The Crayfish Food Controversey (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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“I have remembered my promise to provide a further elucidation of Scurveyshire’s increasingly volatile crayfish food kerfuffle,” writes Violet Crepuscular, introducing Chapter CCCLXXXIII of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney.

“The heart of the matter,” she explains, “is Slo-Gro Crayfish Snax vs. Go-Gro Crayfish Treats. Crusty the butler meant to buy Go-Gro, but Mr. Samuel Heathen sold him Slo-Gro. The matter, when put before Lord Jeremy Coldsore as justice of the peace, proved too stressful for the injured master of Coldsore Hall–you will remember that he recently fell down from a rather tall tree–and produced a deep swoon. I never meant to suggest that it was Lady Margo Cargo’s pet crayfish, Oswin, who swooned. I do not believe crayfish are able to faint. No–it was Lord Jeremy himself!”

Before Lord Jeremy can be brought back to a conscious state, all of Scurveyshire has taken sides in the controversy and several brawls have broken out at The Lying Tart. Slo-Gro partisans have nothing on the Go-Gro faction: both are equally ready to resort to fisticuffs. It has made the American adventurer, Willis Twombley, homesick for Dodge City. “There ain’t nothin’ more upliftin’ than a good saloon fight,” he says.

Lord Jeremy revives to find himself confronted with a string of riots. “It’s froothin’ yair grommet, m’lord,” sagely remarks Constable Chumley.

In what can only be described as inspiration, Lord Jeremy finds a solution. “Cut the bloomin’ crayfish in half and feed one half with Slo-Gro and the other half with Go-Gro,” he declares. This pleases nobody. “Alas,” opines Ms. Crepuscular, “this is often the way with truly groundbreaking ideas.”

At this point Oswin the Crayfish faints, after all: and the Royal Crayfish Society calls for an emergency meeting to discuss it.