We have finally received Chapter DXXXVI of Violent Crepuscular’s epic romance, Oy, Rodney. Nothing happens in this chapter. We must move on to Chapter DXXXVII.
You may recall that Lord Jeremy Coldsore, who is engaged to be married to Lady Margo Cargo, has suddenly fallen violently in love with some character whom he has named “Micropora” and who, if she existed today, might easily be mistaken for a plastic lawn ornament. This unsettles Willis Twombley, the American adventurer who thinks he’s Sargon of Akkad: Lady Margo believes he and Lord Jeremy are the same person.
“This sort of thing happened all the time in the 1850s,” writes Ms. Crepuscular, the Queen of Suspense. “You have to know about these things if you’re going to be queen of anything.”
Twombley attempts to revive Jeremy’s honor. “Look here, Germy!” he argues persuasively. “I need that marriage! I’m jist about flat busted, but Lady Margo’s the richest widow in all Scurveyshire. You can’t back out of it jist ’cause you fell for I dunno what! Folks’ll think you’re a snake in the grass.”
This cabilitates Lord Jeremy. “You’re right, old boy!” quoth he. “What kind of a cad would leave dear Lady Margo in the lurch? I challenge him to a duel! I will meet him on the field of honor, sabers at the ready!”
“Yes, yes, I know!” Ms. Crepuscular concludes. “He has challenged himself to a duel–and he dare not back out! And that’s what I call suspense!”
We can hardly wait to hear the rest of it.
Violet Crepuscular, “the Queen of Suspense,” seems to be still a bit waterlogged from that ducking she received in Ongs Hat, NJ. Here we’ve been waiting, chapter after chapter, hundreds of chapters, for Lord Jeremy Coldsore to marry Scurveyshire’s richest widow, Lady Margo Cargo.
But here, in Chapter DXXXV of her immortal romance, Oy, Rodney, she has shocked us, amazed us, knocked us for a loop.
For Lord Jeremy has fallen in love–and not with his fiancee.
Here’s where the skullful of water comes in. Lord Jeremy has fallen in love with a damsel named Micropora (not her real name; he has imagined this one). If these events were set in 2023 instead of 18-something, Micropora would be a plastic lawn ornament. A garden gnome. Here she’s Jeremy Coldsore’s sudden passion. Which does not rule our her being a garden gnome… but this whole business is–I don’t know. Regrettable?
The American adventurer, Willis Twombley, is also engaged to be married to Lady Margo. She thinks he and Lord Jeremy are the same person and gets nervous when they’re all in a room together. Her solution is to stay out of rooms.
Ms. Crepuscular addresses her readers: “Make sure to be here next week,” she says, “so you can find out what Mr. Twombley says!”
If that ain’t suspense, I don’t know what is.
It is my sad duty to report that Violet Crepuscular, the Queen of Suspense and author of the epic romance novel, Oy, Rodney, was punished this past week with 15 minutes in the ducking stool–for allowing a freakin’ commercial [For Frothee Creme… “Now you can always get a head!”] in the middle of Chapter DXXXI. This archaic punishment has been outlawed everywhere in the world except for Ongs Hat, New Jersey. She had the misfortune to be passing through there on Wednesday, and the local beadle recognized her from a dream and swiftly arrested her. Trial and sentence were carried out immediately after: they don’t putter around in Ongs Hat.
(The famous “sturgeon’s photograph” of the Ongs Hat ducking stool in action
All of which gets us, somehow, to Chapter DXXXIV. The Frothing Dragon of Scurveyshire is frothing all over Scurveyshire and damaging potentially valuable real estate.
“Dadburn it!” expostulates the American adventurer, Willis Twombley. “If I shot that critter once, I shot him 20 times! And all I got to show for it is, up to my knees in froth!”
Here Ms. Crepuscular takes a break to talk about her ducking.
“You could drown, y’know–you really could! Do you know they left me underwater for the whole 15 minutes–while they went over to the diner for hot dogs? I have a good mind to sue them!”
So… What happens in Chapter DXXXIV? To say nothing of Chapters DXXXII and DXXXIII. Anyone can write blank chapters!
Maybe they didn’t dunk her long enough.
