As Velma turned the knob, the night sky went black. She sat back in her seat and enjoyed the darkness for awhile. This had became her favorite spot as of late. Her own private universe!
The Coolsville school system had become a convoluted structure. As the town had grown, many schools had been built as stop-gap measures, only to be outgrown or expanded upon. The High School was now a complex that only served eleventh and twelfth grades. The old high school was now a junior high that served eighth, ninth, and tenth grades. This split up had really been hard on Velma. Not only had she been separated from her classmates when she skipped fourth and sixth grades, she was now also in a totally different school building! Being a senior at age sixteen had it's share of problems as well.
Adjacent to the main building complex was a football stadium. Under the stadium seating was a building that had been converted into a planetarium. The term Planetarium actually refers to the projector at the center of the building. This one was an older optical sphere which Velma preferred compared to the newer projection systems. She had never been one to stand in the way of technical progress, but something about the amount of "hands on" work this one required intrigued her. She made some adjustments to the panel and the large orb rotated slowly. As she brought the rheostat up, the current fall skyline illuminated above her.
Although not disliked, Norville had his share of problems too. Grades were one of the biggest. "Like, why do they keep trying to teach you stuff?", he asked himself. After all, wasn't life really about food, family, and friends? His math teacher had just given him a major tongue lashing earlier in the day. "When would you ever have to know how much room is in a circle?", he pondered. Detention had not been too much fun either. "Like the valve said GAS, why were they all upset that I made it sound like what it was! Teachers here have NO sense of humor!"
Life was at an all time low. His girlfriend of six months had broken up with him earlier that day as well. Ran to the arms of some jock on the football team. "Like big deal! He can throw a ball around!", he muttered as he walked along. "Play ball... eat pizza... play ball... eat pizza.... Like anyone would really question which one was more important in life?"
Norville paused for a moment and looked out over the football field. "Why would anybody want to run back and forth on that thing and beat up on people??" He shook his head and continued walking under the the stands. Discouraged, he sat down on part of the metal framework and looked down at his feet. "Who are you?"
"Who are you?" ... He heard it again.
He though he had been thinking it to himself, but it was an actual voice asking him a question. He slowly looked up. A girl in an oversized orange turtleneck sweater was looking down at him. Her inquisitive eyes looking from behind thick lenses. "Hey, like, you're that smart girl!" The comment brought a slight smile to her face. He pointed his finger at her..
The smile faded as she shook her head "no." .. He didn't give up.
"Thelma! That's it!"
Her face began to frown slightly...
"Ah... Maryann? Ginger? Like, no, they're from that TV show! Let me guess... Ahh...."
"My name is Velma.", she said.
"No, like that's not it..... I'll get it, let me guess...", he continued.
"It's VELMA!", she shouted, her face now somewhat red.
Norville realized what she was saying and he had now made her mad at him as well. "Hi Velma, my name is Norville. I'm sorry"
Velma sat down next to him, "It's ok Norville, I think all anybody knows me as is 'that smart girl' "
Wow.. A friendly voice! He hadn't heard one of those in a while. "You can call me Shaggy, my friends do. That is, they would if I had any..."
Velma smiled. "A fellow outcast! ...... You can't be serious, I'm sure you have friends. I think I've seen you around and you weren't alone!"
"Well I am now!" Shaggy related the days events to Velma. She found herself taking a liking to this strangely kindred spirit almost from the start.
"Like wow, that's cool! Pies are square! ... That is hard to forget! Hey, like speaking of pies, do you want to grab some pizza?"
Velma blushed! Was this like a date? No, it was just a pizza. But, it was probably the closest thing to a date that she had run into all year!
"And then I took the mouth of the whoopee cushion and tied it on to the gas valve! Like I thought it sounded very realistic!"
Velma burst out laughing! She couldn't picture herself doing such a thing, but the thought was really hilarious! As the pizza arrived at the table Shaggy grabbed for a piece but stopped dead in his tracks. It was not too often in life that something would come between him and food, but something had.
"There he is. That guy over there. He's the one who Sue dumped me for!"
Velma tried to peer out of the corner of her eye but without the help of her glasses she couldn't see a thing. Slowly she turned her head until she could see him, all the time trying not to look obvious.
"I saw a picture of him in the school trophy case. I think his name is Fred Jones. Is that Sue?"
Shaggy slowly glanced over. "No, Sue isn't a red head. I don't know who that girl is, but Sue has brown hair. Geezz, he dumped Sue already. What a guy..... "
"So, maybe you can get her back?", Velma suggested. Shaggy shook his head. If she broke my heart so easily, she'll only break it again!"
