A booming voice spurt forth from the director’s
megaphone on a movie’s sound stage. Moments later, a
young woman clad in a red knit skirt and orange turtle
neck sweater emerged from in front of the camera, and
turned to face the voice. "You want to review that,
"Uhm, sure," the young actress replied,
walking towards a television monitor hooked to the back
of a Panavision movie camera.
"Well, what do you think, Ms. Cardellini?"
the man behind the camera queried, "do you want to
run it one more time or are you satisfied?"
The young actress gave the camera operator a friendly
frown. "There are no ‘fairly satisfieds’ in
this business, Chuck," she chided, though the
jocular tone in her voice and the smile on her face
implied that se was only joking. "Give me a break,
alright?" she laughed. "It’s a little hard
to do a scene with a co-star who is not there!" The
young actress gave a grin worth of her character’s
real-life counterpart, then added, "Besides, how
many people in Hollywood can put ‘starred alongside an
invisible dog’ on their filmographies?"
The camera operator stifled a laugh. "Just you,
Matthew, Sarah and Freddie," he answered, inciting
a return laugh from the young actress. "Now, about
that last scene…"
The young woman smiled. "I’m content, but
it’s really up to the director if he wants to run it
one more time." She glanced at the gray haired man
standing on the soundstage, silently awaiting his
"If it’s okay with you, Ms. Cardellini, then
I’m okay with it."
The actress nodded her response to the director.
"Thank you," she grinned. "Now, if it’s
alright with you, I do need to leave the set. Some
friends are coming in from out of town, and I promised
that I’d meet them at the airport."
"More like ‘professional consultants,’"
the director corrected, a wide grin crossing his bearded
face. "We’re ahead of schedule thus far, so I
don’t think it would really make much of a
difference." He held both hands up in an
authoritative gesture. "That’s it for
today," he announced, "we’ll resume filming
tomorrow morning." The murmur of relief arose from
the crew members as they began arranging their equipment
and preparing to leave the set for the day. The gray
haired, bearded director favored the young actress with
another glance. "Oh, and Linda, tell your friends
that they are more than welcome on this set. We look
forward to their personal input on this picture."
The young actress grinned. "I certainly
Linda took a final glance at her watch. Satisfied
that she had ample time, she detoured around the set
towards the large trailer that served as the crew’s
on-site production offices. Unhooking the clipboard that
hung by the door, she initialed beside her name,
replaced the board then retrieved her mail. Ordinarily,
she would have stopped to cull through the junk mail,
but today, she didn’t have time. Collecting all the
papers under her arm, she exited the office and cut
across the lot towards her trailer that she had called
"home" for the last two months. She slid the
key into the lock, and turned it; the aluminum and
plastic framed door, stiff from the ambient salty air,
refused to give. Linda fiddled with the lock, cursing
silently under her breath. Oh, of all times that I
have a schedule to meet! She shook the doorknob with
increasing vigor until it gave; the trailer door swung
inward, giving off a resonating ‘thwack as it slammed
into the aluminum wall inside the trailer. Thank
goodness that door is getting fixed this week, she
mumbled, tossing her mail on the table. The papers
scattered as they landed on the smooth surface,
revealing a small, letter-sized envelope that had been
hidden between the sheets of newsprint and colored
paper. What’s this? She turned the mysterious
envelope over, surveying it from all possible angles as
though it were some enchanted object. Linda chuckled at
her own silly behavior; it was as though her
character’s innate curiosity was slowly taking over
the young actress’s own personality. That’s the
price of being an actress, she thought, the
character becomes such a part of you that sometimes, you
become the character without even knowing it. She
glanced again at the envelope; there was no return
address, but the letter had a local postmark. Oh, why
not? I can spare a few moments. Slipping her finger
underneath the flap, she opened the envelope and
withdrew the paper inside.
The typed letter was printed on a half a sheet of
torn bond paper. Linda frowned, glancing briefly at the
I wanna kiss you in Paris
I wanna hold your hand in Rome…
I want to know you
Not like that…
I just wanna be your lover…
Kiss me, that’s right, kiss me...
I am not afraid of who you are...
It was certainly not the content of a typical fan
letter; if anything, it appeared to be little more that
the cut and pasted lyrics to a song. The writer had not
even bothered to sign their name. Pointless,
Linda assessed, tossing the letter and the envelope back
onto the table. No wonder most stars prefer to have a
secretary answer their fan mail. I wonder what motivates
people to write such things? She retrieved her purse
from her bed, then headed out, closing the door behind
her with one hand and gesturing to the waiting limousine
driver with the other.
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
"Boy, am I glad to get off that plane,"
grumbled Daphne. "Any longer in those cramped,
economy class seats and my feet would have been too
swollen to fit in my shoes!" She put her hand to
her head and smoothed down some stray, red hairs.
"And the static in that cabin just killed my
hair." Taking a pocket mirror and comb out of her
purse, she began performing "emergency
repairs" on herself, applying fresh powder,
lipstick and resetting her hair. The redhead admired her
reflection in the small mirror, satisfied with her
appearance. "Much better," she announced,
although her travelling companions could have cared
less. They were more focused on the two surly baggage
handlers manhandling a large kennel. "I believe
this Great Dane is yours," one of the handlers
grumbled, dropping the crate in front of Shaggy. A weak
whine came from inside the kennel as it hit the ground.
"Hey!" Shaggy yelped, appalled at the
porter’s handling of a live animal, "like, watch
"Looks like you’re not the only one who’s
happy to get off the plane, Daph," laughed Fred,
observing the debacle.
Another pathetic whine came from inside the kennel as
the lanky man opened the door and a bedraggled Scooby
emerged from what had been his prison for the last five
hours. "Roooooow," he moaned, putting a paw on
the center of his back and attempting a stretch.
"Like, you should have put him in a bigger
crate," admonished Shaggy, as he attempted to
unknot the Great Dane’s back muscles.
"That’s not our fault," the other handler
replied, "maybe you shouldn’t have tried to pass
him off as a human and sneak him on board inside the
Shaggy shrugged. "It worked last time," he
offered, remembering the gang’s trip to Spooky Island
at which time he had passed the Dane off as his
"Yeah, but that was a private, charter
airline," said Fred, collecting the last of
Daphne’s six suitcases from the carousel, "it’s
always harder when you’re dealing with a major
commercial carrier." He looked at his redheaded
girlfriend. "I thought you told us that you had
‘packed lightly’ for this trip—six suitcases, plus
your two carry-ons is hardly ‘packing light.’"
Daphne shrugged. "Well, I wanted to make sure
that I had appropriate clothing. It’s not every day
you are invited as the guest of honor to a working movie
set." The redhead gave a broad grin, and pushed a
lock of her hair aside. "Besides, if I look nice
enough, maybe someone will mistake me for a famous movie
Velma rolled her eyes. "Oh, brother, Daph,"
she chuckled, "as if we’re not already famous
Fred and Shaggy retrieved the last of the luggage
from the carousel. "You’ll have plenty of time to
bask in the glow of fame," commented Fred,
"but right now, we’d better hurry up. Linda’s
waiting for us."
* * * * * * * * * * * * * *
"Fred, Velma, Daphne, over here!" The young
actress stood outside the customs door, waving to
attract the gang’s attention. "It’s great to
see you guys again, thank you so much for coming."
"Thank you for inviting us," replied the
blond leader, "it’s always a pleasure to see you
Velma surveyed the young actress’s wardrobe.
"Nice outfit," she commented, referring to
Linda’s orange and red ensemble, which was nearly
identical to the bespectacled girl’s own. Indeed, when
the two women stood side by side, they looked like
identical twins who had been separated at birth.
"The resemblance is astounding,"
remarked Daphne, who, despite knowing Velma all her
life, had to look twice to distinguish her best friend
from the young actress.
"Yeah," chuckled Velma, "except for
one thing—Linda can see without her
‘glasses.’" Everyone laughed at the comment.
"Well, come on, you guys," Linda summoned,
"I’ve got a limo waiting outside and there are
lots of anxious people back at the set waiting to see
The four humans and the dog followed the young
actress to the limousine, unaware that their every move
was being watched from the shadows. Yes,
the unseen observer muttered, a lot of anxious people
are waiting to see you, especially me. Yes, dear Linda,
soon you will be mine…mine alone; and not even those
meddling kids will be able to keep me from you.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
"Woah, like this is great, Scoob!" declared
Shaggy as he surveyed the contents of the limousine’s
fully stocked mini-bar.
The young actress smiled. "We knew you were
coming, so we figured, rather than stocking the fridge
full of liquor, we would stock it full of cold cuts,
vegetable sticks, potato salad and chocolates. Oh, and I
almost forgot, Scooby Snacks!" Shaggy and
Scooby’s eyes widened and their jaws dropped at the
mention of their favorite foods. Linda laughed as she
watched the skinny man holding his hands in front of him
and panting like a dog begging for a biscuit.
"We’re done filming for today," she
continued, "so when we arrive, you guys can just
relax. Tomorrow, you’ll be on the set as on-site
consultants, watching us film, so we’d love any tips
or inspirations you could give us."
The Great Dane took a momentary break from eating.
"R’hat about re?" he asked, curious.
"You’ll get your chance too, Scooby,"
said Linda, patting the giant dog on his head,
"besides, it will be a welcome change to work with
the real Scooby, rather than that stuffed puppet
we’ve been using."
Shaggy squeezed in a chuckle between mouthfuls.
