"Good job getting that campfire started, Scooby-Doo!" praised Shaggy. "Now I'll just start roasting the hot dogs for our lunch!"
"Ro, Raggy, ro," cried out Scooby-Doo in alarm. He jumped up and grabbed his human friend with a couple of paws.
"Relax, Scooby," Velma told him. She was sitting nearby, pretending to read her paperback romance, but in reality watching Freddy and Daphne dancing to the music playing on the transistor radio. The music kept repeating the same few bars over and over again, so they kept repeating the same few moves over and over again. "A hot dog is just a frankfurter, or a wiener! You've eaten them hundreds of times!"
"Re-he-he-he-he-he!" laughed Scooby-Doo. He and Shaggy each put a few hot dogs on long sticks, which they then held over the fire, Scooby-Doo using his tail to hold his stick.
"There is this story that the phrase 'hot dog' was coined by cartoonist Tad Dorgan in 1906, when he substituted 'dog' for 'dachshund' because he couldn't spell the word," explained Velma, "but later it was discovered that Yale students had been using that term back in the 1890's---"
"Gosh, Velma," interrupted Daphne as she and Freddy walked over, "just because we're here to meet Professor Aubergine that doesn't mean we're back in school!"
"And that must be him now!" announced Freddy, pointing to a navy blue van with "STATE COLLEGE" printed on the sides that was slowing driving along the dusty dirt road towards them.
"Hello, Mr. Jones," the professor greeted Freddy, after having parked his vehicle. Dr. Egbert Aubergine was an elderly man with a mop of white hair. He was dressed in a tweed jacket, rumpled trousers, and a bow tie which was always crooked. "I believe you know my research assistant, Sharon Weatherby?"
"Yes, Sharon is a good friend of ours," agreed Freddy. "We rescued her from her wicked Uncle Stewart one time."
"I was all tied up, and everything," Sharon explained with a shudder. She had long nut-brown hair, and wore a blue dress. She stepped forward to get a hug from Freddy, but before she could she discovered that Daphne was blocking the way.
"It's really good to see you again, Sharon," the pretty redhead told her, and then, seeing that Sharon was trying to get around her, took a sideways step to keep pace. "Hey, Freddy, don't you think you'd better help the professor get his equipment out of the van?"
"I'll get right on it!" exclaimed Freddy, as he hurried away, and opened the van's rear doors. "So, Professor, you are still determined to photograph some of the wildlife here in State Park, then?"
"I certainly am," he agreed, as he held up a large camera. "Especially the elusive Smallhand, who, I'm sure, is some sort of distant cousin of Bigfoot! It's not every day, you know, that a brand-new humanoid creature just suddenly shows up in nature! The dean at the college scoffed at my suggestion this gentle woodland giant is real, and not just a hoax, but he'll have to eat his words when I bring back proof of its existence!"
"Um, I could use a little help here," hinted Freddy, as he started lifting some boxes.
"Oh, how thoughtless of me, Freddy," replied Sharon, as she hurried over. "I'll help you with that!"
"Me too! Me too!" shouted Daphne as she followed. "Here, I'll carry this," she announced as she picked up a long electric extension cord, and then, "Oops!" as she dropped most of it on the ground. She took a step forward to pick it up, but tripped instead.
"Eek!" she exclaimed as she tumbled down a small embankment, the cord wrapping around her as she did so.
"That's danger-prone Daphne for you," observed Velma.
"Mpfff," replied Daphne from the bottom of the small ravine where she was thrashing about. The cord was completely wrapped around her, binding her legs together, and pinning her arms against her side. Some had also crossed her open mouth, effectively cleave-gagging her. "Mpfff," she repeated.
Freddy hurried down to her assistance. "Daphne, stop struggling like that!" he ordered. "The more you do, the more tangled it gets, and electric cord is almost impossible to unravel. Here, Velma, could you give me a hand with this?"
Velma gave a dramatic sigh, and put down her book. "It's pretty amazing, really," she observed, "how Daphne can get herself into these sorts of situations. I mean, even when no one is trying to, she still manages to get tied up!" Despite her words, though, she went to work helping Freddy, and they eventually managed to get their friend free once again.
