Gus. Doesn't it strike you as odd that after cleaning the entire office, we haven't seen it and returned it to my desk? Do you think the burglar took it?"
"Why would the burglar take a photo from your desk, Shawn?" argued Gus, who was getting frustrated.
"Exactly!" said Shawn, scratching his head in confusion and looking around the room.
"Shawn! Why aren't you answering my question? Why are you here so early?"
"I'm working Gus! Why else would I be here? Now that the burglary case has turned into a murder investigation, it's top priority. Unfortunately, I'm still stumped on that one,” Shawn rambled. “However, I have already scheduled another client meeting for later today and made some progress on the Pinkerton case, which by the way, is looking extremely fishy. This uncle of his…untrackable…and I called the bank where the supposed heirlooms were stolen from and they have no record of a Pinkerton. I think this 'Pinkerton' guy, or whatever his name is, is sending us on a wild goose chase."
"That's nice," said Gus, "but you haven't answered my question."
"Gus! Can't a regular guy come to work at regular hours and get paid regular money for doing regular work," argued Shawn
"Sure he can," said Gus, "but you aren't a regular guy."
"Ok. That's fair," said Shawn. "The thing is, though, I need to be a regular guy now, Gus. I can't just think about myself anymore. I have a soon-to-be family that is depending on me and I have to PROVIDE. So, starting today, I am 'responsible Shawn'. No more 'getting- into-trouble Shawn'. No more 'wasting-time-and-money Shawn,' not even 'Malibu Shawn'. Most of all, no more…depending on you. That's why I've destroyed all of my copies of your credit cards…"
"Your copies? What?!"
"…and I've started my own budget," continued Shawn. "Babies are expensive, Gus. I need to start raking in the cash now."
"Ok…Shawn," said Gus, addressing him as if he was clinically insane, "I know you are freaking out about the baby, but this is all starting to scare me. This is not you."
"Exactly, Gus! This is 'responsible Shawn.' Now, if you'll excuse me. I need to go speak to my father." Shawn got up from his desk and started for the door.
"Shawn. Wait!" said Gus. "What about this Pinkerton thing?"
"Oh! Yes, of course," said Shawn in a an uncharacteristic business-like tone. "I think I have a few minutes to fill you in…" Shawn glanced at his watch and then noticed something out of the corner of his eye. It was something shiny, silvery under his desk. His words stopped short and his head tilted with curiosity. He breezed past Gus and straight for the curious object.
"What is it?" asked Gus.
"It's a cuff-link," said Shawn. Neither he nor Gus owned a cuff-link like that, if they even owned cuff-links at all. It was silver with a swirly design on a red background. He had seen it before…. Shawn flashed back two days earlier when Pinkerton first entered their office and he focused on Pinkerton's wrist. He had been wearing cuff-links just like this one! But not only that, the rectangular shape of the cuff-link was familiar too…the shape matched perfectly the curious indentation on Emma's shoulder.
"Gus! It was Pinkerton all along! He was the one that broke into my Dad's house and our office, and murdered little Emma."
"You mean, walked into our unlocked office," Gus corrected.
"Ok, fine, we all know I'm guilty of not locking the office door! You don't have to keep rubbing it in! Anyhow, it was Pinkerton. I don't know why or what he wanted, but I know it was him! I've got to go see my Dad."
"Dad! Dad?!" yelled Shawn as he burst through the kitchen door of Henry's beachside home.
"Henry!" yelled Gus, following behind him.
"Dad, I figured it out!" said Shawn. He and Gus turned the corner to find his father standing at his cocktail bar, the window open behind him to allow a cool summer breeze to fill his home. Another older man was sitting on the stool across from him.
"Dad? Uh…hi," Shawn addressed the man, surprised to see a visitor in his dad's home, an uncommon occurrence.
"Hey. Shawn, Gus," said Henry, "I'd like you to meet my new fishing buddy Ed."
"Hi, Ed," said both Shawn and Gus at the same time. Ed was an older, gentlemanly-looking fellow. He had white hair and a thick white moustache and beard. These features along with his plumpness made him look like Santa Clause in a fishing hat and vest. Shawn noticed that they seemed to clash with his black pants and button-down shirt.
