BEST FRIENDS FOR LIFE
A Scooby-Doo Story
NOTE: This one-shot set in the Scooby-Doo universe is a tribute to my friendship with Kelseyalicia, and also a birthday gift to her. I'm using Shaggy and Scooby naturally for this because of the everlasting friendship that they share. Despite being afraid of whatever happens, those two have each other's backs.
Copyright © 2022 by Philip Gipson.
SCOOBY-DOO: © & TM Hanna-Barbera.
In the not-so-quaint town of Coolsville, California, two individuals were relaxing and eating munchies and drinking smoothies while watching a marathon of sports on TV. Norville "Shaggy" Rogers and his best friend, the Great Dane known as Scooby-Doo, were sitting on Shaggy's couch absorbing as much as possible every sport. The two of them were a part of a group called Mystery, Inc., which solved mysteries that their local police couldn't. Shaggy and Scooby's other three friends on the team were natural-born leader Fred Jones, fashion-savvy Daphne Blake, and logical Velma Dinkley. Neither Shaggy nor Scooby liked it when the gang had to solve mysteries all the time, as they were always the superstitious type. Sometimes the two would be pursuaded with special snacks to continue - in Scooby's case, a Scooby Snack. At other times they would be used as bait to trap bogeys, and though the second option wouldn't always work the way the gang wanted it to, it got the job done nonetheless. But on days like this, Shaggy and Scooby were pretty grateful to not go mystery-solving. It was pretty exhausting work and could drive anybody crazy.
"Like, there's nothing like sports to take your mind off the world's troubles," proclaimed Shaggy proudly. "They can really inspire you to do plenty. Right, Scooby, old buddy?"
"Reah, Raggy," agreed Scooby with a nod. "Inspiration is the greatest."
"And the best thing about sports is, it's always important to keep your mind, body, and spirit in sync," Shaggy continued.
"Rabsolutely," said Scooby.
Before they could continue with their relaxation, the duo could hear a thump coming from outside the house. "Zoinks!" exclaimed Shaggy, using his famous catchphrase for whenever danger was afoot. He pressed mute on the sports to make sure that he and Scooby weren't hearing things. When they used their ears to make sure, seemingly nothing happened.
"Like, do you suppose it's our neighbors next door making that noise?" Shaggy asked Scooby.
"Ri don't know, Raggy," replied Scooby.
"I'll, uh, tell them to keep it down just in case," Shaggy stated nervously as he got up.
And then there was another thump, this time louder than the last. Shaggy and Scooby immediately became scared, Scooby jumping into Shaggy's arms and shaking and shivering.
"R-r-rit must be a ghost rehind rhis," Scooby said fearfully.
"L-l-like, let's check it out anyway, Scoob," Shaggy replied. "I j-j-just want this to be over with."
"R-r-rokay," agreed Scooby.
Shaggy put down Scooby, and the both of them decided to go outside to investigate the source of the noise. What they saw shocked them to the core - it was a black-haired boy on the sidewalk with a soccer ball on the ground. He was wearing a yellow sweater, beige pants, and lime-green shoes. He felt angry about something, which was why he mustered all of his energy into his third kick. Shaggy and Scooby thought the boy was aiming at them, so they ducked. However, the boy's third kick destroyed the top window that contained Shaggy and Scooby's room. It looked like the duo was safe...for the moment. When they and the boy stared each other down, it was not very pleasant.
"What do you want from me?" the boy asked in a demanding tone. He didn't seem to care if he destroyed a piece of someone else's property; he just was so angry.
Shaggy, despite his fear, had a fondness for helping out young children, so he politely responded, "Like, my friend Scooby-Doo and I would like to know what's got you so furious all of a sudden."
"Rof rourse," added Scooby with a nod.
"I know about you guys. Everybody does," the boy snarled. "You're just gonna dismiss me. Nobody's gonna care what it is I have to say."
