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Constable Chumley Speaks English (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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We’ve been trying to discover why a policeman with an angry parent in tow knocked on Ms. Violet Crepuscular’s door last week–something to do with handing out toothpaste cookies for Trick or Treat, we suspect. But she has been uncharacteristically mum about it, saying only that “No sacrifice is too great, or too small, to make for good dental hygiene.”

In Chapter CCCXXVIII of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney, we learn that Constable Chumley has been busy rounding up everyone in Scurveyshire who looks like an emoji, in case one of them turns out to be Sir Dorphin Magma, the ace cricketeer who disappeared 20 years ago and may be descended from the evil medieval sorcerer, Black Rodney. Here are some of the suspects.  Image result for images of emojis The jail–er, gaol–is getting a bit crowded.

“Can’t you find a roomier gaol in which to put them?” demands Lord Jeremy Coldsore. “They have a nice one in Plaguesby, maybe they’ll let us use it.”

The constable looks him in the eye and replies, as clear as a bell, “To climb the tree is enough, though the bough makes me cough.”

Lord Jeremy is astonished. “You finally speak a sentence in some comprehensible form of English,” he cries, “and this is it?”

“Feraeth, m’lord, whae bonnith yar grith,” the constable replies, reverting to his quaint rural dialect. It appears his supply of plain English has been exhausted.

Lord Jeremy is growing more and more desperate to marry Lady Margo Cargo, the richest widow in Scurveyshire, to confound his creditors and save Coldsore Hall, which still needs a new roof. Lady Margo is currently in bed with a bad cold, contracted by wandering around in the rain all night clad only in her undies–a sight which, regrettably, has caused a relapse of the vicar’s conniptions. Worse, a violent sneeze has sent her glass eye flying off to some unexplored region of her bedroom. “I can’t marry anyone until I get my eye back,” she declares. Lord Jeremy has searched all around the room for it but hasn’t found it yet.

“And here,” writes Ms. Crepuscular, “I will break off the chapter in order to heighten the suspense. Really, one can hardly expect Lady Margo to appear for her wedding with an eye missing and the vicar spouting panicked gibberish.”

 


Portrait of a Sorcerer (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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In a digression leading, somehow, into Chapter CCCXXVI of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney, Violet Crepuscular describes her Halloween. “Let me first digress on the subject of Halloween night in my neighborhood, dear readers,” she writes. “The children in this part of town all have bad teeth. This is why I hand out toothpaste sandwiches to all the trick-or-treaters. I think this is also why they festooned my trees and shrubbery with toilet paper. It seems no one here is devoted to good dental health.”

But to return to the story–

As slovenly Scurveyshire workmen haphazardly labor to replace the roof of Coldsore Hall, two of them tear away the wallpaper in the attic, revealing, to their terrified amazement, a portrait of Black Rodney, the medieval sorcerer whose curse haunts the hall today. “We are able to reproduce this picture, which was painted during the lifetime of its subject,” Ms Crepuscular writes, “and here it is.” See the source image

Summoned to the attic to see it, Lord Jeremy Coldsore is taken aback by the portrait’s astonishing resemblance to the legendary cricketeer, Sir Dorphin Magma, whose bat is enshrined in the Scurveyshire Museum of Cricket Bats. “It was always easy to pick him out of a crowd,” Jeremy confides in the workmen. “And to think he was my boyhood hero!” He turns to his friend, the American adventurer Willis Twombley. “Send for the constable!” he says. “I want Sir Dorphin arrested immediately!” Only then does he discover that the immortal batsman emigrated to Central Asia some twenty years ago and hasn’t been heard from since.

Constable Chumley elucidates, if that’s the word for it: “Yen sorthy mannikin mote a sweeth back when, I’ll frithit.” Jeremy sighs. “That does leave us in a bind,” he admits.

“I think he must of come back, ol’ hoss, in secret-like, and is hidin’ out somewheres in this here vicinity,” says Twombley. “All we gotta do is find him and shoot him. How’s about I round up a posse?”

“With that sallow complexion of his, he shouldn’t be hard to find,” says Jeremy. “We’ll get to the bottom of this mystery yet!”

Here the chapter ends with a police officer knocking on Ms. Crepuscular’s door, accompanied by an angry parent.

 

 

 

 


Lady Margo Feels Woozy (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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Introducing Chapter CCCXXV of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney, Violet Crepuscular shares an insight with her readers.

“Allow me to share this insight with you, dear readers,” she writes. “Medieval sorcerers, like Black Rodney, have a way of turning out to be real if you write about them often enough. Yesterday morning I simply couldn’t find my Acme False Facts catalogue, although I looked everywhere for it. Finally it turned up in my refrigerator, behind the toothpaste, and I know I didn’t put it there! I suspect black magic.”

