Chapter CXLIX of Violet Crepuscular’s worst-selling romance, Oy, Rodney, is action-packed! Honest.
But before it all heats up, Lord Jeremy Coldsore’s friend, the American adventurer Willis Twombley, has a problem. He confides in Lord Jeremy.
“Germy, ol’ hoss,” he says, “you sure got a lot of creditors. I ain’t sure I’ve shot the half of ’em, and I’m afraid you’re goin’ to have to expand your cellar here at Coldsore Hall, ’cause I’m runnin’ out of places to stash the bodies. A few of ’em, y’see, they’re gettin’ kind of high, if you know what I mean. Especially that fella I parked in the closet in the billiard room. We need more space!”
“Oh, really, Sargon!” Twombley still thinks he’s Sargon of Akkad. “I am trying to prepare our wedding to Lady Margo, and I’m sure I don’t have the funds to hire a construction crew!”
“Who said anything about hirin’ ’em? You’re the nobility, ain’t you? And they’re the peasants. Just draft a bunch of ’em to dig out a bigger cellar. This is England, after all–you don’t have to pay ’em.”
Meanwhile, Miss Lizzie the spider girl has been crying for action vis-a-vis the vicar’s mysterious, dangerous backyard wading pool. In the taproom at The Lying Tart, her heated oratory inspires the rustic patrons to snatch up scythes and torches and form a mob to attack and destroy the pool–which is now believed to be the “nest” of the ancient sorcerer Black Rodney, from which he periodically emerges to devour his unsuspecting victims.
Howling and roaring, the mob streams toward the vicar’s property. But when the uproar dies down for just a moment, Albert the Daft Old Minstrel asks a daunting question.
“Er, I say! What are we to do if Black Rodney comes out and gits us all?” The mob is a mere twenty yards from the hedge marking the border of the vicar’s yard. Behind it lies the pool.
Albert’s question stops the mob in its track. Everybody looks at everybody else. Suddenly they all drop their makeshift weapons and run away in every conceivable direction.
Constable Chumley, alerted by the noise, arrives too late to see anything but a large pile of scythes, pitchforks, and guttering torches. He shakes his head.
“‘Tis a froffin’ mair dindle hereabouts, this verning,” he soliloquizes.