A recent conversation got me thinking of where the Hardy Boys might be today…

“Frank and Joe sat in their Chevy Nova across from the Stagnant Arms Motel. Empty Cheetos bags littered the floor of the car and Frank was tentatively sipping his 44 oz. Super Big Gulp of Mountain Dew trying to figure out whether his bladder could wait until their quarry emerged from Room 262. Joe leaned his head against the passenger-side window and wondered if Frank was ever going to let him drive again.

He had accidentally backed over Frank’s girlfriend, Callie Shaw, three years earlier while solving the Mystery of the Bounced Checks, breaking her leg in five places. It had been an honest mistake. He had been distracted by Chet Morton who had him in a head-lock and was attempting to give him a “noogy” at the time of the accident. (Joe had given up on asking Chet to stop giving him noogies quite a while ago. Every time he made the request, Chet would give him a wedgie, so now he just sat there and let it happen. An awful lot of Joe’s life seemed like that now. He just sat there and let it happen.) But even after countless lectures on driveway safety, Frank still wouldn’t let Joe behind the wheel.

Frank sat up abruptly and muttered, “Hey, Mario Andretti, there he is.”

Oscar Smuff stood outside of Room 262 straightening his tie. Behind him, in the doorway, stood a short, stocky forty-something redhead in acid-wash jeans and a Def Leppard T-Shirt.

“Start taking pictures, Speed Racer,” Frank growled, slugging Joe in the arm.

“Darn it, Frank,” Joe winced, as he rifled through the pile of Maxim magazines and candy wrappers that lay on the seat between them looking for the disposable camera that he’d purchased at Wal-Mart the day before. “I’m trying to.”

He finally found the camera and started snapping pictures as fast as he could, but he had to pause after each snap to advance the film with his thumb. By the time Oscar Smuff had made it down the stairs and into his car Joe had only been able to get two, maybe three, decent pictures. They were so far away that he didn’t think Mrs. Smuff would be able to recognize her husband anyway, let alone the bimbo who had been standing behind him.

“Great camera work, Mr. Blind Spot, ” Frank sneered as he pulled out to follow Smuff’s car, signalling properly and merging smoothly with the flow of traffic while obeying all traffic laws and making sure not to surpass the posted speed limit in the pursuit.

— From The Hardy Boys and the Mystery of the Fleabag Motel