Will the Queen Elope with Willis Twombley? (‘Oy, Rodney’)

The terrible tale of the Kentucky Fried romance novel | The Delve

[Editor’s Note: Ms. Violet Crepuscular is mad at me for switching over to this book cover to illustrate the latest installment of Oy, Rodney. Well, confound it, I can’t find the regular cover anymore! This one will have to do. It’s very much in the spirit of the thing.]

Introducing Chapter CDXXII of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney, Violet Crepuscular reminds the reader that Queen Victoria is about to elope to Abilene, Kansas, with Willis Twombley, the American adventurer who thinks he’s Sargon of Akkad. Word of this has reached Lady Margo Cargo and threatened her impeding nuptials with Lord Jeremy Coldsore–she thinks he and Twombley are the same person and resents her fiancee cheating on her with the Queen of England.

In desperation–and you have to be really desperate to do this–Lord Jeremy turns to Constable Chumley. “Please see what you can do to salvage this mess!” vocalizes Lord Jeremy. The constable replies, “Aye, thar forthin yon cusster, M’lord!”

Making an appointment to confer privately with Lady Margo, Chumley explains to her: “Favvin’ yoster me kippens, Lady me Lad, ye netter by swelvin’ a quarn?” She gives her enthusiastic consent to this proposal. With this to sustain him, the constable arrests Twombley and forces him to bathe in the ice-cold duck pond in Scurveyshire Common. Passersby are appalled.

But just as the constable hoped, this does the trick! Twombley is practically killed with cold by the time Chumley allows him to come out of the water. Passersby turn away, unable to bear the sight.

“Well, that’s froze the romance right out of me!” truncates the American. “Now I wonder what I ever saw in that there queen of yours! But you’re lucky I didn’t shoot you, ol’ hoss.”

“Mizzen yair frocken, sir!” says Chumley. Willis sighs deeply. “One cannot but agree!” he concedes.

Willis Twombley’s Romance (‘Oy, Rodney’)

Livin' the Dream with Green Stamps: A 1975 Catalog - Flashbak

Editor’s Note: We are again unable to find an illustration for the Oy, Rodney cover. It was actually easier to find a Green Stamps saver book from 1960. This bodes ill for Violet Crepuscular’s book sales.

Introducing Chapter CDXXI of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney, Violet Crepuscular cites a letter received from reader Jennifer Solstice in Bad Axe, Michigan.

“This clod of a reader,” she begins–she must be really mad–“has accused me, Violet Crepuscular, a college graduate, mind you, of ‘turning this wonderful story into a mushy kissing book–yew! Who wants to read that? And Willis Twombley, of all people! Unless you put the kibosh on him romancing Queen Victoria, I won’t read you anymore!'”

“And thus,” declares Violet, “I am corruscated to write a romance that has no romance in it! Well, Jennifer Solstice, write your own shimshing romance novel! I have real readers to attend to!”

That being said, she has barely enough space to mention that Willis Twombley and Queen Victoria are feverishly planning to elope to Abilene, Kansas–the queen doesn’t know anybody there–and open up a Greek restaurant without any Greeks. It will be an excellent opportunity for Victoria to learn to cook. And to throw Scotland Yard off the scent, they plan to call themselves Mr. and Mrs. Orestes Papadapoulos.

“I warn you, Lord Jeremey,” exclaims Johnno the Merry Minstrel, who has made a study of these matters, “this is the work of Black Rodney the medieval sorcerer. He’ll by the ruin of the entire British Empire if we don’t stop him!”

Lord Jeremy Coldsore can only sigh. He’s had a lot of practice sighing, lately.

Did we mention Willis Twombley is an American adventurer who thinks he’s Sargon of Akkad? We do not know whether Queen Victoria believes him.

Willis Twombley in Love (‘Oy, Rodney’)

56 Romance Novel Covers ideas | romance novel covers, romance, romance  novels

Introducing Chapter CDXIX of her epic romance novel, Oy, Rodney, Violet Crepuscular writes, “I am pleased to tell you that things in Scurveyshire are all back to normal!” With one exception.

Willis Twombley, the American adventurer who thinks he’s Sargon of Akkad, has fallen head-over-heels in love.

With Queen Victoria.

Queen Victoria - Canada Postage Stamp

“Can’t you introduce me to her, Germy, ol’ hoss?” he pleads with his bosom friend, Lord Jeremy Coldsore. This is awkward for Lord Jeremy because his fiancee, Lady Margo Cargo, still thinks he and Twombley are the same person. Jeremy is trying to figure out whether this would be some form of bigamy.

