Violet Crepuscular introduces Chapter DV of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney, with an extensive list of flaws in her neighbor, Mr. Pitfall’s, character. “He’ll eat your toothpaste sandwich cookies and then just leave you!” she laments. “Or else he’ll just stick around and bug you!”
So much for Chapter DV.
In Chapter DVI, while the American adventurer Willis Twombley is still organizing a safari, the rhinoceros has again crept out from under the vicar’s backyard wading pool and returned to digging burrows all around the property. Twombley would see the brute if he only turned around!
“Someone’s going to fall into one of those burrows and break a leg!” excalibrates Lady Margo Cargo, who already has one wooden leg (upholstered) and would rather not have two. “Quick, darling–there it is!”
Twombley can scarcely conceal his disappointment. “Gol-durnit, honey-child! That ain’t no African rhino!” He wipes the tears from his weather-beaten cheeks. “Hell’s bells, that’s an Indian rhino! Which means I can’t use this here safari: gotta send ’em all home–” some of them have come all the way from Zanzibar, they’re that desperate for work–“and recruit Indian men for a shikari!”
“Couldn’t you just…er… shoot the rhino, now that he’s here? Oooh, he’s digging up my gladiolus! Will you please just shoot the bloomin’ rhino!”
Twombley floxerizes. “No can do, dearie! The rajahs get mad if you shoot their rhinos without their permission. Gotta find the rajah and square it with him. And then go about hiring new bearers and beaters.”
Lady Margo screams (they heard her in Detroit), “There are no flaming rajahs in Scurveyshire!” The chapter ends before she can have full-fledged conniptions.
Introducing Chapter DIV (pronounced “div”) of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney, Violet Crepuscular continues to describe the extensive preparations made by Willis Twombley, the American adventurer who thinks he’s Sargon of Akkad, for a safari which, in all likelihood, will never venture out of sight of the vicar’s back yard.
He has forgotten why he’s organizing the safari in the first place. Lady Margo reminds him, “It’s to get rid of that rhinoceros that burrows under the vicar’s wading pool.”
“Better hire us some cavalry, too, then,” he replies.
Some of you surely noticed that the title of this chapter was supposed to be “A Captive Heart.” This refers to Lord Jeremy Coldsore, held as a “prisoner of love” (Oh, great scott!) by Constable Chumley’s mother, who leads a double life as Thir Lanthelot, the Lithping Knight. “I am getting better!” she confides in the reader. “Last year it was a triple life! But I am no longer Bomba the Jungle Boy.”
Jeremy would love to escape, but his cell is way high up in a tower that wobbles dangerously whenever there’s a wind. To keep his will to live, he writes poetry on his dinner plates and tosses them out the window to the River Rhine.
Here I sit in this miserable dungeon,
Waiting for someone to bring my lunch in.
Here Ms. Crepuscular indulges in an aside to the reader. “I have been blamed for the defects in Lord Jeremy’s poetry,” she writes. “Ignorant readers consistently scaphanize these verses. Well, pshaw on them!”
Introducing Chapter DIII of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney, Violet Crepuscular (“The Queen of Suspense”!) writes, “Introducing Chapter DIII of my epic romance, Oy, Rodney, I can’t help mentioning that in writing an epic romance one is apt to encounter crabs and nay-sayers among the readership. They send me catty letters. They beshrewvinate me with nasty emails. You’d be amazed, how many so-called readers don’t think anybody in Scurveyshire needs a properly equipped safari! But let us join the American adventurer, Willis Twombley, as he organizes a safari to deal with the rhinoceros that burrows under the wading pool in the vicar’s back yard.”
[Editor’s note: Aaaaaaghhh!]
Twombley asks to borrow a considerable sum of money from Lady Margo Cargo.
“What for?” she preguntalates. [Grrrrr!]
“Askaris,” he explains. “Don’t go anywhere in Africa without ’em. You never know when your safari’s gonna be attacked by cannibals, slave-traders, ivory poachers, or just plain unfriendly natives. Gotta have plenty of armed askaris.”
“But Jeremy–we’re not in Africa!”
Yes, you read that right: she called him Jeremy. Sometimes she calls Jeremy “Willis.” She continues to labor under the impression that they are one and the same person.
“Tell the rhino that!”
“Oh, Willis! You’ve got an answer for everything!”
[Editor tries to escape out the window. Sill is smeared with toothpaste. He is unable to identify its brand or flavor. Tune in next week for a resumption of the story.]
