Jailbreak in Scurveyshire (‘Oy, Rodney’)

Tanystropheus - Facts and Pictures

[Editor’s Note: I cannot find the image of a book cover that is usually displayed with an ‘Oy, Rodney’ episode. The closest I could come was this picture of a Tanystropheus–which I admit is not that close, but what can one do?]

Chapter CDXXXII of Violet Crepuscular’s epic romance, Oy, Rodney, finds Lord Jeremy Coldsore and his fiancee, Lady Margo Cargo, both locked up in gaol, Constable Chumley having arrested them for reasons best known to himself. But behind the scenes, Lady Margo’s crusty old butler, Crusty, is plotting to break his mistress out of gaol.

All he needs is an elephant.

“Only an elephant is big and strong enough to break down the wall of the gaol so Lady Margo can get out,” he confides to Constable Chumley (of all people). Chumley happens to know where he can rent an elephant. There’s a man in Plaguesby who keeps a few in his stables.

Having rented the elephant and fortified her with a swallow of grog from The Lying Tart, Crusty and the constable turn her loose on the wall. Neither of them has remembered to forewarn Lady Margo, who is almost killed when the elephant batters down the wall.

“Hurry up, you lazy old bat!” cries Crusty. “Before the police come!” He then remembers that Constable Chumley is already there. They have to help Lady Margo out of the rubble–she will need a new upholstered wooden leg–and Crusty helps her hop back home.

In the adjacent cell, Lord Jeremy is beside himself.

“You just wait until the next time you ask me for a raise!” he bellows at the constable. “You copepod! You wretch!” Only then does it dawn on Chumley that he may have done something not strictly in accord with normal police procedure. He apologizes with genuine exfoliation (her word, not mine!).

“Ayn yerk nee fluzzin’, M’lord!” he groans.

“Oh, forget it!” growls Lord Jeremy.

‘Oy, Rodney’ Readers Getting Restless

39 Romance novel cover parodies ideas | romance novel covers, romance, book  humor

Introducing Chapter CDXXX of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney, Violet Crepuscular shares a letter she received from reader Cedric Durst of Ponco City, Bulgaria.

“Dear Mr. Crepuscular, so where’s this planet-threatening catastrophe you promised in your last chapter–that stupid business about the whelk and the crayfish not seeing eye to eye? You are playing games with us! Someone ought to censor you.”

“This is what you have to put up with, as an artist–arrant philistinism,” Ms. (not Mr.) Crepuscular replies. “You write about the obstacles to true love, and along comes some barbarian who wants to talk about aquariums! I am cut to the quick.”

Setting up the end of the world is no easy task. Now she’s getting bombarded with complaints from the Philistine community, such as it is. This distraction has made her narrative disjointed. There’s nothing for it but to move on to Chapter CDXXXI.

Lady Margo Cargo is mad at everyone for paying insufficient heed to the feelings of her pet crayfish, Oswin, while her fiancee, Lord Jeremy Coldsore, is equally miffed that his pet whelk, Stuart, has been slighted. Constable Chumley arrests them both.

“I say!” says Jeremy. “You can’t arrest me–I’m the justice of the peace! I’m your boss.”

The constable shrugs. “Menner yon third grockies, m’lord,” he replies sententiously. Locking the cell, he makes a grand show of throwing away the key and then moves on to The Lying Tart for a quick pint.

“This is your fault, Jeremy!” growls Lady Margo.

And there we must leave them while Violet answers the rest of her mail.

Whelk & Crayfish: Incompatible?

Crusty's Trombone Lessons ('Oy, Rodney') – Lee Duigon

“The curse of true love never did run smooth,” philosophizes Violet Crepuscular, introducing Chapter CDXXIX of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney. “Here Cupid  must deal with a recalcitrant crayfish and a whelk with a chip on its shoulder!”

