Those Meddling Kids

Hey, look who we met down by the abandoned amusement park:

Yes, the abandoned amusement park! You know, the one owned by Old Man Withers? Yeah, that’s the one. Apparently there have been some strange things going on, and some people even say it’s haunted. But these two and those other plucky teenagers have decided to solve the mystery. To which I said, well, here’s another mystery: Why aren’t you kids in school? And wouldn’t you know, I got an answer: Apparently, Scooby has his masters in education from Villanova and homeschools the lot of them in The Mystery Machine as they travel from one town to the next. Would you believe last year Shaggy was a National Merit Scholarship finalist? And Velma has been accepted to Smith! The things you learn while you’re on the road.

12 Comments on “Those Meddling Kids”

  1. I don’t care how much you paid for this photo. It was worth every penny. Made my day. Good luck with old Mr. Withers. Jinkies all that sure sounds awful fishy.

  2. changterhune – Before you hear lies from Chang Terhune himself, we thought we’d tell you the truth: without us, his old action figures, he’d be nowhere. He loved science fiction from way back and began reading it at an early age, but it was through us that he acted it all out. That’s what led to the writing. He watched a lot of science fiction shows like Star Trek, U.F.O, and movies, too. But we were always there to do his bidding. And it’s like they say: you always forget about the little people on your way up. Oh, the 70’s and early 80’s with him were good times! He’d use these blocks and make all the crazy buildings for us to be in his stories. I gotta say the kid’s imagination was pretty damn fertile. Oh, he had friends, but they just weren’t into it like him. He was like the Lance Armstrong of action figures. And of science fiction. At first, when he began writing in the eighth grade, we didn’t mind. He still made time for us. And we knew that when he was holding us in his sweaty little hands and he got that far off look in his eye, he’d come back to burying us in the back yard or - god forbid! – blowing us up with firecrackers. But it was worth it for a part in one of those stories. We loved him for it. He kept us around even when we were minus a leg or two - or even a head. In that mind of his, he found a use for all of us. Then he discovered girls. October, 1986. It was like the end of the world. One day we’re standing in the middle of this building block creation he’d pretended was some marble city on a planet near Alpha Centauri and the next we were stuck in a box in the closet. Not even a “See ya later!” Nope, it was into the closet, then we heard some high-pitched girly-giggles then silence. We didn’t see him for years. We got word about him once in a while. Heard he took up writing, but it was crap like “The Breakfast Club” only with better music. We couldn’t believe it. Not Charlie. What happened to those aliens with heads he’d sculpted out of wax? Spaceships? Those complex plots? All gone. For what? You guessed it: Girls. Emotions. “Serious fiction.” I tell you, it was like hearing Elvis had left the building. During our two decade exile in the closet, we heard other things about him. He went to college. He wrote a lot, but not much he really liked. We knew it even then. It was like he didn’t dare write science fiction. Some of us had lost hope and just lay there. Others kept vigil, hoping for a day we didn’t dare speak about. Then we heard he’d stopped writing in 1996. Did he come to reclaim us? No. He took up music for ten years or so. He took up yoga. Once in a while, he’d visit us in the closet. But it was half-hearted. His mind was elsewhere. Then one day, he really did come back for us. One second we’re in the dark and the next thing we know we’re in a car headed for Massachusetts. Suddenly we got a whole shelf to ourselves out in broad daylight! Then he bought a bunch of others form some planet called Ebay. He’d just sit and stare at us with that old look. But why were we suddenly back in the picture? He had a wife now, who didn’t mind that he played with us. So what had happened? Turns out he’d never forgotten about those stories. He’d been thinking about all of us and the stories he’d made up and then remembered he’d been a writer once. From the shelf we could see him typing away. Before long he’s got a whole novel together! Then he’s working on another one. Word is there are two more in the planning stages! Some short stories, too! It’s good to see him using his imagination again. Its good to know he never abandoned us. He returned to his true love of science fiction. We hear the stories are pretty good. Someday we’ll get one of the cats to score us a copy of the manuscript. Man, it’s good to be out of the damn closet! --- I'm smarter than you I'm harder than you I'm better than you I'm just raw I'm hotter than you More popular than you More clever than you And goshdarn it, people like me I'm smarter than you I'm harder than you I'm better than you I'm just raw I'm hotter than you More popular than you More clever than you And goshdarn it, people like me
    Chang O.C., da liberal gangsta

    Figures Velma went to Smith, though I’d a pegged her as a Bryn Mawrtyr.

    Shaggy looks like som Shovelhead from Kintucky. But Athena seems thrilled!

  3. A few years ago I drove past a van customized to look like the Mystery Machine. It was parked in front of a house and had a for sale sign on it. It was gone, I presume sold, when I came back with a camera. I have hung out around old mansions and spooky museums ever since hoping to see it again.

  4. Velma and Daphne aren’t speaking. Daphne insists it was just an “experiment” and won’t return Velma’s emails.

  5. The game designer in me can’t help but wonder why there hasn’t been a “How to Host a Mystery” with a Scooby-Doo theme …


  6. It never occurred to me to wonder why they weren’t in school because I never believed they were teenagers. Clearly they were grown-ups.

    The animated scooby teens, like their live action contemporaries, appeared to be well into their twenties.

  7. JD — obviously it is because there is only one plot used in the whole series. In a game based on the series, you guess that plot and you win. What’s the fun in that?

  8. Ian – Dallas, Texas – I'm a freelance writer and editor in Dallas, Texas. I focus my writing mainly on speculative fiction, but I edit just about anything. You can find my CV at

    “My plot would have been ruined by you damn kids, so I called the local truancy officer and had all your asses hauled back to third period! Now I’ll get away, HAHAhahahahahhaaaaa!”

  9. …homeschools the lot of them in The Mystery Machine….

    Somehow, I never pegged the lot of them as right-wing fundies. It’s a vastly more plausible explanation that they dropped out of school to form a cult. “Mysteries Inc.” is the cover for a cross-country chain of dead hobos whose deaths are usually explained by the authorities as having been caused by “exposure” or “fighting over hootch.” Eventually a semi-rogue FBI agent assigned to bizarre and mysterious open case files will realize that the death sites, when connected on a map, form a ginormous version of the Elder Sign. (This contention will be flatly rejected by his skeptical-although-devoutly-Catholic partner, a beautiful redheaded medical expert and certified pathologist.)

    Don’t blame Shaggy, though. He was never anything more than a patsy.

  10. JJS–Well, it wouldn’t be based on the series, exactly. (That would be like Data playing Sherlock Holmes simulations in the Holodeck.) It would be based on the characters.


  11. As a Villanova grad, I’m not sure if I’m flattered or insulted that Scooby went to the same school as me. I guess as he’s the brains of the group, I’m flattered.

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