Introducing Chapter DII of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney, Violet Crepuscular delves deeply into Willis Twombley’s preparations for a safari. The reader will recall that a rhinoceros has been seen coming out from under the vicar’s backyard wading pool; it is feared that the unpredictable beast will terrorize all of Scurveyshire. The rhino has also been seen digging a burrow that extends back under the pool.
Ms. Crepuscular offers a spirited defense of her art. “In my spirited defense of my art,” she writes, “I utterly reject, contemn, and floccinate all those who have taken it upon themselves to assert that rhinoceroses never burrow, I must be thinking of chipmunks or woodchucks.
“Fie! They should all get cooties! A murrain upon them! Notice that not one of those ingrates–” she means her readers–“ever even mentioned poor Lord Jeremy, held prisoner by Constable Chumley’s mother, the Lithping Knight Thir Lanthelot!” [Challenge to readers: Go ahead, I dare you–read that last sentence aloud, to anybody.] “How quickly they forget! How little they care!”
Getting back to the safari (if we can!), the first thing Twombley does is hire a guide. This is inexplicable to me, but I suppose Ms. Crepuscular, the Queen of Suspense, has some dark suspenseful design in mind.
“I’d also like to hire an interpreter,” he soliloquizes, “in case we run into any of those tribes that don’t speak Swahili.”
“No one around here speaks Swahili!” Lady Margo protests.
“Bags of beads and glass jewelry always come in handy, too,” he muses.
Stay tuned. This could actually get silly.
“With 500 chapters under our belts, we are entering a new era of Oy, Rodney,” proclaims Violet Crepuscular, the Queen of Suspense, introducing Chapter DI of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney. Did I mention that it’s 500 chapters long? And still going forward!
“I can now reveal the purpose of having the American adventurer, Willis Twombley, so near to center stage throughout the exfoliation of the plot,” writes Ms. Crepuscular. Mr. Twombley thinks he’s Sargon of Akkad.
“You may remember, in Chapter 500, a rhinoceros was seen burrowing under the wading pool in the vicar’s back yard,” she says. “Most people would remember seeing that. And now that someone has… it falls on Twombley to lead a safari to hunt down the rhino and get rid of it.” It will be the first safari ever held in Scurveyshire.
But oh! I hear you gasp. (Well, all right, I don’t actually hear you. Must we split hairs?) What has become of Lord Jeremy Coldsore? Why isn’t he leading the hunt for the rhino?
Because he’s being held prisoner, a prisoner of love, by Constable Chumley’s mother, Thir Lanthelot the Lithping Knight. Really, it’s too grotesque for words.
“Padang!” exclaims Ms. Crepuscular. (“Padang?”) “It so happens that many older women in Scurveyshire succumb to the delusion that they are one of the Knights of the Round Table, waiting for King Arthur to turn them loose on the Saracens. The cure for this is indescribably painful and costs a fortune. A suit of used armor is a lot cheaper. I’m surprised none of you readers noticed it before!”
So much for the chapter.
This is exciting beyond words! Violet Crepuscular has achieved 500 chapters of her epic (not to say immortal) romance, Oy, Rodney. Who else do you know who’s written a book that’s 500 chapters long? And it isn’t even finished!
We are having a huge gigantic party at Phoebe’s house–just follow the easy WordPress directions to get there.
You wouldn’t believe how hard it was to find a caterer who could provide toothpaste-filled twinkies.
Meanwhile, introducing Chapter D–I don’t know, does that look funny?–of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney, Ms. Crepuscular takes up a brand-new plot threat. (“Threat”? Surely I meant “thread.”)
“Several persons of unquestioned veracity have reported seeing a large rhinoceros in the vicar’s back yard,” she writes. “Rhinoceri are not native to Scurveyshire.” She has provided a picture for those readers who do not know what a rhinoceros is.
The beast has been seen emerging from under the vicar’s wading pool and burrowing back down under it as only a rhinoceros can burrow. “The situation is increasingly porous,” writes Ms. Crepuscular. “Only Sir John Squoles understands the situation–and Constable Chumley has locked him up!”
It’s getting so the Queen of Suspense is finding her own books too suspenseful to read. “Sometimes she has to have Mr. Pitfall read them to her while she cowers under the sink,” reports Hack Writing Tonight.
Very few epic romance novels can carry the ball for 500 chapters. But Violet Crepuscular’s Oy, Rodney has racked up 499. She prefers Roman numerals: CDLXXXXIX.
