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

56 Best Romance Novel Covers images | Romance novel covers ...

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.

Twiddles, the Mud Puppy (‘Oy, Rodney’)

Making fun of romance novels. Genius! | Book humor, Romance novels ...

Introducing Chapter CCCLXIX of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney, Violet Crepuscular deplores the actions of a Scurveyshire mob bursting into Coldsore Hall in pursuit of Sir Robin Banks, the aristocratic thief. “I deplore the actions of the mob,” she confides in the reader, “but I have no choice but to tell the story as it unfolds.”

Lord Jeremy Coldsore and his boon companion, Willis Twombley, the American adventurer who think he’s Sargon of Akkad, can only stand helplessly by as the mob rampages throughout luxurious, ancient, legendary Coldsore Hall. By and by they grow weary of standing helplessly by, and begin to visit some of the rooms through which the mob has passed. In doing this, they discover Wet Willy, an aged footman who has been secretly living in the hall for decades.

“Didn’t my father dismiss you some thirty years ago?” demands Jeremy.

“He did,” says Willy, “but I could hardly leave poor Twiddles to fend for himself, could I?”

Jeremy recoils in horror from the sight of Twiddles, a large Canadian mud puppy. WordPress recoils in horror from showing a picture of it. Suffice it to say it’s a very large salamander with external gills, red and bushy, and a ferocious temper which moves it to snap viciously at the nearest hand.

“Ain’t he cute?” says Willis.

“You’ve been here–with this… creature–all this time?” marvels Lord Jeremy. “What have you been eating?”

“Mostly Wheaties,” confesses the aged footman. “I sneak into the kitchen in the dead of night and steal them.”

Just then they are interrupted by a lusty roar from the mob: they have captured the aristocratic thief.

Here the chapter breaks, owing to computer problems.

The misunderstood mudpuppy - MSU Extension

(Got it in after all–I think.)

Let’s Have the Wedding Anyhow! (‘Oy, Rodney’)

Big Brother and also Big Sister and Big Father | Book humor, Romance novels,  Funny romance

Introducing Chapter CCCLXIII of her epic romance novel, Oy, Rodney, Violet Crepuscular praises her protagonist, Lord Jeremy Coldsore, for taking the bull by the horns. “It’s really the only thing you can do when you’re on the horns of a dilemma!” she confides in her readers. And P.S.–Mr. Pitfall is out of jail because no one remembered to lock the door.

In taking the bull by the horns, Lord Jeremy exhorts his fiancee, Lady Margo Cargo, “Let’s have our wedding anyhow! The vicar is free of conniptions, the roof of Coldsore Hall has been repaired, and why should we wait any longer?”

“But I had my heart set on wearing my grandmother’s glass eye and my mother’s pearls, and they’ve been stolen!” wails Lady Margo. She is not aware that her crusty old butler, Crusty, has hidden the jewels and the priceless collection of glass eyes in an unused wing of Coldsore Hall. He has forgotten why he did that. Nor is anyone aware that the aristocratic thief, Sir Robin Banks, is hiding out in the room across the hall from where the jewels are hidden.

“Oh, bother your grandma’s glass eye!” ejaculates Jeremy. “The eye you’re wearing now is perfectly suitable to the occasion. In fact, I rather like it!”

“Oh, Willis, you say the most romantic things!” Lady Margo cannot distinguish between Lord Jeremy and his close friend, the American adventurer Willis Twombley, who thinks he is Sargon of Akkad.

The next two pages of the chapter are blank: Ms. Crepuscular has left them blank to reflect Lady Margo’s indecision. The third and last page features Violet’s own recipe for a six-tiered wedding cake with assorted toothpaste icings. As for Lady Margo, “You can’t rush these things,” writes Violet. “Many a wedding has been ruined by the bride wearing the wrong glass eye for the occasion and being consumed with self-doubt forever afterward.” Apparently this has happened in her family, but not in anyone else’s. Not that I know of, anyway.

 

A Terrifying Incident! (‘Oy, Rodney’)

Image result for images of silly romance novels

(The reader is advised to read the following chapter in a very dark room, to cultivate a sense of danger. Or something.)

In Chapter CCCXLIII of Violet Crepuscular’s epic romance, Oy, Rodney, Lord Jeremy Coldsore, the American adventurer Willis Twombley (who thinks he’s Sargon of Akkad), and the vicar are making their way home from an abandoned warehouse in Plaguesby, where Lord Jeremy was to meet and marry Lady Margo Cargo, who, alas, has gone to the wrong warehouse in the wrong town.

“Sure is dark out here tonight!” mutters Twombley.

