Introducing Chapter CCCLXXI of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney, Violet Crepuscular takes aim at her printer, a man named Baskett.
“Everybody in the world thinks he or she can write an epic romance!” she declares. “That includes one Hieronymus Baskett of Popeye’s Print Shop.
“As I wrote the chapter, Lady Margo Cargo dies from a placebo overdose that dissolves her coccyx. This is the sort of thing that tinges a romance with bittersweet realism–kind of like one of those good old Hallmark TV specials in which a lovable, plucky celebrity dies of an incurable disease. You’d think this would have given me a crack at a Pulitzer, but no! Mr. I-Know-All-About-Literature Baskett refused to print the chapter unless I spared Lady Margo’s life. He actually accused me of murder!”
And so in Take Two of Chapter CCCLXXI, Lady Margo does not die, but enjoys a complete recovery from her psychosomatic, subcutaneous (Violet’s word, not mine) affliction and Dr. Fanabla receives a medal from the Queen. Lady Margo’s fiances, Lord Jeremy Coldsore and his friend, the American adventurer Willis Twombley, are quite pleased. Now the wedding can go forward as planned.
“If that’s the kind of syrupy pap the readers want, so be it,” writes Ms. Crepuscular. “I had hopes of turning this into one of those dark and serious Russian novels, but couldn’t get past the obstacle of Popeye’s Print Shop. I even had a Count Kissoff ready to step into the plot as a man who wants to buy Coldsore Hall and turn it into an anarchists’ club. Alas! It seems everyone’s allowed to write Serious Mainstream Literature but me.”
We shall see if Oy, Rodney can continue in spite of this setback.