When I first met Scrappy Doo, it was in the kitchen of his 1-bedroom apartment. After letting me through the front door, he sat me down at a small, plastic folding table that functioned as a dining table, before shuffling over to give me a chipped mug of tea.
He put one paw on the stool across from me and tried to pull himself up, before trying again with the other paw, the knee, the tail, then going back first, before finally collapsing on the ground, clearly defeated. I wasn’t sure if I should help him or leave him be. This was his apartment, after all. Why in God’s name did he buy a stool he’s unable to use? Finally, I grabbed him by the scruff of his scrappy wool jumper, like a claw machine, and lifted him to seat.
He mumbled out what could loosely be interpreted as gratitude. In the silence that followed, we both sipped our tea, unable to figure out who should speak first. Scrappy was the first to interject. “So…. Mister… what do you wanna know about SSSSScrappyyyy-DOOOO?”
Scrappy proceeded to tell me everything. “W-w-when I was young,” he started, lighting his third cigarette of the evening, “I travelled with my uncle, Scooby. Back then, I was young, innocent, excited. I wanted to see the woooorld through his eyes. He had his own gang. Fred, Shaggy, Velma, and Daphne, oh Daphne! I was in love with Daphne, I’ll admit it – but w-w-w-hat can I say? I was but a pup, and I couldn’t stop wagging my tail when she was around. But the older I got, the more I realised that the adventures weren’t adventures for me. I was the butt of every joke, the scrap at the end of every table. They named me SSSSScrappy DOOOOOO, for crying out loud.“
As tears formed in his eyes, I passed Scrappy a napkin that he quickly dabbed his face with.
“Yes, thank you, now I think I can continue. As I said, as I got older, I realised that the chronic abuse, belittling, and mockery were at my expense, and no one else’s! Even my uncle Scoob, even Scoob! He was the ringleader! He made me suffer! So, I tried to leave. As we drove from abandoned amusement park to abandoned amusement park, stayed in haunted mansion to haunted mansion, each night I’d sneak out, try to get away. But each night, I would run into a ghost, or an old insurance salesman, or a vampire one time, and be forced back to the mystery gang.”
Scrappy paused to compose himself. He continued with, “I realised I couldn’t leave, and that I was trapped in the pile of filth they called the Mystery Machine, listening to their drug fueled debauchery night after night. So, I devised a plan. I would do the unthinkable. My beloved Daphne, my wonderful beloved Daphne, the only pure heart in that snake pit. I peed on her, soiled her clothing, hoping that at last, through hatred and disgust, I might be freed. But oh! You know what they did? You know how they treated me, a young pup, held against his will? They left me in the middle of the Arizona desert, sun blazing overhead. It was a miracle that I survived. A miracle, that I’m sitting with you right now.”
“And I’ll admit I’ve committed crimes in my past. I know that I served 25 years for attempted murder, and I know the darkness that sits inside me, but what would you have done? I spent years rebuilding my life, starting a resort island business, making myself my own slice of the American Dream. It’s hard out there for a 1 foot 8 guy like me. I needed heavy cosmetics just so people would take me seriously. And you know who I see through the front door? Those fucks. The mystery gang. My estranged abusers, kidnappers, my worst nightmare. What would you have done in my shoes, what would you have done, I ask?”
We continued to talk as the night went on, but the passion and fire I saw in Scrappy-Doo was clear. It was anger, righteous and bright, furious. So powerful. By the time I left his apartment, it was dark. I could see the neon sign of a bar reflected in the oily sheen of a New York puddle below. As I turned up the collar of my trench coat, I could hear the faint jazz drifting over on the wind.
We all know Scrappy-Doo, the murderer, terrorist, cult leader. But perhaps that was just one side of the story? Perhaps he’s like the rest of us: a flawed hero, traumatized, hurt, struggling, battling with his own demons as must as the unjust world around him. I lit a cigarette, and walked across the street. I hoped that maybe, just maybe, by sharing his story, I could make that pup’s tail wag a little once more.