We pick up the chapter with Lord Jeremy Coldsore trying to learn to sing I’ve Got Rhythm in classical Greek, for reasons which were made abundantly clear in Chapter CCCXXIII.

Meanwhile his bride-to-be, Lady Margo Cargo, has taken to her bed.

“I feel woozy,” she confides to her crusty old butler, Crusty. “I have to be careful, you know–my father died of hypochondria.”

“If you die of hypochondria,” snaps Crusty, “then it wasn’t really hypochondria, was it? Stupid old bat!”

Summoned to her bedside, Dr. Fanabla is able to find no symptoms at all. “It’s hypochondria, all right,” he declares, “and the only sure-fire cure for hypochondria is to get really sick. I recommend you stand around outside in your undies until you catch a proper cold. And you’re in luck–it’s going to rain all night.”

Faithfully following the doctor’s advice, Lady Margo, clad only in her unmentionables, spends the entire night wandering around her property in the rain; and the vicar, chancing to look out the window at just the right moment, sees a pale white figure slowly parading back and forth in the rain. This causes him to suffer a relapse into his conniptions. The only sense anyone can get out of him is “I saw the White Witch! And she was sneezing! Eeeyaaagh!”

Lady Margo takes the sneezes as a hopeful sign and goes back to bed.

 


In Search of an Oracle (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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With the Wise Woman of the Woods locked up in jail–er, gaol–and refusing to come out, and Johnno the Merry Minstrel having unexpectedly failed as a source of supernatural advice (swallowing your harmonica will do that to you), Violet Crepuscular has her work cut out for her in Chapter CCCXXIII of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney.

She has tried to tackle it head-on.

“Dear readers,” she writes, “I have decided to tackle this problem head-on, although the last time I tried that was in a football game in our neighbor’s back yard, and I missed the tackle and rammed head-first into her oil tank behind the house.”

Be that as it may, something must be done to break the hold of Black Rodney, the medieval sorcerer, on poor afflicted Scurveyshire. Only then can Lady Margo Cargo, the richest widow in the shire, marry Lord Jeremy Coldsore and his friend, the American adventurer Willis Twombley, whom she thinks are the same person.

“I’ll give you one more chance to come through with an answer to our problem,” says Lord Jeremy, “and if you fail us this time, I’ll have you hanged for practicing witchcraft without a license.”

“Fair enough,” agrees the Wise Woman of the Gaol. It bothers me to write “gaol” instead of “jail,” but it seems Ms. Crepuscular is used to it. “The first thing you have to do is find the tomb of a tomboy and make a counter-clockwise circuit of it, turning cartwheels while reciting I’ve Got Rhythm in classical Greek.” Jeremy thinks this is apt to be difficult, but he needs the marriage so he can save Coldsore Hall from its multitude of creditors.

“Then what?” he asks.

“Report back to me for further instructions.”

First he has to learn classical Greek. Twombley is unable to help him there. “When I was king of Akkad,” he said, “nobody spoke classical Greek. But I think Constable Chumley does.”

The constable replies with enthusiasm: “Aye, fairthy yon scopper, m’lord!”

“When can you start teaching me?”

“I’ the reekle o’ the gorn, m’lord!” He takes a bow and walks off to the pub, leaving Jeremy not much wiser than he was at the start of the chapter.

Ms. Crepuscular concludes with a poem, not to be repeated here, that casts some doubt on her sanity.


Problems, Problems! (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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Introducing Chapter CCCXXII of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney, Violet Crepuscular cautions her readers, “Please exercise caution in reading this chapter, as it contains graphic descriptions of a no-longer approved medical procedure.” In actuality, she seems to have forgotten to write those graphic descriptions, so there’s really no need for any kind of caution here.

Johnno the Merry Minstrel is not so merry lately, as he suffers complications from the gizzardectomy performed on him by Dr. Fanabla. The doctor suspects the gizzard is trying to grow back. This can be a problem when you remove a chap’s gizzard. “The only solution is a transfusion!” declares the doctor. He then proceeds to transfuse blood from Johnno’s left arm into Johnno’s right arm. This seems to do the trick. “They’re going to wind up having to name the Royal Society of Surgeons after me!” the doctor exults.

Meanwhile no charges against the Wise Woman of the Woods can be made to stick, as there is no law in this part of England against buying up all the axolotls in a curiosity shop. As Scurveyshire’s justice of the peace, Lord Jeremy Coldsore has no alternative but to release her.

There is, however, a hitch. “She don’t wanna leave the hoosegow, ol’ hoss,” reports Willis Twombley, the American adventurer. Lord Jeremy has to rush over to the jailhouse to evict her.

