Literary Critics Protest ‘Oy, Rodney’

Big Brother and also Big Sister and Big Father | Book humor ...

Introducing Chapter CCCLXV of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney, Violet Crepuscular shares a personal experience. Oh, boy.

“I had a most unpleasant time yesterday,” she writes. “A busload of literary critics pulled up in front of my house and at least two dozen of them poured out and started yelling and throwing things. I am not sure why. Some of them carried signs bearing lewd and unsavory messages regarding my epic romance, Oy, Rodney. A few of them demanded that I come outside so they could drown me. Several carried pitchforks.

“I called the police, but there was no one there to take my call. I don’t know what would have happened if it hadn’t started to rain. The critics in a mad panic swarmed back onto the bus and it pulled away. I’m afraid they stomped my crabgrass.”

Nothing daunted, she goes on to write the chapter.

Here we have the aristocratic thief, Sir Robin Banks, hiding out in an unused wing of Coldsore Hall, wondering whether he ought to explore the other rooms in search of something valuable to steal. He is interrupted in his meditations by a sound of footsteps in the hall. It’s only Johnno the Merry Minstrel, searching for cuss-bags planted by the medieval sorcerer, Black Rodney; but Sir Robin decides he’d better hide in case it’s the police.

The only hiding place in his room is a ratty-looking cedar chest just big enough to accommodate him. Deftly, he crawls inside and shuts the lid.

Unforeseen by him, the lid automatically locks when it is closed.

“Here I break the chapter,” writes Ms. Crepuscular, “to heighten the suspense! Will Sir Robin get out of the cedar chest, or is he doomed to die in there? How awful it will be, years from now, when someone discovers the chest and goes to see what’s in it! I feel quite faint, just thinking about it!”

A snack of toothpaste sandwich cookies, washed down by a tall glass of absinthe, restores her equanimity.

Where Are Lady Margo’s Jewels? (‘Oy, Rodney’)

Big Brother and also Big Sister and Big Father | Book humor ...

All of Scurveyshire is still trying to hunt down the aristocratic thief, Sir Robin Banks–who’s very similar to the famous Raffles the Gentleman Thief, only ignorant, slovenly, boorish, and dull–who is suspected of having stolen Lady Margo Cargo’s family jewels and priceless collection of glass eyes.

In Chapter CCCLXI of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney, Violet Crespuscular has Lady Margo post a reward for the capture of Sir Robin. And what a reward it is! “Dear reader,” Ms. Crepuscular writes, “it is no wonder that every single person in the shire has dropped whatever he or she was doing and plunged into the hunt for the aristocratic thief. And what reward is that, I hear you ask! Well, actually I don’t hear you, we are probably separated by hundreds or even thousands of miles. I have to use my lively writer’s imagination to imagine you asking that question.” This soliloquy goes on for another five or six pages. I have heard rumors that a number of prominent people are banding together to try to stop Ms. Crepuscular from writing anything more.

What we really want to know is what Lady Margo’s crusty old butler, Crusty, knows about the fate of those jewels!

Meanwhile, Ms. Crepuscular seems to have forgotten to tell us what this irresistible reward is. Instead, we get this background information about the suspected thief.

Sir Robin Banks is the younger son of the Earl of Fapley, disinherited by his father and cast out of the family because of certain small but profoundly annoying personal habits. Since then he has also become an obnoxious drunkard, a compulsive liar, and a heretic. He attended Oxford University for a time, until they discovered he was there and chased him out of town with torches and borrowed farm implements.

Yeah, yeah, already! What does Crusty know?

“In the next installment, dear reader, I promise to reveal what Crusty the butler knows,” Violet writes. “Really, for a fictional character, it’s devilish hard to pry any information out of him.”

I do not hold with blaming things on people who do not, in fact, exist.

Will They Tear Down Coldsore Hall? (‘Oy, Rodney’)

Big Brother and also Big Sister and Big Father | Book humor ...

Introducing Chapter CCCLIX of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney, Violet Crepuscular reminds her readers, “According to local legend, the lost city of Driphdrash contains a treasure chamber which, if discovered, would make everyone in Scurveyshire rich beyond the dreams of avarice.” We are not told the details of such dreams.

By now the whole shire knows that the only place they haven’t searched for Driphdrash is the site of Lord Jeremy’s ancestral country house, Coldsore Hall; and the population has voted unanimously to tear the house down to get at the lost city. Lord Jeremy himself voted for it–well, almost. He caught himself just in time.

He is saved at the last minute by the aristocratic thief, Sir Robin Banks, who, in a daring midnight raid, invaded Lady Margo’s lavish home and stole her priceless collection of glass eyes, diamonds, emeralds, sapphires, and Royal Doulton china.

Lord Jeremy has outmaneuvered the people of Scurveyshire by deputizing every man, woman, and child in the district and ordering them to hunt down the aristocratic thief. Willis Twombley, the American adventurer who think he’s Sargon of Akkad, cannot restrain his admiration.

“That was good thinkin’, Germy, old hoss! Look at ’em go!” Totally distracted from their hunt for Driphdrash, the people are now rushing in and out of their houses, barns, and tool-sheds looking for Sir Robin Banks. “His nefandous crime,” proclaims Lord Jeremy, “has shamed and disgraced every man, woman, and child in Scurveyshire. We must erase this blot on our reputation!”

But Lady Margo’s crusty old butler, Crusty, knows what really happened to Lady Margo’s family jewels!

Here she concludes the chapter without telling anyone what really happened. Instead, we get a recipe for Mongolian toothpaste balls with pickled cabbage and tadpoles. You’d think she’d been deputized, too.