Tag Archives: Oy Rodney

The Looming Curse (‘Oy, Rodney)

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Having been warned by the Wise Woman of the Woods to beware of a man with one buttock, Lord Jeremy has ordered Constable Chumley to find such a man and arrest him; but as we see in Chapter CCXL of Violet Crepuscular’s epic romance, Oy, Rodney, this proves to be a rather difficult assignment.

“The constable’s already found four men with only one buttock,” reports Lord Jeremy’s friend, the American adventurer, Willis Twombley, “and one fellow in Farfield with none–and there’s a guy in Plaguesby who has three buttocks. Poor Chumley ain’t sure what he ought to do about it.”

“Well, arrest them all!” cries Lord Jeremy. “If a man with only one buttock shows up at our wedding to Lady Margo, it’ll put a curse on the marriage!”

“This thross’ll be yer flomin’ gragg,” mutters the constable, as he attempts to carry out his orders. He is concerned that the Scurveyshire jail is getting overcrowded.

To make a bad business worse, Lady Margo Cargo has begun to see this as a “reign of terror” launched by her prospective bridegroom. “I shouldn’t want our marriage to be remembered as a bad time for the shire, dear,” she says. “And, you know, it’s a funny thing about curses: the harder you try to avoid a curse, the more certain it is to overtake you.”

“That’s not funny!” growls Jeremy.

So now the jail is full to bursting, no room for the prisoners to sit down–not that the man with no buttocks can sit down, as we understand the act of sitting down–and the talk at The Lying Tart is beginning to turn nasty.

“Don’t worry about it, Germy,” Twombley consoles his friend. “We always had a whole lot of curses goin’ around in my Akkadian kingdom–” Twombley still thinks he is Sargon of Akkad–“and we learned to pay ’em no heed.”

“And that’s probably why there’s no more kingdom of Akkad,” growls Jeremy under his breath. He has never been married before, and the whole thing so far has been something of a disappointment.


‘Beware!’ (Oy, Rodney)

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“Now that the story makes sense,” writes Violet Crepuscular, we can proceed to Chapter CCXXXVIII of her epic romance novel, Oy, Rodney, in which Lord Jeremy Coldsore and his friend, the American adventurer Willis Twombley, prepare for their wedding to Lady Margo Cargo–who thinks they are the same person, and is troubled when she sees them together.

“It gets awfully confusing sometimes, Sargon, dear,” she confides to Twombley, who believes himself to be Sargon of Akkad.

“Don’t you worry your pretty little head about it, darlin’,” he replies. “It’s only ancient Akkadian magic, which I got to do because there’s a lot of Babylonian secret agents after me. Jist remember that I’m only Sargon when I’m me.” This answer satisfies her. Whether it satisfies the reader or not remains in question.

But wait! Lord Jeremy has received a cryptic warning from the Wise Woman of the Woods–written in Old Estonian, for security’s sake. Twombley translates:

“Dear Lord Jeremy, how are you? I am fine. It’s me, the Wise Woman of the Woods.

“Beware the wedding guest who has only one buttock. He will put a curse on your marriage! You must take decisive action to stop him.”

Responding with alacrity (a word I seldom get to use), Lord Jeremy orders Constable Chumley to arrest everyone in Scurveyshire who has only one buttock. “Frae the decken with a crooster, m’lord,” replies the constable. He makes a beeline for the pub, The Lying Tart.

“Unless I am much mistaken,” says Lord Jeremy, “this is more of Black Rodney’s work. But it ought to be pretty easy to find a man with one buttock.”

“I knew a man like that in Dodge City,” Twombley recalls, “but I bet it ain’t him.”

Ms. Crepuscular concludes the chapter with a recipe for wood.

 


The Annulment (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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“Now that the story makes sense,” writes Violet Crepuscular, introducing Chapter CCXXXV of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney, “we can proceed with the thorny business of annulling Lady Margo Cargo’s accidental marriage to Constable Chumley.” Meanwhile, her editor has failed to inform her that she has entirely skipped Chapter CCXXXIV. This omission will surely come back to haunt her.

