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Old 09-15-2015, 01:29 PM   #1
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ZooTV Live from Santa Barbara

Hello! I'm brand-new to this site, but I have started writing a MacPhisto crossover with the TV show Psych. (PsychPhisto!) Basically, the premise is that people dressed as devils are getting murdered, and one of the victims has a connection to MacPhisto, so the police wind up in his lounge looking for answers. At which point Mac notices the beautiful Detective O'Hara and decides to help with the investigation. Would anybody be interested in reading this? It's still a work in progress, but I have a few chapters written and would love to share and get some feedback.

Also, does anybody else write or know where I can find some stories about Mac and the other ZooTV characters?
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Old 10-02-2015, 02:29 AM   #2
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Okay this is really uncanny because when I was 15 I outlined a fic with a really REALLY similar premise but gave up on it because I wanted to read it, not so much write it.

Which means, of course, that I would absolutely love to read your story and please please please post it as soon as you feel comfortable!
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Old 10-02-2015, 09:02 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rebel_rebel View Post
Okay this is really uncanny because when I was 15 I outlined a fic with a really REALLY similar premise but gave up on it because I wanted to read it, not so much write it.

Which means, of course, that I would absolutely love to read your story and please please please post it as soon as you feel comfortable!
Argh! Thank you so much! You just made my day!!

I have around seven chapters done (along with some extra scenes, because I don't always write things in the right order..) so I'll start posting what I have completed immediately!

Since it's a crossover fic, the Psych characters show up a lot and it takes a couple of chapters for Mac to really get involved, but believe me, once he gets into it...well, you know him. He never does anything halfway.
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Old 10-02-2015, 09:04 AM   #4
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Have You?

"The best tormentor is the one that stares back at you from the mirror."
------Luna Spencer

“Who are you then?"
"I am part of that power which eternally wills evil and eternally works good.”
------Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Faust: First Part

Prologue

The dusky street was clear and quiet as the devil danced alone among the trash and murky puddles. The rain was light and soft, trickling down the back of his luxurious shirt in tiny torrents, streaming down his face in glorious rivulets as he tilted his head to the sky. Quietly, almost too quietly to be heard, he breathed a sigh of relief.

It was a beautiful day.

The gunshots rang out---once, twice!---and the car sped away into the sinking, settling evening, skidding away from the trash and murky puddles at fifty-five miles per hour, leaving the devil behind.

The devil smiled to himself as he sank to his knees and then fell down onto his back on the cobbled, cracked street. So this was what death was like. What a dear old friend...

Chapter 1

Head Detective Carlton Lassiter knew that something was wrong from the instant he walked into the Santa Barbara police station that morning.

"What the devil is wrong with you, Spencer?" he asked as he watched the spiky-haired idiot twirl around in O'Hara's desk chair for the third time.

"Nothing is wrong with me, Lassie," replied the fake psychic. "What's wrong with you? You're in a particularly foul mood this morning." Shawn's face took on the pout of an annoying two-year-old child. "Did somebody forget to wish you a happy birthday?"
"Shut up!" Lassiter hissed. "I don't want a repeat of last year's fiasco!"
Shawn grinned big. "Yeah, that was pretty great. I still can't believe that you keep a little black book of all the people you've locked up! I mean, come on, Lassie! How was she supposed to know? Just let it go!"
"I had to relocate twice because of that blunder! And I'm still not convinced that my neighbor isn't a convict."

Shawn sighed and rolled melodramatically out of his girlfriend's desk chair and onto the floor. Why couldn't Lassiter just learn to loosen up a little? "I know Jules didn't mean it," he said.
"Get off the floor, Spencer! You'll contaminate it!"
"The spirits speak to me better down here, Lassie! I get better reception!"
Lassiter scoffed. "Yeah, because the only voices you hear are the ones from your buddies down in Hel---"

"Hey, Carlton, I'm sorry I'm late!" said Juliet O'Hara, panting and red-faced as she raced through the doors of the police station and over to her desk.
Lassiter cast her a scowl. "Don't let it happen again."
She nodded. "I won't. I got stuck in---"
"I don't want to hear your excuses," Lassiter interrupted, stalking toward his own desk. "Where's McNab? I need my coffee!"

Spencer sighed from the floor. "Buzz is on vacation in Guatemala this week, Lassie. Didn't you get the memo?"
Juliet looked down at her boyfriend with a puzzled smile. "Shawn, why are you in the floor?"

"O'Hara!" Lassiter shouted.
"You don't have to yell, Carlton," said Juliet. "I'm right here!"
"And you're drowning out the spirits," added Shawn.

Lassiter frowned at the two of them, but soon forgot whatever it was he had planned to say when Dobson interrupted by handing him a case file. His eyes narrowed as he scanned the information and pictures within. "Come on, O'Hara," he said, getting to his feet and heading for the door. "We've got a weird one today."

"This is Santa Barbara, the murder capital of the world!" called Shawn as they walked out, still spread-eagled on the floor. "They're all weird ones! Every day! .... Gus! Where are you?!"
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Old 10-02-2015, 09:06 AM   #5
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Chapter 2

Standing there in the blocked-off street with Lassiter and McNab at her side, Juliet couldn't quite figure out what she was seeing. She knew from the case file that this murder was strange, but somehow...seeing it in person made it even more surreal. Her brain couldn't connect the pieces of what was in front of her. "This guy..."
"Is dressed like the Devil," finished Lassiter. "Whackadoo."
"Carlton!" she hissed. "We have to be respectful. I mean, he's...he's..."
"He's a dead man dressed as the Devil." Lassiter shook his head, the black latex of his gloves snapping as he pulled them over the long fingers of his hands. "Let's see what we've got here. Two gunshot wounds to the back... From the way he fell, it looks like--"

Juliet let Lassiter's voice fade away from her focus as her brain used all its power trying to process the image. The man wasn't just dressed like the Devil; he *looked* like the Devil. The pair of dull brown horns twisting up from beneath the victim's hair were obviously surgical implants, but they looked so real that they could have come from a goat or a bull or some other kind of animal. The dampness of the alley caused the victim's loose black shirt to stick to his pasty, cold skin. There was a pentagram branded into the victim's left palm, and the scars had to be at least a few months old. This man had been seriously involved in pretending to be the Devil for some time.