Resuming his courtship of Lady Margo Cargo, Lord Jeremy Coldsore is dismayed to find his pet Whelk, Stuart, and her pet crayfish, Oswin, just don’t get along. This could prove to be an obstacle to their marriage.

When Stuart and Oswin are put in the same aquarium, they sulk. “This is terrible!” expostulates Lady Margo. “How can you and I live together in wedded bliss, if our pets are going to detest each other?”

Her crusty old butler, Crusty, offers a novel solution. “Normal people,” he says, “would just leave the two bugs in separate aquariums.” Lady Margo removes her upholstered wooden leg and clouts him with it. “You have no romance in your soul, Crusty!” she aviates.

This is an astonishingly feeble chapter, even for Violet Crepuscular. Has her well of invention finally run dry?

“I am not the kind of writer whose well of invention runs dry!” she confides to the reader. “What I’m doing, actually, is setting the stage for a well-nigh indescribable catastrophe which puts the planet itself at risk!

“Remember what Constable Chumley always says: ‘Yair flivvick ma’ wye when yair groptie fain cry!’ It is the guiding principle that guides me from one chapter to the next.”

Who can argue with that?

Willis Twombley’s Romance (‘Oy, Rodney’)

Livin' the Dream with Green Stamps: A 1975 Catalog - Flashbak

Editor’s Note: We are again unable to find an illustration for the Oy, Rodney cover. It was actually easier to find a Green Stamps saver book from 1960. This bodes ill for Violet Crepuscular’s book sales.

Introducing Chapter CDXXI of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney, Violet Crepuscular cites a letter received from reader Jennifer Solstice in Bad Axe, Michigan.

“This clod of a reader,” she begins–she must be really mad–“has accused me, Violet Crepuscular, a college graduate, mind you, of ‘turning this wonderful story into a mushy kissing book–yew! Who wants to read that? And Willis Twombley, of all people! Unless you put the kibosh on him romancing Queen Victoria, I won’t read you anymore!'”

“And thus,” declares Violet, “I am corruscated to write a romance that has no romance in it! Well, Jennifer Solstice, write your own shimshing romance novel! I have real readers to attend to!”

That being said, she has barely enough space to mention that Willis Twombley and Queen Victoria are feverishly planning to elope to Abilene, Kansas–the queen doesn’t know anybody there–and open up a Greek restaurant without any Greeks. It will be an excellent opportunity for Victoria to learn to cook. And to throw Scotland Yard off the scent, they plan to call themselves Mr. and Mrs. Orestes Papadapoulos.

“I warn you, Lord Jeremey,” exclaims Johnno the Merry Minstrel, who has made a study of these matters, “this is the work of Black Rodney the medieval sorcerer. He’ll by the ruin of the entire British Empire if we don’t stop him!”

Lord Jeremy Coldsore can only sigh. He’s had a lot of practice sighing, lately.

Did we mention Willis Twombley is an American adventurer who thinks he’s Sargon of Akkad? We do not know whether Queen Victoria believes him.

Let the Party Begin!

48 Pin The Tail On The Donkey Photos and Premium High Res Pictures - Getty  Images

Tap the root beer keg! Break out the Monopoly game! Set up Pin the Tail on the Donkey! Let the imaginary party begin!

I forgot, in my eagerness to get the ball rolling, that my birthday this year falls on Mother’s Day. Well, then, bring your mother to the party! We won’t run out of food or fun. There are plenty of comfy chairs under the catalpa trees for those who’d just as soon take it easy. You don’t have to play horseshoes! And later we’ll have Mad Libs, so be sure to stick around for that. My mother always laughed herself silly, playing Mad Libs.

Yes, Norbert’s been invited. I think he just ran under the table over there. And Byron the Quokka is busy collecting comments for the comment contest. Violet Crepuscular should be here soon; Joe Collidge shouldn’t be here at all.

And we are taking hymn requests today, like every day.

We’re off to a pretty slow start, so spread the word–everyone’s invited, just drop in.

New Drug Makes You a Deep Thinker!

