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.