Scurveyshire Overrun by Monsters! (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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Is it possible that Violet Crepuscular’s epic romance, Oy, Rodney, is crashing to an end? And after only 398 chapters, no less!

Introducing Chapter CCCXCIX–and we are unsure whether she will finish it–Ms. Crepuscular admits that Scurveyshire is now overrun with hideous, horrible monsters and if everybody gets eaten–or absorbed by giant amoebas–there won’t be anything to write about.

“Well, dear reader, I promised you nonstop action and well-nigh unendurable suspense!” she writes. “It is as if I were writing in letters of fire!” We will not go that far.

The latest casualty for Scurveyshire is the bearded barmaid at The Lying Tart, lassoed and devoured by a micro-organism grown to the size of a stagecoach when she goes outside to water down a keg of ale. A nearby pond has always served that purpose.

At his wits’ end, Lord Jeremy Coldsore appeals directly to Ms. Crepuscular.

“You wrote us into this mess,” he cries, “and now you’d jolly well better write us out of it!” This is what comes of fooling around with magical camping lanterns bought on eBay. It could be worse. They had a dybbuk box for sale, too. As one prospective buyer noted, “I want the paranormal in my home!” He should move to Scurveyshire.

“If I end the chapter here,” soliloquizes Ms. Crepuscular, “would that count as finishing the chapter–and would it break the spell?” Is she asking me? You? I mean, how should any of us know?

“Here ends Chapter CCCXCIX!” she proclaims, writing in letters of ink.

We’ll have to wait till next week to see if it works.

Scurveyshire’s Reddle Craze

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Introducing Chapter CCCXCIII (Chapter CCCXCII seemed to be missing) of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney, Violet Crepuscular writes, “Olaf Skraeling’s diabolical plan to win the hand of Lady Margo Cargo by disguising himself as a reddleman has worked too well! All of Scurveyshire has gone absolutely mad for reddle-ing (or should it be ‘reddling’?), and he suddenly has so much business that he has no time to woo the rich widow!”

She takes the opportunity to soliloquize about the pitfalls of crime, adding certain lewd comments about her neighbor, Mr. Pitfall. We will spare the reader. Feel free to tear out those two dozen pages.

Suddenly everyone in Scurveyshire wants everything reddled–doors and windows, dogs, children, tools, underclothes… “They’ve all gone mad!” cries Lord Jeremy Coldsore. They have even reddled the bearded barmaid at The Lying Tart. Desperate to curb the craze, Lord Jeremy summons Constable Chumley and orders him to arrest the reddleman.

“Withy me aw’ yon firthin mizzle, m’lord,” demurs the constable. His keen police instincts aroused, he already knows the reddleman is none other than Mr. Skraeling, and therefor that worst of all malefactors–a fraudulent reddleman.

“Just do it!” sighs Lord Jeremy.

As for Lady Margo, now that her upholstered wooden leg has been duly reddled, she has attempted to play hop-scotch with some of the reddled children. Hopping awkwardly from one box to the next, her glass eye falls out and shatters on the slate. The children, horrified, run away screaming.

“I must now interject my recipe for cat-food turnovers with a dab of toothpaste on the crust,” Violet interjects. It plays hob with the novel’s continuity.