Chapter DXXX–At Last! (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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You think it’s easy, being this woman’s editor? Hah! All week long, she’s been sulking. A customer review on some Charlie High-school website called her “Violet Corpuscle” and she couldn’t deal with it.

Nevertheless, somehow Chapter DXXX of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney, has gotten written. Let Ms. Crepuscular (not Corpuscle) introduce it.

“I am proud to be introducing Chapter DXXX of my epic romance, Oy, Rodney,” she gestures hypnotically, like Mandrake the Magician. For her it doesn’t work.

We were expecting the Frothing Dragon of Scurveyshire in this chapter, and for once we got just what we asked for. The Dragon comes out from under the wading pool in the vicar’s back yard and starts frothing all over the place. Lord Jeremy Coldsore and Willis Twombley, the American adventurer who thinks he is Sargon of Akkad, watch in stunned horror.

“Germy, we got to do somethin’ about this!” says Twombley, balancing his six-gun on a fingertip. This makes Lord Jeremy uneasy. He has already been shot in one foot and has no desire for the experience to be repeated. Meanwhile, Squire Oochy’s greenhouse is buried under dragon-froth.

“Who the devil’s Squire Oochy?” Jeremy wonders.

“Suspense!” exults Ms. Crepuscular. “Tune in next week to find out who the devil’s Squire Oochy!”


Laying Down the Law (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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This is your editor speaking. For too long we have allowed Violet Crepuscular to abuse our trust. We keep waiting for her epic romance, Oy, Rodney, to break into a plot.

Just look at this mess! A rhino hibernating in back of a chicken coop. A cold snap that freezes everything but the vicar’s backyard wading pool. And Mr. Pitfall face-down on Violet’s living room floor, the victim of a swoon. He was just starting to read Chapter DXXX, she says. Well, we haven’t read it yet!

She addresses the defenseless reader: “The thing is, when you’re writing an epic romance of 500 or more chapters, you can’t just leave Mr. Pitfall lying on the floor. How could I have finished writing Chapter DXXX, when I had to call the UN to come and get Mr. Pitfall? I mean, have you ever tried to telephone those people?!? Ye gods!”

[Editor: Not so fast there, twinkletoes! What about that Frothing Dragon of Scurveyshire, that you hinted at last week? Eh? Eh?]

“As for the Frothing Dragon of Scurveyshire–” [We’ve got her on the run!]–“I simply have to hold it back for one more chapter. Meanwhile, consult the Ibid Chronicles for the year 457, the year the dragon first frothed. Then you’ll understand!”

[Editor plunges into a fruitless search for the Ibid Chronicles…]

When Hell Really Did Freeze Over (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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Violet Crepuscular, the Queen of Suspense, has issued a warning to readers preparing to tackle Chapter DXXX of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney.

“I wish to warn readers preparing to tackle Chapter DXXX of my epic romance, Oy, Rodney,” she writes, sounding more than a little like the rejected version of Gilgamesh. “Honestly, this chapter is not for the faint-hearted! After hearing just two paragraphs of it, poor Mr. Pitfall fainted.”

Was there something about a monster in the vicar’s backyard wading pool? Was there a reason why everything in Scurveyshire froze but the surface of the pool?

“We must first repair to Constable Chumley’s house,” she continues. If that’s the verb for it. “Here he has forgotten how to tie his shoes. And who can he ask? What a dilemma!”

What bunk. What about the monster in the pool? No wonder this book is DXXX chapters long!

In her own defense, Ms. Crepuscular writes, “It is, of course, The Frothing Dragon of Scurveyshire coming back to life as the result of a medieval curse laid on the shire by the evil necromancer, Black Rodney. But the characters in my story don’t know this! I’ll have to break it to them gently.”

She’s hoping we don’t notice that nothing has happened in this chapter. As for the title, you guess is as good as mine.

World-Class Famous Great Author Joins Q.U. Faculty!

Aussie lady with a quokka : r/aww

I couldn’t get a picture of Ms. Crepuscular, so here’s Ms. Whatsername from our Registration Office instead.

