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.”