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It's a Gift (6/?)

Chapter One
Chapter Two
Chapter Three
Chapter Four
Chapter Five




The next morning, Alan was in Henry Spencer’s kitchen making breakfast of Eggs Benedict and fresh cut fruit along with coffee and a variety of juices. Plates, cutlery, glasses, mugs and napkins were set on the counter buffet-style. Cream and sugar were by the coffeemaker.

“What a spread,” commented Henry as he entered the kitchen, hair still wet from the shower. “You know I was kidding last night.”

“Yeah, but I believe Shawn took it as real and he won’t be alone.”

“Yeah, Gus will be right behind him as usual.” Henry poured himself a glass of orange juice.

“It won’t be just Shawn and Gus.”

“Oh, please! Don’t tell me you’re ‘psychic’ too?”

[You tell me, Henry.] Alan smiled at Henry’s stunned face.

“Hey, Dad, Alan.” Shawn and Gus breezed into the kitchen. Shawn picked up a piece of pineapple and popped it into his mouth. “Did you just show him the whole telepathy thing?”

Alan grinned.

“Thought so. I got a call from Jules this morning and I might have mentioned breakfast.”

“Already taken into account. Help yourselves to coffee and fruit. I won’t start the eggs until Juliet and Lassiter get here.”

“Wow, you really outdid yourself,” said Gus appreciatively.

“A regular domestic god,” commented Shawn around a mouthful of fruit.

“C’mon, Shawn, I don’t have to tell you that ladies like it when you cook.”

“’Course not.”

Gus scoffed. “You’re kitchen cabinets are practically empty.”

“Telepathy?” Henry still hadn’t come to terms with what he had experienced.

“There are people with genuine abilities out there. Yes, the majority are charlatans but you have to keep an open mind.”

“Open mind, good one.”

Henry glared at his son.”

Alan heard the car door slam. “Okay, they’re here. He began the eggs on one burner and the bacon on another. Henry manned the toaster.

“Hello,” called Juliet from the front door.

“Oh, just go in,” Lassiter growled.

They made their way to the kitchen. “Wow, I am impressed, Colonel.”

“Thank you, Juliet. And call me Alan. I don’t like using rank unless I have to.”

Breakfast done, Alan sat down and looked pointedly at Shawn so he’d start the conversation. This meal had a purpose.

“What else have you learned about our mystery ladies?”

“The phone numbers belong to prepaid phones so no way to trace them,” Lassiter said around a mouthful.

“We are circulating their photos in the hope someone will recognize them,” Juliet added.

“So nothing so far.”

“I’d like to see you do better, Guster.”

“When doing a crossword puzzle, if I get stuck on the across clues, I go to the down ones to fill in some of the blanks.”

Lassiter stared at him. “I’ll call you when I’m doing the New York Times Sunday crossword.”

Gus smiled. “We go at this from a different angle.”

“Instead of following the takers, we follow the taken.”

“I’ve got the files from similar cases, but was concentrating on the burglars,” Juliet said. “If we can come up with a connection between the stolen items, we should be able to narrow down their next target.”

“If you can, see if any of the managers started dating someone new. It could give you an idea of how many are involved.”

Lassiter looked at the retired cop. “Good point,” he admitted.

“Okay, let’s go!” declared Shawn.

[After we help your dad clean up,] Alan told him.

“But first we’ll help Dad clean up breakfast.”

Henry looked at him, stunned. “No, you guys go ahead. I’ve got it.”

“If you’re sure.” Gus knew it would be good manners to help.

“Go on. Hurry before Shawn starts honking the horn.”

“Thanks, Henry,” said Alan as he followed Gus. “That was a good idea of yours.”

“So was yours.”

Alan was still smiling as he got into the Echo’s back seat.

*

The five of them were in the station’s conference room going through the files of similar thefts. Technically, the four of them went through the files while Shawn alternated between slurping his smoothie and throwing out the odd comment.

“Whoever was behind this knew what items to take,” declared Lassiter. “Everything can easily be turned into cash.”

“But why would anyone need this much money?” asked Gus.

“Maybe it’s not about the money, but the challenge,” said Shawn. “An adrenalin junkie.”

“You can ask when we catch him,” said Lassiter. “Right now we need to look at past files to try and figure out the next target. If you’re just going to rattle on, then just get out!”

The door to the conference room opened. “I need you to investigate a body found in a downtown apartment.”

“As much as I’d like to investigate a dead body, Chief, we actually seem to be making some headway here,” Lassiter told her.

“Oh, you’ll want to see this one, Detective. Based on the call from the officer on the scene, the victim could be one of our suspects.”

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