"Like, we care," Shaggy assured. "Scooby and I have a special way of helping out others like yourself. What's got you so down?"
"I...I..." The boy was nervous being in front of a teen and dog who were famous across town along with their friends. He struggled to get his words out. His sadness replaced his anger then, and he closed his eyes and clenched his fists, tears filling up his eyes. Finally he said to Shaggy and Scooby, "I got into a fight with my best friend. He and his family are gonna be moving away to another state. They're not knee deep in debt or anything. I begged him to stay, to convince him that we have memories here, but his mind's made up. We aren't even talking to each other right now."
Shaggy and Scooby felt their hearts shatter at the thought of this child not being friends with another. They knew more than anyone what the power of friendship could do. With as much gusto as he could muster, Shaggy asked the child, "Like, what's your name?"
"My name..." the boy struggled to say as he wiped his tears with his left sweater arm, "...my name is Benson Davis."
"Rit's a reasure to meet you, Renson," greeted Scooby.
"What Scooby said," Shaggy added." "And, like, what's your friend's name?"
"It's Carter," Benson replied. "He and I have been best friends for a long time. Both of our families happen to be neighbors."
"That's pretty awesome, Benson," complimented Shaggy. "Say, how about you take us to where your friend lives? Let Scooby and I clean up first and then you can lead the way."
"Y-you're actually willing to help me out?" Benson asked with a surprised look on his face.
"It's as I said - Scooby and I have a special way of helping people," replied Shaggy with a smile. This put a smile on Benson's own face to know that two people were on his side.
Without wasting time, Shaggy and Scooby got to work on cleaning up inside their house (they ate/drank as much as they could), and Shaggy turned off his TV. Then Benson took the duo to the house that was across Shaggy's.
When the three arrived, Shaggy asked Benson, "Like, are you sure you're feeling up to this, Benson?"
"It's the right thing to do," Benson answered despite shaking a little, "even if it hurts."
"Re've rot your rack always," Scooby encouraged the boy. "Rest riends are forever, after all."
Benson turned briefly to Shaggy and Scooby and back to the door to Carter's house. He pressed the doorbell and waited for Carter to answer. After what seemed like a minute, Carter's parents - a man with strawberry-blonde hair wearing a fuscia shirt, light-blue jeans, and black-and-white socks and a woman with brown hair wearing a grey shirt, teal pants, and mustard-yellow socks - answered the door. They saw not only Benson, but Shaggy and Scooby as well.
"Gosh, Benson," Carter's dad said first. "We weren't aware that you brought along two of this town's most famous mystery-solvers with you."
"Like, hey there, Carter's dad," Shaggy greeted. "Benson told us what happened between the two of them. Is Carter here?"
"He's in his room sulking," Carter's mom replied. "He doesn't feel like talking to anyone right now."
"Please, Mr. and Mrs. Mathers," begged Benson. "I don't want Carter and I's story to end like this. I need to make things right with him."
"Reah, rat's right," agreed Scooby.
Mr. and Mrs. Mathers looked at each other, thinking about Carter's feelings and the lifelong friendship between him and Benson. It truly broke their hearts to see their son in a sour mood. Perhaps Benson, Shaggy, and Scooby's arrival would somewhat brighten things up.
"You can come in, Benson," Mr. Mathers finally answered. "But, uh...could you keep these two a surprise?" He pointed to Shaggy and Scooby. "We don't wanna upset Carter any more than we have to."
"Like, say no more, Mr. Mathers," Shaggy beamed. "Scooby-Doo and I know all about camouflage. Don't we, Scoob?"
"Re certainry do, Raggy," Scooby replied with a nod.
"You three are true lifesavers," complimented Mrs. Mathers. "Carter needs all the help he can get if he needs to move forward with his life."
The Matherses let Benson, Shaggy, and Scooby inside, with the latter two hurriedly hiding out in the Matherses' basement.
