Tag Archives: Violet Crepuscular

Lord Jeremy’s Shameful Secret (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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In Chapter CCLXXXIV of Violet Crepuscular’s epic romance, Oy, Rodney, Lord Jeremy Coldsore hosts a formal dinner for his Aunt, Lady Petunia, and her husband Lord Gromleigh, the Marquess of Grone. Also at the table we find Jeremy’s friend, the American adventurer Willis Twombley, and their fiancee, Lady Margo Cargo. They are served by Lady Margo’s crusty old butler, Crusty, Lord Jeremy’s butler having mysteriously disappeared, probably under the wading pool in the vicar’s back yard.

“The problem with aged relatives who knew you as a child,” Ms. Crepuscular confides in her readers, “is that they know things about you that will embarrass you if they trot them out in company. Alas for Lord Jeremy, he is about to be subjected to this.”

Having quaffed at least a quart of imported Philistine wine, Lady Petunia is in a festive mood and prone to reminisce.

“I remember one time when Jeremy was only four or five years old, and I was minding him while his mother and father went to Brighton to see The Four Churls play unfamiliar musical instruments. Poor little Jeremy came down with an earache, and I had to summon Dr. Flabb (I’m sure you must remember him, dear–he had the most unsightly nose in Britain), who prescribed some ear drops.

“Well, he had little Jeremy bend sideways so he could drip the drops into his ear. And imagine our surprise when the drops came right out the other ear! Dr. Flabb couldn’t believe his eyes! ‘Why, this child has no brain!’ he cried. ‘His head is completely empty!’ Oh, Jeremy, you remember how terribly funny that was!”

Jeremy cringes hypnotically. He does not think it was funny.

“No wonder he’s such a fool!” grumbles Crusty.

“Aunt, that story isn’t true!” Jeremy cries.

“Let me have a look, there, Germy,” Twombley says, leaning in his chair to peer into Jeremy’s ear. Jeremy pushes him away. Mortified beyond words, he suddenly leaps from his chair and flees the dining room.

“I thought we were going to have kippers,” mutters the marquess. “Not this muck.”

Lady Margo is aghast. She does not know whether she can, in good conscience, marry a man without a brain. “It might be catching!” she thinks.

“I now draw the curtain on this pitiable scene,” concludes Ms. Crepuscular. “We all have childhood secrets that we wish would stay buried forever. I certainly am not going to tell you mine.”


The Return of Lady Margo (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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Violet Crepuscular opens Chapter CCLXXIV of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney, with a Homeric flourish: “Just as rosy-fingered Dawn was parting the velvet curtains of the night, Lady Margo Cargo has arrived at the front door of her palatial country house. I have always wanted to use that particular Homeric touch. If only I could find a way to use ‘the wine-dark sea’!”

If you are wondering what became of the two intervening chapters, I cannot find them in my copy of the book. No pages have been torn out. It’s a mystery.

At the end of her strength, after having to hop on one foot all the way, and struggling out of the dreaded Scurveyshire Fens after escaping from the Plaguesby jail, Lady Margo finds she cannot stand up to open the door. She has to wait for two hours on the stoop before Crusty the crusty old butler opens the front door and finds her.

“You stupid old cow!” he cries. “Where have you been? We thought you were under the vicar’s backyard wading pool. What a nuisance you are!” The warmth of his greeting quite overcomes her. She is covered head to foot in thick black mud, so the fact that he has recognized her is a point in his favor.

“Help me into my bath, Crusty,” she gasps.

The bath being upstairs, lugging her up the grand spiral staircase practically kills him. With his last ounce of strength he rolls her into the tub, then crawls back to his butler’s pantry to recover. “I’d like some water, Crusty!” she cries. But he’s too worn-out to pay any attention.

“I really must pause here,” Ms. Crepuscular confides in her readers, “to confide in you, dear readers! My neighbor, the erratic Mr. Pitfall, now insists that he and I are man and wife. Really, it’s just too much! I am sure I never married him, but now he’s in my kitchen breaking dishes! Something tells me his eccentricities may be getting out of hand. Steps will have to be taken, I fear.”

A Knight Visitor (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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In Chapter CCLXVIII of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney–with Constable Chumley’s rescue expedition still wandering around somewhere under the vicar’s backyard wading pool–Violet Crepuscular brings a new character into the picture.

Sir Henry Smedley-Foover, the adult pull-toy magnate, has been knighted by the Queen in recognition of the fantastic amount of money he’s made, devising and selling pull-toys for adults. His motto is, “Why should kids have all the fun?” It is rumored that the Queen herself is now the proud owner of a Foover Megalosaurus pull-toy, illustrated below. This is the only illustration in the book so far, so we must make the most of it.