"Like they say, ‘there ain’t nothing like the
The other four humans laughed in response.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Under the light of a late-afternoon sun, a sort of
mass migration was taking place all across the province
of British Columbia. The strident beeping of car horns
and the low roar of diesel powered bus engines coalesced
in a bizarre duet above the streets of Vancouver. To the
sound of this cacophonous symphony, the city’s working
population made their way from their jobs, descending
from their buses en masse, then gradually dispersing,
heading for the sanctuary that they called home, and the
spouses, pets or families that would greet them upon
This particular individual who descended from the bus
would not have stood out from the throng of weary
workers, were it not for his worn, paint splattered
black jeans and his equally white washed shirt. Like his
fellow passengers on the bus, he was returning home from
his job, but his unusual garb distinguished him from the
throng of business-suited men and high-heeled women, a
tradesman rather than a white-collar office worker. He
walked about 3/4ths of a mile from where he got off the
bus, stopping in front of a 1920’s art deco styled
apartment building. Turning his keys in the lock, he
pushed open the heavy wrought iron gate that separated
the building’s entrance from the street; it clanged
shut behind him, sending an emphatic "you don’t
need to know what goes on behind these doors"
message to the passers-by on the street. He quickened
his pace as he mounted the three flights of wrought iron
stairs up to his apartment; he too had someone waiting
The walls of the one bedroom studio were plastered
with pictures of the same woman, a pretty brunette in
her mid to late twenties. What was striking was the
eclectic nature of the photographs and the disparity of
their display. Formally posed studio portraits,
beautifully framed and hung with care, shared the wall
space with badly composed, blurry snapshots and internet
screen captures, the latter attached to the wall with
nothing more than black, electrician’s tape. The
woman’s wardrobe varied from photo to photo, ranging
from expensive, designer satin ball gowns to baggy jeans
and equally baggy tops. But regardless of what she wore,
the young woman’s radiant beauty was obvious; she had
the look of a Hollywood starlet who had just finished
starring in her breakthrough motion picture.
The man deposited his toolbox in front of the door
and made his way to the computer desk. He sat down,
pausing for a moment to watch the mesmerizing images of
the screensaver flicker across the old IBM monitor,
alternating images of a bespectacled girl clad in an
orange turtle neck sweater and a scarlet mini-skirt. At
first glance, one would have been inclined to dismiss
the ordinary looking girl as yet another plain-Jane,
intelligent female with poor eyesight; but a second
glance would have revealed that the bespectacled girl,
whose image adorned the computer screen, shared
something in common with the beautiful young woman in
all the other pictures—they were one and the same.
The man stared at the screen for a few minutes, as
though admiring the bespectacled girl. When he grew
tired of this past time, he stood up from his chair,
leaving the computer desk to go to the kitchen. Opening
a refrigerator door adorned with pictures of the same
woman, he withdrew a can of beer, then returned to the
living area. He pushed a button on his remote control
and the television screen flickered to life, revealing
an ordinary looking teenage girl sporting an oversize
sweatshirt and a camouflage jacket; he stared at the
screen, transfixed by the girl. He could barely bring
himself to speak, but when he did, it was only one word;
it was a name. "Linda."
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
The chauffeur eased the large, black limousine into a
drop off area parallel to the sidewalk. Although the
filming session had ended earlier that day, the
surrounding street areas still remained cordoned off
with white sawhorse barricades. "The main
production area is a few blocks further down,"
Linda explained, "so we have to walk from
"That’s fine with us," Fred replied,
answering for the whole gang, "we’ve been sitting
down for over six hours so the walk will do us some
"You can leave your luggage in the car, and the
driver will take it to the hotel for you," she
continued. "Oh, and yes, when we booked the hotel,
we kept with the standard room arrangements."
Fred, Velma, Daphne and Shaggy’s jaws dropped
simultaneously; they all knew that their rooming
arrangements constituted one of biggest jokes
Linda grinned in response; as an actress, she was
well accustomed to reading facial expressions, and this
time was no exception. "Don’t worry, we booked
you in three separate rooms—Shaggy and Scooby will be
in one room, Fred, you’ll be by yourself and Daphne,
you and Velma will share a room..."
"...with two separate beds," Linda quickly
added when she saw the shocked look on the girls’
Thank you for that clarification, Velma thought
to herself; an equally relieved look played across the
The young actress motioned to the gang. "Now if
you’ll follow me, the others are waiting for you back
at the set."
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
"It’s really great to see you guys
again," Sarah commented, shaking hands with her
"It’s our pleasure," replied Daphne,
returning the gesture, "thank you for inviting
"And, after seeing what you guys were capable of
doing, we were more than happy to take you guys up on
that offer for a sequel," added Fred.
"Well, that’s the other reason we wanted you
guys here," the pepper-haired director explained.
"The writers decided to take a more nostalgic angle
on this film than the last. We wanted this film to
reflect your work as much as possible, but we also
wanted it done to your satisfaction, which is why we
asked you here as consultants."
Dark-haired Freddie added, "If anything, in that
first film, critics faulted us for deviating so much
from your personalities and from the nature of your
cases. Having you guys watch us would prevent any such
problems from occurring." He paused, then added
with a chuckle, "And besides, we’re all such big
admirers of you guys. It would be like a dream for us to
work along side you."
"Speaking of working," the director added,
"perhaps the four of you would like to take our
"R’ahem," Scooby coughed, cutting the
older man off in mid sentence. The Great Dane had been
hanging out with the gang for so long that sometimes, he
forgot that he was a dog and that the rest of the word
saw him as such.
The director corrected himself. "I beg your
pardon—our five guests on a tour of the
"Rat’s retter," Scooby added, contently.
"You guys up to a tour?" queried Matthew.
"Sure," replied Fred, "if that’s
alright with you, gang."
"I’m up to it," answered Velma.
"Me too," seconded Daphne.
"Like, you got us."
"Perfect," answered Linda. "Now, if
you’ll follow us, we’ll show you around the
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
"Since we’re filming on location,"
explained Linda, we try to use the city’s existing
building as much as possible; for instance, that
building you saw when you arrived at the set, we’re
using it as a museum building, but in reality, it is the
Vancouver Art Gallery."
"But even with the existing buildings,"
continued Freddie, "we still need to construct some
sets to suit our needs. This first one we’re going to
show you is your headquarters."
"Headquarters?" Daphne queried,
quizzically. "We never had anything like
that...well, not unless you count that treehouse from
when we were really little."
"We got that in our set too," said Sarah,
"and actually, perhaps ‘hangout’ is a better
description than ‘headquarters’ for this set."
Daphne and Velma looked at each other skeptically;
neither one was quite willing to accept the explanation
they had just heard.
"I admit, the writers took a few ‘artistic
liberties’ with this," Linda quickly interjected
when she saw the looks on the girls’ faces, "but
I still think you’ll what you see." She and the
other three actors stopped in front of a large
soundstage. "Here we are."
The room had a vintage 1970’s feel to it, with blue
walls and purple accent pillows on the furniture. An
interior staircase led up to a balcony, and the upper
level sported an outside terrace, complete with a
Fred whistled in astonishment as he surveyed the
high-tech, yet, nostalgic environment. "Nice,"
he mused, "classic, but at the same time,
"Wow," exclaimed Shaggy, "like, talk
about a pad!"
"Shaggy," scolded Velma, "you
haven’t even looked at the place."
"I know," the skinny man replied,
"like, I’m talking about the kitchen!"
Velma rolled her eyes. "Oh brother."
"Anyplace Shaggy hangs out would have to have a
nice kitchen," commented Matthew, "so, of
course, we made the kitchen an integral part of the
Shaggy and Scooby examined the kitchen area, combing
over every nook and cranny like expert building code
inspectors. "Like, maybe there’s something to
nosh on in the fridge," Shaggy wondered out loud.
"Reah, ridge." The Great Dane licked his
"Shall we check it out, old buddy?"
The dog gave an assenting nod of his brown head.
The skinny man opened the refrigerator door and
reached in, only to bump his hand against a wooden
support beam. "Huh?"
"Sorry about that," Matthew apologized,
"I should have warned you. Since this is a movie
set, we don’t construct any more than we have to. Most
of what you see is a facade, like that refrigerator.
What your hand hit is a rear support beam for the
backdrop of the set opposite this one." He motioned
to the gang to follow him to the other side of the set.
"This is the lab that is attached to the living
quarters," Matthew explained. Computers,
microscopes and other high-tech detection equipment
lined the walls of the orange-colored room.
"I admire the choice of paint color,"
commented Velma, not quite facetiously.
"Yeah," Shaggy chimed in, "like, if
you leaned against the wall, you’d blend right
in!" He punctuated his comment with his trademark
chuckle. Velma shot him a dirty look, but the smile on
her face gave away her true intent.
Linda glanced at her watch; it was already a quarter
past eight. "You guys ought to get some
sleep," the young actress suggested to the gang,
"you’ve got a busy day ahead--we start filming at
7:00 a.m. tomorrow, and the shuttle driver will be there
to pick you up at 6:55."
Daphne yawned. "Sleep doesn’t sound like such
a bad idea."
"So we’ll see you tomorrow, at seven,"
Velma called back, as she followed the gang to the
waiting shuttle van.
"Looking forward to it," Linda replied,
waving to the bespectacled girl.
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
The green LED display of the bedside alarm clock read
11:45 p.m. The one bedroom studio was quiet, save for
the barely audible lyrics to a song by Madonna emanating
from the radio’s speakers. Before retiring, the man
reached across his nightstand, picking up a framed
picture of the same woman. He gazed longingly at the
photograph and spoke, his voice colored with lust. Oh,
my darling Linda; he breathed, as though the picture
could speak back from its frame, whoever would have
thought that I would ever be as close to you as I am
now? And soon, very soon, I will have you all to myself.
He gave the photograph a quick kiss before turning
out the light and drifting off to sleep.
For you to justify my love.
The clock radio, on an automatic timer, relayed the
last words of the song before shutting down, leaving
only blackness and the sounds of the streets of British
Columbia’s largest city.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
A grating buzz sound cut through the near darkness of
the hotel room; Daphne Blake rolled over and pushed the
flashing wake-up call button on the telephone.
The noise abruptly stopped. Sitting up in bed, the
redhead yawned and stretched, then glanced at the clock
on the nightstand—5:30 a.m. Climbing out of bed,
Daphne turned toward the other bed where Velma lay,
still asleep, completely oblivious to the sound of the
alarm. The redhead approached her sleeping companion.
"Velma," she intoned, gently shaking the
The brunette responded with a low groan. "Mmm,
go away," she mumbled, drowsily.
"Velma," Daphne persisted, "it’s
time to get up; we have a busy day ahead of us."
"It’s too early," Velma groaned, rolling
over in bed.