"They sure don't waste any time, do they?" chuckled Mr. Mathers.
"Well..." Benson said, taking a deep breath and trying to put on a brave face, "...here goes nothing." He went upstairs all the way to the door that led to Carter's room. He didn't dare to open it because he knew that Carter would still be upset with him. So he decided on the next best thing - sit down by the door and explain himself to Carter, and hope for the best.
"Hey, Carter. I know you're not ready to talk to me after what happened with us before. But I refuse to leave things as they are between us. You don't have to talk; you just have to listen. We've been there for each other through thick and thin, through good and bad times. We could always count on one another to keep the faith. There was nothing that could possibly stand in our way. I was just a stranger when my parents and I moved here, and I'd always get picked on for just being myself. But you...you saw something in me that no one except my parents could. For that I'll be forever grateful to you."
Shaggy and Scooby were keeping a low profile in the Matherses' basement. Shaggy was sitting on the floor while Scooby was sitting on all four paws. They had a backup plan in place, courtesy of the recording device installed in Scooby's "SD" collar tag by Velma. Shaggy was inwardly grateful Velma came up with such an idea and that it was only used for private situations. The tag on Scooby's collar was glowing and recording audio of what Benson was saying to Carter, and Scooby and Shaggy were carefully listening.
"I'm just worried that, if you leave, I'll end up getting bullied by everybody or worse," Benson continued through the audio. "I've always been afraid of myself. My parents knew me better than I knew myself. They never talked down to be on self-worth and self-care. I've tried my best to do both. You're the only real friend I can ever have. You see the good in people, even if some people don't deserve it. I hate that we've come to a standstill...but I also know that everything in life is risky, including friendship. And real friends should always support each other no matter what. A part of me wants you to stay, but as a friend, I do want you to be happy. We both deserve to be happy. So even though it'll take me time to get used to long distance, you've got every right to spread your wings. Nothing should matter more than happiness. I hope you know that."
Benson's confession to Carter moved Shaggy and Scooby to tears. Yes, the latter two were naturally afraid of things, but what they were afraid of the most was their own friendship deteriorating.
"Like, wow," Shaggy said, his voice cracking. "That's really deep stuff Benson unloaded."
"Reah," agreed a sniffling Scooby. "Really deep stuff."
Benson got up after saying his peace, turned around, and was ready to go back downstairs, hoping that his words would be enough to get through to Carter. But suddenly he heard the door open, and it revealed a boy with shoulder-length brown hair wearing a sleeveless sky-blue shirt, mahogany pants, and orange-and-black socks. This was Carter Mathers, Benson's lifelong friend. Benson turned around, feeling all sorts of emotions when facing Carter.
"Hey there, Benson," Carter began. "I heard everything that you said, and I don't like how we left things either. We mean so much to one another. No friendship is worth destroying. And you're right - real friends should always stand by each other. I'll always be grateful for the bond we have. Also, thanks for giving your blessing about me leaving. We can always keep in touch through our cell phones."
Benson, still overcome with emotion, went up to Carter and hugged him, tears flowing down his face. He cried, "Thank you so much, Carter. I'm starting to feel hopeful again."
Carter hugged Benson in return, his own tears forming. He responded, "No problem, pal. The power of friendship can overcome anything that comes its way."
When both boys stopped hugging, they faced each other again. "So are you up to talking to your parents now?" asked Benson.
"I'm ready now," replied Carter. "There's no sense in putting it off any longer."
With a smile and a nod, Benson said, "Okay then. Let's go."
The two boys went downstairs to see Carter's parents with renewed courage. Both of them were ready for whatever challenges lay ahead. As they saw his parents, Carter noticed two additional people in his house - Shaggy Rogers and Scooby-Doo of Mystery, Inc. Scooby's collar tag already stopped glowing after Benson's confession.
"No way!" Carter exclaimed with excitement. "You guys are really here?!"
