Can We Have Our Plot Back? (‘Oy, Rodney’)

Ask Sister Mary Martha

Author Violet Crepuscular has been busy grading the Oy, Rodney Genius Quiz. Actually, not that busy–only four people, world-wide, bothered to take it. And none of them passed.

“This makes me lachrymose,” she complains. “It will be all I can do to introduce Chapter CDLXXXXVIII of my epic romance, Oy, Rodney!”

The reader will remember (or not) that Lord Jeremy, under duress applied by Constable Chumley’s mother, Sir Lanthelot the Lithping Knight–bear in mind that the woman is somewhat tetched–has discovered a landscape riddled with Easter Island heads. Like these. Just like these.

Easter Island statues: One mystery solved by researchers | CNN Travel

You’d think any author would jump right in and set about explaining what those heads were doing there–but not the Queen of Suspense. She introduces Chapter CDLXXXXVIII with a recipe for prawns in toothpaste sauce, followed by this:

“Can Lady Margo Cargo be true to Lord Jeremy Coldsore and still love the American adventurer, Willis Twombley–when she is not aware that they are two different people. Three, if you count Twombley’s conviction that he is Sargon of Akkad. This is phloxidation with a vengeance!” Feel free to skip the rest if you know what that means.

If not, please sign my petition to Ms. Crepuscular demanding an explanation of the Easter Island heads. (Yes, I know she’ll say “My readers are revolting!”) We must take a firm line here, or she’ll end up subjecting us to chess puns (“Prawn to King-4!”).

Take the ‘Oy, Rodney’ Genius Quiz!

silly romance novels – Lee Duigon

“Are you a genius?” asks Ms. Violet Crepuscular, the Queen of Suspense. Don’t ask her what’s happened to the plot of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney. You’d have to be a genius to figure that out.

And so Chapter CDLXXXXVII of this tremendous book casts itself loose from the plot and presents the reader with a quiz. “This,” proclaims Ms. Crepuscular, “is where the rubber meets the road! This is the ultimate trip of self-discovery.”

Simply answer the questions below. If you answer them all correctly, you are a genius. If you get any wrong, you earn the rank of Stunata. “We’ll soon know which is which!” exults the author.

Ready? Here we go.

1. Who was mayor of New York City when Lady Margo Cargo lost her glass eye?

2. Why are there Easter Island heads in Scurveyshire? (“Thought I’d forget about those, didn’t you!” snickers Ms. Crepuscular.)

3. In what capacity did Walt Dropo serve the Japanese government during the Victorian Era?

4. What English playwright wrote in the same rural dialect spoken by Constable Chumley, with the same result?

5. What is the sound of one flipper flapping?

“The clever reader will quickly amorphosize these questions,” claims Ms. Crepuscular. “We need clever people to rule the world.”

(Please don’t tell me she’s going to run for president…)

An Astounding Discovery! (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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In Chapter CDLXXXXVI (dig those Roman numerals! no wonder they didn’t have a space program) of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney, Violet Crepuscular repeats her assertion that Constable Chumley’s mother, disguised as Thir Lanthelot the Lithping Knight, has fallen passionately and ostentatiously in love with Lord Jeremy Coldsore.

“I Inthitht you come to my cathtle for a vithit!” she declaims. Her gestures with the lance persuade Jeremy to go along.

“I notice you don’t speak in the same quaint rural dialect your son uses.” Jeremy is trying to make conversation. Constable Chumley’s mother violently hushes him.

“Thhhh! I’m lotht! Can’t find the cathtle!”

Before the discussion can ripen into something really stultifying, the wanderers make an astounding discover.

Why Some Easter Island Statues Are Where They Are - Scientific American

Easter Island heads–right there in Scurveyshire!

“Put that in yer pipe and smoke it!” Ms. Crepuscular gloats. “Never saw that coming, didja? And now you have to read next week’s installment to find out how the stone heads got there!”

[The management apologizes for the author’s seeming hostility toward her own readers. “She has been under a great deal of stress lately, planning to drive out to Easter Island or at least take the ferry. It’s my job to tell here there is no ferry to Easter Island. You think you’ve got troubles!”]

Chumley On the Rampage (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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It changes a man, facing certain death, to have his life miraculously saved, only to find his mother wandering the countryside disguised as a lisping knight. “Go ahead!” Violet Crepuscular challenges the world. “Find me a man, just one man, who’s been through those things and not been changed!” Thus she introduces Chapter CDLXXXXVI of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney.

