::Chip walks on to the stage from stage right.  He's wearing a black tuxedo with a small red flower in his lapel, but still stubbornly wearing his trademark fedora.  Periodically, he scratches himself in various places, with a puzzled look on his face.


There is scattered applause, but the audience appears too weirded out by Chip's scratching to really get into it.  As he heads towards the podium, he appears to be mumbling to himself.  Looking up as he arrives, he glances around, at first surprised, then with growing annoyance::


Chip (whispering to his left): Where's Dale?  And FleaBot?  Don't tell me they both forgot!


::At this moment, there is a cackling laugh from overhead::


: Mwahahahaha!


::The world's largest mechanical tracker action organ, the 10,000 pipe Sydney Opera House Grand Organ, plays a few sinister bars from The Phantom of the Opera as a chipmunk in a white half-mask and black cloak with red satin lining slides down a rope from the rafters overhead.


Chip is temporarily and officially spooked, right up to the moment when the phantom gets his feet tangled up in the rope, and ends up dangling with his forehead barely off the stage, right next to the podium::


Dale: Hiya, Chip! Some entrance, huh?


::Chip's fist clenches in preparation to bonk, but the sudden silence and penetrating gaze of the audience members restrain him.  Instead, he gives them all a sheepish grin, before turning his annoyed face back on Dale.


Chip (whispering loudly): What are you doing in that ridiculous get-up?


::The sound system and acoustics pick it up easily, of course::


Dale: Well, since we were presenting the Best Original Costuming award, and this is an opera house, I thought it'd be fun to dress up!  Great idea, huh?  Where's your costume, Chip?  Are you dressed up as a penguin or something?


::His voice drops to a similarly ineffective whisper::


Dale: Because, just between you and me, ol' buddy ol' pal, it's not a very good costume.


::The audience breaks out into laughter, while Chip's ears just burn.  Not caring what the audience will think anymore, he pulls at a carefully-selected section of the rope, amazingly unraveling it and dropping Dale to the stage head-first::




::Dale rubs his head for a second, then looks up and grins.


Dale: Thanks, ol' buddy.


Chip (with an insincere grin): Any time, Dale, any time. Now, where's FleaBot?


::A thought suddenly strikes Chip::


Chip: Flea... Bot... oh, ACORNS!


::There is a gasp from the audience at the profanity::


Chip:  That's why I keep itching!  Show yourself, you parasitic menace!  I've got a little something I picked up on my last trip to the Nowakverse that you'll be dying to try!


Dale: Err, Chip?  Are you sure that's, well, safe?  I mean, doesn't most stuff from the Nowakverse, well…tend to explode, even in the absence of a good reason?


Chip: Yes.  I'm counting on it, in fact.  If my theory is correct, we are talking about a mechanical flea here.  Normal flea and tick powder won't work at all.


::Chip pauses::


Chip:  Hah!  The itching stopped.  I think the little pest got the message.


::Looking smug, he pulls Dale up from off the floor and stands at the podium::


Chip: The Best Original Costuming award recognizes the artist whose work best displays his or her subject in an original clothing style.  The dedicated Ray Jones, who seems to be spending a little bit more time with Gadget than I'm entirely comfortable with (just posing, my felt fedora!), had quite the philosophical speech for this category last year.  I'm not going to try and top it, so on to the nominees…


Quite a few artists and works were nominated in this category this year, and I have to say that all of their costume designs were both imaginative and well-executed.  I'm happy enough with my current look, but some of those pictures had me wavering for a few moments!  Well, let's get on with it.  The nominees are:


            Fish for The Rangers of Oz

            Toni for Fantasy Rangers Group Shot

            Jeff Pierce for Gadget models Penelope Pitstop's outfit

            pupspals for Chip as a C.H.i.P.

            Toni for In a more RPG-type setting, Dale takes the role of a mage

            J for The Five Mouseketeers

            Toni for Tammy the mage

            Toni for Foxglove the thief

            Ray Jones for Humanbat


And the winner is:


::Dale eagerly swipes the envelope and opens it::


Dale: Rangers of OZ by Fish! And Toni for the Fantasy Rangers Group Shot!


::Fish comes up on stage::


Fish: Whoah! I guess Zipper's mom is getting her props tonight with or without my recent shout out!


::A faint buzzing of approval comes from the crowd::


Fish: I'd like to thank the Rangers for being such good sports and donning said garments without (too much) griping. Chip wants you all to know that his sour expression was not due to his being a kill-joy on set, but because the pic was originally drawn for last year's awards and fabulous fashion mogul Fat de Cat had supposedly just insulted him off camera in my never-used script.


::A deep chuckle from the villains’ section ensues::


Fish: I hear the wrap it up music - but I have to finish--ummm..oh yeah--Special thanks to Tammy's mom who sacrificed a very nice blue checkered tablecloth for Gadget's dress..whu? Tammy's giving me the shut up/decapitation signal from her seat..OHHH..uh..oops….and Bumblebee Tuna for the tin Gadget used for Chip's costume..Nice smelting there, hon. And finally - an apology to Loneheart for beating him to the original title of his rangers-all-get-framed-and-go-to-jail epic.


::Fish pauses for the laugh--gets none from audience members without HBO, self included. Now Toni comes up on stage::


 Toni: Phew... another award, and I start finding myself at a loss of words. *grins* Heh. After all, this pic just started out as some silly idea. And it wouldn't have become what it is now without the many contributions of ideas in its forum thread. So I'll just say this: Thank you all very much!


::The audience stands and cheers as Fish and Toni head offstage, holding up their awards. The two chipmunks walk off stage left, talking to each other in casual



Chip: So, Dale, do you think I'd look good in a silver fedora?


::Dale still seems to be contemplating his answer as the two move offstage::