"Ed, this is my son Shawn and his buddy Gus," introduced Henry. Shawn and Gus nodded. "I was just telling Ed the story of how I caught that marlin…"
Shawn hurriedly interrupted, "…It's lovely to meet you Ed, and Dad I'm glad you found someone who wants to listen to your fishing stories, but I need to speak to you for a moment."
Henry didn't budge. "Now…" Shawn added, and when Henry still didn't budge, "…in the kitchen."
"Um…Ok, Shawn," said Henry slightly annoyed, and they headed for the kitchen.
"Stay here," Shawn whispered to Gus. He had more than just the matter at hand to discuss with his dad which would need to exclude Gus for now. Gus, feeling confused and left out, attempted small talk with Ed. "So…have you heard about Pluto?"
"I did, indeed! That's messed up, right?" said Ed.
Once they were alone, Shawn told Henry about Pinkerton and the cuff-link and how he knew that Pinkerton had broken into both Henry's house and the Psych Office and had killed his young witness, and that he probably wasn't who he said he was. Henry was ready to jump on this new piece of evidence and get back into the investigation. "You, Gus, and I are going to find this guy now!" he said, starting for the living room.
"Dad! Wait!" said Shawn pulling Henry back into the kitchen. There's something else I need to discuss with you."
"Right now?" asked Henry.
Henry sighed and came back to where Shawn was standing. "The time is right," Shawn said.
Henry wasn't sure what Shawn was talking about. "The time is right? The time is right for what?" Henry asked.
"For Jules. The big question. You told me to tell you when the time was right, so I'm telling that right now the time is right."
"I told you that three days ago, Shawn. What could possibly have changed in three days?"
"A lot," said Shawn. "Look, we don't have time to discuss it now…" His expression indicated that the case took priority at the moment. "…but just trust me. Jules pretty much told me that she's ready for it, and I've been ready to commit to her for a long time. I just need your blessing…and the ring."
Henry looked serious. He suspected Shawn's enthusiasm about popping the question was probably a bit premature, but he also didn't want to stand in the way of his being with Juliet. "Are you sure about this?"
"More sure than Mikey was sure about eating Life cereal," answered Shawn.
Henry put his eyes to the floor, thinking, for several seconds. "Ok," he said, taking the ring down from its new hiding place on top of the kitchen cabinet. It was now stored inside a black velvet box.
"Sweet!" said Shawn, taking the box and stuffing it in his pocket, then he started back towards the guests in the other room. "Wait," Henry asked, "When are you planning on asking her?"
"Tomorrow," stated Shawn, and he left the room before his dad could make any objections.
"Tomorrow?!" said Henry to himself as he pulled his invisible hair out with his fingers before returning to the living room where Gus was giving Shawn a disapproving look.
"Hey, Ed. Sorry to cut our visit short, but we've got an urgent matter to attend to. We're still on for fishing first thing Saturday morning, though."
"Of course, Henry, I don't want to get in the way," said Ed. "I'll just be on my way and I’ll see you first thing on Saturday."
"Thanks, Ed and sorry for the inconvenience," said Henry, walking with him to the front door and letting him out. "See ya." As soon as Ed was gone, Henry turned to Shawn and Gus. "Ok, where do you suppose we find this Pinkerton fella?"
"I don't know Dad," said Shawn. "We haven't seen or heard from him since our first meeting, and all of the information he has given us have been false leads, which I think he's just been using to keep us distracted from what he's really up to."
"Damnit!" said Henry. "Didn't he even give you a number to reach him?"
"He did," said Gus. "But when I called it all I got was the Gigantoburger and Shake Shack."
"What?!" said Shawn. "And you didn't order us any?!"
"They don't take phone orders, Shawn!"
"Alright, fine!" said Shawn in total seriousness. "But as soon as we solve this case we are getting us a 5-pounder and a mango pineapple shake!" Henry groaned, covering his face with his hand and shaking his head.
"Of course we are, Shawn," Gus agreed exasperatedly. "You don't have to tell me twice."
"Alright, fine!" Shawn repeated. "But as soon as we solve this case we are getting us a 5-pounder and a mango pineapple shake!"
"I said you DON'T have to tell me twice," Gus argued.
"I know, but I figured it couldn't hurt," Shawn shrugged.
