Tag Archives: Oy Rodney

At Last, Black Rodney! (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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Finally! In Chapter CCII of Violet Crepuscular’s epic romance, Oy, Rodney, we are vouchsafed a glimpse of the infamous sorcerer and necromancer, Black Rodney. “Vouchsafed” is Ms. Crepuscular’s word, not mine. I have no idea what it means.

It turns out that Coldsore Hall is full of cunningly concealed cuss bags: no wonder Lord Jeremy’s troubles seem to have no end. The mysterious stranger who looks like a famous game show host, but won’t reveal his name, has teamed up with the American adventurer, Willis Twombley, to find and get rid of all the cuss bags.

“I had a problem like this with some Sumerians,” recalls Twombley, who thinks he is Sargon of Akkad, “but they stopped doin’ it when I sicked the Elamites on ’em.”

Lord Jeremy cannot take part in the search. In his efforts to follow Dr. Fanabla’s regime of one-legged jumping jacks, he has injured his other foot. Lady Margo pays a comforting visit, complete with inedible toothpaste muffins baked by her aunt in Bedlam. “We’ll have our wedding yet, dear,” she consoles him.

But that night, as he makes his rounds of the hall in search of cuss bags, Twombley has a shattering experience. He staggers into Lord Jeremy’s bedroom. Startled, Lady Margo jumps up more suddenly than is good for her and her newly-upholstered wooden leg falls off.

“I seen him, I seen him!” Twombley gasps. “Black Rodney, as large as life! Hidin’ a cuss bag on top of that painting in the billiard room–the one of Queen Victoria on her pogo stick!” He then faints before he can say anymore. Unable to re-attach her leg, Lady Margo can only leave him sprawled on the floor.

“I wish he’d told us what Black Rodney looks like!” she complains.

The mysterious stranger bursts into the room, startling Lady Margo so badly that her wig falls off and her false teeth clatter to the floor.

“I can tell you what he looks like!” cries the stranger. “He wears a black sheet over his entire head and body, without eye-holes, and slinks about at night, avoiding light of any kind. That’s what Mr. Twombley saw in the billiard room.”

“Well, he couldn’t have seen much, then, could he?” snaps Jeremy, who has begun to feel annoyed. “How are we to identify someone who hides himself under a black sheet in the dead of night?”

The stranger tiptoes closer to the bed, looks all around for eavesdroppers, lowers his voice two full octaves, and whispers, “You will know him by his reaction to the words ‘polla-wolla-bing-bang’! Speak them in his presence, and he cannot help but have a tantrum! Anyone else would just look at you quizzically.”

The chapter concludes with a lengthy complaint about the customer service department at Scurveyshire’s Bureau of Unusual Hats–and Ms. Crepuscular’s apology for not including Constable Chumley in this chapter.

We suspect the constable says “polla-wolla-bing-bang” fairly often.

‘Oy, Rodney’ Slammed for *C*u*l*t*u*r*a*l* Appropriation (!)

As if any of this were my fault, the Violet Crepuscular Society of Central Africa has hit this blog with a demand that we cease and desist all Oy, Rodney posts already. It seems these are a flagrant example of Cultural Appropriation.

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The violet crepuscular skipper butterfly

How so? Well, there is a butterfly in Africa called the “violet crepuscular skipper”–honest, you could look it up (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gretna_carmen). And for Violet Crepuscular to call herself Violet Crepuscular without the consent of the Violet Crepuscular Society of Central Africa and its chapters in the Ivory Cost, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic (yeah, right) of the Congo, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, and Zambia is, according to the Society, “the worst example we have ever seen of very bad behavior.”

I don’t know what will happen if I continue to publish Oy, Rodney. Nor do I know what will happen if I stop, other than Ms. Crepuscular getting somewhat cross with me. I’ve got to ponder the situation, as Rocky Graziano used to say.

Stay tuned.

