This was originally published many years ago.
There is a sit-com on Ion television that you can sometimes get on other cable stations called Psych. It’s about a psychic Shawn Spencer and his sidekick Burton Guster. In any case, the psychic is a fake half the time who sees real clues that nobody else saw him see and then pretends to have a vision.
In this episode, a Notary is found dead and his stamp is found missing. The detectives arrive on the scene.
LASSITER: The body is dead — and it’s cold. It could have been lying here for a good seven to ten hours in my estimate. The cause of death seems unclear.
JULES: Let’s take the body to the lab and see if there is any sign of food poisoning. The victim seems to be a Notary Public, and you know how those type of people are — you know — eating on the road on the run.
SHAWN: You’re right. He might have eaten a poisoned fish filet or….wait a second, I’m getting something… (puts his right two fingers to his head) This MAN, did not die from accidental food poisoning (pause)… he was murdered.
LASSITER: You and your unsubstantiated hunches. I just can’t stand it. And what’s worse is that you’re right more than half the time.
SHAWN: Some people say that I’m talented. Oh, and I’m sorry about your tragic breakup.
LASSITER: Yeah… so am I. I really fell for her.
SHAWN: Don’t despair Lassie, there are other fish in the sea… and coral, particularly Staghorn coral.. and sometimes Pillar coral, and it really sucks when that filmy type of algae gets stuck on the coral.. hmmm. I wonder how that happens. But, I digress. My point is that I’m sure you’ll find someone else.
GUS: Yeah… You’ll find someone. Algae on coral? Ain’t no algae on coral.
SHAWN: I’ve seen it. At least half a dozen times.
GUS: Since when do you snorkel?
SHAWN: I snorkel… Why, you didn’t think I snorkeled? I’m a snorkeler. And I can communicate with fish too. Watch this (puts face near the fish tank and blows bubbles in the air) bubble bubble bubble… See. I told you. I am all about the sea.
JULES: Well, we’ll have to inspect the scene thoroughly and then round up some suspects. Hmm. It seems that this man is a Notary, yet his Notary seal seems to be missing. Perhaps this Notary was murdered to cover up a botched notarization.
LASSITER: Or perhaps the Notary had an exclusive contract with his boss, and his boss found out….
SHAWN: That the Notary was cheating on him… I think you’re projecting, Lassie. Your ex-girlfriend.
LASSITER: She never cheated on me! She was arrested for conspiracy.
SHAWN: Sure she didn’t. I understand. We need to know who the last one who was in the room was — and that man (or woman) will be… the killer.
GUS: What if there were two of them.
SHAWN: Okay… I’m getting something. (puts right fingers to side of head). I know who the killer is… or should I say… “Killizz”
LASSITER: According to this security footage, a well known gangster named Tommy Walker was the last man to come here.
SHAWN: Wait a second, I recognize those finger tattoos. Put them all together, one one hand is says love, and on the other hand’s fingers it says hate. And mom told me not to use four letter words. The killer had a document missing a page and the Notary refused to sign it. So, the killer murdered the Notary, stole the Notary’s stamp and backdated the notarization so that it would APPEAR to have been done long before the murder even though it would not be recorded until after because of some last minute travel arrangements gone bad.
JULES: How do you come up with this?
SHAWN: I have a natural gift.
(Meanwhile the main suspect Tommy Walker, a hardened criminal is at home eating fruit loops and watching the muffets when our dynamic team of sleuths barges in)
LASSITER: (pointing gun) You’re under arrest for the Murder of John Q Smith, Notary Public at large.
TOMMY: I didn’t kill him. He just died shortly after our Notary appointment.
SHAWN: Ah-ha, but your Notary appointment yielded no actual notarization. Or did it. Wait a second… I”m getting something (see’s notarized form in the bag) I see a … win a trip for two to Disney Land…
SHAWN: Oh, sorry, no… check right behind the Disneyland document and you will find the incriminating document. Yes… A falsified Power of Attorney with a classic missing page… The NNA warns people about that type of situation.
JULES: Oh my God Shawn. You’re right. This Notarization was dated several days ago, but the ink is still fresh.
SHAWN: Caught… in the act. And… we happen to have access to this Notary’s Notary journal which has no record of your transaction on May 5th, “el cinco de Mayo” of the Power of Attorney in question. Which proves that either the Notary kept lousy records, or that you faked the notarization. We’ll have to take the form to the lab so that Woody can inspect the ink for aging.
TOMMY: Okay, I did it. I stole the Notary’s seal, but I didn’t kill him. The killer
SHAWN: Or “Killizz”
TOMMY: is STILL at large. We’ll have to wait for the autopsy. In the mean time… hello travelocity.
JULES: Not so fast. We have the right to detain you until we resolve this.
GUS: Good thing this Notary kept good records because many Notaries on 123notary don’t think they need to keep a journal since their state doesn’t require it. And the ones in California who are required, don’t understand that each document and signature require their own journal entry. You can’t just put them all on the same line and expect that to be a legal record.
SHAWN: How do you know all this?
GUS: Because I used to be a commissioned Notary Public for the state of California, County of Santa Barbara — thank you very much for asking.
SHAWN: Oh cool, so can you notarize my stuffed penguin I’ve had since childhood?
GUS: You never had a stuffed penguin.
SHAWN : Did too, you just never saw it.
GUS: Where did you keep it?
LASSITER: Gentlemen, let’s be done with this inconsequential rambling and get to the task at hand. We need to take Tommy into custody and then question him. Meanwhile, we need to see Woody to see what the autopsy reveals.
WOODY: Hmmm, I’ve checked the body thoroughly and it seems that the Notary was administered a tiny amount of poison that would make him drowsy for just the amount of time it would take Tommy to borrow the Notary’s seal, stamp a document, return the seal and then leave. Tommy probably figured the Notary wouldn’t suspect a thing. HOWEVER, since the Notary had an allergy to some of the chemicals in the poison, the Notary died on the spot. Although the death was accidental, the poisoning was not.
LASSITER: Involuntary manslaughter. Tommy will get a much shorter sentence. A petty crime gone wrong.
SHAWN: Couldn’t the Notary die on an x, or on a dotted line instead of on the spot. Wouldn’t that be cooler.
GUS: Shawn! A notary can’t die on an x marks the spot. That’s ridiculous. He could die on a chair.
SHAWN: Or a gezebo. Or … wait a second, or a pagoda. But, that would probably only be a Japanese Notary.
GUS: Unless it was an American tourist Notary who was on vacation in a place where there are pagodas.
SHAWN: True, but would the American Notary carry their seal with them to Osaka to a pagoda and then just die there?
GUS: I don’t know. But, the Notary seal might drop out of his bag while he was bowing. When Americans bow, they bow too low. Japanese bow just a little bit — just the right amount.
SHAWN: How do you know so much about bowing?
GUS: I studied Hokkaido style karate — that is how I know. And if you studied that too, the knowledge would come from within you.
SHAWN: Right now the only thing coming from within me is an intense desire to eat a pineapple. Wanna share one?
LASSITER: You guys are both insane. But, we cracked the case and we can all go home now, except for Tommy who’s going to do some real time.
SHAWN: Yes, unless he also finds a way to backdate his prison sentence!
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