"ENOUGH!" shouted Henry. "Shawn focus. What, if any, clues can you remember that might lead us to what this Pinkerton guy is looking for and where he might be now."
Shawn paused and flashed through all of his memories of the break-ins and the murder. Nothing made sense. It seemed likely that Pinkerton was looking for something small, but whatever that was could be anything. On the other hand, the guy had stolen cash and electronics which didn't make any sense at all Perhaps he thought his and Gus's computers might be holding some sensitive information, but he couldn't explain why the man had stolen the Xbox and Nintendo…unless he just happened to be a video game addict too, which Shawn supposed could be possible. But why would he steal a photograph of him and Jules? That was in itself just creepy and really rubbed Shawn the wrong way.
"I don't know…" said Shawn shaking his head, completely at a loss.
"Come on, Shawn. Think!" Henry urged his son. "There's gotta be somethi—"
Everyone got silent when, just like during last week's dinner, they heard a creaking on the back porch just outside the open window. Shawn put a finger to his lips and stepped carefully towards the window. Leaning out of it, he found himself face-to-face with Pinkerton who was kneeling just underneath the window and looking like he was getting ready to make a run for it.
"Hey!" Shawn shouted to the tall, pasty man which prompted the guy to leap off the porch and start running. "It's him! It's Pinkerton!" Shawn yelled to Henry and Gus. Shawn burst out of the back door and took off toward the mysterious man. Gus followed, but Henry ran straight for his truck. He wasn't going to let this guy run off on him again.
Shawn and Gus ran as fast as they could, following the man to the street. "Man! This guy is fast for a pasty, white guy," huffed Shawn.
"Of course he is," puffed Gus. "His legs are like six feet long!"
Pinkerton suddenly turned into an alley and by the time Shawn and Gus caught up, they found that he had gotten into the driver's seat of a black car and was starting to back up towards the two men. Shawn and Gus leapt out of the way so as not to be run over and rolled across the sidewalk, grumbling in pain as they acquired several scrapes and bruises.
The black car screeched backwards out of the alley just barely missing the two friends who lay in a heap on the ground. Henry, who was approaching the scene in his truck, had to step hard on the brake to avoid a collision with Pinkerton's vehicle, which allowed Shawn and Gus a moment to scramble off of the ground and hop into the truck that immediately took off at full speed following their suspect.
"I can't believe it!" said Henry. "He was hiding outside on the porch the whole time?"
"Obviously he hasn't found what he's looking for yet if he's still following you around," Shawn reasoned pulling out his phone and selecting Lassiter's speed dial. "Lassie!" he shouted into the phone. "We've spotted our burglar-slash-child killer. We're following him in my Dad's truck headed west on Shoreline. He's driving a black Buick Impreza.
"I'm on it. Try not to lose him!" Lassiter yelled before hanging up the phone.
Shawn had just gotten his phone back into his pocket when he had to grab onto the 'Oh, Jesus!' bar to brace himself for a sharp turn onto a busy boulevard.
"Oh, Jesus!" said Shawn. "Dad you're going to kill us. I can't afford to die right now," he complained as the clunky truck weaved in and out of traffic. "Jules would kill me."
"You know that makes absolutely no sense," squealed Gus as he held onto the dashboard for dear life.
"Why?" asked Henry.
"Because Juliet can't kill Shawn if he's already dead," Gus whimpered. "Eeeeekk!" The truck curved sharply off the boulevard, gaining on Pinkerton's vehicle while it turned onto a side street.
"No, I mean why would Juliet kill you if you died 'right now'." Henry clarified.
Sensing that a car chase wasn't the right time to tell his Dad that he was going to be a grandfather, Shawn tried to change the subject. "Uhh…I don't know. Why is Gus addicted to Duck Dynasty?"
"For your information, Duck hunting is an intriguing and surprisingly complicated past-time, Shawn…even if they are murdering adorable innocent birds."
"Boys! Shut up!" growled Henry as the Impreza raced through a red light, causing Henry to have to step on the brakes to avoid being hit by an oncoming vehicle.
"Aaaahhh!" sounded Shawn's and Gus's high-pitched screams as the truck skid across the pavement and came inches from colliding with a Fed-ex truck.
"Shit!" said Henry, pounding on the steering wheel when he realized he was in the center of a traffic jam. "We lost him!"