"Ms. Blake!" the professor severely greeted Daphne when she embarrassedly returned to the van, "you are supposed to be here to help me and thus receive some extra credit for your slipping biology grades, not to fool around like this!"
"Yes, professor," agreed Daphne meekly. "I promise it won't happen again."
"See that it doesn't!" he huffed, and then directed the young people to spread out, and start the process of setting up his delicate scientific equipment.
"Mpfff," said Daphne.
She was standing with her back against an tall wooden pole that ran from the floor up to the ceiling. Her arms had been drawn straight back, with her wrists tied together behind the pole. Another length of rope repeatedly crisscrossed her legs, tying them to the pole. Finally, a large bandanna served as her gag.
"Mpfff," said Sharon, who was tied up in a similar fashion to another pole a couple feet away, so that she and Daphne were standing side-by-side. She glanced over at her fellow-captive, and then down at the ground in alarm, for between them there was an old mechanical clock, attached by wires to a detonator and a couple sticks of dynamite.
The door to the log cabin in which they were imprisoned suddenly burst open, as Velma, who had, quite by accident, stumbled across the old building, made her way in. Unfortunately, before she had had a chance to see her two friends, the heavy door swung back, knocking her glasses off her face, and causing them to dart across the floor. "My glasses! I can't see a thing without my glasses!" she complained, as she got on her hands and knees, and started feeling about on the floor.
"Mpfff!" Daphne and Sharon said together.
"Oh!" exclaimed Velma, as she looked up, and saw two blurry figures. "Is that you, Shaggy and Scooby?"
"Is that your stomachs I hear rumbling?" she asked them. "I don't see how you two could be hungry already, after having eaten all those hot dogs earlier, which, by the way, were supposed to be for all of us!"
"You know, if you guys would actually respond when I say something then we could have a conversation," scolded Velma, as she continued to grope about for her missing glasses. "I think it's very rude the way you're just standing there ignoring me, especially since I'm really in a bind here, and need your help!"
"I hate to say it, but your behavior is starting to really tick me off, and … oh, and what's this?" asked Velma, as she discovered the clock. She picked it up, and jiggled it for a minute, causing it to stop working.
"Whew!" exclaimed Daphne and Sharon, at least, as well as their gags allowed them to.
"Oh, did I break this?" asked Velma, concerned. She jiggled it around again, and it quickly resumed its ticking. "There, that's better!"
"The time is completely wrong too," Velma observed, as she felt the hands. "Here, let me just move them forward…."
"Look out, Velma! It's a bomb!" shouted Freddy, who, followed by Shaggy and Scooby-Doo, had suddenly entered the log cabin. He raced forward, and snatched up the clock, detonator, and dynamite, and hurled them all out the window. Two seconds later there was a terrific explosion that rocked the forest.
"…and when Sharon and I entered this log cabin," explained Daphne a few minutes later, "we saw somebody putting on the head of a Smallhand costume! And then he turned around, and realized we had seen him, and he gave a really loud roar, and then tied both of us up! And then he set up the bomb."
"We only saw him from behind," continued Sharon, "but it must have been the professor. He hasn't done any productive research in a while now, and I'm afraid that he decided he needed to fake this whole Smallhand business to salvage his career. And then he tried to eliminate Daphne and me to prevent his secret from getting out."
"And that's the part that doesn't make any sense," objected Velma. "I mean, how was it possible for two active young women to be overpowered by one frail old man?"
"That's not important," interjected Freddy quickly as Daphne and Sharon mumbled incoherent responses. "The important thing is that they're both safe. And what we need to do now is expose the professor, by catching him while he's actually wearing the Smallhand costume."
"Like, how do we do that?" asked Shaggy.
"Shaggy, I'm glad you asked me that," replied Freddy, as he laid a hand on his eccentric friend's shoulder. "You see, if the professor sees you dressed up as Smallhand then his scientific curiosity will get the better of him, and he'll chase after you, and you can lead him into a trap that the rest of us will devise."
"Like, that sounds like a really great plan, and everything, and I'd really like to go along with it," lied Shaggy with a nervous laugh, "but, darn it all, it won't work since we don't have a Smallhand costume."
"No, but there are a few old bearskins here," announced Velma, as she held one up. "They won't make a real good disguise, but we'll find some way to attach them to you, and you'll only have to fool him for a little bit."
