Violet Crepuscular, “The Queen of Suspense,” has decided not to write Chapter DCLXXXIV of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney. “It’s too complicated,” she explains. “Besides which, the Crown’s traveling executioner has gone missing–lost, somehow, on his way to Scurveyshire. This happened fairly often in those days.”
Meanwhile, for all the short time which they served as absolute rulers of the shire, the June Taylor Dancers still managed to repeal all the laws of Scurveyshire but were expelled to Tannu Tuva, in Central Asia, before they had any time to replace the laws.
“Isn’t that a fine mess?” laments Lord Jeremy Coldsore. “As justice of the peace, how am I to enforce the laws when there are no laws?” He is exasperated by the vicar, who keeps meowing for more cat food.
The disappearance of the executioner is a cause for concern. Willis Twombley, the American adventurer, has raised a dozen pesetas with which to bribe the executioner: it is known that this official prefers Spanish money. “What do I do with all these pesetas?” Twombley asks rhetorically. “They won’t take ’em in The Lying Tart. I wish I’d never fed the vicar all that cat food!”
“We are now,” Ms. Crepuscular reminds her readers, “in Chapter DCLXXXV of my epic romance, Oy, Rodney. The next chapter, DCLXXXVI, I throw open to suggestions from the readers. What happens next? You, dear readers, must decide!” [Editor resigns in frustration, vows to have no more to do with any form of literature.]