"Okay," Shawn grinned, rubbing his hands together eagerly as he dropped the large, cardboard box on the floor. "Climb in, Gus!"
Gus stared down at the box, then looked back up at his best friend, who was smiling innocently as he tipped the box forward a little. "I'm not getting in the box, Shawn!" he snorted, crossing his arms stubbornly. "You're the one who wanted to write the report on China. You get in the box!"
"But, Gus!" Shawn pouted, gently placing it back on the floor. "I can't possibly write my report without some first-hand research! Someone needs to visit China! And it can't be me. You know I have that inner-ear issue."
Gus rolled his eyes, not about to be talked into anything. "I don't care about your inner-ear," he informed Shawn sternly. "I am not climbing into a box so you can mail me to China!"
Shawn's pout only deepened as he fished into his pocket and pulled out a long page of stamps. "But I already paid for postage! These things are non-refundable!"
"I don't care!" Gus snapped. "The post office couldn't even deliver my mom's new lamp without breaking it! Do you really think I'm going to trust them with my life?"
"Okay...first of all," Shawn cleared his throat. "The lamp...might not have been the post office's fault. Sometimes accidents happen when you're trying to remove your sneaker from drywall...and, secondly, I was totally going to write fragile on the box! You'll be fine!"
Gus' eyes narrowed. "Why was your sneaker in drywall?"
"Never mind that," Shawn waved him off breezily. "That's not the point, Gus! The point is I have twenty feet of bubble wrap and thirty-five hundred packing peanuts!"
He stepped aside, gesturing dramatically at the roll of bubble wrap and the large plastic bag of packing peanuts that were sitting on the floor by the box.
Gus' eyes grew wide in horror as he realized what Shawn was planning. "No way, Shawn!" he shook his head adamantly, backing away from the death trap. "You're not wrapping me in plastic and shoving me in a box! I'll die!"
"What?" Shawn shrugged. "Of embarrassment?"
"No! From lack of oxygen!"
Shawn quickly reached down and grabbed a small sandwich baggie. "But I packed you a cheese quesadilla!" he grinned, dangling it in front of his friend's face.
Gus just scowled, batting it away. "I can't enjoy a quesadilla if I can't breathe, Shawn. And that's not a quesadailla, anyway," he added, wrinkling his nose in distaste as he dropped the baggie on the floor.
"I may not have had actual cheese..." Shawn admitted. "But the stuff in a can is just as good!"
Gus rolled his eyes, crossing his arms once again as he dug his heels in firmly.
Of all the stupidly idiotic things Shawn had tried to talk him into, this was easily in the top five.
Right behind ostrich golf.
"I am not covering myself in plastic and climbing into a box with a disgusting quesadilla so you can mail me to China just because you don't want to do your own research!" he shouted.
Shawn blinked, truly offended by his friend's refusal. "But, Gus!" he lamented. "I'm going to fail this report!"
Gus rolled his eyes. "Haven't you ever heard of a library, Shawn?"
Shawn just snorted. "Now you're just being ridiculous."
"What the hell is going on in here?" A stern voice from behind them suddenly demanded.
Shawn whirled around, instinctively grinning innocently as his father, even though everyone in that room knew it never did him any good. "Hey, Dad!" he stammered, glancing at Gus for help. "We were just...uh..."
"Making a mess all over my living room, for one," Henry grunted, crossing the room to examine the box. "And why did you write 'China: Preferably A Family With A Cute Girl' on this box?"
"He was trying to mail me to China, Mr. Spencer!" Gus spoke up, pointing accusingly. "Because he didn't want to do his own homework!"
Gus smirked. "You're gonna get it now, Shawn!"
"Shawn," Henry growled, glaring at his son. "What have I told you?"
Shawn sighed, rolling his eyes. "The post office is not a toy."
Henry nodded, kneeling next to the box. "That's right. And for God's sake, do your own homework, Kid. You're not going to learn anything if you mail Gus to China every time you have an assignment."
"But, Dad--!" Shawn started to protest, but Henry wasn't listening. He had scooped up all the packing peanuts and the bubble wrap.
"Besides," he continued, walking towards the door again. "You can't mail anything without stamps, Shawn. Didn't you think ahead?""Of course!" Shawn snorted, smacking one of his stamps onto the center of Gus' forehead. "I bought a hundred! Do you think that's enough?"
Henry just rolled his eyes. "God, Kid. I don't know which is worse...that you actually thought that far ahead or that you think labeling a package 'China...Preferably a Family With A Cute Girl' counts as a legal shipping address."