See the source image

New from Bustem Labs! “Profunditol” (TM) will turn you into a deep thinker rivaling the greatest philosophers and scientists of all time!

Accidently discovered while pursuing research into hair restoring creams, Profunditol’s effects were immediately apparent. “You eat a bowl of it, or put a couple of scoops of it on a sugar cone, and take it like it’s ice cream,” explained company janitor Sid Viscous. “It tastes terrible! But it’ll make you smarter in a hurry. Look at Joe Biden: he takes it every day.”

So does Violet Crepuscular, “But she’s now too smart,” said Viscous, “to do an endorsement for free.”

Profunditol is expected to transform the human race into vast multitudes of scientists, philosophers, artistes, and vagabonds.

Ask your community organizer about it today!

Queen Victoria Loves Willis Twombley! (‘Oy, Rodney’)

We cannot find our regular illustration today. We hope this field guide to insects will be a satisfactory substitute.

Peterson Field Guide To Insects Of America North of Mexico 1970 Paperback  Book | eBay

[Editor’s Note: Thanks to Phoebe for her profound Shakespearean insight.]

In Chapter CDXIX of Violet Crepuscular’s immortal, epic romance (Did he just say “immortal”?), Oy, Rodney, we learned that Willis Twombley, the American adventurer who thinks he’s Sargon of Akkad, had fallen passionately in love with Queen Victoria. Today in Chapter CDXX we learn… she loves him back.

Ms. Crepuscular explains: “Dear reader, who can unravel the exfoliations of the human heart? Some subtle nuance in Mr. Twombley’s love letter has lit a fire under Queen Victoria! Not literally, of course–you mustn’t take that literally. I prefer not even to imagine it!”

How do we know the queen returns Twombley’s passion? She has sent a special messenger to Scurveyshire: a servant with two heads and a hand, just like the one in Titus Andronicus. He is rather conspicuous, but his message is for Twombley’s eyes alone.

“Dear Mr. Twombley” (writes the Queen) “I yearn for you so bad, I could plotz! I love Albert, but oh, you kid! We must arrange for us to make whoopee. P.S.–I love your idea of me abdicating the throne of the British Empire and taking up a new career as a saloon girl! Mr. Disraeli will have a kazoo.”

Ms. Crepuscular temporarily suspends the story to address an issue raised by a superfluous–“vole,” I think she said.

“I have been accused of many things in my life,” she says–“barratry, counterfeiting, wasting police time, treason–but to be accused of willy-nilly blending the dress and customs of several different eras–! This is the most unkindest cut of all. Let anyone who thinks she can do better… just try! I triple-dog dare you!”

Revenge of the Lake Smelts! (‘Oy, Rodney’)

20 Terrible Romance Covers ideas | romance covers, romance, romance novels

Lady Margo Cargo’s upholstered wooden leg seems to have a life of its own! (How’s that for a lead sentence? Nobody does it like Violet Crepuscular.)

In Chapter CDXIV of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney, Ms. Crepuscular returns to the apocalyptic roller derby match pitting the visiting Ulan Bator Lake Smelts vs. the team from neighboring Plaguesby. Just as the game was getting to the point where none of the spectators would admit to ever having been in Plaguesby, or having any family there, or even knowing where it is, Lady Margo Cargo’s upholstered wooden legs goes flying out into the middle of the rink, instantly become a serious and even deadly hazard.

The Lake Smelts’ star jammer, Minnie Chukutai, is injured; well, rather badly injured, actually; in fact, killed outright. This inspires the Plaguesby squad to score a point while Ulan Bator reels in shocked disbelief.

“Please, dear reader,” inserts Ms. Crepuscular, totally destroying the flow of the narrative, “don’t take this to mean the city of Ulan Bator itself, halfway around the world and oblivious to events in Scurveyshire, has reeled in shocked disbelief. It’s only the surviving Lake Smelts. I almost forgot to mention that their Number Two veeble, Penny Subhoshmakov, has also come to an untimely end, having tripped over Lady Margo’s upholstered wooden leg while skating at some 60 mph.”

