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The Effects of Eating Food Left Over from the Third Crusade (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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As we plod wearily into Chapter CCCLXVIII of Violet Crepuscular’s epic romance, Oy, Rodney, we discover that Black Rodney, the medieval sorcerer who vexes all of Scurveyshire, has again been up to mischief.

“Dear reader,” Ms. Crepuscular begins, “you have doubtless been wondering how the aristocratic thief, Sir Robin Banks, has managed to subsist on provisions left over from the Third Crusade. Permit me to elucidate.” We love it when she does that.

Most food left over from the Third Crusade, she explains, is no longer edible some 600 years later. But sorcery can make it so–up to a point. “And we all know Black Rodney’s favorite target for his spells and hoodoos is Coldsore Hall.”

Now that he has escaped from the antique cedar chest which only has three sides, and consumed all the antique victuals  that have been stored in that room since before the Magna Carta was written, Sir Robin has begun to have thoughts that should not occur to any aristocratic thief at any time.

“I shall emerge from this, my hiding place,” Sir Robin cogitates, “and proclaim a new Crusade! Iceland must be liberated from the Saracens!” History has never been his strong suit. He is much more well-versed in gluttony and drunkenness.

He slams open the door to his hiding place and races up and down confusing corridors until at least he finds an open-air balcony overlooking Coldsore Hall’s scenic driveway and beautifully manicured front lawn. To his delight, he finds an audience already waiting for him. He does not know they have assembled to demand a lower price of ale at The Lying Tart.

“Friends, Romans, countrymen–lend me your ears!” he bellows. This succeeds in gaining the crowd’s undivided attention. In fact, there happens to be a genuine Roman in the throng, one Massimo Jidrool, who thinks the speech is meant especially for him.

“I have come to proclaim the liberation of Iceland from the Saracens! And I–” here he has just enough sanity left to remember that he is wanted for a whole cornucopia of poorly executed crimes: he needs an alias, big-time–“I, Lord Henry de Swivenham, shall lead you!”

Immediately someone down below shouts, “It’s Sir Robin Banks, the aristocratic thief! Get him!”

With a roar like fifty locomotives giving birth to sixty marching bands, the crowd streams into Coldsore Hall, brandishing pitchforks and torches–

“And here, dear reader, I must break off the chapter,” Ms. Crepuscular writes. “I tried a bowl of Mrs. Skinnard’s Baseball Innards, and it has disagreed with me.”


The Whole Thing Freaks Out (‘Oy, Rodney’)

Image result for images of english country houses

This is not Coldsore Hall, but it will have to do.

You will have noticed that there is no picture here. Ms. Crepuscular’s computer doesn’t work either. It must be related to mine.

Anyhow, introducing Chapter CCCLXVII–no, I have no idea what happened to Chapter CCCLXVI–of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney, Violet Crepuscular seems to be as confused as I am.

“What a mess those literary critics made of my front yard!” she writes. “I was all day picking up the stones and brickbats. But if they think they can stop me from producing the rest of my epic romance–well, fap! to them. Literature marches on!”

The chapter opens with Sir Robin Banks, the aristocratic thief, back on his feet in the middle of his hideout in an unused wing of Coldsore Hall. How did he get out of the cedar chest, after he’d locked himself in? “I am not going to write Chapter CCCLXVI all over again,” Ms. Crepuscular declares. “Suffice it to say there was a side missing from the chest. The fifth Earl Coldsore, Lord Pratt, acquired this chest from a shady antiques dealer in Cyprus when he went on the Third Crusade and brought it back to Scurveyshire with him when Richard the Lionheart kicked him out of the army for persistent cowardice. Lord Pratt carried the massive chest all the way across medieval Europe–only to discover, upon his return after an incredibly hazardous Channel crossing, that he had somehow lost one of the chest’s four sides. As a consequence, his health deteriorated. His last act was to stow the chest away in that room that no one ever used.”

Reader Thelma Potstock of Double Trouble, New Jersey, wants to know what Sir Robin has been eating, all this time he’s been hiding out in Coldsore Hall. This is a detail which had never crossed Ms. Crepuscular’s mind.

“The room is stocked with provisions left over from the Third Crusade,” she explains.

That will have to do for now. There is some doubt as to whether this installment of the saga can be successfully posted.


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