The problem is not the constable, who has forgotten all about the marriage, but Lady Margo herself, who believes she is with child by the constable–which the doctor insists is medically impossible, the marriage never having been consummated. There is doubt that Chumley knows what “consummated” means.”I gae frather in a fairn!” he asserts.

Johnno the Merry Minstrel thinks he has the solution.

“That fool of an assistant justice of the peace, Master Roger Addlepate, my lord, who brainlessly performed the marriage, must be persuaded to un-perform it.”

“How is he to do that?” Lord Jeremy wonders. He needs to marry wealthy Lady Margo to save his ancestral home, Coldsore Hall, from a growing army of creditors.

“We must re-stage the ceremony,” Johnno explains, “and do the whole thing backwards. All the words must be spoken backwards, in reverse order from that in which they were originally spoken. So we start at ‘I do,’ which must be spoken as ‘do I,’ and work our way, backwards, all the way back to the beginning, when the A.J.P. will say, ‘God of sight the in together gathered are we.’ And then you declare the whole business undone and annulled!”

“Dontcha think that’ll be kinda complicated for the poor idjit who has to do it?” asks Lord Jeremy’s friend, the American adventurer Willis Twombley. “Might be a far sight easier if I jist shoot him.”

“Let’s try the sane way first, old boy,” says Lord Jeremy. Happily, Lady Margo gives her consent to the procedure.

There is some trouble getting Chumley to participate, but a few tankards of rich brown ale do the trick. “He never said anything the first time out, anyhow,” Lord Jeremy remarks.

The backwards ceremony takes all day, owing to the participants getting confused about the word order, and Twombley suffers from an increasingly itchy trigger finger. Finally Addlepate is able to utter the words, ‘Wife wedded lawful your for woman this take do you?’, and the business is concluded. Imagine how much easier it would have been, had rewind buttons been invented in the 19th century.

Lady Margo jumps up and cheers, which causes her upholstered wooden leg to fall off. She doesn’t care. “I’m not with child by the constable anymore!” she exults. “Thank you, Johnno!” But Johnno already has his harmonica out, playing and singing (at the same time) “My Bonny Lies Over the Ocean.”

Ms. Crepuscular concludes with a gentle reminder that the movie rights to Oy, Rodney are still for sale.

 


The Chapter IV Do-Over (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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From Chapter CCXXXIII of Violet Crepuscular’s epic romance, Oy, Rodney, we pass on to–Chapter IV? Hey! What gives?

“Looking back,” the author explains, “I am most unsatisfied with my earlier presentation of Chapter IV, and I beg the reader to disregard it. Cross out those 57 pages! Pretend I never wrote it, and you never read it! I am deeply ashamed of its unedifying content, and hereby replace it.”

The substitute Chapter IV takes us back to 1818, the year of Lord Jeremy Coldsore’s birth at Coldsore Hall and a rather bad year for Scurveyshire, what with a plague of locusts, a wave of inexplicable divorces, cattle behaving like tree frogs, and other afflictions. Jeremy’s father, Lord Weeping (how did she ever come up with a name like “Lord Weeping Coldsore?”), sends for the ancient crone who doubles as the shire’s one and only Wise Woman of the Woods.

“How are we to bring this endless series of troubles to an end?” Lord Weeping demands.

“I have given this a great deal of thought,” the Wise Woman replies, “and all the omens tell me there is only one way out: you, my lord, must leave your palatial ancestral home… to go a-whaling. Proceed to the nearest port and sign up for the next available whaling voyage. This will snap Scurveyshire’s run of bad luck.”

Settling his affairs unsatisfactorily, Lord Weeping bids farewell to his wife, Lady Francesca–she is the daughter of an Italian nobleman who is, in reality, a shoemaker–and sets out for the nearest port. Here he pays for the inattention he gave his tutor as a child, when he ought to have been learning his geography. Unaware that ports are commonly located on or near the sea, it takes him several years to make his way to Bristol. There he signs up as a harpooner on the jinxed whaling vessel, Jonah Jones, just before it sets sail for the whaling grounds off Greenland.  Within minutes of the ship leaving harbor, Scurveyshire returns to normal. But the Jonah Jones, having taken a wrong turn off the coast of Ceylon, is never seen again.