“You could take the paper bag off your head, old boy,” says Lord Jeremy. Twombley hadn’t thought of that. The reader may now turn on a lamp. “That’s better,” Twombley says.

“Halt!”

The unsuccessful elopement party find themselves surrounded by six sinister young men armed with knives and truncheons.

“We’ve got you now, tyrant!” exclaims the leader, a singularly unprepossessing fellow with bulging eyes.

“That’s what you think, buster!” Twombley draws his six-gun and presses it to the vicar’s head. “You all better mosey on out of here, pronto. One more step toward us, and I shoot the vicar.”

“I say!” ejaculates Lord Jeremy. “I say, that’s not quite fair, don’t you know.” The vicar giggles nervously.

“He has us over a barrel, lads,” admits the leader. The ambushers withdraw into the darkness of the surrounding woodland.

“Who the devil were they?” demands Jeremy.

“Babylonian secret agents,” said Twombley. “They’ve been after me for years. That’s Mesopotamian politics for you. Don’t worry, they won’t be back for a while. They haven’t cottoned on to guns yet.”

“The reader may now turn on all the lights and relax,” adds Ms. Crepuscular. “We will attempt the marriage again in a future chapter.”

Lawsuit-Happy Scurveyshire (‘Oy, Rodney’)

Image result for images of silly romance novels

Nothing much happens for several chapters, so let us move on to Chapter CCCXVI of Violet Crepuscular’s epic romance, Oy, Rodney. This chapter is notable in that it is not able to provide us with any new crepuscularities. Oops…

The Marquess of Groan is suing Lord Jeremy Coldsore because he fell ill when the roof was blown off Coldsore Hall, Johnno the Merry Minstrel is suing the Wise Woman of the Woods for being wrong all the time, and the proprietor of The Lying Tart is suing the vicar for not getting rid of his backyard wading pool, under which quite a few of the pub’s most reliable customers have disappeared. It’s bad for business.

“Maybe I just ought to shoot all these dummies who want to sue everybody,” suggests the American adventurer, Willis Twombley. “We had a whole slew of lawsuits in Babylon once, so we put all the plaintiffs to death and that made the lawsuits go away.” Twombley believes himself to be Sargon of Akkad.

“You can’t shoot the Marquess because the Queen wouldn’t like it,” replies Lord Jeremy, “and you certainly can’t shoot Johnno because we need him to sniff out Black Rodney’s cuss-bags. He found another one just this morning–right under my bed, by Jove! Besides, we still don’t know what the Wise Woman of the Woods meant by warning us of ‘the clam before the storm.'”

“My six-gun’s gettin’ rusty, ol’ hoss,” Twombley complains. He suspects Lord Jeremy, his bosom friend, still harbors some resentment against him for accidentally shooting him in the foot, which is why he now has two left feet. He remains unable to dance properly.

Ms. Crepuscular suddenly shifts gears, subjecting the reader to her recipe for toothpaste icing for chocolate grass cake. “Mr. Pitfall will soon be released from the hospital,” she adds, “and I want to surprise him with it.”

A Letter from the Detective (‘Oy, Rodney’)

Image result for images of silly romance novels

When we last heard of the two-foot-tall consulting detective, Sir Ranulph Toadsome, he was headed north to Scotland to find the seventh son of a seventh son, an expert morris dancer, the only person who would be able to lift the curse from the vicar’s backyard wading pool. Now we hear from him again, in Chapter CCCVIII of Violet Crepuscular’s epic romance, Oy, Rodney.

Lady Margo Cargo, excited to the point of not noticing that her wig is on sideways, reads the detective’s letter aloud to her fiancees, Lord Jeremy Coldsore and the American adventurer, Willis Twombley, whom she thinks are the same person, and also to a casual passerby who looks like a Prussian entomologist.

“‘Dear Lady Margo (she reads), I have found not one but three men who are each the seventh son of a seventh son, and also expert morris dancers, and I will send them to you upon receipt of their train fare.

“‘You will, however, have to take care in dealing with them, because, by a family quirk that is rather difficult to explain to the layman, all three happen to be each other’s uncles and are extremely sensitive about it. Do not, under any circumstances, offer them any kind of food, and be especially careful not to make any small talk involving uncles. If you can avoid doing either of those things, you will have no trouble with them. Yours truly, Toadsome.”

The casual passerby mutters something in German and abruptly takes his leave.

“Isn’t this wonderful news?” exults Lady Margo. “At last we’ll be rid of Black Rodney’s curse. And then all we’ll have to do, Lord Jeremy, my dear, is find proof that you aren’t already married to someone else.”

“But I am not married to someone else!” cries Jeremy.