But that wasn't the most disturbing part. Not to Juliet. For her, the scariest thing was the eyes. Frozen open in a look of horror, the victim's eyes had become flat and, well, dead---but even so, she could clearly see that they were bloody red with a vertical pupil. Or at least, they looked that way. In her head, she could logically piece it together that the victim was probably wearing contacts or that he'd had his eyes surgically modified somehow.

But that logical chain of reasoning did not stop the very irrational fear that struck her as she looked into those horrible lifeless eyes.

"O'Hara, have you been listening to a word I'm saying?" Lassiter's voice hit her like a freight train charging ahead at full speed.
Shaken back to reality, she moved her gaze from the victim's red eyes to Lassiter's blue ones. "No. I'm sorry, could you repeat that?" she said.
Lassiter's icy eyes narrowed. "I said that it's probably gang-related, since this is Triads territory. What do you think?"

"I think you're wrong, Lassie," came Shawn's voice from behind the line of flimsy yellow police tape that cordoned off the crime scene.
Mentally cursing McNab for letting the psychic in, Lassiter shot his foulest glare in Shawn's direction, wishing as he often did that looks could kill. "Nobody asked you, Spencer!"
"Wrong again! The spirits sent me."
Lassiter scoffed. "What did they tell you this time?"
"Right now, the spirits are telling me that Gus ditched me to go to the antique fair with his mom, and speaking of moms, the spirits just decided to mention that your mom is still sore at you for going to the Clint Eastwood movie festival instead of going to her anniversary party," Shawn said.
Scowling, Lassiter shook his head. "How--- Never mind. Look, Spencer, this is a grown-up case for grown-up cops, so why don't you just---"

Abruptly, Shawn screamed, his head snapping backwards with enough force to make his perfectly-coiffed hair wobble in the sudden rush of air.
Juliet, already set on edge by the horrible crime scene, jumped at least a foot in the air, shocked and scared out of her skin. "Shawn! Are you all right?"
Shawn crumpled to the ground, arms reaching for the space between his shoulder blades, clawing at his faded green Apple Jacks t-shirt. "It's the spirits... It's the devil..."

McNab's eyes grew wide as silver dollars. "The Devil?!"
Shawn groaned and nodded. "Well, not The Devil. A devil." Stretching, as if he were in great pain, Shawn thrust his arm in the direction of the dead body and pointed right at the corpse. "That devil!"
The only one unmoved by this display, Lassiter said, "The whackadoo's spirit is talking to you? Really? That's a little convenient, isn't it?"
"Be skeptic all you want, Lassie, but---" Shawn cut himself off with a screech of pain. "He doesn't like your skepticism, Lassie! He wants you to take it back!"
"Uh, no," Lassiter replied.

Shawn shrieked again, and this time the noise was so ear-splitting that Lassiter couldn't help flinching. "Spencer! Cut out that infernal noise!"
"I can't, Lassie! He's hurting me! He's not a very nice man, which is probably why he decided to become a satanist---" Another howl of pain resounded through the street, tearing out of Shawn's lips like a bat out of you-know-where.
"Just take it back, Carlton! He's really being hurt!" said Juliet, grabbing her partner's coat sleeve. Her face was flushed and her lip was swollen from where she'd bitten it in panic.
Lassiter's eyes narrowed. Would Spencer really play with O'Hara's emotions like that just to get a rise out of him? ...... Yes, Lassiter concluded. He would. But that didn't mean that Lassiter had to let this continue. "Fine. I take it back."
Shawn collapsed, sighing in relief, stretched out onto the cool damp blacktop. "Good. That was really intense. Oh, by the way, he was at the Galahad Lounge last night. He mentioned that while he was attacking me."

Lassiter stared down at the figure sprawled on the ground in front of him. "The dead freak show told you about his whereabouts on the night of his murder? While torturing you? Really, Spencer? That's the best you could do?"
Shawn shrugged, frowning a little as the motion sent a few tiny pieces of gravel flying down the collar of his shirt. "Lassie, it isn't anything at all about what I can do. It's about what the spirits decide to tell me. You know as well as I do that---" Shrieking again, Shawn leapt up from the ground at warp speed, ducking behind Buzz's towering frame.
"What is it?" said Juliet, the worry evident in her voice. "Are you being hurt again?"
"No," replied Shawn. "There's a lizard right there. And he was about to run into my pants."

Lassiter rolled his eyes and just started walking back to his car, thinking to himself, "This case is going to be even weirder than I thought..."
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Old 10-02-2015, 09:07 AM   #6
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Chapter 3

Lassiter was not impressed with the Galahad Lounge when he pulled up in front of it, parallel parking against the curb---something he did purely to spite O'Hara, because he knew she didn't like it and he felt justified in parking wherever he wanted after the events of that morning. The lounge was a ramshackle, narrow building that he vaguely recalled having seen before, but the memory was so hazy that he couldn't quite figure out where. Probably from an old photograph, or maybe he'd simply driven past the decrepit building before. The cinder block walls were painted an apricot tan, and the marquee, whose neon lights had long since faded out, bore the name of only one act and a spray-painted green shamrock in addition to the name of the place.
"M . Ma P sto, Sept-Aug," the cracking red letters spelled out over the cream-colored background of the sign.

"This place is a dump," Lassiter commented as he took the keys out of the ignition.
O'Hara said nothing, gazing at the crumbling building with apprehension.
Lassiter scoffed and got out of the car, waiting for her to follow. She didn't. He opened her door for her, saying, "Come on, O'Hara. Are you scared?"
She looked up at him and, much to his surprise, said, "Yes."
Lassiter had no idea what to do. He hadn't anticipated dealing with anyone's emotional needs in the middle of a homicide case. Awkwardly, he stood there with one hand on the car's door frame, the other hand rubbing the back of his neck. "Why? Look, I've got you covered, O'Hara. I'm your partner, and I have your back. You know that."
"No, it's not that," she said. "I know that you can protect me from any criminals or...anything, but...all this devil stuff is so...so freaky. It's really concerning me, Carlton. I have a very bad feeling about all of this."

Lassiter just shook his head. "The guy isn't a real demon, O'Hara. He's just a crazy in a costume. It's like Halloween all over again. The quicker we can find and arrest his killer, the quicker we get this over with...and the sooner I'll be able to take my mom out to dinner and get back on her good side."
Juliet nodded with a small smile and slowly got out of the car.

