::With the long, quick strides of someone whose preferred form of exercise is walking, Ray Jones comes up to the podium. He is an older gentleman—once taller, but now more stoop-shouldered as gravity and entropy have their way with him. His cheeks and throat are also withdrawing from the high ground they once held on his face. Perhaps the sagging is allowing more oxygen to reach his eyebrow follicles—that would explain their increasingly luxurious and exuberant development. His hair has not yet begun to retreat, but, in the gentle, encouraging words of his wife Imelda, “it’s more salt than pepper, Honey!” The green eyes behind the glasses sparkle with humor and mischief. Or insanity. Hard to tell...::
Ray: It’s an honor to be here tonight, to present this award for the Honorable/Special Mention category. What can I say about this person? Especially since I don’t know who it is…well, Indy said that they demonstrate helpfulness. So I guess this person must be helpful. And they’ve made special efforts on behalf of the community - so we want to recognize them for that. And we also want to recognize them for fan works as well. I just hope we recognize them when they come out!
::That gets a few laughs, and Ray continues::
Ray: Seriously, Special Mention is a nice award to receive. It means that your fellow Rangerphiles think you stand out for what you have given to the life of this community. It is a mark of respect and value. That said, may I have the envelope?”
::The RangerPlane, with Gadget at the controls, emerges from the curtains at the left side of the stage. An envelope dangles underneath, suspended by a cable. She flies up to Ray, who unhooks the envelope::
Ray: Thank you, Gadget!
::She waves at the audience, then glides offstage to the right::
Ray: And the winner IS—oboy, we’ve got a LOT of helpful people around here. Could we have CD, KS, Dale, Stephen C. and Schroeder assemble up here?
::The audience stands and the orchestra plays “Wind Beneath My Wings” as four of the five winners assemble on stage. Indy comes out from the side, standing at the podium::
Indy: Friends, Chris “Dale” Birkett couldn’t be here tonight and I couldn’t convince him to write an in absentia speech so I’d like to say a few words on his behalf. Chris was the first friend I made at the Café. He’s one of the nicest and most considerate people you’ll ever have the pleasure to chat with and his enthusiasm is infectious! He should be the official spokesman for the Scottish Highlands, because he sure loves going and talking about them. Chris, you’re one class act—I’ll ship the Acorn to you, and here’s a big hello to you and your mum!
::The crowd applauds as CD steps up to the podium, takes his award and coughs for a speech::
CD: Thank you, thank you all. Thanks to all who wanted for me to win this award, and thanks to those who didn’t. Gosh, I’d never thought about winning something as big as this! Thank you all so much! I promise I’ll continue being honorable as time permits, so hopefully no one will regret their decision. Thanks again from your workhorse truly.
::Stephen C. pushed his way to the front::
Stephen: SURREND...ah, wait, I remember where I am this time....oh yes...it is an honor and a privilege to accept this award. You people like me! You really like me! You see, all those stormtroopers and yes-men down in High Command give me all this “All Hail Fearless Leader yada yada” but do they ever give me awards like this? Nooooooooooo!
Chip (from the audience): I hear you, man!
::Stephen gives Chip a thumbs-up and continues::
Stephen: Just goes to show you where my loyalties should lie. But they don’t, because I’m a megalomaniacal freak bent on complete global conquest and I need my armies and my overly agreeable counselors to feel good about myself. Errrrrr, actually, forget I said that last sentence.
::The audience chuckles::
Stephen: Oh, and the one before it, too, now that I think of it. Else I will DESTROY YOU ALL!!!! Ah!!!!
::Stephen slaps self on face repeatedly::
Stephen: People skills!!! People skills!!! Yeah, forget all that too. You know what? I’m just going to stop talking now. Thank you. Good night!
::Kevin walks over to the podium to accept his award. Taking his place before the microphone, he adjusts his glasses::
Kevin (speaking in obvious surprise): Wow, this was really unexpected. I didn’t expect I’d win one of the Special Awards.
::After a moment of thought, he continues::
Kevin: ‘For outstanding work with fanfics and fanfic authors’... It’s an honor to know that my efforts to help other writers is as appreciated as it is. ‘Educating others about my native heritage’... Even though I’ve written about characters who are Seneca, I’m not one myself. I’m actually part Susquehannock... but the tribe technically no longer exists as an entity, the last twenty having been murdered by a gang of racist vigilantes, so I have no real connection to my true Native heritage…
::Kevin takes a dramatic pause to catch his breath::
Kevin: So I supplemented that the with Seneca culture, somewhat fitting since the Iroquois tribes adopted conquered tribes, including some Susquehannock. But even if I wasn’t part Native American, growing up on the Allegany Reservation meant being influenced by the local culture... My kindergarten teacher was a Seneca, we were taught about Seneca mythology throughout grade school, even in high school we were required to take a couple weeks’ long course in the Seneca language along with Spanish and French.
My mother was actually employed by the Seneca Nation as a teacher in the Head Start program to give Native children grounding in their cultural background before being immersed in the public education system.
::KS pauses for a moment to clear his throat, then continues::
Kevin: Also, I would like to express my deep thanks to George Heron, former president of the Seneca Nation, also my mother’s on-again, off-again boyfriend, for his assistance in gaining greater insight into the culture and language for the purposes of my stories as well as getting the proper Mohawk translations for use in The J.A.M.’s stories, Death of a Comedian and I Dream of the New Ranger.
::He pauses once more before finishing::
Kevin: And, of course, <I>nya:weh</I> to everyone who encouraged me to continue my writing and to the entire Rangerphile community as a whole for this award and being a great group of people to hang around with!
::Last comes Schroeder, which is probably a good thing, considering his sense of humor::
Schroeder: ‘Schroeder, for always seeing the fun side of things’. Well, well, this is quite an honor! Normally I don’t expect these kinds of awards, seeing how inactive I know I am around here by comparison, but it’s nice of you to honor me like this, and I really enjoy being part of this wonderful community. Thanks for everything—for the award, for making me feel so welcome, and above all, for your friendships. Take care, you’re all doing a terrific job up here!!
::The audience claps and stands. Schroeder bows majestically and Stephen C. raises his arms in victory. Resisting the urge to continue speaking, Kevin bows to the audience and exits the stage. The crowd responds with enthusiasm, escorting them offstage with whistles and clapping. CD gets back to his seat, hugging his award::
CD (cheerily): I won, I won, I won!