Shawn Spencer attracts future serial killers like flies to a freshly-cut pineapple. It's no surprise. Not even they can resist the flawlessness of his hair.
1. 8 years old or 10 or 12 or somewhere in between (they all seemed to blur into one weird mishmash of pea-soup flavored goopiness in his brain)
The Bubble-Brain Burton (a new and improved nickname for added alliterative enjoyment, though Gus doesn't seem to appreciate it as much) voice in his head is yelling at him in that way that Gus seems to think doesn't actually happen but really does because he, Shawn Spencer, is the king at making people angry at him, or at least really really annoyed if his dad's: "Shawn, you are not seriously trying to make me believe that Gus was the one to glue your principal's toupee to a tree," and his own "Dad, I don't even know what the word toupee means," back-and-forth was any indication.
Most people in the world (though his dad doesn't count as people so maybe it should be all people in the world) love him, Gus (maybe not now, but for the most part), his mom, Abigail Lytar (maybe, hopefully he'll get a date with her by high school), and ... that lady from the neighborhood two blocks away who keeps on insisting on taking pictures of him and while he likes the fame, Shawn's not so much of a numbskull to not notice.
She probably won't hurt him, though, but just in case Shawn's going to stay away from her (secretly, or not so secretly as he proclaimed to Gus, this attention automatically made him a celery, celebrity (he'd heard it both ways)).
It doesn't matter too much. She's gone the next day and Gus has never been able to stay angry at Shawn and all is right with the universe.
He won't stop calling Gus Bubble-Brain Burton though; it's way too much fun.
2. Not a minute over 27 ("You've been 27 for the past three years Shawn," "Gus, stop lighting your pants on fire with your ridiculous statements, everyone knows I hit 27 the year before last, doi")
As the designated boyfriend, according to Jules, it is Shawn's privilege to accompany her back to Miami, land of beach balls, drinks with the pretty pink umbrellas, and thousands killed by the Fashion Mafia.
Shawn doesn't really care for Florida, but even he can't say no to promises of pastel paper umbrellas and those lion-masquerading-as-a-kitty-cat eyes, and so, just after February ends, the two of them are off to visit her previous police peons (and her mother, but Shawn's trying not to think about what that means).
Shawn steps off of the plane, in rhythm with the dulcet tones of ...
"The fuck is going on here."
"Aah, there she is," Jules mutters. Shawn stops.
"Wait. That's your friend? Your scary friend who looks ready to rip me in half and toss me to the wolves."
"Shawn. We've gone over this. Your irrational fear of wolves is completely unfounded. Wolves aren't even native to Florida."
"Just because you haven't seen them, it doesn't mean that they don't exist. People haven't seen Bigfoot but he's definitely real."
" ... no Shawn, Bigfoot's not -"
"People haven't seen the Loch Ness Monster, or werewolves, or handsome vampires that sparkle in the sunlight, but that doesn't stop thousands of pre-adolescent girls from buying out entire stores of pink glitter and dumping it all over their boyfriends, does it?"
" ... Shawn. None of those exist."
"Jules, I thought better of you. I thought that you of all people would be understanding towards the little people, the underdogs, the seldom successful! With a capital exclamation point!"
"Me of all people?" Jules' voice is low.
Shawn gulps. "You are partners with dear Lassie after all."
She's about to laugh. Shawn can sense it.
"No, I'm not," and oops, sometimes Shawn has to remember his brain-to-mouth filter. Wait ... he's never had a brain-to-mouth filter. Maybe if he did, he'd name it Larry, or maybe Pine ... possibly in honor of the new Star Trek movie which was probably the best thing in the world, right after Jules, and Pineapples, and late night Phineas and Ferb marathons with Gus.
Shawn did always have a weakness for blonds, though he tends towards the female kind.
By now Shawn and Jules have been bickering long enough, and scary friend-girl #1 (sfgah for short) has already approached them, an arm draped around Jules' shoulder.
"I haven't sen you in forever Julie. How's your work in Santa Barbara? Your partner still a tightass?"
