"Domo Arigato"

Psych; ensemble; Rated G





1987

"Ow!" Shawn Spencer rubbed at the spot where his hair had been ruthlessly yanked out.

"I need a sample," Gus answered, as if that explained everything. He placed the hair gingerly on the microscope slide. It was part of a science kit he'd been given a month before for his birthday.

"For what?" Shawn, more curious than upset, moved in closer.

"Robots don't have hair follicles."

"Hair what? Robots?"

"Yes, Shawn, robots." Gus scrunched up his left eye and peered into the microscope lens with his right.

Shawn took a moment to assimilate. "You think I'm" -- he pointed a finger at himself -- "a robot?" He laughed loudly.

Gus replied indignantly, "It's not that funny. Not if you think about it logically."

"Logically?" Shawn hiccupped and laughed again. "We've known each other for like..." He threw his arms up searching for the right word. "Forever! You know I'm not a robot!"

"Answer me these questions." Gus abandoned the microscope -- everyone knew that hair follicles could be faked. Just ask Mister Asimov.

Shawn crossed his arms. "Go for it."

Gus picked up a spiral notebook and flipped to the page he wanted. "Are you male or female?"

"Are you insane?"

"Just answer the question."

"Male."

"Okay. Where are your parents?"

"Dad's on the boat, fishing, and mom's out shopping."

"Do you like ice cream?"

"Is the sky blue?" Shawn shook his head. "You know I'm always first in line when Mister Holligan brings his ice cream truck around." He flopped down on Gus's bed. "These are the types of questions that will prove whether or not I'm a robot? This is lame. Let's go ride bikes."

"Okay, maybe those questions were a little lame," Gus admitted, then smiled. "Here's one for you -- in a fight who would win, Batman or Superman?"

Shawn rolled his eyes. "That makes about as much sense as asking who would win, the wolfman or dracula? Superman and Batman are both good, why would they be fighting each other in the first place? It makes more sense to put Batman against the wolfman, or --"

"Never mind, never mind," Gus interrupted, abandoning his list of questions altogether. "Explain this -- robots don't need to sleep. Everyone knows that. I've never seen you sleep."

"Yes, you have, lots of times."

"No. When you spend the night, I always fall asleep first. I never actually see you sleeping."

"What about when you wake up in the morning?"

"Nope, you're always up before me. Or should I say, still up."

"Well, what about last Tuesday in Miss Linsky's class when I fell asleep during that lame movie on plants?"

Gus dismissed that explanation. "You weren't really asleep, you were only pretending to get out of having to take the quiz after the movie. Everyone knows Miss Linsky won't wake someone up if she thinks they're asleep." He said in a falsetto voice, "Young minds need more sleep to be productive."

Shawn got off the bed and picked up a baseball. He started tossing it up in the air and catching it in his bare hands. "If that's it, I'd like to go do something fun now."

"I never saw your mom pregnant!" Gus exclaimed. "Robots aren't born, they're made in a lab or a factory. Your mom wouldn't have been pregnant."

"Gus, that's totally ridiculous." Shawn was starting to worry about his friend's mental health. "We're the same age, born the same year. You couldn't have seen my mom pregnant with me. But there's pictures around my house, somewhere. I've seen them before."

"Well, there's the way your dad's always grilling you, giving you those mind puzzles. He's trying to sharpen your robotic brain."

Shawn shook his head and tossed the ball onto the bed. "I'm going to my house to watch Miami Vice. When you're thinking normal again, you know where to find me." He turned around and walked out of Gus's bedroom.


- - - - - - - - - - -


His dad was sitting at the kitchen table, sorting out fishing lures in his tacklebox when Shawn got back home. "Dad, can I ask you a weird question?"

"You can ask me anything, Shawn."

"Am I a robot?"

Henry stuck himself with a hook. "Damn!" He put the lures down. "Where did that question come from?"

"Gus thinks I'm a robot."

"He does, huh?"

Shawn nodded.

"What do you think?"

He shrugged. "I'm just a normal kid, like everyone else."

"Then there's your answer."

"What is?"

