That Business with the Sliding Board (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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Introducing Chapter CCXCII of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney, Violet Crepuscular writes, “I shall now indulge in a flashback, to tell you, dear readers, all about that lamentable business with the sliding board.” It isn’t really a flashback, because she is now writing chapters out of order. And her editor has not returned her phone calls.

It seems that Scurveyshire’s resident genius, Percy Puce, F.R.S., the Resident Genius, has deduced that although considerable danger lurks below the vicar’s backyard wading pool, “Up on top, within the pool, one is perfectly safe. If only one had some means of entering the water without coming too close to the edge of the pool, one would be able to enjoy a refreshing swim.” The water in the pool is less than a foot deep, but Mr. Puce has some unusual ideas about swimming.

In the dead of night, Percy has workmen come and erect a sliding board just a few feet from the pool. They are too drunk to contemplate the danger of this enterprise. With the sliding board in place, the genius scrambles up the ladder, pauses for a moment at the top to strike an heroic pose, then races down the board as fast as his legs can carry him. “He has learned this trick by observing his pet hamster,” Ms. Crepuscular confides in the reader.

Alas, he slips on the ramp, his feet shoot out from under him, and his body describes an impressive arc through the air as he lands with a crash on his coccyx.

The sliding board itself slides under the pool and disappears. Howling with pain, Mr. Percy Puce disappears, too. The appalling character of the scene penetrates the workmen’s drunken haze and they rush back to The Lying Tart to tell the tale and quaff more ale.

Ms. Crepuscular is interrupted in her artistic endeavors by two police officers pounding on her door.

Editor’s note: I couldn’t find a suitable picture of someone taking a running start and then falling off a sliding board. It isn’t done that often.

10 comments on “That Business with the Sliding Board (‘Oy, Rodney’)

  1. Ms. Crepuscular’s private life is starting to get even more exciting than the novel she’s writing. 🙂

  2. Another mark of great literature; the word coccyx. I’ve always preferred books which use that word at least once in every chapter. I’ve read Anatomy and Diseases of the Coccyx at least fifty times now. 🙂

    Mr Puce is, of course, a true genius. Swimming in less than 1 foot of water is the mark of a true pro. I appreciate how he gets to the heart of the matter and returns the utility of the wading pool. One must have priorities.

    1. I think she has for many years wished to use the word “coccyx,” but not opportunity has presented itself until now.

    2. And then you finally get to use it, and you get these blank looks…

      Lawrence Stern and I are the only authors in English to use the word “obstreporating.” Spellcheck is confused.

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