Lady Margo’s Dilemma (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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From Violet Crepuscular’s Introductory Note to Chapter CCI of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney:

“I, like you, dear reader, am perplexed that Lord Jeremy Coldsore’s injured foot won’t heal, thus preventing his marriage to Lady Margo Cargo, who isn’t getting any younger! Nor can she marry Willis Twombley, who, overcome by regret for having accidentally shot his friend, is now too soused to marry anyone. We join Lady Margo now in her sitting room, confiding with Oswin the Crayfish in his newly-upholstered aquarium…”

Lady Margo had expected more sympathy from Oswin. “Whatever shall I do?” she cries. “Oh, I could always marry Crusty, I mean Adelbert–but he is my butler, dagnabbit, and I’m not in love with him!” Oswin only waves his claws in a most unsympathetic fashion.

Why won’t Lord Jeremy’s foot heal? He has been doing his level best to try to follow Dr. Fanabla’s regime of an hour of one-legged jumping jacks every day. Finally the shipment of earth from the grave of a regicide arrives from the supply house in Ohio, and every morning, and every night at bedtime, some of it is sprinkled on Lord Jeremy’s wounded foot. The foot looks just awful. Twombley sadly shakes his head.

“I dunno, ol’ hoss–it looks to me like you’re a-headin’ for the last roundup.” Twombley sighs, then hiccups, then belches. “I’m afraid the only chance you got is if you cut it off. Want me to go git my Bowie knife?”

Before he can answer, a mysterious stranger bursts into the room. This one is not any of the mysterious strangers who have appeared earlier in the book. This one looks suspiciously like a well-known game show host. He flourishes a small cloth bag, waving it all about, and shouts “Aha! Aha!”

“Who the deuce are you?” cries Jeremy. Twombley reaches for his gun but is too drunk to find it.

“Never mind who I am!” cries the stranger. “What’s important is this!” He shakes the bag for all he’s worth. “Do you know what this is?” They don’t know, so he tells them. “It’s a cuss bag! Concealed right here in Coldsore Hall, Lord Jeremy–right up there on the lintel of the door to this very room! A cuss bag! That’s why your foot’s not healing. A powerful witch or sorcerer doesn’t want it to heal!”

“What’s in that cuss bag?” demands Twombley.

“Just odds and ends that would be of no use except to one highly skilled in malediction–torn-up baseball cards, bellybutton lint from a baker who has lost his bakery, and a few things which I will not mention in print!” This comes as a shock: neither Jeremy nor Twombley had any notion they were in print.

“But who would put a cuss bag at my door?” wails Jeremy.

The mysterious stranger who looks like a game show host takes a step closer, looks all around the room to make sure he cannot be overheard, lowers his voice a full octave, and whispers clandestinely:

“Black Rodney!”


“I Love You, Stupid!” (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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Chapter CC of Violet Crepuscular’s epic romance, Oy, Rodney, is a real pistol. I’ve heard of a reader in Caithness, Scotland, who actually enjoyed it.

Lord Jeremy Coldsore has endless difficulties with Dr. Fanabla’s regime of jumping jacks, prescribed to heal his injured foot. He has to be tied in to a harness hanging from a tree, which is the only way he can do one-legged jumping jacks: a painful and troublesome procedure. He is also waiting for the other ingredient in his cure, earth from the grave of a regicide, to be shipped from a supply house in Bucyrus, Ohio. He cannot be married to Lady Margo Cargo, the richest widow in Scurveyshire, until he can stand on both feet.

“I still can’t think of any regicides who were buried in Ohio,” he complains.

“That’s where you’re wrong, ol’ hoss,” says his friend, the American adventurer Willis Twombley. Twombley still thinks he is Sargon of Akkad. “This stuff comes from the grave of a dude named Watson, who murdered a man who claimed to be the rightful Lost Dauphin of France.”

Twombley lapses into nostalgia. “I once visited the grave of King Bill, who was king of a little one-horse town on the Euphrates, Utu-Mashtu. He got killed playin’ strip poker with some crooked Amorites. I never had no use for Amorites.”

Meanwhile, Lady Margo is getting uneasy about her wedding. “I can’t understand why Lord Jeremy’s foot won’t heal!” she says.

“I can’t understand why you’d want to marry that loony in the first place,” says her crusty old butler, Crusty. “Why don’t you marry me instead, you old bat?”

She is shocked. “Oh, dear! Why would I want to do that?”

“Because I love you, stupid!”

