Introducing Chapter CCCXXIX of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney, Violet Crepuscular writes, “Dear reader, I wish to introduce Chapter CCCXXIX by reminding you that years ago, in her youth, Lady Margo Cargo had her hand chewed off by a goat. Which hand, I don’t rightly remember. But do keep it in mind, for it’s bound to be important later.”
Frantic to raise money to put a new roof on Coldsore Hall and stave off his legion of creditors, thus saving his centuries-old family heritage, Lord Jeremy Coldsore grows increasingly desperate to conclude his marriage with Lady Margo, the richest widow in Scurveyshire. His latest scheme is to have the marriage performed in secret. “We can elope,” he explains to her, “and get married in an abandoned warehouse in the quaint rural village of Mucklethorp. No one will interrupt us there.”
“Isn’t that the warehouse where they found all those skeletons, years ago?” she asks.
“I am sure they have removed the skeletons by now, my sweet!”
“I don’t know about this,” Lady Margo muses. “I have heard the place is haunted. Who would perform the ceremony?”
“Geoffrey the Unemployed Shepherd has been ordained a minister of a mail-order church somewhere in India. Treat him to a bottle of Col. Gamba’s Special Blend, and he’ll marry anyone.”
Lady Margo is shocked. “Why, it was one of Geoffrey’s goats that chewed my hand off!” she cries. “I find it very hard to trust him!”
The chapter breaks here with a telephone call: the local cable TV station has offered Ms. Crepuscular a position as host of a new cooking show. She is too excited to continue writing.
“Just in time for me to share with the world my Toothpaste Yule Log recipe!” she exults. “With leftover crab meat, no less! I must hasten to the studio and see to setting up a kitchen!”
There is no truth to the rumor that the show will be called The Suicidal Gourmet.