:: Two chipmunks appear from the opposite sides of the stage. Chip is wearing his austere black tail-coat, starched shirt and black bow-tie. Dale went with the Super agent Double-O-Dale’s white tuxedo and cufflinks polished to the glitter. As they approach the podium, the floodlights go down and the first thirty seconds of the theme from 'Mortal Kombat: the Movie' by The Immortals are played and the large black-and-orange dragon logo is projected on the curtain::
::When the music stops and the lights go up again Chip can be seen standing still halfway between the stairs and the podium where Dale is impatiently waiting for him, *very* significant grin on his face. At last Chip regains his senses and slowly approaches the podium, his nervousness distinctly seen.::
Chip: Uhm, Dale... You don't mean it, right?
Dale: Actually, Chip, I *mean* it. It's my wish time!
:: Chip gulps nervously::
Chip: Well, that's quite unexpected...
Dale: That's my and Dirk Suave's style, didn't you know that?
Chip: My fault. I should have guessed it right after that incident...
Dale: I think it's time to clear things up a bit...
Chip: Then you should probably start with your part of our room...
Dale (turns to the audience, paying no heed to Chip's remark): Our dear friends, right now you must be wondering 'What the heck they are both talking about?' Am I right?
Audience (loudly and unanimously): DARN RIGHT!
Dale: Then let me tell you what exactly happened. A couple of days ago me and Chip laid a bet. Or, rather, fought a duel, the prize of which was a wish. Isn't that right, Chip?
Chip (sighing): Yeah, it was.
Dale: The form of the duel was chosen to be a Mortal Kombat video game and each of the participants had the right to bring the controller of his choice. Anything—keyboard, joystick, game pad, anything! So Chip, desperately wanting to win the game but realistically assessing his *very very low* chances to beat me in an honest equal fight...
Chip: Oh yeah, who says?
Dale: Salmon says. Okay, back to the story. So our famous videogamer goes to our dear Gadget and begs her to help him...
Chip: I didn't beg! Just asked her very-very politely!
Dale: Oh, c'mon, Foxglove heard it all...
::Chip instantly blushes::
Dale: And so Gadget built you the biggest, the most powerful and the most *cheating* game pad in the world, with tons of buttons for every single combo and even sequences of combos in the game.
Chip: It wasn't cheating! It was careful strategic planning! It was a very logical design!
Dale: Yes, Chip. It was very logical. Too logical, I would say. We all know that you are a logical planner, and that's why you are slightly more predictable than you'd want to be. And I knew I wouldn't ever beat you with logic planning, 'cause it's your home turf. That's why I went with a very illogical and unexpected scenario.
Chip: Yeah, with Gyrotank's remote control! So who's the cheater now, huh?
Dale (with a broad grin): But there wasn't a single word about the choice being limited to *game* controls only, was it?
Chip: Well, I concluded so. It was...
Chip: Oh, dear...
Dale: You shouldn't be too upset, Chip. Your game controller was great! Trust me, I know what I'm talking about! It had all the keys for all possible Fatalities, Babalities and Animalities. My controller had no such things!
Chip: It had something bigger than that!
Dale: Indeed. I call this special movement SURPRISE!!!
Chip: And quite a surprise it was...
Dale: If this makes you feel better, I too was surprised. I couldn't even imagine that a chipmunk could run, climb trees, jump over park benches and swim across the park fountain so fast! And your catapulting to the police station was...
::The audience laughs at the idea::
Chip: Alright, Dale, enough of that. I'm sure everybody understood it. And, although I understand that you beat me that time, maybe you'll wait with your wish until tomorrow...
Dale: No, Chip. You shouldn't postpone anything till tomorrow. Have you forgotten?
Chip: Alright, you won. What's your wish?
Dale: I'm glad you decided to cooperate, Chip.
::Dale turns to the audience::
Dale: Tammy, if you please...
::Chip grabs Dale by the collar and whispers in his ear::
Chip: WHAT?! No... you won't do THIS to me...
Dale: Okay, buddy, calm down. You're right. I won't do this to you. Instead, I will ask you a question.
Chip: Is it really necessary to do this right here?
