on Fright !
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!
Daphne and Fred pulled up in front of the optician's in the Mystery Machine. Velma was standing in front with a concerned look on her face. "There she is", Daphne said to Fred. He pulled up to the curb about twenty feet from where Velma was standing. Velma ran over to greet her ride, and climbed into the back seat. "Thanks guys", she said, "I'm never quite sure of my driving after they put that stuff in my eyes." Daphne turned around to look at Velma, who was now sitting in the back. She had a dark plastic sun visor attached to the front of her glasses. Her face, however, had a frown on it. After a long pause, Daphne spoke. "Ok, what's wrong? I can see in your face that you are not a happy camper!" Velma chuckled. "I'm sorry, I'm just not in good spirits. Every time I get used to a pair of glasses, they change my prescription a bit, and then I have the painful task of shopping for new glasses." Now it was Freddy that laughed. "But Velma, how painful can that be, you always get the same pair!" Daphne smiled, knowing that the topic of Velma's fashion had always been a running gag between all of them. Velma took the dig in good spirits, and while pulling the sun visor off of her glasses, came back with her usual wit. "This from a guy that wore an ascot for twenty years!" After a brief chuckle, all fell quiet as Fred made his usual turn down the road that headed towards the Blake mansion. Out of the blue, Daphne spoke. "Freddy, stop the van!"
Somewhat confused, Fred pulled to the side of the road. Daphne continued. "I have a great idea. I was reading in this fashion magazine about this new store call Exotic Optical that opened right here in town. The scoop is that they import their frames and lenses from all over the world! It's all laid out by country. Each section features the current looks of that country. So, you could shop in France, England, Russia, Transylvania, or anywhere, all under one roof!" Velma looked board, but to be polite, she let Daphne continue uninterrupted. "I know they're a bit expensive, but you are not poor! Enjoy yourself a bit! Get a little wild!" Freddy burst out laughing. "I'm sorry", he said, "It was just the thought of Velma getting a little wild that cracked me up!" Velma could feel her temperature rise a little. Although the whole concept seamed like a big waste of time to her, Fred's comment could not go unpunished. "Daphne, that sounds like a great idea! Lets check it out!" Freddy shook his head, "Oh brother!"
By the time they reached the store, Shaggy and Scooby had joined them, having been summonsed by Daphne's cell phone. The store was nothing like Velma had been expecting. Parts were very modern, other sections were decorated in early voodoo. There was even an African section done up like a jungle hut. The store clerks looked equally exotic. Velma was doing her best to judge the nationality of the clerks. One appeared Asian, another French, a third was Indian, and the forth one, she just couldn't quite determine. It did not take long for what Velma dreaded worst to happen. Daphne began grabbing frames from all over the place was sticking them on her face. Each pair would then produce a commentary from the rest of the gang. Velma's mind was elsewhere.
The store did not make any sense to her. On the surface, it's intent appeared to be to separate those who had way too much cash from their burden. But why would people actually travel all the way around the world to work at the stupid place? This wasn't New York City, this was a small town with people of modest means. It just did not add up. There must be something else going on here. This place is a front for something else, but what?
Velma was spurred back to the here-and-now by Daphne almost poking her eye out with a pair of frames. "Daph!" she protested. "Sorry Velma, but what do you think? Which ones do you like?" Velma was caught off guard. She had not really been paying attention to to any of the choices. What was the point anyway. Without her glasses on she couldn't even see what Daphne had been picking out! She lifted her trusty old spectacles to her face and reached out to point out a pair. "I like these!", she said. Daphne's smile sagged to a frown. Shaggy, Scooby, and Freddy were all laughing. The pair Velma was pointing at were almost a carbon copy of the pair she was wearing! "Some things never change!", Freddy summarized.
The trip home was full of humorous jabs. "But they are from Russia, frames and lenses!", Velma said, trying to convince Daphne that her choice had been exotic anyway. "I thought the French frames looked best on you Velms." Daphne responded, knowing that there really was no point in continuing this failed attempt to make her suddenly hip. "Like I though they were cool!", Shaggy added, trying to walk the fine line between them. Freddy decided this would be a good time to drop the Velma/hip conversation. In twenty four hours, Velms would get her new specs, and the subject was a dead horse at this point anyway. "Did anyone else catch that news story this morning? The one about the FBI agent disappearing about twenty miles outside of town?" The trick worked and Daphne picked up on the new conversation thread. "Yea, I wonder what the FBI is up to way out here? It's not like we live in an area of international intrigue!" Velma laughed and added, "Except for that glasses store!" Freddy quickly tried to work on keeping the subject off of glasses. "I called my friend down at the police station, and he said there are actually three agents working in the area that he knew of, so maybe we are closer to international intrigue then we think!" Daphne looked perplexed and asked, "Where did he disappear?" Freddy thought for a second, then answered, "Up by that old deserted farm off of route 105." Velma leaned forward. "The old Hemstead place? Jinkies! What would anybody be doing in that old place!" Freddy made an unexpected turn onto a side road. "Nothing else to do, lets go have a peak!" Shaggy and Scooby stirred to life, cued by the unexpected change in plans. "B.b..b..but, you always said that place was haunted!"