“Oh, Crusty!”

“And stop calling me Crusty! You’ve been doing it for 36 years and I’m sick and tired of it! My name is Adelbert.”

“Adelbert?” She can hardly believe her ears. “I didn’t know your name is Adelbert. And titled ladies don’t generally marry their butlers, Crusty–I mean Adelbert!”

“Batty old cow!” mutters the suitor. “Well, think about it! Meanwhile, it’s time for my trombone lesson.” Crusty is teaching himself the trombone. Honk! Ooomph! Blaaaap! It is really quite intolerable, and it places Lady Margo in a state of confusion.

The chapter concludes with a recipe for cat food sandwich cookies.

Bonus Encore: Snuggly Bunnies Ad

I burned myself out today, writing a Newswithviews column and editing The Temptation (corrected some surprising errors in the manuscript)–and I need some snuggling bunnies. Do you?

This famous snuggling bunnies ad for Ibis Hotels was among the very first videos I ever posted here. The difficulties in actually creating it have become the stuff of legend. But we needn’t dwell on those, even though I’ve heard the one assistant director got so overwrought, he crawled under the vicar’s backyard wading pool and was never seen again.

The Return of Dr. Fanabla (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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In Chapter CLXXXX of Violet Crepuscular’s epic romance, Oy, Rodney, Lord Jeremy Coldsore’s injured foot is not healing properly, which has caused the postponement of his marriage to Lady Margo Cargo.

“I don’t get it, Germy,” says Willis Twombley, the American adventurer who thinks he’s Sargon of Akkad. It was Twombley who accidentally shot Lord Jeremy. “All I did was shoot a bullet through your foot. It ought to be better by now.”

Lord Jeremy is briefly examined by a man who strongly resembles William Shakespeare. He shrugs his shoulders and leaves. Now there is nothing to be done but to send for Dr. Fanabla, who has taken up unicycle riding. We are not told where he has been all this time.

“Your case is almost identical to that of a patient whom I encountered in Brazil some 60 years ago,” says Dr. Fanabla. “We shall treat your wound as I treated his.”

“How long did it take him to recover, doctor?”

“Oh, he died. But it wasn’t my fault. He refused to follow my instructions, and an anaconda got him.”

Lord Jeremy does not find this reassuring, but he gamely asks, “What is the treatment, sir?”

Striking a pose, Dr. Fanabla replies, “The wound must be sprinkled daily with earth from the grave of a regicide.”

“Oh, is that all?” cries Twombley, striking a pose of his own. Posing has become very big in Scurveyshire.

“No–there’s more. For a full hour, twice a day, Lord Jeremy, you must perform jumping-jacks. No jumping-jacks, no cure.”

“What–on one leg?” Lord Jeremy is distraught. “How am I supposed to perform one-legged jumping-jacks?”

“Follow my instructions,” says the doctor, “and the cure is guaranteed.” With this bon mot, Dr. Fanabla departs for parts unknown.

“I don’t think there are any regicides buried in Scurveyshire,” mopes Jeremy.

“Don’t fret, ol’ hoss,” says Twombley. “We can send away for it. I know a supply house in Ohio where they sell this stuff. People use it for lumbago, too. The big thing just now is to get you started on them jumping-jacks. Here, I’ll help you out of bed.”

“You cannot believe how difficult it is to do this,” adds Ms. Crepuscular. “I have never been able to do it without falling on my face.”

The chapter ends with a descriptive poem about popcorn.

The Great Horn of Pokesleigh (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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“I have anticipated great interest in the origins and history of the Great Horn of Pokesleigh,” writes Violet Crepuscular, introducing Chapter CLXXXV of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney. In Chapter CLXXXIV, the village blacksmith blew the horn to disperse a dangerous peasant revolt throughout Scurveyshire.

“The Great Horn of Pokesleigh has been kept by the smiths of Scurveyshire–real smiths, I mean, not just people named Smith–since the year 818 A.D., when King Alfred the Great gave it to Mandrake, First Earl of Scurveyshire. He was also the last earl, as the result of a tragic accident with gumballs, and the Horn was left in his will to Horny Tom the Blacksmith, to make up for unpaid bills.

