Shaggy walked down the driveway, his fork jingling in his pocket as he walked. He could go for a cheese pizza after this. Or a slice of pie.
The lawn, as always, was pristine. Each blade of grass was the same height and shade, and as a result the lawn lost its earthy appearance and became a plane of artificial green. The sprinklers flickered on as Shaggy walked by. It was amazing how far a line of gourmet dog treats could get you in this world. Dog treats and a movie trilogy. And wasn’t there a new TV show? It was hard to keep track.
Shaggy rang the doorbell and listened for movement. He heard nothing stirring in the dark house, so he rang again. There was another stretch of silence, and then the sound of four legs lumbering down the hallway. The front door inched open.
“Scooby! Scooby dooby doo! Scoob machine! It’s me, Shaggy!”
The door swung all the way open and there he stood in front of him, the fun-loving, mystery-solving, Great Dane himself: Scooby Doo.
“Scooby Doo! Come here Scoob! Shaggy leaped forward and grabbed Scooby in a hug. Scooby was wearing his signature dog collar and had a bathrobe draped over his huge shoulders.
“You look tired, man.” Shaggy said.
Scooby pulled away. “Well, I just got back from a press tour this morning,” he said. “You know, feel free to call before you come.”
Shaggy shook his head. “Look at this yard, man, like, look at this house! You’re really doing well for yourself these days Scoob.” Scooby sighed.
“Thanks, Shaggy. The reality TV show is going well. You know there’s always a spot on the show for you if you want to join.”
“Hahahaha, you know me Scoob, I’m not interested in all that reality TV stuff. I’m not a sell-out.
Scooby doo gave a slow sigh, and rubbed his eyes.
“Well Shaggy, there’s nothing wrong with wanting some financial security and compensation for your work. It’s not selling out, it’s more like…. growing-up.”
Shaggy rolled his eyes. “Don’t start with me, man. I miss the old days when it was just us solving mysteries and dicking around. None of this corporate media bullshit.”
Scooby looked out over the lawn.
“Listen Shaggy, I don’t want to have this fight again. Velma always said that fame would be hardest for you.
“Velma said that?”
“She didn’t mean it in a hostile way, she just knew the adjustment would be difficult for you.”
“Since when is Velma such a jerk.” Shaggy said. “She used to be such a sweet nerd. Man, I haven’t seen Velma in years! She really dropped off the map, dontcha think?”
Scooby adjusted his collar, avoiding eye contact.
“Actually, I saw Velma last weekend. We went to Palm Springs.”
“What? Wasn’t Fred in Palm Springs last weekend?”
Scooby pulled at his collar.
“Yeah….we were sort of there together.”
“Was Daphne there too? So, like, everyone in the Mystery Gang except me.”
“Well, we have a different name now, remember. It’s the Mystery Squad.”
“That’s right. For the TV show. The stupid stupid TV show.” Shaggy kicked the flowerpot that was sitting next to the door and watched it fall into the bushes.
“Okay Shaggy, don’t kick my flowerpots. Why are you here?” Scooby said.
“Why am I here? I’m here to see my old friend Scooby Do! We used to be buds Scoob! We were, like, inseparable! Don’t you remember how I raised you from a puppy? “
Scooby sighed. “Of course, I remember that, Shaggy! And I appreciate everything you’ve done for me. But now we’re living completely different lives. You never answer my calls, and then you show up at my house once a year to ask for weed money.”
“I’m not here to ask for weed money.”
“So, you’re telling me that’s not a bowl sticking out of your back pocket?
Shaggy grabbed the bowl from his pocket and threw it into the bushes where it landed next to the flowerpot.
“Just call me Shaggy you elitist prick!” Shaggy shouted.
“Shaggy!” Scooby growled.
“Don’t you growl at me!” Shaggy screamed “You’re my dog! Or at least you used to be my dog. Until you decided you were too good for me, until you got this big house and an even bigger head. Calling yourself a Great Dane when you’re a Great Dane blank mix, a mutt! Just a cowardly mutt”
Scooby stood there for a moment, staring at Shaggy. Then he backed up and slammed the door so hard the door frame shook.
Shaggy set off down the driveway, not bothering to turn back and look at the looming house behind him. He didn’t know anyone living in that house. His old friend Scooby-Do was gone. He’d been gone for a long time. What had happened to the old Scooby and the Mystery Gang? What had happened to the good old days, when they were just kids romping around the countryside? This was the greatest mystery at all, and one that Shaggy would never solve.
Linnea Cooley is a humor writer with pieces in McSweeney’s, Pif Magazine, and The Museum of Americana. More of their work can be found on their website, linneacooley.weebly.com or by following them on twitter @linnea_cooley