Lady Francesca leaves Jeremy to be raised by servants and traveling mountebanks and returns to her family in Italy somewhere.

“This is altogether better than my original Chapter IV,” concludes Mr. Crepuscular. “Now the book makes sense!”


Lady Margo, Mrs. Chumley (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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As we enter Chapter CCXXXIII of Violet Crepuscular’s epic romance, Oy, Rodney, we find Lady Margo Cargo trying to adapt to her new role as the wife of Constable Chumley, to whom she was accidentally married two chapters ago. She has yet to discover the constable’s first name. So have we.

“This must be undone!” Lord Jeremy Coldsore declares. It had been his plan to marry Lady Margo, the richest widow in Scurveyshire, and so save his ancestral home, Coldsore Hall, from a growing legion of creditors.

“Germy, ol’ hoss, we’re runnin’ out of places to hide the bodies,” says Jeremy’s friend, the American adventurer Willis Twombley. Twombley has been shooting creditors and hiding them around the hall and grounds. “If we don’t marry Lady Margo, we’re sunk.”

Meanwhile the constable goes about his duties and enjoys his evenings at The Lying Tart as if he weren’t married at all. It may be he has forgotten the incident. But then–

“I believe I’m with child by the constable,” Lady Margo confides in Twombley. “Dr. Fanabla says it’s all in my head, the marriage has not been consummated, and why don’t I just shut up about it–but I can’t!”

“Why don’t you jist get the marriage annulled?” asked Twombley. “I’m sure the vicar will be happy to do it for you.” He is not aware that the vicar has relapsed into more conniptions. “And if he can’t do it, Lord Germy can: he’s the justice of the peace, ain’t he?”

“But I gave my word to the constable!” cries Lady Margo.

Later, over enormous tankards of ale at the pub, Twombley tries to persuade the constable to disavow the marriage. “Mayhap the furthin be thwall a-beedle,” replies the constable. He has begun his  correspondence course in mole-ology and is preoccupied by it.

Lord Jeremy is almost frantic. “We’ve got to get that so-called marriage annulled by the next chapter at the latest! Or, as you said, old boy, we’re sunk!” He could, of course, declare the whole thing null and void, and have the assistant justice removed from his post and thrown in jail; but at the moment he is too upset to think clearly.

 


Lady Margo’s Error (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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In Chapter CCXXXI of Violet Crepuscular’s epic romance, Oy, Rodney, Lady Margo Cargo, the richest widow in Scurveyshire, laments, “I always manage to make a hash of things!” That’s putting it mildly.

Confused by the incessant delays of her marriage to Lord Jeremy Coldsore and his friend, the American adventurer Willis Twombley–she thinks they’re the same person, and gets bewildered when they’re both in the room at the same time–and another marriage proposal from her butler, Crusty, Lady Margo has mistakenly married Constable Chumley.

It only happened because Lord Jeremy, the shire’s justice of the peace, was indisposed with a toothache, probably due to a spell cast by the medieval necromancer, Black Rodney: this time Johnno the Merry Minstrel was unable to find the applicable cuss bag, cunningly concealed in one of the pockets of the billiard table. By the time Johnno finds it, the damage is done.

With Lord Jeremy groaning in his bed, and Twombley temporarily prostrate with strong drink, the assistant justice, Master Roger Addlepate, who is also the assistant village idiot, steps in to perform the wedding. He meets the constable on his way to Lady Margo’s opulent country house and recruits him as the groom: there are plentiful gaps in his understanding of the situation.

“Do you take this woman to be your lawful wedded wife, etc.?”

“Wore the weevil in a sorthing mole,” declares the constable. He is actually thinking of a correspondence course in mole-ology, but Master Roger takes his answer as a “yes” and then pressures Lady Margo into going along with it. “Will you please hurry!” he cries. “I am late for a darts match at The Lying Tart!” Flustered, Lady Margo blurts out “Yes!” without knowing what she’s yessing.

