Best Characterization of the Rangers
Batorious' voice sounds from the speakers.
Batorious: And now, like the previous two years, the award for Best Characterization of the Rangers will be given away by a Rangerphile...::
::The stage lights are switched off, only a number of fluorescent tubes spread a certain purplish light, and a projector shoots an image like a starry sky against the stage's backdrop::
::The speaker system plays the song Midnight Man by Flash & the Pan while from among the spectators a tall, dark-haired mouse heads for the stage. He is clad in a pair of black pants, a black shirt, a white dinner jacket, and a white tie. However, due to the so-called black light, only the latter two and his eyeballs behind his glasses are visible. The very moment he reaches the podium, a spotlight is turned on and almost blinds him::
Midnight: Oww! Uh... haven't I told you guys to fire that thing up before I turn to the audience? Anyway, ladies and gentlemen, fellow Rangerphiles, the next award is—as you've already been told—the Best Characterization of the Rangers award. I won't give it away all alone, though. I've been promised to have someone very special at my side tonight, someone with whom I'm gonna celebrate my own first anniversary at the Café which will be as soon as the clock strikes midnight.
::The audience laughs::
Midnight: Yeah, right, very funny, a pun on my name. Now everybody, here's the cuteness overload...
::The Gadgephiles wolf-whistle::
Midnight: No, not that one, the other cuteness overload.
::The Tammyphiles wolf-whistle::
Midnight: No, not that one either! Ladies and gentlemen, Miss Dawn van Zant!
::A spotlight follows Dawn as she comes from the audience and enters the stage in a black dress with a white collar which serves as a neck-holder. Lady Of The Dawn by Mike Batt plays in the background and cues as she stops next to Midnight::
Midnight: Dawn, I'm glad you agreed to do this presentation together with me to-...
::Midnight is rudely interrupted by another song playing from the speakers, "Dream On" by Aerosmith. Another spotlight illuminates another mouse entering the stage from the right. She looks almost exactly like Gadget, but she is wearing a typical archaeologist's outfit like the one Katy Dodd from TaleSpin wears::
Midnight: Okayyy... when I said I wanted Dawn van Zant with me on stage, I didn't mean that I wanted as many Dawn van Zants as possible and then some. Don't misunderstand me, people, I appreciate being surrounded by beautiful mousettes, but this is a bit, well, random. I guess that's what Rangerphiles get who insist in doing a presentation themselves. Anyhow, ladies and gentleman, Miss Dawn van Zant! Yet another one...
Ms. van Zant: Sorry for being a bit late, but I've just arrived from an expedition. I've retrieved this ancient Russian Cossack mouse saber.
::Ms. van Zant holds up the saber::
Midnight: (to Ms. van Zant) Thank you, Dawn, your apologies are accepted.
Dawn: Midnight, didn't you say to me that I'm one of a kind?
Midnight: (to Dawn) C'mon, Dawn, what does she have in common with you?
Dawn: My name, the color of my hair and my eyes, we both have our similiarities with Gadget... Are there any differences between her and me?
Midnight: For example, you've got shorter hair and your own hairdo while she's got Gadget's. Besides, she shouldn't even be here, I mean, she's from a fictional place, heck, she's from a dream of Gadget's, she's not real herself.
Ms. van Zant: Oh, so I'm not real, huh?
::A Gadgephile in the audience shouts, "GADGEEEEEEEEEEET!!!" Ms. van Zant gets out her blowgun, slips a tranq dart into it and aims at the Gadgephile to make him shut up, but Midnight pushes the blowgun down::
Midnight: You don't want him to spend the rest of the show asleep, do you? Alright, for everyone who hasn't understood what's going on up here: This (aims to the left) is Dawn van Zant, my girlfriend. And this (aims to the right) is Dawn van Zant, an archaeologist from
Gadget (shouts from the audience): I'm glad to hear that!
Lawhiney (shouts from the audience): Me too!
Dawn: Ms. van Zant...
Ms. van Zant: Oh, please call me Dawn, Dawn.
Dawn: So, Dawn, may I ask you a question?
Ms. van Zant: Sure, go ahead.
