The Ring 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!
It was a sunny morning and Velma was just finishing breakfast when she heard the knock at the door. Looking through the peephole, she could see it was Fred. "I hope this means we have some work", she thought, "we haven't had a case in over two months!" She opened the door and Fred asked in a rather sheepish voice, "Can I come in?" Velma was a bit startled. "Well of course you can! Why did you even ask?" Fred looked nervous. He walked over to the couch in the living room and sat down. "I need some advice... Some advice from a girl's perspective." Velma chuckled. "Humm.. I always figured that was Daphne's department.... Unless... This is about Daphne?" Fred looked up. He did not even need to say anything. Velma gave out a low whistle. "Wow... Things are finally to a point where one of you is about to make a move..." Fred now was staring down at the carpet. "I need some advice on rings... Just a friendship ring..... A diamond one..." Velma's eyes opened wide. "A Diamond one!! Diamond rings are not friendship rings Fred. They usually imply a lot more!" Fred looked up at her. "I don't even know if I'm going to give it to her... So many things are running through my mind. But I just figure I need to learn a little about the rings, should the need arise, so I don't make a fool of myself!" Velma shook her head. "Ok.. Ok.. We'll look at some diamonds, no questions asked. I was kind of bored anyway!"
As the Mystery Machine headed into town, Velma began the lesson. "Since Daphne comes from a well-to-do background, you need to do this with some class. You shouldn't just buy a pre-made ring. What you have to do is pick out a diamond, then build the setting around it. That's why I suggested J.P. Murphy's. He's an old world jeweler. We can look at raw diamonds at his shop."
Fred turned down the side street and pulled up outside the jewelry store. As the two entered the store, J.P. was standing behind the counter. "Hi Velma!", he said. Fred looked puzzled. "You guys know each other?" Velma nodded her head. "J.P. used to spend a lot of time down at the university in the minerals department. I took classes there." Fred chuckled. "Yea, I remember when you used to go there. Well, should we get started?" Velma explained what was going on. J.P. went into the safe and brought out a small white bag. After laying a cloth on the counter, he emptied the contents out. Five small white diamonds sparkled on the cloth. Velma smiled at Fred. "Any of them strike your fancy?" He stared at the diamonds. "I hate to say it, but I have no idea what I am looking for!" Velma went into a long winded explanation of what makes one diamond better than another. She picked up one of them and placed it under the microscope that was on the counter. Taking her glasses off, she focused the microscope on the diamond. "Uh oh..", she said, and then fell silent. J.P. Spoke up. "If you don't like that one, there are plenty more!" Velma removed the diamond from the scope and scratched it on the glass counter top. Not a mark was made. Fred looked puzzled. "I thought diamonds scratch glass?" Velma looked up. "They do! This one is a fake!" J.P. got an angry look on his face, but as he remembered how smart Velma was, the look slowly faded to shock. He took the diamond and put it back under the scope. Then he grabbed another one and put it under as well. J.P. put each of them under and as he did his face grew whiter and whiter. He left them scattered about the counter and ran into the safe to fetch another bag. "What's going on?", Fred asked. Velma answered in a low voice. "I think he's been ripped off. They're all fake!" J.P. returned with another bag and started inspecting the diamonds in it. "I'm ruined!", he sighed, "Someone has replaced all my diamonds with cheap substitutes!" Fred looked to Velma and then to J.P. "Who has access to your diamonds?" J.P. sat back in a chair behind the counter. "Only me. I inspected them when they arrived and locked them in the safe. The only one who ever goes in that safe is me. No one could have done this. They would have to be able to walk through walls!"
A pretty blond girl entered the shop, she waves, and J.P. waves back. Velma looks over. "Who is that?" J.P. looks toward Velma. "That's Lora, she works for me." Fred clears his throat and tries to talk in a whisper. "Would she have access to these diamonds at any time?" J.P. shakes his head. "None whatsoever. She's my book keeper and receptionist. She helps behind the counter, but not with the bulk diamonds." Fred looks over at the phone. "I guess you should call the cops." J.P. reaches for the phone but Velma stops him. "J.P., you said you were the only one who had access to the diamonds. If you call the police, they will come to the same conclusion..." J.P. looks sick. "You mean that I took them..." Velma nods her head. Fred picks up on Velma's thinking. "Tell you what", he says, "Give us twenty four hours before you call in the police. Maybe we can find out what really happened. If we can't, then call them tomorrow and report them missing." Slowly, J.P. removes his hand from the phone. "I guess your right. They would suspect me, and if Velma hadn't spotted the fake, this whole thing wouldn't have happened today. Ok, twenty four hours. If you can recover them, we'll turn the matter over to the police and you guys can have the finders fee. If not, tomorrow I'll call the police and report the fakes." Velma reached her hand out and shook J.P.'s hand. "You've got a deal! Now, lets take a look at that safe!"
