In Chapter CCCLXXI of Violet Crepuscular’s epic romance, Oy, Rodney, the wedding of Lady Margo Cargo and Lord Jeremy Coldsore is off again: the vicar is having a very bad bout of conniptions. But these, we learn, are special conniptions, unrelated to the strange events around the vicar’s backyard wading pool.
“He gets these around this time every year,” says the vicar’s housekeeper, Mrs. Whatsername. “Twenty-seven years ago, he was a young missionary in the Fistula Islands, with a tiny little church in Port Zitzmann. He taught the natives to wear trousers–although to this day they insist on wearing them backwards.”
“What’s so terrible about that?” wonders Jeremy.
“He was at Port Zitzmann when the giant prawns attacked it. He’s never been the same since. When he remembers this traumatic experience, he simply goes to pieces.”
Lord Jeremy nods understandingly. “Bad show, that–I remember reading about it in Sir Ranulph Frump’s Magazine for Precocious Boys. How long do these conniptions last?”
“It depends on how recently I’ve served him prawns for dinner,” explains the housekeeper. “I keep forgetting not to do that.”
Here Ms. Crepuscular breaks into the narrative to relate a fascinating detail of her personal life. “Most of you, dear readers, don’t know this,” she writes, “but when I was 12 years old, I met Hopalong Cassidy–the man himself!–at our local Woolworth’s store. He predicted I would marry a man who owns an alligator farm. I’m still waiting for that prediction to come true!”
While we’re still trying to figure out why she has shared that with us, the chapter comes to an end with a runaway locomotive being pulled under the wading pool, never to be seen again.