Despite the fact that Sir Charles Squole’s trampoline quite literally saved his life, Constable Chumley arrests him for setting up a trampoline without a license. To save time, he jumps off the cliff to the trampoline below; but then he only bounces back up, so he has to take the long way down.

He slaps the cuffs on Sir Charles, unable not to notice that Sir Charles has only one buttock. “Sor Chorles Squoll,” he declares, “I wolthen yon baggit dagnabbit!”

“This is extremely unsporting of you, old chap!” objects the prisoner. But Chumley hustles him off to that secret room where interrogations are made that would only exasperate the public, if they knew.

Meanwhile up at the top of the cliff, Chumley’s mother has fallen violently in love with Lord Jeremy Coldsore. The situation is scrofulous, writes Ms. Crepuscular.

“Stay tuned for more romance next week!” she cautions the reader.

The Man with One Buttock (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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Introducing Chapter CDLXXXXV of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney, Violet Crepuscular writes, “The reader will surely remember, a few hundred chapters ago, how a man with one buttock came to Scurveyshire and was taken for an oracle of bad things to come. Well, this man, Sir Charles Squole, has since–”

STOP! I can’t stand it! What about Constable Chumley hanging from the cliff’s edge by his fingertips? You can’t just start babbling about some guy with one buttock!

“This is what being the Queen of Suspense is all about,” adds Ms. Crepuscular. One of these days she’s going to go too far.

It seems Sir Charles Squole has invented a backyard trampoline and has been looking for a place to set it up. People don’t like his funny walk, so he tends to favor places like the Cliffs of Doom, where there’s not likely to be anyone about to bother him.

This time he should have looked up to the top of the cliff, but didn’t. Instead, he goes ahead and sets up his trampoline at the base of the cliff–

Just as the last of Constable Chumley’s strength gives out and he loses his grip, and plummets screaming toward the jagged rocks below–

But he lands on Sir Charles’ trampoline, bounces straight back up the way he came, and has the presence of mind to land on top of the cliff. Saved!

[Audience boos vociferously. People demand their money back.]

“I see I’ve offended the dullards out there,” writes Ms. Crepuscular. “Well, tough nooggies for them! I’m writing romance here,” she exsanguinates, “not a fossing physics textbook!”

I am not going to ask about the lisping knight who turned out to be Constable Chumley’s mother.

A Duel! (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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While poor Constable Chumley hangs on to the brink of the cliff by his fingertips, author Violet Crepuscular has permitted herself the luxury of challenging a college student to a duel. This is of no use to the constable.

“When this amoeba, this sponge, this walking ottoman insulted me for my remarks about crooked Hillary Clinton and her so-called novel, I concluded that honor demands only one response–a duel!” writes Ms. Crepuscular, supposedly introducing Chapter CDLXXXXIV of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney.

Ms. Crepuscular is miffed that a semi-literate politician can be instantly molded into some kind of literary titan and appear on all the talk shows. “No, I have never fought a duel before,” she admits. “But if I can’t polish off this Joe Collidge character, I have no business living anyway. Certainly no business adding to the world’s store of classic romance novels!”

The college student was unavailable for comment. He does not know what a “dool” is, according to several persons in his Nothing Studies class.

(Uh, Violet… Could we do something about Constable Chumley clinging to the cliff? You’ve used up almost the whole chapter, grumbling about your duel, etc.)

Correction: That was the whole chapter. Oh, fap–!

How They Almost Lost Chumley (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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Chapter CDLXXXXIII of Violet Crepuscular’s epic romance, Oy, Rodney, finds Constable Chumley clinging by his rapidly-weakening fingertips to the brink of a cliff with a hundred-foot drop while Lord Jeremy and the constable’s mother–you will remember she was disguised as Thir Lanthelot the lisping knight–discussing how they might save the poor chap from falling onto the jagged rocks below.

What a sentence! I dare anyone to diagram it.

The constable pleads, “Mum! M’lord! Ith woogen ye minndle!” Meanwhile the constable’s mother asks, “What tipped ya off I was a dame, big boy?”

(Oh, now, just a cotton-pickin’ minute! I refuse to sit here and edit and publish such twollop. If the characters are going to start talking like a 1930s gangster movie, I’m out of here.)

“Some of you have complained about the constable’s mother’s choice of words,” writes Ms. Crepuscular. “In fact, I have received death threats–as if those could scare me! Obviously the readers are ignorant of the art of stymphalianism, which allows fictional characters in any genre to talk like a 1930s gangster movie. Edward G. Robinson isn’t the only one allowed to talk like Edward G. Robinson! But in deference to my readers’ philistine tastes in literature, I’ll give this a twenty-three skiddoo from now on.”

