He was sopping wet. It shouldn't be raining like this in the summer, it wasn't natural. 'This place is weird' he thought to himself as he pushed his way through the blanket of precipitating atmosphere that surrounding him. The rough driveway eventually widened out into a fairly wide clearing that would usually be dusty and dry, but had become muddy over the course of the downpour. There was a house with a steep roof roughly in the centre, with a fuzzy column off to one side; or at least that's what it looked like through the rain. As he approached the porch, he could see some giant letters on the roof come into vision.

MYSTERY HACK

Yeah, this was the right place. The S in SHACK had fallen off and slid down the roof, now resting precariously over the entrance to the gift shop. The porch was constructed haphazardly of wooden planks and timber posts, with an old couch sheltered underneath the corrugated iron roof.

He raced for the door, ever so anxious to get out of the rain, and pounced through it.

o00o

Dipper had been reading on Grunkle Stan's lounge chair inside, trying to figure out where the plot in his latest summer reading book was going before the door burst open. Stan had gone straight into automatic mode.

'Welcome to the Mystery - !'

'CRAP!' yelled the figure that had just burst through the door. Mabel sniggered from the table where she was trying to teach Waddles to play Bridge.

The figure backed back out of the doorway, off of the cheap rug that greeted people as they came in, which was now graced with two fresh brown stains from its feet.

'Uh, sorry about that…' it said, the voice clearly male. Stan glared at him as he scratched the back of his neck. Mabel waved dismissively.

'Just take them off and leave them outside!' she shouted. The boy obliged and retreated back onto the porch to extract his feet from his shoes.

'Hey, Grunkle Stan, who was that' Dipper asked, closing his book and throwing it onto the dinosaur skull next to the lounge.

Stan took off his fez and placed it down on the top of the T.V., 'I think he's the new employee.'

'Another one?' called Pacifica from the top of the stairs, 'What happened to Tyler?'

'Beats me. The guy left to go hang up signs in the spooky part of the forest last week and never came back. I didn't like him that much anyway. Didn't appreciate any of the art in this house.'

'By art you mean those abominations you've got set up in the museum?' Pacifica's voice rang out again.

'I swear, if you weren't part of the world's snobbiest and richest family, young lady, you'd be halfway to China by now!' yelled Stan, trying to control his anger. He was pacified once he saw a hundred-dollar bill float gently into the living room from the stairs.

Dipper rolled his eyes and let himself fall into the chair. Pacifica ran past Stan while he was distracted with his present, winking at Dipper. He watched her join Mabel at the table.

'May I come in?' asked the boy from before, poking his head around the door. Stan shoved the money into his suit pocket and cleared his throat.

'Fine, just stay off the carpet,' he said, waving a hand. As he stepped into the room, Dipper finally got a clear view of what he looked like.

He was tall, maybe a little taller than him, and had long brown hair that probably would've been lighter if he wasn't dripping wet. He wore a plaid jacket with a t-shirt underneath and a pair of jeans. He looked extremely disappointed with the state he was in, and was standing awkwardly, as if trying to fit in with the people he saw before him.

'Are you Joel?' asked Stan, hands on hips. The boy nodded. 'Welcome to the Mystery Shack.'

o00o

Joel was not sure if he felt welcomed to the Mystery Shack. He didn't really think he should be, as he hadn't made a particularly good first impression.

After removing his shoes he was finally able to come back inside and take stock of his surroundings.

It was a mystery. There were weird things all over the place. There was a dodo bird on a stand near the door, a ship in a bottle on top of an empty fish-tank and a fez sitting on top of the TV cabinet, and he could even see a massive dinosaur skull. It was a very small and mismatched place, but he could tell it felt homey.

There were a couple people in the room too, who didn't look like they belonged together at all. There was Stan Pines, the manager of the Mystery Shack, wearing a suit and propping the fez from the TV up on his head, a boy about his age lying down on a chair with his legs dangling over one of the arms, and two girls up the back, one of whom was bleach blonde and wearing an expensive looking outfit that was almost entirely shades of purple and another girl who had hair much like the boy on the sofa, but had braces.

Oh, and there was also a pig that was holding a hand of playing cards in its mouth.

'What exactly was I thinking when I signed up for this?'