It was as he was stepping back to give her room to move that he saw the tiny blue Toyota Echo pulling in. He muttered a curse word under his breath and stalked to the door of the lounge. He couldn't keep those two idiots out, but at least he'd gotten there first. As soon as he opened the glass door of the lounge, he was assaulted by the thick smell of cigarette smoke and cheap booze. He cursed again, a little louder, wrinkling his nose in disdain. "No wonder criminals hang out in a dive like this," he muttered to himself.

But even as he said it, he realized that something wasn't quite right about that statement---or the lounge, for that matter. For one thing, despite the hostile smoky smell and the less-than-modest exterior, the inside of the lounge was lavish, decorated with lots of red velvet and dark woods with gold accents and shimmering gilded drapes. And, Lassiter noted as he stepped off of the doormat and took a few steps inside, thick red carpet that his feet sank into. And another thing: the clientele certainly didn't appear to be criminals. If they were, then they were of the white-collar or Mafia variety, because all of them were dressed to the nines in tuxedos and ball gowns. In his customary immaculate work suit with his shiny purple tie, Lassiter felt very underdressed.

As someone who wore a suit both for business and pleasure, as both officer and civilian, Lassiter was not used to feeling underdressed. He didn't like it.

The last odd thing that Lassiter noticed about the lounge as he crossed to the long marble bar where the bartender was inexplicably setting out at least a dozen martinis was the stage in the back---and perhaps more importantly, the man performing on it.

The lounge's entertainment for the night was, apparently, the Devil.

At least, that's what Lassiter speculated since, through the haze of cigarette smoke and oddly humid air, it appeared that the performer was wearing a pair of bright red horns.
Nodding in the direction of the stage, Lassiter asked the bartender, "Who's that?"
"That?" said the bartender, expression blank, still fixing yet another martini. "That's Mr. MacPhisto. You are talking about the guy on the stage, right?"
Lassiter nodded. "Yeah."
The bartender shrugged. "Yeah, that's Mr. MacPhisto."
Lassiter retrieved his notepad and favorite pen from his suit jacket pocket. "I'm assuming that's spelled M-A-C...F-I...?"
"P-H-I-S-T-O," said the bartender, glancing at the clock.

There was a loud boom that shook the walls, causing Lassiter to jump at least a foot in the air, reaching reflexively for his weapon. He reluctantly slid his Glock back into its holster, however, when he realized that there wasn't a threat---except for the threat of Lassiter punching the now-laughing bartender square in the face. The boom had come from a tiny cannon in the back right corner of the stage, and large rectangular strips of confetti had been sprayed into the air, drifting down from above to carpet the lounge in whitish-green paper. One of the confetti bits floated its way to Lassiter, and he snatched it out of the air, turning it over in his hands, finding it a welcome distraction from his impulse to forcibly stop the bartender from laughing at him.

The rectangle wasn't confetti. It was, in fact, some sort of fake currency. "One Zoo ECU," read the mock dollar. "Even Better Than The Real Thing. Watch More TV."

Lassiter looked up at the bartender. "What's this?"
The bartender shrugged. "What does it look like?"
Lassiter scowled. "Forget it. Have you ever seen this man?" He held up the last photograph taken of the victim while he was still living.
The bartender shrugged again. "Yeah, he's been here a few times. A lot of the weird types come in here, looking for him." He jerked his thumb at the stage, presumably gesturing to the performer with the odd name.
"Do you know if he was here last night?" Lassiter asked.
The bartender shook his head. "I wasn't here last night."
"Who was?"
"Technically, this place was closed. The only person who might've been here was him." Again, the bartender gestured to the devilish singer. "He comes in sometimes to rehearse. At least, I guess that's what he does. I don't ask. I just work here."

Lassiter grunted in acknowledgment, but he wasn't interested in questioning the bartender anymore. Right now he had his sights on his prime suspect: Mr. Mac...whatever.

It was then he realized that Spencer was already approaching the stage. Juliet was standing among the fringes of the mid-sized crowd with Guster, but Shawn, ever the bold one, was climbing onstage with the Devil.

Lassiter internally groaned. "I am not getting him out of trouble this time."

Even as he said it, he knew it was a lie, and so he stalked with twice his usual air of moody grumpiness towards the back of the lounge and the Devil's stage.
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Old 10-02-2015, 09:11 AM   #7
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Chapter 4

Shawn really had no plan when he randomly jumped onstage with the man wearing devil horns. Did he ever have a plan? Well, sometimes, he admitted to himself, but not often, and this was one of those times where he was planning to wing it. Wait... Did that count as a plan?

Well, it didn't matter at the moment, because the devil guy had just finished singing something about crashed cars and the days of the week, and pretty soon he'd notice that Shawn was there, which meant that there was some fast thinking in order.

Quickly, Shawn put a hand to his head and prepared to divine something amazing about this weird devil cat. His hazel eyes scanned the room, taking in the devil's gold lamé Elvis suit, ruffled red shirt, slick black hair, and---weirdest of all---his makeup. The devil's face was painted chalk white, with shocking red lipstick and a swirl of gold across the top of each eye. The devil's ocean blue eyes narrowed at the intruder as Shawn realized, with a sinking drowning feeling, that he saw---nothing.

Shawn could not "see" anything about this man. There were no marks on his hands; no tan lines anywhere on his skin; any telltale signs on his face were obscured by the thick coating of white makeup; the suit looked brand-new, with no labels or stains or folds or bulges or odd wrinkles; there were no signs of a nervous habit, like a chewed lip or bitten nails---both lips and nails were covered in layers of red.

Shawn glanced with widened eyes at the rest of the lounge: Lassie hadn't gotten any sleep last night, Jules had gotten scratched by her gray cat that morning, the guy in the gray suit was cheating on his wife with the girl in the peach gown, and the girl in the peach gown was only sleeping with him to pay off her college loans.
The bartender had six dogs and no kids.
The old woman in the purple dress had four kids and no dogs.

He looked back at the devil.
Nothing.

"Hey, buddy," Shawn said, feeling his usual security blanket of self-assurance slipping away and trying to cling to it for all it was worth.
"Hello," the devil purred.

Devils can purr? Shawn thought. That's weird.

"My name is Mr. MacPhisto," the devil continued with a flourish of his hand. "May I ask who you are, young man?"
"My name is Keekee 'GoGo' Frasier, and over there is my partner, Hoddytobb 'WooWoo' Sideburns," Shawn replied without even thinking.
"Woo, woo!" Gus shouted from his place on the edge of the crowd, pushing his arms into the air in a "raise the roof" sort of dance.