“I just can’t do without her, Germy!” Twombley erupts. “She’s one hot filly! And I don’t think that German guy she’s teamed up with, Prince Alvin or whatever his name is, appreciates her. But if she hitches up with me, she’ll be gettin’ half of my Akkadian Empire, once I get it up and runnin’ again. Be a sport and send her this here love letter that I wrote.”

Jeremy reads the letter. It is unspeakably lurid.

“I say, old boy!” he fusticates. (What? Where did she get that word? Sounds great, though.) “I mean, really, truly, this just isn’t on! She is the Queen of England and Empress of India–and you just can’t talk to her that way! You make it sound like she’s some kind of tavern wench in one of your Wild West saloons.”

“Ooh, she would be good that that!” says Twombley. “Jist send her the letter, wouldja? And watch her and me gallop off into the sunset together!”

“Lady Margo isn’t going to like this,” mutters Jeremy. It’s a cinch the queen won’t like it, either.

At this point the chapter breaks, owing to a breakdown in Violet’s antique manual typewriter. It’s also her time for baking toothpaste sandwich cookies.

Constable Chumley Quells a Riot (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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At the close of Chapter CDXIV of Violet Crepuscular’s epic romance, Oy, Rodney, Lady Margo Cargo’s upholstered wooden leg, accidentally thrown onto the roller derby rink, has turned the skating match into pure chaos as the visiting Ulan Bator Lake Smelts, with several of their star players critically injured by the errant wooden leg, and with Lady Margo herself trying to crawl across the rink to retrieve it, storm the rails to take vengeance on all of Scurveyshire.

“And they say I can’t write a coherent sentence!” interjects Ms. Crepuscular.

Powerless to stop the violence, Lord Jeremy Crepuscular pleads with Constable Chumley. “Do something, man! Do something before they destroy the whole town!”

“Frith my linkle vostry, m’lord,” calmly replies the constable. To Lord Jeremy’s appalled amazement, the constable takes a red yo-yo from his pocket and begins to play with it. “Ye gods, the man is mad!” cries Lord Jeremy.

But the results fully justify the constable’s prompt, decisive action.

“At this point in world history”–she’s interjecting again: I don’t know how to stop her–“the yo-yo was unknown in Mongolia. Marco Polo presented one to Kubla Khan, but the khan’s successors lost it in a poker game with a traveling Manchu card sharp, and by now there is no one in Ulan Bator who has ever seen or even imagined one.”

The Lake Smelts instantly lose the impulse to riot, and they gather around Constable Chumley in frozen fascination. The effect is supernumary! Lady Margo is even able to recover her upholstered wooden leg while all the skaters, entranced in pure wonder, watch the yo-yo bob up and down.

“‘Tis all yon frothering with a wee braystick,” he explains. The Lake Smelts tamely follow him to the railway station and embark on the next train, with team Captain Draja Chukutaiev now the proud owner of a bright red yo-yo.

The chapter ends with the entire population of Scurveyshire trying to buy yo-yos.


Revenge of the Lake Smelts! (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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Lady Margo Cargo’s upholstered wooden leg seems to have a life of its own! (How’s that for a lead sentence? Nobody does it like Violet Crepuscular.)

In Chapter CDXIV of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney, Ms. Crepuscular returns to the apocalyptic roller derby match pitting the visiting Ulan Bator Lake Smelts vs. the team from neighboring Plaguesby. Just as the game was getting to the point where none of the spectators would admit to ever having been in Plaguesby, or having any family there, or even knowing where it is, Lady Margo Cargo’s upholstered wooden legs goes flying out into the middle of the rink, instantly become a serious and even deadly hazard.

The Lake Smelts’ star jammer, Minnie Chukutai, is injured; well, rather badly injured, actually; in fact, killed outright. This inspires the Plaguesby squad to score a point while Ulan Bator reels in shocked disbelief.

“Please, dear reader,” inserts Ms. Crepuscular, totally destroying the flow of the narrative, “don’t take this to mean the city of Ulan Bator itself, halfway around the world and oblivious to events in Scurveyshire, has reeled in shocked disbelief. It’s only the surviving Lake Smelts. I almost forgot to mention that their Number Two veeble, Penny Subhoshmakov, has also come to an untimely end, having tripped over Lady Margo’s upholstered wooden leg while skating at some 60 mph.”

Meanwhile, to the horror of her crusty old butler, Crusty, Lady Margo has begun to crawl out onto the rink in an attempt to recover her upholstered wooden leg. This is just as the captain of the Lake Smelts, Miss Cindy Spatzinagatai, raises her several brawny arms and vows vengeance on all of Scurveyshire.

