In Chapter XX of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney—
What? Chapter XX? I thought we had Chapter CCCV last week! Why are we suddenly on Chapter XX? Violet Crepuscular explains.
“Dear readers, I am sure I have a Chapter XX in the appropriate place, between Chapters XIX and XXI, but I cannot recall that there was that much to it. So I might as well rewrite it here, and use it to help you to understand my difficulty in proceeding to Chapter CCCVI.
“In digging up my garden, the oafs from the police turned up some oddly-shaped stones with peculiar markings on them; and as a result, my whole back yard is now being dug up by all these men in pith helmets and I am forbidden to interfere.
“They say the funny stones are the ruins of some Carthaginian thingy and thus a major archaeological discovery–and the government expects me to fund their research! I don’t understand this. They say the squiggly marks on the stones are inscriptions of some kind, but all it seems to say is things like ‘Put this stone in such and such a place’ or ‘For a good time, visit Cindy.’ Meanwhile they’ve made a pig’s breakfast of my yard! I do not propose to invite them in for sandwich cookies.”
Moving on to Chapter CCCVI, what little there is of it, we find Archibald Cruxley, ace reporter for Upholstery World, rather cast down by his failure to interview Lady Margo Cargo about her upholstered wooden leg, the only one of its kind in all of England. He has not been able to stem the flow of Willis Twombley’s reminiscences of famous gunfights in America. Nor does he like the way Mr. Twombley waves his six-shooter every which way for emphasis.
“Man, I thought Ur was a rough town, all full of Chaldees who’d shoot you just to see if their guns was loaded!” Twombley believes he is Sargon of Akkad, on the run from Babylonian usurpers. “And there was fast times in Philistia, too! But there wasn’t none of ’em could hold a candle to Dodge City. You shoulda see what happened when Murderin’ Mike McGurk came to town! Did you know he was a Ghurka?”
On and on he goes. Lady Margo listens intently, lost in fascination. Lord Jeremy Coldsore listens somewhat less intently. And Mr. Cruxley isn’t listening at all. He is thinking he made a serious error in his youth, when he decided not to be a beggar.