a Velma Adventure by John Likeglass
With apologies to Warner Brothers, Hanna Barbara and anyone else who might hate this story (although I believe any true Scooby Doo fan will love it!). All borrowed characters have been safely returned intact and healthy. This is a Scrappy free story. It's a long one, so feel free to print it out and save it for later reading!
The path and bridge to the old hotel on the island were a lot longer then they looked, but finally, the five stood in front of the lobby. "Those tire tracks back there did not look five years old!", Fred said. Velma nodded her head. "I agree, and that construction fence we climbed over looked like it has been taken down and put up a hundred times!" Shaggy and Scooby had worked their way up to the front door. Shaggy tried the door knob. "Oh well, it's locked! Guess we all have to go home!" Daphne and Freddy exchanged a glance as Velma went up to look at the door. Velma picked at the wood around the door lock and found that it was quite rotted. Placing her right hand on one door, she pulled on the other with her left hand. The rotted wood broke free and the door opened. With a grin, she said, "Oops!" Freddy turned on Velma's camera and began looking around. "No hot spots", he said. The five slowly entered the lobby. A spooky howl filled the air, followed by a wicked cackling. A luminous image of an old woman appeared! "Go away before I lock your souls up forever!" Freddy turned the camera towards the figure.. "It's a real ghost!", he shouted! Scooby and Shaggy shot out the door and up the nearest tree! The color drained from Daphne's face, as she put her hand to her mouth in horror. "Chill out!", Velma said. She was kneeling down on the floor next the wall. In her hand was a piece of fishing line. "It's a trip wire! When we entered, we set it off! What you saw was a pre-recorded projection!" Freddy lowered the camera, "I see, and that, of course would not show up in this camera..." "Right!", Velma added. Shaggy and Scooby reentered the door. "Trip wire! Like, we knew it all the time! We just needed some exercise!" Freddy looked upset. "Oh no! Something's wrong with the camera!", he exclaimed. Velma took the camera from Freddy. "The battery's dead! I don't understand.. I had it on the charger all day.." Daphne lowered her head and looked at her shoes. "Was that the little black thingey that was plugged into the outlet in the bathroom?", she asked. Velma nodded her head. Daphne continued, "I unplugged it this morning when I plugged in my hair dryer..." All moaned..
Adjacent to the lobby were two openings, one led down a hall, the other into the old café. Freddy started down the hall, Daphne and Velma followed him. Shaggy and Scooby eyed up the other opening. Café equals kitchen which equals food!" The two headed into the kitchen, at the far end was a large door. "Looks like a walk-in fridge to me Scoob!" Shaggy opened the latch and the two entered. The shelves were empty except for some bits of old food that had gone bad long ago! "Rats!", Shaggy said. "Wrats??", Scooby replied. Shaggy pointed over to the corner. Several rats had made a nest and were peering out at them. "Ro, Wrats!" Something had caught Shaggy's eye. "Look Scoob! Over there!" He walked over to the far end of the kitchen. There stood an old helium tank from a long past New Year's Eve party. Shaggy turned the valve and a spurt of gas came out. "Great! I love these things! Now we just need the missing ingredient..." Shaggy began searching through the draws of a nearby counter. "Bingo!", he said. In his hands was an unopened bag of balloons. He tore the top of the bag off and pulled one out. Shaggy placed the balloon on the small tube sticking out of the valve on the tank, and fastened it by rolling a little rubber o-ring over the neck. He turned the valve and the balloon quickly grew into a round ball. Turning off the valve, he removed the balloon and put it to his mouth, taking a breath of helium in. "How do you like this?", he asked Scooby. His voice sounded like a munchkin from the "Wizard of Oz!" Scooby burst out laughing and tried some himself. He gave out a small bark that sounded like a mouse squeak! Now it was Shaggy's turn to laugh! Shaggy took the deflated balloon and put it back on the fill tube. A sudden thump startled both of them, and they dove behind the counter. Without knowing it, Shaggy had bumped the valve on the tank and the balloon was starting to swell back up! They crawled along the floor toward where the sound had come from. The balloon was now very round and growing! "Look over there Scoob!", Shaggy said, pointing to an old cheese log that had rolled out of the fridge. A small field mouse was gnawing at one end of it. "To think that scared us!" The balloon now was quite overinflated and looked like a giant light bulb! The neck was fully swollen, and strained against the locking ring. "Just a small field mouse! We should be braver then that!", Shaggy added. Scooby laughed! ..... KaBoom! The balloon burst with a violent explosion! Shaggy and Scooby both shot straight up into the air, and began running from the kitchen at Olympic speed! Down the hallway they headed towards Freddy, Daphne, and Velma. They were running too fast to stop, and bowled the three over like pins in a bowling alley! Boom! Crash! They went straight through the wall at the end of the hallway! Freddy slowly righted himself. "They should have played football!" Daphne sat on the floor and growled, "They broke three nails!! Luckily, I have seven left so I can scratch their eyes out when I find them!" Velma had righted herself as well. She repositioned her glasses, and looked at the end of the hallway. "It's fake!", she exclaimed. "The wall.. It's made out of cardboard, with a little putty and paint to make it look old!" The three climbed through the dislodged section of wall, into an area that had been hidden from view. "Wow..", all three said in unison. The room was full of equipment. Air compressors, wet suits, hoses, and an array of electronic equipment! Velma spoke first. "Well Fred, this looks like all the clues we need to wrap this mystery up!"