"So you don’t mind if I take the bathroom
Daphne will surely take awhile in the bathroom,
Velma reasoned, drowsily, as she repositioned herself in
the bed, that leaves me with at least another
half-hour to sleep.
At 6:55, a shuttle van arrived at the hotel to take
the gang to the set.
"Like, too early for you, Velma?" asked
Shaggy, eyeing the bespectacled girl’s less than alert
Velma reached under her glasses and rubbed her eyes.
"I’m not a big fan of pre-dawn wake up
calls," she replied, he words muffled by the yawn
that interrupted them.
"Don’t worry gang," Fred announced,
seemingly more alert than were his friends, "pretty
soon, we’ll be busy that we won’t have time to think
about being tired."
"Wonderful," muttered Velma, her eyelids
growing heavier by the second. "Wake me when we get
to the set."
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
"Good morning, gang." Linda’s familiar
voice greeted them as they arrived at the set.
"You’re all ready to start your consulting, I
"Ready and willing," Fred answered.
Velma yawned, and rubbed her eyes. "But did it
have to be so early?"
Linda smiled. "Generally, we start filming first
thing in the morning. That way, we have the afternoon to
review the scenes and to discuss any potential
modifications that we might want to make."
"That was also why we wanted you to watch the
filming," added Sarah, "just in case you might
have any suggestions for us."
"We’ll leave the acting up to you guys,"
said Fred, "but if we see anything we’d like to
change, we’ll be sure to let you know." He winked
at his dark haired counterpart, who grimaced.
"Quiet on the set."
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
"And, in this scene, you are being chased by one
of the monsters, and the dog is running on your
heels," the director explained to Shaggy.
Shaggy recoiled in fear at the mention of the word
‘monster;’ it was one thing to get the chance to
watch a movie being filmed, it was another entirely to
relive the scariest moments of one’s life while
watching that movie being filmed. The skinny man covered
his eyes with both hands. Several minutes passed before
he worked up enough courage to peer through the V of his
thumb and index finger; his knees knocked at the thought
of what he might see, but he found himself even
more shocked by what he did not see. "Like
what about all the monsters and ghosts?" he
queried, "how come we don’t see them?" He
paused for a second before adding, under his breath,
"like, not that I need to see them, that
"They’ll be added during the post-production
phase as computer generated images," the director
explained, "as will Scooby-Doo."
The Great Dane’s ears perked at the sound of his
name; almost instinctively, he ventured in the direction
of the voice, not realizing that he was wandering right
onto an active set.
"CUT!! What is that dog doing on the set?"
Scooby stopped abruptly in his tracks. "Rog?"
he queried, confused, "r’where?"
Shaggy rushed forward to retrieve his pet, ready to
apologize to the director and cameraman, but before he
could, his on-screen counterpart cut him off.
"Let it go," Matthew said, waving his hand
at his side, "he makes a good prop anyway."
The goateed actor leaned over and scratched the Great
Dane behind his ears. "Don’t you, boy?"
Scooby closed his eyes and thumped his tail in response.
The camera operator frowned. "If you say
so," he huffed under his breath, "carry
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Sarah stood in the middle of the soundstage, frowning
as she reviewed the script. "Uh, Daphne, do you
mind if I ask you a few questions before we start
"Not at all," the redhead responded,
"Okay, so first of all, has Fred ever flirted
with anyone else in front of you?"
"Well, yeah," replied Daphne, recalling the
gang’s trip to Moonscar Island five years earlier.
"There was this dark haired girl named Lena whom he
was smitten with; and if he was trying to hide it, he
didn’t do a very good job." Daphne cringed as she
recalled the incident. "To make a long story short,
she turned out to be one of the villains, Fred felt
awful, but I soon helped him forget that."
Sarah nodded. "And how did it make you feel when
he was flirting with her?"
Daphne shrugged. "I...I don’t know. And if I
did know, I can’t exactly describe it."
"Well, did you yell at him, threaten him, not
speak to him, give him the ‘cold shoulder?’"
Daphne frowned. "I can’t quite say. I mean,
we’ve had our share of arguments, but what couple
Sarah seemed satisfied with the response. "Okay,
now, next question. Was he ever jealous if someone
flirted with you?"
Daphne racked her brain. "He’s had his
moments—like that time in Australia on the beach when
those lifeguards were looking at me—but he’s not
what you would call ‘possessive.’"
"And how did you react when you saw his
Daphne found herself rapidly losing patience with the
young actress. Sarah’s inquiries were becoming more
and more personal, and Daphne felt less like a
professional consultant to a movie star and more like a
teenager discussing a crush with fellow clique members.
"I didn’t really care," she added, a hint of
disdain creeping into her voice.
"So, would you say that you and Fred are in a
stable relationship, a rocky relationship or you are
just really good friends?"
Daphne could tolerate the questions no longer.
"Forgive me if I sound rude, Sarah," she
began, "but what do all these questions have to do
with your acting?"
"I’m just trying to get to the heart of my
character," the other woman explained, "trying
to figure out how to portray you in the best
"Fred and I have never really been jealous of
one another," Daphne explained, forcefully.
"We recognize that the we are both human, and that
neither one of us is infallible. Furthermore, yes, we are
a little more than just ‘good friends,’ but neither
one of us is quite ready to take the next step in our
relationship. Does that answer your questions?"
Sarah threw her hands up in defeat; she had been
warned that Daphne had quite a temper, but she never
expected to encounter the other girl’s full wrath.
Sheepishly, she approached the other woman and shrugged.
"First of all, I’m sorry if I offended you; I
didn’t mean to. Secondly, I didn’t write this--I
just read the lines written on the page the way the
director and producer want me to read them. Everyone
wants to know about your relationship with Fred, and the
scriptwriters felt that by giving Fred another romantic
interest, the public could learn something about how you
both feel for one another."
Daphne remained unconvinced.
"You will have a chance to meet with the writers
later in the consulting session," said Sarah,
hoping that her explanation would assuage the younger
redhead, "you can take this up with them."
Daphne expression slowly softened. Her lips turned
upward in a smile as she spoke her next words. "Oh
believe me, I will."
Both women started laughing as they imagined the
session that lay ahead.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
"Like, that on-set catering wasn’t so
bad," commented Shaggy, wiping his mouth with his
shirtsleeve as he followed the others towards a large
trailer on the set. "I just wish they could’ve
allowed us to go back for fourths."
"They would have," said Fred, "if you
hadn’t eaten everything they brought with them!"
The others looked at Shaggy in amazement. "Well,
I knew he had a pitless stomach," Matthew
commented, "but I’ve never seen anyone who
can eat like that and still be hungry!" He added,
aside, "I know I couldn’t."
The gang followed their on-screen counterparts into a
large trailer equipped with video monitors and play back
units. On the back wall was painted a huge mural
featuring all the "monsters" that the gang had
faced over the years.
A middle-aged man seated next to the director greeted
them as they entered. "Good afternoon."
Linda stepped forward. "Good afternoon,
Jim." She politely introduced the gang. "May I
present Fred Jones, Velma Dinkley, Daphne Blake and
Shaggy Rogers." The gang politely said hello.
"Wow, Mystery Inc. in person," the writer
announced, clearly in awe of the four people in front of
"R’ahem," came a raspy voice from under
Linda chuckled. "Oh, and Scooby-Doo, too."
The man placed a thick pile of papers in the center
of the conference table. "This is the script.
We’d love for you to look it over and we’d love your
input and comments as long as we don’t need to make
any changes to what is already there." The gang
looked at eachother, dubious looks on their faces.
"Now," the man began, "let’s start
with your character, Velma. One of the changes from the
last movie is that this time, you have a group of fans
who idolize and adore you—‘groupies’, if you will.
They follow you everywhere."
Velma sighed; she was well aware that she had
admirers, and found herself both flattered and
intimidated by it at the same time. One day, on a whim,
she had typed her own name into an internet search
engine and was surprised when it returned over 150
results, including a website someone had dedicated
entirely to her. And while she was flattered by the
devotion of her fans, secretly she wondered what
motivated people to do such things.
"We also wanted to explore the depths of your
personality," the other writer explained.
"Based on what we’ve observed from your
following, we believe that you have the potential to be
a lot more than just an intellectual tomboy."
Intellectual tomboy. Velma didn’t like the
sound of what she was hearing, but she listened out of
"We wanted to explore the idea of how you would
change yourself if you had the opportunity. Take a look
and tell us what you think."
Change herself? Velma wasn’t quite sure what to
make of the screenwriters’ comments. Her parents had
taught her to be a genuine person, and she had always
believed that her mannerisms and appearance reflected
her true self. Where did everybody get the idea that
wasn’t secure with her own identity? Velma watched the
scene play back on the on the large video monitor in
front of her. The scene showed a decidedly nerdy-looking
male in horn-rimmed glasses sitting on a couch in what
looked to be a living room. As the camera panned, a
sexy, brown-haired woman clothed from head to foot in
red leather came into view; the form-fitting outfit
greatly emphasized and over exaggerated every curve on
the woman’s body. Resting her hip against the wall,
she struck a seductive pose and turned her head towards
the man. "Who’s your daddy?" she purred,
Velma focussed intently on the woman in the scene; it
took her a few moments to recognize the woman in the
picture, and when she did, she gasped in exasperation.
She was looking at herself.
Vaulting out of her chair, she leaned over the table
and screamed, "What do you think you’ve
Linda pushed her chair back, startled by the young
girl’s sudden, fiery outburst. She slunk down a few
inches in her chair, a sheepish look crossing her face.
"Eh heh...I was...going to tell you about
"I don’t even own anything like that!!"
Linda held up her hands in a ‘stop’ position.
"This...this wasn’t my idea, mind you," she
stammered, trying to recover from what looked to turn
into major debacle, "it...it was what was written
in the script. I didn’t have much of a choice..."
Her voice rose in volume and pitch as she screamed,
"I look like I should be hanging out on street
corner, in Los Angeles, after midnight, soliciting
"Velma!" Daphne reprimanded, giving the
younger girl’s shoulders a forceful yank, "That
wasn’t very nice!"
Velma lowered her head in embarrassment.
