|Flash of Efficiency
Author: AlyshebaFan1 PM
Who would have thought a Bob Newhart routine would inspire a Psych/Lassiet fic?Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Humor - Carlton L. & Juliet oH. - Words: 2,845 - Reviews: 5 - Favs: 7 - Published: 01-04-12 - Status: Complete - id: 7711459
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Blatantly stolen from Bob Newhart's routine. Listen to the original. It's hilarious. Then see if you can listen to his routine about Thomas Edison and his light bulb.
This is just for funsies, because the 'Season for Justice' series is rather darkish and a bit depressiony.
Juliet O'Hara was looking out the window, watching the rain pour down in sheets. Thunder rolled across the sky like the chariots of God Himself were having a no-holds-barred race, and lightning flashed from cloud to cloud, demonstrating to even the most hard-nosed non-believer that God was indeed up there, and He was apparently in a rather grumpy mood. She took a sip of her coffee and flinched at another flash of lightning. Grow up!
She almost jumped out of her skin then, and whirled around to face her partner, who had his hands up in a 'surrender' pose, looking vaguely amused. "Sorry. Didn't mean to scare you. I know you're not a big fan of storms."
"They make me nervous," she admitted. "When I was little, whenever there was a big storm, I insisted Ewan sleep on the floor in my room."
He gave her a sympathetic half-smile. "Eh…I like them. I like the fury of them – the electricity, the noise. Now sit down, you're making me nervous. We've got work to do, too."
"Oh, can't that stuff wait?" she asked him, knowing she sounded a little whiny. Like a little kid who wanted to wheedle her way out of her chores. Of course, she knew there were better and far more entertaining ways to distract Carlton from doing chores.
"Paperwork never waits. It just develops mites and gets wrinkly with time, and we can't have that. Vick's bringing in an efficiency expert tomorrow, remember? Everything has to be ship-shape around here." Carlton sat down at his desk, straightening his tie and flexing his tired muscles.
"Why do we need an efficiency expert?" Juliet asked, sitting down at her desk and firing up her laptop.
Vick startled them both, speaking sharply as she made her way to the door, on her way to another meeting with the mayor. "Because the mayor's office likes efficiency."
Once Vick was gone, Carlton glanced at Juliet and gave her an all-too-brief but mouth-watering smile. "So did the Nazis."
As could be expected, the next morning dawned bright and sunny, and Juliet arrived at the office ten minutes ahead of Carlton, which she counted as a personal accomplishment. She did, after all, have much more personal hygiene to contend with, while Carlton could shave in the shower, splash on a little bit of cologne and dress in a matter of about fifteen minutes if she would just keep her hands off him. This morning, however, he had overslept and they hadn't even had time to eat breakfast together, which she regretted immensely. Breakfast with Carlton was always fun, because nine times out of ten they got into bickerfests about everything from politics to the weather to last night's episode of Infested! On Animal Planet.
He arrived in a hurry and sat down at his desk, taking deep breaths. She gave him a little smirk that made him give her a little scowl that she knew was only pretend – Carlton never could stay angry at her for long. He hadn't even gotten that angry with her when she had thrown him that disastrous birthday party a few years ago, and he had had plenty of reason to get thoroughly ticked off then. Instead, he had fumed for a couple of days (particularly because he had dropped a box of books on his foot while moving) but she had apologized as sweetly as she could, then had bought him a cupcake and soon all was forgiven. It hadn't been long after that, in fact, that she had started encouraging him to chase her until she could catch him.
McNab came over to Carlton's desk, treading carefully because the head detective still looked a little grouchy, and handed him a folder. "We just got a call from a Mrs Greeley about a flasher."
"A whater?" Carlton asked, looking startled. He took the file and flipped it open.
"A flasher, sir. Guy in a trenchcoat, ski mask and red sneakers. Rings the doorbell, opens the trenchcoat - woo-hoo! - and then he runs away." McNab pantomimed opening a trenchcoat, even wiggling his hips a little for effect, which got Juliet giggling into her coffee cup.
Carlton's expression went from disgruntled to incredulous. "I didn't think people still did that."
"This guy does. Seven women so far have reported him."
"All in the same neighborhood?" Carlton asked, looking down at the file. "Huh…amazing. I thought that went out of style in the seventies."
Juliet went around to look at the file, leaning over Carlton's arm and taking in his scent – coffee, his light, woodsy cologne and his maleness. If it weren't for the fact that Buzz was standing there and Vick was in her office and had a good view of them, she would have given him a little kiss. Or a big kiss.
