The Crayfish Food Hullabaloo (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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In Chapter CCCLXXXII of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney (we are not told what happened to Chapter CCCLXXXI–must’ve been a non-starter), Violet Crepuscular reveals that the two rival Scotland Yard detectives have succeeded in framing each other for the theft of the locomotive. Both are carted off to Newgate Prison, and Lord Jeremy finally comes down from the tree where he’s been hiding. All we are told about that is, “He came down like rain.” Only raindrops don’t wind up swathed in bandages from head to toe.

Constable Chumley is interrupted in dictating his memoirs to the Wise Woman of the Gaol by a controversy centered in the Scurveyshire pet shop, where Lady Margo Cargo’s crusty butler, Crusty, has been trying to buy food for his mistress’ pet crayfish, Oswin. Distracted by the rantings and ravings of the prisoner who has been moved from the jail to the pet shop, Crusty has mistakenly bought the wrong kind of food but now can’t get his money back. Unable to break up the argument, Constable Chumley arrests them both and brings them to Lord Jeremy’s bedside. Ms. Crepuscular has had a devilish time trying to type the word “bedside.” It keeps coming out “bedides” or “bdesdie,” etc.

“Ivver yon greeth wi’ hammels, m’lord,” Chumley explains.

Crusty and the shop owner, one Samuel Heathen, yell and scream at each other. As justice of the peace, Lord Jeremy has the power to put both of them to death. He is reluctant to use it, however. Lady Margo would never forgive him for having Crusty thrown to the shire’s ferocious pug dogs, and Mr. Heathen owes him several guineas.

“Can’t we all just get along?” he groans.

“This caitiff asked for King-Size Slo-Gro Depilatory Crayfish Food, and that’s what I sold him!” roars Mr. Heathen.

“I never asked for Slo-Gro! I asked for Go-Gro!” growls Crusty.

With wisdom rivaling Solomon’s, Lord Jeremy faints.

The matter will be taken up again, Mr. Crepuscular assures us, in the next exciting chapter.

Yet Another Obstacle to Wedded Bliss (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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In Chapter CCCLXXVII of Violet Crepuscular’s epic romance, Oy, Rodney, Lady Margo Cargo’s crusty old butler, Crusty, has come up with another obstacle to her marriage to Lord Jeremy Coldsore, whom she thinks is the same person as Willis Twombley, the American adventurer who think he’s Sargon of Akkad. Crusty himself wishes to marry Scurveyshire’s richest widow, so he has to prevent her marriage to Lord Jeremy.

“Bad news, m’lady!” he announces. “I have done genealogical research that shows that you are Lord Coldsore’s cousin. And we all know that cousins shouldn’t marry!”

“Oh, fie, Crusty! Don’t be ridiculous!” Lady Margo replies. “Everybody is somebody’s cousin! If cousins can’t marry, then nobody will be able to get married and the human species will die out.”

“He is your cousin, m’lady.”

“It would be remarkable indeed if he were nobody’s cousin, Crusty!” She sighs: her upholstered wooden leg is fiendishly itchy today. “You’re making me tired. Go to the pet shop and buy some crayfish food for my pet crayfish.” (It appears Ms. Crepuscular has forgotten the crayfish’s name. So have I.)

Meanwhile, as Detective Chief Inspector Magog and Detective Sergeant Dottle work feverishly to frame each other for stealing the locomotive that was, in fact, swallowed by the wading pool in the vicar’s back yard, Jeremy has authorized Scurveyshire’s own Constable Chumley to launch an independent investigation of the incident. “I shall expect your report tomorrow,” he adds.

“Yoiks an’ frather, m’lord–a wee saithit morkin’ a wally!” says the constable. What he means is that he does not know how to read or write, having forgotten everything he ever knew about it. Nevertheless, the investigation must go forward.

“As you can see, dear reader,” interjects Ms. Crepuscular, “this is a deeply subcutaneous societal problem which has no easy solution.” We cannot tell which particular problem she is talking about.

Scotland Yard Investigates (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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Somewhere along the plot line, a runaway locomotive was sucked under the wading pool in the vicar’s back yard. It has proved quite difficult to get author Violet Crepuscular to remember this incident, which I believe is pivotal to an understanding of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney. But she returns to it in Chapter CCCLXXV.