“Throughout history the Horn has been blown to ward off dire emergencies. It is said William the Conqueror was deathly afraid of it. Before the incident described so vividly in Chapter CLXXXIV of my epic romance, Oy, Rodney, the last time the horn was blown was in 1678, to end a plague of click beetles.

“The Horn is said to be a genuine prehistoric woolly rhinoceros horn overlaid with pure gold contributed by the Saxon Ladies’ Garden Club in 993 and engraved with mystic pictures of centaurs, unicorns, and strangely disturbing not-quite-human faces. It takes a mighty man to blow it, and he will never be the same afterward. In 1484, blacksmith Big Ned Wigwam blew it to avert a catastrophic battle in the Wars of the Roses and was hanged by Richard III, who had had big plans for that battle. Other smiths came to equally bad ends. This has discouraged them from blowing the horn just to whoop it up for New Year’s.”

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All of this is very interesting, but it does nothing to get Lord Jeremy Coldsore’s foot healed so he can marry Lady Margo Cargo.

Meanwhile, the complete re-upholstering of Lady Margo’s sprawling country house continues, despite some over-zealousness on the part of the upholsterers. An attempt to upholster the aquarium housing Oswin the Crayfish had to be vetoed at the last minute, before any real damage could be done.

We are not told what “Pokesleigh” is or was.

The Peasants Are Revolting (‘Oy, Rodney)

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We must skip the next three chapters of Violet Crepuscular’s remarkable epic romance, Oy, Rodney, in which nothing happens. I don’t know why she wrote them. And she is fresh out of Estonian folk tales. These three chapters, she hints slyly, are the result of very bad weather in Scurveyshire.

In Chapter CLXXXIV, Lord Jeremy’s foot has healed after being accidentally shot by his friend, the American adventurer Willis Twombley, and he is ready to proceed with their wedding to Lady Margo Cargo, the richest widow in Scurveyshire. But then another problem crops up, which Lord Jeremy, as Justice of the Peace, must deal with: a full-scale peasant revolt.

“I didn’t even know we still had peasants in Scurveyshire!” he complains. “Where were they, all this time?”

“Constable Chumley says they came swarming out from under the vicar’s backyard wading pool,” his clerk informs him.

“What did he say exactly, man?”

The clerk pauses to search his memory. “As near as I can reconstruct them, sir, the constable’s exact words were ‘A farthy night, I thwill, yare greechins forthered a grambly riot up out of Arth itself, an’ wicky sump!'”

Meanwhile, the peasant mob, under the leadership of a masked man who looks like Desi Arnaz without the makeup, has overturned the ancient statue of Colonel Sanders in the village common and now surrounds The Lying Tart, demanding free beer. The landlord has been out of beer since Ms. Crepuscular ran out of folk tales, and fears for his life.

“This is Rodney’s doing,” opines Lady Margo. “If only I weren’t so busy with all the new upholstering at home, I’d flee to someplace nice.”

“Ol’ hoss,” says Twombley, “you better order the constable to disperse them peasants before somebody gits hurt. I ain’t got enough ammunition left to shoot ’em all.”

The constable having gone into hiding, a search ensues. They finally locate him at the constabulary’s station house, playing Scrabble with the prisoners. He has just gotten a triple word score for “Quixzorj.”

“Constable, I order you to disperse that mob of crazed homicidal peasants!” cries Lord Jeremy. Constable Chumley indicates by eloquent gestures that they will disperse themselves as soon as the town blacksmith blows The Great Horn of Pokesleigh.

“We shoulda thought of that,” remarks Twombley.

Even as he speaks, a horrible noise reminiscent of half a dozen giant ground sloths trapped in a tar pit comes roaring and grumbling across the landscape. As if by magic, the peasants drop what they’re doing and stampede out of the story. Scurveyshire is saved.

Adds Ms. Crepuscular, “I will not listen to carping comments to the effect that I have chosen a cheap way out of this dilemma. The Great Horn of Pokesleigh has a long history of being used in emergencies, and it’s not my fault if this fact is poorly known outside of Scurveyshire.”