“I now pronounce you man and wife!”

Crusty bursts into the parlor to put a stop to this nonsense, but he’s too late.

“What have you done, my lady?” he cries. Meanwhile, Chumley departs with Master Roger because he’s scheduled to play darts tonight, too.

“I think I’ve just married that man,” admits Lady Margo, in a hushed tone. “I’m not even sure which one.”

“Words fail me to describe this lamentable scene any further,” adds Ms. Crepuscular.


Bram Stoker Visits Scurveyshire (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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In Chapter CCXXX of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney–we’re still waiting for Chapter CCXXIX–Violet Crepuscular writes of a visit to Scurveyshire by Bram Stoker, the famed author of Dracula. It is vain to protest that Stoker wasn’t born until 1847 and would have been only three years old in 1850. “I do not believe the dates commonly given,” asserts Ms. Crepuscular. Nor do we get anywhere by denying that Stoker spoke fluent Pidgin with a broad Irish accent. “My sources are impeccable,” she says. We are not sure she knows what “impeccable” means.

Stoker comes to Scurveyshire to do research for Dracula, which was not published until 1897. He is immediately informed that “We ain’t had but one vampire in Scurveyshire, and he retired from it long ago to go into the tea business. Last we heard, he had a big plantation in Norway.” But before he can leave, he learns that Scurveyshire is being terrorized by the long-dead necromancer, Black Rodney. His interest is piqued.

Stoker interviews Constable Chumley at The Lying Tart, where the local brew goes straight to his head and incites him to entertain the night’s customers by reciting rather lurid nursery rhymes. “Yer flothering bandy fair made a clogger that brawsty night,” the constable recalls.

The next night, Stoker disappears. Forever. It is discovered that the itinerant spider girl, Lizzie Snivel, fell madly in love with Scurveyshire’s exotic visitor: and also that he took advantage of her infatuation to purchase from her a rare Tasmanian blow-dried spider at a shamefully low price. Miss Lizzie, the only witness, insists that Mr. Stoker, hunting for traces of Black Rodney, ventured dangerously close to the wading pool in the vicar’s back yard. “I fear he was dragged under by them tentacles!” she cries. “Oh, I should have stopped him!”

Still trying to plan his wedding to Lady Margo Cargo, Lord Jeremy Coldsore finds it hard to do his duty as Scurveyshire’s justice of the peace. “I don’t have time to investigate the disappearance of a Pidgin-speaking Irishman!” he cries. So there is no investigation, and the wading pool has claimed another victim.

We are promised that in Chapter CCXXXI, Lord Jeremy will acquire a new cravat especially for the wedding.


‘Oy, Rodney,’ the Missing Chapter

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“Something magical” was supposed to happen in Chapter CCXXIX of Violet Crepuscular’s epic romance, Oy, Rodney, but for the time being she has noticed that she’d left Chapter CCXXVII unwritten, so she has gone back to that. “The only reason I can think of for having left Chapter CCXXVII unwritten,” she confides in the reader, “is that I was having trouble with my toilet flapper.”

In Chapter CCXXVII, Johnno the Merry Minstrel discovers the biggest cuss bag yet cunningly hidden in the Fourth Earl’s suit of armor, which he wore during the Wars of the Roses and then couldn’t get it off. The presence of the large cuss bag suggests that the earl’s skeleton is not, after all, still inside the armor. Which probably means that the ghost that occasionally appears, and likes to fill the upstairs bath tub with fried gloves, is not the Fourth Earl, as has been long believed.

The cuss bag contains cat hair and other detritus. “The other contents cannot be mentioned in polite society,” adds Ms. Crepuscular.

“It’s a good thing I’ve found this, my lord,” Johnno tells Lord Jeremy Coldsore, debt-ridden master of Coldsore Hall. “If I hadn’t, you would have had a fatal accident involving cat hairs. Only Black Rodney could have thought of that!”

“Well, how the deuce are we to be rid of him!” cries Jeremy. “What have I ever done to Black Rodney, that he should plague me with his sorceries?”

