The Crayfish Food Controversey (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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“I have remembered my promise to provide a further elucidation of Scurveyshire’s increasingly volatile crayfish food kerfuffle,” writes Violet Crepuscular, introducing Chapter CCCLXXXIII of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney.

“The heart of the matter,” she explains, “is Slo-Gro Crayfish Snax vs. Go-Gro Crayfish Treats. Crusty the butler meant to buy Go-Gro, but Mr. Samuel Heathen sold him Slo-Gro. The matter, when put before Lord Jeremy Coldsore as justice of the peace, proved too stressful for the injured master of Coldsore Hall–you will remember that he recently fell down from a rather tall tree–and produced a deep swoon. I never meant to suggest that it was Lady Margo Cargo’s pet crayfish, Oswin, who swooned. I do not believe crayfish are able to faint. No–it was Lord Jeremy himself!”

Before Lord Jeremy can be brought back to a conscious state, all of Scurveyshire has taken sides in the controversy and several brawls have broken out at The Lying Tart. Slo-Gro partisans have nothing on the Go-Gro faction: both are equally ready to resort to fisticuffs. It has made the American adventurer, Willis Twombley, homesick for Dodge City. “There ain’t nothin’ more upliftin’ than a good saloon fight,” he says.

Lord Jeremy revives to find himself confronted with a string of riots. “It’s froothin’ yair grommet, m’lord,” sagely remarks Constable Chumley.

In what can only be described as inspiration, Lord Jeremy finds a solution. “Cut the bloomin’ crayfish in half and feed one half with Slo-Gro and the other half with Go-Gro,” he declares. This pleases nobody. “Alas,” opines Ms. Crepuscular, “this is often the way with truly groundbreaking ideas.”

At this point Oswin the Crayfish faints, after all: and the Royal Crayfish Society calls for an emergency meeting to discuss it.

The Crayfish Food Hullabaloo (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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In Chapter CCCLXXXII of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney (we are not told what happened to Chapter CCCLXXXI–must’ve been a non-starter), Violet Crepuscular reveals that the two rival Scotland Yard detectives have succeeded in framing each other for the theft of the locomotive. Both are carted off to Newgate Prison, and Lord Jeremy finally comes down from the tree where he’s been hiding. All we are told about that is, “He came down like rain.” Only raindrops don’t wind up swathed in bandages from head to toe.

Constable Chumley is interrupted in dictating his memoirs to the Wise Woman of the Gaol by a controversy centered in the Scurveyshire pet shop, where Lady Margo Cargo’s crusty butler, Crusty, has been trying to buy food for his mistress’ pet crayfish, Oswin. Distracted by the rantings and ravings of the prisoner who has been moved from the jail to the pet shop, Crusty has mistakenly bought the wrong kind of food but now can’t get his money back. Unable to break up the argument, Constable Chumley arrests them both and brings them to Lord Jeremy’s bedside. Ms. Crepuscular has had a devilish time trying to type the word “bedside.” It keeps coming out “bedides” or “bdesdie,” etc.

“Ivver yon greeth wi’ hammels, m’lord,” Chumley explains.

Crusty and the shop owner, one Samuel Heathen, yell and scream at each other. As justice of the peace, Lord Jeremy has the power to put both of them to death. He is reluctant to use it, however. Lady Margo would never forgive him for having Crusty thrown to the shire’s ferocious pug dogs, and Mr. Heathen owes him several guineas.

“Can’t we all just get along?” he groans.

“This caitiff asked for King-Size Slo-Gro Depilatory Crayfish Food, and that’s what I sold him!” roars Mr. Heathen.

“I never asked for Slo-Gro! I asked for Go-Gro!” growls Crusty.

With wisdom rivaling Solomon’s, Lord Jeremy faints.

The matter will be taken up again, Mr. Crepuscular assures us, in the next exciting chapter.