I have to admit this headline is something less than honest. I’m afraid I got carried away by the readership’s enthusiastic support for Violet Crepuscular’s literary endeavors. The only reader who struck a sour note was some literary critic from The Philadelphia Carp who said all copies of her book should be gathered up and burned, and the ashes scattered in outer space. But who listens to literary critics?
So we are free to return to Ms. Crepuscular’s epic romance, Oy, Rodney, Chapter CCCLXXXXIX.
Scurveyshire is overrun with monsters, the result of Constable Chumley inadvertently reciting a very difficult incantation, and people are blaming Lord Jeremy Coldsore for it. Actually it’s Violet’s fault, but they are in no mood to listen to reason. Despairing of help from any other quarter, Jeremy consults with the Wise Woman of the Gaol. He is accompanied by the American adventurer, Willis Twombley, who has spent all his adult life thinking he’s Sargon of Akkad but lately has begun to feel some faint twinges of doubt.
In an intimate aside to the reader, Ms. Crepuscular writes, “I do not mean to imply that Mr. Twombley isn’t Sargon of Akkad, nor have I ever stated that he really is. I ask you, dear reader, to keep an open mind.”
Meanwhile, Lord Jeremy receives an oracle from the Wise Woman of the Gaol:
“Beware of a man with a deformed coccyx, carrying a single sandal.”
“How’s he gonna carry a sandal with his coccyx?” demands Twombley.
“When you see him,” intones the Wise Woman, “you must immediately go up to him and ask him a certain question. And when he answers, the monsters will be whisked back to where they came from.”
“And what is the question?” cries Lord Jeremy.
Looking very wise indeed, the Wise Woman lowers her voice and says, “I don’t know!”
We will have to wait for the next chapter to find out whether Willis Twombley shoots her.
[Editor’s note: We can’t find the traditional Oy, Rodney cover. For the time being, we have made do with a picture of a katydid.]