Shaggy and Sccoby were picking themselves out of a pile of hoses. "Oh no! Like more ghosts!", Shaggy screamed! Daphne turned around. A spot of light was crossing the room. "Not ghosts, headlights!" Velma worked her way over to the window. "The police! That trip wire must have sounded a silent alarm!" Freddy looked back towards the fake wall. "Give me a hand, well put the wall back up, then climb out the back window. We should be able to make it around the back to the driveway while they are searching the building!"
"Well, after last night, I figured the boys needed a day off!", Velma said, as her and Daphne worked their way through the archive room at the local historical society library. "I still don't get how you convinced that guard to let us back here, I thought I was the one with boy appeal!", Daphne added. Velma chuckled, "I guess I just have that studious, researcher look that melts security guards! ..... Hey... Here's something that should help.." Daphne looks over Velma's shoulder, "What is it?" "It's Zimblock's financial ledger. Her lawyer had it at the time of her death so it ended up here instead of at the museum." Velma paged through the book, making mental notes as she went. "This is very interesting... The Madam died during the great depression but she was still well off... Leading up to 1929, she would make these very regular withdrawals.." Daphne's eyes lit up! "You mean to buy a diamond??" Velma laughed again, "No Daphne, that would have been a very large withdrawal, but still, she was up to something! She must have felt the economy was headed for a bad time. The question is, what was she doing with that money.." Daphne pondered for a while. "So, what we have is treasure hunters, ripping the hotel apart looking for the stash! I bet that Mr Creat is the ringleader! Remember, Scooby found that air filter over at the museum!" Velma shook her head. "No.. That is a bit of a puzzle, but you should have seen the look in his eyes when he looked at her picture. He loved the old Madam.. Or the memory of her... In any case, I don't think he would be doing anything that would tarnish the memory of her. Look here at the end of the ledger, the mansion was sold after her death to a developer and the funds were used to found the museum. And the person appointed to manage the museum..... A young Frances Creat!" Daphne gasped. "And he's still running it today! Wow, he really did love her! ..." Velma grimaced, (A sixty year age difference, that's a bit much Daph!" Daphne smiled. "There are many types of romance Velma! ... geee, and that's so romantic when you think about it. I could only wish someone would be that fond of me." Velma looked down at the ring on Daphne's finger. "Speaking of romance.. You've been wearing that ring for two months and haven't said a word about where you two really stand! Give it up girl! Are you engaged?" Daphne choked up a bit, grasping the ring with her other hand. "I think so... I mean, he asked me to share a lifetime commitment with him, but he never said the word marriage. Since then, he hasn't said anything about setting a date. I think he is chickening out, but I'm afraid to push the issue. When a guy gives you a diamond ring on bended knee, isn't that a proposal?" Velma smiled. "Sounds like one to me. Hummm.. I think he does love you and want to marry you, but he sure is having a hard time with it. I also think he believes that will be the end of the old gang, that you two will head off into the sunset and have kids. It will mean that he is grown up and has to leave this kind of work behind." A tear was forming in Daphne's eye. "But that's not true! I love the mystery work we do! I could never leave it behind! Sure, we would probably have kids, but I am not one that would be happy staying home and mopping the floors! Look at your folks! As marine biologists, they were always traveling, but they had you! Sometimes they even took you along on their adventures!" Velma's smile faded. "Maybe you have to tell him what you just told me." Daphne nodded her head. "When the time is right I will." Velma's smile returned. "Good! Now, back to the mystery at hand." Daphne nodded her head and started to smile. "Ok.. So, what's the next step?" Velma laughed. "Time for Freddy to invent one of his famous traps!"
"No! I'm not going back to that creepy place tonight!", Shaggy yelled. Velma sat down. "You guys have had the whole day off to ski and suntan yourselves while Daphne an I were doing research. Now it's time to jump in and help out a bit!" Freddy nodded his head. "This is a great lead you girls came up with! I agree, the next step is to set up a trap and see who's really been up to no good at the hotel! We go tonight!" Scooby and Shaggy looked at each outer, "Out-voted again pal, sorry.."
