Keyop heard the door swish open to their private wing of the Command Center and looked up from his video game. He watched Jason walk in, his face as blank as a zombie’s, his eyes glazed over. He walked over and sat down on the couch beside the boy.
Keyop frowned, but didn’t take his eyes off the screen. “I thought you had a date with that red head you picked up at the J,” he said, zapping the alien on the TV screen.
“Her dog talks.” Jason’s voice was a monotone, like that of a person in shock.
“Huh?” Keyop blasted another alien.
“He offered me a piece of pizza.”
Keyop froze and looked at Jason out of the corner of his eye. “A dog offered you a pizza?” he asked. Jason nodded, his eyes locked on the TV screen.
“A very big dog. It was pepperoni.” His voice was still monotone, no inflection in it at all.
A large grin broke out over Keyop’s face. He turned off his game and leaped from the couch, running for the hallway off to the right, which led to their separate bedrooms.
“Princess, you gotta come here!” he bellowed, rubbing his hands together like the cat that had cornered the canary. He glanced over his shoulder to make sure Jason hadn’t moved.
“I’m busy!” she called back through her slightly ajar door.
“Jason’s finally lost it!”
“What?” Princess’ head and upper body poked out from her bedroom door, half of her long, dark hair piled up in curlers on the top of her head.
“Jason’s finally gone looney,” he told her, bouncing up and down with glee.
“Jason’s on a date,” she reminded him. Keyop shook his head.
“Not anymore.” He pointed back towards the living room. Princess looked around him to see Jason sitting forlornly on the couch, staring off to nowhere. “He said a dog offered him a pepperoni pizza.”
Princess frowned and reluctantly followed her little brother back into the large living room. She walked over to Jason, wondering why he looked shell shocked. She gave Keyop a worried look and sat down beside their gunner.
“Jason, I thought you were out with that red head you met at the J last night,” she said, watching him closely.
“I went to her house to pick her up, like she said,” he told her, still staring at the now black TV, his voice still without emotion. “She wasn’t ready yet, so I sat on the couch to wait for her. She has a dog. This big freaking dog. He sat down in front of me and asked if I wanted some pizza. Pepperoni pizza.”
“A dog asked if you wanted some pizza?” Princess repeated. Jason nodded and Keyop mouthed ‘I told you so’. She reached out and grabbed the boy’s shirt sleeve and yanked him over close, whispering in his ear. “Go get the Chief and Mark,” she instructed. Keyop ran out of the room. Jason didn’t even seem to notice.
“Jason, dogs can’t talk,” she told the Condor as gently as she could. He finally turned to look at her.
“This one does,” he said as if in warning. “I told him no, so he went out into the kitchen and came back with a pizza box in his mouth. He dropped it on the coffee table.”
Princess could hear Keyop coming back, loudly declaring Jason was a candidate for the white coat that had lots of ties attached to it. A moment later, Mark and the Chief entered the room, followed by Keyop.
“Jason, tell them about the talking dog,” Keyop implored, merriment in his eyes.
Mark eyed his second warily when he saw the vacant look in his normally expressive eyes and the Chief watched with amused tolerance to whatever game he thought was being played.
Jason related what he’d told Princess so far. Both Mark and the Chief began to look at each other in concern.
“Then he opened the box and sat on the couch beside me and offered me a piece again before devouring the whole thing.”
“Jason, did you drink anything while you were there?” the Chief wanted to know, reaching into the inside pocket of his jacket for a pen light.
“No, but the dog ate the pizza sitting on the couch just like this,” Jason motioned to himself, “and picked up the pizza with his paws, folded it in half and then half again,” he said, mimicking grabbing a pizza, folding it and eating it. “Then he asked me if I wanted any apple pie.”
“Apple pie?” Mark asked, his worried expression getting worse by the moment.
The Chief moved around to stand in front of Jason. He reached down to tilt Jason’s head up and shined the flashlight into his eyes one at a time.
“Yeah. He went back out into the kitchen and came back in with his apple pie,” Jason continued. “He sat down on the couch with me again and he ate it too.”
“You’re not drunk or on drugs, at least as far as I can tell without a blood test,” the Chief declared, frowning.
Jason looked between the two men. “Then the dog went and put on an apron and started dusting. He was singing the whole time.”
“Uh, Jase? I think you need a vacation,” Mark said, glancing at the Chief. Anderson nodded and they both reached down to take hold of Jason’s arms, lifting him from the couch.
“Vacation?” Jason’s head turned back and forth between them as they started to guide him towards the door. His eyes snapped, suddenly as alert as ever. “Wait a minute. You don’t believe me.”
“Sure we do,” Mark drawled, looking at Princess as he made circles with his index finger around his ear.
“No you don’t!” Jason stopped dead. “Daphne’s dog talks. I swear! I’m not nuts!”
“Come on, Jason. I’m sure you’ve just been working too hard. You need a few days to rest.” Anderson tugged on his adopted son’s arm. Jason resisted, digging his heels in.
“I’m telling the truth! The dog talks. He even said his name was Scooby Doo!”
“Come along.” Mark and the Chief applied pressure and got Jason moving again, even as he began to yell, swearing he was just fine.
Daphne stared morosely at the couch before sitting down on it and reaching for the phone. She didn’t understand why Jason had left. She hadn’t been that long and Scooby had been there to keep him company. Scooby…she turned towards the entrance to the kitchen.
“Scooby, are you sure Jason didn’t say where he was going?” she asked. The Great Dane in question stuck his head out from around the corner.
“Uh-huh,” he said before retreating. Daphne could hear the pantry door being opened as she dialed the phone.
“Hi. Velma speaking,” came over the other end of the line.
“Velma, it’s me,” she said forlornly, her shoulders slumping. “It happened again.”
“What happened?” the brains behind Mystery Inc asked.
“My date disappeared.”
“The guy you picked up at the J last night?” Velma asked. Daphne nodded even though her friend couldn’t see her.
“Yeah. His name was Jason.”
“Daph, Scooby wasn’t there, was he?” Velma asked.
Velma sighed heavily. “How many times do I have to tell you to wait a few dates before you introduce Scooby Doo? A lot of people get freaked out by a talking dog.”
“I know, but I thought he’d be different.” Daphne looked morosely at the dog in question as he loped into the living room with a bowl full of ice cream. “I guess I’m just stuck with Freddy.”
“It could be worse. You could be stuck with Shaggy.” Daphne laughed at Velma’s joke and said good night. She looked at Scooby and pointed a finger at him.
“No more meeting my dates.”
“Ahhh,” the dog drawled and then giggled. “Scooby Doo!”