Not long ago, Phoebe suggested we throw a party for Violet Crepuscular to celebrate 500 chapters of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney. It’s as good an excuse as any to have a party. Hey, how many writers manage a book with 500 chapters in it? (“But look at all the chapters she skipped, to get there!” Killjoy.)
We could have the party right here on this blog, a space equally convenient to all. We’ll need a menu of snacks and foodstuffs, a roster of fun activities (Anybody got one of those forbidden “Jarts” games?), party favors and decorations, and music. A wading pool is optional. We might also vie with one another in composing laudatory poems to the guest of honor. Like, “No matter how you dial it, the Queen Of Suspense is Violet.” Ooh! I’d better disqualify myself.
Okay! Now I’m waiting for the suggestions to come rolling in.
P.S.–Imagine what a big party it’ll be if everybody reblogs this post somewhere! I’d love to see what would happen.
A letter from reader Ambrose Twidgeon in Babbo Township, Pellucidar, has served as a timely reminder to the Queen of Suspense, Violet Crepuscular.
“Dear Ms. Crepuscular,” the letter reads, “what ever happened to the traditional olde English fox hunt in Scurveyshire? How can you write about English country life without the fox hunt? I am so upset with you, I had to break my model airplanes!”
Ms. Crepuscular’s reply is found in her introduction to Chapter CDLXXXVIII of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney.
“As a matter of fact,” she trombolizes, “I was just about to write about the fox hunt when Mr. Twidgeon’s letter arrived. Really, I do not need any guidance in writing romance novels! Let me offer this friendly reminder to Mr. Twidgeon: Get lost!”
The hereditary master of the Scurveyshire Hunt is Lady Margo Cargo, who inherited it from her father along with a persistent halitosis. She can’t ride a horse, so she leads the hunt in a golf cart driven by a condemned prisoner. No fox has been caught since Lady Margo took over.
(What about the Scurveyshire Fair, Violet? And the vicar’s backyard wading pool?)
“If I get any more friendly reminders from ignoramuses who think they know how I should write my novels, I am very much afraid that I shall lose my temper,” Ms. Crepuscular writes. So vanishes all hope of finding out about the fair and the wading pool. She’s in one of her moods.
The chapter ends without the fox hunt actually starting.
Every so often, by law, Scurveyshire is obliged to hold The Scurveyshire Fair at a location determined by lot. In 1806 the lot fell on Umm Shebet, a village in the marshes of Iraq. This year it’s the vicar’s back yard.
“Will this be the end of the vicar’s deadly wading pool?” Violet Crepuscular asks her readers. She waited several days for an answer but didn’t get one. It has left her in a bad mood. She refuses to write Chapter CDLXXXIV of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney. It was all we could do to get her to introduce Chapter CDLXXXVI.
“No one has counted the victims who were sucked or pulled under the wading pool, never to be seen again,” she writes. “If the Fair is held around the pool, how many more will perish? Oh, forsooth, the suspense! I’m the Queen of Suspense and I can hardly take it!”
Meanwhile, the Useless Sheriff of Scurveyshire, whose extra nose makes him look like a cubist portrait, has fallen under the spell of Mr. Bigcheeks, the lineal descendant of the medieval sorcerer, Black Rodney. Mr. Bigcheeks has used his arcane power over the Sheriff to make him do ridiculous things. The Lovesick Beagle imitation has to be seen to be believed. Imagine the trouble he’d make if he knew he was descended from a genuine, real-life wizard.
We join Lord Jeremy Coldsore in Chapter CDLXXXVII next week, after the first of the pinwheel booths gets swallowed up by whatever’s under the wading pool
Introducing Chapter CDLXXXII of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney, Violet Crepuscular (“the Queen of Suspense”) writes, “I find it necessary to introduce a character whom I had hoped to do without. I give you, dear reader, fair warning: this here is a very scary person!”
This would be none other than The Useless Sheriff of Scurveyshire, appointed to his position by the queen herself, in a bout of uncontrolled giddiness. Descended from Saxon nobles who never amounted to anything, the Sheriff is Useless because of his habit of colliding with stationary objects in plain sight. He walks face-first into trees, trips over horse-troughs, stumbles into ponds, and abuses his authority.
