Best Short Story


Dr. Batorious:  Presenting our next award for Best Short Story, please welcome a Rangerphile familar with such things: the former editor of the Disney Afternoon fanzine 'WTFB', Mr. Jeff Pierce!


::As polite applause breaks out and an instrumental riff of 'Everybody Loves Ned Flanders' from 'The Simpsons' sounds over the speakers, a somewhat overweight, sandy-blonde-haired man in his early '40s emerges from stage left.  Blue-eyed, wearing eyeglasses and sporting a mustache, he really *does* look a lot like the cartoon character!  Reaching the podium as the music ends, he faces the assembled audience with a wide grin::


JP: Dobry vyecher, comrades! I hope St. Petersburg is having as much fun tonight as we are!

::The Russian members of the audience applaud in response. Settling in and looking into the teleprompter, Jeff continues::

JP: As editor of a fan publication oriented primarily towards fiction and commentary, I had the pleasure of seeing several of the earliest Rescue Rangers stories before they hit the Internet.  I was always impressed by the skill and craft of the authors; and to this day, much of the emphasis of our fellow Rangerphiles remains on writing the new adventures of our favorite furry do-gooders.

Although lengthy novellas such as Rhyme and Reason are perhaps better known, short stories are perhaps even more challenging to write, as an author must compress plot and characterization alike into a stand-alone piece of fiction capable of being read in a single, relatively short sitting. This past year, several excellent works have been submitted to the critical review -- and hearty approval -- of the Rangerphile community. With no further ado, here are the nominees for Best Short Story:

If You Give a Mouse a Screwdriver, by BOC42. A wonderful bit of prose based on the popular book, 'If You Give a Mouse a Cookie...'

Gadget's Babbled Nursery Rhymes, by Indy. What, in some ways, are an improvement over the originals, thanks to Our Lady of the Workshop. (said with a nod to Gadget)

May Day Mayday, by Dave White. A work written some time back as part of Dave's 'Seasonal Stories' series, and well worth reading. Especially on a stormy night! (grin and wink)

How to Defend Yourself from an Attacker Armed With a Nut, by Severe Weather Eddie.  A parody of a Monty Python skit, which appears to be a popular formula of late.

Elysium, by RangerReady23.  Set in his version of the Rangerverse, and a lovely vignette of Gadget as mother, rather than inventor or adventurer.

Late Nights, Vampire Goats and What Really Scares a Chipmunk, by Indy.  A classic Ranger Minute, and one that should cause us all to beware upsetting a lady who has a left-handed framwinkle and knows how to use it.  (grins and winks over at Dale and Gadget)

And finally, A Lass in a Lamp, by CCC, part of 'The Lawhinie Cases' series, and one of the best follow-ups to the sorta-kinda-in-a-way canon episode, 'A Lad in a Lamp', which because it was wished away, never really happened

::At that moment, the Genie of the Lamp appears in a puff of smoke::

Genie: Oh, REALLY now?

JP: Oops...

::The Genie proceeds to stuff Jeff into the lamp, after which, he sets it on top of the podium and faces the audience::

Genie: That'll teach him! I hope he doesn't mind the thousand-year-old decor...

::With another puff of smoke, an envelope appears in Genie's left hand::

Genie: And now, the winner of this year's award for Best Short Story is...

::He opens the envelope with a magical flourish, and reads the card inside::

Genie: Just as I'd wished!  It's A Lass in a Lamp, by BOC42 and May Day MayDay, by Dave White!

::The genie walks up onto the stage, waving, bowing every second step, and generally delaying. The closer he gets to the podium, the more reluctant he actually seems to be to step up to it, even bowing a dozen times in a row right next to it, despite the applause having quite firmly died down by number eight.

On reaching the podium, he adjusts the microphone, clears his throat, harrumphs, and seems to be willing to do almost anything rather than actually speak for a full ten minutes, despite some whispered encouragement from the presenter.