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As you can see, it doesn’t have its wheels yet, to say nothing of the stout marine cable by which it must be pulled. It takes at least 20 strong, healthy men to pull this rather large toy over level ground. There are smaller models, of course, but the full-size dinosaur pull-toys are the Foover Company’s trademark.

Sir Henry is intrigued by the current crisis which preoccupies all Scurveyshire. “If only I had arrived here sooner!” he laments to Lord Jeremy Coldsore, whose bride, Lady Margo Cargo, is the person in need of rescue. In reality–if we may use that word in this context–Lady Margo is not and never has been under the wading pool. Having escaped from the Plaguesby Jail, she is currently trying to make her way through the miry Fens of Scurveyshire, hopping on one foot all the way because she has lost her upholstered wooden leg. But no one in Scurveyshire Village knows that.

“What would you have done, Sir Henry, had you been here?” Lord Jeremy asks. He doesn’t like adult pull-toys.

“I could have offered one of my pull-toys as a sacrifice to whatever evil entity lurks under the wading pool, my lord. Even evil entities like pull-toys! May I recommend my life-size Iguanodon pull-toy? You could offer it in exchange for your bride. I’ll let you pay for it in installments!”

Meanwhile, what of Constable Chumley and his bearers and askaris?

“They are facing unimaginable perils which I’m having difficulty imagining,” she confides in her readers, “but I am sure one of my subsequent chapters will prove to be worth waiting for.”

She pleads with us to continue reading.

‘Beware!’ (Oy, Rodney)

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“Now that the story makes sense,” writes Violet Crepuscular, we can proceed to Chapter CCXXXVIII of her epic romance novel, Oy, Rodney, in which Lord Jeremy Coldsore and his friend, the American adventurer Willis Twombley, prepare for their wedding to Lady Margo Cargo–who thinks they are the same person, and is troubled when she sees them together.

“It gets awfully confusing sometimes, Sargon, dear,” she confides to Twombley, who believes himself to be Sargon of Akkad.

“Don’t you worry your pretty little head about it, darlin’,” he replies. “It’s only ancient Akkadian magic, which I got to do because there’s a lot of Babylonian secret agents after me. Jist remember that I’m only Sargon when I’m me.” This answer satisfies her. Whether it satisfies the reader or not remains in question.

But wait! Lord Jeremy has received a cryptic warning from the Wise Woman of the Woods–written in Old Estonian, for security’s sake. Twombley translates:

“Dear Lord Jeremy, how are you? I am fine. It’s me, the Wise Woman of the Woods.

“Beware the wedding guest who has only one buttock. He will put a curse on your marriage! You must take decisive action to stop him.”

Responding with alacrity (a word I seldom get to use), Lord Jeremy orders Constable Chumley to arrest everyone in Scurveyshire who has only one buttock. “Frae the decken with a crooster, m’lord,” replies the constable. He makes a beeline for the pub, The Lying Tart.

“Unless I am much mistaken,” says Lord Jeremy, “this is more of Black Rodney’s work. But it ought to be pretty easy to find a man with one buttock.”

“I knew a man like that in Dodge City,” Twombley recalls, “but I bet it ain’t him.”

Ms. Crepuscular concludes the chapter with a recipe for wood.


A Book to Avoid

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Violet Crepuscular, celebrated author of the epic romance, Oy, Rodney, has another book out which I urge you to avoid. It is unworthy of her.

In Nazrat of the Moles, the infant son of an English lord and lady, orphaned when his parents are attacked and eaten by hedgehogs, is adopted by a family of moles and taught how to live underground. That means no one ever sees him. And he makes quite a mess of the neighborhood’s lawns.

Nazrat has many of adventures as he pursues earthworms and beetle grubs, runs into a lot of stubborn tree-roots, and eventually rises to become chief of the moles.

His idyllic existence is disrupted when a party of homeless Swedish nobles gets lost in the suburban subdivision in which he lives. As he tries to protect them from the hedgehogs, Nazrat falls in love with the Swedish mole-ology professor’s daughter, Janie. I am not convinced there is such a word as mole-ology.

Nazrat teaches Janie how to burrow, and she joins him in his underground life. Now no one sees her anymore, either.

Really, Violet–how could you?

Ms. Crepuscular’s Note to the Reader (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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We are startled by Chapter CCVIII of Violet Crepuscular’s epic romance, Oy, Rodney, in which she sets aside the story and addresses the reader as “a fellow pilgrim on the long road of making sense of a world full of biscuits.” It goes downhill from there.