Shawn grinned, feeling his confidence flushing back into his system. If his observation didn't work on this guy, then his motormouth surely would.

MacPhisto laughed quietly. "Do you know who I am? I know who you are. I know you even better than you know yourself!"
Shawn laughed along. "Of course we know who we are! We just introduced ourselves! You're MacFroYo, and I'm---"
The devil's arm curled around Shawn's shoulders as he whispered, "Shawn Henry Spencer."

As the devil laughed onstage, Shawn's blood ran cold. Something was seriously wrong here.

And Juliet knew it. From the very first second she walked in, her gut feeling, her strong sense of intuition, screamed at her to get out. And now Shawn was right in the thick of it. She could see him faltering up there, despite Gus' help. Somehow, that scared her more than anything she'd ever seen so far.

And it still wasn't over.

MacPhisto smiled, running one luscious pale red-nailed finger along Shawn's tanned, stubbly cheek. "What a pleasure to have a guest on my stage!" He abandoned Shawn for the moment in favor of grabbing the microphone from its stand and shouting loudly into it: "What a night! What a show! What a life! What a job!"

With one hand, he gestured to his meager audience, and they enthusiastically responded by shouting something that sounded almost like the word "Europa," but not quite. The first syllable was off.

"What are they saying?" Juliet asked Gus, backing away from the noisy flock of lounge patrons.
"I'm not sure," replied Gus. "It sounds like they're saying---"
"ZOOROPA!" MacPhisto shouted, leaving no doubt as to what was being screamed into the walls and ceiling of the Galahad Lounge. "Zooropa! My Zoorrrrrrrropa!"
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Old 10-02-2015, 09:49 AM   #8
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Author's Note:

Not sure if this site requires a disclaimer for fan fiction or not, but while I'm thinking of it, here, have one.

Disclaimer: I do not own Psych, nor do I own any of its characters, settings, trademarks, or related material. I am not affiliated with U2 or any related organizations. Their characters, settings, trademarks, et cetera are not my intellectual property. Psych, U2, and all related materials are the property of their respective owners. The plot and original characters of this story are my intellectual property. I am not associated with U2. I am not associated with Psych, its creators, or any involved parties, nor am I associated with any other media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.
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Old 10-02-2015, 05:15 PM   #9
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Chapter 5

It took every ounce of willpower Shawn had not to clamp his hands over his ears. Between the thudding music churned out by the live band, the rumble of the confetti cannon firing a second time, the dull roar of the shouting crowd, and MacPhisto's screeching rolled R's resounding in the microphone, Shawn wasn't sure how much more his eardrums could take.

Finally, the music eased up until only the throbbing bass line remained, pulsing in the background as MacPhisto motioned for the crowd to grow silent, placing one long finger against his scarlet lips.

"It isn't every day that I see such illustrious visitors on my stage," MacPhisto said, talking more to the audience than to Shawn. His lilting British accent grated a little on Shawn's already-tense nerves. "I haven't been so delighted since I met up with my biographer in London!"
The audience rippled with a wave of quiet laughter, and somewhere in his mind Shawn dimly realized that this must be some sort of inside joke.
Two can play along with this, Shawn thought. Grinning, he said in a voice loud enough to be heard by the entire audience, "Of course! For one night only, you get to experience the amazing talents of Psych-Man and my awesome sidekick, Magic Head!"

From his spot in the audience, Gus shook his head frantically, eyes wide and looking for all the world like he got caught in the headlights of a stretch car. "Uh, no! There is no way I'm getting onstage with---"
But a wave of gowned and tuxedoed arms was already propelling him forward, until, without really knowing how he got there, he was standing next to Shawn and--- "The Devil," he said meekly.
"Charmed, I'm sure, Mr. Burton Guster!" MacPhisto said, with another flourish of his hand and a sweeping bow that went so low his horns almost touched Gus' knees.

Gus' eye twitched. For once, someone had gotten his name right. And for once, he didn't like that at all.

The next thing he knew, MacPhisto was in between them, one arm around each man's shoulders. "Smile for my audience, boys," the devil said, his posh English tones clipped and his voice too soft to be heard by anyone offstage. Dangerously soft.

Obediently, Shawn and Gus grinned for the entire lounge to see.

"Perhaps you two would indulge me in joining me for our last number tonight," said MacPhisto, back to his loud stage voice, sounding reminiscent of a magnanimous rich uncle offering to share a daytime adventure with his nephews.
"Sure thing," Shawn said.
"Uh, we don't know any of the words," Gus said.
MacPhisto smiled. "Nonsense! You'll do just fine. Just follow along with the music. You'll see!" He turned his dazzling grin to the audience once more. "Don't be shy!"

The rich thrum of the bass emerged from the background of their conversation, joined by the drums, and as if on cue, it transformed into the underside of a slow ballad. The guitarist's chords fell along in soft strokes as MacPhisto began to croon tenderly into the microphone.

Lassiter, ever the closet Elvis fan, recognized the song immediately. By this point, he had taken Guster's place at Juliet's side. He had no interest in listening---if he had his way, he would've gone up there and yanked them all off the stage, possibly at gunpoint---but he was stopped by one thing: Juliet was standing frozen, stock-still, in the same place she'd been since she first laid eyes on Mac...whatever. FroYo. (For the first time, Lassiter was secretly pleased that Spencer had a gift for creating such embarrassing nicknames.)

Lassiter hadn't ever seen this kind of reaction from his partner before. He'd seen her angry, heartbroken, depressed, anxious, even afraid... But he'd never seen her go so utterly ice-cold as she was right now. And he was determined that he wouldn't leave her until she worked through...whatever it was she was working through.

Juliet had never heard the song before, and when it started up, she was sure that she never wanted to hear it again.

Until she realized that the devil was singing it for her. He had to be; he was looking straight at her. And he wasn't simply looking in her general direction, either; this was direct blue-on-blue contact, with his eyes locked on her, and she felt like the bird frozen by the stony catlike pupils of the approaching snake. The feeling that washed over her as the devil's warm, smoky voice slipped into the air was strange and cold and oddly intriguing, all at the same time.

"Shall I stay? Would it be a sin? If I...can't...help...falling in love...with...you?"

Suddenly, his ocean eyes went wide and his hand outstretched toward the audience, reaching out to grasp something and coming up with nothing. The smoky voice rose into a clear falsetto, rising to hit impossibly high notes.