The late afternoon sun had settled down to twilight as they arrived at the old Hemstead farm. All five stood at the side of the gravel road and looked in towards the dilapidated farmhouse and half collapsed barn. Freddy had a laser pointer in his hand and was using it to point out things from a distance. As is sometimes the case with a new play toy, the pointer had become a favorite and had been in constant overuse for the last two weeks, much to the annoyance of the rest of the gang! "Look, footprints!", he exclaimed shining it at the ground three feet in front of them. Velma groaned. "You could have just used your finger Freddy." She knelt down for a second, examining his find. "Looks like standard issue State Trouper boots to me. Probably left when the cops were checking the place out." Using the pointer, he followed the path up towards the door. As Velma got back up on her feet, he turned towards her and accidentally shined the pointer right into her face. Quickly turning her head, she shouted out, "Fred! Knock it off! That's the third time you've done that in two weeks! No wonder my vision is so bad!" Sheepishly, Freddy apologized. "Sorry Velma, I guess the button got stuck again." All five slowly made their way up to the front door of the old house. "Where exactly did he disappear?", Daphne asked. Fred shook his head, "I don't know. There were not many details other then they found his car on the drive leading toward the barn and could not locate him. When the police ran the tags, it came up as a Federal agent, Both the police and the FBI looked over the farm but there was no trace of him." Shaggy gave a light gulp, then asked, "What was he doing out here?" Velma was the one to answer this time. "Let me guess, they would not say." Freddy nodded his head. "Right Velma, They gave no indication why there was even an agent sent out here." Shaggy gave a nervous chuckle. "Well, if they couldn't find him, and don't want to talk about it, that's good enough for me! Lets go home!" Freddy looked over at Daphne and said, "I hate to agree with Shaggy, but I guess this is really a dead end! I don't know why I even drove us up here, I guess with business being so slow, I was looking for anything that might be interesting." The four turned to head back to the Mystery Machine when Velma's voice stopped them dead in their tracks. "Wait!", she exclaimed. She was again down on her knees, this time digging something out of the ground that had been almost hidden from sight. Lifting it up, she wiped a bit of dirt off of it before confirming what it was. "Guess Freddy isn't the only one who has a thing for laser pointers!"
On the drive back, the conversation focused on the perplexing find. "It might just have been a kid who dropped it.", Daphne summarized. Velma was giving it a good examination. "No, this is an expensive model, not something a kid would be playing with." She handed it back to Daphne. Freddy threw his two cents in. "Maybe it belonged to the agent, or one of the police. It might have just dropped out of their pocket." Velma shook her head. "No, professionals, whether they are police or government agents, are likely to be carrying toys with them on the job." Freddy sensed the dig, but did not bother responding. The van fell quiet and after awhile, Velma reached over and turned on the radio. Freddy was quite surprised at her choice of stations! "Hey Velma, since when did you like heavy metal?" Velma chuckled to herself before responding. "Must be my wild side coming out!"
Fred, Shaggy, and Velma returned the next day to pick up Velma's new glasses. While Velma was being fitted, Shaggy and Fred were examining some of the artifacts the store's owners had used to give each country area a touch of realism. Shaggy looked over at Velma, then spoke to Fred. "You know, I think she's spent five times as much time getting fitted as she did in making the selection." Freddy laughed, "Well, that's Velma! The actual functionality is a much higher priority to her then the looks!"