“Dear Reader,” she writes, “it has come to my attention that, in my efforts to present this epic tale, I have neglected its beginning. This will never do. And so, while we wait for Lord Jeremy Coldsore to learn how to get around on two left feet, the result of a misapplied regime of one-legged jumping jacks intended to cure the gunshot wound in his right foot, I find I must backtrack. So without further ado, I offer this.”

Chapter IA. How Lord Jeremy Coldsore Came to Befriend Willis Twombley

Willis Twombley, a globe-trotting American adventure who believes himself to be Sargon of Akkad, has occasion to pass through Scurveyshire, where he stops for several invigorating drinks at the local pub, The Lying Tart. He is soon joined at his table by Lord Jeremy Coldsore, master of Coldsore Hall, scion of a family that obtained noble rank just in time for the Crusades.

“I say, old chap,” opens Jeremy, “if you don’t mind my saying so, you look a bit down in the mouth. One should never drink alone, you know. Permit me to keep you company, to buy you another tankard of rich brown Scurveyshire ale, and listen to whatever you care to tell me. I perceive by your barbarous accent that you are an American. I am Lord Jeremy Coldsore, of Coldsore Hall.”

“Pleased to meetcha, Germy. Willis Twombley, that’s my name–but only temporary, like. Ditto my being an American.” Twombley’s eyes twinkle in a way that would move anyone else to find an excuse to leave suddenly. He lowers his voice. “Fact is, I’m really Sargon of Akkad, a great king. And not thinkin’ it enough that they stole my throne out from under me, those dadburned Babylonians are tryin’ to plant me six feet under.”

“Good heavens,” says Jeremy.

“They been followin’ me everywhere. They almost caught me in a crummy little place called Peedle, somewheres between Russia and Portugal. Had to shoot my way out. I came here because there ain’t never been no Babylonians seen in your neck o’ the woods. I need a rest!”

Impulsively, Jeremy invites the Akkadian/American to stay a few days at Coldsore Hall. “I’m in rather a sticky situation myself, old thing. The only company I ever get anymore is creditors. My ancestors left me with a lot of unpaid debts, and the creditors are trying to take over Coldsore Hall, ancient suits of armor and all. So I can certainly sympathize with you, losing a whole kingdom and all.”

“Germy, I believe I’ll take you up on that!” Twombley drains the tankard in one gulp. “Maybe we can sort of help each other. I’ve had a lot of experience discouragin’ varmints who want to grab your home sweet home.” He twitches his threadbare drover’s overcoat to reveal a pair of massive six-guns holstered to his belt.

“And that, Dear Reader, is how it all began!” writes Ms. Crepuscular. She goes on to complain about an editor who tore up her manuscript and threatened to have her arrested.

‘Oy, Rodney’ Slammed for *C*u*l*t*u*r*a*l* Appropriation (!)

As if any of this were my fault, the Violet Crepuscular Society of Central Africa has hit this blog with a demand that we cease and desist all Oy, Rodney posts already. It seems these are a flagrant example of Cultural Appropriation.

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The violet crepuscular skipper butterfly

How so? Well, there is a butterfly in Africa called the “violet crepuscular skipper”–honest, you could look it up (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gretna_carmen). And for Violet Crepuscular to call herself Violet Crepuscular without the consent of the Violet Crepuscular Society of Central Africa and its chapters in the Ivory Cost, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic (yeah, right) of the Congo, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, and Zambia is, according to the Society, “the worst example we have ever seen of very bad behavior.”

I don’t know what will happen if I continue to publish Oy, Rodney. Nor do I know what will happen if I stop, other than Ms. Crepuscular getting somewhat cross with me. I’ve got to ponder the situation, as Rocky Graziano used to say.

Stay tuned.

Lady Margo’s Dilemma (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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From Violet Crepuscular’s Introductory Note to Chapter CCI of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney:

“I, like you, dear reader, am perplexed that Lord Jeremy Coldsore’s injured foot won’t heal, thus preventing his marriage to Lady Margo Cargo, who isn’t getting any younger! Nor can she marry Willis Twombley, who, overcome by regret for having accidentally shot his friend, is now too soused to marry anyone. We join Lady Margo now in her sitting room, confiding with Oswin the Crayfish in his newly-upholstered aquarium…”

Lady Margo had expected more sympathy from Oswin. “Whatever shall I do?” she cries. “Oh, I could always marry Crusty, I mean Adelbert–but he is my butler, dagnabbit, and I’m not in love with him!” Oswin only waves his claws in a most unsympathetic fashion.