"I’m...I’m sorry," she intoned, in a low
monotone. Slowly and hesitantly, she lifted her head to
look at the young actress. "It’s nothing against
you, Linda," Velma began, "it’s just that I
can’t imagine myself—yet alone, see
myself--going from my current look to looking like I
could try out for the role of ‘Catwoman’ in a Batman
Linda leaned across the table and took the younger
girl’s hands. "I know, Velma. You have a right to
be angry, and I respect that." The two women looked
at each other for a moment, then Linda added on a
lighter note, "If it makes you feel any better, I
hated that sequence, and every successive one in which I
had to wear that thing."
Slowly, Velma’s lips turned upward in a smile.
"I guess we can always hope that the editing staff
knows me better than the two men sitting at the head of
this table," she quipped. Linda stifled a laugh, as
did her three co-stars.
The two men in question looked at Linda and Velma,
clearly not amused with the two women’s comments.
"Well, if we’re all through with that, can we
move on now?"
Velma and Linda spoke in unison. "With
Velma rubbed her eyes. Despite the rush of adrenaline
from her earlier outburst, she just could not recover
from the early morning wake-up call. "If you guys
don’t mind," she yawned, "I’m going to
pass on the rest of this consulting session."
"Aw, come on, Velmster," dark-haired
Freddie quipped, "don’t you want to see any more
pictures of yourself in that sexy outfit?"
Ordinarily, she would have answered with a
quick-witted remark, but right now, she was too tired to
even think of one. "If you don’t mind," she
yawned, "I’ve seen enough for one day."
Linda flashed a smile at her bespectacled
counterpart. "That’s okay, Velma. In fact, if you
want to, you can go over to my trailer and take a
"You don’t mind?" Velma asked,
tentatively. She felt almost guilty about leaving early,
especially after throwing that tantrum and almost
insulting her hostess.
In response, Linda tossed Velma the keys to the
"I’ll meet you guys back here in about two
"You know how to get there?"
Velma nodded her assent. Linda helped the younger
girl to the door and kept an eye on her as she made her
way across the lot towards the trailer. Only after
seeing Velma walk across the lot did she rejoin the
others at the consulting session.
"Now, Daphne," the screenwriter began,
"about your depiction."
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
It took her a few moments, but a very enervated Velma
Dinkley finally found Linda’s trailer. She fiddled
with the key in the lock, then jiggled the door until it
gave on its hinges; it slammed behind her with a loud
rattle. Once inside, Velma walked to the back of the
trailer. Exhausted, she collapsed on the bed and within
minutes, had fallen asleep, not even bothering to remove
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
The aluminum doorknob on the inside of the trailer
slowly rotated as an unseen hand manipulated it from the
outside; with a resounding click, the bolt
retreated from its housing, and the door swung freely
once again. Not even the slightest creaking was heard as
the intruder surreptitiously pulled the door toward him
and took his first step into the trailer.
All was silent, save for the low whirring of the air
conditioning unit. The man paused by the door, his eyes
gravitating to the orange clad figure lying on the bed.
"Linda..." he breathed, taking a moment to
admire the sleeping woman from afar before closing in on
Like a silent hunter stalking his prey, he approached
her; he knew exactly where to step so that the
floorboards would not creak and reveal his presence.
Every footfall planned, every step calculated, he
silently moved until he was standing directly alongside
the bed. The man gave a lusty sigh, leaning over to look
at his prey from up close. Oh, God, she is beautiful,
he thought to himself, even in that horrible outfit.
And now, she belongs to me.
He shifted his body angle to get a better look at
her, caution momentarily falling by the wayside in the
presence of the pretty young actress. The sudden shift
in the man’s weight caused the trailer’s floorboards
to creak, the noise sounding louder than it actually
was, as it resonated off the walls of the silent
trailer. He breathed in, startled by the loudness of the
sound. Oh, crap! I‘ve ruined it.
The sound reached the sleeping girl’s ear, but she
ignored it, her only response a drowsy groan. She rolled
over on her side, her back now turned to the intruder.
The man exhaled, relieved. Thank goodness for
small favors. He couldn’t let her get away, not
when he was this close.
Glancing down at the floorboards he thought carefully
about where to place his foot. He stepped quietly, this
time not producing a single sound. From his new
position, he admired the young woman. "Oh,
Linda," he spoke in an audible whisper, "you
are so pretty, just as your name says you are."
Velma stirred again, half awake, hearing the words,
but not recognizing the voice. "Okay, I’ll be
right there," she murmured, drowsily, reaching
under her glasses to rub her eyes.
The man could hardly contain his impulses. She was
awake; soon, she would be standing right in front of him
Velma pulled herself to a sitting position and
stretched, her back still turned to the intruder.
"You know, Daphne," she continued, "you
don’t have to be so pushy, I’ll get up eventually,
I’m just not an early riser..."
Helping herself off the bed, she turned around,
slowly. "Daphne, I..."
She jumped back with a start, a jolt of adrenaline
rushing through her body, purging it of all sleepiness.
Gasping in horror, she drew back, realizing that the
person to whom she was speaking was not at all who she
thought it to be.
The man favored Velma with a lusty smile.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
The remaining members of Mystery Inc. glanced at each
other, decidedly exhausted from what seemed more like a
political debate than a consulting session. "Oh
man," sighed Shaggy, "like, I never thought
I’d see the day where I got into an argument about
myself with myself"
"I agree," chimed Daphne. She turned to her
actress counterpart. "Is all of movie making
Sarah shook her head. "Normally, no. What you
just saw was the conflict that always occurs between
artistic license and reality. I hear Erin Brockovich
reacted the same way when she first saw Julia Roberts’
depiction of her." The rest of the gang laughed at
"Speaking of short-haired brunettes," said
Fred, "it’s getting late. Maybe we ought to think
about retrieving Velma and heading back to the
"I find it odd that she is not already
here," commented Daphne, "I hope she’s
"Like, she’s probably just still asleep,"
suggested Shaggy, recalling the younger girl’s drowsy
state earlier that day, "she was pretty
tired this morning."
Daphne shook her head, contradicting the skinny
man’s suggestion. "I don’t know, guys. It’s
not like Velma to be late for anything; I hope she’s
"Why don’t I go check and on her,"
suggested Linda, "you guys can wait here just in
case she shows up."
Fred nodded, giving his assent to the idea.
The young actress made her way across the lot towards
the trailer. She walked up the ramp leading to the
entrance. Out of habit, she felt in her skirt pocket for
the keys to the trailer, and when she didn’t find the,
recalled that she had leant the keys to Velma earlier
that day. "Velma?" Linda called, knocking
loudly on the door to the trailer. "Velma, can you
come out here?"
There was no answer.
Linda knocked again; this time, the flimsy aluminum
door swung open under the pummeling of her fists.
That’s strange, she thought to herself, The
door is unlocked. She ventured cautiously inside.
"Velma?" she called again, "you in
The trailer was silent, save for the whirring drone
of the air conditioning. Linda took a cursory glance
around, but could find no trace of life.
An ominous thought crossed the young actress’s
mind as she recalled Daphne’s comment from moments
earlier. It’s not like her to be late...I hope
she’s alright. Linda swallowed a lump the size of
her fist. If anything happened to that girl, I’d
feel responsible, she thought, after all, it was
my idea to send her to the trailer. "Velma?"
she called again, this time a little louder. She glanced
at the bed; the pillows were moved and the top comforter
clearly showed the indentations where the other girl had
lay. Come on, Linda, think! she prodded herself, what
would Velma do in a situation like this? After all, you are
supposed to be her! The actress scrutinized the area
surrounding the bed, but could find nothing out of the
ordinary. A sudden wave of panic ran through her as she
realized the gravity of the situation. Darting out of
the trailer, she raced frantically across the lot to
where she had left the others. Her face was pale,
despite having just run across the set.
"Guys," she sputtered between breaths,
"Velma’s not there! She’s gone!"
The gang exchanged startled glances. "What did
you say?" Fred asked, incredulously.
"She’s gone," Linda panted, still trying
to catch her breath, "Velma’s not in the
trailer...I think she might have been kidnapped!"
The young actress’s words sent a shudder through the
blond man’s body.
"We’d better get over to that trailer,
gang," he blurted, "and fast. Lead the way,
The gang followed the young actress across the lot,
all the while listening to her explanation. "I
always lock the door when I leave the trailer,"
Linda explained, "but when I came to check on
Velma, I remembered that I had leant my keys to her, so
I banged on the door to get her attention, and that was
when the door swung open."
"Does anyone else, besides yourself, have a key
to this door?" asked Fred.
"Just the director and the maintenance
"Well, let’s all look around in the
trailer," Fred suggested, "perhaps whoever did
this left some kind of clues."
"It shouldn’t be too hard to find
anything," commented Daphne, "this trailer
can’t be much bigger than thirty by ten." Daphne,
Shaggy and Scooby dutifully split up, each searching
opposite ends of the trailer.
"Have you noticed anything strange going
on," queried Fred, "anything to suggest that
someone may have singled you out?"
Linda pondered the blond man’s question. "Not
that I can think of...except maybe those letters."
She pointed to the pile of paper and envelopes strewn on
"Can I see those?" asked Fred, picking up
the envelopes and perusing them. "They all seem to
have a local postmark," he observed.
"It is not uncommon for actors to receive mail
from local fans whenever a crew does a location
shoot," mentioned Linda, "in fact, on site
filmings tend to bring a lot of the fans out from their
shells, so to speak."
"Have any of the other cast members received
letters of this sort?"
"Not really. "Sarah, Matthew and Freddie
have gotten fan mail, but it’s nothing like what
I’ve been receiving. I get something almost every day,
and always the same thing—a letter with seemingly
meaningless words thrown together."
Linda handed Fred a random letter; he scanned its
contents, then read it aloud. "It’s
strange, I feel like I’ve known you before, And I want
to understand you more and more. When I’m with you, I
feel that magical child. Everything strange, everything
wild. I feel it. I feel your love. Your love’s coming
down like rain."