Dawn: Do you find this guy (points at Midnight) attractive?
Ms. van Zant: Um, well...
Dawn: Thanks, that's what I wanted to hear. And now back to the Golden Acorn Awards. Midnight...
Midnight: Nice to see that everything's settled now. Where was I? Ah, yeah, Best Characterization of the Rangers. I, as a writer, find it justified to award efforts in this field if the outcome is particularly good. Keeping the Rangers in character is essential for a good story, and when I began my writing career, I was often afraid of having written them too far out of character. But now for those who have most probably avoided this mistake. Dawn?
Dawn and Ms. van Zant: Yes?
::Midnight looks to both sides at the mice standing next to him::
Midnight: Will you, um, two read the names of the nominees, please?
::Dawn steps over to the side on which Ms. van Zant is standing, and Midnight gives them the nominees list::
Dawn: Monty's Trip to Upstate New York, Mr. Spumoni!
Monty (from the audience): Too right,
that was a bonzer trip. Why, when I--
Ms. van Zant (mildly annoyed): Ahem. The Lost Rangers, UrthQuake!
Dawn: On a Wingnut and a Prayer, Stainless Steel Rat!
Ms. van Zant: For We Have Seen His Star, Dave White!
Dawn: Never Get an Inventor Cranky, or Why It's Important to Listen to Gadget, Indy
Gadget (from the audience): Right on!
Ms. van Zant: And Closer Than a Brother, BOC42!
Midnight: And now for the moment you've all been waiting for so patiently.
::Midnight takes up the envelope and tries to open it::
Midnight: What's up with this envelope? Have you welded it shut?
Ms. van Zant: Midnight, will you hold up the envelope a bit higher and away from your body?
::Midnight does so. Ms. van Zant takes up the saber, swings it, and separates the uppermost part of the envelope from the rest::
Midnight: Wow, truly impressive. I didn't know you're such a fighter aside being an archaeologist.
Ms. van Zant: That's because I'm none.
Midnight: And how come you can handle that saber so well?
Ms. van Zant: I found an operator's manual next to it, and I read it on my way here.
::He pulls a sheet of paper out of the envelope and unfolds it::
Midnight: And the winner of the Golden
Acorn Award in the category Best Characterization of the Rangers is... Mr.
Spumoni! Come here, get your award, and don't let yourself be scared away by
the mouse with the saber!
::With that the spotlights hum to life, flying out across the excited crowd of Rangerphiles there gathered in the Petershof. Dancing among the crowd they seem to be seeking something, and in an instant those gathered within begin to wonder where the gray rat could be.
Soon though the lights settle on the doorways of the hall, and in a single rush of energy they are thrown wide, and in comes a troop of marching Belarussian Guards...Human Belarussian Guards! Their boots crack loudly on the ancient floor, and the lights of the stocks of their rifles glistens, sending scatterings of light all over the hall.
At first the Rangerphiles are confused, perhaps even scared. What could be happening? Are we in trouble? What did Racebest do now?
Yet at once something seems..odd. Some aspect of the appearance of the soldiers is off. Are...are they smiling? Then they see the source of the bemusement, and begin laughing.
Salazar Ovid Spumoni hangs from his awfully familiar navy blue shell jacket, now seen with a white shirt and blue tie, the clothing itself dangling from the bayonet of the first soldier in the formation as it advances upon the stage. He waves to familiar faces in the crowd or blows kisses as situation allows, as "Loser" by Beck ushers his escorts and himself up to the podium.
There they stand, his familiar smile looking out over the crowd, whom chuckle at the sight::
Spumoni (waving): Howdy!
::One of the Guards leans down and gently lifts the presenter up to Spumoni's level. Midnight hands him the award and Spumoni gives him a pawshake. Spumoni holds up the award, watching it shimmer in the light::
Spumoni: Well now, that's a pretty thing!
