Chaos at Coldsore Hall! (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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In Chapter DXVIII of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney, Violet Crepuscular, the Queen of Suspense, told us how Lord Jeremy Coldsore, locked out of his ancestral hall by roistering servants who think it’s still the 18th century, fell off his perch and was gored and trampled by a rhinoceros. All 213 bones in his body were broken. “That will teach him to try and evolve wings,” writes Ms. Crepuscular.

A week later he’s up and around. The American adventurer, Willis Twombley, who thinks he’s Sargon of Akkad, has used his six-gun to re-instill decorum in those wild and crazy servants. “Jist leave it to me, Germy,” quoth Willis. He needs to shoot only two of the servants before the others get the message.

This is all told in Chapter DXX. Chapter DXIX is too puerile and improbable to be reproduced here. Even Violet thinks so. “I have written a chapter too puerile and improbable to be reproduced here,” she writes. Send her a check for $3.98 and she’ll send you a summary of the chapter.

Meanwhile the rhinoceros, having laid several clutches of eggs, is now preparing to spin a cocoon in which to spend the winter. It will be a rather large cocoon.


Return to Coldsore Hall (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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Suddenly we find ourselves at Chapter DXIV of Violet Crepuscular’s epic romance, Oy Rodney… without a trace of Chapter DXIII. We wonder what was in it.

“I am not to blame for chapters missing from my book,” she confides in the reader. “All faxaltation aside, the important thing is that Lord Jeremy, having made his hairbreadth escape from Mom’s Dungeon, now finds himself back in the familiar embrace of Coldsore Hall.” She hastens to add, “‘Embrace’ is a figure of speech! Us authors use them all the time.”

It might be nice if she used a plot from time to time. I just work here, what do I know? Last we heard, a burrowing rhinoceros was making a shambles of the gardens in the vicar’s neighborhood. The latest development there…

“Well shut my mouth!” exclaims Willis Twombley, the American adventurer who thinks he’s Sargon of Akkad. He and Lady Margo Cargo are organizing a safari. He points to the earth, to three or four roundish white objects. “Y’know what those are?” Lady Margo does not know. Her upholstered wooden leg is giving her trouble.

“Those,” he proclaims, “are rhino eggs! We have found the rhino’s nest! I found one in Ohio once, but there was something wrong with it. Only chickens came out of the eggs.”

“This is a calamity which no mortal flesh should have to bear,” Lady Margo says.

The chapter ends before Lord Jeremy can actually re-enter his ancestral home. This is either a stroke of literary genius or merely running out of time.

A Captive Heart (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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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!”

Lost–and Found (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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Introducing Chapter CDLXVII of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney–after publishing Chapter CDLXVIII last week–Violet Crepuscular offers this proskynesis to her readers:

“Dear readers, I offer you this proskynesis to make up for presenting my chapters out of order,” she writes. “I am told, by thimbleheads who’ve never written so much as a grocery list, let alone a novel, that it mars the continuity of the oeuf–as if I, of all people, needed instruction in heightening the story’s suspense! I, Violet Whatsername!” She is too upset just now to remember her surname.

Anyhow, in Chapter CDLXVII, which should’ve been run last week, Lady Margo Cargo, charred wig and all, and the American adventurer, Willis Twombley, hopelessly lost in Scurveyshire Forest after seeing the Wee Pool Lady, are miraculously rescued by Mr. Bigcheeks and his family, who are having a picnic just a few yards away. If you stand beside their picnic basket, you can see some of the stately hovels of Scurveyshire Village.

“Will you please stop discharging that firearm?” foliates Mr. Bigcheeks. “We’re havin’ a picnic here!”

“Ah, the thatched roofs of Scurveyshire!” sighs Lady Margo. “I feared I’d never see thee more!”

“Ah, shut up,” mutters Willis. His conviction that he is Sargon of Akkad has been perilously shaken by this experience. Sargon would never have gotten lost in Scurveyshire.

“How’s that for suspense!” Ms. Crepuscular winds up the chapter. She has remembered her surname. “Toothpaste dip to go with your potato chips, anyone?”

More Paranormal Unexplained Romance (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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Introducing Chapter CDLXIV (pronounced “cuddle-xiv”) of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney, Violet Crepuscular soliloquizes, “There is no romance that does not contain a great big chunk of paranormal! I mean, look at me and Mr. Pitfall! It is the essence of romance to fluctuate, to burnish, to make impossible claims for Duracell batteries–”

Good grief, this goes on for 15 pages. I am the poorer for having read it.

Having discoursed on romance, Ms. Crepuscular transports us to the catuvellaunian depths of Scurvey Forest, where Willis Twombley and Lady Margo Cargo, having fled the nefandous specter of the Wee Plastic Pool Lady, now wander around, hopelessly lost.

“I think we’re hopelessly lost,” laments Lady Margo. She clings to the charred remains of her wig, not wanting to end her life bald.

“Guess there’s only one thing we can do,” says the American adventurer, who thinks he’s Sargon of Akkad. Slowly he draws his pistol.

“Oh, Charlie!” The sudden introduction of this hitherto unmentioned name momentarily stuns Twombley. “We’ll die together, here in this unmapped forest! How romantic!”

“Shut up, ye durned fool!” That “Charlie” is going to rankle for a while. He points the gun straight up and shoots–six shots, bang-bang-bang (no, I won’t sit here and type it out six times: there is a limit).

Within seconds, a familiar face emerges from a nearby thicket. It belongs to Mr. Bigcheeks, a fat man who lives in Scurveyshire Village, in a cottage made famous by Shakespeare.

“Do you mind!” he snaps at Twombley. “We’re trying to have a picnic here!” He pulls a bush aside to reveal his whole fat family gobbling toothpaste-and-beef pies. This distracts the author into writing up the recipe.