"What kind of a silly fan letter is that?"
asked Daphne, "It sounds more like the lyrics to a
cheesy love song, than a fan’s letter to a movie
The blond man furrowed his brow and scratched his
head. He perused the other letters in the same manner;
they all contained similarly cryptic poems. Slowly, the
blond man began formulating a theory. "These
letters don’t provide many clues," he mused
aloud, "but one thing is fast becoming clear to me:
Velma was not the intended target of this attack."
Linda, Shaggy and Daphne glanced at Fred, quizzical
looks on their faces. "What do you mean by
‘intended target?’" asked Linda.
The blond man’s expression grew strangely serious;
he looked the young actress directly in the eye as he as
he spoke his next words. "Whoever kidnapped Velma
took her because they mistook her for you."
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
The man made his way up the twisting, wrought iron
stair case to his third floor apartment, his quarry
slung over his shoulder like a bag of laundry. Velma
kicked and struggled against her captor’s grip,
attempting to scream, but finding her cries muffled by
the gag he had placed over her mouth. The man reached
behind his back and put a hand onto the young girl’s
flailing legs in an attempt to stem her struggles.
"Just calm down, sweetheart," he spoke, in a
soft, yet creepy voice, "I’m not going to hurt
you--I would never want to hurt you." He opened the
door to his apartment and carried Velma across the
threshold like a groom carrying his new bride. He
plopped the young girl down in a chair in the living
area and removed the gag from her mouth. "Welcome,
Linda, to your new home. Isn’t it so much better than
that tin can trailer you’ve been living in?"
Free of the gag, Velma took her first deep breath
since her capture. Her heart pounded and her stomach
churned; not even one of the villains she had faced had
instilled as much fear into her as did this man.
Summoning all of her courage, she attempted to reason
with her captor. "I...I ‘m sorry, sir," she
stammered, her nervousness showing in her
discombobulated speech, "b...but I believe you’ve
mistaken me for someone else. My name is Velma Dinkley,
not Linda Cardellini."
The man put a finger to his lips and shushed her,
shaking a finger from his other hand in front of
Velma’s glasses, like a music instructor scolding an
errant prodigy. "No, no, no, no, no," he
blurted, his voice oozing sensual sweetness,
"don’t speak. Don’t speak, just listen. You and
I are going to start a new life together. We will leave
this country, move to Europe and start a family. You,
Linda, will make a wonderful mother for my children, and
a wonderful wife...for me."
"Eeeyick," Velma cringed under her breath,
wrinkling her face and sticking out her tongue in
disgust; no sooner had she done that than she wished she
hadn’t. She only hoped that her captor had not
witnessed her reaction.
He had, and the man’s voice grew deeper and
somewhat threatening in response to her gesture.
"Linda, now that you and I are together, my wildest
wishes have been fulfilled. You are mine, and I only
hope that now, you will fulfill my wildest
The man’s choice of words sent a shudder through
the young girl’s body. Who knew what bizarre fantasies
this man had concocted in his mind? Velma wasn’t so
sure she wanted to know, and the more she heard from
this man, the more she wanted to escape his clutches.
She attempted to reason with him again. "I told
you, I’m not Linda Cardellini." The insistence in
her voice was clear. "My name is Velma Dinkley, and
The man shushed her once again, this time, putting
his finger under her chin and gently caressing it. He
gave a deep, lusty sigh as his rough hands touched her
smooth skin. "You’re a wonderful actress,
Linda," he commented, "and you play your part
well. But forget who you were when you walked off that
set. Forget who the script says you are supposed to be.
Right now, my pretty one, you are Linda Edna Cardellini,
and you belong to me."
Velma sighed in resignation, but not before picking
up the clue the man had inadvertently given her. She
knew that if she had any hope of escaping her bondage,
she had to give in to the stranger’s demands.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
"So you think that the perpetrator kidnapped
Velma because he mistook her for Linda Cardellini?"
The director, producer and two writers looked at the
Fred nodded in response.
"This is a closed set," the director
asserted, "no one is allowed onto the filming site
without prior written permission from the studio or one
of the producers. If anyone had been lurking around, we
would have notified security immediately."
"That seems to bolster my theory that this may
have been an inside job," Fred replied.
"Whoever did this knew exactly where Linda’s
trailer was and when she would be there. Apparently,
they weren’t expecting her to be in a consulting
session at the time."
Linda still looked puzzled. "But why me? I can
understand someone targeting Sarah or Freddie, given
their super star status, but me? Most people don’t
even know who I am!"
"Maybe that’s why they thought they could get
away with it," answered Fred.
"Like, don’t you think we ought to call the
police," suggested Shaggy, "kidnappings
aren’t exactly our area of expertise."
The director shook his head. "No. If the police
find out that something has gone afoul on the set, they
will order production to stop while they conduct an
investigation. Every day that we are not working costs
the studio millions of dollars and puts us behind on our
production schedule. We literally cannot afford to stop
production—even for a day."
Fred shrugged. Well, gang, looks like we’ve got
another mystery on our hands, one in which we are
"But, like, what about Velma?" objected
Shaggy, "we’ve never exactly tried to solve a
mystery without her."
Fred glanced at the young actress. "Linda, can
you give us any help?"
"I’m only an actress," she replied,
"I just read the lines and act the part. Just
because I play a detective doesn’t mean that I can be
one in real life."
"Well, now’s your chance to do some real
introspection into your character," commented Fred,
only half facetiously, "because right now, you’re
the only Velma we’ve got!"
The comment caught the young actress completely off
guard, and she looked at her co-stars, hoping for an
answer. "Sarah? Matthew? Freddie? Any ideas?"
Sarah’s jaw dropped in shock. "Linda, you just
got the opportunity of a lifetime! You’ve just been
offered the chance to become the sixth member of Mystery
Inc. How can you turn something like that down?"
"Yeah," seconded Freddie. "All of us
have admired these guys since our childhood, and there
isn’t one of us who wouldn’t kill for an opportunity
like this! You’d be crazy not to accept."
Linda hesitated for a moment, then added, "Well,
jinkies, count me in."
The others cheered her acceptance of the offer.
"There isn’t much more we can do
tonight," the director commented, observing the
setting sun, "Linda, why don’t you accompany the
kids back to their hotel; we’ll discuss this further
in the morning. The rest of you, be on your guard. If
someone would go after an unknown like Linda, who knows
what they might try to do to one of you?"
Sarah, Matthew and Freddie nodded in affirmation.
"So it’s agreed," announced Fred.
"Linda will go with us back to the hotel, and
we’ll reconvene here tomorrow morning."
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Daphne yawned, stretching her arms as she and the
others approached the set.
"’Morning, Sleeping Beauty," Sarah
quipped, jokingly. Daphne wasn’t exactly in the mood
to take a joke, but she was too tired to answer back.
"Poor Daphne didn’t sleep at all last
night," commented Linda, as though explaining the
other girl’s seemingly rude behavior, "she was so
worried about her friend."
"As anyone would be," Matthew added.
"So, Fred," he asked, "what’s the
The question caught the blond man off guard; in
truth, he hadn’t even thought of one yet!
"Uh, well, first of all, the cast and crew should
probably carry on as usual—just to keep suspicion of
the kidnapping to a minimum. Maybe you guys could work
on some of the other scenes without Linda for
awhile." Fred racked his brain, trying to get his
planning to keep up with his talking. "Uh, Shaggy,
you and Scooby check around the set--see if maybe this
person has Velma held hostage somewhere."
"Right," Shaggy agreed.
"And, uh, Linda, you come with us and help us
look around the set for clues." The blond man gave
an inaudible sigh, relieved that he had gotten through
his plan without saying anything foolish. Regaining his
confidence, he turned to the others. "Everybody
game?" he asked with his usual, confident
The gang answered unanimously; Freddie, Matthew and
Sarah gave the blond man a ‘thumbs up’ sign,
signaling their agreement.
"Well then," Fred continued, "as I
always say at the beginning of a mystery, ‘Let’s
split up, gang!’"
The teams dutifully separated, each taking to their
Linda walked to the administration trailer to pick up
her mail, accompanied by Fred and Daphne. "You
know, Linda, as long as you stay in your costume, we may
be at an advantage," commented Fred, gesturing to
the actress’s turtleneck and skirt ensemble.
"Oh?" she asked, curious.
"Sure. As long as you are dressed like that, and
staying close to us, whoever targeted Velma instead of
you, will think that they still have you—which of
course, they don’t."
Linda stifled a laugh; Fred’s explanation somehow
made sense, but at the same time, made no sense at all.
"I never thought of it that way," she said,
reaching to retrieve her mail from the designated slot;
a small, letter-size envelope fell out from among the
pile of newsletters and papers. She shook her head in
disgust. Not again, she muttered to herself as
she handed the envelope to Fred.
Ripping it open, he read the note inside.
Give it up,
Do as I say.
Give it up.
Let me have my way.
I know you want me,
I’m not gonna hurt you,
Just close your eyes.
Put your hands all over my body.
All over me.
Daphne cringed in disgust as she listened to Fred
reading the letter. "I don’t know who this guy
is," she began, "but he sounds a
little...perverted, to send something like that to
someone he doesn’t even know!" A shudder ran
through her body as she realized that this same man who
had sent the cryptic letter was holding her best friend
"The contents don’t seem to make any
sense," observed Fred, "but this was
definitely written by the same person who wrote those
other letters—the pattern is the same—no salutation,
no concrete body, just a series of cryptic words."
Daphne frowned. The words that Fred had read sounded
somehow familiar to her, but she couldn’t quite place
"So where do we begin?" asked Daphne,
"there’s a lot of ground to cover on this
"I suggest we backtrack to the set where Linda
filmed her last scene," commented Fred. "We
might be able to find something there."
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
The Great Dane kept his nose to the ground, rarely
lifting his head as he walked around the set. He knew it
was his job to look for Velma, but with so many things
to investigate, and so many new scents to be sniffed, it
was hard to keep his mind on his work. Scooby sniffed
around a pile of barrels, then suddenly became
uncharacteristically submissive, backing away from the
barrels, whining, with his tail tucked between his legs.
"Like, what’s the matter, old buddy?"
Shaggy asked, worriedly.
