Tag Archives: Violet Crepuscular

A Traveling Salesman Calls (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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Now out on bail, Violet Crepuscular introduces Chapter CCCI of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney:

“Dear readers, I am out of durance vile by virtue of my editor, who paid $900 bail just before the publisher fired him. The judge ate one of my toothpaste rolls and is not only still alive, but has also expressed doubt that I have poisoned anyone on purpose. This has enabled me to continue my novel in peace!”

In this chapter, a traveling salesman named Elston The Traveling Salesman, finding Scurveyshire added to his route, visits The Lying Tart. Mr. Elston sells paper cutlery. He used to sell ordinary steel cutlery, but found that to be unworthy of his talents as a salesman. He relishes the challenge of selling paper knives and forks. His wife and children are starving, but he is unaware of that.

Having stood a round of drinks, Mr. Elston proceeds to sell several sets of deluxe paper cutlery. The locals, meanwhile, bring him up to date on Scurveyshire’s current troubles. People are still rather miffed about all those peasants being sucked under the wading pool in the vicar’s back yard.

“But this is absurd!” remarks the salesman. “Why, it would be the easiest thing in the world for all of you to get together and simply drag the pool away!”

This strikes most of the customers as a most irresponsible saying, probably motivated by an evil quirk in Mr. Elston’s character.

“That’s exactly the sort of thing a witch would say!” exclaims a jolly toper named Ernest Phinrod. In no time at all the entire company is convinced that Mr. Elston is a witch, in league with the spirit of the medieval sorcerer, Black Rodney. An impromptu taproom court immediately sentences Mr. Elston to death.

“You must not judge them too harshly,” Ms. Crepuscular admonishes her readers. “The good people of Scurveyshire do the best they can in spite of their massive ignorance. Most traveling salesmen do get out of Scurveyshire alive. Mr. Elston was merely one of the unfortunate few.”

As Scurveyshire’s Justice of the Peace, Lord Jeremy Coldsore is not informed of the incident until after it has been concluded.

“There’s likely to be a spot of trouble over this!” he muses fretfully.


Trouble in Scurveyshire (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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I am happy to report that Byron the Quokka has returned. He was not able to squeeze Ms. Crepuscular through the bars of the holding cell, but he did succeed in rescuing the manuscript, along with a note from Violet to her readers. We quote:

“My dear readers, it’s really too silly for words, my being in jail like this for the sake of a few harmless toothpaste rolls which I eat all the time and have never gotten sick! True, Mr. Pitfall ate all two dozen of them–but it wasn’t my fault, I couldn’t stop him. And it’s not like he’s died or anything! The doctors expect him to be back on his feet in just a year or two. My thanks to Byron the Whatchamacallit for saving my manuscript! The detective who read it said he would surely destroy it, as a service to world literature. Yours sincerely, Violet M. Crepuscular.” She will not tell us what the M stands for.

Moving on, we now have a Chapter CCCI of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney, which is somewhat below her usual artistic standard–or anyone else’s, for that matter. In this chapter, all of Scurveyshire, led by the few survivors of the Peasants Benevolent Assn., is in an uproar. They have assembled at Coldsore Hall to yell at Lord Jeremy.

“They’ll skedaddle, ol’ hoss, if you let me shoot a few of ’em,” offers the American adventurer, Willis Twombley. “Back home, them Elamites was always tryin’ to riot their way into my palace.” He thinks he is Sargon of Akkad. “But they always gave up when my archers started usin’ ’em for target practice.”

“I’m dashed if I can see my way to that, old boy,” expostulates (I just work here) Lord Jeremy. “If they’d just stay away from that deuced wading pool in the vicar’s back yard, they wouldn’t get sucked under it in droves.” He finally placates the mob by promising to get rid of Black Rodney, the medieval sorcerer responsible for all these objectionable happenings.

“How you gonna do that, Germy?” wonders Twombley. “Him bein’ a ghost and all, and havin’ just blown half the roof off’n your house, I mean.”

Jeremy smiles slyly. “But we now know what he’s afraid of, don’t we?” he replies. “Antimacassars! We’ll drape antimacassars over all the shire!”

Here the chapter breaks off. She had to stop writing, Byron reports, because the jailer was coming to take her for a walk. He had only time to gather up the manuscript and, as he put it, “vamoose!” The quokkas have been watching a lot of old Westerns lately.


Byron the Quokka to the Rescue!

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Imagine my dismay last night, at precisely 2:17 a.m., when my agents informed me that Violet Crepuscular has been arrested for that business with the toothpaste rolls, and her manuscript of Oy, Rodney been impounded by police. Something had to be done before the cops burned the papers.

