::Shenzi from The Lion King and Lawhiney enters the stage, who are surrounded by fog, as Enigma's 'TNT For The Brain' is played, and the TV screen is showing clips of various mythical creatures from old books::
Shenzi: Good evening! I got a warning that this PG-13 rated speech!
::The audience laughs, and Lawhiney steps up to the podium::
Lawhiney: Just a joke! Me and Shenzi are going to present the nominated stories in the category for Best Mystery-Thriller! And the nominated are:
The Do-Nutters, Stainless Steel Rat
Nothing But a Gadget , Indy and Chris Silva
Gadget in Chains, Loneheart
Clarice Returns, Rachel
takes the envelope, then steals a nervous glance at Shenzi::
Lawhiney: I know you’re just waiting for me to drop my guard and you’re going to try to eat me…
Shenzi: So what’s your point?
Lawhiney: Uh, yeah. So anyway, our winner is…two of them! Indy and Chris for “Nothing But a Gadget” and Loneheart for “Gadget in Chains”!
::Indy and Chris Silva come out on stage, receiving the polite attention of the audience. Each one takes hold of an award statue as they reach the podium::
Indy: This story was a challenge for us in several ways, but once it came together we knew it was going to be a good one. The mystery element of it developed out of another story that didn't quite make it into print, but formed the foundation for this one.
Chris: Long ago we had an idea for a story about Gadget searching for her father and a story about Gadget being an android, neither was finished, but in time we managed to find a way to bring them to light by combining them. They were both good stories, and we're glad the community enjoyed them so much.
Indy: And the thriller was that it actually worked :-)
::Indy and Chris hold up their trophies as they pose for a celebratory picture and then head offstage. :: The lights dim. Stagehands place two large lit candles either side of the podium. A deep monastic chanting begins to echo around the room. The stage is very dark. A tall, thin, robed figure appears on the edge of the circle light cast by the candles as though it has just materialized out of nowhere. The figure steps to one side with his head bowed.
A moment later a second robed figure, shorter than the first appears in the same way. The second and medium sized figure looks up at the first one, his hood slipping enough to reveal a familiar red nose, the taller gestures impatiently at him to step aside. The medium figure does so, but trips on his robes and stumbles clumsily.
A third and even shorter figure appears where the first two
did. Only a large moustache is visible under the hood of his robe. The tall
figure glides over to the podium followed by the other two, who take up
positions on either side of him. The tall figure draws a card from the sleeve
of his robe and reads from it in a clear British accent::
Tall Robed Figure: Loneheart thanks everyone who voted for “Gadget in Chains” as best Mystery Thriller. He is only too aware that for most people, the mysteries are how it will all end and how long they will have to wait for the next part. In keeping with the *ahem* spirit, ah-ha, of the award, Loneheart has decided to accept it in a way that is mysterious and, we hope, thrilling.
::A sudden chill wind blows through
the auditorium. The robed figures look about them in surprise for the source of
the sudden gale. The candles blow out, plunging the stage into darkness. Almost
instantly the darkness is lifted by the electric lights coming back on. The
three figures stare at the empty space on the podium where the Golden Acorn for
Best Mystery Thriller 2005 was a moment ago in puzzlement. They look at each
Tall Robed Figure: Um. Yes. That would be a mystery all
right. I'd know one anywhere.
:The Shortest Robed Figure stands up on tiptoes and whispers in the Tall Robed Figure's ear. ::
Tall Robed Figure: No, I'm not solving it. I'm retired. Not
to mention expired. Now, let's leave them with a mystery of our own.
:: The Tall Robed Figure tucks his arms into the opposite sleeves of his robes and bows his head. Suddenly he seems to sink into the floor, leaving only his robes behind. The Short figure gives a quick, almost shy wave to Gadget in the audience, and vanishes like the Tall Figure, likewise leaving his robe in an Obi-Wan-Kenobi-esk heap on the floor. The medium figure looks about him in embarrassment and tries hopping up and down but remains highly visible on the stage. Finally the figure throws back his hood, revealing himself as Dale::
Dale: Hey, there aren't any trapdoors up here! How'd they do that?
::As Dale gathers up the robes of the other two figures and removes them from the stage he feels a slight chill. Somewhere in another dimension, a shadow's depth from reality, he is being watched::
Ratigan: AT LAST! My very own Golden Acorn! After three years of missing it by a whisker, Fidget!
Fidget: I hate to burst your bubble but the award for Best Villain hasn't been given out yet. That's the Golden Acorn for the best mystery.
Ratigan: But then I wouldn't have been able to snatch it from under that insufferable detective's nose! Ah, Basil… you're not nearly as quick as you once were. Besides who wants an award for being a villain? It just means that they know what you've done! But a successful crook leaves behind nothing but a mystery….