"Take my hand," the Devil sang, desperation in his voice as he crooned into the microphone, bracing himself against the stand. "Take my whole life, too... For I can't help falling in love...with...you."

They were frozen there for a moment longer, the entire lounge silent enough to have heard a pin drop onto the plush red carpet. But it didn't last. MacPhisto was the first to to break the silence. "Thank you, and good night," he said into the microphone, his voice now a husky whisper.

Juliet still had the uncanny feeling that he was staring at her.

Lassiter scoffed. "That was the worst butchery of an Elvis song I've ever heard. And Spencer and Guster singing in the background didn't help matters any at all."
Juliet blinked. "Shawn and Gus were singing?"
Lassiter stared at her like she'd lost her mind, and Juliet began to think that maybe she had. "Yes. They were singing. Horribly. Terribly. Worse than the American Duos incident."
Juliet winced a little. "That is pretty bad..."

Lassiter shook his head, and as he did, he caught movement in his peripheral vision. "Come on, O'Hara. Those two idiots are going backstage. Let's go back there and show them how the real police do things...without singing!"
Juliet grabbed the sleeve of Lassiter's suit jacket before he could take a step. "Carlton, maybe we should just wait here." She did everything she could, putting up every mental barrier she could think of, to hide the quiet rush of panic that came over her at the thought of being in an enclosed space with the devil.

Lassiter sensed that something was wrong, and slowly, in spite of himself, he nodded. "All right." He paused. "But I'm not letting them take the credit for anything they find out back there. I'm going to be the one to solve this case."
Juliet smiled and nodded. "I know you will, Carlton. I know you will."
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Old 10-02-2015, 10:40 PM   #10
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Chapter 6

As the guitar played MacPhisto's last song, Shawn wasn't sure if he was glad that he remembered the Elvis tune, or if he felt like like shoving needles in his eyes because he knew all the lyrics to a song that his dad used to listen to on the oldies radio stations.

In all honesty, he had no clue what MacFroYo was expecting them to do, but he shrugged and sang in what seemed like back-up-y places. Which for him, was pretty much the last word of every single line.

Gus had absolutely no idea what the song was or why he was up onstage, but he was determined to outdo Shawn; after all, Shawn didn't have years of a cappella stage experience the way he did. ...This essentially meant that Gus harmonized on the tail end of every word that Shawn sang.

The three voices singing in awkward, staggered tandem produced a curious layering effect that caused the drummer's eyes to twitch as if he were being bitten by eight dozen fleas all at once, but neither MacPhisto nor the audience seemed to take any notice. The devil's eyes were locked on the audience, and their eyes were locked on him.

Gus' voice cracked and faded to a whisper as the devil's voice climbed up to its high falsetto peak, but Shawn kept climbing with him, note for note, until the very last line of the song. Apart from Lassiter and Juliet, there wasn't a dry eye in the house.

After MacPhisto whispered his farewell to the audience into the microphone, he put his arms around both Shawn and Gus, grabbing their shoulders and pulling them off the stage with him. "Come backstage with me, boys," he said, and once again, his voice was clipped and soft.
"Sure thing, MacFroYo!" said Shawn, a big silly grin splitting his face. "Do we get our own dressing rooms?"
The only reply escaping MacPhisto's glossy red lips was a dark chuckle.

Gus began to panic. "Uh, uh, maybe I should go check on Ju---"
"Oh, nonsense, my dear boy," purred MacPhisto.
Shawn almost laughed. "Did you just purr at---"

The thick wooden door slammed loudly behind them as the devil swept them into a long hallway: the backstage corridor, with warm orange walls and rich golden trim...and no outside exit except the way they had come.
"I really think we should---" Gus continued trying to protest as the detective duo found themselves being ushered through a bright red door and into a space that was beyond a shadow of a doubt MacPhisto's dressing room.

"Nice place you got here, Mackey," said Shawn, looking around at the gold wardrobe, old-fashioned vanity, and sprawling mirror. "How many containers of makeup do you have there?"
MacPhisto's voice began as a quiet whisper, like a baby cat trying to emit its first growl. "What do you boys think you're doing..." And without warning, he burst into a roaring shout. "ON MY STAGE?!"

Shawn and Gus jumped at least a foot straight up, and somehow they managed to grab each other in smothering, terrified hugs right in midair, ending up in a shivering jumble of arms by the time they hit the ground. Shawn's mind registered a high-pitched shriek and for a moment, he couldn't figure out what it was.

Then he realized that the girly scream was coming from him.

"Hey, you brought me up there! I didn't want to go anywhere near your stage!" retorted Gus, somehow managing to find his voice.
MacPhisto's gleaming eyes shot him a glare.
"Uh, uh, I mean....." Gus gulped. "I'm sorry about that, uh... Mr. Satan?"
"Satan?" MacPhisto's eyes grew rounder and slightly wider, his head tilting to one side as he echoed Gus. "Is that who you think I am? Satan?"
"Uh... Yes?"

The intensity of the devil's laughter truly surprised Gus. As did the low pitch; after hearing that falsetto earlier, he really expected something more feminine.
"That's the most amusing thing I've heard in a long time, Mr. Guster, thank you," MacPhisto said, wiping invisible or imaginary tears away from his gold-painted water-colored eyes. "Me, Satan! Dear me. I can't imagine what Lucifer would think if he were to hear that. Why, he'd have my horns for sure!" Another throaty cackle sounded from MacPhisto as the devil took off his velvet horns.

Gus stared for a split second before breathing a sigh of relief. The horns were fake! "That's really clever of you," he said, "to hide the headband in your hair like that. It blends in really well."
"Oh, thank you, darling, I rather thought so, too. Now, tell me, what was the real reason for your visit here tonight?" MacPhisto replied.
"Nothing major," said Shawn. "Just a little bit of...." He struck a dramatic pose. "Muuuuuurder?"
MacPhisto, unimpressed with the fake psychic's antics, lit a cigarette and reclined in the posh Victorian-style armchair in front of his vanity, crossing his elegant legs to show off his sparkling gold platform shoes. "Is that a question or a statement? I only ask that you be clear... Precision of language is most important in polite conversation, you know."