“You can’t sell me on leaving this cell,” she replies, with a feeble attempt at a crepuscularity. (Really, Violet, it’s not up to your standard.) “I’d forgotten what a bonny thing it is to have a roof over one’s head and three meals a day prepared by someone else. From now on, you may address me as the Wise Woman of the Gaol.” “Gaol,” Ms. Crepuscular informs us, is how people in Britain misspell the word “jail.” “Even Oscar Wilde never learned how to spell it right,” she adds.

Here the chapter breaks for want of anything more to say.


A Triumph for Medical Science (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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In Chapter CCCXXI of Violet Crepuscular’s epic romance, Oy, Rodney, Dr. Fanabla is elected to the Royal Society for his successful surgical removal of Johnno the Merry Minstrel’s gizzard. “Most human bodies do not even have a gizzard,” says the society’s president, Sir Gilbert Fumble, Ph. D., M.D., F.R.S. Unfortunately Johnno’s harmonica was not lodged in his gizzard, after all. In fact, it was found shortly afterward lodged in Johnno’s trousers. He declines Dr. Fanabla’s offer to put the gizzard back. It has since been donated to the Royal Museum of Weird Body Parts. “I’ll just have to learn to get along without it,” Johnno says.

Meanwhile, Lord Jeremy Coldsore, accompanied by Constable Chumley, visits the Wise Women of the Woods to demand the half-dozen axolotls she bought from Ye Olde Shoppe of Curious Curios. They will be needed to nullify the curse placed on the vicar’s backyard wading pool by the medieval sorcerer, Black Rodney.

“I don’t have them anymore,” says the Wise Woman of the Woods. “I used them in a pudding.” The constable knowingly nods his head. “‘Tis farthy more ye grassome hoicks,” he says, quoting a quaint rural adage of great antiquity. It is not helpful.

“Arrest this woman, constable!” cries Jeremy. “As justice of the peace, I charge you with impeding a necessary public purchase. You’ll pay dearly for this–whatever your name is! What is it, anyway?” But it has been so long since she’s used her name that she’s forgotten it. “I think it might have been Elizabeth Tudor,” she says. Lord Jeremy is sure he’s heard that name before, but can’t think of where.

Here Ms. Crepuscular finds it necessary to discuss her recipe for axolotl pudding. “I have never actually had any axolotls to put in it,” she confides in her readers, “but those rubber worms you can buy at Walmart work just as well.”

 

 

 

 


100% Genuine Fake News

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So there’s nothing happening in the world but impeachment politics and Democrat fat-heads flapping their jaws? Nothing but politics to write about?

Well, belay that. If there ain’t no nooze out there worth writing about, I’ll jolly well make up my own. Here goes!

A Congressional committee has earmarked $51 million to investigate claims that pro wrestling isn’t real.

Seven spiders have outscored America’s high school students on the Scholastic Aptitude Tests; but the results have been thrown out because it is alleged the spiders cheated.

A new thrill ride at the Sea Colossus Amusement Pier in California launches riders a quarter-mile out to sea. They are expected to swim back.

Chocolate cake builds spectacular muscles and unbreakable bones, according to scientists employed by the Chocolate Institute.

Prehistoric dinosaurs–is there any other kind?–still exist in Magma Township, New Jersey, where a homeowners’ newly planted lawn was ruined by a Stegosaurus “playing around on it,” according to Police Chief Marshall Tito. “He says he seen it and I believe him.” There have also been reports of gigantic tyrannosaurs drinking out of swimming pools and a frisky Dimetrodon knocking over tool sheds. Pointing out that Dimetrodon is not in fact a dinosaur has failed to comfort property owners.

There you have it–today’s nooze. Your money back if any of it turns out to be true!

 


The Author Seems Confused (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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Violet Crepuscular makes an impassioned statement to her readers.

“I deplore, I execrate, I denounce that critic who has called my work ‘Tristram Shandy for Dummies’!” she writes. “Well, I call his work Dumb and Stupid Stuff for Real Dummies! Hah!”

With this out of her system, she launches into Chapter CCCXIX of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney–which, she hastens to add, is not for dummies at all.

“We have reached that point in the story wherein all of Scurveyshire is about to be sucked down into the nameless abyss under the wading pool in the vicar’s back yard–”

Oops. “Dear reader, excuse me!” she writes. “I’m so upset and confused, I hardly know what I’m doing. We have not reached that point in the story! Far from it. Oh, those critics! Let me see if a few glasses of whiskey can help me get my thoughts in order.”

Eventually she gets around to telling us that Johnno the Merry Minstrel, who has swallowed his harmonica, is being examined by Dr. Fanabla. The examination is difficult because anything Johnno tries to say just comes out as random musical notes.

