::The camera opens on a wide shot of Stan Blather, standing
in front of the New York Metropolitan Opera House::
Stan: Good evening, one and all, and welcome to the second annual Golden Acorn awards! I’m Stan Blather, and this ceremony promises to be packed with excitement and wonder. The best of Rangerphile talent is represented here tonight, along with Rangerphiles from across the planet and dozens of guests as well as all the millions of people watching the show live. Katie Courier is at the red-carpeted entrance, where the guests are arriving. Katie?
::The scene switches to black limousines in the foreground, stopping in front of the elegant entrance to the Met. Katie is in a sparkling white evening gown, standing near the curb::
Katie: Thanks, Stan. Tonight marks the most special night for the Rangerphile community all year. Anticipation’s been running high and—oh, here comes one of them now.
::The J.A.M. gets out of his limo, the Mexican jaguar dressed in a custom-fitted tuxedo::
Katie: And here’s The J.A.M., one of the big winners from the 2002 awards. Excuse me?
::The J.A.M. stops next to Katie, doffing his black silk
Katie: Last year was the “year of the jaguar”. What do you have to say about the speculation that tonight will be the “year of the fish”?
::The J.A.M. smiles contentedly at the idea::
J.A.M.: Fiiiiish…oh uh, I think that it would be great to see him win. I just hope he knows the number for the nearest U-Haul if he does!
::The J.A.M. goes on inside and the camera focuses on Katie::
Katie: That’s the way things are out there, Stan. Are you inside yet?
::The scene switches to the interior, where Stan Blather is standing just inside the entryway doors. Behind him are all the award trophies for the Golden Acorn awards, including the huge All-Time Best awards that are on permanent display. Just visible to his left are the stairs that lead up to the second floor balcony or mezzanine::
Stan: I sure am, Katie. The guest list this year is long and varied. Ah, here comes some more guests…
::Flora and Steve Nutcracker, both in their regular attire, walk across the red carpet into the entrance of the Met. Stan approaches them for an interview::
Stan: Can I have a moment of this cute couple’s time?
Steve: Sure! Anything for our fans out there.
::Flora elbows Steve a bit annoyed.::
Flora: Just because this place is all glitter and glamour does not mean the visitors are.
Steve: You’re beautiful when you’re angry.
Flora (rolling her eyes): What did I ever see in you?
::Steve takes her hands and politely kisses her.::
Flora: Ah, I remember now.
::Stan fumbles with his tie and clears his throat.::
Stan: So, did you come to receive or present awards, or just watch?
Flora: We can’t tell you that. Orders from Indy.
::Flora playfully presses Stan’s nose, making him blush and fidget with his handkerchief.::
Stan: Eh, sorry about that. I have little experience with Magical Female Power™. Anyway, are you two nervous about the ceremony?
Flora: Nah, just excited.
Stan: Also, I read you are pregnant, Flora. Congratulations. But how is it possible you still look so slender?
Flora: That’s because I’m a written character, just like you are. This whole universe is a result of the imagination of some twisted mind that writes how we live our day-to-day life, from what we eat for breakfast, to our love relationships. Someone up there is currently typing at his keyboard what the two of us will say to each other, how we express ourselves and how we look.
Steve: I don’t know where that stroke of philosophy came from, but I think it’s better that we move along now.
::Steve escorts Flora toward the series of large white doors in front of them that lead to the main auditorium where the ceremony is taking place. The camera focuses on Stan again.::
Stan: Just like she said, I too have the feeling someone was controlling me while I was interviewing her.
::Stan walks through the nearest door, just to the right of the trophy display, and enters the main auditorium::
Stan: This year’s awards ceremony isn’t quite as large as last year’s, but the awards committee felt that last year’s needed to make up for the long gap between award ceremonies. Also, the international awards were not scheduled this year due to an inability to sufficiently organize an international committee. So for now, the 54 awards given out tonight represent all Rangerphiles everywhere. That’s all for now, folks. We’ll rejoin you after the ceremony ends, so prepare to get comfortable and enjoy the second Golden Acorn awards…
(Emcee’s note: Our guest story villain for the evening, Fat Cat, is represented in the storyline from the “Untold Ranger Tales”. He has a domineering wife, Chubbi, and nicely-mannered sons named Husky and Portly. The goon squad is still with him, save for Mepps who left him and is now an apprentice under Detective Drake.)
::A few blocks away from the theater, in a middle class home that one might see on any corner of any street in America, in a hall utility closet next to the kitchen, a flashlight illuminates the darkness. The yellowish beam glows down on a large piece of paper, which allows the light to bounce up and hit four villainish faces. The biggest of these belongs to a certain tubby feline of the Rangers’ acquaintance, and he snickers wickedly, pointing to the paper::
Fat Cat: Nyah, hah ha! Okay, you micro-brained morons, this plan is so simple that even you can understand it. We’re going to the Golden Acorn awards, and we’re going to succeed where those miserable miscreants Sewernose and Nimnul failed last year.
Snout: We’re going to win Best Villain?
Fat Cat: No, you simpleton! We’re going to infiltrate, bide our time, and commit the crime of the new century! It’ll be a piece of cake!
Mole: We’re stealing a piece of cake? Goodie!
Fat Cat: Would you get candy out of that empty head of yours! We’re not stealing candy. We’re going to steal all of those lovely big trophies that they keep on permanent display at the Met. Just think, last year they were only after one of them. But now we’ll make off with them all and sell them for more money than we can count! Haha!
Wart: Oh, that’s a terrific plan, Fat Cat. But what about Detective Drake, and well…Mepps?
::Fat Cat winces at that. Since their dealings with Klordane in Limbo, Mepps has left the team and has been under the tutelage of Detective Donald Drake. The crime kitty knew well that Mepps and Drake would be at the ceremony::
Fat Cat: Mepps is a fool. He’ll be a ball and chain around Drake’s leg, making it all the easier for us.
Mole: Um, say Fat Cat, why are we planning the crime of the latest century in your broom closet?
::His voice falls to a whisper::
Fat Cat: Because if my dear wife finds out about it, she’ll have me scrubbing dishes for a month! Chubbi must not know we’re planning on going to the Golden Acorn Awards.
::From outside the door the partners in crime hear a squeal of delight. Chubbi, Fat Cat’s wife, opens the closet door eagerly. Fat Cat and his goons are dressed in tuxedos, befitting the place they’re going to::
Fat Cat: Fluffikins! Why, we had no idea you were nearby!
::Chubbi kisses Fat Cat on the cheek::
Chubbi: Oh, you didn’t need to hide, sweetums. And weren’t you all thoughtful to try to keep this a surprise? Oh merciful heavens! I’ve just got time to get the children and myself ready!
This will be a night none of us will forget.
::Fat Cat watches her ascend the stairs, then cackles evilly::
Fat Cat: Particularly me! Ha ha ha ha ha ha!