Jackalope’s Rampage (‘Oy, Rodney’)

silly romance novels – Lee Duigon

When we concluded Chapter CDLVI of Violet Crepuscular’s epic romance, Oy, Rodney, monsters were ravaging Scurveyshire and Lady Margo Cargo’s wig was on fire. No wonder they call Violet the Queen of Suspense.

Then along comes Chapter CDLVII, which was all about some dopy cousin of hers who used to sit in mud puddles. Ah! But Chapter CDLVIII looks promising! It opens with the American adventurer, Willis Twombley, who thinks he’s Sargon of Akkad, strapping on his six-guns. I’m sorry, but I don’t think he looks like this:

Sargon of Akkad - World History Encyclopedia

Johnno the Merry Minstrel, who is horse de combat because of the hydra (bit one of his arms off, actually), waylays Willis in the hall. “Twombley!” he pristulates. “Where are you going, man?”

“I’m a-goin’ to plug me that jackalope,” he explains. “A man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do. Can’t let the critter eat everybody’s vegetables.” He cannot be persuaded to tackle the hydra instead. He may be crazy, but he’s not stupid.

It has been discovered that the name of the jackalope is Jack. Twombley will bear that in mind as he moves toward the fateful confrontation. Ennio Moriconne music plays in the background. It’s almost impossible to dance to Ennio Moriconne music, as Lady Margo and Lord Jeremy soon discover. Lady Margo removes her wig, now a blacked handful of ash.

“Jack!” Twombley’s voice rings out. “I’m callin’ you out, Jack!”

And out from the vicar’s kitchen garden hops–oh, the suspense! How the dickens can she leave it hanging there? A reader’s gonna get you for that, one of these days…

Scurveyshire’s Unexplained Paranormal Romance (‘Oy, Rodney’)

Sargon of Akkad – Lee Duigon

(Editor’s Note: We couldn’t use this cover last week because people wrote in to say they thought the man in the tube socks was Sargon of Akkad. The management regrets the confusion.)

Introducing Chapter CDXXIV of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney, Violet Crepuscular shares a letter from a reader: “Phoebe, writing from a place in  Ohio that I have promised not to mention, wishes my book would feature a paranormal romance. What a coincidence! I was only just saying, to myself and to my neighbor, Mr. Pitfall, that this book needs a paranormal romance almost as much as I do!”

To this end, she introduces the mysterious and vaguely threatening Woman in Moldy Knickers, who haunts the tool shed on the grounds of Coldsore Hall. Her ghost was supposed to have been laid to rest 500 years ago by a man who looked like Lee J. Cobb. But now the sorcery of Black Rodney has brought her back. You could look it up.

Her purpose seems to be to seduce Lord Jeremy Coldsore into a relationship that is something other than wholesome. He first sees her floating past his bedroom window, softly tapping on a set of bongo drums and grinning like a queen of Elfland.

“Forsooth!” he circumvallates. “Margo, Schmargo, I’m in love! Who is this glorious creature that floateth past my bedroom window?” He goes into a regular theme song which I will not attempt to reproduce.

“Will this destroy his chances of wedding Lady Margo Cargo?” Violet challenges her readers. I thought she was supposed to write the book. Is it fair to lay this burden on the reader? “Be sure the next chapter will include the most dramatic expostulations I can find!”

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’)

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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.

Willis Twombley and the Trojan War (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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To denote the passage of a week in her story, Violet Crepuscular has refrained for a week from writing the next chapter of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney. As a result, she has forgotten the number of the chapter. Her best guess is Chapter CCCLXXIV.

During the week, Willis Twombley, the American adventurer who thinks he’s Sargon of Akkad, has hardly spoken two words. His best friend, Lord Jeremy Coldsore, has begun to worry about him.

“Everything all right, old boy?” Jeremy asks. “You’ve been awfully quiet lately. You’re not worried about the chapter number being wrong, are you?”

“Nah, Germy ol’ hoss, it ain’t that,” drawls Twombley. “It’s this here Trojan War that’s shapin’ up on the horizon. Gonna be a bad one; and the Trojans are allies of mine, so I really ought to do something to help ’em. But I don’t know what. My intelligence has been kinda confused, this past week.” (You can say that again.)

“Uh… Twombley, old son…” Jeremy hems and haws, but finally gets it out, “I hate to be the one to break it to you, but that Trojan War–well, they’ve already had it, haven’t they? And Troy lost. The Greeks burned it to the ground.”

Twombley stares incredulously. “You don’t say!” he cries. “You’re just funnin’ with me, ain’t you?”

“Sorry, old stick, but the war’s over and you’ve missed it. In fact, it happened several thousand years ago.”

“But it waren’t in the newspapers! Holy mackerel! Troy is burned down?” A stream of lurid and objectionable language ensues. Twombley lets out a deep breath, draws his six-gun to make sure it’s loaded, and declares, “Well, it looks like it’s time I shipped the Akkadian army off to Greece and gave them Greeks what for! Damn! I knew that weasel Agamemnon shouldn’t of been trusted! Wait’ll I get my hands on him.”

“His wife and her lover murdered him, old chap,” says Jeremy. Twombley needs some time to take this in.

“Dadburn it,” he said, “it’s this life of exile that I’m livin’, it makes me miss important things. If I was back on my throne in Akkad, this never would of happened! This adventurin’ life, it ain’t proper for a king. But I can’t give it up! I wouldn’t be on that throne for five minutes before one o’ them Babylonian hit squads found me. Look what they did to Julius Caesar! And I told him to watch out for it, too. If he’d listened to me, he’d still be in the saddle.”

Here the chapter ends. It had to end somewhere.