Best Verse:

::The empty stage draws whispers. Confusion made sound swirls throughout the hall. "What's going on?" "Is this an intermission?" "Did someone make a mistake?"::

::The sounds of footpaws echo from the stage. Slowly, they rise in volume as the sound comes from no one in sight. To the eyes of the audience, the sound comes from off-stage and moves over to the podium. Once the sound stops, a voice comes from behind the podium::

Voice: Ladies and gentlemen, predator and prey, it is my distinct pleasure to introduce the nominees for 'Best Verse'! But before we list the nominees, let's talk about the subject for a moment. Just what is 'Best Verse'?

::Suddenly, all the lights shut off! A split-second later, a red floodlight bathes the stage in its sanguine glow as the sound of the shutter heightens in volume. WHAP! Behind the podium stands Chip, dressed in a resplendent tuxedo with black bow-tie and no hat. A few ladies in the audience whistle enthusiastically. The chipmunk winks at them suavely and says, "Hello to you, too." Whispers and giggles creep through the audience as the detective regains his composure::

Chip: The dictionary defines verse as 'a metrical composition. Poetry, especially as involving metrical form.' This means that verse can be considered poetry that is written in meter, whether the meter is measured in timed beats, syllables, or even no meter at all."


::The floodlight changes color, casting a rich emerald green radiance onto the stage. The audience gasps in shock as they see that Chip has not moved a single millimeter, yet wears different clothes! Gone is the tuxedo, replaced by his familiar bomber jacket and fedora!

The detective gestures with his left arm off-stage to his own left side and continues::

Chip: To be the best at verse, one needs to demonstrate mastery over the language of which they use in their writing. It's not enough to be fluent in the language, one needs to have studied its finer points to balance words and play with their meaning. Shaping lines of writing into verse is not easy, sometimes impossible at times.

::He moves his left arm to the far right, crossing over his body and turning his torso to follow::


::The floodlight changes color, casting a cool liquid blue radiance onto the stage. The audience gasps in shock as they see that Chip had not moved from his spot, yet wears still different clothes! Gone is the bomber jacket and fedora, replaced by a full-length opera cloak, complete with a starched, turned-up collar! The cloak moves, following the chipmunk's body as if it were always there. The cloak covers the entire chipmunk, save for his exposed head and gesturing paw::

Chip: The ability to use verse to explain something hinges on the author's ability to use the established meaning of a given word to symbolically explain something else entirely. This form of analogy, when done right, can be very enlightening and entertaining. It allows the audience to receive the same inspiration in a whole new light.


::The floodlight changes color, casting a brilliant white light onto the stage. The audience gasps in shock as they see that Chip has not moved again, still there are different clothes again! He pulls his posture back to normal. The cloak opens to reveal that Chip now wears his tuxedo, opera cloak, and fedora all together! The audience cheers and claps loudly, giving voice to their amazement and delight::

::The audience calms::

Chip: The nominees for 'Best Verse' are...

“After the Mission” by Mr. Spumoni

“How Long – A Lament” by Zaptiftun

"Rescue Rangers Haiku” by Toni

“To Bee or Not To Bee” by Bubbles' Big Brother

"Gadget's Delay”, by Bubbles' Big Brother

“Where Dreams May Lead” by Bubbles' Big Brother

“Welcome to the Café” by RaceBest

::Chip picks up the envelope from the podium with his left hand. Reaching into his cloak, he draws a letter opener from a discreet pocket. After slicing the envelope open, he replaces the letter opener::

Chip: The winner for 'Best Verse' is...Mr. Spumoni, for “After the Mission”!

::The song “Psycho” by Puddle of Mudd once more begins to play. Spumoni, having barely taken his seat in the ACNN booth and arranged himself stands up once more::


Spu (sheepish): Wow, really?


::He begins to walk down to the stage again, once more waving to people in the crowd.


::Spumoni once again shakes the hand of the presenter and takes a hold of the Golden Acorn award, pretends to shine it and then lifts it up for the audience in the Walt Disney Theater to view::


Spu (smirking): Well here’s some more proof that I spend way too much time online.


::The crowd chuckles at the joke::


Spu: I want to thank you, everyone who supported the writing and illustrating of After the Mission, as it was a bit of a stretch for me. It was the first time I tried something on this scale, and my illustrating is hardly the quality of a DeLTa or a Rye.


::He pauses::


Spu (smiling): I don’t even think it’s ranked. It is however the words that won me this award. I guess that in trying something new, trying something entirely different, that I touched something that struck a chord. I hope that it’s something that you all enjoyed!


::He bows as the crowd applauds, then Spumoni hoists the award and departs the stage. Chip bows as well and once more the lights go out. When they return, the stage is empty::