"Think about it, Shawn." Henry smiled and picked up a lure. "Next week I'll take you to the Santa Barbara Science Institute. Professor Masuko is making great strides in the field of robotics. We'll invite Gus, and he can answer any questions the two of you can come up with."

"Sure," Shawn agreed, thoughts of Crockett and Tubbs already edging out robots. He walked into the living room and turned on the television.


- - - - - - - - - -


Present Day

"I can't believe I let you drag me down here on Christmas Eve," Gus complained. "Christmas Eve, Shawn," he reiterated, just in case his friend had missed the significance of the date the first time. "I should be sitting around the fireplace at my parents' house, enjoying my mother's stuffed goose and my dad's world famous wassail."

"Dude, you eat geese? Don't you know you're supposed to buy American? Beef from Texas, chicken from Rhode Island, pork from...wherever they raise pigs. Anything but Canadian Geese."

"Shawn, the goose isn't from Canada. There's a farmer just outside -- Why am I telling you this? Let's just get this over with so I can get back to my wassail."

"Wassail. Does that word sound dirty to you? Say it slowly -- wah-sa-al."

Gus turned to walk way, but Shawn grabbed his arm and spun him around. "You can't leave, you're my wing man, my second in command, my Number One, my --" His attention was caught by a svelte brunette standing with Chief Vick, Lassiter and Jules.

Shawn let go of Gus and walked up beside the stranger. Ignoring everyone else, he smiled his I-don't-know-you-but-I-sure-would-like-to smile. "I don't believe we've had the pleasure of meeting. I'm Shawn Spencer, psychic extraordinaire." He jerked his head in Gus's direction. "And this is my sidekick, Periwinkle Butterfingers." He took her hand in his. "How can I help you?"

"Mister Spencer, this is Amanda Peyton," Chief Vick said, biting back a word (or two) of reprimand. "She's from the Santa Barbara Science Institute."

"Wonderful school, wonderful," Shawn interrupted. "Are you a student?"

Everyone ignored his question. "There's been a break in at the school. Some valuable... equipment and research has been stolen."

"Research of a very sensitive nature," Amanda added. "The Institute would like this solved quickly and quietly."

"Quietly is my middle name. Well, his middle name, actually," Shawn amended, pointing at Gus. "Mine is Quickly."

"Spencer, this is serious!" Lassiter chided. "Miss Peyton is the personal assistant to Professor Masuko. He's been working on a very important project in the field of --"

"Robotics," Shawn finished the sentence for him. He turned to Gus. "He's the guy my father took us to see. That time you thought I was a robot, remember?"

"I remember," Gus said, finally getting a word in edgewise. "His lab was cool, full of mechanical arms and little metal gadgets on wheels that ran all over the place."

"Wait a minute," Jules interrupted, looking at Gus. "You thought Shawn was a robot?"

"Long story," Gus said.

Shawn launched into his best "robot" imitation, complete with swinging arm.

"Are you sure he's the best?" Amanda asked Chief Vick with more than a hint of doubt in her voice.

The chief steered Amanda in the direction of her office. "I know he can seem... eccentric..." Her voice faded into a whisper.

Jules and Lassiter followed, Jules looking at Shawn like he'd grown two heads and Lassiter not looking back at all.

"I can't believe that didn't get her," Shawn lamented. "It used to always work."

"Yeah, when you were in junior high." Gus did a double take and grabbed Shawn's hand, the one that had been "dangling" just a few moments before.

"Gus!" Shawn admonished, yanking his hand back. "I've told you before, you're a great friend, but --"

"Why is there a wire sticking out of your sleeve?" Gus demanded to know. He reached for Shawn's hand again, to get a better look at what he swore was a red wire peeking out of Shawn's long-sleeved flannel shirt (a gift from Gus's mom that he wore only to keep from hurting her feelings - he was not a flannel type person).

Shawn moved his hand out of Gus's range and quickly stuffed the wire - or whatever it was - back up his sleeve. "Don't be ridiculous." He shook his head and walked toward the Chief's office.

As he walked away, Gus made a mental note to dig up his old notebook - and maybe see if his parents still had his chemistry set.

THE END




Copyright December 2008 by Cait N.


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