“I was, once,” mutters Twombley, “but she was one of those slippery Mede gals and I had to send her back. Every time you tried to hold her, she’d just squirt out of your hands.” Mr. Twombley believes he is Sargon of Akkad.

“We shall let the matter rest here for the nonce,” Ms. Crepuscular confides in her readers, “and take it up again at another nonce.”

An Important Message from the Author (‘Oy, Rodney’)

Image result for images of silly romance novels

In Chapter XX of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney

What? Chapter XX? I thought we had Chapter CCCV last week! Why are we suddenly on Chapter XX? Violet Crepuscular explains.

“Dear readers, I am sure I have a Chapter XX in the appropriate place, between Chapters XIX and XXI, but I cannot recall that there was that much to it. So I might as well rewrite it here, and use it to help you to understand my difficulty in proceeding to Chapter CCCVI.

“In digging up my garden, the oafs from the police turned up some oddly-shaped stones with peculiar markings on them; and as a result, my whole back yard is now being dug up by all these men in pith helmets and I am forbidden to interfere.

“They say the funny stones are the ruins of some Carthaginian thingy and thus a major archaeological discovery–and the government expects me to fund their research! I don’t understand this. They say the squiggly marks on the stones are inscriptions of some kind, but all it seems to say is things like ‘Put this stone in such and such a place’ or ‘For a good time, visit Cindy.’ Meanwhile they’ve made a pig’s breakfast of my yard! I do not propose to invite them in for sandwich cookies.”

Moving on to Chapter CCCVI, what little there is of it, we find Archibald Cruxley, ace reporter for Upholstery World, rather cast down by his failure to interview Lady Margo Cargo about her upholstered wooden leg, the only one of its kind in all of England. He has not been able to stem the flow of Willis Twombley’s reminiscences of famous gunfights in America. Nor does he like the way Mr. Twombley waves his six-shooter every which way for emphasis.

“Man, I thought Ur was a rough town, all full of Chaldees who’d shoot you just to see if their guns was loaded!” Twombley believes he is Sargon of Akkad, on the run from Babylonian usurpers. “And there was fast times in Philistia, too! But there wasn’t none of ’em could hold a candle to Dodge City. You shoulda see what happened when Murderin’ Mike McGurk came to town! Did you know he was a Ghurka?”

On and on he goes. Lady Margo listens intently, lost in fascination. Lord Jeremy Coldsore listens somewhat less intently. And Mr. Cruxley isn’t listening at all. He is thinking he made a serious error in his youth, when he decided not to be a beggar.

How to Exorcise the Vicar’s Backyard Wading Pool (‘Oy, Rodney’)

Image result for images of silly romance novels

Violet Crepuscular introduces Chapter CCCIII of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney, with remarks that have nothing to do with it.

“I am thrilled by the Bell Mountain Trivia Contest posted on this blog yesterday by Byron the Quokka. But that first question is an easy one! Where does the best wine in Obann come from? Connecticut, of course! I do hope Byron comes up with some harder questions soon.”

As to the chapter, we find all of Scurveyshire on the verge of total panic. Who will be the next to be sucked under the vicar’s backyard wading pool? Many of the townspeople have already packed their things to leave. Averse to seeing his entire shire depopulated, Lord Jeremy Coldsore resorts again to the wise counsel of the Wise Woman of the Woods.

“There is only one way to break the spell on the wading pool,” she tells him. “If a man who is the seventh son of a seventh son, and adept at morris dancing [Editor’s Note: You’re asking me why they need an expert morris dancer?], stands with his back to the pool and, without looking, throws an orange beach-ball over his head so as to land in the midst of the pool, Black Rodney’s curse shall be no more.”

“Where am I supposed to find a man like that?” Lord Jeremy cries.

“Seek him on an island off the coast of Scotland,” intones the Wise Woman of the Woods.

“There are hundreds of islands off the coast of Scotland!” protests Jeremy.

“This island is shown only on a map hidden in a church that is no church.”

Jeremy finds this somewhat disheartening. His friend, the American adventurer Willis Twombley, who believes himself to be Sargon of Akkad, attempts to comfort him.

“Germy, ol’ hoss, you don’t want to take oracles too serious,” Twombley matriculates. [Editor’s Note: What???] “Back in Akkad we had dozens of oracles, and all they ever did was try to outdo each other, confusing people. But things always turn out easier than they let on.”

“But how am I to go about this business?” Jeremy wails.

“Search me, ol’ hoss!”

Here the chapter ends with another knock on the door from Ms. Crepuscular’s hometown police.