Scooby whined, pointing with his paw in the direction
where he had last stood. "Rog head on a rick."
"Dog head on a stick?" repeated Shaggy, not
quite understanding the Dane’s complaint.
Dark haired Freddie walked over a few seconds later,
then began laughing. "Oh, that!" the young
actor chortled. "That’s our Scooby stand in. We
use him as a place holder when we need to make eye
contact with the dog." He picked up the prop and
dangled it in front of the Great Dane. "Say
Scooby sniffed the accessory, not quite sure what to
make of it. After satisfactorally sizing up the
"dog," the real Scooby raised his lip in a
snarl, challenging his non-existent adversary to a dog
The actor held the prop at arm’s length, walking
around in a circle. "Come on, come on, get him, get
him," the actor prompted, playfully engaging the
live dog in a bizarre game; Scooby followed him,
growling and barking, chasing his phony aggressor. The
Great Dane sank his teeth into the phony dog’s neck,
pretending to growl and attack.
"Hey! Watch it you clowns, that’s studio
Scooby looked up to see a stern looking property man
looming above him. The Great Dane gulped. "R’hee
hee hee hee hee hee hee," he chuckled, waving a paw
at the stern worker before releasing his death grip on
the accessory; it was half chewed and covered in dog
"Oh, lighten up," Freddie chided the
property master, "it’s not like you guys can’t
make us another one." He turned to the live dog and
patted him on the head. "Besides, as long as have
the real thing here, we won’t be needing that fake one
The prop man gave the actor and the dog a dirty look
before returning to his job. "Huh," he huffed,
"if you say so."
"Like, that guy seemed pretty steamed about
something," observed Shaggy, "I’d hate to
come face to face with him on a bad day."
"The movie business operates on a very strict
hierarchy," explained Freddie, "with the top
level consisting of the actors and the immediate
production staff. Right below us would be the scene
artists and costume designers and the bottom pretty much
consists of the construction staff. On any given movie,
the entire staff can consist of over 1500 people. Most
of the construction workers are taken from the local job
force, while some of the other people work for the
studio itself. In this hierarchy, it’s not uncommon
for people to develop superiority or inferiority
complexes." Freddie dug into his back pocket.
"Oh, by the way, you dropped this yesterday on the
set tour." He handed Shaggy a well-worn copy of an
album liner from a CD.
The skinny man frowned as he looked at the album
liner. "Like, I’m not really the ‘Madonna’
"You and me both."
"Doesn’t belong to one of the girls?"
Dark haired Freddie frowned. "We had a group of
teenagers here a few days ago as extras. One of them
probably dropped it." He shrugged it off, thinking
nothing of it.
Curious, Shaggy flipped through the album liner.
"Like that’s weird," he observed, "one
of the pages has the words cut out of it." Thinking
nothing more of it, he stuffed the CD liner into his
back pocket. "Like, come on, Scoob. Let’s keep
looking for Velma."
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Velma Dinkley rolled over in the bed, yawning and
stretching as she awoke. Oh, what a nightmare,
she thought to herself, as she rubbed the sleep from her
eyes. I dreamt someone mistook me for Linda,
kidnapped me and held me hostage. How silly. She
reached for her glasses on the corner nightstand and put
them on. As the surroundings came into focus, she
realized in horror that this was no dream; she was
living her nightmare. She could hear her captor’s
voice on the other side of the apartment; it grew louder
as he approached the bedroom. Frightened, Velma grabbed
the comforter and pulled it up against her chest.
"Good morning, Linda, my pretty one." The
man’s voice oozed with a mixture of suaveness and
lust, his line of sight gravitating towards he young
Velma drew back. Her face projected a mask of
impassivity, but inside, she was truly terrified. This
man is not emotionally stable, she concluded, and
the thought scared her more than any of the villains she
had faced ever did.
"Don’t be frightened, Linda. I’m not going
to hurt you. I only want the best for my dearest
Velma cringed. At her stage in life, she couldn’t
imagine being anybody’s spouse, yet alone someone who
was thirty years her senior. "Y...your wife?"
The man nodded. "Marry me, Linda. Together we
will leave this country. Settle in Europe. Buy a
beautiful house in the countryside where you will become
the mother of my children and we will raise a
Velma listened intently, but could no longer mask her
apprehension. She glanced at the floor in an attempt to
avoid eye contact with her captor.
"I see you are frightened, child," he
intoned, coming closer to her, "you needn’t be.
You have nothing to lose, Linda, and everything to
The man headed back to the kitchen and withdrew a
bottle of wine from the refrigerator; he placed it in
the center of the table. "Linda, now that you and I
are together, this calls for an exquisite
Velma resisted. "I told you sir, I am not who
you think I am. My name is Velma Dinkley, I..."
Returning to the bedroom, the man sidled up to her
and put a bony finger under her chin. "That
horrible outfit just doesn’t do justice to your
beauty," he began, "but no matter, I have
something special for you, something especially to
celebrate our union." He walked to the closet and
withdrew a beautiful, but low-cut peach colored lace
dress. Velma cringed as she saw the near see-through
"I long to see you in this, my pretty one,"
he said, tossing her the dress. "Come. I will give
you time to change, then meet me in the kitchen where we
shall celebrate together." The man closed the
bedroom door behind him, leaving Velma by herself. She
sank down on the top of the bed with a sigh, her gaze
fixed at the dress she held folded over her arms. She
wanted nothing to do with this man; all she wanted was
to get of this horrible predicament and see her friends
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Fred, Linda and Daphne stood on the set designed as
Mystery Inc.’s headquarters. "This was where I
filmed my last scene," explained Linda, "just
before going to the consulting session."
"That’s as good a place to start as any,"
offered Fred, "so let’s spread out and look for
"It would help if we knew what we were looking
for," Daphne began, "there is so much excess
paper lying around here that even the garbage could be a
clue." As she bent over to pick up something she
spotted, she was bumped unceremoniously from behind.
Ready to give the offender a good tongue lashing, she
jerked to attention, spun around and got quite a shock
at what she saw. "Seth!" she shrieked.
"Jeepers, what a...surprise! I wasn’t expecting
to see you here!"
The redhead’s eye’s sparkled with delight, which
did not go unnoticed to Fred. He frowned at his
partner’s outburst. "Well Daph, I see we are
engaging in ‘professional consulting.’"
Daphne shot him a dirty look. "I might say the
same thing about your reaction to the lovely Miss
Silverstone earlier today." The blond man grew
Regaining her composure, Daphne continued,
"Well, while I have you here, can you tell us if
you noticed anything suspicious or unusual around this
set yesterday at approximately 5:00 in the
"I didn’t see anything particular," the
young man replied, "though you might want to ask
the construction workers. They were here most of the day
yesterday and they spend the better part of their days
here. If anything strange goes on, they would notice
it." He paused, then added, "By the way, what are
"Kidnapping on the set," explained Fred.
The young man looked at Fred quizzically.
"That’s not she?" he asked, pointing to
"Uh, no," replied Fred, rolling his eyes
and shaking his head. "Don’t ask. It’s a long
story, and if I told it to you, it would leave you in
* * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Sawdust flew as the sound of a buzz saw cutting
through wood echoed across the empty soundstage as
rhythmic, alternating poundings of a hammer resonated
off the facades. Crawling on their hands and knees, a
pair of set electricians and their assistant carefully
wired a circuit and taped the thick cables to the floor
with black electrician’s tape. Daphne cringed as she
watched the set construction, knowing somehow that her
appearance would set off the inevitable cat calls and
whistles from the workers.
"Excuse me, sir?" she began, approaching
one of the carpenters.
He lifted his eye guard to look at her. Daphne heard
him mutter something under his breath with a smile; she
put her hands up defiantly and scowled, indicating she
was not receptive to the man’s flirting. He put down
his saw. "Can I help you, miss?"
Daphne proceeded with her question. "Did you
happen to notice anything strange going on here or on
the adjacent set at about 5:00 in the afternoon
The man put a thumb to his chin. "Gee, uh, I
don’t know." He turned to his colleagues.
"Did we see anything strange going on here
yesterday at about 5:00, Joe?" His sarcasm did no
go undetected to Daphne.
"Yeah, I did see something unusual,
Vince," a coworker replied. "We were
all working instead of staring at Sarah while she
worked!" The other workers erupted in laughter.
Daphne sighed. These people weren’t going to be an
"No, seriously. We didn’t see anything. We
were all too busy readying this set for the next shoot,
and it seems that we have to work even harder today
because we are short one person."
"Yeah. One guy didn’t come in to work this
morning, so we get to pick up his slack. But personally,
I think everyone is rather glad that he didn’t show up
today. We don’t have to listen to that annoying
Madonna crap all day long."
"Madonna?" asked Daphne. She found it odd
that a grown man would listen to pop music better suited
to a teenager.
"Yeah. Most of us listen to music while we
work—helps us pass the time—but we tend to prefer
country music or arena rock. Not this guy. He seems to
have this strange fascination with the same type of
music my daughter listens to. And he doesn’t play it
softly either—he blasts it. Frankly, it’s beginning
to get on everyone’s nerves."
"Yeah, tell me about it," echoed one of the
electricians, momentarily looking up from the floor.
"It’s a little hard to concentrate on wiring a
delicate circuit when you have Madonna shrieking ‘Like
a Virgin’ in the background."
"Personally, I think he likes her for more than
just her music; I think he’s obsessed with her
The other workers erupted in laughter; Daphne frowned
in disgust. "Thanks," she muttered, putting
her hand up and turning her back. But no thanks.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Linda shuffled around neighboring set, keeping her
eyes open for anything unusual. Daphne was right,
she muttered to herself, it’s almost impossible to
tell the clues from the garbage around here! She
kicked a few loose papers on the floor. It would help
if I knew what I was looking for, she mused, and
it would help if I had Velma’s insight and clue
tracking ability. Frustrated, she gave an audible
sigh that did not go unnoticed to the blond man.
"You okay, Linda?"
"Yeah. A bit frustrated with this clue search,
though. I’m sorry I’m not being much help; right
now, I feel like I’m more of a hindrance. It’s one
thing when someone outlines everything for you in a
script," she explained, "it’s another thing
entirely to find these things on your own."
