[u]Best Mystery/Thriller[/u]


::The wildebeest Kazar from Disney's "The Wild" are entering the stage together with the dog Lil' Lightning from 101 Dalmations II. In the meanwhile Zdob Si Zdub's Gipsy and the UFO are playing in the background on the screen::


Kazar: 'Good evening Saint Petersburg! Me and my little friend Lil' Lightning are going to present the award for the Best Horror/Thriller!


LL: That's best Mystery/Thriller.


Kazar: Horror, mystery. The same


LL: Not quite. Horror stories are about scaring the hides of wildebeest like you. Mysteries can be scary, but more often they are like a big long brain teaser to challenge the mind of the reader.


Kazar: How do you know so much about mysteries?


LL: I don't. I just know how to read the teleprompter.


Kazar: What…oh. It says, "Stop jabbering you fools and read the list of nominees—Indy"


::The audience laughs::


Kazar: Oh, he must mean this list. Okay, the list of nominees for best MYSTERY/Thriller are


·       Gadget in Chains, Loneheart

·       Blue Hawaii, Indy

·       The Lost Rangers, UrthQuake

·       The Purloined Playboy, RangerReady23

·       Case of the Mind-Controlled Moll, Stainless Steel Rat

·       The Ranger That Never Was, Indy

·       On a Wingnut and a Prayer, Stainless Steel Rat


LL: And the winner of the award for the Best Horror/Thriller is…


Kazar: Mystery/Thriller!


LL: Just seeing if you are paying attention. The winner is—two winners! Gadget in Chains by Loneheart and The Lost Rangers by Urthquake!


::The same big grey rat from earlier steps up to the podium again.  He looks over it curiously::

UrthQuake:  Did.. did this podium get smaller...?  Or did I get bigger...?

::He looks at Gwendolyn questioningly, but she only shrugs.  He too shrugs and stands behind it again::

UrthQuake:  Well.. Best Mystery/Thriller, eh?  It's funny, but this fic won this same award 2 years ago!  What's funny is that I don't consider The Lost Rangers to be a mystery, or a thriller... But I guess there is a great deal of mystery in this new world our heroes have found themselves in, like what has happened to it?  Why are the Rangers getting these weird new powers? How will the conflicts of the world affect them?  And I suppose there is suspense in seeing what becomes of them... Of course, one big scene I got in mind.. that might be more worthy of this award...

::He jumps as Gwendolyn nudges him and whispers for him to get to the point::

UrthQuake:  Oh, sorry.. Um, yeah, I think it is deserving.  But I'll repeat what I said earlier: There's a lot more to see, and what you haven't seen yet, I think, will be quite mysterious.. and thrilling!  Thanks!

::He nods to the audience and heads back to his seat. The band begins to play "Watching the Detectives" by Elvis Costello. From opposite sides of the stage Chip and Basil enter. They both walk towards the podium at a measured pace that allows them to arrive at the same time. They look at each other up and down poker faced before turning to the audience::


Chip (whispering): Still trying to quit the pipe, I see, old boy?


Basil (effortlessly): Still having trouble finding the right words for your ode to that special lady, Maplewood?


::Chip gives a subdued, embarrassed laugh::


Basil: Lords and ladies…


Chip: Ladies and gentlemen…


Basil: Boys and girls! Basil will not be outdone.


Chip: We're here to collect the award for Best Mystery Thriller!


Basil: Which this year goes to Gadget in Chains! A fine example of story telling. At what point did you deduce the femme-fatal Lawhiney had taken the virtuous Ms Hackwrench's identity, Maplewood?


Chip (rolls his eyes): Why, I knew it all along! I just played along because her cooking doesn't taste of motor oil!


Basil (easily): Oh, you know you don't mean that!


Chip (shakes his head sadly): You're right. You've seen right through me. But I've learned my lesson.


Basil: Really?


Chip: Oh yes! (beams happily). I've spent the time since making a very close study of Gadget's anatomy and I've memorised enough details that I'm certain I could tell her and Lawhiney apart easily now!


Basil: Really?


::Basil raises his eyebrows and throws a stage wink at the audience::


Basil: It's funny you should say that…


::Up goes the curtain and behind Chip are two identical Gadget's wearing red dresses and smiles.  Chip goggles at them::


Basil (warning): Choose carefully my boy!


::Basil offers him a magnifying glass::


Basil: This is your chance to redeem yourself!


Chip (to the audience): OOH! I'm going to enjoy this!


::With that he begins looking the two identical Gadgets up and down at close range. After a surprisingly long and close inspection…::


Chip: They're identical--except! Wait! This Gadget has a zip on the back of her neck! She must be an impostor wearing a Gadget costume!


::Suddenly Chip has the false Gadget in a headlock and is wrestling with her. The mask comes off with a loud [b]pop[/b]. When the impostor straightens up, the audience gasps::


Chip: It's Dale!


Dale: Dang it, you didn't have to pull [i]that[/i] hard!


::Chip looks to the audience::


Chip: That's one convincing Gadget costume! But wait! By a process of elimination, the remaining candidate must be the real deal!


::Chip turns to Gadget and goes down on one knee::


Chip: Oh Gadget, I can't wait any longer. Please be my… uh, steady sweetie?


::Gadget suddenly looks embarrassed and shy::


Chip (imploring): Oh, say you will!


::Gadget raises her hands to her face and shakes her head as though lost for words::


Chip (begging): Oh, please!


::Gadget drops her head deeply as though beginning to nod. Then the head continues to drop, revealing it to be a mask like the one Dale was wearing. Chip stares up from bended knee into the face of Basil's assistant, Dr Dawson::


Dawson (blushing): Well, it's all so sudden! I don't know what to say!


::Chip looks at the audience with his face slack and dismayed::


Basil: Well, I never saw [i]that[/i] coming!


::He turns to his left, where the real Gadget has materialised on his arm::


Basil (to Gadget): Did you?


Gadget: Golly, no! That was a mystery with a twist! Shall we leave them to sort it out by themselves?


Basil (agreeing): I think they can be trusted! In the meanwhile, I believe there's a orchestral performance of Wagner next door. It is introspective and I wish to…


::Basil looks her up and down::


Basil: …Introspect. Care to join me?


Gadget: Jeepers, I love introspective mice! Lead on!


::They walk off arm in arm, as Chip, Dale and Dr. Dawson close on each other and all begin talking at once. LL and Kazar leave the stage as well::