Trouble in Scurveyshire (‘Oy, Rodney’)

Image result for images of silly romance novels

I am happy to report that Byron the Quokka has returned. He was not able to squeeze Ms. Crepuscular through the bars of the holding cell, but he did succeed in rescuing the manuscript, along with a note from Violet to her readers. We quote:

“My dear readers, it’s really too silly for words, my being in jail like this for the sake of a few harmless toothpaste rolls which I eat all the time and have never gotten sick! True, Mr. Pitfall ate all two dozen of them–but it wasn’t my fault, I couldn’t stop him. And it’s not like he’s died or anything! The doctors expect him to be back on his feet in just a year or two. My thanks to Byron the Whatchamacallit for saving my manuscript! The detective who read it said he would surely destroy it, as a service to world literature. Yours sincerely, Violet M. Crepuscular.” She will not tell us what the M stands for.

Moving on, we now have a Chapter CCCI of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney, which is somewhat below her usual artistic standard–or anyone else’s, for that matter. In this chapter, all of Scurveyshire, led by the few survivors of the Peasants Benevolent Assn., is in an uproar. They have assembled at Coldsore Hall to yell at Lord Jeremy.

“They’ll skedaddle, ol’ hoss, if you let me shoot a few of ’em,” offers the American adventurer, Willis Twombley. “Back home, them Elamites was always tryin’ to riot their way into my palace.” He thinks he is Sargon of Akkad. “But they always gave up when my archers started usin’ ’em for target practice.”

“I’m dashed if I can see my way to that, old boy,” expostulates (I just work here) Lord Jeremy. “If they’d just stay away from that deuced wading pool in the vicar’s back yard, they wouldn’t get sucked under it in droves.” He finally placates the mob by promising to get rid of Black Rodney, the medieval sorcerer responsible for all these objectionable happenings.

“How you gonna do that, Germy?” wonders Twombley. “Him bein’ a ghost and all, and havin’ just blown half the roof off’n your house, I mean.”

Jeremy smiles slyly. “But we now know what he’s afraid of, don’t we?” he replies. “Antimacassars! We’ll drape antimacassars over all the shire!”

Here the chapter breaks off. She had to stop writing, Byron reports, because the jailer was coming to take her for a walk. He had only time to gather up the manuscript and, as he put it, “vamoose!” The quokkas have been watching a lot of old Westerns lately.

The Wedding’s On Again (‘Oy, Rodney’)

See the source image

And so we come at last to Chapter CCXC of Violet Crepuscular’s epic romance, Oy, Rodney. Nothing happened in the preceding two chapters except for the installation of Babylonian antimacassars, imported by the London firm of Dombey & Son, on all the furniture in Coldsore Hall. “I am sorry that took up two whole chapters,” Ms. Crepuscular confides in her readers, “but there’s a lot of furniture in Coldsore Hall and I just couldn’t help it.”

Assured that the antimacassars will keep him safe from the malign spirit of Black Rodney, the medieval sorcerer who has been persecuting him from beyond the garve (who can resist such a typo?), Lord Jeremy has plunged into rescheduling his wedding to Lady Margo Cargo. He hopes his Aunt Petunia and her husband, Lord Gromleigh, Marquess of Grone, will give him a vast amount of money as a wedding present.

“You really must stay for the wedding, Aunt!” he urges her. “You and the marquess will be the guests of honor.”

“But Jeremy, my dear–I don’t know where my husband is!”

This is a difficulty. Lord Gromleigh has a habit of hiding in unusual places so he can jump out at people and scare them.

“Oh, he’s just hiding somewhere, Aunt. He’s sure to turn up.”

“But he’s been gone two days!”

With the help of Johnno the Merry Minstrel, Jeremy’s close friend, the American adventurer Willis Twombley starts a room-to-room search for the missing lord. “I tell ya, Germy ol’ hoss, I don’t like this!” whispers Twombley. “The old coot might of hidden in some place that he can’t get out of. This is a big house with a ton of hiding-places in it. What if he laid hisself down in a cedar chest and then couldn’t get it open? Or maybe he ain’t here at all! He might of run away. You never know what one of them peers o’ the realm might do.”

“I don’t see how we can have the wedding with the Marquess of Grone having misplaced himself somewhere in my house!”

“I remember when this happened at the king of Ugarit’s palace: his brother-in-law, the high something-or-other of Phoenicia, got lost in the palace and they never could find him, not even with fifty or sixty servants lookin’ up and down for him.” Twombley sighs. Believing himself to be Sargon of Akkad, he finds these memories of ancient times to be rather bittersweet. “We’ll keep lookin’, but don’t get your hopes up.”

Here the chapter abruptly breaks off with a barely coherent recipe for toothpaste rolls.