With a chill cry reminiscent of the days of Genghis Khan, the enraged Lake Smelts swarm over the rail…

“‘Tis maith yon abblemart fusstick, m’lord,” observes Constable Chumley. One cannot but agree.

‘Roller Derby Apocalypse’ Continued (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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Introducing the second half of Chapter CDXIII of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney, Violet Crepuscular picks up where she left off after her neighbor, Mr. Pitfall, went to pieces in her living room.

“Dear reader,” she writes, “I think I’ve picked up all the bits of Mr. Pitfall and joined them back together. He looks a little crooked now, but he’s mostly all there again. And now turn we unto Scurveyshire’s roller derby showdown between the Ulan Bator Lake Smelts and the What’s-their-names from Plaguesby!”

With the entire population of the shire gathered around the roller derby rink, this was Tom the Pict’s chance to drive all the English and all the Scots out of Britain and restore it to the Picts, wherever they are. But alas! Tom the Pict has overslept.

His pet snail, Rupert, gestures with his antennae: “You’ve blown it, old sport–missed your chance. It’s too late now, the match has already started.” We are not at liberty to describe Tom’s reaction to this news.

Back at the rink, the Lake Smelts are making mincemeat of the Plaguesby squad. This does not go down well with the spectators. “I could shoot two or three of those Smelt gals,” offers the American adventurer, Willis Twombley. “No one will notice, with all this noise.” But as justice of the peace, Lord Jeremy Coldsore cannot countenance this tactic.

Lady Margo Cargo, overcome with excitement, removes her upholstered wooden leg to flourish it over her head as an encouragement to the Whatevers. But she loses her grip and her leg goes flying into the middle of the rink, causing a massive pileup of skaters and any number of horrific injuries.

“In the next chapter,” Ms. Crepuscular promises, “we shall see whether Lady Margo can get her leg back. It looks like this match is about to get ugly!

“And there’s Mr. Pitfall’s nose under the TV cabinet! Excuse me while I go and return it to him.”

Roller Derby Apocalypse (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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Introducing Chapter CDXIII of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney, Violet Crepuscular confides in her readers, “Dear readers, I must confide in you! I approach this chapter with something closely akin to dread, fearful of what I might set loose upon the world.” We do not know what she’s talking about.

Here in Scurveyshire, the roller derby rink is just about ready for the Ulan Bator Lake Smelts to take on the Plaguesby Whatevers. This is part of the diabolical plot hatched by Tom the Pict. We join him as he confides in his pet snail, Rupert.

“Hah, my slimy little friend! Nyah-ha-ha! If our diabolical plot succeeds, we will drive all the English out of England, and the Scots out of Scotland, and the whole isle of Britain shall belong to the Picts!”

Rupert makes a gesture with his antennae that translates to, “But there aren’t enough Picts left to fill up a good-sized phone booth. You don’t even know any other Picts.” This observation moves Tom to a fit of sobbing.

Meanwhile, Johnno the Merry Minstrel has heard some disturbing things about Ulan Bator’s premier women’s roller derby team–

Time out! Urgent interjection by the author!

“Oh, my stars! Some addled ass from Iowa has written to ‘inform’ me–inform me!–that there was no such place as Ulan Bator in the Victorian Era. And you know the stupid letter had to fall under the gaze of Mr. Pitfall!” Ms. Crepuscular sighs. “What a tantrum ensued! The poor man just can’t stand to be reminded that Ulan Bator used to be called something else. He goes to pieces if you tell him that! And this time he did it right in the middle of my living room. Oh, fap!”

We leave her to pick up the pieces. The chapter will have to be finished some other time. Mr. Pitfall can regenerate himself if all the pieces can be found.

Roller Derby Comes to Scurveyshire! (‘Oy, Rodney’)

The Victorian Era-Skating Ice and Roller-Victorian Days - angelpig.net

Victorian roller derby

As every reader with nothing better to do will surely remember, Violet Crepuscular has left her readers wondering whether there are Picts hiding out in Scurveyshire and planning to use the ancient Pictish sport of roller derby to expel all the English out of England.

Introducing Chapter CDXI of her immortal epic romance, Oy, Rodney, Ms. Crepuscular addresses her readers thus: “Dear readers, I hope you don’t mind if I address you thus. It has become necessary for me to introduce a new character into the story: the plot cannot be carried forward without it. Without further ado, meet… Tom the Pict!”

