Dr. Batorious: Ladies and gentlemen, for our next award, please welcome the cast of Neal Wolf's [/i]Bad Dog & the K-9 Krew[i]!


::A group of five dogs and a cat, all anthros, file onto the stage.  Two are of indeterminate but clearly the same breed, one of whom wears a pair of dark sunglasses and the other being the only female of the group; the other three dogs are an unusually large bulldog, a Chihuahua missing part of his right ear, and a Scottish terrier (complete with kilt).  As they approach the podium, the Chihuahua runs ahead and takes the microphone::


Chihuahua: We'd like to thank the Academy for honoring us with this award...


::Before he can continue, the dog in the sunglasses interrupts::


BD: Um, Carlos?


Carlos: Yeah, BD, what's up?"


BD: This ain't the Oscars, bro; it's the Golden Acorn Awards.


Carlos: Oh...hey, that's better man! Don't have to be politically correct around here!


::He then resumes speaking into the microphone::


Carlos: Well, then, we'd like to thank the Acorn Cafe for... hey, waitaminit, what'd we win a GA for?


Bulldog: We didn't win it, you diminutive twit. We're presenting it.


:;Carlos looks genuinely disappointed::


Carlos: Y'mean I wrote this acceptance speech for nothin'?


::The female dog stifles a giggle::


FD: Afraid so, 'los."


Carlos: Man, I went through a whole box'a crayons, too...


::Throughout this exchange, the cat had been making a show of adjusting his glasses, largely to cover a few snickers.  At this last comment, he stops::


Cat: You wrote an acceptance speech... for an award we're not getting... in [i]crayon[/i]?!


::He nearly falls over laughing::


Carlos (snarls): Oh, you think that's funny, huh Tabs? Maybe you'll think my foot in your tail's funny too!


Terrier: Back off, munchkin. He can't help it that you're an idiot.


Carlos: Oh, you want some too, Angus?  How 'bout you, Brice?  You wanna shot while we're at it?


::Brice, the bulldog, shakes his head::


Brice: Once more, the runt of the litter has to show off...


Carols (balling his fists): Come on, then! I'll take all'a ya on right here an' now!


::The female attempts reason::


FD: Come on, you guys, Neal asked us to...


BD: [b][i]DOG PILE![/i][/b]


::All four of the other males dive on Carlos in unison, erupting into a cloud of dust through which the occasional fist, foot, or tail could be seen::


FD: I can't believe you guys are acting like such...


::The young dog woman's words were cut off as a shoe struck her in the back of the head.  She turns around, baring her teeth::


FD: Oh, it's on now…


::She then dives into the melee with her companions::


::A moment later, with the canine combat in full swing, Neal Wolf strides onto the stage, stopping short upon seeing the ruckus.  His eyes narrow, and a quick, loud, sharp howl freezes the entire Krew in poses of impending violence::


BD (nervous): Uh, hi Neal…


Neal (shaking his head): Save it. What's with you guys?  I ask you to do one simple thing...


::His glare changes to a grin as he chuckles::


Neal: And you pull it off beautifully.


Angus (chuckling): That smoke machine Gadget installed gave it the finishing touch.


::All of the former "combatants" dust themselves off::


FD (worried): I think I ripped my gown…


Neal: Don't sweat it, Kelli; at least it's not a rental. I still think the box of crayons bit was a little much; I would've only used one..."


::Neal has now taken the podium with Bekkah beside him and the Krew forming a partial ring behind::


Neal: Ladies and gentlemen, what you've just seen is an example of character interaction... sadly, a far too common example with these mutts.  How the various characters in a story relate to each other is an integral tool in storytelling, giving the reader an idea of what each character is like and sometimes telling a sub-story in itself.  Some would perhaps even go so far as to say that the portrayal of character interaction could make or break a story on its own.  At this time, we'd like to pay tribute to the best and brightest examples of this often critical storytelling element.


::The wolf smiles as he leans into the microphone::


Neal: The nominees for the 2006 Golden Acorn Award for Best Character Interaction are...


::BD comes forward to read off the first nominee::


BD: Greyhound bus & pupspals, for Foxglove and Tammy in [i]Gadget's Hiccups[/i]”


Kelli:  Loneheart, for Gadget and Bubbles in [i]Gadget in Chains[/i]


Angus: BOC42, for Chip and Gadget in [i]Closer Than a Brother[/i]


Brice:  Lightindark76, for Clarice and Chip in [i]Friends and Enemies[/i]


Carlos: Stainless Steel Rat, for Monty and Kimiko in [i]On a Wingnut and a Prayer[/i]


::Tabs steps up to the podium for the final nominee::


Tabs: RangerReady23, for Tammy and Gadget in [i]Due South[/i]


Neal: And the winner is...


::Neal pulls his dagger Isis from his jacket and slices open the envelope, then reads the card it contains::


Neal: Ahem, excuse me. The two winners are—


Carlos: Me, me, and me!


Neal: Nice try. The winners are Greyhound Bus and Pupspals for "Gadget's Hiccups" and RangerReady23 for "Due South"!


::Pupspals cheers at the announcement & runs up to the podium & accepts the award::

Pupspals:  Thank you all so much!  I - wait... where's Greyhound?  And am I looking for a bus or a mouse??

::She looks down and sees a mouse sauntering up to the podium clad in a Greyhound driver's uniform, Greyhound Bus breaks into a Micheal Jackson dance routine from 'Thriller', finishing off by throwing his hat into the audience and striking a pose::


GB: Wooooo!!!


::Leaning against the podium, he looks out at the audience then at the award::


GB: Couldn't have done it wit'out ole Pups here givin' me da back up. I jus sported da idea.....she did the work so she deserves this more than me.


::Giving her a hug, he strikes another pose before taking his award and moonwalking off the stage::

Pupspals:  Well, there you go!  Actually he deserves more credit for this particular award.  If I recall... & I'd quote the IM exactly but I don't have that on me right now... I asked what characters he wanted to include.  I had no intention of including Foxy or Tammy at all.  But in one line of the IM he told me to include them.  He just stated their names.  This part of the story & this award would not be possible if not for him just saying their names!


::Pupspals takes a breath, elated in the moment::


Pupspals: So once I heard that I had to think of something for them to do!  I couldn't come up with anything so I just started to write.  This is what came out.  It just seemed so natural for the two to have a competition even though they weren't.  And it was fun to write too!  I got some odd looks from people in the school library while I was writing this.  It got to the point that I started thinking, "oh, do I [i]have[/i] to go back to those darn hiccups???"  So I'm glad you had fun with it too!


::She takes hold of her award::


Pupspals: I'd like to thank God, my parents, anyone who worked on those two characters, anyone who voted, and of course Greyhound for the idea.  Thanks a lot!!!


::As Pupspals walks off, RangerReady comes on stage, standing behind the podium::


R/R: I'm grateful to everybody who voted for me, for this award. Character interaction is one of the most difficult things to get right in a story, and I thank God that I was blessed with so much inspiration for this team-up. Tammy and Gadget weren't [i]completely[/i] pleased at all of the Southernisms that got put in their mouths, but it was all in good fun. I got a lot of pleasure from writing Due South, and I hope you all enjoyed it a lot, as well. Thank you for the award, everybody! Thanks so much!


::Neal and the Krew file offstage with the winners::


Carlos: Hey man, those dudes didn't give nowhere the kind the speech I would've!


BD: You don’t say. So, what would you have done better?


Carlos: First of all, I would get up there and say, "I RULE! I RULE!"


BD: Case closed…