Oops–Dueling Is Illegal (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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We are dumbfounded by developments in Chapter DXXXIX (look at all the cool x’s!) of Violet Crepuscular’s epic romance, Oy, Rodney. The Queen of Suspense is at it again! See how she ratchets up the tension till you could just plotz! Well, I could…

As if he weren’t already in enough trouble, having challenged himself to a duel and rashly accepted, Lord Jeremy Coldsore has a private consultation with a solicitor named Jox, who normally hangs out in Charles Dickens books. Here in Scurveyshire he used to mind Farmer Feep’s ferocious feral pigs.

“Not only can you not back out of the duel without destroying your reputation for untold centuries to come,” Jox counsels him, “but as the shire’s justice of the peace, you have another problem. Dueling is against the law! First you broke the law by challenging yourself to a duel, then you broke it by accepting, and as justice of the peace, you ought to put yourself on trial, and, if found guilty, sentence yourself to be drawn and quartered!”

“I hadn’t thought of that,” Jeremy admits. “I say–they don’t still do that, do they?”

“I’m afraid they do, my lord… in Scurveyshire.”

[Loud, portentous music signals the end of this present chapter. Readers who can’t tolerate the suspense are urged to seek professional help.]

The Field of Honor (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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“I fell down and sprained my coccyx a few days ago,” Violet Crepuscular confides in her readers, “but did that hold back the creative processes? You should live so long!”

Thus turn we unto Chapter DXXXVIII of Ms. Crepuscular’s epic romance, Oy, Rodney.

Lord Jeremy Coldsore has let his impetuous nature get the better of him, and has challenged himself to a duel–with sabers! He has asked the American adventurer, Willis Twombley, to be his second.

“What’re you gonna do if you go and stab yourself?” Twombley asks. He thinks he’s Sargon of Akkad, but we can’t go into that just now.

“Tell Lady Margo that I died for love!” says Jeremy.

However, a snag has developed. It seems the only field in all of Scurveyshire suitable to be a dueling venue was once, and not so long ago, a cow pasture.

“This is ridiculous!” Jeremy fostulates. “I refuse to fight a duel in a field that used to be covered with cow-poop!”

Then he says, “Hah! Unless I’m very much mistaken, I’ve got him on the run!”

Twombley withdraws to The Lying Tart for a gin and hair tonic. There he finds Johnno the Merry Minstrel composing “Ye Olde Ballad of Lord Jeremy Coldsore’s Affaire of Honour.” News travels preternaturally fast in these rural communities.

A Challenge to a Duel! (Oy, Rodney)

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We have finally received Chapter DXXXVI of Violent Crepuscular’s epic romance, Oy, Rodney. Nothing happens in this chapter. We must move on to Chapter DXXXVII.

You may recall that Lord Jeremy Coldsore, who is engaged to be married to Lady Margo Cargo, has suddenly fallen violently in love with some character whom he has named “Micropora” and who, if she existed today, might easily be mistaken for a plastic lawn ornament. This unsettles Willis Twombley, the American adventurer who thinks he’s Sargon of Akkad: Lady Margo believes he and Lord Jeremy are the same person.

“This sort of thing happened all the time in the 1850s,” writes Ms. Crepuscular, the Queen of Suspense. “You have to know about these things if you’re going to be queen of anything.”

Twombley attempts to revive Jeremy’s honor. “Look here, Germy!” he argues persuasively. “I need that marriage! I’m jist about flat busted, but Lady Margo’s the richest widow in all Scurveyshire. You can’t back out of it jist ’cause you fell for I dunno what! Folks’ll think you’re a snake in the grass.”

This cabilitates Lord Jeremy. “You’re right, old boy!” quoth he. “What kind of a cad would leave dear Lady Margo in the lurch? I challenge him to a duel! I will meet him on the field of honor, sabers at the ready!”

“Yes, yes, I know!” Ms. Crepuscular concludes. “He has challenged himself to a duel–and he dare not back out! And that’s what I call suspense!”

We can hardly wait to hear the rest of it.

Lord Jeremy’s Accursed Slippers (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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Violet Crepuscular, the Queen of Suspense, has sent me an email in lieu of a new chapter of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney.

“Dear Mr. Dugong,” she writes (this is gonna be hard on me, I can tell), “your slipperational vexations are nothing compared to Lord Jeremy Coldsore’s! He, too, can never find slippers that fit, plus he is handicapped by having two left feet. The only slippers he can wear are the Accursed Devil Slippers that his great-great-etc.-grandfather, Sir Reginal De Borscht, brought home from the Crusades (not that he got any farther than Wallingford before he turned back).