“I’m afraid there’s nothing for it but radical exploratory surgery,” says the doctor. “Somewhere inside him there’s a harmonica that has to be removed. I fear it’s lodged in his gizzard.” Johnno rolls his eyes and tries to protest, but all that comes out sounds vaguely like “Yankee Doodle.” Lord Jeremy chides him for being unpatriotic. The doctor shakes his head. “Tricky business, taking out the gizzard,” he says. Johnno has to be restrained.

Meanwhile Willis Twombley, the American adventurer who thinks he is Sargon of Akkad, suspects the Wise Woman of the Woods of being in league with the medieval sorcerer, Black Rodney. “Why else would she have bought up all the axolotls that they had in stock?” he said. “Germy, ol’ hoss, you better let me shoot her.”

“That won’t get us any axolotls,” Lord Jeremy replies. “Have to be more subtle than that, old boy! Someone summon Constable Chumley! I want him to arrest her.”

But a note from the constable says “Frithee more, yair manitoes be sacklin’.”

The rest of the chapter is illegible.

 


Johnno’s Injury (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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Before we look into Chapter CCCXVIII of Violet Crespuscular’s epic romance, Oy, Rodney, we have a note from the author.

“Dear Reader,” she writes, “as you know, I have acquired a pet clam named Farfel. I plan to build a new aquarium specially tailored to his needs. I wanted to show you the plan, but someone at the temple ate my template.” She pauses slyly. “Voila!” she exults. “Another crepuscularity!” Just what we needed.

Moving on, Johnno the Merry Minstrel is doing his best to become an oracle, but thanks to a careless remark by Lord Jeremy Coldsore, he insists on doing it while standing on his head. “I think it’ll work better, my lord, if I can play my harmonica while I’m doing it,” he confides in Lord Jeremy.

“By all means, my man, by all means,” replies Jeremy.

Surmounting several acute difficulties, Johnno succeeds in executing a head-stand and begins to recite an oracular pronouncement while playing his harmonica. This is not as easy as it looks.

“The vicar’s gol-darned wading pool–” he begins.

“Gol-darned?” wonders Jeremy. “What kind of word is that for an oracle?”

Distracted by the interruption, Johnno accidentally swallows his harmonica and tumbles down the stairs. Jeremy chases after him.

“Johnno! Johnno! Are you all right?”

Johnno tries to answer, but all that will come out is some rather feeble musical notes.

Meanwhile, Willis Twombley, the American adventurer, repairs to Ye Olde Shoppe of Curious Curios to buy axolotls. “I’ll take half a dozen of ’em,” he tells the proprietor, Mr. Twittle. He waves his six-shooter for emphasis. The other shoppers dive for cover.

“I’m very sorry, sir,” says Mr. Twittle, cringing, “but we’re fresh out of axolotls. Someone came in yesterday and bought them all.”

Twombley is abashed. “Who was the varmint that did that?” he demands.

“The Wise Woman of the Woods, sir! Said she wanted ’em for axolotl pudding.”

Twombley senses some dark purpose at work…

Here Ms. Crepuscular breaks for a new chapter, not yet written. “I do this to heighten the suspense,” she explains. “Toothpaste sandwich cookies, anyone? I’ve made a new batch!”


A Poetic Interlude (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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There’s more to Ms. Violet Crepuscular than just Oy, Rodney and bas-cuisine. Earlier this week she acquired a new pet, a freshwater clam named Farfel. She was kind enough to send us a video of him in action.

We are not told what the clam is eating. Maybe a few crumbs of Violet’s toothpaste sandwich cookies.

And now, on to Chapter CCCXVII of Violet’s epic romance, Oy, Rodney.

Terribly disappointed in the advice he’s been getting from the Wise Woman of the Woods, Lord Jeremy Coldsore turns to Johnno the Merry Minstrel. “With a little practice, old man, you, too, could be an oracle. We need someone much more reliable than that silly old trout in the woods. You could do it standing on your head!”

This is precisely what Johnno tries to do. It requires several attempts before he is able to remain standing on his head long enough to act as an oracle. The position achieved, he then makes his first oracular utterance.

“If you would lift Black Rodney’s curse,

And hopefully not make it worse,

Forget those foolish morris dancers:

They’re not the ones who have the answers!

“Instead, resort to axolotls

Confined in one-quart whiskey bottles–”

This is as far as he can get without falling down. But Lord Jeremy is impressed. “Keep it up, man, keep it up!” he cries. “What do we do with the axolotls after we confine them in the bottles?”

“My lord,” gasps Johnno, “I don’t know! And my head hurts something dreadful! Why don’t we get the axolotls first, and then I’ll try again?”

“Oh, very well!” grumbles Lord Jeremy. “It can’t be all that hard to obtain a few axolotls–provided they’re in season, this time of the year.”

Here the chapter ends. “This is how I heighten the suspense and keep the reader reading,” Ms. Crepuscular confides in her readers. “Besides which, I think Farfel might be ready to learn a trick or two.”


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