The Author Seems Confused (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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Violet Crepuscular makes an impassioned statement to her readers.

“I deplore, I execrate, I denounce that critic who has called my work ‘Tristram Shandy for Dummies’!” she writes. “Well, I call his work Dumb and Stupid Stuff for Real Dummies! Hah!”

With this out of her system, she launches into Chapter CCCXIX of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney–which, she hastens to add, is not for dummies at all.

“We have reached that point in the story wherein all of Scurveyshire is about to be sucked down into the nameless abyss under the wading pool in the vicar’s back yard–”

Oops. “Dear reader, excuse me!” she writes. “I’m so upset and confused, I hardly know what I’m doing. We have not reached that point in the story! Far from it. Oh, those critics! Let me see if a few glasses of whiskey can help me get my thoughts in order.”

Eventually she gets around to telling us that Johnno the Merry Minstrel, who has swallowed his harmonica, is being examined by Dr. Fanabla. The examination is difficult because anything Johnno tries to say just comes out as random musical notes.

“I’m afraid there’s nothing for it but radical exploratory surgery,” says the doctor. “Somewhere inside him there’s a harmonica that has to be removed. I fear it’s lodged in his gizzard.” Johnno rolls his eyes and tries to protest, but all that comes out sounds vaguely like “Yankee Doodle.” Lord Jeremy chides him for being unpatriotic. The doctor shakes his head. “Tricky business, taking out the gizzard,” he says. Johnno has to be restrained.

Meanwhile Willis Twombley, the American adventurer who thinks he is Sargon of Akkad, suspects the Wise Woman of the Woods of being in league with the medieval sorcerer, Black Rodney. “Why else would she have bought up all the axolotls that they had in stock?” he said. “Germy, ol’ hoss, you better let me shoot her.”

“That won’t get us any axolotls,” Lord Jeremy replies. “Have to be more subtle than that, old boy! Someone summon Constable Chumley! I want him to arrest her.”

But a note from the constable says “Frithee more, yair manitoes be sacklin’.”

The rest of the chapter is illegible.

 

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