Rejoice! Huzzah! Wahoo! Quokka University has added a BIG name to our English faculty! How big? ya say. Eleven letters big, sez I! C-R-E-P-U-S-C-U-L-A-R! As in Violet Crepuscular, author of the epic romance, Oy, Rodney. Winner of the Big Good Writership Award!

Ms. Crepuscular will be teaching “How Write Good 101,” if we ever get a classroom for it, and also teaching our kitchen staff how to make toothpaste-filled cupcakes. As soon as we get a kitchen. A lot of quokkas don’t bother to cook their leaves before eating them.

Advance copies of Oy, Rodney are available through the French Embassy at popular prices, if you don’t mind paying in Euros. Aunt Foozy says Euros make your paws smell funny.

The Mystery of the Vicar’s Wading Pool (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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“As any schoolboy might expect,” writes Violet Crepuscular, the Queen of Suspense, in Chapter DXXVIII of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney, “Scurveyshire has its share of cold snaps!” The exclamation point is added to make it more suspenseful. Read all about in in Violet Crepuscular’s manual, How to Write Good ($22.98 plus postage).

Ah! But what no one expects is that during this horribly cold snap, the water in the Vicar’s backyard wading pool has not frozen over! (More suspense.) And late that chilly night, peering out her bedroom window with binoculars to see if anyone is daft enough to be running around with no clothes on, Lady Margo Cargo, sweeping her lenses back and forth over the forbidding arctic landscape, suddenly spots the ungainly monstrous head of a monster popping up from the water in the middle of the pool. But when she sweeps back, the head is gone… with only a few baseball cards left floating on the surface.

If only the telephone had been invented already! She could roust Constable Chumley out of bed to come over and investigate. She could rouse her crusty butler, Crusty, but he has threatened to shoot her if she wakes him. You can only get so much mileage out of being the richest widow in Scurveyshire.

Here the chapter ends abruptly, doubtless to build suspense. Please don’t ask what happened to Chapter DXXVII. There are some things mankind was never meant to know.

Killer Bare-Faced Hornets Blitz Scurveyshire (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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“I have always felt,” writes Violet Crepuscular, introducing Chapter DXXVI of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney, “that no epic romance is worth its salt without a massive invasion of terrifying, lethal insects. Like these… the infamous bare-faced hornet–”

Wait! Stop! Foul! [Cue harshly blowing referee’s whistle] What’s with the killer insects? Last week it was The Seven Sleepers of Scurvey Forest–you promised to wrap that up, didn’t you? (I am on the point of resigning as her editor.) D’you know what I’d say to you, if we were face to face? “I’m on the point of resigning as your editor!” That’s what I’d say.

[Enter new editor who knows nothing about Oy, Rodney and doesn’t care. He wants to be a steeplechase jockey, once he loses that extra 150 pounds.]

We take up the chapter with Johnno the Merry Minstrel  wandering through the forest, singing a madrigal about Davy Crockett. The Seven Sleepers have already been awakened and turned to dust. It happened too fast to be described. [The new editor lets her get away with this.] Johnno intends to compose a new madrigal about Davy Crockett and the Seven Sleepers. He already has a working title for it: Davy Crockett and the Seven Sleepers.

“Well, that’s about all I’ve had time to write this week,” the Queen of Suspense confides in her readers. At last count there were twelve of them. “Trust me, I haven’t forgotten about the rhinoceros cocoon! But the tale must be told in orderly stages.”

Scurveyshire’s Catastrophic New Year’s Revels (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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Violet Crepuscular, the Queen of Suspense, opens Chapter DXXV of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney, with these grim words.

Doom. Extinction. Ruin. Phosphate.

“Okay, that’s enough grim words,” she concludes. “On with the story!”

Scurveyshire, deluded into thinking the rhinoceros has gone away when really all it’s doing is sleeping behind Dr. Weezle’s chicken coop, this year celebrated New Year’s Eve with a colossal explosion at Tony Pow’s Fireworks Emporium. It was so loud, in fact… that it woke the legendary Seven Sleepers in the heart of Scurvey Forest.

The what? The who?