Our thanks to Mr. Pitfall, who held Violet Crepuscular’s feet to the fire until she agreed to drop Squire Oochy from the epic tale of romance and suspense, her magnum opus, Oy, Rodney.
“All right, all right!” she screamed, as her stockings smoldered. “He’s just some guy, okay? The dragon frothed his greenhouse. You’ll never hear of him again–I promise!”
And so we advance into Chapter DXXXI without Squire Oochy. What we have, instead, is the Frothing Dragon dropping froth all over Scurveyshire, sort of like a cosmic Frothee incident.
Have you tried FROTHEE (TM), the original all-purpose “Creamy Head”? FROTHEE goes on anywhere–mixed drinks, Kool-Aid, or even just a glass of beer that’s gone flat–you can ALWAYS “Get A Head!” with FROTHEE! Ask any bartending professional–
[Editor: Stop this at once! Has the woman gone completely mad–sticking a lousy commercial into the middle of her book? By Jove, I’ll set the dogs on her! I’ll… Editor is carried off by two attendants.]
Holy cow, we seem to have lost our bearings. “All Scurveyshire is now knee-deep in froth,” writes Ms. Crepuscular. “Johnno the Merry Minstrel argues that an Age of Froth is about to overtake the world.” We are not told with whom he argues.
And here the chapter breaks–with a promise of more suspense next week.
You think it’s easy, being this woman’s editor? Hah! All week long, she’s been sulking. A customer review on some Charlie High-school website called her “Violet Corpuscle” and she couldn’t deal with it.
Nevertheless, somehow Chapter DXXX of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney, has gotten written. Let Ms. Crepuscular (not Corpuscle) introduce it.
“I am proud to be introducing Chapter DXXX of my epic romance, Oy, Rodney,” she gestures hypnotically, like Mandrake the Magician. For her it doesn’t work.
We were expecting the Frothing Dragon of Scurveyshire in this chapter, and for once we got just what we asked for. The Dragon comes out from under the wading pool in the vicar’s back yard and starts frothing all over the place. Lord Jeremy Coldsore and Willis Twombley, the American adventurer who thinks he is Sargon of Akkad, watch in stunned horror.
“Germy, we got to do somethin’ about this!” says Twombley, balancing his six-gun on a fingertip. This makes Lord Jeremy uneasy. He has already been shot in one foot and has no desire for the experience to be repeated. Meanwhile, Squire Oochy’s greenhouse is buried under dragon-froth.
“Who the devil’s Squire Oochy?” Jeremy wonders.
“Suspense!” exults Ms. Crepuscular. “Tune in next week to find out who the devil’s Squire Oochy!”
Violet Crepuscular, the Queen of Suspense, has issued a warning to readers preparing to tackle Chapter DXXX of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney.
“I wish to warn readers preparing to tackle Chapter DXXX of my epic romance, Oy, Rodney,” she writes, sounding more than a little like the rejected version of Gilgamesh. “Honestly, this chapter is not for the faint-hearted! After hearing just two paragraphs of it, poor Mr. Pitfall fainted.”
Was there something about a monster in the vicar’s backyard wading pool? Was there a reason why everything in Scurveyshire froze but the surface of the pool?
“We must first repair to Constable Chumley’s house,” she continues. If that’s the verb for it. “Here he has forgotten how to tie his shoes. And who can he ask? What a dilemma!”
What bunk. What about the monster in the pool? No wonder this book is DXXX chapters long!
In her own defense, Ms. Crepuscular writes, “It is, of course, The Frothing Dragon of Scurveyshire coming back to life as the result of a medieval curse laid on the shire by the evil necromancer, Black Rodney. But the characters in my story don’t know this! I’ll have to break it to them gently.”
She’s hoping we don’t notice that nothing has happened in this chapter. As for the title, you guess is as good as mine.
I couldn’t get a picture of Ms. Crepuscular, so here’s Ms. Whatsername from our Registration Office instead.
Rejoice! Huzzah! Wahoo! Quokka University has added a BIG name to our English faculty! How big? ya say. Eleven letters big, sez I! C-R-E-P-U-S-C-U-L-A-R! As in Violet Crepuscular, author of the epic romance, Oy, Rodney. Winner of the Big Good Writership Award!