Jules is evidently more than a bit angry, as is Shawn. "Debra! He's not like -"
Shawn interrupts. "Hey! Only I'm allowed to insult Lassie like that!"
Jules interrupts his interruption, like some kind of interruption thief or something. "Shawn. That's not the point."
(Sfgah) Debra laughs. "Where did you find this guy Julie?"
"Hard to say Deb. One day he just appeared on my doorstep. He hasn't stopped following me since."
"I resent that! I didn't just appear on your doorstep - I drove my bike right through your window to rescue you from the dreaded lassie-face monster and defeated him with my dashingly dashing non-gelled hair."
Debra smirks this time. "It's just ... he doesn't seem to be your type Julie."
Now Shawn's a bit annoyed, or would be annoyed if he didn't know that sfgah wasn't the type to laugh (clearly defined frown lines on her forehead, a lack of the same around her lips). Being Shawn of course, he doesn't show it. "Mhmm ... of course not. I am one of a kind after all."
Jules smiles at him and suddenly Shawn's not annoyed anymore.
Debra seems satisfied enough by the end of that, and then decides to drag the both of them all around her crime scene. She doesn't believe at all in psychics, but she at least allows him to take pictures of the evidence, despite how many of said pictures turn out to be of him making funny faces around the equally angered members of the Miami Homicide Department.
She emails the photos to Jules the next month, after their impromptu trip to see Jules' mom. Shawn takes a while with each photo, mocking both the fashion sense and hair of every not-him or not-Jules person.
He stops at the last photo though, and decides to leave it with no comment.
Jules notices (she is Jules after all) and asks.
"Shawn ... are you okay?"
"Of course Jules, what are you talking about?"
"That last picture, the one with Deb's brother Dexter. You didn't mock it or look at it or proclaim your love for blond-haired men in sharp suits."
"Wait, you knew about that?"
"Shawn, how do you think I justified your flirting with nearly every blond in Santa Barbara, girls and guys alike?"
"I thought you thought it was ... I actually don't have an idea for that one."
"Shawn. Answer the question?"
"Which question? The one about the existence of aliens (totally fake by the way), bigfoot (definitely real, but with oddly small feet), how many licks does it take to get to the center of a tootsy pop (576 give or take a dozen)."
"Shawn!" He falls silent. "Why didn't you speak to Dexter at all during the trip? You were being rude Shawn. It's not really new for you, but I thought ... I thought you would give it a try, at least for me."
Shawn stills. He does not mention the perfectly-measured 3.54 cm loops on both of Deb's brother's shoes, the faint red spot on his collarbone (made post-crime scene), the small bit of plastic attached to blond-brown hair, the 0.12 second delay in the transfer of emotions on Dexter's face.
He does read the news sometimes. Sometimes, he knows the police don't catch the right criminal.
Shawn doesn't mention any of this, just says: "He said he didn't like Val Kilmer. Everyone loves Val Kilmer! Even evil killer clowns and people without souls and crazy cult leaders."
Jules knows he's not telling the truth, has to know he's lying, but along that same choo-chooing train of thought (the one that travels on a road of melted cottage cheese with pineapples for steering wheels) she hears his voice, and just stops.
"Okay Shawn. Whatever you say."
3. 16 and already failing at international relations
It's one of the several times that Shawn hates his intelligence, hates it with as much passion as he loves Spongebob Squarepants and will record it if anything makes him miss it (not that anything short of a hurricane in the form of Henry Spencer ever has).
Shawn feels like a freak. He'd be the first to admit that he loves to freak out, in the good Mothers of the Invention way, but now he means it in the 'why do you have to be so strange' type of way.
The cameras flashing in front of him do little to dissuade this opinion.
Shawn is 16 and in Japan and only two inches over his head (in a world where Gus is two inches taller than him, though, this means a lot), and is currently handing down his trophy to an eleven-year old.
