Guest Art Courtesy of Mogodore J. Bivouac


of the 
Lost Bark

By Jaguaro 

Prologue: “Looking For Adventure (In Whatever Comes Our Way)”

Fred Jones drummed his fingers along the arm of the chair while the speaker droned on. Why did I let myself get talked into this, he thought. Finding the fabled Mayan artifact won him new praise in the media and scholarly community, which led to dinner banquets like this one. Even though he and his friends didn’t have anything tangible to show for it, solving the riddle of the fabled item brought all kinds of honors. No doubt, he would be expected to rehash the details of his discovery and escape from the notorious French archaeologist Paul Darnand and his Nazi allies. He might even get some sort of plaque that he could put in the drawer with all of the others he received over the last three months.

He longed for the thrill of the adventure, the steamy jungles, the adrenaline pumping through his body, the mystery of the investigation, the moment of discovery, and the victory of finding some rare object. This new celebrity status just wasn’t him, he thought, as he gazed down at the black tux he wore for the event. At that moment, a telegram was put in his hands from a uniformed man who had slipped behind him. A smile came to his lips. He pushed the chair away from the long rectangular table, got up, and moved through the crowd of startled members of the American Association of Archaeology and Anthropology. Fred smiled as the speaker, continued reading from his notes, oblivious to the departure of his featured guest….

*    *    *

Velma Dinkley groaned as she reevaluated the heavy stack of papers before her.  It was bad enough that she had a number of overdue exams and term papers to grade, but she had Fred’s as well!  While he was off accepting an award and giving the keynote speech for the AAAA, she was stuck at Hanna College, mired in paperwork.  It wasn’t as though she disliked students, but she was jealous of Fred’s new fame.  It wasn’t fair!  Who knew to look for clues in the Templo de Jaguaro?  Who connected the dots that led them to Tula?  Who braved arrows, pits and boulders?  But Fred was a man…a good looking man with blond hair, strong cheekbones and a great smile.  All she had were her plain features, her short stature, and her thick glasses.  Not only was she not invited to the AAAA “ball,” but she had to do twice as much work.  She felt like Cinderella.  It made her wish for a fairy godmother.

Then she spotted the bright colored envelope in Fred’s mail bin. It was from the AAAA. With a stealthy look to see if anyone was paying attention in the faculty lounge, she retrieved it. The letter invited Dr. Jones to apply for a grant to discover the ancient tomb of Zhu Yuanzhang, the great Hongwu Emperor. Velma knew that Fred couldn’t even tell the difference between the T’ang and Ming dynasties, so he would probably ignore the letter. But it offered the opportunity of a lifetime for her. The letter even enclosed a ticket to Shanghai by way of San Francisco. A smile crept to her lips as she frantically began packing her belongings. A quick note to Professor Hyde-White would suffice. Besides, she could always grade the papers and tests on the plane….

* * *

Daphne Blake sighed and stared out the window at the other skyscrapers in downtown Manhattan. She seemed to get everything she wanted after their adventure in Mexico…a promotion, fame among the journalism community, and was even interviewed for Time Magazine. But being an editor for the news page of the New York Chronicle had its drawbacks. Rather than writing stories, she was retyping them. Instead of pursuing stories, she was pursuing space among the many advertisements her paper ran. Rather than tracking down leads, she was tracking down reporters who were late for deadlines. Whispers throughout the newsroom, envious of her success in the jungles of Mexico, implied that she got the new job due to her daddy’s and uncle’s influence. The former was a wealthy businessman while the latter was the newspaper’s owner. She simply missed being a reporter.

“Miss Blake?” Daphne swung her head back from gazing out the window at the Hudson River. It was Harry Harrison, one of her beat reporters.

“Hey Harry. Wait, aren’t you supposed to be at the carnival, covering the roller coaster crash?”

Harry threw his arms up in mock surrender. “I’m going, I’m going…but you should go down to the editor-in-chief’s office. There’s a visitor.”

“Really? Who is it?”

“He’s not that boyfriend of yours, Fred Jones,” Harry said in a mocking tone. “It’s some old guy who says he’s from Washington, DC.”

 “Fred…Jones…is…not…my…boyfriend!” Daphne said through clenched teeth as she grabbed her hat, brushing angrily past Harry as she marched down the hall toward her boss’ office. She wondered if it was about another treasure hunt or some poor European country invaded by Hitler’s forces…

*      *      *

Shaggy gulped down the last of the airline food the pretty stewardess brought to him and glanced over at the passenger next to him. He had to stifle a laugh. Scooby-Doo definitely didn’t look anything like a blonde woman wearing a dress, but the stewardesses were too busy to notice and the passengers were too sleepy to pay attention on the long cross-country flight. Despite this, Scooby nearly caused too much unwanted attention by wolfing down his dinner in doglike fashion. His pal then warily eyed the man who had fallen asleep next to him, dinner untouched.

Hanna College had given him a modest stipend to complete his anthropology dissertation as a reward for the Mexico adventure, but coming up with the topic was pretty tough. At long last, he decided that a study of the Yeti might be pretty cool. He didn’t count on the flight being so long. As Scooby surreptitiously pulled his neighbor’s dinner tray away from the sleeping man, Shaggy also spotted an uneaten roll on the tray belonging to the elderly woman across the aisle from him. As she chatted excitedly with her daughter, the gangly, bearded graduate student reached for the piece of bread….. 


On to Chapter One !


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