Byron the Quokka has been sent to rescue Ms. Crepuscular–he’s sure he can get in and out of the police station, and in and out of the holding cell, without anyone seeing or hearing him–and safely retrieve the manuscript. He promises success. It seems a great-aunt of his once sprang H.G. Wells from jail.

Well, if he’s not back in another two hours, I’ll have to presume they did catch him, after all, and then find someone to rescue him.

Any volunteers?

 


That Business with the Mob of Peasants (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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Introducing Chapter CCXCIV of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney, Violet Crepuscular confides in her readers, “Let me confide in you, dear readers! I do wish Mr. Duigon had not said I was ‘in jail’! I was merely helping the police with their inquiries. They are trying to discover who, if anyone, poisoned Mr. Pitfall, and they now suspect everyone in the neighborhood–he is that unpopular. I hope they realize now that my toothpaste rolls couldn’t make anybody that sick!” She is a little miffed that none of the police officers was willing to try one himself.

Moving on to the chapter, she describes the grief and horror that overwhelmed all Scurvyshire when Mr. Percy Puce, F.R.S., the shire’s Resident Genius, disappeared below the vicar’s backyard wading pool as the result of a fall from a clandestine sliding board. Don’t ask me if that’s a suitable adjective for a sliding board. I just work here.

Provoked beyond measure, a mob of peasants armed with torches and pitchforks assembles at The Lying Tart. Why they should want torches in broad daylight is mystifying. Maybe it’s just a thing that mobs of peasants do.

“We’ll destroy the vicar’s wading pool if it’s the last thing we do!” vows the mob’s ringleader, button collecter Oswald Backdraft, Official Ringleader of the Peasants Benevolent Association. The mob rushes off to the vicar’s back yard and that’s the last anybody sees of them.

Hours later, word of the incident reaches Lord Jeremy Coldsore at Coldsore Hall, where they have just put the Marquess of Grone to bed.

“We’re going to run out of peasants at this rate!” ejaculates Lord Jeremy. (“It’s a perfectly permissible use of that verb!” insists Ms. Crepuscular. I just work here.) “Constable Chumley, you ought to have prevented this disaster!”

“Huish, M’lord, I deagle fair maundery this fleethin’,” parries the constable. He rushes off to The Lying Tart to see if he can find any clues at the bottom of a tankard of ale.

This still leaves five chapters, I think, to be written before catching up to Chapter CCC, which Ms. Crepuscular has written out of order. “I pledge myself to accomplish this,” she writes in a chapter-ending footnote, “provided I am left in peace!”


Halfway to 100,000

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What does the lizard at the control thingy have to do with this post? Admittedly nothing–I just thought it was a cool picture.

Anyhow, we’re just two or three days away from 50,000 views in 2019 so far–halfway to the goal of 100,000 views that I hope to achieve for the year.

What will I get for that? Satisfaction, I guess. But who can ever see or know what good he may be doing?

I also plan to turn Byron the Quokka loose to organize another comment contest, with the goal of 47,000 comments. Next stop, 50,000! It would be nice to end the year with 100,000 views for 2019 and 50,000 comments, all-time.

I know, I know–but who can keep from counting the sheaves? (Probably lots of people, but I’m not one of them.)

Well, that’s the state of the blog today, June 2. Now I’ve got to so see if they’re ready to let Violet Crepuscular out of jail…


That Business with the Sliding Board (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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Introducing Chapter CCXCII of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney, Violet Crepuscular writes, “I shall now indulge in a flashback, to tell you, dear readers, all about that lamentable business with the sliding board.” It isn’t really a flashback, because she is now writing chapters out of order. And her editor has not returned her phone calls.

It seems that Scurveyshire’s resident genius, Percy Puce, F.R.S., the Resident Genius, has deduced that although considerable danger lurks below the vicar’s backyard wading pool, “Up on top, within the pool, one is perfectly safe. If only one had some means of entering the water without coming too close to the edge of the pool, one would be able to enjoy a refreshing swim.” The water in the pool is less than a foot deep, but Mr. Puce has some unusual ideas about swimming.

In the dead of night, Percy has workmen come and erect a sliding board just a few feet from the pool. They are too drunk to contemplate the danger of this enterprise. With the sliding board in place, the genius scrambles up the ladder, pauses for a moment at the top to strike an heroic pose, then races down the board as fast as his legs can carry him. “He has learned this trick by observing his pet hamster,” Ms. Crepuscular confides in the reader.