All of Scurveyshire is agog (don’t you love that word?) over the arrival of Detective Chief Inspector Frank “Chipper” Magog of Scotland Yard, to investigate the disappearance of the locomotive. After a confidential consultation with Constable Chumley, D.C.I. Magog concludes that Lord Jeremy Coldsore has stolen it.

“What did you tell him that for?” demands Lord Jeremy. “I didn’t steal any perishin’ locomotive!”

The constable shrugs eloquently. “Tis a feerthy croop, m’lord!” he exclaims. “I nippher graned a switter yam,” he adds. (“I was going to say ‘resignedly’,” Violet confides to the reader, “but I decided it made the whole thing sound too much like a Tom Swift episode.”) We are at liberty to wonder just what the inspector thought the constable had told him.

“Chipper” earned his nickname by his willingness to use torture to extract witness testimony, which is why Lord Jeremy has climbed the tallest tree on his estate and refuses to come down. Magog decides to wend his way to The Lying Tart and interrogate the bearded barmaid. We can leave him to it.

“As you can see by this chapter,” writes Ms. Crepuscular, “I do not forget important elements of my story! This is a vile canard put out by those mean-spirited scribblers who are competing with me for a Pulitzer.”

Let’s Have the Wedding Anyhow! (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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Introducing Chapter CCCLXIII of her epic romance novel, Oy, Rodney, Violet Crepuscular praises her protagonist, Lord Jeremy Coldsore, for taking the bull by the horns. “It’s really the only thing you can do when you’re on the horns of a dilemma!” she confides in her readers. And P.S.–Mr. Pitfall is out of jail because no one remembered to lock the door.

In taking the bull by the horns, Lord Jeremy exhorts his fiancee, Lady Margo Cargo, “Let’s have our wedding anyhow! The vicar is free of conniptions, the roof of Coldsore Hall has been repaired, and why should we wait any longer?”

“But I had my heart set on wearing my grandmother’s glass eye and my mother’s pearls, and they’ve been stolen!” wails Lady Margo. She is not aware that her crusty old butler, Crusty, has hidden the jewels and the priceless collection of glass eyes in an unused wing of Coldsore Hall. He has forgotten why he did that. Nor is anyone aware that the aristocratic thief, Sir Robin Banks, is hiding out in the room across the hall from where the jewels are hidden.

“Oh, bother your grandma’s glass eye!” ejaculates Jeremy. “The eye you’re wearing now is perfectly suitable to the occasion. In fact, I rather like it!”

“Oh, Willis, you say the most romantic things!” Lady Margo cannot distinguish between Lord Jeremy and his close friend, the American adventurer Willis Twombley, who thinks he is Sargon of Akkad.

The next two pages of the chapter are blank: Ms. Crepuscular has left them blank to reflect Lady Margo’s indecision. The third and last page features Violet’s own recipe for a six-tiered wedding cake with assorted toothpaste icings. As for Lady Margo, “You can’t rush these things,” writes Violet. “Many a wedding has been ruined by the bride wearing the wrong glass eye for the occasion and being consumed with self-doubt forever afterward.” Apparently this has happened in her family, but not in anyone else’s. Not that I know of, anyway.

 

The Elopement, at Last (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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At last! Lord Jeremy Coldsore has eloped to marry Lady Margo Cargo, the richest widow in Scurveyshire.

Chapter CCCXLI of Violet Crepuscular’s epic romance, Oy, Rodney, opens with Lord Jeremy and the vicar waiting in the abandoned warehouse in Plaguesby, where the marriage is to be secretly performed. They have to be careful because there’s plague in Plaguesby. Also in attendance, as best man, is Jeremy’s bosom friend, the American adventurer, Willis Twombley. He has a burlap bag over his head. This provokes a fit of the giggles from the vicar.

“Why has he got a burlap bag over his head?” the vicar asks, giggling.

“Because Lady Margo thinks he and I are the same person, and it confuses her when she sees us both together,” Lord Jeremy explains. The vicar finds that richly humorous.

Midnight draws near, without a sign of Lady Margo. “What’s keeping her?” Jeremy grumbles.