Chip: But maybe we should first announce the nominees for Best Verse (Russian)? Everybody's waiting...
Dale: Oh sure they are. And we sure will. But it depends only on you now, whether the nominees and the winners will be named.
Chip: What do you mean?
Dale: You'll find it out soon. Tammy, if you please...
Chip (whispers in his ear again): No! You promised!
Dale: Don't be so nervous, Chip! It's standard procedure! Tammy, bring in the box!
::Tammy enters the stage carrying a polished black wooden box. She hands it to Dale, gives Chip a significant wink and leaves::
Dale: Here, Chip, open it.
::Chip opens the box and sees the white envelope with a big green question mark on it.
Chip: What's that?
Dale: It's your question.
Chip: And where is the list of the nominees?
Dale: I hope we'll get to it. Or, rather, you'll get to it. Please, open the envelope and read the question aloud.
::Chip takes the envelope. Dale quickly closes the box but Chip has time to notice another envelope with some other mark on it below the first. He opens the envelope and reads the words written on a card it contains::
[i]What is the reason for a rhyme?[/i]
Chip (gulping nervously): Is this a joke?
Dale: No, it isn't. It's very important, especially right in the moment. You'll have three attempts to answer this question.
Chip: And what next?
Dale (with a grin): And then I'll tell you the correct answer. You've got thirty seconds to come up with your first one. Time's running!
::The floodlights grow dark again and a large clock-face is projected on the curtain, with numerals running from zero to thirty. The hand in the form of the question mark starts running clockwise, counting down. When they reach 30, the lights go up again, and Chip can be seen impatiently stomping his right foot, a condescending smile on his face::
Dale: Time's up!
Chip: Oh, c'mon, thirty seconds is way too much for this easy question! The answer is pretty simple! The reason for rhymes is that it's a good way to express your feelings to someone who's dear to you. Or, sometimes (involuntarily clutches the note in his paw) to hide your plans from your greatest enemy, making him play by your rules. That's what you wanted to hear?
Dale: Let's see...
:: He opens the box once again and Chip sees the envelope in it more clearly. It's absolutely identical to the envelope with question, but this time there's numeral '1' instead of the question mark on it::
Dale: Please, Chip, take it and read aloud what's written inside.
::Chip does so and sees a verse written on the card::
"It can be a key to your love's heart
Or, maybe, a clue to a crime
Which will surely keep you from sleeping
But it's not a reason for a rhyme"
Chip (in deep astonishment): How did you... know it?
Dale: It's logical, Chip. But, as you can see, it's the incorrect answer. Your second attempt. Time!
::The procedure with floodlights and the clock-face projection is repeated. This time Chip doesn't look so sure, but he's still confident::
Chip: Okay, I came up with the answer. Without rhymes there would have been no heroic songs or ballads, which instill the hearts of men with a strength and readiness to fight for their cause in times of war. And there would be no sentimental verse to turn to in times of troubles, when everything seems lost forever. That's the reason. What will you say this time?
Dale: The same as the previous time. Take envelope number two and look inside!
::Chip fetches the envelope with the numeral '2' on it and reads the next part of the verse written on it::
"It can be a leader's oration
A warrior's rallying cry
And even a lonely soul's refuge
But it's not a reason for a rhyme"
Chip (his hands start shaking slightly): How do you do this? You...you reading my thoughts or what?
Dale: I know you too well to miss with that, Chip. It's logical, and thus predictable, remember? Time for your third attempt!
Chip: Wait, Dale. Maybe...may I have some more time this time?
Dale (with a grin): Sure! That's why it's time to announce the names of the nominees in the category Best Verse in Russian!
::Dale turns to Chip and speaks in a low voice::
Dale: If I were you, I would start thinking now...
::Then Dale takes the next envelope from the box, opens it and addresses the audience again::
Dale: Their names and their creations are...
verse by Scorpion
Dim Stars Sparkling in Dark Sky by altro
Gadget Sat on a Sofa by altro
Dale: And now I hope you all will forgive us, but it's time for Chip's next thirty seconds! Time!