“The last time Lord Jeremy wore these slippers, his entire gumball collection melted into a shapeless mass that attracted multitudes of rats…” And so on. What good this is supposed to do me, I have no idea.

Yes, those Accursed Devil Slippers bring bad luck! Sir Reginald, the last time he wore them, fell into the only moat in Scurveyshire. There were signs posted all over the place, warning pedestrians not to walk into the moat, and a crier posted to cry “Stay back from the moat, you stupid lubber!”–but he fell in anyway. He died 64 years later.

Meanwhile, we have not received Chapter DXXXVI of Oy, Rodney and I’m not hearing any great demand for it. I knew this would happen.

Lord Jeremy Falls in Love (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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Violet Crepuscular, “the Queen of Suspense,” seems to be still a bit waterlogged from that ducking she received in Ongs Hat, NJ. Here we’ve been waiting, chapter after chapter, hundreds of chapters, for Lord Jeremy Coldsore to marry Scurveyshire’s richest widow, Lady Margo Cargo.

But here, in Chapter DXXXV of her immortal romance, Oy, Rodney, she has shocked us, amazed us, knocked us for a loop.

For Lord Jeremy has fallen in love–and not with his fiancee.

Here’s where the skullful of water comes in. Lord Jeremy has fallen in love with a damsel named Micropora (not her real name; he has imagined this one). If these events were set in 2023 instead of 18-something, Micropora would be a plastic lawn ornament. A garden gnome. Here she’s Jeremy Coldsore’s sudden passion. Which does not rule our her being a garden gnome… but this whole business is–I don’t know. Regrettable?

The American adventurer, Willis Twombley, is also engaged to be married to Lady Margo. She thinks he and Lord Jeremy are the same person and gets nervous when they’re all in a room together. Her solution is to stay out of rooms.

Ms. Crepuscular addresses her readers: “Make sure to be here next week,” she says, “so you can find out what Mr. Twombley says!”

If that ain’t suspense, I don’t know what is.

‘Make Mine Frothy’ (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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It is my sad duty to report that Violet Crepuscular, the Queen of Suspense and author of the epic romance novel, Oy, Rodney, was punished this past week with 15 minutes in the ducking stool–for allowing a freakin’ commercial [For Frothee Creme… “Now you can always get a head!”] in the middle of Chapter DXXXI. This archaic punishment has been outlawed everywhere in the world except for Ongs Hat, New Jersey. She had the misfortune to be passing through there on Wednesday, and the local beadle recognized her from a dream and swiftly arrested her. Trial and sentence were carried out immediately after: they don’t putter around in Ongs Hat.

Woman on a Ducking Stool - English School as art print or hand painted oil.

(The famous “sturgeon’s photograph” of the Ongs Hat ducking stool in action

All of which gets us, somehow, to Chapter DXXXIV. The Frothing Dragon of Scurveyshire is frothing all over Scurveyshire and damaging potentially valuable real estate.

“Dadburn it!” expostulates the American adventurer, Willis Twombley. “If I shot that critter once, I shot him 20 times! And all I got to show for it is, up to my knees in froth!”

Here Ms. Crepuscular takes a break to talk about her ducking.

“You could drown, y’know–you really could! Do you know they left me underwater for the whole 15 minutes–while they went over to the diner for hot dogs? I have a good mind to sue them!”

So… What happens in Chapter DXXXIV? To say nothing of Chapters DXXXII and DXXXIII. Anyone can write blank chapters!

Maybe they didn’t dunk her long enough.

Knee-Deep in Froth (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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Our thanks to Mr. Pitfall, who held Violet Crepuscular’s feet to the fire until she agreed to drop Squire Oochy from the epic tale of romance and suspense, her magnum opus, Oy, Rodney. 

“All right, all right!” she screamed, as her stockings smoldered. “He’s just some guy, okay? The dragon frothed his greenhouse. You’ll never hear of him again–I promise!”

And so we advance into Chapter DXXXI without Squire Oochy. What we have, instead, is the Frothing Dragon dropping froth all over Scurveyshire, sort of like a cosmic Frothee incident.