“Alas, dear reader,” Ms. Crepuscular breaks into the narrative, “Lady Margo, escorted by her crusty old butler, Crusty, has misunderstood the plan and gone to an abandoned warehouse in the isolated nearby village of Plaguespot. The place has an unwholesome reputation! It is said that Black Rodney’s brother, Red Pokey, passed through Plaguespot in 1483 and, just for practice, put a terrible curse on it.”

As midnight draws near, Crusty grows impatient.

“I told you Coldsore was no good, you stupid old bat,” he confides in Lady Margo. “How can you trust a man with two left feet? Both of which seem to have gotten cold!”

“I can’t say I like this as a location for a wedding,” mutters Lady Margo. “All those sinister voices whispering I don’t know what, all around us in the dark! Are you sure this is where dear Jeremy said he’d meet us?”

Crusty is jealous: he has long desired Lady Margo for himself.

Just then, a long-drawn-out, hideous moaning erupts from the shadows–

We suspect it’s the reader.

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.

 

 

 

 

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.

Lawsuit-Happy Scurveyshire (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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Nothing much happens for several chapters, so let us move on to Chapter CCCXVI of Violet Crepuscular’s epic romance, Oy, Rodney. This chapter is notable in that it is not able to provide us with any new crepuscularities. Oops…

The Marquess of Groan is suing Lord Jeremy Coldsore because he fell ill when the roof was blown off Coldsore Hall, Johnno the Merry Minstrel is suing the Wise Woman of the Woods for being wrong all the time, and the proprietor of The Lying Tart is suing the vicar for not getting rid of his backyard wading pool, under which quite a few of the pub’s most reliable customers have disappeared. It’s bad for business.

“Maybe I just ought to shoot all these dummies who want to sue everybody,” suggests the American adventurer, Willis Twombley. “We had a whole slew of lawsuits in Babylon once, so we put all the plaintiffs to death and that made the lawsuits go away.” Twombley believes himself to be Sargon of Akkad.

“You can’t shoot the Marquess because the Queen wouldn’t like it,” replies Lord Jeremy, “and you certainly can’t shoot Johnno because we need him to sniff out Black Rodney’s cuss-bags. He found another one just this morning–right under my bed, by Jove! Besides, we still don’t know what the Wise Woman of the Woods meant by warning us of ‘the clam before the storm.'”

“My six-gun’s gettin’ rusty, ol’ hoss,” Twombley complains. He suspects Lord Jeremy, his bosom friend, still harbors some resentment against him for accidentally shooting him in the foot, which is why he now has two left feet. He remains unable to dance properly.

Ms. Crepuscular suddenly shifts gears, subjecting the reader to her recipe for toothpaste icing for chocolate grass cake. “Mr. Pitfall will soon be released from the hospital,” she adds, “and I want to surprise him with it.”

The ‘Oy, Rodney’ Crystal Ball

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When I wrote about Violet Crepuscular’s epic romance, Oy, Rodney, on Sunday (https://leeduigon.com/2019/07/21/the-wedding-at-last-oy-rodney/), I had not the merest inkling that this immortal work of litterature would be peering clairvoyantly into our country’s political future.

If you remember the scenario, Lord Jeremy Coldsore was in a jam because someone had asked him to prove he wasn’t already married, and he didn’t know how. I mean, how would anybody actually prove he wasn’t married? It’s notoriously difficult, maybe even impossible, to prove a negative.

Which brings us to today’s Congressional extravaganza starring witch-finder general Robert Mueller, and House Democrats’ contention–which they rather wished Mr. Mueller to parrot for them, and were disappointed that he wouldn’t–that Mueller couldn’t “exonerate” President Donald Trump because he couldn’t provide evidence that the president didn’t commit any crimes.

Can Lord Jeremy prove he’s not married?

If those words in boldface type seem confusing, it’s only because they really are. But at the heart of the labyrinth lies the simple inability to prove a negative.

Democrats have a totally weird notion of “justice” and have displayed its weirdness many times. Suddenly it’s incumbent upon the accused to prove he didn’t do it? Well, my birth certificate, if it is accepted as genuine, proves I didn’t kidnap the Lindbergh baby; but I have no way to prove I wasn’t secretly married to someone else in 1972 and that my current marriage is therefor bigamous.

These people have no business being in government anywhere in the United States. Or anywhere else in the civilized world, for that matter.