The Silver Clitorides Awards

The woods are lovely, dark, and deep...

By general invitation to all the authors, their friends and family, and their fans, the campgrounds have filled up to near capacity. The facilities range from primitive to civilized. There are pup tents, family tents, pop-up campers, and recreational vehicles. There are even a customized bus and a charter bus (Oosh's fans, or so the rumor goes.)

In a central clearing, a bonfire blazes in the middle of a cleared area. Barrels of water are off to one side for firefighting if need be. The fire is at the hollow of a natural bowl, and logs are set on the slopes to form a sort of amphitheater. The logs are mostly occupied, although a steady stream of people wanders back and forth to the bathrooms and showers.

Authors and fans alike have been swapping ghost stories around the bonfire while waiting for the final tally of the Silver Clitoride voting. Some have been toasting marshmallows or making smores. A flash of skin at the edge of the woods indicates that not all of the revelers are around the fire. Indeed, one of the RVs is a-rockin' (no one's a-knockin, but that could change at any time with this group.)

Gary steps before the bonfire and yells for attention. In his left hand, he holds a small silver trophy; his right holds a certificate suitable for framing. It must be suitable - it's in a pine frame with a matte border. Before he can yell a second time, a trio of streakers bursts from the woods and passes between him and the assembled throng. It does nothing to quiet the hooting and hollering, but it does serve to bring attention to the front. He holds the trophy over his head and the cacaphony dies off until the sound of the flames and the crackle of the fire can be heard.

Into that relative silence, Gary announces, "I have the results of the voting. I know it's late and a lot of us are tired, so I'll just read them off, and the winners can come up afterward and pick up their trophies and certificates." He raises the trophy higher and lifts the framed certificate as well. Scattered clapping mixes with tired murmurs and slowly trails off.

He lowers the trophy and frame. Reading a note taped to the back of the frame, he says, "The Silver Clitoride for the Best Story of the Month of August, 2001, goes to 'Til Death Do Us Part' by Desdmona."

He waits patiently for the clapping and whistling to abate. It isn't reduced by the streakers transitting once again, their number swollen to five, but eventually it is low enough to continue.

"The Silver Clitty for the Best Story of the Month of September, 2001, goes to 'Business Class' by Wiseguy." Once again the noise level rises, encouraged by yet another passage of the eleven streakers.

When he can again be heard, Gary observes, "I suppose we have our own form of Dangling Chads" to much tittering and snickering. "The Silver Clit for October goes to..." he pauses to sip from a Diet Coke can held by his Muse's sockpuppet. "Where was I? Oh, yes. The Month of October, 2001, belongs to 'War Secret' by Oosh."

An entire section of the amphitheater erupts in cheering and squeels of delight. Oosh's fans are legion and vocal. In the firelight, someone (possibly Oosh herself) is being carried away. In all fairness, lots of people are getting carried away, especially the twenty or so naked runners now headed for the lake for a little midnight skinny-dipping.

When the crowd once again achieves a level of composure, Gary announces the final award. "In the most closely contested heat, the Best Story of the Month of November, 2001, goes to 'The Way to Pitsburgh' by Mat Twassel. A shift of a single vote could have created a four-way tie. As it is, Mat's story was judged the best of an excellent crop by his friends and fans."

Standing so close to the fire, Gary is giving serious thought to joining the streakers in the lake. But he has one last duty to perform. "Those of you who are leaving tonight, please drive safely. Those who are staying in camp tonight, please stick around in the morning long enough to police the area." He pauses for the boos and catcalls. "In either case, I want to thank you all for participating."

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