Frothee - Cocktail accessories - Bar equipment - Barshopen.eu

Have you tried FROTHEE (TM), the original all-purpose “Creamy Head”? FROTHEE goes on anywhere–mixed drinks, Kool-Aid, or even just a glass of beer that’s gone flat–you can ALWAYS “Get A Head!” with FROTHEE! Ask any bartending professional–

[Editor: Stop this at once! Has the woman gone completely mad–sticking a lousy commercial into the middle of her book? By Jove, I’ll set the dogs on her! I’ll… Editor is carried off by two attendants.]

Holy cow, we seem to have lost our bearings. “All Scurveyshire is now knee-deep in froth,” writes Ms. Crepuscular. “Johnno the Merry Minstrel argues that an Age of Froth is about to overtake the world.” We are not told with whom he argues.

And here the chapter breaks–with a promise of more suspense next week.

Chapter DXXX–At Last! (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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You think it’s easy, being this woman’s editor? Hah! All week long, she’s been sulking. A customer review on some Charlie High-school website called her “Violet Corpuscle” and she couldn’t deal with it.

Nevertheless, somehow Chapter DXXX of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney, has gotten written. Let Ms. Crepuscular (not Corpuscle) introduce it.

“I am proud to be introducing Chapter DXXX of my epic romance, Oy, Rodney,” she gestures hypnotically, like Mandrake the Magician. For her it doesn’t work.

We were expecting the Frothing Dragon of Scurveyshire in this chapter, and for once we got just what we asked for. The Dragon comes out from under the wading pool in the vicar’s back yard and starts frothing all over the place. Lord Jeremy Coldsore and Willis Twombley, the American adventurer who thinks he is Sargon of Akkad, watch in stunned horror.

“Germy, we got to do somethin’ about this!” says Twombley, balancing his six-gun on a fingertip. This makes Lord Jeremy uneasy. He has already been shot in one foot and has no desire for the experience to be repeated. Meanwhile, Squire Oochy’s greenhouse is buried under dragon-froth.

“Who the devil’s Squire Oochy?” Jeremy wonders.

“Suspense!” exults Ms. Crepuscular. “Tune in next week to find out who the devil’s Squire Oochy!”


Laying Down the Law (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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This is your editor speaking. For too long we have allowed Violet Crepuscular to abuse our trust. We keep waiting for her epic romance, Oy, Rodney, to break into a plot.

Just look at this mess! A rhino hibernating in back of a chicken coop. A cold snap that freezes everything but the vicar’s backyard wading pool. And Mr. Pitfall face-down on Violet’s living room floor, the victim of a swoon. He was just starting to read Chapter DXXX, she says. Well, we haven’t read it yet!

She addresses the defenseless reader: “The thing is, when you’re writing an epic romance of 500 or more chapters, you can’t just leave Mr. Pitfall lying on the floor. How could I have finished writing Chapter DXXX, when I had to call the UN to come and get Mr. Pitfall? I mean, have you ever tried to telephone those people?!? Ye gods!”

[Editor: Not so fast there, twinkletoes! What about that Frothing Dragon of Scurveyshire, that you hinted at last week? Eh? Eh?]

“As for the Frothing Dragon of Scurveyshire–” [We’ve got her on the run!]–“I simply have to hold it back for one more chapter. Meanwhile, consult the Ibid Chronicles for the year 457, the year the dragon first frothed. Then you’ll understand!”

[Editor plunges into a fruitless search for the Ibid Chronicles…]

When Hell Really Did Freeze Over (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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Violet Crepuscular, the Queen of Suspense, has issued a warning to readers preparing to tackle Chapter DXXX of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney.

“I wish to warn readers preparing to tackle Chapter DXXX of my epic romance, Oy, Rodney,” she writes, sounding more than a little like the rejected version of Gilgamesh. “Honestly, this chapter is not for the faint-hearted! After hearing just two paragraphs of it, poor Mr. Pitfall fainted.”

Was there something about a monster in the vicar’s backyard wading pool? Was there a reason why everything in Scurveyshire froze but the surface of the pool?

“We must first repair to Constable Chumley’s house,” she continues. If that’s the verb for it. “Here he has forgotten how to tie his shoes. And who can he ask? What a dilemma!”

What bunk. What about the monster in the pool? No wonder this book is DXXX chapters long!

In her own defense, Ms. Crepuscular writes, “It is, of course, The Frothing Dragon of Scurveyshire coming back to life as the result of a medieval curse laid on the shire by the evil necromancer, Black Rodney. But the characters in my story don’t know this! I’ll have to break it to them gently.”

She’s hoping we don’t notice that nothing has happened in this chapter. As for the title, you guess is as good as mine.