Velma was finishing up at the counter. "Thank you Mr. Ashman, I think you've worked out a good fit." The gentleman smiled before responding in a heavy Hindu accent, "Might I say I think you look wonderful in your new spectacles!" Velma laughed before responding, "You might, but I believe your opinion may be a little biased!" The two exchanged some additional small talk, and soon Velma was heading towards the door. Freddy and Shaggy climbed into the Mystery Machine, but Velma paused for a second. She removed her glasses and wiped the one lens with her cleaning cloth. Putting them back on, she seamed only partially pleased with her handiwork, but climbed back in the van anyway. "What's wrong?", Freddy asked. "Not sure", Velma replied, "Probably just me." On the drive back to the Blake mansion, The subject of the missing FBI agent came up again, It was Freddy that couldn't let go of the subject. "You know what's bothering me, what are all those agents doing around these parts?" Velma shrugged her shoulders. "It is rather a unique mystery unto itself. Here we are, such great detectives...", she said with sarcasm in her voice, "and there is something huge happening right in our own town, and we don't even know what it is!"
All five met up at the Blake mansion, and after a short discussion, piled in the van for another look at the Hemstead farm. It was mid-day, which tempered the fears of the lesser enthusiastic pair. There was also a lot of time to view the barn and main house before the sun began to set. Even with a vast amount of time expended, they did not have a single clue to show for their efforts. Somewhat discouraged, all five piled back in the van and headed home, stopping only to fill the stomachs of the aforementioned pair. Over milkshakes, fries, and burgers, the gang tried to find some use out of the time spent. Daphne was looking over the laser pointer that Velma had found the day before. "You are right, this is a very expensive model. I looked it up online and it is priced at near one hundred dollars! Considering how little you can buy one for, I think the cost is a clue itself." Freddy put his hand out and Daphne handed it to him. "Someone take the batteries out.", Velma groaned as she rubbed her forehead. "You have a headache?", Daphne asked. "Yes", Velma responded, "There might be something wrong with these glasses." As Shaggy and Scooby finished up the last of what had been a huge platter of burgers, Freddy made a suggestion. "Since we pass it on the way home, lets drop by the glasses place and see what's wrong with them."
As the van approached the street where the store was located, they were stopped by a police barricade. "What is going on?", Freddy moaned. "Look!", Daphne shouted out. Her hand was pointed at the store down the street. It was surrounded by police cars and ambulances. Freddy spied an old friend he had who was a policeman. He jumped out of the van and ran up to his friend, Officer Bob Karnes. The rest of the gang was in tow. "Bob, what happened?", he yelled over. Bob turned around and recognized Fred and the gang. He walked over and gave Freddy a puzzled look of concern. "Strangest thing I have ever seen. It's that new glasses store. It is a horror scene." Daphne and Velma looked at each other before almost saying in unison, "What do you mean?"
Bob related the story. A call had come in about a shooting around an hour earlier. When the police arrived they found the whole place in ruins. Two of the clerks were missing, some of the inventory had been apparently loaded into bags and taken. The most bizarre part was that both cash registers were left intact, unlocked, and still full of the day's proceeds. The third clerk had been found tied up in the back room and covered with duct tape. He had been shot, but the medics felt he would be ok. Then, in the strangest twist, the FBI had showed up and chased all of the local police out of the store! Freddy asked if there was any way they could have a peek, but Bob indicated that even he and his fellow officers couldn't get near the store now that the FBI had taken it over. Perplexed, the gang loaded back into the van and headed home to the Blake mansion.
"What on earth!?", Daphne exclaimed as they entered the main foyer. "Well, they weren't after money", Freddy commented. Velma was scratching her head. "I think this is connected to the disappearance up at the Hemstead farm.", she added. "Huh?", Shaggy said, caught off guard by Velma's comment, "Like how could that be?" Velma's voice got quiet as she continued, "I think we have to have another look at that place...."
"No way, no how! Not spooky-town farm again!", Shaggy protested. Freddy confirmed Shaggy's fears. "I think the farm deserves another look. It was an FBI agent that disappeared up there, then the FBI took a big interest in the store robbery, Velma's right, there is a connection!"
As Shaggy feared, the place looked a lot more spooky at night! All five had climbed through the same loose board covering a window that they had used earlier. Freddy slowly scanned the living room with his flashlight. Velma had made her way into the hallway. Daphne was inspecting the furnishings in the living room, Shaggy and Scooby were hanging close to the window that had been their entrance. Velma was staring at the floor. "This is a sneaker print. Not one of ours, and not from the police. I don't know how I missed it earlier. It looks like it is headed towards the basement stairs." Freddy looked over to Velma and spied the door. Pulling out his trusty pointer, he shined it down the hall at the door. "That one?" Velma looked over. "Yep, I think we should have a look." As Freddy went to put the pointer away, the button stuck on and he flashed an old mirror that was hanging on the wall of the hallway. The red laser light flickered through the hallway for a second. Velma let out a blood curdling scream! Freddy was sure he had got her in the eyes again, and began to apologize. "I'm sorry! I know you're going to kill me, but I really didn't mean to do that." He pointed his flashlight down to Velma expecting to see an angry face. Instead, her face was an expression of shear horror!