"Well, the homeowner's association in that neighborhood is making noise about it – something about how it's bringing down home values due to local perverts and so forth. So they want the guy caught…though, to be honest, none of the women who have been flashed have insisted on him being caught. Only the head of the homeowners' association is filing charges, and she's coming in this afternoon to do just that."
"Does she have a description?" Juliet asked, and caught the brief flash of laughter in Carlton's eyes. She immediately felt a little foolish – what kind of description could be given? Freckles? Moles? Tattoos? Birthmarks? Length?
"Well, we'll look up local area perverts, cross reference to anybody around there with any sex offenses, and see if any of them did some nude dashes back in the seventies and go from there," Carlton said, nodding sensibly and handing the folder back to McNab.
"Yes, sir!" Buzz said eagerly, and dashed away, eager to do his hero's bidding. Carlton drummed his fingers on his desk and gave Juliet a cool blue look.
"What are we doing tonight?"
"Hopefully, it won't involve chasing nudists. Well…at least not outdoors."
Apparently, the president of the Ravenswood neighborhood homeowners' association was a rather commanding woman, because four other women accompanied her to the station to file separate complaints, with the other three being unavailable. Carlton eyed their fearless leader, recognizing her as the type you would introduce as 'my first wife': square-jawed, humorless, accustomed to getting her way. She was the type that volunteered to work the polls on election day and shushed everybody at the library.
Mrs Greeley glared across the table at Carlton, who had had the temerity to ask her a few basic questions about the man who had allegedly flashed her. He counted to ten, reminding himself that he was just doing his freaking job, and plowed on, returning his gaze to Mrs Greeley.
"No, I did not take a good look at him, Mr Lassiter."
"Detective Lassiter, ma'am. I didn't work my way up the ladder to just be Mister Howdyado." He nodded. "Did you notice any…identifying marks?"
"Of course I didn't!" she squawked. "I slammed the door in his face!"
"Right. Okay. Do you have any proof that this happened? Maybe it was your imagination." He resisted the urge to place the word 'frustrated' anywhere in the last sentence.
"I have no evidence, Detective! But I saw what I saw. He rang my doorbell, I went to answer, and he flashed me!"
"Okay. Okay. Fine. About how tall was he?"
"Roughly your height, I suppose, perhaps a little shorter. Rather…thin."
"Thin all over or…uh…"
"Thin!" she snapped.
He paused for several seconds, knowing the value of timing, watching for signs of the pressure being too much for her. He knew she had taken measurements, whether she wanted to admit it or not. "Okay. Pale or tan all over, or with tan lines? Tattoos?"
"I didn't take the time to notice."
Again, a lie. "Okay. We'll look into it, ma'am. Thank you." He grabbed up the folder and left the room so he could do a little quiet laughing on his own.
Juliet ran a few quick interviews with the other flashing victims, and she and Carlton had a brief pow-wow in the observation room. Or, actually, a brief make-out session beginning and ending with some comparing of notes about the flasher. As they straightened their clothes and caught their breath, they agreed that so far the investigation was going well. Six potential perpetrators had been rounded up, and all they required now was a line-up.
Halfway up the stairs, Carlton stopped. "Hey, wait, how are these women supposed to ID the flasher if he's still…you know…wearing clothes?"
His meaning took little time to dawn on her. She put her hands on her hips. "You can't be serious, Carlton. We can't have a nude lineup," she said, staring up at him, but he shrugged.
"How else are they gonna ID the flasher? They didn't see a face, now did they?"
"Seriously, O'Hara." He passed her and kept moving, all the way to Vick's office, with Juliet hot on his heels, trying to argue against the notion. At the chief's door, he turned back to her. "I'll get an order for it. And to be safe, we'll throw a cop into the lineup, to make things fair. 'kay?"
"You have got to be kidding! And what cop are you going to pull rank on to join the lineup?" she asked through the door, but he was already talking to Vick.
The six men that had been brought in sat nervously in a holding cell, avoiding eye contact and generally looking kind of gloomy. Juliet eyed them all, glad they were all still fully clothed. All six men had been supplied with trench coats and ski masks, and somewhere down the hall she could hear someone griping about having to join the lineup. In fact, the voice sounded a little familiar and she said a little prayer for the poor officer who was going to have to endure this.
Still, she was eager to see the show. Not necessarily because she wanted to see another man's junk, but because it was an excellent source of entertainment on an otherwise dull day. She went out to make some coffee and to debate over the necessity of handcuffs for this lineup, because it was going to be a dilly.
"Okay, okay…so…we're ready? Okay, let the ladies in!" Carlton said. He stepped back and immediately had a feeling that things might not go so well as women began to pour into the room. "What the hell? Ladies, ladies…please…quiet, please…okay, I don't get this. There were seven victims of the flasher, and yet there's…" He did a quick headcount. "Fifty-three of you here!"