Gus sent a pointed look in Shawn's direction. "I told you so."
Shawn rolled his eyes. "What if I'm not interested in polite conversation? Maybe I'm just interested in labradoodles, churros, and getting answers to my questions."
"And what are your questions, dear boy?" MacPhisto asked, blowing a smoke ring and watching it drift lazily away.
"Do you happen to know a dead dude with devil horns that are attached to his head?" Shawn said.
"Of course," replied MacPhisto. "You must be referring to the body you found earlier this morning. Such a shame."
"Did you kill him?" Gus said.
Shawn threw his hands into the air. "Dude! You're a lot braver now that you know he isn't a real devil!"
"Not a real devil?" MacPhisto raised one upswept eyebrow. "What are you going on about? Of course I'm a real devil."

Shawn scoffed. "Yeah, right. And Gus is the Loch Ness Monster."
"How come I have to be the Scottish plesiosaur?" Gus said with a frown.
"Because I called Frankenstein, and you know it!"
"I won that game of rock, paper, scissors! And you know that, Shawn! Suck it!"
"You suck it!"
"Both of you just be quiet!" MacPhisto said, and immediately, for reasons they couldn't quite explain, Shawn and Gus obeyed.
After a moment of eerie silence, Shawn whispered, "Dude, that was so creepy."
"You know that's right," whispered Gus.
MacPhisto sighed. "What is it that you want from me?"
"Proof that you're a real devil, and proof that you did or did not kill the dead devil guy," said Shawn. "I don't honestly care whether you did or not, but I need to know one way or the other, because the sooner we solve this case, the sooner we can get paid and I can get Gus' Internet turned back on."
"I told you to pay that bill!" said Gus.

MacPhisto snapped his fingers, interrupting Gus before he could finish scolding Shawn. "You want proof that I am a real devil? Very well." With one long-fingered hand, he gestured to the pair of red velvet horns laying next to his makeup brush. "Real devils don't have horns."
"But you do wear horns," Shawn said.
"Exactly. I wear them. I do not have them." MacPhisto smiled and interlaced his fingers. "And I did not kill the young man in the alleyway. Nor do I know who did. That isn't my department. In fact, the only reason I knew he had passed was because I received a letter just a while ago informing me that I am the intended target."
"We should call Lassie in here," said Gus.
"No, no," said Shawn. "We don't need Lassie yet! Let me see the note."

MacPhisto reached into one of the drawers in his vanity and produced a note on red paper written in thick, smudged black ink. As soon as he saw it, Shawn noticed that something about it was odd. The letters were written in an almost unreadable scrawl, but they were shaped in a way that seemed unnatural. Some parts of the letters were too thin, and some were too thick, and the handwriting seemed halting in places...

"This was written with a calligraphy pen," he thought to himself before raising one hand to his head and saying aloud, "I'm sensing something!"
MacPhisto chuckled. "You can dispense with your theatrics here, dear boy, I'm quite aware that you're not a psychic."
Shawn cleared his throat and tried again. "I'm sensing something! First of all, the spirits tell me that you are definitely not the Devil."
"Of course I'm not *The* Devil," said MacPhisto. "We've already clarified that. I am *a* devil. I am not Satan. I am just Mr. MacPhisto." He waved as if to an invisible audience with a flourish of his hand as he said his name.
"Whatever. The spirits also tell me that the person who wrote this note was trying to make this seem like it was written in a hurry, maybe by some random, unstable person. But the person who wrote this knew exactly who they were writing to. You're a man of wealth and taste, isn't that right, MacFroYo?"
"MacPhisto," the devil replied coolly. "Yes, I am."
Shawn grinned. "This person takes a lot of pride in their handwriting and they wanted to give you their very best, even while trying to disguise their identity."
"Hmmm," replied MacPhisto. "Perhaps you're right." He flicked his hand in another dismissive gesture. "But it matters nothing to me."

"Nothing?" Gus said, looking over Shawn's shoulder to read the letter. "But this says that they're going to kill every devil in the city, ending with you!"
MacPhisto made a noise that may have been a scoff or a laugh after taking a long drag of his cigarette. "I'd like to see them try. You can't kill a devil, you know."

Shawn shook his head. "Just tell us how you know the guy in the alley and who you know that might have it out for you."
This time, MacPhisto's laugh was unmistakable. "Who might have it out for me? Dear boy, almost everyone has it out for us devils. All the wars, the famines, all the struggles and sins... I get blamed for all of it, you know. Even when it isn't my fault."
Shawn nodded. "Fair enough. What about the other question?"
MacPhisto smiled. "He worshipped me. Or not me, rather. Satan. But like Mr. Guster, he could hardly tell the difference. He was here last night while I was rehearsing... He came to make an offering, or some other such nonsense. It was in exchange for protection, if I recall. Silly thing. He should have known that we devils don't do that sort of thing. We're not in that line of work."
"What exactly did he give you? And was it edible?" Shawn asked. "Because Gus and I haven't had lunch."

MacPhisto rose to his feet with the aid of a slim gold cane that looked suspiciously like a curtain rod and crossed to his wardrobe. "I believe I put it in here..." He muttered to himself as he opened the door. "Ah, yes." He retrieved a small black box from the top shelf and handed it to Shawn. "He gave me this box."
Shawn opened it up and gagged, covering the box almost as soon as he'd opened it so Gus wouldn't have to see. "Man, this is somebody's mummified heart in here!"
MacPhisto shook his head. "Not a human heart. It's merely the heart of a sheep. He seemed to be under the impression that I'm fond of blood sacrifices." His white-painted nose wrinkled in disgust. "He was very wrong, of course. Now, if he'd brought me a good martini or some fine chocolates, then perhaps we could talk."
"So what did he want protection from?" Shawn said.
MacPhisto shrugged, taking the box away from Shawn and setting it back into the safety of the wardrobe. "Your guess is as good as mine, I'm afraid. Now if you'll excuse me, I've just reminded myself that I have yet to get my evening drink."
He walked out of his dressing room, and for a moment, Shawn was excited by the prospect of having time to snoop, but MacPhisto's head reappeared from behind the door frame. "Well? Come along, dear boys! Come along!"

The devil then pranced away, back into the main part of the lounge and toward the bar, twirling his cane and greeting his adoring public, with Shawn and Gus reluctantly in tow.

Shawn slipped MacPhisto's threatening note into his jeans pocket, grinning as he noticed that MacFroYo was on a collision course with Lassiter and Juliet. "Man, Lassie is just going to love this guy..."
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Old 10-08-2015, 09:20 AM   #11
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Chapter 7

Author's Note: We have some Romeo And Juliet quotes in this chapter, from Act 1 Scene 5, lines 51-54 and Act 2, Scene 6, lines 9-11. Thanks for reading, and please feel free to leave feedback, both positive and negative! I love constructive criticism.

