Tag Archives: Willis Twombley

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.


Ms. Crepuscular’s Estonian Folk Tale (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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In Chapter CLXXXI of Violet Crepuscular’s interminable epic romance, Oy, Rodney, we get the pleasant little Estonian folk tale we were promised in Chapter CLXXX. It is intended to tide us over while Lord Jeremy Coldsore’s foot heals from being accidentally shot by the American adventurer, Willis Twombley.

We are not convinced that this is a genuine Estonian folk tale, but it will have to suffice.

Once upon a time, King Patrick of Estonia had three daughters but no sons. Needing a male successor, the king advertised in the newspapers for suitable princes to marry his daughters. Meanwhile, he questioned his daughters to see which of them loved him the most.

“I love you so much, O father of mine, that it makes my socks roll up and down,” said the eldest, Princess Jackie.

“That’s nothing,” said the second eldest, Princess Foozle. “If every ant in India brought me a gold doubloon, it still wouldn’t be enough to buy my love for you. And there are an awful lot of ants in India!” We are assured that “Foozle” is a genuine Estonian girl’s name of great antiquity, but we are at liberty not to believe it.

But the youngest, Princess Chimney, answered, “I guess I love you as much as I’m supposed to. I mean, you’re okay.” Outraged by this answer, the king marries Chimney off to a beggar with dandruff. Meanwhile, he marries Jackie to the Duke of Flatbush and Foozle to Prince Huitzilxochitl of Kizzuwatna.

(“It’s jist the kinda thing them dam’ Hittites always used to do,” interjects Twombley. “Asia Minor went to pot when they moved in.”)

The two eldest princesses turned against their father and divided up his kingdom, putting him on public assistance.

But Chimney’s husband turned out to be the Emperor of Peedle in disguise. His fantastically large army conquered Estonia and restored King Patrick to his throne, and sent the now-impoverished elder daughters and their husbands into a humiliating exile. They were last seen begging for food in Detroit.

“And that,” concludes Ms. Crepuscular, “was enough to make the king leer!”

 


The Ambassador’s Geisha Party (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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Chapter CLV of Violet Crepuscular’s epic romance, Oy, Rodney, should have told us what happened at the gala party thrown for the Japanese ambassador, Walt Dropo, at Lady Margo Cargo’s opulent drawing room. Instead, we are treated to several recipes utilizing Frothee and sauerkraut, none of which seems particularly appealing. We have to move on to Chapter CLVI to get to the party.

With the members of the Scurveyshire Ladies’ Garden Club done up as middle-aged geishas dressed like cowgirls, and square dance music played inexpertly on traditional Japanese instruments, the only hope of making this event a success lies in Willis Twombley’s strategy of getting Dropo-san roaring drunk as soon as possible. This is accomplished with terrifying ease.

“Now I demonstrate my skill with sword!” he bellows, clumsily drawing his samurai sword and laying about the decorations. Crusty the butler disapproves. Everyone else panics. Dropo-san blunders out of the house, crashing through the unopened French window and out into the night. No one seems disposed to follow him.

“I say! This is a disaster!” exclaims Lord Jeremy Coldsore.

“Guess we better catch him before he beheads somebody,” says Twombley. “Heck, this never happened at any of the parties at my royal palace.” He still thinks he is Sargon of Akkad. Flourishing his six-gun, he sets out after the Japanese ambassador. Jeremy follows. It would be a regrettable incident if Twombley were to shoot the Emperor’s favorite cousin.

It’s a dark and moonless night. Jeremy immediately loses sight of his friend. Suddenly, several shots ring out. With a sense of foreboding, Jeremy follows the sound of the gunshots–to find Twombley standing a safe distance from the vicar’s backyard wading pool.

“Too late, ol’ hoss!” says the American. “I got here jist in time to see poor Whatsisname disappearin’ under the pool, still swingin’ his sword. There was big slimy tentacles wrapped all around him, and my shootin’ didn’t do no good. He’s a goner.”

They sit down, sighing, on an antique marble bench. “I shall be hard put to explain this, old boy,” says Jeremy.

They are joined by Constable Chumley, who offers them a pull from the flask he carries under his helmet. “I throck it were mickle gree,” the constable remarks philosophically. He has been longing, for years, to deliver a philosophical remark, and now that he has the opportunity, makes the most of it.


Twombley Plays His Trump Card (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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In Chapter CXXXVI of Violet Crepuscular’s epic romance, Oy, Rodney, Willis Twombley, the American adventurer who think he’s Sargon of Akkad, visits the taproom of The Lying Tart to buy drinks for Col. Fildebert Blemish, who insists that he married Lady Margo Cargo by proxy many years ago. If his claim stands, she won’t be able to marry Twombley and Lord Jeremy Coldsore: Twombley has convinced her that he and Lord Jeremy are actually the same person, and marrying into her wealth will enable Lord Jeremy to keep possession of Coldsore Hall.

But first, for reasons known only to the author, the jolly villagers in the pub break into song, “We are jolly villagers.” Ms. Crepuscular has probably watched one too many old pirate movies.

By now Col. Blemish is well and truly tanked, and Twombley is telling jokes. Each one evokes loud belly-laughs from the colonel.

“Here, now,” says Twombley, “let me tell you the funniest joke I know. Quiet, everybody!” The villagers comply. “Are you ready for this, ol’ Fildy ol’ pal?”

“Ready and willing, Twombley–fire away!”

“All right. Now, Colonel, the first thing is, you’ve got to say ‘I am a bigamous bounder!’ Say it nice and loud, y’hear. And then I’ll say the punch line.”

The colonel burps. “Right-o, Twombley!” He clears his throat and announces, loud and clear, “I am a bigamous bounder!”

Twombley leaps to his feet. “Right! You all heard that! Col. Blemish has admitted to the crime of bigamy. He can’t marry Lady Margo Cargo! You all heard him say it!”

The crowd cheers: they don’t like the colonel. “You bigamous bounder, you!” shouts a mob of assorted laborers, scriveners, and shepherds. They begin to throw things at the colonel. He laughs uproariously until he realizes that Twombley has destroyed his claim to being Lady Margo’s lawful husband. He flees the scene, colliding with the Japanese ambassador who is just trying to enter the taproom. Trampling over him, Col. Blemish vanishes into the night.

Lord Jeremy has his doubts about this procedure. “Won’t he just come back and try again, once he sobers up?”

“Not a chance, Germy! See, I done some readin’ up on him, and he really is a bigamist. He has wed three wives!”

Jeremy sighs with relief. “So then the way is clear again,” he says, “for us to marry Lady Margo.”

“That’s about the size of it,” says Twombley–“once the vicar gets over his conniptions, that is.”


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