And he has learned that Constable Chumley, whom he hates maniacally for no reason, has had a life-altering experience that has rendered him inarticulate.
“Although I never editorialize about the characters in my book,” Ms. Crepuscular says, with a reckless disregard for truth, “I have to say that the Sheriff is a real stinker. The fact that he has an extra nose on the side of his head does not make him any more appealing! Yech! He looks like some kind of Cubist portrait!”
Meanwhile, the constable tries to tell Lord Jeremy about his life-altering experience as an undercover investigator. But the only bit that Jeremy understands is “Miphlum hite yon braithy callapop, m’Lord.” It is not very illuminating.
Stay tuned for more suspense! If we can find some.
“Look at that cover!” fumes author Violet Crepuscular. “Is that a load of sappy sappiness, or what? I’m going back to my old cover–I don’t care what that witch Janet Kendell-Bendle says.”
We suddenly find ourselves in Chapter CDLXXX. I think three chapters are missing. So we have Constable Chumley trying to recover from a shattering experience that has not been described in the text. Ms. Crepuscular explains.
“As the Queen of Suspense, I try not to dwell on unpleasant scenes, to say nothing of shattering experiences. I find them shattering. So much better just to say Chumley had some really close calls, came within inches of losing his life in ways that were hardly imaginable before… this! Almost as bad as winding up on the cover of Master of the Marshlands. You could die from that much sappy…”
Meanwhile the epic romance of Oy, Rodney continues with Chapter CDLXXX but without an introduction by Ms. Crepuscular, who has gone forth in search of her old cover.
(“Aha! Found it! That’s so much better!”)
We learn that the current Mrs. Bigcheeks was once eagerly wooed by Lord Jeremy Coldsore, who was insane at the time. Is this what Constable Chumley has gone under the covers to investigate? (Confound it! I mean “undercover.”) Does it have anything to do with the bizarre seismic readings that they would have seen at the British Seismological Institute, if seismographs and seismology had been invented at this juncture of the 19th century? Is something about to break loose from under the vicar’s backyard wading pool?
For years now, Violet Crepuscular’s epic romance, Oy, Rodney, and Janet Kendall’s costume-thing romance, Lord of the Tube Socks, have been virtually synonymous in the public eye. That’s because there is no Oy, Rodney book cover: the reader is expected to provide it herself.
Imagine the shock waves that bilboed the publishing world yesterday when Janet Kendell emerged from a meteor crater in Mongolia to sue Ms. Crepuscular for using the Lord of the Tube Socks cover without permission. Using it hundreds of times, in fact.
“I will not circumambulate to her level,” writes Violet. “I am the Queen of Suspense. She’d better watch out or I’ll suspend her! She ought to be doing cartwheels for joy, my using the cover of her crummy wretched book that no one ever read!
“Well, I can always use another cover. I thought I was doing her a favor!”
Meanwhile, back in Scurveyshire, Constable Chumley has gone under the covers–sorry, I meant “undercover”–to carry out an extremely hazardous investigation, the nature of which has not yet been divulged. Ms. Crepuscular is too distracted to write about it this week. Suffice it to say there is a scheme that puts at risk all of Scurveyshire, and England, and the future of dental hygiene itself.
Will Oy, Rodney make it to 500 chapters? There are only 24 to go.
Phoebe has suggested we have a nice party to celebrate that long-anticipated day when Violet Crepuscular publishes Chapter D (that’s 500!) of her epic and immortal romance, Oy, Rodney. I almost typed “immoral,” but it was just a close shave.
Certainly we would be thrilled and delighted if Ms. Crepuscular, the Queen of Suspense, were to honor us with a personal appearance. Problem is, no one seems to know where Violet lives or what she looks like. She could come to the party impersonating one of us, and we’d never know. Like, anybody could say, “I’m Thewhiterabbit”–and we wouldn’t suspect it wasn’t true.
Just as seven ancient Greek cities each claimed to be the birthplace of Homer, no town or city today claims Violet Crepuscular. The town of Forked River, New Jersey, refutes the story that she once spent two days there, waiting for her Pulitzer Prize.
Hey! Does anybody out there have a picture of the real Violet Crepuscular? Please share it here, if possible. We need to honor this woman as she deserves. I mean, who else would stretch out a romance to 500 chapters?