“I think he’s after Coldsore Hall, my lord,” says Johnno. “But let me soothe you with my rendition of ‘Down by the Old Mill Stream,'” which he sings while accompanying himself on the harmonica.

“I still expect something magical to happen in Chapter CCXXIX,” writes Ms. Crepuscular, “but I can’t write it until I get this confounded flapper replaced.”

 


Crusty’s Lament (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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In Chapter CCXXVI of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney, Violet Crepuscular has detoured into an examination of the life of Crusty, Lady Margo Cargo’s crusty butler.

Born Ignatius Mangrove Crusty in 1782, Crusty’s hard-up parents traded him for a chicken. His new master had a thing for frogs and taught Crusty to imitate their mating calls. Tiring of this, Crusty ran away to join the circus but wound up in butler school. He has been Lady Margo’s butler since 1808.

“That is all I wish to say about his life,” adds Ms. Crepuscular, and moves on to Chapter CCXXVIII, leaving Chapter CCXXVII unwritten.

We take up the thread of the story as Lord Jeremy Coldsore, now disadvantaged by having two left feet, hires an Austrian dancing master named Cliff to teach him how to waltz on two left feet: there’s sure to be a waltz danced at the wedding. Little does he know that Cliff is a fugitive wanted for masterminding the theft of several Prussians.

“You know virtually nothing about dancing!” declares Cliff. “Ach, will you please get your hips into it?” That he has to practice with Cliff is embarrassing. “On the count of three, both your feet must leave the floor, coming down again on the count of four. And then, on the count of one, your partner must jump–like so!” He springs a good ten inches into the air. How Lady Margo is to manage this on her upholstered wooden leg is more than Jeremy can imagine.

“It sure don’t look like no waltz to me,” mutters the American adventurer, Willis Twombley. “Looks like some kinda Egyptian polka to me.” To liven things up, he draws his six-gun and fires several bullets at the floor, occasioning more jumping from both dancers.

“That is not how we do it in Vienna!” Cliff complains.

The waltz lesson leaves Lord Jeremy bruised and exhausted.

“In the next chapter,” writes Ms. Crepuscular, “something magical is sure to happen.” We can’t even guess what that might be.

 


The Wine Controversy (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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Something always seems to crop up to jinx a wedding. In Chapter CCXXV of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney, author Violet Crepuscular, in an aside to the reader, recalls her own experience. “If I may digress for a moment, as an aside to the reader, my own wedding was thoroughly ruined by the absence of the groom, a hard-working horseshoe customizer named Sidney. He never showed up for the ceremony, and to this day I’ve never heard from him again.”

Lord Jeremy Coldsore and his friend, the American adventurer, Willis Twombley, find their wedding to Lady Margo Cargo–she thinks they’re the same person–held up by a disagreement over which wine to serve at the reception.

“I’ve already ordered a whole crate of Chateau LaFong!” cries Jeremy. “And that miscreant of a butler refuses to serve it! He insists we serve Chateau D’If, and he has mesmerized Lady Margo to take his side.”

“Ain’t that a school for the deaf, or something?” asks Twombley.

“It’s a notorious French prison,” Jeremy informs him, “and the wine they make there isn’t fit to serve to pigs–and I have heard the pigs turn up their snouts at it. By Jove, I hate that stuff! And I’ve paid for the Chateau LaFong, so we can’t afford for it to go to waste.”

“For my money,” says Twombley, “it’s the Philistines who make the best wine, hands down. We always served Philistine wine at our shindigs.” Twombley believes himself to be Sargon of Akkad. “You should have asked me first, Germy, before you ordered that Chapeau Fungus or whatever it is. I could’ve gotten us a case of Goliath’s Joy Juice, from Gath.”

“I suspect Crusty the butler is trying to undermine this wedding so that he can marry Lady Margo and gain control of her wealth,” opines Lord Jeremy.

“You want I should shoot him?” Twombley asks. And the chapter ends with Lord Jeremy contemplating his options.

“I must add,” writes Ms. Crepuscular, “that I have tried Chateau D’If Red and it really is swill.”


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