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Bring on the Geishas! (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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I don’t understand Violet Crepuscular’s literary technique. I was expecting to read, in Chapter CLIII, all about the preparations for the party to be held in honor of the Japanese ambassador, Walt Dropo. Instead, she gives us a digression about her sister-in-law’s atrocious table manners. This is most unedifying.

Moving on to Chapter CLIV, we find Lord Jeremy Coldsore trying to recruit geishas to serve at the party. He has to settle for members of the Scurveyshire Ladies’ Garden Club, who agree to do it in return for a zoning variance that would allow them to erect a colossal statue of their founder, Mrs. Elefanta Williams, in a statue-free zone.

“I hope this works,” says Lord Jeremy. “Not one of those women is a day under fifty, and not one of them knows the first thing about being a geisha.”

“Get the ambassador drunk in a hurry, and he’ll never notice,” replies Willis Twombley, the American adventurer.

With the vicar still laid up with conniptions, his gardener, Jock the Crotchety Gardener, takes it upon himself to empty the controversial wading pool and put it away. Jock and all his crotchets is promptly sucked under the wading pool, never to be seen again. Constable Chumley arrests the one eyewitness on the scene, charging her with Not Watching.

“But I saw some octopus kind of thing shoot out and grab him, and pull him under!” she protests. “Ain a fair vymin’ wi’ me hatriff,” counters the constable.

Lord Jeremy has no time for this: he is desperately trying to find half a dozen geisha costumes. Jo-Jo the Carefree Tailor, in complete ignorance of what constitutes a geisha costume, has created six outfits can only be described as rather like cowgirl clothes. This makes Twombley nostalgic for the plains of Texas.

“If we throw a square dance instead of one of those Japanese tea parties, we’re home free,” he assures Lord Jeremy. “Sort of a Japanese square dance, with that funny-soundin’ music that they like.”

There is no time left to pursue alternatives. The party must be held this very night.


Japan Declares War on Scurveyshire (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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In Chapter CLII of Violet Crepuscular’s romance masterpiece, Oy, Rodney, it turns out that the Japanese ambassador who keeps getting snubbed and trampled on is a favorite cousin of the Emperor, and they are mighty mad over the treatment he’s been getting in this book. Consequently, Japan has declared war on Scurveyshire. Rumor has it that a Japanese fleet is on its way.

“Everything happens while you’re trying to arrange a wedding!” Lord Jeremy Coldsore complains. He and his friend, Willis Twombley the American adventurer, are to be married to Lady Margo Cargo, who has been tricked into believing they are one and the same person. Lady Margo’s wealth will save Coldsore Hall from its creditors.

In the absence of any undertaking by Her Majesty’s government to defend Scurveyshire–“Let them sort it out!” says Queen Victoria–Lord Jeremy, as Justice of the Peace, finds himself saddled with the responsibility to defend Scurveyshire. “With what?” he cries.

“Germy, you worry too much,” says Twombley. “All we gotta do is throw a nice party for the ambassador, and it’ll all blow over. Only thing is, first we got to find him.”

Together they pore over the chapters of the book related so far. Finally, late at night, they locate the Japanese ambassador. His name is Walt Dropo.

He enters Coldsore Hall with a samurai sword in his belt and bows stiffly from the waist, as far as his tight corset will allow.

“You have treated me very badly!” he declares.

“My dear fellow, we’re going to make it up to you!” says Jeremy. “You are to be the guest of honor tomorrow night at Lady Margo Cargo’s lavish country house.”

“I don’t have a date.”

“We’ll set you up with one, ol’ hoss!” says Twombley.

“Will there be geishas?”

In fact, Scurveyshire is clean out of geishas. There hasn’t been one in the shire since 1602, and she was only passing through. Twombley assures the ambassador that there will be geishas galore. Dropo-san is greatly pleased.

“I will immediately contact my government to call off the war,” he says. Bowing, he takes his leave, promising to return when they have his date ready for him.

“Where are we supposed to get geishas?” cries Jeremy.

“We got a whole chapter to scare some up,” says Twombley.

 


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