As Constable Chumley would say, “Aw’s begrythin’ yon basing-strock!”
“Chumley Undercover!” “It sounds like a mega-hit, a TV crime series!” ululates Violet Crepuscular, introducing Chapter CDLXXVI of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney–“like one of those BBC things!”
Yes, Constable Chumley has gone undercover. This is to be distinguished, Ms. Crepuscular points out, from going under the covers, which he has also done upon occasion. He has never quite forgotten the stories his mother told him about Old Breechie when he was a “wee foondy.” It is those stories that sometimes drives him under the covers. “Mav, ye horthern a drate ribble,” he admits.
As we drift into Chapter CDLXXVII, we still don’t know why the constable has gone undercover. Ms. Crepuscular believes that not telling us will heighten the suspense. “That’s why I’m the Queen of Suspense!” she vulcanizes. We thought it might have something to do with Mr. Bigcheeks turning out to be a lineal descendant of the medieval sorcerer, Black Rodney, but it seems the constable has never met or even heard of Mr. Bigcheeks, despite the fact that both men have lived in Scurveyshire Village all their lives and it’s really quite a small village. (Free toothpaste-filled cupcake to anyone who can diagram that last sentence. I tried and my hair fell out.)
And, as if by magic, we arrive at the threshold of the next chapter not a whit the wiser for having read this one.
Violet Crepuscular introduces the pivotal Chapter CDLXXV of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney, with another letter from a reader.
“I would like to introduce the pivotal Chapter CDLXXV of my epic romance, Oy, Rodney, with this here letter from a reader, a Mrs. Helen Popeye of Erythromycin, Ancient Greece,” she writes. Oh, Violet. “This here?” “Here is what she says.
“‘My Dear Ms. Crepuscular’–that’s me–‘I have been wondering what has become of my favorite character, Constable Chumley. Don’t tell me you’ve replaced him with that windbag, Donald Duck! Or whatever his name is. Holy cow, we don’t even know the constable’s first name!'”
Violet answers, “I can now reveal to you that Constable Chumley has gone under cover to pursue a dangerous and critical investigation of something-or-other. Let him explain it to the readers in his own words.
“‘Mon Geckle-esh me hearties voy calabash–alas, yin gubrick!'” And so on. The constable’s explanation is not a hit with most readers.
“As for his first name,” funambulates Ms. Crepuscular, “he has always been excruciatingly embarrassed by it–so much so, that he actually introduces himself as ‘Rocky’ when a social situation demands it. If he ever thought my 4 million readers were reading his first name, he would round up 12 Welsh bards to put a curse on me!”
Here the chapter ends abruptly–something to do with baking meat-and-toothpaste pies. The management takes no responsibility for the apparent collapse of Oy, Rodney‘s plot. We’re sure Ms. Crepuscular will be back to form in the next installment.
Introducing Chapter CDLXXIV (missing two chapters–what gives?) of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney, Violet Crepuscular writes, “As I introduce Chapter CDLXXIV of my epic romance, Oy, Rodney, I sense snide snickerings among jealous illiterates who think I’ve missed two chapters. Nothing could be farther from the truth! I have merely skipped those chapters because nothing happened in them!”
So, three chapters ago (I think), Lord Jeremy Coldsore hired a private enquiry agent named Donald Duct, who looks and talks like Donald Duck, but isn’t. Furthermore, because Lord Jeremy always likes to go first-class, Mr. Duct is a member of the nobility.
“My ancestor came here on the Mayflower,” he boasts, when he arrives at Coldsore Hall. To avoid attracting undue notice, he is disguised as a wedding cake.
“Don’t you mean he came to America on the Mayflower?” asks Lord Jeremy.
“No, not at all. He came to England on the Mayflower when it sailed back to England. He couldn’t stay in America. He was afraid of Pilgrims. They seemed to be everywhere.”
Unfortunately, somewhere in those two elided chapters is the reason why Lord Jeremy hired a private enquiry agent.
“It’s not something to dilapidate about,” Ms Crepuscular remarks in a footnote on Page 2,443. “All will be revealed in due time.
“Remember what happened to the Indus Valley people!” she adds. “It was precisely this kind of intrusive readership that brought their civilization to an unpronounceable end!”