A note: My usual pattern is to match time periods in stories by the air dates of the shows, but Rose Tyler leaves Doctor Who before the premier of Psych, so I am presuming they are visiting slightly forward of their usual time period, possibly to catch a particular movie.
Thanks to Katididit for fantastic beta reading. You are brilliant.
Shawn Spencer Saves the World
Shawn was four years old. He sat on the living room floor in in his footie pajamas, surrounded by a tableau of dinosaurs and matchbox cars in the midst of a heated battle. The dinosaurs were winning. Shawn used the muzzle of a Tyrannosaurus rex to flip a red sports car, then settled the beast triumphantly atop it. "Raaaar!"
Henry had an incredibly boring, but important meeting at the statio, and he was, as of right now, running late. He paused in his search of every plausible surface in the room to consider the boy for a moment. "Shawn, I don't suppose you've seen my car keys, have you?" he said, not seriously expecting an answer.
"They're in the bathtub," Shawn replied. "Rar, rar, raar! Hah! I'm going to eat you up, truck!"
"What makes you think they're in the bathtub? Did you take Daddy's keys?" His voice picked up just the slightest edge. If the boy had hidden his keys again, he'd spend the rest of the evening in his bedroom, and no dinosaurs.
Shawn shook his head. "You ran to the potty when you got home. You ran really fast." Several dinosaurs, some of them herbivores, began to feast upon an ambulance.
"So?" Henry prompted.
"You didn't put them down on the way to the potty, but it takes two hands to go potty. You said so."
Henry left the boy to check the bathroom, just in case. He leaned over the tub. There lay the car keys in the tub, right where they would have fallen if he had hastily set them on its edge and they had later fallen in. He smiled. That boy was going to be a detective.
Shawn noticed things. He couldn't not notice things. Much as he blamed his father's unconventional parenting methods for that fact, even he had to admit that he came by at least some of his talent honestly. His father's attempt to mold him into the perfect detective had backfired miserably, but not before it had created the brilliant, snarky, unconventional owner of his own simulated psychic detective agency that was Shawn Spencer.
At the moment, Shawn was noticing a big blue box. To be precise, he was noticing himself not noticing a very large blue wooden crate with the words Police Public Call Box lettered in white across its top. It resembled a smallish outdoor storage shed, with translucent windows at eye level all around and a little unlit lantern on top. It sat incongruously on the sidewalk just across the street from his office, studiously ignored by passersby. His own attention kept sliding off of it in a most amusing way.
It was a little like playing with his own blind spot, another activity he had grown expert in during the long and fruitless hours in which the public school system attempted in vain to educate him. The idea of the game was to close one eye, then focus one's gaze such that a classmate's head, or the teacher's, if one were obliging enough to remain still, fell into that region of his visual field that was occluded by his optic nerve. The brain's attempt to compensate for the missing data filled in the blank spot with the background and, voila! One headless classmate. He had been beheading his best friend, Gus, at odd moments for decades now. The blue box gave him much the same entertaining shiver. He didn't want to think about it, and therefore he did want to think about it very much. He leaned back in his chair, put his feet up and looked toward and away from it for several minutes, poking at its strange slipperiness the way one might poke at the hole where a tooth ought to be.
He had just begun to consider whether the box would fit through the door to the Psych agency office when Gus strode in and flipped on the television. "The rent was due yesterday, Shawn. Did you by chance remember to pay it while I was away?"
Shawn spun to face him and grinned. "Have no fear, my assiduous friend, I plan to swing by to drop off the check this afternoon. If I am not distracted by that lovely girl who runs the taco truck betwixt our establishment and the bank."
"Word a day app on my iPhone. Means between." He wasn't sure why there needed to be another word for between, but he liked the feel of it on his tongue.
"I know what it means, Shawn. Should I ask if we have enough funds to cover said rent check?" Gus stood again and began pulling up the couch cushions in what appeared to be an attempt to find the remote.
Shawn sat back down to play with the box across the street. "Gus, come over here a minute."
Gus moved his briefcase full of pharmaceutical swag from the couch to the floor and pulled up the cushion it had rested on. "Have you seen the remote, Shawn?" he asked. "I always leave it on top of the television, but it's not there."
He spun his chair to face Gus. "You only leave it in one place all the time because you do not have the superior powers of observation necessary to simply remember where it fell. Really, though, come over here and look out the window."
Gus strolled over to the window. "What?"
"What do you see?"