"Velms, what's the matter?", he asked. "I saw something", she replied. Daphne had caught up with them in the hall along with Shaggy and Scooby. "A G..g..g..ghost?", he stuttered. Scooby seconded that with "a R..r..r..roast?" Velma tried to compose herself. "It was in the mirror, but it was not a ghost. It was like an image of some form of blueprint, and lots of writing as well as numbers. But it wasn't really in the mirror, it was kind of in front of it...." Freddy went over to the mirror and looked it over with a flashlight. It was an old dirty mirror with some of the silver missing. He lifted it from the wall, and looked at the back. "Just an old mirror. Nothing special." He set it down on the floor and Velma walked over and examined it carefully. "You're right Freddy. I guess I'm just loosing it." Shaggy gave a nervous chuckle. "Leave it to Velma to be haunted by numbers and blueprints!" Scooby gave a small classic laugh as well. The room fell quiet for a second, and in the distance could be heard a low moaning. Scooby jumped into Shaggy's arms. "Zoinks!", Shaggy exclaimed! Daphne turned to Fred. "Did you hear that?" Velma, who had recovered, stood up and said, "I sure did! I think it is coming from the basement!"
All five slowly descended the rotted stairwell to the basement. "There was nothing down here earlier today", Freddy said. Daphne turned to him, "Shusshhh!" Again, they heard the low moan. Velma walked over to an old piece of wood that was leaning against the wall, and slowly moved it exposing a tunnel. "Looks like a passage to an old well-house. We missed this earlier today!" Daphne let out a scream as a large rodent ran from the tunnel! "I'm not going in there! It's full of spiders and rats!" Her protests were lost to Velma and Freddy, who were already making their way down the tunnel. About fifty feet back, the tunnel ended over a shallow well. Velma pointed her flashlight down the opening. A man was laying at the bottom, bound from head to foot. Freddy jumped down into the hole and began untying him. "How did everyone miss this guy, even us!", Daphne exclaimed. (Having given in and followed Freddy into the tunnel.) Velma turned around. "It was daytime. Lots of noise and distractions. It took the dead of night for us to hear him!" Shaggy turned to Scooby. "D..d..dead? Why does she always use those terms?" Freddy had undone the ropes and the partial gag. Slowly the man came into full awareness that he was being rescued. "Thank you", he mumbled. "No problem!", Freddy proclaimed, "But who are you?" The man took a dry gulp, paused for a second, then spoke, "Agent Jenkins, FBI." Velma gave out a small "Humm." "Our missing agent! So, maybe he can fill us in on what is going on!"
Having freed the man from his prison, the gang helped him back to the Mystery Machine where they gave him water and what small food they had on board. "I guess I was left to die. I can't thank you enough for saving my life." Once again, Freddy chimed in, "No problem! The only thing we ask in return is that you give us a little information on what this is all about." Agent Jenkins shook his head, "I'm afraid I can not do that. This is way too dangerous to have you kids involved. But, I do need to ask you a favor. I have to get back to town, City Hall. I have some time critical information, and time is running out." Velma looked over to him. "This have anything to do with the big robbery at the glasses store?" Jenkins looked shocked! "What? When did that happen? Has the Agency taken over the investigation yet? You have to take me to that location!" Freddy smiled, and turned to look at Jenkins. "Only if you let us look through the scene as well." Jenkins shook his head no. "You kids don't understand how big this thing is and what is at stake. There is no way I can do that. I can not risk getting anybody else involved." Velma started laughing. Jenkins was puzzled. "What are you laughing at young lady?" Velma smiled at Freddy, then turned to Jenkins and spoke, "Oh, I think we are already involved in this up to our noses! I'll make you a deal. If you take us back to the store, I'll tell you how they are doing it!" Jenkins looked shocked. How could this girl know so much! Freddy was also quite surprised. What did Velma know, who were they, and what were they doing? Freddy could usually keep pace with Velma's thinking, but she had obviously reached a conclusion that was way beyond what Freddy could put together from the few bits and pieces they had collected so far. Jenkins was not sure how to proceed. He desperately wanted to know what Velma had figured out, but it was dangerously outside of normal operating protocol. Finally, he gave in. "On one condition, I have to make sure the scene has already been gone over by our guys for evidence." Daphne handed him her cell phone.