Why won’t Lord Jeremy’s foot heal? He has been doing his level best to try to follow Dr. Fanabla’s regime of an hour of one-legged jumping jacks every day. Finally the shipment of earth from the grave of a regicide arrives from the supply house in Ohio, and every morning, and every night at bedtime, some of it is sprinkled on Lord Jeremy’s wounded foot. The foot looks just awful. Twombley sadly shakes his head.

“I dunno, ol’ hoss–it looks to me like you’re a-headin’ for the last roundup.” Twombley sighs, then hiccups, then belches. “I’m afraid the only chance you got is if you cut it off. Want me to go git my Bowie knife?”

Before he can answer, a mysterious stranger bursts into the room. This one is not any of the mysterious strangers who have appeared earlier in the book. This one looks suspiciously like a well-known game show host. He flourishes a small cloth bag, waving it all about, and shouts “Aha! Aha!”

“Who the deuce are you?” cries Jeremy. Twombley reaches for his gun but is too drunk to find it.

“Never mind who I am!” cries the stranger. “What’s important is this!” He shakes the bag for all he’s worth. “Do you know what this is?” They don’t know, so he tells them. “It’s a cuss bag! Concealed right here in Coldsore Hall, Lord Jeremy–right up there on the lintel of the door to this very room! A cuss bag! That’s why your foot’s not healing. A powerful witch or sorcerer doesn’t want it to heal!”

“What’s in that cuss bag?” demands Twombley.

“Just odds and ends that would be of no use except to one highly skilled in malediction–torn-up baseball cards, bellybutton lint from a baker who has lost his bakery, and a few things which I will not mention in print!” This comes as a shock: neither Jeremy nor Twombley had any notion they were in print.

“But who would put a cuss bag at my door?” wails Jeremy.

The mysterious stranger who looks like a game show host takes a step closer, looks all around the room to make sure he cannot be overheard, lowers his voice a full octave, and whispers clandestinely:

“Black Rodney!”


The Great Horn of Pokesleigh (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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“I have anticipated great interest in the origins and history of the Great Horn of Pokesleigh,” writes Violet Crepuscular, introducing Chapter CLXXXV of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney. In Chapter CLXXXIV, the village blacksmith blew the horn to disperse a dangerous peasant revolt throughout Scurveyshire.

“The Great Horn of Pokesleigh has been kept by the smiths of Scurveyshire–real smiths, I mean, not just people named Smith–since the year 818 A.D., when King Alfred the Great gave it to Mandrake, First Earl of Scurveyshire. He was also the last earl, as the result of a tragic accident with gumballs, and the Horn was left in his will to Horny Tom the Blacksmith, to make up for unpaid bills.

“Throughout history the Horn has been blown to ward off dire emergencies. It is said William the Conqueror was deathly afraid of it. Before the incident described so vividly in Chapter CLXXXIV of my epic romance, Oy, Rodney, the last time the horn was blown was in 1678, to end a plague of click beetles.

“The Horn is said to be a genuine prehistoric woolly rhinoceros horn overlaid with pure gold contributed by the Saxon Ladies’ Garden Club in 993 and engraved with mystic pictures of centaurs, unicorns, and strangely disturbing not-quite-human faces. It takes a mighty man to blow it, and he will never be the same afterward. In 1484, blacksmith Big Ned Wigwam blew it to avert a catastrophic battle in the Wars of the Roses and was hanged by Richard III, who had had big plans for that battle. Other smiths came to equally bad ends. This has discouraged them from blowing the horn just to whoop it up for New Year’s.”

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All of this is very interesting, but it does nothing to get Lord Jeremy Coldsore’s foot healed so he can marry Lady Margo Cargo.

Meanwhile, the complete re-upholstering of Lady Margo’s sprawling country house continues, despite some over-zealousness on the part of the upholsterers. An attempt to upholster the aquarium housing Oswin the Crayfish had to be vetoed at the last minute, before any real damage could be done.

We are not told what “Pokesleigh” is or was.

‘Oy, Rodney’ Author Arrested!

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Violet Crepuscular, author of the classic romance novel, Oy, Rodney, has been arrested by the Global Literary Authority on an assortment of really serious charges.

“She’s obviously guilty, so there’s no need for a trial,” said a GLA commissar whose identity was concealed under a hood.

Guilty of what? Well, here are some of the charges: Practicing literature without a license; failure to include a Full Spectrum of Gender-Diverse Characters in her novel; being white; and Climate Change Denial. Each one carries the death penalty.

Meanwhile, the GLA intends to “erase” her works. “We plan to track down and buy back all six copies of Oy, Rodney and burn them,” said the commissar. We think it might be Loretta Lynch in  her new job.

Ms. Crepuscular was not allowed to comment on her arrest, but she is rumored to have been rather put out about it.

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