“This goes back to the Dawn Of Time,” Ms. Crepuscular explains–“before King Arthur first wore pants, before Julius Caesar ever tasted prunes. According to Geoffrey of Monmouth, the Seven Sleepers fell asleep listening to Merlin’s rival, Hyman Diddlewits, give a lecture on  ‘Fallacies of Pictish Architectural Theory.’ It is said that if the Sleepers ever wake, the land will suffer a catastrophe.”

Legend also has it that the Sleepers will turn into dust the moment they wake up.


“I will describe that distressing scene for you once I have my loins properly girded,” our author promises.


Lord Jeremy’s Moment of Truth (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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“I wrote this chapter in advance, some 12 or 13 years ago…” So Violet Crepuscular, the Queen of Suspense, gets out of doing any work on Christmas Day. I’m only here to get a laugh.

This serves as Chapter DXXIV of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney. Let Violet herself induct you into its ventricles (I just work here).

“Once a year, on the day after Christmas,” writes Ms. Crepuscular, “Lord Jeremy Coldsore treats himself to a shave and a haircut at the atelier of M. Philippe Guignol, known affectionately as Cheap Philippe.” The shire’s regular barber’s nickname is “That Butcher.” There will be no time for this, once the rhino eggs hatch.

Dr. Weezle, in the meantime, has just come out of hibernation only to find that he slept through the summer and has awakened just in time for winter. He makes a beeline to Cheap Philippe. He very badly needs a shave.

“I got trampled and gored by a rhinoceros,” Lord Jeremy reveals. They have been placed in adjacent chairs. Philippe doesn’t like his customers to communicate in any way, so the conversation stops. Philippe is not the kind of man you argue with.

“Make sure you catch the next chapter!” Ms. Crepuscular adds. “I promise it’ll have you talking to yourselves!”

Is that good or bad?

Ms. Crepuscular Gets Lost (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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“A writer must never allow herself to be distracted,” declares Violet Crepuscular, the Queen of Suspense. This is because she has lost track of what chapter she’s writing in her epic romance, Oy, Rodney.

“Really, it was Mr. Pitfall’s fault,” she writes, blaming the whole thing on her neighbor. “You know the man is hopelessly in love with me. He used one of my recipes to bake me a batch of what were supposed to be toothpaste-filled cupcakes. I ate one–and the next three days are now a total blank to me!”

So she has settled on No. DXXIII for the chapter she is currently writing. Let’s see… The rhinoceros has spun a cocoon behind Dr. Weezle’s tool shed, the royal handwriting inspector has come and gone… and Constable Chumley has auditioned for the title role in the Scurveyshire Players’ production of Hamlet.

That’s how “To be or not to be” turns into “Ay wee yearnted far thither.”

Potrick the Jovial Shepherd (there are two jovial shepherds in Scurveyshire) thinks the constable should write his memoirs. He is also working on his imitation of Alan Hale, the American movie actor who has yet to be born. Potrick is good at things like that.

The Impetuous Dr. Weezle (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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Violet Crepuscular stunned the romance world last week by introducing a new character into her epic romance, Oy, Rodney. “I have introduced a new character into my epic romance, Oy Rodney,” Ms. Crepuscular writes.

None other than Dr. Weezle! The rhinoceros spun her cocoon behind his chicken coop. (Trust me, you will never find another sentence quite like that one.)

“This is a corrascible problem!” groans Lord Jeremy Coldsore, still recovering from the trampling he got two weeks ago. Overcome by pity, Constable Chumley has made room for Lord Jeremy in his coal bin. Riotous servants won’t let Jeremy back into his ancestral home.

And then there’s Dr. Weezle–or, to give him his full name, Dr. Emrys Chrysanthemum Weezle, M.D., Ph. D., M.B.E., G.O.P., Q.C. Arctic explorer in his youth. Author of This Here House Full of Nitwits. Destined to be almost knighted for the part he almost played in the Boxer Rebellion.

What role does he play in this story?

“Don’t rush me!” snaps Ms. Crepuscular. “I don’t just write romance and suspense, you know. I am trying to make toothpaste candy canes for Mr. Pitfall’s Christmas party. If you had any idea how delicate and fustulent a job that is, you’d just shut up and go away!”

I know of no other author who tells her readers to go away.