Ms. Crepuscular’s Estonian Folk Tale (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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In Chapter CLXXXI of Violet Crepuscular’s interminable epic romance, Oy, Rodney, we get the pleasant little Estonian folk tale we were promised in Chapter CLXXX. It is intended to tide us over while Lord Jeremy Coldsore’s foot heals from being accidentally shot by the American adventurer, Willis Twombley.

We are not convinced that this is a genuine Estonian folk tale, but it will have to suffice.

Once upon a time, King Patrick of Estonia had three daughters but no sons. Needing a male successor, the king advertised in the newspapers for suitable princes to marry his daughters. Meanwhile, he questioned his daughters to see which of them loved him the most.

“I love you so much, O father of mine, that it makes my socks roll up and down,” said the eldest, Princess Jackie.

“That’s nothing,” said the second eldest, Princess Foozle. “If every ant in India brought me a gold doubloon, it still wouldn’t be enough to buy my love for you. And there are an awful lot of ants in India!” We are assured that “Foozle” is a genuine Estonian girl’s name of great antiquity, but we are at liberty not to believe it.

But the youngest, Princess Chimney, answered, “I guess I love you as much as I’m supposed to. I mean, you’re okay.” Outraged by this answer, the king marries Chimney off to a beggar with dandruff. Meanwhile, he marries Jackie to the Duke of Flatbush and Foozle to Prince Huitzilxochitl of Kizzuwatna.

(“It’s jist the kinda thing them dam’ Hittites always used to do,” interjects Twombley. “Asia Minor went to pot when they moved in.”)

The two eldest princesses turned against their father and divided up his kingdom, putting him on public assistance.

But Chimney’s husband turned out to be the Emperor of Peedle in disguise. His fantastically large army conquered Estonia and restored King Patrick to his throne, and sent the now-impoverished elder daughters and their husbands into a humiliating exile. They were last seen begging for food in Detroit.

“And that,” concludes Ms. Crepuscular, “was enough to make the king leer!”


The Return of Lord Nodule (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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Lord Nodule, former Justice of the Peace for Scurveyshire, has threatened to interfere with Lord Jeremy Coldsore’s wedding to Lady Margo Cargo, and is rather miffed that the wedding keeps getting postponed. In Chapter CLXXX of Violet Crepuscular’s epic romance, Oy, Rodney, he has just returned from an inspection of the Andaman Island penal colony.

“They do things right, out there,” he says. “The place is a regular hell-hole.” To make his point more telling, he bounces up and down on a pogo stick. The owner of the local bicycle shop fears that this may start a fad and impact adversely on his business.

“Germy, we got to do somethin’ about old Nodule,” says Jeremy’s friend, Willis Twombley, the American adventurer who thinks he is Sargon of Akkad. “What say I plug him one?” He flourishes his trusty Colt. It goes off accidentally and shoots Lord Jeremy in the foot.

“Now see what you’ve done!” cries Lord Jeremy, hopping on his uninjured foot. “How am I supposed to get married on one foot?”

“I’m awful sorry, ol’ hoss. Well, maybe it’ll grow back. I seen that once. The king of Assyria cut off his foot while he was peelin’ onions, and eventually it growed back. ‘Tweren’t as good as the old foot, but he could hobble around on it okay. But that’s why they ain’t allowed to sell onions in Assyria.”

Lady Margo has a better idea. “You should have the bad foot amputated, my dear, and replaced with a nice new wooden one, beautifully upholstered, like my leg.” Her upholstered leg has a bad habit of falling off at inopportune moments, but Lord Jeremy is too tactful to mention that.

Lord Nodule hops all the way to the hospital on his pogo stick, just so he can threaten Lord Jeremy some more. “I can hardly wait for your wedding night!” he sneers. “Will I have a surprise for you!”

So Twombley shoots him. They explain it away as a pogo stick accident. Constable Chumley is sympathetic. “Many’s the loor in a fathin’ veeth,” he says, quoting a wise old Scurveyshire proverb.

“I promise to present the wedding as soon as Jeremy’s foot is healed,” Ms. Crepuscular reassures her readers. “Meanwhile, the next chapter will tide you over with a pleasant little folk tale from Estonia.”

We can hardly wait.



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