"Like, in the flesh, little man," replied Shaggy with bravado and gestured to Benson. "Benson here told Scooby-Doo and I all about your friendship problem and felt like he could use some support."
"Rexactly," Scooby added. "Best friends should always stand by each other, no matter what."
"Hehehe," chuckled Benson. "That's exactly what Carter and I said, and we totally agree."
"I still can't believe that you guys are here," Carter said to Shaggy and Scooby. "You look like you're really close as friends."
"You bet we are, Carter," Shaggy beamed with pride. "Scooby and I have been best buds for a very long time, and since we met Fred, Velma, and Daphne to form Mystery, Inc., our friendship continues to thrive."
"I wanna thank you two for coming to my aid when you did," Benson praised. "If you hadn't, I'd have gone off the deep end for sure."
Carter added, "And Benson and I owe you so much for saving our friendship. You've reminded us that no matter how far apart we are, we'll always have each other."
"We're pretty glad to hear that," said Shaggy.
"Likewise," Scooby added.
"And, uh...I'm sorry about destroying part of your property," Benson said a bit sheepishly. "I was just completely frustrated with myself."
"No worries, Benson," assured Shaggy. "Scooby and I confront the unexpected a whole lot. We'll have the window in our attic fixed soon. No one got hurt today, after all."
"I suppose not," chucked Benson.
"It's so great that you and Benson were able to patch things up so quickly and so smoothly, Carter," Mr. Mathers commented.
"Even though we'll be moving to another state, none of us will ever forget this moment," Mrs. Mathers said with a slight smile. To Shaggy and Scooby she asked, "Is there any way we can repay you boys?"
"Actually, Mrs. Mathers, I know of a perfect way to end today," Shaggy replied, he and Scooby giving each other a wink.
After retrieving Benson's soccer ball from Shaggy's attic, he and Scooby decided to play a game of soccer on the sidewalk with Benson and Carter, with Carter's parents, Fred, Daphne, and Velma watching from the sidelines. It was a joyous time for all parties involved. Scooby and Shaggy were sports buffs, as were Benson and Carter. Both duos were simply having the time of their lives before the Matherses planned their leave from Coolsville. It was during this time that Benson and Carter felt even more assured that their bond would never be destroyed, long distance or not. Scooby and Shaggy felt great knowing that they were there for the latter duo. When the four got done, the Matherses finally were ready to leave. They gathered every belonging they could find and placed them in suitcases, and then Mr. Mathers phoned an uber. When that uber arrived, the family placed their suitcases in the back of the uber's trunk. Mystery, Inc. and Benson bade the Matherses goodbye, with Carter and Benson giving each other a thumb up. And off their uber went, into the unknown.
To Mystery, Inc., Benson said while holding his soccer ball, "It's nice to see the five of you gathered together all at once. It wouldn't have been right for just two members of Mystery, Inc. to help me see the Matherses off."
"The pleasure's all ours, Benson," responded Fred. "Helping and supporting others applies to our mystery-solving routine as well."
"Knowing what Shaggy and Scooby did for you and Carter warms all of our hearts," Daphne added. "They understand the power of friendship more than anyone."
"It's a pretty good thing you and Scooby stopped what you did to help out two boys in need, Shaggy," Velma said. "We're all proud of you two."
"Like, really, it was nothing," Shaggy said bashfully. "There's nothing that matters more than helping out those who really need help."
"Rat's right, Raggy," Scooby replied.
"Well, I need to be heading home myself," Benson said to the group. "This was indeed a great day. Thank you all, especially Scooby and Shaggy."
"You're welcome," the gang chorused.
"Catch you guys later!" Benson called as he raced back to his house.
Now it was just the gang. Although a friendship had been saved from destruction, there was just one more problem to solve.
"So, like, when do we repair the crack in my house?" Shaggy joked, causing everyone to laugh. It was a joke well deserved.
"Scooby-Dooby-Doo!" Scooby howled excitedly.