Yes, Shawn's father has managed to find an even-more freakier genius than him. One that's definitely an over-achiever of Gus-ian proportions, possibly even beyond Gus-ian and into ... well, Shawn can't really think of anything else that scarily over-achieving - other than this kid.
Eleven years old ... and with a perfect score on the international detective exam.
It isn't that difficult, Shawn can attest to that, but there's something about this kid (something other than the "you're so smart you beat the competition as much as one of Michael Jackson's sadly under-appreciated songs so let's give you a big shiny trophy to commemorate said beat-ability") that makes the scaredy cat part in Shawn's brain (which is, admittedly, a good 95 percent of his brain) want to curl up in a corner.
A very dark corner. Without even a flying purple monkey to keep him company.
(This may or may not be because the kid looks like something out of the shining - seriously, what kind of Asian kid has naturally brown hair, not brown-black, but chestnut brown, Gus' favorite caramel chocolate square brown.)
Well, this one does, and is looking at Shawn as if he is a flobberworm, or, Mr. Krabs from Spongebob Squarepants (Shawn never did trust him, too grabby and dad-like (substitute police work for money).
Shawn sends his best flobber-wormy smile back, and begins to mumble. "So desu-"
The kid replies back. "My name is Raito, and don't worry. I can speak a little English," with all the arrogance of a little 11 year old genius pretending to be polite.
"Wow, Light, your English is almost perfect. Sad, though, that all 10 episodes of Naruto I watched were for nothing, but that's so cool, you only have a plankton-sized accent."
The kid twitches at the word almost. To use one of his dad's ridiculous fish-related sayings: hook, line, and sinker.
"My name is Raito, Yagami Raito."
"Do you like your martinis shaken or stirred?"
"I," and Shawn can tell that the kid is no use to being flustered "I'm too young to drink."
"I know, I know," and Shawn over-exaggerates a wink. "You were just sounding eerily Sean-Paul esque, maybe Sean Connery - I've heard it both ways you know. What do you think Light?"
"I'm afraid I don't know who that is," and boy can Shawn see Raito's eyes twitch at that. Shawn shudders, and with an obnoxious French accent: "Quel horreur Monsieur! You have not leeved wizout vatching ze originale James Bond!"
Raito twitches again.
"I don't watch television," a slight glance at Shawn. "I find it rots the brain." Shawn perks up.
"No need to be such a Candle Dimmer Light, and no tv? You must be so bored!" And ca-ching Raitos' eyes twitch once again, this time with something other than their usual annoyance.Match goes to Shawn Spencer of Santa Barbara.
"I'll try not to be a Candle Dimmer?"
"That's the spirit Light-kuuuuuuun," and Shawn slings an arm around Raito's shoulder, jibber-jabbers about non-sensical things, the other feigning polite interest.
The televised images will show the two of them shaking hands, a perfect example of international fellowship in the name of intellectual pursuits.
4. 31.125, right after Manhattan is nearly blown to smithereens and oh god his mom is there at some psychologist conference and he can't lose her too and Shawn almost throws up when he learns she's alive.
Then he remembers the last phone call his mother had made to him, only yesterday, and sighs in relief.
Yet now Shawn finds himself in a quarry (quandary, the little Gus-ian voice in his head mutters, quandary).
Well he's heard it both ways.
Loki's not so much trouble now, having escaped and re-scaped (captured, says the little duck-shaped Gus voice, captured) from / by the Avengers again and again and compared to more determined to do evil things (like destroy a Dole store or (Shawn can't think of anything worse than destroying a Dole store)) villains, he's more like a pineapple thief (not deadly, but with the possibility to be near fatal (to people like Shawn at least).
Thievery and general tomfoolery aside (well, never aside, because who would Shawn be without his shenanigans and / or hooligan-ish actions), Shawn can appreciate a good prank.
Besides, Loki is a mystery and Shawn loves those.
So for the first time in his life (maybe the second or the third), Shawn studies. He reads articles and watches the news for something other than the crime news, and learns everything he can about Loki and Thor and the Avengers (as much as can be gained legally, and a little more). After a week, he finds something.