A lot of shoving and sniping ensued, with most of the women vying to be in front, so they would get a better view of the lineup.
"Listen, all but the flashing victims are going to have to leave," Carlton said, using his most commanding voice. But a herd of hormonal females was as daunting as a gun-wielding psychotic and he took a step back, looking a little uneasy, because his statement had a startling reaction. The gaggle of women went from cheerful and enthusiastic to scowling in a split second and several started shouting at him, and using language that wasn't commonly heard outside any of Santa Barbara's toughest jail cells. Juliet, trying to hear him over the yelling, could barely contain her laughter as he tried to keep control of this potential fire hazard.
"…that's not my fault, ma'am. How you get your twenty bucks back from Mrs Henley is your business…"
More angry shouting.
Carlton was shouting back, a look of determination on his face in spite of his growing stress. "Those of you who actually had a flasher at your door, please raise your hands. Okay, so that's…wait, that's fifteen hands! There were only seven reported flashings! Are you sure you had a flasher, ma'am? Did you get a good look? What? Oh…he didn't stay long, huh? Left right after the coffee and poundcake, did he? Get out of here, ma'am…no, I'm very serious and I'm armed and…hey, did you just grab my…listen, I'm not even sure if that' s legal and nobody but my girlfriend is allowed to touch that!"
Juliet stepped into the fray then, not pleased to know that some woman was grabbing her currently blushing man. She began yelling back, wishing she had a shillelagh, and finally called in some uniformed officers, who managed to clear out forty-six very disgruntled women. The remaining seven women folded their arms and studied Carlton, most of them looking rather speculative, and Juliet was fairly certain she heard one of them whisper that she wished he would be in the lineup.
Mrs. Greeley was red-faced and her neat bun had been knocked off center, but she was otherwise fairly composed. The other women managed to calm themselves down. Finally, Carlton buzzed the room next door. "Send them in, Charlie."
Eight men, all wearing nothing but ski masks and tennis shoes, came trailing reluctantly into the room and lined up against the wall, and Carlton had to buzz the room to demand that two of them turn around.
Juliet covered her face with her hands. Carlton, exasperated, had to shout to be heard over the noise. "Okay, ladies, can you hold back on the applause?" He waited until the crowd settled down before turning around again.
With his eyes upward, he glanced briefly at one of the men and frowned. He pushed the buzzer again. "Uh, McNab, you're kind of giving yourself away as a policeman by wearing your holster."
Buzz, hands over his eyes, started shaking even more, and his knees started knocking against each other.
"And your service revolver is supposed to be worn to the side!"
The women were all staring, wide-eyed, at the men. They then formed into a circle, whispering amongst themselves, before finally Mrs. Greeley, looking way too enthusiastic for such a situation, gestured to Carlton, who started toward her, but he was distracted by movement in the lineup.
One of the men was waving frantically, looking all together frightened, and Carlton buzzed the room again. "What?"
"Is this how I get my drivers' license renewed?"
Carlton looked bewildered, and did a headcount of the lineup and looked confused. "Uh…no. It's further on down the hall…how the hell did you get into this lineup, anyway?"
"Somebody grabbed me and told me take off all my clothes and put on this ski mask…I just figured things had just gotten a little tougher around here since nine-eleven…"
"What did he look like?"
"Kinda chunky, a little scruffy. Carefully gelled hair. Dressed like a blind, homeless clown, in my opinion. Unfortunate nose. Smelled like Doritos."
"That'd be our resident psychic-cum-moron. You can go. And…uh…put your clothes back on, sir. That'll increase your chances of getting your license renewed."
The man scuttled out, hands covering certain parts. Juliet wanted to fall on the floor and roll around for a while. She had to count this as perhaps the greatest moment of her life, aside from the day Carlton had told her he loved her, for the first time.
One of the women tapped Carlton on the shoulder, making him jump. He blew out his cheeks and nodded, folding his arms across his chest. "Yes, ma'am? Did you make a positive ID?" he asked, clearly hoping this would be wrapped up soon, because looking at the ceiling was giving him a pounding headache.
"We vote for number four!"
The door to the lineup viewing room opened then and a slight man strode in, wearing a brown suit. Juliet thought he resembled a mouse. "Detective Lassiter, I'm Sam Oswald, from the mayor's office. I'm here to help with departmental effici…" He looked at the lineup of naked men, twitched, then looked at the seven women standing there staring wide-eyed at the naked men, some pointing and whispering. Finally, he turned his horrified brown gaze at Carlton.
"What on earth is this?"
"Efficiency," Carlton said with a shrug.