The store was a wreck. Displays had been turned over, lab equipment tossed aside like junk. The sales counters were trashed. Someone was looking for something. But what? Jenkins had been conferring with one of his co-workers and explained that it was ok if the "kids" looked around. It did not take long for Velma to find what she was looking for, it was laying right on one of the sales counters and had not been touched. "What is it?" Jenkins asked. Velma picked it up. "Oh just a laser pointer. We found another one, the exact same model, laying in the dirt up by the old farm." By now, Freddy had become completely confused. "So?", he asked. "What is the big deal about laser pointers? They're fun, but not of any real value. Nothing that would cause the FBI to get involved!" Velma just smiled. "When I was here I counted four employees. Shortly after the crime, a local policeman said that one was shot, and two were missing. That's only three. I take it the forth one is in the custody of the FBI?" Jenkins nodded. Velma continued. "My guess it that is was Mr. Ashman that was tied up and shot. Am I right?" Again, Jenkins nodded yes. "When I was talking to Mr. Ashman, he said he had lived here all his life. My take is that he was just an innocent local that got drawn up in all this." Jenkins finally spoke. "Ashman was not involved, we are not sure what caused the violence, if he found something out, or if he just did something wrong." Now it was Velma who was nodding her head. "He did something wrong.", She added in a matter-of-fact fashion. It was all to much for Freddy, and he broke into the conversation. "So you had been watching the activities of the other three. Were they on some kind of watch list?" Jenkins was blown away by just how good these "Kids" were and decided to put most of his cards on the table. "You are right young man, all three were on a watch list. They all came together and opened this store in this town. The Asian girl, Lee, and the French man, Paul, both had known terrorist connections. The Russian girl Nadine was an ex-agent with the KGB before coming to the states. We suspected that they were up to something. I trailed her to the farm that night, but then was ambushed. We have her in custody, but the other two we haven't found. We suspect they are the ones that tore the store apart. What we don't know is what they were doing, and how they were doing it." Velma chuckled. "That's the part I figured out, it was right under my nose so-to speak. But I take it our two missing terrorists will be back because they did not get what they wanted. It wasn't in the store anymore!"
Jenkins face was getting red. "I don't know whether to thank you or strangle you! Young lady, there may be many lives at stake here! We can't play twenty questions! I need to know what you know, and I need that information now!" Velma paused for a second. Jenkins was right. It was fun teasing him, but there could be lives at stake. "Daphne, do you have my old glasses with you?" Daphne dug into her purse and found them safely tucked into a soft case. She removed them and handed them to Velma. Velma took her new glasses off and put her old ones back on. She held the new glasses at arms length. "Freddy, give me your laser pointer." He handed it to Velma. "Ok guys, watch this...." She pointed it at the right lens in her glasses from an angle. Under the laser light, a silver disk shaped spot appeared in the lens. "What is it?", Freddy exclaimed. Jenkins was looking on in awe. Velma continued. "My best guess is that it is a holographic version of a microfilm, etched into the anti-reflective coating of the lens." Shaggy looked on puzzled. "Like what is that in English?" Velma took a deep breath and then added, "Plans for an atomic bomb." A mutual gasp when through the room.
"I am very short sighted, when Freddy's laser pointer lit the hallway in the right way, my eyes were actually focused on the coating on the lens, not on the mirror across the room. For a second, the plans flashed up in front of my eyes. Well, my right eye to be exact. For that brief second, I saw plans that were vaguely familiar... Those of a bomb." Jenkins looked both frightened and happy at the same time. "But how did that lens end up in your glasses?" Velma paused for a second, and then continued. "That was Ashman's big mistake. He didn't know about this. He just grabbed a lens blank and started to work. They had put the plans on a lens that was unlikely to be used. Not too many people are graced with eyes as crazy as mine. The glasses were form Russia, remember, frames and lenses. All of the people involved used the laser light from those pointers to keep track of which lens had the plans... Except Ashman, who didn't know about this. When our terrorist friends couldn't find the lens, they panicked and took all of the lens blanks and ran. I suspect Nadine was still trying to figure out what went wrong, or figured out Ashman had used the lens to fill a prescription, in any case, she was hanging around a bit too long and that's how your coworkers caught her."