We are launched into the chapter by a warning not to deal with stained teeth by painting them over with Wite-Out. “Mr. Pitfall tried that once, and was sick for two months. Parts of him actually fell off.”
In Chapter CDLXXXXIX, we are abruptly returned to the vicar’s back yard–where his carnivorous wading pool awaits another victim. This victim will be Dr. Pendergast, the vicar’s rival in love and chess. They once played a game of chess to decide which of them would marry a woman called “Killjoy Kate.” Dr. Pendergast lost and had to marry her. He blames the vicar.
Now he sneaks into the vicar’s back yard, looking for Iron Age remains. Suddenly–
ZAP! Was that a gigantic chameleon? We don’t know! It shot out from under the wading pool and almost in the same instant shot back in, wrapped around the unfortunate Dr. Pendergast. The last we hear of him is a desolated cry of “Holmes! Holmes!” Or was that someone else?
“If you do wind up with stained teeth,” adds Ms. Crepuscular, in a footnote to the climax of the chapter, “you need more toothpaste in your diet! Try it on your sausages! You’ll be amazed by the results.”
Author Violet Crepuscular has been busy grading the Oy, Rodney Genius Quiz. Actually, not that busy–only four people, world-wide, bothered to take it. And none of them passed.
“This makes me lachrymose,” she complains. “It will be all I can do to introduce Chapter CDLXXXXVIII of my epic romance, Oy, Rodney!”
The reader will remember (or not) that Lord Jeremy, under duress applied by Constable Chumley’s mother, Sir Lanthelot the Lithping Knight–bear in mind that the woman is somewhat tetched–has discovered a landscape riddled with Easter Island heads. Like these. Just like these.
You’d think any author would jump right in and set about explaining what those heads were doing there–but not the Queen of Suspense. She introduces Chapter CDLXXXXVIII with a recipe for prawns in toothpaste sauce, followed by this:
“Can Lady Margo Cargo be true to Lord Jeremy Coldsore and still love the American adventurer, Willis Twombley–when she is not aware that they are two different people. Three, if you count Twombley’s conviction that he is Sargon of Akkad. This is phloxidation with a vengeance!” Feel free to skip the rest if you know what that means.
If not, please sign my petition to Ms. Crepuscular demanding an explanation of the Easter Island heads. (Yes, I know she’ll say “My readers are revolting!”) We must take a firm line here, or she’ll end up subjecting us to chess puns (“Prawn to King-4!”).
Violet Crepuscular, author of the epic romance Oy, Rodney and self-anointed “Queen of Suspense,” now has a real title to hang on her wall.The Brmytsov suspender factory in Vorozhnyrmytz, Kazakhstan, has honored her as “Queen of Suspenders.” [Note: the model in the pictures is not Ms. Crepuscular.]
Ms. Crepuscular has declined to comment, although neighbors say they have heard her “yelling and breaking things.” “Queen of suspense, not suspenders!” she has reportedly exclaimed. “I don’t even wear suspenders!” [Lewd expletives deleted.]
A dinner will be held in Ms. Crepuscular’s honor at the Restaurant of Tasty Joy, on the skirts of Myzhnytskquoe Mountain.
“Are you a genius?” asks Ms. Violet Crepuscular, the Queen of Suspense. Don’t ask her what’s happened to the plot of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney. You’d have to be a genius to figure that out.
And so Chapter CDLXXXXVII of this tremendous book casts itself loose from the plot and presents the reader with a quiz. “This,” proclaims Ms. Crepuscular, “is where the rubber meets the road! This is the ultimate trip of self-discovery.”
Simply answer the questions below. If you answer them all correctly, you are a genius. If you get any wrong, you earn the rank of Stunata. “We’ll soon know which is which!” exults the author.
Ready? Here we go.
1. Who was mayor of New York City when Lady Margo Cargo lost her glass eye?
2. Why are there Easter Island heads in Scurveyshire? (“Thought I’d forget about those, didn’t you!” snickers Ms. Crepuscular.)
3. In what capacity did Walt Dropo serve the Japanese government during the Victorian Era?
4. What English playwright wrote in the same rural dialect spoken by Constable Chumley, with the same result?
5. What is the sound of one flipper flapping?
“The clever reader will quickly amorphosize these questions,” claims Ms. Crepuscular. “We need clever people to rule the world.”
(Please don’t tell me she’s going to run for president…)