::Another thirty seconds countdown is finished, and all gazes are directed at Chip scratching his head in bewilderment::
Dale: Time's up, Chip! What will you say us this time? Will it be a hit or just another miss? We're waiting!
Chip: You know, it's definitely one heck of a riddle, but I think I found the reason behind it. All these romantic poems and epic legends which came to us from the depth of times are here to help us remember the heroes and the events of the past, to provide us examples of bravery and cowardice, of true love and foul deceit. The reason behind all these heroes, all their deeds and feelings, their fates, is to tell us not to repeat their mistakes, be skillful and careful, and be wise enough to tell friend from foe. That's it.
Dale: Well, Chip, I must admit, you are making quick progress with truly great strides. It's time for the third envelope. Read it.
::And Chip takes out the envelope with big numeral '3' on it and reads::
"The power of words lies much deeper
Their price can't be measured in dimes
For they hold the wisdom of ages
But it's not a reason for a rhyme"
::Chip's fur stands on its end as he slowly turns to Dale::
Chip: No...it can't be true. Pinch me, Dale, I must be dreaming.
Dale: May I bonk you instead?
Chip: If you think it will do the trick. Wait, stop, it couldn't be a dream! Excuse me, I need some time...
Dale: Sure, buddy. I'm pretty sure you'll have plenty of time to think all this over and come to the one and only right conclusion while I'm awarding the winner.
::Dale takes out the last envelope from the box::
Dale: And the winner of the Golden Acorn Award 2007 for Best Verse in Russian is...Altro for "Dim Stars Sparkling in Dark Sky"!
::Altro walks up on stage, overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of the awards ceremony::
Altro: I am very pleased, those who voted for me. I am very pleased to be here. Thanks to everyone for letting me come and join in. Long live the Rescue Rangers!
::The audience stands and claps as Altro leaves the stage. Dale turns to Chip, who has been standing not far away from the podium during the ceremony, lost in deep thought::
Dale: Alright, Chip. Everybody said everything. Everybody but you. Or should I give you another thirty seconds? Time...!
Chip: No, Dale, wait! It's not needed! I...I give up. I have already told you all my ideas, and all of them proved wrong. This case is too hard for me...I...turns out, I'm a bad detective after all...
Dale: No-no, Chip! You are the best detective I've ever met. The problem is not that you are blind or narrow-minded! The problem is, you looking in the wrong place.
Chip: But where must I look?
Dale: Well, have you read the poems nominated for this and previous years? Have you read any poetry at all?
Chip: Surely I have! Those rhymes by Ivana McKilljoy - I remember them by heart...
Dale: No-no, that's just the top of the iceberg...or, rather, the bottom of it, for that matter.
Chip: Well, I... I don't know.
Dale: Maybe the last envelope will help you.
::Dale opens the box one more time::
Chip: But... But it's empty!
Dale: No, it isn’t. You're just looking in the wrong place.
::Dale pushes the false bottom of the box and picks it up, revealing one more envelope, with a big exclamation mark written on it::
Dale: You should read it, Chip.
::And Chip reads::
You shouldn't surrender, my fellow
Your efforts were not a waste of time
For you now know it for sure
That you don't need a reason for a rhyme
Chip: So, this has...no reason at all?
Dale: No, Chip, it has. But you don't need it to write a poem. Sometimes you just know that you must write it, that you can't contain it in yourself. And even if only a handful of people, or that one and only person you really love and care about or even no one but you alone reads it, it still has the greatest meaning and the greatest reason of all. Just like...well, remember all those combos you installed in your game pad? It provided the buttons for each one of them. Except one, the most important, even in the world of Mortal Kombat.
Chip: And what's that?
::Dale didn't answer. Instead, the lights grew dim and big multicolored letters started dancing on the curtain, spelling out one word::
Chip: Friendship... I didn't know THAT was in a game like MK...
Dale: You didn't expect it there, did you? But it is. Expect the unexpected, as the saying goes...
Chip: Well, Dale, you seem to know me better than I know myself, and I think I don't know you at all...
Dale: It's not too late to correct your mistake, friend.
Chip: Verily, friend.
::Two chipmunks shake hands and leave the stage accompanied by loud applause::