Gus shrugged. "Sidewalk. Cars. No clients. What's your point, Shawn?"
Shawn gestured toward the enormous box parked directly across from them, perfectly framed by the storefront window. "There's a giant blue box across the street."
Gus seemed to see it for the first time. "So there is." He looked away. "Do we have any cases lined up for today?"
"Get on the phone and see how fast you can get a forklift out here. I feel like picking up some litter." He tied his shoes, picked up a clipboard and a pen, and sauntered toward the door.
Gus called after him, a genuinely puzzled look on his face. "Shawn, where are you going and why do we need a forklift?"
Shawn smiled. "To move that box over to the office, of course. Unless you think you can do it with a dolly and some elbow grease."
"What box?" Gus said. He turned around and resumed his hunt for the remote. "Unlike you, I have work to do. Let me know if you come up with a case for us."
Shawn shook his head, unsure if Gus was just being his usual philistine self or if his lack of interest was a result of the box's curious spell. "Never mind, I'll do it myself." He backed through the door and headed across the street.
The clipboard was camouflage. Shawn strode confidently across the street and leaned jauntily against the blue box as if he owned it, planning to hold the clipboard in a professional looking manner. He jumped away in surprise as soon as he touched it. He had expected an inert object, but instead the thing hummed faintly, like a refrigerator. He looked quickly around it for extension cords and found nothing, then tested the doors. Locked. That was nothing a crowbar couldn't fix. He took a moment to look up the number, then dialed Dave's Moving and Storage.
"Hello, this is Shawn Spencer, psychic detective. I need a forklift at 411 Fifth Avenue as soon as possible."
The unnaturally chipper voice on the other end of the line replied, "Do you need a forklift operator as well?"
He thought about that for a moment, weighing the entertainment value of driving a forklift with his desire to actually get the box into his office undamaged. "Yes," he said finally, but not without a touch of regret. "And could you expedite, please? Evidence for a case in progress."
"Really?" the voice on the other line bubbled. "Is it a murder case?"
I'm sorry, I can't discuss any details at present," he covered smoothly. "Bill to the Santa Barbara Police Department. Thanks, I'll be waiting." He broke the connection, then reached up to measure the box's height against his. Definitely too tall to get through the door, even if he took that little lantern thing off the top. He spread his arms to measure its breadth, then jogged back across the street to measure his outstretched arms against the door. Some remodeling of the doorway might be necessary, but he was sure he could manage to get the door off without help. And as for getting it back on, he was sure Gus could manage that, maybe with a little help from Dad.
A van pulled up alongside the Psych agency window, "Move it With Dave" painted in large orange letters on its white sides. Shawn shook his hips to an imaginary beat as he danced over to the two large men who had just stepped out of the van. "You like to move it, move it," he crooned, "We like to move it, move it." He jiggled past the two, but stopped in the face of the men's remarkably unamused stares. "Madagascar?" he said. "No?" He stuck out a hand. "Shawn Spencer, psychic detective. I need to move that," he indicated the large blue box across the street, "In here."
"What?" both men said, obviously under the box's don't notice me spell.
Shawn walked them across the street to where the object rested. "This. This box. I want this box moved into my office."
""Won't fit," one of them said, adjusting his "Dave's" cap, also orange, on his head.
The other, presumably the brains of the outfit given the Bob Vila vibe he was giving off, jogged back across the street to study the doorway carefully. "Might be cheaper to bring it in on its side, through the window. We just pop the glass out, turn it, and there you go. We can move it across to your side of the street right now, but it will take a while to find someone to do the glass work."
He left them to their work. As they pulled large yellow straps out of the back of the van and began to measure his new box, he noticed an odd couple walking down the sidewalk with ice cream cones, his yellowish, hers bright pink. She looked college aged, dressed in jeans, a purple crop top, and tennis shoes, a not unusual outfit for the season. He seemed maybe fifteen years older and was dressed in a tailored brown pinstripe suit and a long coat entirely inappropriate for the balmy weather. Incongruously informal red athletic shoes peeked out from the bottoms of his dress pants. As they approached, he could hear them discussing the movie they had just seen. She had a working class British accent, while his was, while British, somehow hard to place, like he was Irish pretending to be British or something. Just not...right. But then, accents weren't his specialty. The man and the girl walked right up to the movers, his big blue box their obvious target. Shawn stepped between them and his prize.
"Oi, that's my police box," the man in the long coat said. "Here, John Smith, public works, you can call me Doctor." He pulled out a wallet with a blank piece of paper in it and waved it at the movers, who immediately backed off.