Fred and Velma step through the thick steal door of the safe. It is very small room, about four foot by six foot. "Strange", she says, "everything is coated in a fine layer of dust like it has not been disturbed in years. Whoever did this knew exactly where to go without disturbing anything." Fred turned to Velma. "Do you think he did it?" Velma shook her head. "I've never met anyone who could make the blood drain out of their face on cue! He really looked sick when we discovered they were fakes. My money is on that Lora-girl." Freddy looked surprised. "Why? She did not have any access." Velma chuckles, "Oh, I'm just kidding! There's not enough evidence to have any ideas yet. But still.... Something about her..."
Daphne, Shaggy, and Scooby have met up with Velma and Fred at the local library. Fred fills them in on the case. "So, what your saying..", Shaggy says, "Is that some spook walked right through the walls and replaced those diamonds!" Velma shakes her head. "No Shaggy, That's why we're here at the library. We need to research everything about that location and the history of the building and the business. I want you and Scooby to dig up info on the building..." Shaggy shakes a bit... "Diggg.. Up... Do you have to use those words??" Velma chuckles and continues. "Daphne, you and Fred look through the newspapers for anything about J.P.'s family and friends, as well as any acquaintances of that Lona-girl. I'm going to do a business search." The five get ready to split up and go after the info when Daphne turns to Fred. "Fred, what were you and Velma doing looking at diamonds??"
"I found something!" Shaggy yells out. Velma gets up from the computer and walks over to the map table. Daphne and Fred come over as well. "Look at this old map! Right here is where the store is... in the middle of what used to be this old graveyard!" Fred looks the map over. "Humm, so where did they move the graves to?" Shaggy looks up a little nervous. "Th-That's just the thing. They didn't! There's no record of any relocation. They just built right on top of the cemetery!" Daphne gives out a low whistle. "I found something strange too", she says, "Well, not strange but maybe interesting... J.P. Murphy's wife just died about three months ago." Fred's eyes light up. "You don't think he's gone wacko do you?" Velma shakes her head no. "He gave me his account numbers, I've looked over his business dealings. It's just a steady pattern and has been so for the last fifteen years. If he was planing something, he would be moving money around." Shaggy puts his hand on his stomach. "Well, here's an unsteady pattern of groans that tells me we haven't had lunch!" A chuckle runs through the whole gang.
The conversation continues over a large pizza with extra cheese. "So, if he didn't do it", Shaggy says, "then how did they get in the safe?" "Roasts!", Scooby says. Shaggy nods his head yes. "I agree! The place is built on top of graves! Those dead people must be pretty upset!" Fred laughs. Actually, I think we're about one or two clues from rapping this thing up! Right Velma?" Velma smiles. "Yep!" Shaggy looks at Scooby. "How do they do that? Every time, Fred and Velma have the thing rapped up and the rest of us are left guessing! Why don't they let us in on what's happening?" Scooby shrugs his shoulders. Velma laughs out loud! "But then we'd have to admit when we're wrong! We have some hunches, but there is still a couple of big pieces missing."
The gang has returned to the jewelry store. Scooby and Shaggy are checking out the safe. Daphne and Fred are talking to J.P. Velma is talking to Lora, who has not been told about the theft yet. "So Lora, how long have you worked here?" "Oh, about six months. His wife used to do the books, and she took ill so he hired me as a book keeper. The job just kind of expanded from there. Why do you ask? What is going on?" Velma smiled. "Oh, my friends are here ring shopping. I've know J.P. for years and I never remembered someone working here. Just curious, I guess. So how has he been holding up since his wife died?" Lora was staring down at the desk, not wanting to make eye contact. "He's ok I guess. He had a bad spell for a while, but he got some professional help and he's doing better now."
Daphne turns to J.P. "How have you been doing the last few months?" J.P. gets a sad look in his face. "As you probably know by now, My wife passed away this year. It really hit me hard. Lucky for me, Lora recommended this great therapist. He's helped me deal with the loss and get on with my life."
The gang climbs back into the Mystery Machine. Velma speaks first. "Considering some of the info I came across in the library, and what we've found out, I think we have about rapped up this mystery!" Fred nods "Yep! All that's left is to set a trap for tonight! J.P. is due to get a new shipment in late this afternoon. We should have this wrapped by morning!"
Onward to Part Two!