The Message is in the Medium
This is how it started:
"You know what would be really nice, Spencer?" Lassiter had yelled. "If just once, you could help us with a case without all your juvenile theatrics, or even better, without actually being here at all."
Shawn had taken it as the challenge it clearly was.
8:07 AM: Outside Carlton Lassiter's House
Lassiter stopped and stared at the windshield of his car. A piece of notepad paper had been stuck underneath one of the windshield wipers. He pulled it out, and recognized Shawn's handwriting with a kind of long-suffering frustration.
I brought you coffee and a scone (fighting one cop stereotype at a time!) Have a nice day!
Oh, by the way, I already solved your case.
Lassiter tore it up with a frown. He opened the door and there was a steaming cup of Starbucks coffee in his cupholder, a small white paper bag rolled up beside it. He opened it and found a half-eaten scone. Lassiter sat down in a huff and ripped off a piece of the scone, chewing resentfully.
Well, the joke was on Spencer. He didn't even have a case.
8:23 AM: The Santa Barbara Police Station
"We have a case!" Juliet told him, before he even reached his desk. Lassiter had a bad feeling already.
"What is it?" he asked warily.
"There was burglary, and now we've got a missing—"
"Missing persons case?" Lassiter asked interestedly. "What's the description?"
"Um…" Juliet looked uncertain. "Name's Molly. About a foot high. Grey. Adorable."
Lassiter froze. "Come again?"
"It's a miniature schnauzer," Juliet explained.
"It's a dog-napping!" Buzz said helpfully.
Lassiter resisted the urge to slam his head onto his desk. Usually he'd be able to pass this case off on someone else, but with Vick and a number of other detectives gone at a conference, the entire force was short staffed.
"Alright, well, I want to speak with the owners, I think—" Lassiter trailed off as he caught sight of the hot pink post-it that had been stuck to his computer monitor. He squinted at it.
It was the dog-walker. He totally did it.
P.S. That tie you're wearing really brings out your eyes. :-)
Lassiter pressed his eyes shut for a moment in irritation. "O'Hara, do they have a dog-walker?"
"As a matter of fact they do," she said excitedly. "You think he's involved?"
"It's just my luck that he will be," Lassiter said.
9:34 AM: Interrogation Room B
Lassiter had Buzz pick up Dale Michaels, the dog-walker, and drop him off in the interrogation room. He was about five five, glasses, spiky hair. He was sitting calmly waiting for Lassiter when he came in the room, with his back to the mirror, so he was entirely oblivious to the spiraling red cursive that had been written all across it.
Lassiter glared as he read it.
It's because he was sleeping with the wife. Ask him about her and he'll break down and start crying like a little girl.
Lassiter sighed. "Mr. Michaels," he said, "were you having an affair with Mrs. Kline?"
Dale's expression faltered, and tears sprang instantly to his eyes. "We're in love!" he said instantly. "She tried to say we weren't, but we are!"
Lassiter pinched the bridge of his nose to try and hold off a headache. "What did you do with the dog?"
Dale started to sob. "I don't know! I panicked! I left it somewhere," he said pitifully. "I just wanted to hurt her the way she hurt me."
Lassiter crossed his arms with a sigh and glared at Shawn's writing on the mirror. Dale turned around suspiciously. "What are you looking at?" he asked.
When he saw the note written on the mirror, he started crying even harder.
9:48 AM: Carlton Lassiter's Desk
"I can't believe he solved the case on a post-it," Juliet said in awe.
Lassiter glared at her. "We're not finished yet," he said. "We still need to find the dog."
"Um, this might help," Buzz said, and pulled over one of the white boards they used to arrange evidence. "I found it like this."
There was a picture of a little cartoon dog sitting with a bow around its neck beside a desk, a little text bubble by its head that said, (Rescue me, Lassie! For you have a trustworthy name!).
"Where is he?" Lassiter demanded, looking around the station. "Seriously? No one's seen him all day?"
Everyone shook their heads, and then scattered in fear. Lassiter resisted the urge to punch the white board. "How does this help us?" Lassiter demanded. "It's a desk. It could be anywhere."
"The fish!" Juliet said excitedly, pointing to a strange misshapen drawing of a fish that was sitting on the surface of the desk. "That's the fish on Chief Vick's desk!"
Juliet and Lassiter ran to the office. Molly was curled up asleep in a new doggie bed all freshly groomed, a bright red bow tied around her neck, a new leash attached to the leg of a chair. There was a water and food bowl near by, each with 'Molly' written carefully on it in puff paint.
Lassiter sighed as Juliet rushed to pick the dog up, smothering it instantly with kisses. "He actually did it!" she said happily. "He solved the case without even being seen!"
"I give up," Lassiter said.
5:39 PM: Carlton Lassiter's House
Lassiter's day hadn't gotten much better after closing the dog-napping case. The owners had come to pick up the dog, refused to press charges, and promised to work on their marriage for Molly's sake. Then Lassiter had spent the rest of his day doing paperwork usually done by the Chief, and trying to figure out how to write his report in way that would adequately explain how the case had been solved via post-it.
He went to his kitchen, wanting to just grab a nice chilled V-8 to settle down and watch America's Most Wanted, and there was a note stuck to his fridge with a pineapple magnet that wasn't his.
Lassiter spun around, and Shawn was leaning against the counter grinning. "Hey, honey, how was your day?"
Lassiter grabbed him and tugged him close. "You know exactly how my day's been," he snapped.
Shawn grinned brightly. "I only did what you asked," he said. "You know I always try my best to oblige you."
"Don't do it again," Lassiter told him. "I changed my mind. I want you where I can keep an eye on you."
Shawn grinned, and leaned forward to kiss him. "Deal," he said.
Lassiter kissed him back, and then pulled slightly away, shaking his head. "You drive me nuts," he said. "You solved my case before I even knew I had a case and then wrote it down on a post-it. You were here with me all night, you were here sleeping when I left this morning, how the hell did you do it?"
Shawn smiled brightly. "That," he said, "would be telling."
Earlier that day:
Shawn hit his Gus speed-dial, and started speaking urgently the moment his friend picked up. "Gus, dude! Some guy just shoved a dog out of a car in front of the Starbucks!"
"What are you doing at Starbucks, Shawn?" Gus demanded. "It's like six in the morning."
"I was going to surprise Lassie with some coffee—wait, look, you're kind of missing the point here," Shawn said. "What should I do?"
"How am I supposed to know?" Gus demanded. "These things only happen to you."
Shawn hung up the call and kneeled down in front of the dog. "Let's find out where you're from, shall we?" he asked, reaching out to read the collar.
"And then maybe we should get you a hair cut," Shawn said. "Your hair is horrible."