By C. Miskow

DISCLAIMER: Scooby-Doo and all related characters and elements are trademarks of Hanna-Barbera and/or Warner Bros. Inc. Set descriptions based on the article available from http://darkhorizons.com/ScoobyDoo2.htm. Additional set descriptions taken from "The Hollywood North Report" http://www.hollywoodnorthreport.com/pages/scooset1.htm.

Lyrics from "Justify My Love © ," "Rain © ," "Deeper and Deeper © " and "Erotica © ," copyright© 1990, 1994. Sire Records/Warner Bros. Music (how convenient) ASCAP. All rights retained by the original copyright holder or holders.

This is an amateur, not-for-profit work and is not intended to infringe upon the rights of the original copyright holders. Although the actors mentioned this piece are real, the events depicted herein are completely fictional. None of the actors mentioned in this story were involved in any manner in the writing of this piece. Special thanks to "littlesoprano" for beta reading, advice on the technicalities of film production and her leads for behind-the-scenes information about Scooby-Doo 2.

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"And, cut!!"

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, Linda?"

"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 verdict.

"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 will."

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 text.

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 it, man!"

"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 cabin."

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 grandmother.

"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 star."

Velma rolled her eyes. "Oh, brother, Daph," she chuckled, "as if we’re not already famous enough."

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 guys again."

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 you."

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 real thing.’"

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 their return.

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 for him.

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 here."

"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 good."

"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 surrounding them.

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’ faces.

Thank you for that clarification, Velma thought to herself; an equally relieved look played across the redhead’s face.

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 red-haired counterpart.

"It’s our pleasure," replied Daphne, returning the gesture, "thank you for inviting us."

"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 four..."

"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 set."

"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 set."

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

"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 barbecue.

Fred whistled in astonishment as he surveyed the high-tech, yet, nostalgic environment. "Nice," he mused, "classic, but at the same time, modern."

"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 decor."

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 lips.

"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.

Yearning, burning

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 younger girl.

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 first?"

"Uh uh."


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 state.

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 suppose?"

"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.

"Places everyone."

"Quiet on the set."

"Roll camera...and...action."

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

"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 is."

"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 on."

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

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 filming?"

"Not at all," the redhead responded, cheerfully.

"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 hasn’t?"

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 reaction?"

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 light."

"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 him.

"R’ahem," came a raspy voice from under the table.

Linda chuckled. "Oh, and Scooby-Doo, too."

"R’ank you."

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 sheer politeness.

"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, lustily.

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 done?!"

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 that..."

"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 passer-bys!"

"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 movie."

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 pleasure."

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 nap."

"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 trailer.

"Thanks, Linda."

"No problem."

"I’ll meet you guys back here in about two hours."

"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 her glasses.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

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 his quarry.

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. "Hello, Linda."

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

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 this intense?"

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 the comment.

"Speaking of short-haired brunettes," said Fred, "it’s getting late. Maybe we ought to think about retrieving Velma and heading back to the hotel."

"I find it odd that she is not already here," commented Daphne, "I hope she’s alright."

"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 alright."

"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 here?"

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, Linda."

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 staff."

"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 the table.

"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 star."

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 fantasies."

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 I..."

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 gang incredulously.

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 personally involved."

"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 plan?"

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 demeanor."

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 own assignments.

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.

Erotica, Romance

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 hostage.

"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 them.

"So where do we begin?" asked Daphne, "there’s a lot of ground to cover on this set."

"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 ‘hi’, Scooby."

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 fight.

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 property!"

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 drool.

"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 for awhile."

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’ type."

"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 girl’s chest.

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 wife."

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?" she stuttered.

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 family."

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 gain."

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 celebration."

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 lace bodice.

"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 again .

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

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 clues."

"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 instantly silent.

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 afternoon?"

"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 you investigating?"

"Kidnapping on the set," explained Fred. "Velma’s missing."

The young man looked at Fred quizzically. "That’s not she?" he asked, pointing to Linda.

"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 complete confusion."

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

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 yesterday?"

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 easy bunch.

"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 body!"

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 look there."

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 forward.

"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 knife.

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 happiness."

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 Matthew.

Fred nodded, seriously. "If I’m right, we may have found the one clue that could crack this case wide open."

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 clue?’"

"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 Madonna."

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 much."

"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, but..."

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 asked, quizzically.

"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 blurted.

"Would you like to enlighten us, Daphne?" asked Fred.

"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 second!"

The young actress smiled. "Aw, you’re just saying that for one reason—because its true."

The gang laughed, recognizing their friend’s famous line.

"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 gasps. "Ah...ah....ah..."

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 life.

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 bed."

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

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 home."

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 the way."

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, uh...?"

"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 soundstages.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

"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 eyes.

"How did you manage to escape?" Linda asked, curious.

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 to do..."

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

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 romance."

Sarah gave the director a nod of assent. "Right."

"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 begun.


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, exasperated.

"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 she described.

"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 camera!"

The camera operator shrugged. "I can’t," he blurted in a panic, "it’s wired to that generator!"

"Well someone get the electrical staff over here...NOW!"

"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 there."

"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 something!"

"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 for you!"

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 you."

The man stared at the gang, completely dumbfounded. "Well then, who is this?"

Linda chuckled. "Meet my friend and stand in, Velma Dinkley."

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 dinosaurs."

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

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 you!"

"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 arrest."

The man struggled against the restraints. "Linda," he called, as the officers dragged him, kicking and screaming to the car, "Linda I love you!!!"

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 natural."

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 girl."

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?" asked Sarah.


"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 quipped.

The entire cast and crew laughed heartily in response, echoed by a loud "Scooby-Dooby-Doo!" from the huge Great Dane.


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