How wise he is, Velma though to herself, and he doesn't even know it!
Vinyl floor tiles are made to exacting standards. The deviation between properly laid tiles, such as those at Coolsville High, could be measured in thousandths of an inch. Still, some things in life can not be explained, they are just meant to happen. The right combination to change the history of mystery solving was about to happen. One tile, which was slightly above the rest, called out to the stiletto tip on Daphne's high heels... Deep in thought, she didn't even notice at first that her foot did not come forward. Suddenly, she found herself in an out of control stumble! Her hands grasped for anything in sight and found their home on an open locker door at the corner of two hallways. Instead of slowing her down, the door swung around producing a slingshot effect that accelerated her forward motion down the second hall! Like a rocket, she flew down the hall, hands forward, bracing for impact!
From the time the bell rang, you had about four minutes to make your way to the next class. Three minutes and forty five seconds had passed, but due to a delay, Fred had not made it there yet.
"Freddy! Freddy!" he heard someone scream. He looked around and saw a brown haired girl yelling after him.
"Remember me? I was at your last game! I'm Sue!", she yelled.
Fred tried hard, but he could not place the face. It wasn't ego, but simply the fact that there were thousands of people that came to those games, how could he remember this one girl? Still, he didn't want to hurt her feelings.
"Oh, yea. Hi Sue!", he yelled back as he slipped down a side hall.
"Freddy! Lets get together and have some pizza later ! ?", she yelled.
"Sounds good!", he yelled back as he ducked into the classroom.
"Whew.. What just happened there?", he thought to himself as the second bell rang. He hoped she was just kidding. He had caught a glance of what looked like her boyfriend walking off in disgust. It was that hippy kid in the green shirt. He didn't really want to go out with this girl, but he hated to hurt people's feelings. Maybe she would forget. He knew that wasn't true. Part of the hazard of being captain of the football team was that sometimes, some girls would get that way.
Later that afternoon, when Freddy was at home, his phone rang. The female voice on the other end was very precise.
"I would like to meet up with you for pizza tonight and discuss a proposition.", she said.
Freddy was taken back. The encounter from that morning was still on his mind. This must be the same girl, but she sounds far more logical than she did before. He had said he would meet her so he didn't want to go back on his word.
"Sure. How about around six at the malt shop?", he replied.
"That would do well." the voice replied. With that, the phone went dead.
"Golly, that was strange! She sounded so different this morning!"
As Fred walked up to the door of the Malt Shop, a red haired girl was waiting for him.
"My name is Daphne. We spoke earlier on the phone."
Fred's mouth hung open for a few seconds. This was NOT the girl from this morning. He had apparently agreed to meet two girls at the malt shop tonight!
The two found their way to a table and ordered up two sodas and a pizza. Fred looked nervously about.
"What are you looking around for?", Daphne asked him.
He spied what looked like the "Sue" boyfriend sitting at a table across the room. This only heightened his anxiety!
Daphne glanced over to where Fred was looking, but only caught a glimpse of Velma.
"Oh, the smart girl. She's the one Mr. Freeman used to wreck the make-out room."
"Huh?", Fred replied.
"Everyone used to go to the planetarium to make out. Freeman got wise and made her the student manager of the place. Now she's always in there tinkering around and no one can take advantage of the darkness."
"Oh yea", Fred said, "I heard about that."
"Listen", Daphne continued, "I need your help solving a mystery at my father's factory. You see, workers are quitting because..."
Daphne couldn't help but notice how nervous Fred was becoming.
Fred was seeing his worst nightmare unfold! Through the far door he watched as Sue entered the malt shop!
"Fred Jones! You are as nervous as a long tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs! Are you listening to me?"
Velma's eyes grew wide and her jaw dropped as she watched what was happening across the room!
"Umm...... That's Sue! I guess she didn't like the quick drop!", Shaggy said.
Velma did her best to stifle a laugh, "I don't think the red head likes her new pizza based wardrobe."
Having equitably distributed the contents of the pizza between Fred and Daphne, Sue headed for the door with visible steam shooting from her ears.
Daphne was speechless. She was covered from head to toe with pizza sauce and cheese. Fred was in no better condition.
"Do all meetings with the great Fred Jones end in Pizza fights???", she yelled with anger!
"Golly, no! Honestly! I was suppose to meet up with her, then you called, I thought your were both the same.... "
"YOU EQUATE ME TO THAT .... THAT .... THAT THING-WOMAN????"
"No, that's not what I meant, I just thought you were her! Ahh, no, I mean......................"
"Looks like the pizza wars are heating up again", Velma said, while no longer able to hide her amusement...
