::It was cold in Thembria, but then again it was always cold there. Inside their huge capital building, the heads of state ruled absolute. Colonel Spigot was neither a ruler or an absolute, though he would of course admit to neither. At the moment, he and his favorite lackey Sergent Dunder were on the way to the Grand High Marshal's office::


Spigot: Cleaning day, shmeaning day. Why should we be burdened with cleaning out the High Marshal's office?


Dunder: Maybe because he'll have you shot if you don't?


Spigot: Ahem, well there's that, but I'm Colonel Spigot! The Terror of Tarompia, the Scourge of Scazabac, and the Conqueror of Cassapongo! Everyone's heard of me!


 Dunder:  Scourge of Scazabac?  Maybe a doctor could give you some ointment for that.  Maybe if we whistle while we work it will go faster, sir!


Spigot: Remind me to assign you to trash duty again.


Dunder: Yes, sir.


::They entered the High Marshal's office, a plush if spartan room. Everything was on a grand scale, including the huge picture of the High Marshal and his wife that adorned the rear wall. With no will for it, Spigot began emptying the trash cans and polishing the brass work. He had just taken down one of the High Marshal's trophies when he stopped and headed over to the room's big oak desk::


Spigot: This should be my room! I've done as much for Thembria as any brave soldier.


::Spigot took a seat at the High Marshal's desk, placing the trophy he'd been carrying on the desk. Dunder stopped spit-shining the wooden floor, a look of worry on his face::


 Dunder:  Sir, maybe you shouldn't put his bowling trophy on the desk like that.  If it gets broken, you'll be shot.  And if we try to repair it or replace it, we might have to go through all manner of hilarious hijinx to avoid the firing squad.


::After Spigot jacked up the Marshal's chair to the point where he could see over the desk, he leered at Dunder::

Spigot: Oh, grow up! I'm not going hurt his precious trophy. Don't know why he keeps it anyway--he only won because no one would dare throw anything against him but gutter balls.


::Spigot stretched out his arms::


Spigot: Besides, he'll never know! Just think, Dunder, some day...High Marshal Spigot...and all this will be mine!

::The colonel spun around in the chair, his arms still outstretched, and he knocked the trophy toward the floor. Dunder tried to dive for the trophy to catch it, but couldn't get there in time. The trophy shattered into a dozen pieces::


Dunder: Sir!  You... I broke his trophy!  What are we going to do now, sir?  If he finds out we'll be shot by the High Marshall!


::After spending several panic-filled moments trying to fit the pieces back together, Spigot panicked more::




Spigot: Oh no, oh no, oh no...and just when I was getting on his good side. Sergeant Dunder, we've got to replace that trophy and fast!


Dunder: But where will we get another one that looks like it?


Spigot: I don't know, I--wait, what's this?


::Spigot took an envelope off the High Marshall's desk, reading it::


Spigot: Invitations to the Golden Acorn Awards in St. Petersburg. Dunder, this is it!


Dunder: Oh, the awards? Yeah, they're great. I love catching them whenever they're on television...


Spigot: You have a television?


Dunder: Only during times when I won't get shot for having one, sir. But how do the awards solve our problem?


Spigot: Do I have to spell it out? They give out trophies at award shows. We go to the awards show, requisition one of their trophies, bring it back here and the High Marshal's none the wiser!


Dunder:  But what about the big "GA" on the side of the trophy?  Won't he be suspicious, sir? And what about the acorn shape? Acorns don't look like bowling balls.


Spigot: Details, details. We'll tell him that "GA" stands for Great Average, like a bowling average. And acorns and bowling balls look enough alike. He'll never notice.


 Dunder:  Okay, sir.  Now we need to hurry and get there and back before he notices.  We need to make an excuse to keep him out of his office.  Maybe we can say it was sprayed for roaches or something, sir.


Spigot: No, that wouldn't work. The roaches all went south for the winter. Wait, I know...


::Spigot pulled together the material for a sign and hung it on the knob of the High Marshal's office door. It read, "Do Not Open Until Christmas"::


Dunder: Do you really think that'll work, sir?


Spigot: Do you have a better idea? Come on, let's take these invitations and get over to the airfield. We'll have one of our brave Thembrain pilots fly us to St. Petersburg.


Dunder: Um, okay, but who's going to fly us back?