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!”