"Well, at least there's safety glass between us and the action!", Shaggy said, pointing to the side window of the malt shop.
With that, a large slice went SPLAT against the inside of the glass, startling Velma!
"JINKIES!, Maybe we should hot foot it out of here! ", she exclaimed.
"Jinkies? I've heard a lot of words in my life, but I never heard that one! What's it mean?"
"um... I don't know, I guess I just made it up!", she said laughing.
"Like Cool! I could never make up a word that fast! Where do you think we should take the pizza?"
Velma pondered the thought for awhile, "Well, I know a nice peaceful place with no flying pizza..."
"Are you done??", Freddy grumbled, while wiping sauce from his hair, "I mean, YOU are the one that wanted to meet with me."
Daphne sat down. After steaming in silence for awhile, and contemplating how much of her outfit would be able to be recoverable, she finally spoke. "I'm done. I think we need to go home and get cleaned up. Since Geek-Girl has found a new love interest, I think we should meet up at the school planetarium in about an hour. Then I'll fill you in on what I would like you to do."
"Ok", Fred replied.
With that, they both headed their separate ways.
The more Fred thought about it, the more disturbed he got. "Fill you in on what 'I' would like you to do? Where does this girl get off? Well, I'd better not tempt fait. I'll just listen to what she says, then tell her No Way, and go home!"
"This is like REALLY cool Velma!", Shaggy said as he leaned back in the seat munching on a slice and watched the stars move around. "Like, where are the animals?"
"Oh, you mean the constellations! There are certain groups of stars that form patterns that look like animals and other things. Watch...."
Velma hit another switch and turned up another rheostat and dim lines connected some of the stars. Next she picked up a projection pointer and aimed it into the dome. Shaggy watched as the little bright white arrow moved about.
"This is Ursa Major, the Greater Bear. And over here is Orion, the Hunter."
"Wow, this is so much cooler then when they try to teach you stuff! I learned that pies are square, and there's some cool stars up in the sky! And, I get to eat pizza in class!"
Velma stepped down from the operator's platform and took the seat next to Shaggy.
"If you learned something.... I guess that makes me a teacher. Hummm. As for me, I love to learn! There's so much out there. So much unexplained...."
"Velma, like this has been the coolest night I've had in Coolsville in a long while! I always thought smart people were boring, but you're like the Jinki-est person I've met!"
Velma shook her head, "I think you'd better leave the Jinkies to me. But I'll admit, this has been one real fun night for me too!"
There was a noise at the door, and both Velma and Shaggy shot up to the operators platform and hid behind the main console. "I really shouldn't be in here.", Velma whispered, "It's way too late."
Shaggy peered over the console and then crouched back down. "It's the football jock and the red head!"
Velma rolled her eyes. "I hope they left their pizza behind! I don't want to clean up after them.
"So, what is so darned important that you dragged me into a nightmare of a night in the first place?", Freddy asked.
Velma looked over at Shaggy. "Want to have some fun? I have some Halloween effects set up for next month, I think it's time to test them!"
Shaggy looked over surprised! This studious girl was into practical jokes? This was like well beyond cool!
Velma reached over and started an old reel to reel tape recorder. A low sorrowful moaning could be heard. At first Daphne and Fred tried to pretend they each didn't hear it, but they both looked terrified! Velma hit another switch and a low fog began to fill the room. She turned up the volume a little and hit another switch. A ghastly green projection began to swirl through the room. Shaggy picked up a microphone, and Velma adjusted the sound settings for a low and booming voice....
"I am the
ghost of (umm..) Le-Scarf !
Velma and Shaggy were suppressing laughter so hard, both had tears running down their faces! Peering out, they could see Daphne and Freddy clutching on to each other! Velma could take it no more!
She snapped on the house lights, stood straight up and held one finger high in the air...
Both had shocked blank faces as they looked at her with new respect.
"And one more thing, if you want help proving that there is no ghost at your dad's factory, you can count me in!"
Shaggy was in disagreement with his new found friend on this point. He huddled on the floor clutching her leg and whispered to himself, "count me out, count me out, count me out, count me out, count me out....."
Velma moved her foot over his toe, and shifted all of her weight onto it! Shaggy popped straight up in pain! "Count Me In!"
It took a second before he realized what he had said but it was too late!
"This is great!", Freddy said, "Kind of a mystery fighting team! Mysteries Incorporated!"
Daphne was still in shock, but slowly, it settled in. "Mysteries Inc., I like it! ..... and... sorry about the geek girl comment..."
Velma tilted her head, "Geek Girl comment? What do you mean?"
Fred cut the conversation short;
"Gang, we have a mystery to solve !!"