Meanwhile, to the horror of her crusty old butler, Crusty, Lady Margo has begun to crawl out onto the rink in an attempt to recover her upholstered wooden leg. This is just as the captain of the Lake Smelts, Miss Cindy Spatzinagatai, raises her several brawny arms and vows vengeance on all of Scurveyshire.

With a chill cry reminiscent of the days of Genghis Khan, the enraged Lake Smelts swarm over the rail…

“‘Tis maith yon abblemart fusstick, m’lord,” observes Constable Chumley. One cannot but agree.

Roller Derby Comes to Scurveyshire! (‘Oy, Rodney’)

The Victorian Era-Skating Ice and Roller-Victorian Days - angelpig.net

Victorian roller derby

As every reader with nothing better to do will surely remember, Violet Crepuscular has left her readers wondering whether there are Picts hiding out in Scurveyshire and planning to use the ancient Pictish sport of roller derby to expel all the English out of England.

Introducing Chapter CDXI of her immortal epic romance, Oy, Rodney, Ms. Crepuscular addresses her readers thus: “Dear readers, I hope you don’t mind if I address you thus. It has become necessary for me to introduce a new character into the story: the plot cannot be carried forward without it. Without further ado, meet… Tom the Pict!”

Yes, alas, there is a Pict lurking among the gibbering masses of Scurveyshire. “You may wonder,” adds Violet, “what one measly Pict–” not a figure of speech: he really does have measles–“can do to evict the English from England. Please continue reading!”

Tom’s idea is to strike while everyone is attending the roller derby match between Plaguesby and Ulan Bator. Please don’t bother to write to Ms. Crepuscular to point out to her that Ulan Bator was certainly not called “Ulan Bator” during the Victorian Era. Her neighbor, Mr. Pitfall, flies into a rage whenever this topic is brought up.

Tom the Pict, the story continues, has successfully disguised himself as a normal person, and the measles deter anyone from getting too close. He only speaks Pictish when he talks to himself or to his pet snail, Rupert.

And everyone, but everyone, is going to be at that roller derby rink!

A Completely Unnecessary Flashback (‘Oy, Rodney’)

Oy Rodney – Lee Duigon

Introducing Chapter CDX of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney, Violet Crepuscular writes, “Dear reader, in order to fully understand Chapter CDX of my epic romance, Oy, Rodney, it is necessary for us to go back in time some fifteen hundred years. This is what we writers call a flashback. Because we’re flashing back.”

What she’s leading up to is a discourse on the Picts, “the original inhabitants of Britain, who came to this happy isle, this seat of kings, from the Solomon Islands. To this day,” she babbles, “the trained ear can detect no difference between Pictish and Solomon Islandese. They also play several of the same board games.”

What does this have to do with anything? Oh, come now–you don’t think Ms. Crepuscular would ever leave us stranded in a non sequitur, do you?

She does point out that the Picts were responsible for people in ancient Britain getting rid of their trousers and wearing kilts instead. “It is because the Picts were invertebrate thieves,” she writes. I am not sure about that word “invertebrate.” Something’s wrong with it. “Many a Roman, reaching into his pocket for a denarius, to his dismay found all his pockets empty. This happened to so many people that they started referring to their empty pockets as ‘Pict Pockets.’ Later this referred to picked pockets of Pictish populations isolated in northern Britain and West Virginia.”

You learn something new every day.

“Getting to my point,” Violet promises, “as every schoolgirl knows, roller derby was the national pastime of the Picts and their gift to the world at large. And roller derby is coming to Scurveyshire! And what, dear reader, would happen if there were picked Picts secretly hiding out on Scurveyshire, waiting for the opportunity to cast all the foreigners out of Britain? And using roller derby to do it!”

But we will have to wait for another chapter to learn the answer to that question.