Flat Stanley investigates Velma’s murder by Jennifer Howard

Flat Stanley investigates Velma’s murder and also what it means that her knee-high socks score a C on the Zettai Ryouiki scale. According to the cartoon footage, Velma was scared to death by a projection of a sheet-ghost calling the recorded hoot of an owl, but he suspects she was beaten and left in a national park. The ideal ratio of skirt to thigh to sock is 4:1:2.5, which means very tall socks, leaving bare a sufficiently suggestive absolute territory of thigh. Velma’s skirt is short, but her socks aren’t tall enough to mark her as sexy. Maybe this made her murderer angry. Or something else: Velma’s turtleneck covered up offensive pudge, her glasses (her glasses!) signaled prissy elitist booksmarts. Socks that extend over the knee are ideal, but a woman can be murdered either way. Flat Stanley googles why do men murder women. Men murder women they love and women who are strangers because they cooked badly and said the wrong name during sex and let the dog chew up something important and the baby cried or she looked over his shoulder while they were kissing at maybe some other man who was there or not there or they got lost on a dirt road and they looked like his babysitter or they said no. A woman’s job – Flat Stanley learns – is to keep the world tidy against annoyances. But jinkies, he thinks, the world is very little besides a pile of annoyances, dude! In the reboot, thank goodness for a reboot, Velma is alive again and working at NASA, returning one episode – same socks, same glasses, but a little more slender, maybe nearing adorkable status – to help Scooby and Scrappy investigate a haunting at the White House. She never marries. When she burns dinner, he hopes and hopes, she laughs it off all alone. She orders pizza, but she asks the delivery boy to please leave the box on her stoop, and only after he drives off she does step out onto the porch in her robe.

Jennifer A. Howard teaches and edits Passages North in Michigan’s snowy Upper Peninsula. Her collection of flash sci-fi, You on Mars, was published by The Cupboard Pamphlet.

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