"Could I see that identification, please?" Shawn said in his best official voice, snatching at the wallet before waiting for a response. He caught hold of it and got the better look he was hoping for. For the first bare instant, the paper seemed to say Doctor John Smith, Santa Barbara Public Works on it, then it went blank. He looked away, and when he looked back at it, the writing seemed to be there again, for just a split second, before vanishing. He grinned. "I think I'll need to keep this, for validation purposes, you understand." He moved to tuck the wallet into his pants pocket, but the other fellow, "John Smith," --was that the best he could come up with?--was quicker. He snatched back the paper and glanced at it.
"Shawn Spencer, Love Machine?" he remarked before tucking it in his coat.
The blonde girl rolled her eyes. Shawn winked at her, but she pointedly turned away.
"Didn't have a lot of time to think of something," Shawn said.
The man who called himself John Smith looked Shawn up and down. "Smart one, aren't you," he said. "Now, if you'll just step out of the way, my companion and I will be heading off."
"What? We haven't even been properly introduced!" Shawn slid his body over so that it completely covered the double doors, hoping to frustrate the man and his...floozy? from entering the box for whatever purpose they might be intending. The box would be just big enough for a little afternoon nookie, he supposed. The prostitute and her John hypothesis sprung to mind and was quickly rejected. His gestures toward her were too protective, and hers had an almost desperate possessiveness, like she had him but wasn't sure she could keep him.
"I'm the Doctor, and this is Rose Tyler," he said, perfunctorily, leaning toward the door in a manner calculated to induce Shawn to move aside.
His cell phone rang. He flipped it open by reflex, leaning back against the closed doors of the blue box. "Shawn Spencer, psychic detective," he said.
"If you're not too busy, Shawn, I've picked up something on the radio," Gus's voice said, "A body's been found under the boardwalk. Sounds like an actor or something. Big rubber monster suit. Shawn, we need a case."
Shawn resisted the urge to break into the old Drifters tune. "Gus, you had me at big rubber monster suit. Send the location to my phone and I'll meet you there. Pay the rent on the way, would you? Better use your account. Thanks!" he finished breezily, and hung up. "Now where were we?" he said to the man and woman who were trying to claim his marvelous box.
"Did I hear something about a murder?" John Smith or whatever his name was, said.
"Did I hear something about a monster?" his girlfriend asked.
Shawn quirked his mouth. "I'm a psychic detective. I help the police out on cases from time to time. You know talking to spirits, doing the whole psychic thing," he tapped his temple.
John Smith gave him a weird look. It was one of those "I can see into your soul" looks that Shawn had never managed to fully perfect, despite hours of practice in front of a mirror. Shawn scrubbed at the back of his neck, uncomfortable in spite of himself. "You're not psychic," Smith concluded.
"The hell I'm not!"
"Right, then how many fingers am I holding up?" The Brit tucked a hand behind his back.
Shawn wished Gus were here to take a peek. He'd have to guess. "Three!"
Smith stared at him again for a long moment. "Lucky guess," he said. "Mind if we tag along? I'd love to see a real police psychic at work." There was a sarcastic note in the man's voice that might mean trouble. On the other hand, trouble was usually fun.
The girl looked up at him. "Don't I get a say?"
Smith grinned. "Rubber monster suit?" was all he had to say.
"That's what you always say, right before the running starts," she said, giving him a little squeeze about the waist that was just slightly more than chummy.
Shawn felt the need to interrupt their cutesy banter before it made him ill. "Thought you were an unbeliever. Unbelievers, they get in the way of the vibe, you know." He added a groovy hand gesture, a sort of hippie wave, for effect.
The Brit smirked at the girl and added, "I didn't say I don't believe in psychic phenomena. I just said you aren't psychic. Let's just say I'm willing to give you the benefit of the doubt."
Shawn tucked his thumbs into his pockets and took a couple of steps away from the box, half expecting the pair to dart into his place. "Right this way then, Doctor Smith...really, John Smith?"
"Just Doctor. Really."
Right. Never was a man more in need of a nickname. Fortunately Shawn Spencer was the self acknowledged champion of nickname bestowers. He set his mind to work on the task as he led "Doctor" and the girl down the street that led to the stretch of boardwalk where a dead body in a rubber suit could be found.
I enjoy receiving feedback for my work, and have been known to make changes based on thoughtful criticism. :)