"Hey," said a female voice as Shawn felt a tug on his shirt sleeve.
He looked over and quickly scanned the figure next to him. It was the bass player, but she definitely hadn't quit her day job as a paralegal. No kids, kept tropical fish, amateur gardener. She probably lived in Chinatown, was about 38 years old, and had a lot of regrets. She spent a lot of time in hospitals. His hand popped up to his head.
"I'm sensing that you seek the powers of the great Psych-Man and Magic Head."
His free hand flitted to Gus' head, but his partner ducked out of the way just before Shawn's fingers made contact.

The short, stocky bass player smiled, tucking a lock of her dull, pitch-black hair over one tanned ear. "Okay, I'll bite. What can you divine about me?"
"You're madly in love with MacFroYo."
She laughed. "You don't have to be a psychic to figure that out. Everybody here is."
"I'm not," said Shawn. "Though I cannot speak for Gus."
"What? Shawn, you know I have a girlfriend!" said Gus.
Shawn shook his head. "Incarcerated serial killers don't count and you know it!"
"Seriously, though," interrupted the bassist. "That girl you were standing with earlier? The blonde? Did you all come in together?"
"Who, Jules?" asked Shawn. "Yeah, we're all together. We're in a unit. A special psychic task force, in fact. Although, I am the only psychic. They are just my sidekicks. My S-Men, if you will."
The bass player blinked. "Okay. Whatever. Just listen: you should keep her away from him. Or...him away from her. Keep them away from each other. Mackey will go after her. He can't help himself. I've seen it before."

Suddenly, something clicked for Shawn and his hand popped back up to its customary place beside his awesome hair. "I'm sensing something else about you. Something building on what the spirits told me earlier. You aren't just madly in love with MacFroYo. You're madly in unrequited love with MacFroYo! ... Look, I know it's hard to see him get weird satanic devil-worshipper women left and right while you just kind of stand there in the back and build up his groove with that seriously sweet guitar you've got there---"
"It's a bass," she said.
"It's a bass guitar," he said. "Anyway, the best thing for you to do is to dye your hair some funky color, maybe pink, and give up that sad job you've got shuffling papers for mindless attorneys and be the great musician you've always wanted to be."
The bassist smiled. "That's nice, but I couldn't ever do that. I have too many obligations."

"The spirits tell me that several pet stores in Chinatown would be happy to watch your fish for you," replied Shawn. "Like a kennel, but for fish. A fennel."
"Fennel is a plant, Shawn," said Gus.
"Gus, don't be Lassie's left eye."
"How did you know I have fish?" asked the bass player.
Shawn smiled. "The spirits told me, of course!" This time, he managed to grab Gus' lavender-scented scalp just in time.
"Right, yeah," said the bassist, smiling in amusement as Gus swatted his best friend's hand off of him.
"I sense you are a skeptic," said Shawn. "That's weird, considering that you believe in charlatans like MacFroYo."
"No, Mackey is the real deal. Trust me. I know. I'm not a devil worshipper or anything. I'm a Christian, actually. But---"

"Really?" Gus interrupted, surprised. "Then why are you hanging out with someone who's evil?"
The bass player shifted her feet a little. "Well, honestly... He's not really all that bad. I mean... I've met worse people. Regular people, not demons. He's... Well, how familiar are you with Irish legends?"
"On a scale of zero to leprechaun, I'd say ten," said Shawn.
She nodded. "Well, you know how some Irish legends say that the fairies are fallen angels? They didn't get sent all the way to the Underworld, but they couldn't stay in Heaven. They were too good for one and too naughty for the other. But they didn't act out of any real malice; they were just mischievous, just pranksters looking for a good time. Mac's like that."
"Gus, did you get that?" asked Shawn. "Because I wasn't listening. I got distracted by the cute guitarist."
The bass player glanced over her shoulder. "I'd stay away from that one if I were you. She really is a devil worshipper. One of the ones who thinks Mac is some kind of Dark Prince or some other nonsense."

"Speaking of devil worshippers, what do you know about the dead guy?" said Shawn.
"Dead guy?" she asked. "What dead guy?"
"The dead guy who came up here last night---before he was dead---while MacFroYo was rehearsing."
"Oh, well, if he came here last night, I can't help you. I wasn't here last night."
"You weren't?"
"No. Mackey sometimes rehearses alone."
"The spirits are a little fuzzy on MacFroYo. Why exactly would he do that?"
The bass player shrugged. "Probably to impress a woman, knowing him. Or maybe he just did it for the heck of it. He has a lot of oddball quirks. I swear, I've seen the man kiss mirrors. I've been hanging around this guy since 1993 and I still haven't figured him out."
Shawn bit back a sigh. At least he wasn't alone in his lack of ability to read MacPhisto. "Thanks for the help. What was your name?"
The bassist smiled. "Dana. My name is Dana."
Shawn laughed. "There is no Dana, only Zuul!"
The bass player laughed, covering her mouth and looking away as she snorted a little, giving Shawn the perfect chance to slip away and head over to the bar, where he could already see Lassiter getting ready to corner MacFroYo.

"This is going to be good," he thought.

Lassiter saw the ridiculous man approaching out of the corners of his eyes and felt his fingers reach for his badge before he made the conscious decision to flash it. He was both proud and disturbed by this reflex reaction---but mostly proud.
In any case, he was really looking forward to cornering that white-painted jerk and saying "Head Detective Carlton Lassiter, SBPD" as he shoved his precious shiny badge into the guy's face. He took a step toward the devil, the corners of his lips twitching in anticipation.

"Ooh, Carlton Lassiter, hellooooo, darling," drawled the devil as he approached, lurching and weaving his way through the awestruck crowd on his aureate platform shoes.
Lassiter, the wind knocked out of his sails, stared for a second. "That's Head Detective Carlton Lassiter to you!"
"Mm, yes, of the noble Santa Barbara Police Department. How impressive. Now shush," said MacPhisto.
"What? No! How dare you!" said Lassiter. "I am an officer of the law! You will show me some respect!"
"And this must be Detective O'Hara," purred MacPhisto. "Such a pleasure." He leaned forward and placed a delicate kiss on the back of Juliet's left hand, leaving a shimmering imprint of light red where his lips had touched her skin.