Ms. Crepuscular will be teaching “How Write Good 101,” if we ever get a classroom for it, and also teaching our kitchen staff how to make toothpaste-filled cupcakes. As soon as we get a kitchen. A lot of quokkas don’t bother to cook their leaves before eating them.
Advance copies of Oy, Rodney are available through the French Embassy at popular prices, if you don’t mind paying in Euros. Aunt Foozy says Euros make your paws smell funny.
“As any schoolboy might expect,” writes Violet Crepuscular, the Queen of Suspense, in Chapter DXXVIII of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney, “Scurveyshire has its share of cold snaps!” The exclamation point is added to make it more suspenseful. Read all about in in Violet Crepuscular’s manual, How to Write Good ($22.98 plus postage).
Ah! But what no one expects is that during this horribly cold snap, the water in the Vicar’s backyard wading pool has not frozen over! (More suspense.) And late that chilly night, peering out her bedroom window with binoculars to see if anyone is daft enough to be running around with no clothes on, Lady Margo Cargo, sweeping her lenses back and forth over the forbidding arctic landscape, suddenly spots the ungainly monstrous head of a monster popping up from the water in the middle of the pool. But when she sweeps back, the head is gone… with only a few baseball cards left floating on the surface.
If only the telephone had been invented already! She could roust Constable Chumley out of bed to come over and investigate. She could rouse her crusty butler, Crusty, but he has threatened to shoot her if she wakes him. You can only get so much mileage out of being the richest widow in Scurveyshire.
Here the chapter ends abruptly, doubtless to build suspense. Please don’t ask what happened to Chapter DXXVII. There are some things mankind was never meant to know.
“I have always felt,” writes Violet Crepuscular, introducing Chapter DXXVI of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney, “that no epic romance is worth its salt without a massive invasion of terrifying, lethal insects. Like these… the infamous bare-faced hornet–”
Wait! Stop! Foul! [Cue harshly blowing referee’s whistle] What’s with the killer insects? Last week it was The Seven Sleepers of Scurvey Forest–you promised to wrap that up, didn’t you? (I am on the point of resigning as her editor.) D’you know what I’d say to you, if we were face to face? “I’m on the point of resigning as your editor!” That’s what I’d say.
[Enter new editor who knows nothing about Oy, Rodney and doesn’t care. He wants to be a steeplechase jockey, once he loses that extra 150 pounds.]
We take up the chapter with Johnno the Merry Minstrel wandering through the forest, singing a madrigal about Davy Crockett. The Seven Sleepers have already been awakened and turned to dust. It happened too fast to be described. [The new editor lets her get away with this.] Johnno intends to compose a new madrigal about Davy Crockett and the Seven Sleepers. He already has a working title for it: Davy Crockett and the Seven Sleepers.
“Well, that’s about all I’ve had time to write this week,” the Queen of Suspense confides in her readers. At last count there were twelve of them. “Trust me, I haven’t forgotten about the rhinoceros cocoon! But the tale must be told in orderly stages.”
Violet Crepuscular, the Queen of Suspense, opens Chapter DXXV of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney, with these grim words.
Doom. Extinction. Ruin. Phosphate.
“Okay, that’s enough grim words,” she concludes. “On with the story!”
Scurveyshire, deluded into thinking the rhinoceros has gone away when really all it’s doing is sleeping behind Dr. Weezle’s chicken coop, this year celebrated New Year’s Eve with a colossal explosion at Tony Pow’s Fireworks Emporium. It was so loud, in fact… that it woke the legendary Seven Sleepers in the heart of Scurvey Forest.
The what? The who?
“This goes back to the Dawn Of Time,” Ms. Crepuscular explains–“before King Arthur first wore pants, before Julius Caesar ever tasted prunes. According to Geoffrey of Monmouth, the Seven Sleepers fell asleep listening to Merlin’s rival, Hyman Diddlewits, give a lecture on ‘Fallacies of Pictish Architectural Theory.’ It is said that if the Sleepers ever wake, the land will suffer a catastrophe.”
Legend also has it that the Sleepers will turn into dust the moment they wake up.
“I will describe that distressing scene for you once I have my loins properly girded,” our author promises.