A Terrifying Incident! (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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(The reader is advised to read the following chapter in a very dark room, to cultivate a sense of danger. Or something.)

In Chapter CCCXLIII of Violet Crepuscular’s epic romance, Oy, Rodney, Lord Jeremy Coldsore, the American adventurer Willis Twombley (who thinks he’s Sargon of Akkad), and the vicar are making their way home from an abandoned warehouse in Plaguesby, where Lord Jeremy was to meet and marry Lady Margo Cargo, who, alas, has gone to the wrong warehouse in the wrong town.

“Sure is dark out here tonight!” mutters Twombley.

“You could take the paper bag off your head, old boy,” says Lord Jeremy. Twombley hadn’t thought of that. The reader may now turn on a lamp. “That’s better,” Twombley says.

“Halt!”

The unsuccessful elopement party find themselves surrounded by six sinister young men armed with knives and truncheons.

“We’ve got you now, tyrant!” exclaims the leader, a singularly unprepossessing fellow with bulging eyes.

“That’s what you think, buster!” Twombley draws his six-gun and presses it to the vicar’s head. “You all better mosey on out of here, pronto. One more step toward us, and I shoot the vicar.”

“I say!” ejaculates Lord Jeremy. “I say, that’s not quite fair, don’t you know.” The vicar giggles nervously.

“He has us over a barrel, lads,” admits the leader. The ambushers withdraw into the darkness of the surrounding woodland.

“Who the devil were they?” demands Jeremy.

“Babylonian secret agents,” said Twombley. “They’ve been after me for years. That’s Mesopotamian politics for you. Don’t worry, they won’t be back for a while. They haven’t cottoned on to guns yet.”

“The reader may now turn on all the lights and relax,” adds Ms. Crepuscular. “We will attempt the marriage again in a future chapter.”

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