Then Shawn does what he does best: acts like (an idiot) his normal charming self and (cons) charms the admittedly cute androgynous (most likely male) barista into a free pineapple smoothie.
Shawn sits down on a New York bench, and schemes.
The next morning finds Shawn in a suit without the jacket (all legitimately owned by himself, bought it for one of Gus' stuffy friend's weddings), and walking into a SHIELD outpost near headquarters, a temporary storing container of sorts.
He bypasses the usual security quite easily with a "Hey!" (a burly security guard) "What do you think you're doing?"
"Wait. Nick didn't tell you I was coming?"
"Nick? And no, I was not told about any surprise visits today."
"You know, Nick."
The guard thinks for a while, "Oh, you mean Director Fury. How do you know the director?" and really the guard has no right to sound that distrusting ... and even if his distrust is well-placed it's still a bit upsetting.
"Of course I know him. How do you think he'd feel if you interrupt our important meeting just because you didn't check that cluttered desk of yours. He didn't make a big deal out of it because he's always trying to deny our relations, he's probably a bit embarrassed to have friends, ruins his tough guy image."
By now the poor guard's eyes are spinning in his head, so Shawn is easily able to steal his card key and masterfully rend the guard immobile (accidentally trip on his own shoe and fall on the guard, temporarily knocking him out).
Having passed by obstacle number 1, it is laughable easy to pass by the other, more technology-intensive gates (this may or may not be because Shawn is carrying the first guard over his shoulder (with great difficulty that possibly may inspire pity in the eyes of others) and screaming about a security breach).
This gets both of them, Shawn and the guard, a free ride to the infirmary where a nurse clicks and coos over them before setting the guard on a bed and leaving Shawn to watch over him as she is called down to surgery, not before revealing the alien self-proclaimed god in chains cuffed to the next bed and in a comatose state.
Shawn performs and old favorite of his, the "switch a person in a bed with another person and close the blinds and hope you can get out without anyone noticing that you are carrying two people (and are pathetically bad at it, as in arms shaking breath wheezing sort of bad)".
It says a lot about Shawn's sneaky-ing skills when one notices he's pulled off this trick 17 successful times to date.
He pulls it off this time too, explaining all of the chains as a friend's strange fashion statement, and manages to find an abandoned closet.
Shawn waits for Loki to wake up. For all of five seconds.
"Hey Loki," accompanied by a poke to the side. "Hey Loki wake up. I know you're awake. As awake as a chipmunk on speed."
Not a twitch. "A rabid chipmunk on speed. Like the one from Over the Hedge. You know, that movie had some oddly depressing songs, probably because the soundtrack was by Ben Folds, and he's the king of sad songs. I don't really think anyone could beat him in sad-ability unless you count Gus after all of the Vanilla Wafers are gone. That just takes sadness to a new level.
Still nothing. "Fine. You're making me go to my last resort."
A slightly more interested air, possibly. Shawn bends down to Loki's ear. "Abigail Ly-" and the part-time supervillain's eyes open wide.
"How did I know? You both have the same scar on your left eyelids. The probability of that exact location and size and depth and color is near impossible. How did I get you out? I didn't really, but all I had to do was create an emergency and voila, a get out of hospital free card."
Loki / Abby / Labby / Aboki? stares. "Yah, you probably knew that," a glance, "Scratch that, you're a trickster demigod, of course you knew that. Why did you leave enough clues for me to figure that out? Why did you disappear?"
A glance back at Loki. "Right, I shouldn't be asking you these things, not when you can't answer."
A faint smirk. "Hey, I'm not taking advantage of you. I couldn't take advantage of a dead sloth."
Raised eyebrow. "Okay, I could, but not without a moral debate of which the world hasn't seen since the Grinch had to decide whether or not to un-ruin Christmas for all of Whoville."
A garbled grunt of a sound, stopped in the throat. "Hah," Shawn points and dances, hopping up and down, moving his fists in a horizontal circle (overall the image looks like a constipated squirrel), "I knew I could make you laugh."
