[Narrator limps down aisle with aid of a shillelagh; climbs on stage, cheeks aflame; receives trophy; exchanges innocuous cheek kisses, etc., with both formally-suited male and sheer-gowned female luminaries; accepts applause from rising, broad-smiling audience, then directs decrescendo from fortissimo to pianissimo by gesture that recalls ancient rite of laying on of hands. Reaches up toward microphone; male luminary comes forward and adjusts it for him or her; Narrator speaks, with face set toward ceiling.]
I’d like to thank the Higher Power, or Powers—you know who you are—for sprinkling a wealth of clues in my modest corner of the earth. They greatly aided me in my quest to discover both my identity and my place in the vast arrangement of things. Without their help, I would not be standing before you today as the one who finally solved the enigma of our species’ place in the universe. Let’s give them a big hand.
[Casting a horizontal gaze] I’d also like to thank the little people in my life. First, Erma Cannon. If you’d please stand up, Erma … Rusty, could you tell Erma to stand up? … There. Let’s have a big hand for Ms. Cannon. [Applause.]
And for Rusty “Chuck” Stubbs, who helped Erma stand up. [Mix of laughter and applause.]
Reginald and Regina? The Wrights? Yes. Good. And a hand for them. [Applause.] Reginald is the gentleman, Regina is the lady. That’s how I learned to tell them apart. [Laughter.]
You may sit down, Erma … (Rusty, could you please help Erma sit down?) [Laughter; smattering of applause.]
Fine. Now, Marta Smith. Where’s Marta? Oh, there she is—she’s the one riding on a cloud, floating from table to table, collecting autographs. I hope you don’t mind. She has a colossal collection and takes every opportunity to augment it. A hand for her single-minded search for celebrity signatures.
[Applause.] Wave to everybody, Marta. Isn’t she something? [Continued applause.]
Now, Professor Calloway. Is Professor Calloway here? Professor Chlöe Calloway? Rusty, have you seen Professor Calloway? No? She’s probably at home, rearranging the jots and tittles of her dissertation.
[Smattering of laughter.]Don’t laugh. She inspired the title of my novel. Doesn’t that deserve a hand, in absentia? [Applause.]
And where’s Maria? Maria Flo? [Suddenly struck.]
Oh, I forgot. This was the day for her screen test. [Knowledgeable laughter.] But mark my words. One of these days she’ll be standing up here, giving her own acceptance speech. [Standing ovation.]
No no. [Staying expression of audience enthusiasm with charismatic yet graceful gesture of the hand.]
Hold your applause. Save it for later. [Suddenly overcome with emotion.] What can I say?
[Preparing to leave stage.]T hank you. [Touching fingers to lips; blowing kisses to the assembled masses.] Thank you. [Raising trophy in triumphant yet unpretentious fashion.] Thank you very much. [Bowing in acknowledgement of applause, now at fff level; bowing again; repeating, in random order, many of the above-cited tokens of reply to the general zeal; finally descending from stage, making way through a thicket of hands greedy for a mere touch o’ the garment, moving slowly but inexorably to table occupied by the little people in his life.]