Fred looked at her, sympathetically. "Well,
let’s keep looking. If there’s anything to be found,
it should be found here."
"Yeah, but where?"
"Someplace so obvious that no one would think to
Linda snapped her fingers in recognition. "The
lab set!" She rushed around the corner of the
facade and came up on the other side, making a bee-line
for the work station and the computer carrell. Shuffling
through the papers and props, she found something.
Racing back around to the opposite side, she tapped Fred
on the shoulder. "I think I might have found what
we are looking for," she announced.
"Great! So let’s regroup and meet back at the
admin trailer. You go get Sarah, Matthew and Freddie;
I’ll go find the gang."
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
The man had set up a candlelight dinner in the
kitchen, doing his best to set a romantic ambiance in
such a disorderly place. Soft, sexy music played in the
background providing the backdrop. At almost the same
time, Velma emerged hesitantly from the bedroom, wearing
the peach colored gown the man had purchased for her. He
favored the young girl with a warm smile.
"Gosh, you look beautiful," he breathed;
the lust in his voice was almost tangible. "You are
just as beautiful as your name says you are."
Velma paused on the threshold of the living room and
the kitchen, debating whether or not to set foot into
the next room. It was as though the very act of entering
the room would lend credence to her submission.
The man himself breathed lustily, watching the
rhythmic rising and falling of the young girls chest as
she nervously breathed. "Well, Linda," he
invited, "come on it. Please. The table is all
set." He gestured to the table like a waiter in a
five star restaurant. A plate of canned spaghetti graced
the tabletop, set with plastic silverware on melmac
plates. "It isn’t much, I know, but I hope that
you will share inthe dinner experience with me."
Velma’s stomach growled. She was a little
hungry, not having eaten since the previous night, but
the nervousness she felt in her stomach made her wonder
if she could even eat. Hesitantly, Velma stepped
"I knew you’d come around," the man said,
as he pulled out the chair from the table and helped the
young girl into it. He pushed the chair back into the
table and took his seat on the opposite side. Reaching
down beside his chair, he revealed a bottle of cheap,
table wine and proceeded to uncork it with a Swiss army
Velma gulped when she saw the wine. She didn’t have
a high tolerance for alcohol, and in her nervous state
and on an empty stomach, her tolerance would be probably
even lower than usual. I can’t drink it, she
told herself, reminding herself that if she got
drunk—even the slightest bit—there would be no
telling what the man could do to her.
He poured the wine into her glass before filling his
own. "A toast," he announced, "to us. To
our love. To our future. May our future be filled with
Velma hesitantly lifted the glass, but said nothing.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
"I take it you guys found something important if
you pulled us in the middle of a scene," said
Fred nodded, seriously. "If I’m right, we may
have found the one clue that could crack this case wide
Linda held up the prop that she had retrieved from
the lab set.
"That’s it?" exclaimed Sarah,
exasperated. "A CD? That’s your ‘big
"Well, we’re not too sure yet," Fred
corrected, "but if we are right, then it is the
break we’ve been looking for."
Sarah was still skeptical.
"There’s only one way to find out," said
Fred, as he placed the disc into the player and pressed
the ‘play’ button. The others awaited anxiously, the
silence grating on their nerves. After a few seconds, a
sound came from the speakers. The disc started up right
in the middle of a song.
And I feel, like I just got home and I feel...
And I feel, like I just got home and I feel...
Quicker than a ray of light she’s flying.
Daphne recognized the music immediately. "It’s
Sarah frowned, still unsure of the significance of
the ‘big clue.’ "Okay, so it’s a CD with
Madonna songs on it. That still doesn’t say
"There’s something we’re missing, here,
gang," Fred intoned. "Unfortunately, I can’t
figure out what it is. That was always Velma’s
department." Sarah, Matthew, Freddie and the gang
looked straight at Linda.
"Why are you all looking at me?" she asked.
"Because you’re the only Velma we’ve
got," commented Matthew.
Linda shrugged. "I wish I could be of more help,
Daphne cut her off in mid sentence. "Can I see
those fan letters again, Linda?"
"Sure," Linda replied, dutifully handing
the stack to Daphne.
"Like, what are you doing, Daph?" Shaggy
"Just checking out a hunch." She pressed
the ‘play’ button on the CD player, then
fast-forwarded to the next song, reading the contents of
the letter as she listened to the disc. She pressed the
double triangle button again and picked up a second
letter. "It’s just as I suspected," she
"Would you like to enlighten us, Daphne?"
"Sure. Remember yesterday how I remarked that
these letters sounded more like song lyrics rather than
a fan’s letter?"
Fred, Shaggy and Linda nodded.
"Well, that’s because the are song
lyrics! Every single one of these letters contains the
lyrics to a song by Madonna. And every single letter has
a corresponding song on that CD!"
Linda’s face brightened. "Now quite every
song, Daphne. You’ll notice the lyrics in the very
first letter I received do not correspond to any given
song on the CD. So, whoever wrote this letter needed to
obtain the lyrics from somewhere else—which they
did." She pointed to the album liner that Shaggy
had dumped on the table and opened it to the missing
page. "The lyrics in this letter are taken directly
from the album liner pasted onto the paper."
"Way to go, Linda!" Fred praised.
"You’re becoming more like Velma every
The young actress smiled. "Aw, you’re just
saying that for one reason—because its true."
The gang laughed, recognizing their friend’s famous
"So, what’s the plan this time, Fred?"
Matthew asked again, listening intently.
"We’ll reconvene here in the morning. By then,
I will have had time to think of a trap."
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
The man finished his third glass of wine, having
drank Velma’s as well. Now teetering on the verge of
intoxication, he reached into his jacket pocket and
pulled out a small, burgendy velvet box. "And I
have something even more special for you than this
dinner," he spoke, his speech slightly slurred. He
presented the box to Velma. "Open it."
The girl didn’t have to pen the box to know what
was inside it. With her refusal, the man opened the lid
himself, revealing a beautiful, sparkling diamond ring.
Velma’s jaw dropped.
"’I want to marry you, Linda," the man
intoned, dropping to his knees in a formal proposal.
"Marry me, and together we will leave this country.
Move to Europe and buy a house in the countryside."
Velma’s only response was a series of startled
Backing his chair away from the table, the man walked
towards Velma. "Marry me," he breathed, his
voice colored with lust and smelling of cheap wine.
"We will move to Europe, raise a family. You will
be the mother of my children."
The more she heard, the less she liked. And although
she knew that much of the proposal was influenced by the
alcohol, she wasn’t sure whether the man was
consciously aware of his words and their implications.
Speech still did not come to Velma, but she knew she had
to say something. Her survival depended upon it.
Summoning her strength, composure and courage, she
blurted, "Please, sir. Don’t hurt me. "I’m
not who you think I am. Please sir. Don’t hurt
me." She dropped to the floor and started crying.
For the first time in her life, she was truly scared for
Her outburst seemed to touch her captor, and for a
moment, he backed off his marriage proposal. With a
tinge of pity, he reached down, scooped her off the
floor and carried her to the bedroom. "Come on,
Linda," he whispered, "Let’s go to
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Velma awoke as the rays of the late morning sun shone
through the heavy wooden shutters into the room. She had
awakened a few hours earlier, but had decided to feign
sleep in an effort to fool her captor. She reached over
to the nightstand to retrieve her glasses and found them
sitting on top of a note that had not been there the
night before. A single long-stemmed red rose lay
alongside the spectacles. Replacing her glasses, Velma
read the note. "Linda, my love. I cannot bear to
be away from you, but my work is such that I must go or
arouse suspicion that you and I are together. I offer
you this single rose to remember me by. May you treasure
it until we may be reunited." Velma frowned in
disgust at the letter’s contents. Ordinarily, she
would have been thrilled to see someone that devoted to
her, but at this time, she found it particularly
repulsive, especially when she thought about the
circumstances under which it had been written.
Cautiously, Velma stepped out of the bed, making sure
that her captor had truly left for work as the note
said. When she was satisfied that she was alone in the
apartment, she began searching for a way out. She
frowned as she looked at her attire—a sheer, peach
colored negligée with a lace overlay. Jinkies,
she thought to herself, I’d much rather wear that
leather cat suit than this silly thing! At least it was
red—I can’t stand peach! She chuckled at the
‘cat suit’ comment, remembering her outburst from
the previous day. She looked around the room, hoping
that the man had simply left her skirt in the closet or
on a piece of furniture. No such luck, she sighed
to herself. Guess I’m stuck looking like a model
for the MENSA edition of the "Victoria’s
Secret" catalog! Daphne would be jealous. Velma
chuckled as she imagined her best friend’s reaction to
the comment. Jut the thought of her friends was enough
to snap her from her depressed state, and with renewed
vigor, she began her search for a way out of her prison.
These old buildings always had a fire escape ladder
outside the window, she mused to herself. Squinting
through the wooden slats, she could faintly discern what
looked like the ladder. If it was the ladder, she could
easily escape; but if it wasn’t, what else could she
do? She knew that she had no choice. Improvising a crow
bar from a piece of piping lying on the floor, she
forced the window open and squeezed out, taking care not
to tear the delicate lace nightgown. Positioning her
bare feet on the iron ladder, she cautiously made her
way to freedom, one rung at a time. As her foot felt the
final rung, she realized that there was a good seven
feet of empty space between herself and the sidewalk.
Summoning her courage, she shut her eyes and jumped from
the fire escape to the street level.
The force of the impact sent a tremor through her
body, momentarily paralyzing her. Shaking herself off,
she quickly regained her footing and hurried to the
corner to hail a taxi.
"Where to, miss?"
"The Vancouver Art Gallery. And hurry."
The driver adjusted his meter and sped off. Every so
often, he glanced in his rearview mirror at his young
passenger, wondering silently to himself what could
possess a refined young woman as she walk the streets of
Vancouver in a lace negligee in the middle of the day.
He frowned, racking his brain, trying to figure out
where he had seen his young passenger before.
