Another milestone: Chapter CD of Violet Crepuscular’s epic romance, Oy, Rodney! It isn’t every book that can boast 400 chapters. Even if some of them are devoid of content.
“The reader will remember,” writes Ms. Crepuscular, “how, in Chapter 399, with Scurveyshire overrun each night by indescribably horrible monsters, the Wise Woman of the Gaol advised Lord Jeremy Coldsore to beware of a man with a deformed coccyx who is carrying a single sandal; and that as soon as he saw such a man, he was immediately to ask him a certain question, the answer to which would instantly send all the monsters back to where they came from.” And how’s that for a sentence?
Lord Jeremy’s boon companion, the American adventurer Willis Twombley–who lately has had doubts as to whether he really is Sargon of Akkad–doesn’t think much of the Wise Woman’s oracle. “It ain’t no more sense than a white pine dog with a poplar tail!” he fumes. [Author’s note: “Mr. Twombley originated this bon mot, which Edgar Rice Burroughs was to use with such telling effect in his literary classic, Savage Pellucidar.”] He is about to shoot her when Constable Chumley shambles into the gaol accompanied by a man with a deformed coccyx, carrying a single sandal, whom he has arrested for strolling down Main Street with no pants on. “Tha wicken yon forthy, M’lord,” he explains.
Lord Jeremy cannot help blurting out, “Where are your pants, man?” Followed instantaneously by the thought, “Oh, fap! That can’t be the question I was supposed to ask him! I’ve made a hash of it, by Jove!”
Ah! But that was the question! There will be no monsters on the streets of Scurveyshire tonight!
In an aside to the reader, Ms. Crepuscular writes, “As you can see, dear reader, sometimes the solutions to the thorniest problems are astoundingly simple! I thought it best to mention this in an aside to the reader.”
The man in question, blithely unaware that he has saved the town from being wiped off the earth by monsters, merely shrugs his shoulders, replying, “I am sorry, my lord, but my coccyx is in such a state that it tears apart any trousers that I try to wear.”
And here we have a chapter break: Ms. Crepuscular must clear some space on her mantlepiece for a Pulitzer Prize.