Jenkins confessed a bit more of what he already knew. "We knew there were plans for an A-bomb involved, that is why I told you that it was too dangerous for you kids to be involved. We did not know how the plans were to be moved, just that they were being moved soon. The problem is, we still have two very dangerous people out there that are going to get very mad when they find those plans are not in the inventory they took. They may already know that Ashman may have put them into a pair of glasses. One of the things they took were the record books. Your lives are in danger......" For a moment, everyone just stared at each other, then out of the blue, Freddy snapped his fingers. "I have a plan!"
After listening to Freddy's plan, Jenkins was not instilled with confidence as to it's safety, but really had no choice but to go along with it. "One big concern I have is to make sure those plans are destroyed. There should be no chance of them falling into the wrong hands." Velma was looking through the various jars of chemicals behind the lab counter. "This should do the trick!" She said as she picked up a bottle. She soaked a small rag and began wiping her glasses. "Remove the coating, and you remove the plans!" She finished up her work, then borrowed the laser pointer again. This time, there was no silver disk in the lens. Jenkins spoke up, "I still have some grave concerns about using you for bait, Velma." Velma shook her head, "Any better ideas?" Jenkins could not think of any.
Velma drove the Mystery Machine up to the Hemstead farm alone. She could think of no reason that this place really played a role in this case. Just a random spot where they caught up with and ambushed Jenkins. On the other hand, they knew the layout, as this was the place where they stashed him. They probably knew that she and the rest of the gang had been going over the place for the last couple of days as well. What better place to grab "that girl with the glasses", Velma thought. "Gee, so this is what Shaggy and Scooby feel like.", she thought to herself. "So, this time I get to play the damsel in distress.", she muttered as she walked up to the old house. When they had left with Jenkins earlier, she had stretched a piece of thread across the opening in the window. That string was now broken. "Someone was, or is here." she thought to herself. She climbed through the window, and stood in the old dusty living room for a few moments before heading down the hallway. Halfway down she froze in her tracks. She could tell she was not alone, and was a sitting duck for what was about to happen. It crossed her mind that this could very well be the end of her life. These people were dangerous, but even more so if they were free to try to get those plans again. Her heart was beating like a jackhammer inside her. Something was going to happen, and against all common sense, she was about to let it happen! She did not have to wait long...
With a painful thump, she felt herself getting clubbed from behind, and was thrown to the floor. Her glasses flew off of her face and slid down the hall. For once, she felt this was a lucky break, as they would be far more interested in collecting the glasses then hanging around to do anything to her! Indeed, she heard the feet scrambling by her and head, and words spoken in a language that were said too fast to interpret. It was only when the figures had left that Velma realized how much pain she was in. She hoped that they would not look too closely at the glasses and figure out that the round silver reflection in the right lens was only a semi-reflective coating used for prescription sunglasses. With a low grunt, Velma righted herself and removed the cell phone from her pocket, pushing the speed dial button. "They've got the glasses", she said and then added, "I think I need some help!"
A small black car veered onto the street, only to be hit by a large black sedan. The occupants of the small car leaped out of their vehicle, only to be quickly out-run and overpowered by the occupants of the larger vehicle. In a few brief seconds, it was over.
"I believe these are yours.", agent Jenkins said as he handed Velma back her glasses. She slid them up her nose and winced in pain from the sore muscles in her back. The rest of the gang, who had ridden up with Jenkins, had now rejoined Velma in the back of the van. Jenkins continued, "This is one mystery that I have to ask you not to talk about. It didn't happen. Our records indicate that the store was robbed, and money was taken. That the co-owner was arrested for tax evasion. Even Ashman can never learn what he was really involved in. Understood?" All five nodded in unison. Jenkins left the back of the van, climbed in the black sedan, and the car drove off. Freddy gave a low whistle which pretty much summed up the feelings of the whole gang. There was a quiet pause, then Freddy spoke, "Velms, one thing I can't figure out. How did you figure out that what you saw was from your glasses and not the mirror?" Velma reached back and rubbed her sore back. "Something about the glasses was never right, I could never quite get the one lens clean. I did feel a little stupid when I figured out the answer was right under, err, on top of my nose!" Freddy shook his head, "Velma, you are anything but stupid!" With that he moved into the driver's seat, and started the van. A smile slowly crept across her face. "Thanks Fred!", Velma said. Daphne moved into the front seat next to Freddy. Velma remained in the back with Shaggy and Scooby. The van headed out onto the road. In some respects, all realized this had been their most dangerous adventure ever, but one that could not even be written about in the company log book. All sat quietly as the Mystery Machine headed down the road... Too quiet. Velma broke the silence. "Told you that shopping for glasses was a pain!"