0.1 seconds, and the chuckle turns glacial. "Sorry, sorry. I'll stop teasing you." Two raised eyebrows. "Well, I'll try to stop- can't make any guarantees though."
A bit of silence. "You remember Jules right? Of course you do. She's my girlfriend now. She's the best."
Shawn finally realizes that something's wrong. Namely, the lack of noise. Aah, he thinks, I knew the escape was too easy. Looking at Loki, it is obvious that the demigod has known this for the entire conversation.
"Wait, before I go, I wanted to give you this. It's a photo, you know, from the drive-by movie date (with Gus as an extra) we had once. I don't think of you like that anymore, but we had some good times, so ..."
Before Shawn can finish the sentence, Loki has snapped his fingers and Shawn is 2 miles from the base, the picture still in his outstretched hand.
5. 19 (he's out of Santa Barbara, has been for more than a year while touring the country on a motorbike and eating horrid diner food and amazing diner food (somehow the two are usually the same) and he's finally out, finally, finally, finally, and when he passed by the city limits he couldn't help but sing "another one bites the dust" until his voice was sore (though this took a while because Shawn's voice-ical muscles are strong - he does, after all, exercise them often))
On Tuesday the 13th of that month, Henry Spencer and Burton Guster are sent the following news article on the front page of the New York Times.
Mysterious Man on a Motorcycle Aids in Capture of Dangerous Criminal - by: Maria Alfons
Shawn Spencer, a young man from Santa Barbara California is an unconventional hero. A high school graduate, with a near perfect GPA, the young man decided to forego college to travel the country. He describes himself a s a"charming man utterly detesting of police work" (1).
Despite his opinions, police work is what he did. On Monday night at 6:00 pm, Mr. Spencer stumbled onto a scene, and took action. He repeats that he saw a "rapunzel-haired man threatening a little kid" (2). He immediately rushed towards the pair.
Feeling the pinprick of what was most likely a tranquilizer dart against his neck, Mr. Spencer struggled for consciousness and managed to tackle the assailant to the ground in the process. By the time Mr. Spencer had woken up, the police had been alerted, and the man was arrested by the FBI, being identified as a member of an international crime syndicate.
FBI spokesperson Mr. James Black had the following words to offer on the situation.
"Mr. Spencer ran into an extremely dangerous criminal. His actions were foolhardy and he was very lucky that said criminal chose to tranquilize him instead of reverting to his usual MO - murder. While ultimately successful, Mr. Spencer's actions should not be repeated by civilians."
Mr. Black did not offer a comment on the ongoing investigation into "the Organization" (3).
Mr. Spencer regards his own actions as "heroic and impeccably timed" though curiously he admits that even his usual "spectacularly perfect memory" could barely remember the incident. The only other witness at the scene refused to offer comments to the press and was instead ushered away by a "Jodie-sensei," aka Jodie Santemillion, another FBI agent.
When asked about what he would do differently if given a second chance, Mr. Spencer replied with an ironic "hit him with a barrage of sentient beanie babies absolutely," demonstrating the remarkable calm Mr. Spencer must have felt under this trying situation.
We of the New York Times applaud him and his courage.
*Note: Due to the presence of a non-consenting minor sans permission of appropriate guardian, the sole copy of the on-scene photograph remains in the hands of the FBI, to be cataloged as evidence.
1. heavily paraphrased
2. 10 years of age, Japanese and in America to visit his parents
3. no name has officially been given to this syndicate, only the moniker: the Black Organization (no relation to the FBI agent)
Shawn attracts crazies and killers and cougars and rodents of unusual size (well maybe not the last one, but Shawn's hoping that someday he will (possibly because he'd want to introduce one to Desperaux, who has probably heard enough Princess Bride jokes in his life, but Shawn can't help to add a couple more)).
According to Gus, this is because Shawn fits the first category perfectly.
Shawn has not, to this date, come up with a convincing counterargument (that doesn't involve mutant ninjas from space or large gelatinous sea monkeys).