Introducing Chapter CCCXXXIII of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney, Violet Crepuscular writes, “I can’t believe I’ve written 350 chapters of this book–” Whoa! Did she just say 350? Her editor is going to plotz–“without introducing Sir Osmund Footeball, the local character of Scurveyshire Village. Oddly enough, he, too, looks very much like Broderick Crawford; but he is no relation to the mysterious stranger in town who also looks just like Broderick Crawford.”
Sir Osmund’s father, Sir Ethelred “Slimy” Footeball, made a fortune blackmailing the royal family; but Sir Osmund has frittered most of it away. He became a local character by his habit of pressing his face to shop windows and making horrible faces at the customers inside. Constable Chumley, as a raw rookie, made the mistake of arresting him for this. Sir Osmund’s connections had the young constable locked up for a week. “‘Tis a whither frae nae folladew fairn,” Chumley recalls nostalgically.
Sir Osmund now supports himself by betting passersby that he will eat various insects. He is, as it were, a walking tourist trap. We are unable to detect any contribution he makes to the plot. He is, like the Matterhorn, “there.”
Meanwhile, Lady Margo Cargo is up and around again, having found her lost glass eye, but Lord Jeremy Coldsore has been unable to arrange the details of their elopement and wedding because the mysterious stranger who looks like Broderick Crawford won’t stop hanging around the front door of her opulent country house and Constable Chumley is afraid to arrest him, lest he once again mistakenly arrests Sir Osmund Footeball.
“I could just shoot him, Germy ol’ hoss,” offers Lord Jeremy’s close friend, the American adventurer Willis Twombley. But Jeremy fears Twombley might accidentally shoot Sir Osmund. Then the fat would really be in the fire.