Finally, the genie speaks::

Genie: Thank you for your patience, ladies and gentlemen. I have been asked to accept this award on the behalf of CCC, for which I am very  grateful, as you would be too if you'd been stuck in the same empty lamp for over a hundred years. I'm afraid I'm likely to be a little longwinded as a result, because quite seriously, I've got no wish to end up back in the lamp. Which is where I'm going to end up, when this speech is done. Thus my longwindedness, you see. I've got to make all the points on this paper, after which, well, I'm back in the *shudder* lamp again…

::The genie fiddles with the microphone again::

Genie: Like most things, this story has a history. The basic idea, the discovery of the lamp by Lawhinie, was a direct response to the contention (in the RangerWiki) that, since the events of "A Lad in a Lamp" had been erased from history, a sequel to the episode was impossible. To some authors, this sort of contention is a challenge to be met, and to be conquered. I think that this award suggests that the challenge has been met successfully, although sequels can still be considered rare.

::The genie sighs::

Genie: Unfortunately, this has left me trapped in that lamp for even longer. Would it be that hard to imagine Fat Cat, who knew about the lamp at the start of the episode, perhaps following up on rumors of it again? Or perhaps someone merely accidentally stumbling across it? Seriously, I'm dead bored in that lamp. Anyone who manages to get me out of there permanently will have my gratitude, as well. Perhaps someone can even introduce a new villian that no-one minds being trapped in a lamp, or better yet, someone finds out how to destroy the lamp?

::The genie looks out at his audience, realizes that he'd got sidetracked, and clears his throat. He looks down at a sheet of paper that he carried onto the stage, reading the notes on it::

Genie: There were, however, a few other motives in writing "A Lass in a Lamp". For a start, it was intended as a hint that, despite the happenings in the previous Lawhinie cases, Lawhinie would [i]still[/i] be willing to betray the Rangers in a moment if she thought it was worth it; but doing so in a way that ensures that none of the Rangers could retain renewed suspiscions of her as a result. And, finally, it contained a hint as to his Lawhinie's origin and the identity of Doodad; an obscure hint, it is true, and spread over a few chapters, but placed in a story in which Chip could [i]not[/i] use it later to work out that origin himself.

::The genie turns the page over. The other side reads "The speech is over"::

Genie: No! No! I had an hour-long story about camels and sandstorms to recite before making the final point! Nooooooooooooo!

::In a puff of smoke, the genie vanishes, the smoke hurrying off-stage to the lamp. The golden acorn falls behind the podium...and, a moment later, is seen moving off the stage, carried by a tripod::

Dr. Batorious - Accepting the award for Dave White is Geegaw Hackwrench.

::Geegaw leaves his seat and heads for the stage. His feet donıt quite make contact with the red carpet, and he is somewhat translucent. As he approaches, he avoids the stairs and drifts upward to the stage, taking his place behind the lectern::

Geegaw: Itıs wonderful to be here to accept this award for Dave. Itıs one of the high points of my career in fan fiction. All the more remarkable considering I was deceased a year before the T.V. series premiered!

::A nervous chuckle ripples through the audience. Itıs a hearty laugh from the attendees who are also deceased::

Geegaw: Itıs been the role of fandom to keep alive stories and concepts and characters that their originators thought long dead. These awards go a long way toward keeping Ranger fandom, and the Rescue Rangers concept, alive for generations of new fans.

So, on behalf of Dave White, thank you all for this...

::Geegawıs hand passes through the trophy as he tries to pick it up, then looks out into the audience::

Geegaw: Gadget, could you give me a hand with this?

::Gadget hurries to the lectern and hefts the trophy::

Gadget: Way to go, dad, and thanks, everybody! Thanks, Dave!

Geegaw: Thank you all very much!

::Gadget and Geegaw link arms and exit stage left. The Genie takes center stage again::

Genie: And with that, I'm off! My flying carpet is double-parked, you know! Sim sal a bim, and all that, you know!

::He again disappears in a puff of smoke, leaving the lamp on the podium. The lamp jumps down to the stage, and exits by bouncing towards stage right. As it does, a muffled voice inside is heard::

JP: Help! Someone get me out of this crazy thing! Anyone got a can opener?!