Yes, alas, there is a Pict lurking among the gibbering masses of Scurveyshire. “You may wonder,” adds Violet, “what one measly Pict–” not a figure of speech: he really does have measles–“can do to evict the English from England. Please continue reading!”

Tom’s idea is to strike while everyone is attending the roller derby match between Plaguesby and Ulan Bator. Please don’t bother to write to Ms. Crepuscular to point out to her that Ulan Bator was certainly not called “Ulan Bator” during the Victorian Era. Her neighbor, Mr. Pitfall, flies into a rage whenever this topic is brought up.

Tom the Pict, the story continues, has successfully disguised himself as a normal person, and the measles deter anyone from getting too close. He only speaks Pictish when he talks to himself or to his pet snail, Rupert.

And everyone, but everyone, is going to be at that roller derby rink!

A Completely Unnecessary Flashback (‘Oy, Rodney’)

Oy Rodney – Lee Duigon

Introducing Chapter CDX of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney, Violet Crepuscular writes, “Dear reader, in order to fully understand Chapter CDX of my epic romance, Oy, Rodney, it is necessary for us to go back in time some fifteen hundred years. This is what we writers call a flashback. Because we’re flashing back.”

What she’s leading up to is a discourse on the Picts, “the original inhabitants of Britain, who came to this happy isle, this seat of kings, from the Solomon Islands. To this day,” she babbles, “the trained ear can detect no difference between Pictish and Solomon Islandese. They also play several of the same board games.”

What does this have to do with anything? Oh, come now–you don’t think Ms. Crepuscular would ever leave us stranded in a non sequitur, do you?

She does point out that the Picts were responsible for people in ancient Britain getting rid of their trousers and wearing kilts instead. “It is because the Picts were invertebrate thieves,” she writes. I am not sure about that word “invertebrate.” Something’s wrong with it. “Many a Roman, reaching into his pocket for a denarius, to his dismay found all his pockets empty. This happened to so many people that they started referring to their empty pockets as ‘Pict Pockets.’ Later this referred to picked pockets of Pictish populations isolated in northern Britain and West Virginia.”

You learn something new every day.

“Getting to my point,” Violet promises, “as every schoolgirl knows, roller derby was the national pastime of the Picts and their gift to the world at large. And roller derby is coming to Scurveyshire! And what, dear reader, would happen if there were picked Picts secretly hiding out on Scurveyshire, waiting for the opportunity to cast all the foreigners out of Britain? And using roller derby to do it!”

But we will have to wait for another chapter to learn the answer to that question.

Roller Derby Comes to Scurveyshire

Oy Rodney – Lee Duigon

Who has time to worry about medieval curses when roller derby is coming to your town?

In Chapter CDIX of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney, the populace of Scurveyshire has worked feverishly to set up a roller derby rink on the village common, where the Plaguesby Headhunters will take on the Vichy Poisoners, France’s number one roller derby squad, in a match that promises to be an all-out war.

Meanwhile, the ancient curse, activated by Lady Margo Cargo when she dug up a prehistoric plate with an inscription which she has wrongly interpreted as a recipe for Store Brand Corn Flakes, has been taking its toll: a hangnail here, a dislocated coccyx there, a bad set of involuntary ear-wiggling somewhere else.

But Lord Jeremy Coldsore is otherwise occupied, re-wooing Lady Margo and trying to get their upcoming marriage back on track.

“I can’t help having second thoughts,” says Lady Margo. “You’ve been acting very queer lately, when you’re Willis Twombley. Threatening to shoot me–what kind of fiance does that?”

Ms. Crepuscular intervenes. In an aside to her audience, she writes, “I have a letter from a reader in Palookastan, Mrs. Amy Tanystropheus, who asks, ‘Wouldn’t it have made more sense for Lord Jeremy to have explained to Lady Margo, months and months ago, that he and Mr. Twombley are not the same person? Wouldn’t that have eliminated all this confusion?’

“Well, Amy,” Violet replies, “I’m afraid that ship has sailed! It’s much too late now to clear up that matter. Lady Margo is entirely convinced that Jeremy and Willis are one person, albeit with two totally different personalities. And did I mention that multiple personalities are kind of a tradition in Lady Margo’s family? Her father, Lord Largo Cargo, had four personalities, none of which was functional.

“But even matters of the heart must take a back seat to roller derby!”

Ah! But will the curse adversely affect the roller derby match?

Stay tuned!

What is Roller Derby - Minnesota Roller Derby

Victorian roller derby uniforms were much less revealing than these.