Juliet jerked her hand away, cleaning off the lipstick smudges with the hem of her gray jacket. "How do you know my name?" she said. "Did someone tell you we were coming?"
"No," MacPhisto replied, smirking. "But God and the devil have the best phone numbers." He shook his head. "'O! she doth teach the torches to burn bright! It seems she hangs upon the cheek of night, like a rich jewel in an Ethiop's ear; Beauty too rich for use, for earth too dear.'"
Juliet couldn't help rolling her eyes at words she'd heard since junior high. "Nice try, but I've heard that one before."
MacPhisto raised one golden-shadowed eyebrow. "Have you?"

Juliet nodded and crossed her arms, deciding to fight fire with fire and quote with quote. "'These violent delights have violent ends. And in their triumph die, like fire and powder, which as they kiss, consume.'"
MacPhisto smiled with genuine delight. "Beauty and intelligence, too! God has given you many rare gifts, darling."

"Can it, Mac---" Lassiter had to stop himself from indulging Spencer by using that ridiculous nickname. "Mac---"
"Mister MacPhisto," the devil finished. "I understand your trouble. My name is a bit Irish, and not at all easy to pronounce at first glance."
"We have some questions for you," said Lassiter.
MacPhisto waved his hand. "Yes, yes, your little friends got to me first. I was rehearsing here alone, and he came by asking for my protection. Apparently, I decided not to grant it. I have no idea who would have it out for him, except to say that everyone blames the devil for their problems."
"Do you know the victim's name? We didn't find an ID on his body, and so far no one has come forward to identify him," said Juliet.
"I suppose I do know his name," said MacPhisto, "but I'm afraid I won't recall it until after I've had at least one little drink. Walk with me."

Lassiter scowled and followed him to the bar a few feet away. Juliet lagged behind, waiting for Shawn and Gus to come over.
"Hey, Jules," Shawn said, giving her a kiss on the cheek.
"Hey," she replied. "Mac---MacPhisto is about to tell us the name of the victim. How did your chat with him go?"
Shawn shook his head. "Not as well as I'd hoped. The spirits don't like him. They don't want to talk when he's around. They think he's...scary."
Juliet bit her lip. "I think he's scary, too."
"It'll be okay, Jules. Gus and I will protect you. Won't we, buddy?"

Gus glared at Shawn from behind the plate of hors d'oeuvres he was snacking on. "Uh, no. I'm missing day two of the Santa Barbara Antiques & Crafts Fair just to be here with you solving this case. I'm already risking hurting my mom's feelings. I'm not risking life and limb in addition to that!"
"But, Gus! This is Jules we're talking about!"
"Juliet, you know I care about you and you've always been a good friend. But when it comes to the supernatural, I draw the line!"
Shawn shook his head. "Gus, I thought we already established that he isn't a real devil."
"We don't know that for sure," said Gus. "I'm not taking any chances!"
Shawn decided not to keep arguing when he knew he couldn't win and consoled himself by eyeing Gus' plate. "Hey, give me one of those."
Gus took a step away, glaring again. "Get your own! There are waiters with trays all over the place."

Shawn sighed. "Oh, well. Gus is out, but that's okay. I have Father Westley on speed-dial." Then he grinned.
Shawn's grin was infectious---they always were---and it didn't take long for Juliet to return his smile. "Thank you, Shawn," she said.
"You're welcome, Jules. Ooh, finger sandwiches!"

MacPhisto overheard this entire discourse as he sipped his first martini of the night, drinking slowly, taking the time to admire the reflections of light playing on the surface of the liquid and the crystal as he tilted the glass.

Lassiter wanted to shoot him in the face.

"All right, you've had your drink," Lassiter said. "Now tell me what you know."
"Patience, dear boy," MacPhisto said. "Patience is a virtue."
Lassiter scoffed. "You're dressed up as a drag queen who thinks he's Frank Sinatra. Don't lecture me on virtue, unless you want to get the same lesson that John Wayne taught Sinatra's bodyguard."
"You can try to backhand me if you wish, but you will fail," MacPhisto replied, finishing off his first martini and reaching for a second.
"Oh, yeah?"
"Yes. Now, what was your question?"
Lassiter pushed back the biting reply he had ready to go on the tip of his tongue, but his deep scowl revealed everything anyway. As if talking to a child, Lassiter said, "Tell me the name of the victim, and anything else you know."
"About the crime?" MacPhisto smirked into his martini glass.
Lassiter took a deep, slow breath, in and out. "Yes. About the crime."
"Well, I suppose I do know that your victim's name was Stuart Francini. I last saw him alive as he left the lounge during my rehearsal, perhaps around seven o'clock in the evening. I didn't leave here myself until well after midnight."
"And can anyone vouch for that?"
"Not at all. I was here alone. Do you have further questions?"
"How did you know the victim?"
"Ask your dear Mr. Spencer. He's already 'divined' all the details." MacPhisto chuckled as he tilted back his glass, draining it in one long drink, his free hand already reaching for his third.

Lassiter shook his head. "Fine. I'm not playing games with you, sicko."
"I'm not the criminal you think I am, Detective, I assure you," MacPhisto replied, abandoning his half-finished third martini and picking up a fresh glass. "In fact," he continued, smirking in a way that Lassiter could only describe as downright devilish, "I would be happy to provide you with any assistance necessary in this case. After all, as a devil myself, I think I can provide you with a great deal of insight into the murder of those inspired by the infernal."
Narrowing his ice-blue eyes, Lassiter's suspicious instincts kicked in, trying to figure out what was MacPhisto's angle in suddenly wanting to be cooperative. Almost without realizing he was doing it, his gaze followed MacPhisto's. He looked at what MacPhisto was seeing and then looked back at the devil's face.

MacPhisto's eyes were fixed on Lassiter's partner, and Lassiter didn't like it one bit. He grabbed the devil by the sleeve of his shiny golden suit. "If you so much as lay one finger on her, I will make sure you end up like your demonic friend in the alley, only with more bullets and less evidence."
Much to Lassiter's surprise, MacPhisto smiled at him, carefree and glib. "Never you mind, I have no intention of harming your precious jewel...Jebediah."
Shocked, Lassiter's fingers slipped away from the slick gold cloth, one eye twitching as the devil swept over to Juliet, offering her the martini he'd taken from the bar. "How did he know my middle name?"
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