By Freddy standards, the trap was a simple one. The gang was hidden in the secret room, with a catch net laid out in front of the hidden door that was in the fake wall. All that needed to be done was to wait for the intruders to come in, and to close the net. What worried Fred was Velma's attitude. It had changed over the last few hours. She didn't seem too interested in capturing these people. Almost like it would be the wrong thing to do. What was she thinking? Still, she was there, and that indicated she approved. It didn't take too long before Daphne spotted three dark figures with hoods on coming down the hallway. With all five hidden, and Freddy's hand on the pull-string, the trap (for once!) worked without a hitch! Three goons were in the net! With the goons safely tied up, Daphne went in for the unmasking. Pulling the mask off the largest one, she revealed it to be Mr Creat.
"See Velma! I told you, I told you I thought it was him!", Daphne exclaimed. Velma nodded her head in silence. The next unmasking startled everyone. It was Lisa, the owner of the cabins they were staying in! The third turned out to be Chad, Lisa's brother. The whole gang was exuberant, except for Velma. Daphne got her cell phone out to dial the police. It is then when Velma spoke up. "Hold the phone Daphne!" Daphne looked stunned, but she turned the phone off. "We've got them! We should call the police!" Velma slowly walked up to Mr Creat. "I don't think a crime really has been committed here, has it Mr Creat?" The very large old man hung his head down low. He spoke to Daphne. "Your friend with the glasses is right... The hotel developer is in bankruptcy, but he never owned the land..." Freddy and Daphne looked at each other somewhat puzzled. Velma picked up the story. "The lawyer that handled Madam Zimblocks estate sold the developer the mansion, that became the hotel, but not the land it was built on. The money from the sale was used to set up the museum, but the new owner still had to pay the estate rent for the land. It wasn't much, just enough to insure the museum would have a constant source of revenue to keep it operating through the years." Creat picked up where Velma left off, "Then, about five years ago, the hotel went bankrupt. With the owners assets tied up in court, the rent stopped coming in. We tried to get our land back, but that got tied up in court too. With no money, the museum was about to go out of business. Madam's memories would be lost. I couldn't let that happen." Lisa now took over telling the story. "We learned about this while sharing a cup of tea, and told Francis we would help out in any way we could." Velma scratched her chin and spoke, "That's when you found out about the withdrawals?" Creat nodded yes. "I went through all of the Madam's things looking for a solution. I was only a boy, but I remember she was very smart. She knew the market crash was about to happen. I figured she must have come up with a plan B. I think she was buying gold. She financially survived the crash of 29, but took ill in the years that followed. I believe she had become too ill to tell her lawyer where she had stashed the gold before she died." Chad now took over the story. "I came up with the idea of using what savings we had to buy this equipment to look for it, as well as the haunting story. Mr Creat thought the whole thing was in poor taste, but went along with it as there were no other options left. The problem is, none of us truly knew how to read these graphs, so we're no better off then when we started!" For the first time that night, a wide grin came over Velma's face!
"My parents were marine biologists. A lot of the work they did involved mapping the sea floor to better understand the history of an area. Some of that involved seismic mapping of the rock structure underneath the seabed. I helped with a lot of the interpretation." Freddy and Shaggy helped untie Creat, Lisa, and Chad. Velma started to work looking over the graphs and other data that they had collected. It didn't take Velma long to find what she called "An area of interest." She pointed to a series of fairly straight lines that had a strange peak to them at one point. "Here... This would indicate a void in the rock structure. These were taken at the front of the island. Is there anything in that area of note?" Chad looked over her shoulder. "There is an old well out there from the turn of the century. We figures those lines were just the well shaft." Velma's eyes brightened. "The drop off is too slow just to be a well. This looks more like a chamber! Best of all, it is away from the building. That should clear up any building property rites issues."
Then next morning everyone loaded into the Mystery Machine and drove over to the hotel. Shaggy took the trip down in the well bucket and found the room, and as suspected, Madam Zimblock's secret stash! The gold coins found were in mint condition, and turned out to be worth a lot more than the gold they were made out of. A few were displayed in the museum, with the rest going to the Zimblock foundation, securing the future of the Zimblock Museum. The afternoon was spent at the beach, catching up on some missed tanning time. "I still don't get why they did it in secrecy.", Daphne mused. Velma sat back in her beach chair. "It's about image. Creat thought that the public knowing that the museum was broke, and that the Madam was the kind of person who would hide gold, would all tarnish her image as this classy broad. People can accept that a woman of that period can be a great musician, but find it difficult to think of a woman as having financial instinct. To some extent, it's still true today." Freddy sat up. "Hey! That's not true! I know for a fact that you are a genus, and you're a girl!" Velma chuckled. "For me, people can except that I am smart, but have trouble thinking of me as a woman!" Freddy reclined in his seat. "I'm sorry.. I guess your right Velma, us guys have a ways to go when it comes to our understanding of women." Daphne looked over at Fred. "Fred, lets take a walk, there are some things I want to talk to you about.." The two got up and headed for the path that lead to the museum. Shaggy and Scooby, who had both been quietly eating, stopped and looked to Velma. "Like, what just happened here?" Velma clicked her chair into the lowest position, flipped her sunglass shades down, and smiled while closing her eyes. "Progress boys! ... Progress.."