How much longer can she keep poor Chumley hanging?

Who’s Been Spying on Violet? (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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Chapter CDLXXXXI of Violet Crepuscular’s epic romance, Oy, Rodney, crashed to a suspenseful end with the sudden arrival of Thir Lanthelot the lisping knight from King Arthurth Thecret Cathtle. She introduces Chapter CDLXXXXII with an unexpected gambit from Lord Jeremy Coldsore.

“How do we know you’re really Thir Lanthelot?” he demandth. (Stop that, Lee!) “You’re in full armor, with your visor down. You could be anybody, in there!”

“Tho itth like that, ith it?” parries the knight. “Very well! Hold thith lanthe while I take off my helmet.”

Off comes the helmet. Underneath it is a woman. Constable Chumley’s mother, in fact.

That anguished scream you just heard is Ms. Crepuscular, who has just discovered a comment made by a reader last week suggesting that the lisping knight will turn out to be somebody’s mother. We can allow publication of only a small part of Ms. Crepuscular’s lament.

“How dare you spill my plot? I’ll murder you, whoever you are! Everyone who read your ham-faced comment last week knew exactly what was going to happen! How did you gain access to my notes? Eeeeeyaaaah!” And so on.

(“Mum?” says Constable Chumley. He is still hanging on by his fingertips to the edge of the cliff. We don’t call these stories cliffhangers for nothing.)

In any event, Violet is too upset to continue. “It’s times like this when nothing but a floating ball of toothpaste in a tall glass of Jack Daniels can get you back to normal!” she obstreporates.

Tune in next week to see if she’s back to normal.

Saving Constable Chumley (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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Violet Crepuscular, the Queen of Suspense, ended Chapter CDLXXXX of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney, with a cliffhanger: in fact, with Constable Chumley hanging from the brim of a cliff. Scurveyshire is famous for incredibly high, sharp cliffs with no geological reason for them.

In Chapter CDLXXXXI, with most of Scurveyshire focused on the annual fox hunt, now a nude fox hunt, Lord Jeremy Coldsore repairs to The Cliffs of Doom for some peace and quiet. There he finds Chumley hanging on by his fingertips, 100 yards above the jagged rocks below. If you can think of any cliches Violet left out here, please let us know.

“What are you doing there, man?”

“M’lord, vor’ mickle gascon divy,” the constable explains–and soon has Jeremy transfixed in disbelief.

“What do you mean, you were searching for King Arthur’s Castle?” Jeremy snaps. “Don’t you know that’s just a fairy tale? Ods bodikins, Chumley! A man of your age and experience! I suppose–”

But he is interrupted by a very heavy and not at all pleasant tap on the shoulder. He wheels around to find himself confronted by– [Pause for suspense, like in the movies]

A knight in full armor, on an armored steed, with a vorpal lance pointed straight at Jeremy’s duodenum. “What the–!” he cries.

And the knight answers, “Thir Lanthelot at your thervithe; and you’d betht have a good excuthe for being here!”

Here Violet breaks the chapter, to generate suspense. We are promised a recipe for toothpaste bon-bons, to shut us up.

Back to the Fox Hunt (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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[The management wishes to thank readers who objected to the omission of a chapter about the Scurveyshire Fox Hunt. Violet Crepuscular has finally given in to popular demand.]

“I’ll do practically anything to please my loyal readers,” writes Ms. Crepuscular, introducing “a pivotal chapter,” Chapter CDLXXXX, of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney. “Yes, I’ll even lacerate my authorial instincts, totally ignore my own literary judgment, and give the wretched peasants their stupid idiot fox hunt! But only because I esteem them so highly.”

So we’re back to the fox hunt. An unexpected economic downturn earlier this season forced the members of the Scurveyshire Hunt to sell their hounds, horses, saddles, stables, homes, and those smurfy red jackets, funny hats, funny boots, and tight pants. They even had to sell those goofy little horns they blow.

But the hunt must go on! Only now the hunters wear grass skirts (kind of chilly for that), chase the fox on foot without any hounds to catch the scent, and scarf down anything edible that they might lay their hands on. It’s what comes of the entire upper class investing in a scheme to boil potatoes without using any pots or pans. They were all supposed to get rich, but they lost their shirts–literally.

“I would not be the Queen of Suspense,” she concludes, “if I didn’t end this chapter with a cliffhanger!” So we have Constable Chumley hanging from a cliff. We are not told what he’s doing there, but it sure is suspenseful.