"Well, what do you know!" he blurted out in a
burst of recognition, "you’re that actress from
that ‘Scooby-Doo’ movie! Oh, my goodness, my
daughter just loved that film--she saw it seven times in
the theater and has watched it countless times at
Velma stifled a sigh. Once again, she had been
mistaken for her onscreen counterpart, but she went
along with the charade. "Oh, she did, huh?"
"Yeah," the driver answered. He handed
Velma a copy of a CD he had sitting on the front
passenger’s seat; it was the soundtrack to the movie.
"Do you mind autographing this for her? Oh, she
would be absolutely thrilled. Her name’s Jaylene, by
Velma reached forward, accepting the pen that the
driver offered. To Jaylene. she wrote, Best
Wishes, Linda. Just underneath, she signed her own
name in quotation marks "Velma Dinkley."
She handed the CD back to the driver.
"Oh, she is going to LOVE this! Thank you, Ms,
"Cardellini," Velma replied. She was used
to the mix up by now. "Linda Cardellini."
The taxi pulled up in front of the Art Gallery. Velma
reached for her hip, and in a flash, realized that her
wallet was inside her skirt pocket. She fumbled around
the back seat, trying to stall for time and find a
method of payment, but the driver waved her off.
"It’s alright," he intoned, waving his hand
in the air. "It’s on the house."
Velma thanked the man for his generosity, jumped out
of the taxi and ran as fast as she could towards the
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
"Well now we know who have an idea about who the
perpetrator is," remarked Fred, "but even if
we ferret him out, how are we going to get him to tell
us where he is holding Velma?"
"I don’t think that will be necessary."
Fred, Daphne, Shaggy and Scooby spun around at the
sound of the familiar voice. Their jaws dropped in
surprise as they recognized the voice’s owner.
"Velma!" Daphne shrieked, running forward
with outstretched arms to greet her friend,
"you’re alright!" She hugged the younger
girl tightly, then turned away so that the others could
not see the tears of joy flowing from both of their
"How did you manage to escape?" Linda
Velma smiled. "Let’s just say I took advantage
of a case of mistaken identity."
Fred snapped his fingers eagerly. "I just
scrapped my old plan for a new one!" He turned
toward Sarah, Matthew and Freddie. "We’ll need
your help in this too," he explained, inviting them
into the huddle. "Now, here’s what we are going
* * * * * * * * * * * * * *
The group assembled on the soundstage designed as
Mystery Inc.’s headquarters, listening intently as the
gray haired director gave his instructions. "Now.
Sarah, in this scene, Linda wants to impress her
potential boyfriend, but doesn’t know quite where to
begin. You are offering her tips on flirting and
Sarah gave the director a nod of assent.
"Quiet, please! Can I have the lights?"
Powerful tungsten lamps illuminated the soundstage area,
bathing it in a white cast.
"Roll camera." The camera operator gave a
‘thumbs up’ signal, indicating that filming had
In the center of the stage, a young woman clad in a
skin tight, red leather outfit surveyed herself in a
mirror. "Daphne," the woman protested, "I
know you wanted me to ‘let myself go’ somewhat, but
I think this is going a little too far."
"Oh, come on," the other woman responded,
an insistent tone coloring her voice, "you look
great. Besides, there isn’t a guy alive who doesn’t
love a woman showing a few curves."
The other girl scrutinized herself again and frowned.
"This many curves?" she asked,
"Sure. I mean, just look at me. You don’t
think I snagged my boyfriend here by keeping
myself under wraps, do you?" Sarah winked at her
co-star husband; he favored her with a ‘thumbs-up’
sign of approval. From a corner of the soundstage, the
gang watched the filming, paying particular attention to
the woman in the red leather suit. "You got to
admit, she is a really good actress," commented
Fred, "and she really gets into her role."
"I’ll say," echoed Daphne. "Talent
like that deserves recognition."
The bespectacled girl favored the pair with a broad,
closed mouth grin. "I ought to know."
No one paid any attention as a thin wisp of gray
smoke began wafting slowly up from one of the massive
cables on the floor.
"And you gotta flirt," Sarah advised her
co-star. "You know, say something really sensual.
Guys love that too."
"Care to give me an example?"
"Sure." She sidled up to Freddie, struck a
seductive, sexy pose, and intoned, "Hello,
handsome." The other girl frowned in disgust.
A distinctive, electrically charged scent filled the
air as small, silvery sparks shot from the surface of
the cable, crackling and sparkling like hand-held
firecrackers lit on a summer evening.
"Oh, and don’t forget, you have to walk
seductively," continued Sarah, demonstrating what
"Like this?" the other girl asked,
stumbling clumsily in the stiletto-heeled boots; she
looked more disoriented than she did seductive.
"Uh, yeah, but try not to wobble so much."
The crackling grew increasingly audible, as the pops
and snaps came at even closer intervals than before.
With an explosive ‘bang’ worthy of a firecracker on
Chinese New Years, the generator connected to the cable
overloaded and shorted out. A crackling, sizzling shower
of white sparks emerged from the cable shortly before it
burst into flames.
The sound caught the startled director off guard.
"What the..?" he declared, his eyes growing
wide as he saw the flames licking the cable. "Cut!
Cut!" he yelled, desperately. "Stop the
The camera operator shrugged. "I can’t,"
he blurted in a panic, "it’s wired to that
"Well someone get the electrical staff over
"Right away, sir!"
The stage lamps flickered, alternately shining
brightly then dimming, the generators surging and ebbing
with the increased power drain. With a deafening
‘pop’ and the shatter of glass, the halogen light
bulbs exploded in a chain reaction, bathing the
soundstage in a blinding white radiance. The resulting
shower of sparks fell upon the wooden backdrops,
igniting them like tinder. The remaining generators
overloaded and short circuited, exploding in succession
with a deafening bang. Within minutes, the entire
soundstage was engulfed in acrid black smoke.
The director fanned the smoke away from his face,
attempting to see through it. "Anyone who is still
on the set, get out of there!" he ordered. Sarah,
Matthew and Freddie quickly found each other and darted
to safety away from the set. Sarah looked desperately at
her co-stars, yelling, in an attempt to be heard above
the din. "Where is she?"
"I don’t know!" Matthew yelled back.
"I couldn’t find her. She’s probably still in
"Well somebody get her out of there!" Sarah
yelled, even louder than before. "She’s going to
be killed otherwise!"
A dark clothed figure darted onto the soundstage from
behind the flame-engulfed backdrop. Risking his life, he
dashed into the smoke, searching desperately until he
found the girl, lying listless on the floor. Bending
over, he scooped her up and carried her limp body out of
the smoke and away from the flames. Placing her on the
floor, he leaned over and began immediately checking for
any signs of life. "Linda!" he screeched,
hysterically, "Linda. Are you alright? Wake up! Say
"I’m perfectly fine," came a confident,
healthy female voice, "and so is Velma.
Unfortunately, I don’t think I can say the same thing
The man turned his head in the direction of the
voice; there stood the gang, accompanied by Sarah,
Matthew and Freddie and a familiar looking young woman
clad in an orange turtle neck sweater and red pleated
skirt. The woman in the orange sweater extended her
hand. "Hello. I’m Linda Cardellini. Nice to meet
The man stared at the gang, completely dumbfounded.
"Well then, who is this?"
Linda chuckled. "Meet my friend and stand in,
The man wrinkled his brow in confusion. He looked
even more confused when he noticed that the smoke had
magically dissipated, the ionized scent in the air was
gone and the cable that had supposedly started the
electrical fire lay on the floor perfectly unscathed.
Even the huge tungsten lamps stood perfectly intact.
"I...I don’t get it. What’s going on?"
Fred Jones stepped forward with a proud grin.
"It’s nice to know that in this age of elaborate
computer generated special effects, old fashioned movie
making hasn’t completely gone the way of the
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
A circle of police cruisers surrounded the cordoned
off filming area, the red, white and blue lights on
their car tops flashing the message to ‘stay away.’
At the sound of the sirens, the set workers immediately
stopped their work and rushed to the scene.
Vince, the electrician and Joe the carpenter stood
agog as they watched the arrest. "Well, what d’ya
know, Joe. Old Carl finally flipped out."
"Yeah, Vince. We all knew he was nuts about
Linda from the day he first laid eyes on her, but who
would’ve guessed he’d have tried to fulfill his
wildest fantasies by kidnapping her."
The man growled at the gang and his former
co-workers. "Yeah, and you know, I would have
gotten away with it too, if it hadn’t been for you
meddling kids!" He gestured to the gang, including
Linda, Matthew, Freddie and Sarah. "All of
"Breaking and entering, kidnapping and
stalking...you’ll have plenty of time to fantasize
about that girl...in jail." The senior police
officer handcuffed the man. "You’re under
The man struggled against the restraints.
"Linda," he called, as the officers dragged
him, kicking and screaming to the car, "Linda I
Linda and Velma paid no attention to the ramblings.
"Like, I got another Madonna song for you,
buddy," Shaggy called, sarcastically. "The
show is over. Say goodbye.’"
The gang laughed at the appropriateness of the lyric.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
"We can’t thank you guys enough for solving
this one," the director began, "that was quite
an idea you had there, using Velma as a stand in for
Linda. We might even keep that print."
"And that was some pretty good acting you did
there, Velma," complemented Linda, "you’re a
Velma frowned. "Who said I was acting?" she
quipped, looking down at the red-leather cat suit.
"I hate this thing. It sticks to my body." She
put a hand to her collar and pulled at it for emphasis.
"Oh, but you really do look good in it,"
dark haired Freddie commented, sidling up to the younger
woman, "maybe you ought to consider wearing it more
often. It would look so much better than that Catholic
school girl uniform you have worn since you were a
Velma flashed the young actor a sly smirk. "If
you don’t mind," she began, "I like the
traditional Catholic School Girl look."
"Well, maybe grow your hair out a bit?"
"Wear a little make up?" queried Matthew.
"I don’t think so."
Linda sidled up to Velma and put an arm around her.
"You can’t improve upon perfection," she
The entire cast and crew laughed heartily in
response, echoed by a loud "Scooby-Dooby-Doo!"
from the huge Great Dane.