::He holds it up for the crowd to see, shielding his eyes against the spotlights, stooped as he is in his undignified position. He takes on a more professional demeanor, and the crowd replies with silence as the soldier places Midnight back on the podium and lowers his bayonet so Spumoni can speak through the mic::
Spumoni: The Best Characterization of the Rescue Rangers in history was of course accomplished by Tad Stones, Jim Cummings, Corey Burton, and Tress MacNeille, along with all of those who brought our heroes into the hearts and minds of the Rangerphiles during the sixty-five episodes we were blessed to see them appear in. It is from that place alone that our understanding of that time and place comes.
::Spumoni smiles out to the crowd, now comfortable in the moment::
Spumoni: In creating our art and
our story all we can do is to try to best capture the emotion, power, and feel
that they brought about those almost-eighteen years ago. I appreciate this
award very much because it means that my fellow Rangerphiles, individuals whom
I respect and admire, have told me that I have accomplished the reclamation of
this spirit. It means that you feel I have come the
closest to finding the golden cord of their existence and have kept it alive to
the best of my ability. It means that...whoa!
::With that Spumoni's coat slides a bit on the bayonet and he slowly begins to spin around, a look of shock giving way to amusement. His typical smirk returns::
Spumoni: Excuse me, I'll be right back...
::With some small giggles from the audience Spumoni completes a full rotation with the assist of the gentle guidance of the Guard::
Spumoni (to the crowd): Oh! That's where you went! I want to thank Monty for the wild ride! He was a great sport and we had a lot of fun! Well, except for that whole cooking me alive and nearly drowning me thing...
::The audience laughs and Monty crosses him arms as a spotlight finds him, mildly annoyed::
Spumoni: I want to thank Mr. Parkes for hosting Monty's Upstate Adventure on the WAM! homepage. Without his effort this would most likely of ended
up gathering dust on the boards, 'cause I'm too lazy to start my own webpage...
I'd also like to thank Ms. Bihn for showing me that photography was a legitimate medium for presenting the Rangers. Without her "Ranger Kitchen Adventures" I would never have thought to use a camera to bring my ideas forward. I look forward to the day I get to meet her and thank her personally. On that note, thanks to my brother for showing me how to use a digital camera in the first place. Also, apologies to my brother for dropping his digital camera.
::The audience laughs, and Dale grins sympathetically::
Spumoni: Thanks a bunch everybody!
You are all about eight different types of awesome!
::With that the Guard begin to march down from the stage, and Spumoni waves the Golden Acorn as he goes::
Spumoni: Hey! Can we stop for popcorn on the way out?
::The crowd cheers and shouts Spumoni's name as he makes his way out with the guards. Midnight and van Zant reclaim the podium::
Ms. van Zant: Well, it's been nice to be here, but I've gotta go now. (waves) Bye, everybody! (runs off stage)
Midnight: Hey Dawn! Dawn!! (tries to run after her, but does not leave the stage) First you came as a surprise, I mean, I didn't even know you're real, and now you're leaving just as quickly? Dr. Batorious, can you hear me?
Midnight: Where has she gone?
Batorious: Where has who gone?
Midnight: Dawn van Zant, the Gadget look-alike in the archaeologist outfit. She's just left the stage in a hurry.
Batorious: Midnight, Dawn van Zant is the cute blond mouse in the black dress standing at the podium and waiting for you. Except you and her, nobody has been on the stage.
Dawn: Midnight, what's up with you? Come back here to me.
Midnight: But Dawn, you've seen her, too. You've talked to her. You two have read the nominees list. And then she has cut the envelope open with an old Cossack saber.
Dawn: Midnight, the envelope isn't cut open. Here. (holds up the envelope) Look, the lid was only slit inside. There was no need to cut it. Besides, do you really think someone would have gotten past the security using my name and with a saber in their hand? Not to forget the fact that there were no Cossack mice, and that the Cossacks had cats instead.
Midnight: But... have the nominees been read?
Dawn: Yes, I did that.
Midnight: And has the award been given away?
Dawn: Is it standing around here or not?
Midnight: Well, it's not. So I take it the winner has received it. But she was so real... have I only dreamed it all?
Dawn: C'mon, let's go. I'd like to watch the rest of the ceremonies with you. (hooks onto his arm)
Midnight: Maybe you're right.
::The two mice head for the stairs which lead down from the stage::