"But, like, we don't even know where to find him," objected Shaggy, beginning to feel a bit desperate.
"Not a problem," replied Freddy, as he held up a small swatch of black-and-white cloth. "Lucky for us, this piece of cloth somehow got torn off the imposter's clothing while he was in here. I'll just let Scooby take a sniff of this, and then he can follow his trail out of here. Can't you, Scooby?"
"Yeah, yeah," agreed Scooby-Doo.
"Wait a minute, Scoob," said Shaggy, "aren't you forgetting that you caught a summer cold, and now you can't smell a thing?"
"Huh?" asked Scooby-Doo, and then, catching on, "Yeah, yeah, rummer rold. Ran't rell ra ring," he explained as he pointed to his nose.
"Scooby!" exclaimed Freddy.
"Gosh, Scooby, it's too bad you've got a cold," said Daphne, "because I just happen to have a box of the new and improved Scooby Snacks right here. But you shouldn't eat them if you're sick."
"Rall retter!" announced Scooby-Doo, by which he meant, "All better!" He hurried over to Daphne's side, and swallowed a mouthful from her hand. He then sniffed the cloth Freddy was carrying. "Ris ray!" he announced, and waved with a paw, as he started leading his friends through the forest.
"Scooby, you traitor!" accused Shaggy, but, as he was more afraid of being left alone than meeting Smallhand, he reluctantly slouched along behind.
"Like, maybe a camper left out a picnic basket," said Shaggy hopefully as he and his friends passed by some picnic tables.
"What are you talking about?" asked Sharon in bewilderment. "We're trying to solve this Smallhand mystery, and all you can think about are abandoned picnic baskets? I think those bearskins you're wearing must be affecting you."
"No, he's like this all the time," sighed Velma.
"Gosh, someone's running this way!" observed Daphne.
In fact, it was several people. "Run for your lives!" a frightened tourist shouted at them as he and his companions raced by. "Smallhand's on the rampage!"
"Zoiks! Smallhand!" cried out Shaggy in terror, as he quickly shimmied up a nearby tree.
"Rallhand!" echoed Scooby-Doo, who, momentarily forgetting that he could not climb trees, followed his human friend up into the foliage.
"Shaggy! Scooby! Get back down here!" ordered Freddy angrily.
"Never mind them!" Velma told him, as she picked up a long length of rope. "C'mon Daphne, Sharon! Take a hold of this, and we'll stretch it out here. Then when Smallhand comes out we'll trip him, and tie him up!"
"Oh, you mean like this?" Sharon and Daphne asked almost simultaneously, as each picked up an end of the rope.
"No, wait, you're doing it all wrong!" corrected Velma, but it was too late. With a mighty roar a furry creature burst into sight, and right through the rope the three damsels were holding. There was a moment of confusion, and then, when the dust settled…
"Daphne! Velma! Sharon!" exclaimed Freddy. "You were supposed to tie up Smallhand, not get tied up yourselves!"
Daphne, Velma, and Sharon were all standing shoulder-to-shoulder in a triangle, with the rope circling around and around them, so that they were hopelessly tied together. "Daphne! I told you that you weren't holding that rope correctly," accused Velma as the trio struggled to get free.
"It's not my fault," replied Daphne, as she twisted a bit from side to side. This slightly loosened the rope that was binding her, but in the process tightened it around Velma and Sharon. "I'm sure I was holding it right. It must all be Sharon's fault!"
"It's not my fault either," retorted Sharon angrily. "This was all Velma's stupid plan, so it's her fault."
"It doesn't matter who's fault it is," explained Freddy, looking in alarm at Smallhand who was advancing towards him. He glared at his adversary. "I'm not afraid of you!"
"RARR!" answered Smallhand.
"Well, maybe I am, just a little," conceded Freddy as he took a step backwards.
"What's going on?" complained Sharon, who had her back to the scene. "I can't see! Here, Daphne, move over, will you?"
"Ouch! Quit it, Sharon!" answered Daphne. "Stop pushing me."
"But I can't see what's going on," repeated Sharon as she continued pushing against Daphne, and then, "there, now I can see!"