Alas, he slips on the ramp, his feet shoot out from under him, and his body describes an impressive arc through the air as he lands with a crash on his coccyx.

The sliding board itself slides under the pool and disappears. Howling with pain, Mr. Percy Puce disappears, too. The appalling character of the scene penetrates the workmen’s drunken haze and they rush back to The Lying Tart to tell the tale and quaff more ale.

Ms. Crepuscular is interrupted in her artistic endeavors by two police officers pounding on her door.

Editor’s note: I couldn’t find a suitable picture of someone taking a running start and then falling off a sliding board. It isn’t done that often.


One of the Skipped Chapters of ‘Oy, Rodney’

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Turn we now unto one of the chapters skipped over by Violet Crepuscular in her mad rush to Chapter CCC of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney. Constable Chumley, with Lord Jeremy Coldsore, the American adventurer Willis Twombley, and Johnno the Merry Minstrel peering over his shoulder, at the start of Chapter CCXCIII, is picking the lock so they can search the attic of Coldsore Hall for the missing Marquess of Grone, Lord Cromleigh or whatever his name is. Sheesh, what a sentence!

“Yeer, us’ll see now,” Chumley mutters, “that’s a fithul bricken yairst…”

Click! The door is unlocked. The constable begins to turn the knob–

“By Jove, the attic’s the only place where we haven’t put in any antimacassars to fend off the spirit of Black Rodney,” Johnno is about to point out. But before he can admonish Chumley to be careful, a tremendous explosion nearly hurls the whole group back down the stairs. “Kaboom!” writes Ms. Crepuscular. “I have always found, in describing an explosion, that ‘Kaboom!’ is preferable to ‘Blasto!’ or ‘Boom!'”

When the smoke clears, the door is hanging from a single hinge and half the roof of Coldsore Hall has been blown off. Lord Jeremy, briefly contemplating the cost of repairing it, faints. Twombley just manages to grab him before he tumbles down the appallingly long flight of stairs.

“We never put any antimacassars in the attic,” Johnno remarks.

“A little late for that, ol’ hoss!” parries Twombley.

The constable’s helmet has disappeared, his uniform is in tatters, his hair disarranged, and his face awash with soot. “He looks rather like Wile E. Coyote after one of those Acme sticks of dynamite blows up in his face,” writes Ms. Crepuscular, in an intimate aside, “but of course I can’t mention that because it would be an anachronism.”

The attic is now in considerable disarray. If the missing peer is there, does he still live?

“I shall divulge that in the next chapter, breaking off here to heighten the suspense,” writes Ms. Crepuscular. She has forgotten that this has already been divulged by her writing Chapter CCC before Chapter CCXCII. So there’s no suspense to speak of.


The Missing Peer (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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I fear Violet Crepuscular has been eating too many of her own toothpaste rolls. Chapter CCXCI of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney, suggests that maybe these confections are not quite as good for you as might be hoped.

With Lord Gromleigh, Marquess of Grone, still missing, Lord Jeremy Coldsore summons Constable Chumley–but he seems to be missing, too.

“Fear not, dear reader,” writes Ms. Crepuscular. “I know where he is. It’s the writer’s responsibility to know more than the characters.” Especially these characters.

Totally captivated by his study of moles, the constable has joined the Greater Scurveyshire Mole Study Club. Imagine his disappointment when it turns out to be just another one of those clubs whose members do nothing but sit around and brag about how difficult their lives have been.

“I went to a school where they used to make us do everything backwards. We tried to tunnel out of it, but we only succeeded in tunneling back in!”

“When I was born, my mother sold me to a fisherman to use as bait. And she only got sixpence for me!”

“You think you’ve got troubles? My wife has no nose!” And so on.

Meanwhile, Lord Jeremy’s wedding to Lady Margo Cargo cannot possibly be held as long as a peer of the realm is lost somewhere in Coldsore Hall. After failing to find him anywhere else, Johnno the Merry Minstrel proposes to search the attic.

“I don’t know about that,” Lord Jeremy says. “No one has been up there since Lord Hucklebutt went in 1673–and he was never entirely rational afterward. Eventually he had to be put down. Besides, no one has the key.”

“But Germy,” interposes the American adventurer, Willis Twombley, “ain’t it a well-known fact that nobody’s better than ol’ Chumley when it comes to pickin’ locks? He’ll get in, if anyone can.”

“I have ordered peasants with torches and pitchforks to search the shire for the constable,” declares Jeremy.

“And that, dear reader, is where we must let it stand for the nonce,” Ms. Crepuscular confides in the reader. “You really ought to try those toothpaste rolls. They’re wonderful with catsup.”


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.”


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