"Yes, but now I can't!" complained Velma. "What's happening?"
"Like, it sure is lucky for us that we're safe up here, isn't it Scoob?" asked Shaggy.
"Yeah, yeah!" Scooby-Doo agreed, and then, crack!, the large branch they were crouching upon suddenly snapped under their weight, and crashed to the earth, right on top of Smallhand, pinning him to the earth.
"RARR!" roared Smallhand, but he was hopelessly trapped.
"That serves you right, professor!" announced Freddy as he took a step forward.
"What serves me right?" asked Professor Auvergine as he stepped into the clearing, followed by a uniformed law officer.
"Professor Auvergine! But if you're right there, then who's inside this costume?" asked Freddy in bewilderment.
"That's what I want to know!" he replied. "I was studying some of the photographs, and I realized he was a fake! So I went and summoned the sheriff. Impersonating a mysterious creature is a serious criminal offense, you know! Isn't that right?"
"Well, I don't know about that," replied the sheriff, "but it's pretty clear there's something mighty suspicious going on around here, and I intend to find out what!"
"Right!" agreed Freddy. He walked over to Smallhand, and pulled off the mask.
"Uncle Stewart!" exclaimed Sharon.
The sheriff perked up immediately. "Well, well!" he announced. "Stewart Weatherby! I heard that he escaped from prison. But I had no idea he was behind this whole Smallhand business! It sure it lucky you all captured him"
"Uncle Stewart! Why did you this?" pleaded Sharon, but her uncle only held down his head in shame.
"I think I have a pretty good idea," explained Freddy. "After he escaped from prison, he made his way here. He then made up this whole Smallhand hoax to scare away any campers from this site, so he would have a base of operations from which he could launch his revenge against Sharon, and us too, for having sent him to prison in the first place! His chance came earlier than he expected, though, when he discovered we had suddenly shown up here!"
"That sounds about right," agreed the sheriff, as he snapped the handcuffs on Stewart Weatherby. "Come along now! It's back to prison for you!"
"Well, that's the last of your equipment, Professor!" announced Freddy as he closed the rear doors of the college van. "Too bad the Smallhand thing didn't work out."
"Well, that is a disappointment," admitted Professor Auvergine, "but I just heard a startling report that there have been sightings of a huge aquatic animal in some lake over in Wales! So I'm off right away to investigate it!" He opened the van door. "Well, come along Ms. Weatherby," he ordered testily.
"Oh, I'm sorry, Professor," Sharon replied, "but I've decided I'd rather stay here, and help my friends solve mysteries!"
"What?!" exclaimed Daphne and Velma.
"What, indeed!" retorted the professor. "Are you telling me, young lady, that you're willing to forgo this unparalleled opportunity to be a member of the scientific team that definitively establishes that natural processes have contrived to re-evolve the dinosaur, which is indubitably what this creature will prove to be upon further examination?"
"Like, what did he just say?" asked Shaggy.
"I'm sorry, Professor," replied Sharon, "but I had a really fun time here with my friends, and I realize now that I want to spend more time with them."
"Gosh, Sharon, I think the professor really needs your help," said Daphne, "and I really think it would be a good idea if you went along with him. In fact, I insist you do."
"No, no," Sharon answered, "I'm definitely staying here, and … Daphne! Velma! Stop tying me mpfff!"
"I just wonder where you the idea, Sharon," remarked Velma conversationally, as she and Daphne lifted their bound and gagged captive, and carried her to the front passenger's seat of the van, where they buckled her in, "that someone so insufferably cute like yourself could just show up, and decide to join our gang!"
"Mpfff," replied Sharon furiously.
"Well, thanks for your help, Ms. Dinkley, Ms. Blake," acknowledged the professor as he climbed into the van. "Really, I don't know what I'd do if I didn't have Ms. Weatherby around to help me."
"And if you'll take our advice," suggested Daphne, "you'll keep her tied up until you arrive in Wales!"
"Mpfff!" protested Sharon.
"That I will!" agreed the professor eagerly. He started the engine. "Well, good-bye, everybody!"
"Good-bye! Good-bye!" shouted Freddy, Daphne, Velma, Shaggy, and Scooby-Doo. They continued waving good-bye until the navy-blue van disappeared from view.