Note: the following text is the first part of the introduction to the appendix to the anthology, Shaggy Dogs: A Collection of Not-So-Short Stories, ostensibly edited, but actually written by your narrator. The same goes for the appendix.
Many of the poems appeared among my AC content offerings, but were removed when the book came out. If you want to revisit them and see the many others, you will have to obtain the book from Trafford Publishing.
Unlike the case with the many additions of The Dzmc Apocrypha, we can be certain that El Señor Dzmc was, indeed the “author” of the poems in the appendix to the book.
Here, then is the introduction to the Bard of Bohemia‘s strange poetry.
Just who was the strange and difficult poet, Glub Dzmc, and, more importantly, why in the world did anyone bother to find his lost notebooks? I do not feel qualified to give an answer to either question, yet I do.
Let me begin by sharing with you the vast dearth of information I have about the man himself. You may rest assured that, what I do lack in knowledge, I will compensate for through frequent consultation with the child of Necessity.
Glub Dzmc (And, by the way, he pronounced his last name, “Dizmic,” although I am not sure anybody else did.), was a man who always considered himself somewhat of a bohemian. This may have to do with the fact that he was born in Czechoslovakia, either before, after or during the Not So Great Depression.
Although, as a student, he refused to accept or attain mediocrity, Glub inexplicably dropped out of school in what he insisted on calling “the 41st grade,” citing irreconcilable differences and the dog having eaten too much of his homework. Facing a barren life of ease and comfort, he enlisted instead in the Czech Navy, in search of, not just a job, but a misadventure.
It was during his all-too-brief stint as a naval, that Glub learned a number of sea shantys, too many of which have found their way into this compendium. Fortunately, he soon disappeared, before he could learn any more of them. And while his jumping of the ship may be seen by some as Czechoslovakia’s loss, others would view it as poetry’s gain.
As a result of his desertion, Glub found himself a penniless, yet wanted man. He quickly decided the best thing to do was to make a clean start in the land of opportunity: Siberia. One advantage to having chosen such a place to call home is that, when you perturb the local authorities, they are going to be hard pressed to find someplace worse to exile you to. When Glub did run afoul of the local leash law, (He always used to maintain the collar chafed his neck too much.), the powers that were had little choice but to banish him to Newark, NJ.
His life in this country was unremarkable but, in his later years, reasonably comfortable. That was after he managed to land for himself a sinecure cleaning toilets in the Akron, Ohio, Transcontinental Bus Terminal. It was in the process of removing the endless graffiti from the tiles that Glub became re-acquainted with and more proficient in, by his own rather liberal standards, the art of Haiku.
Before that stroke of good fortune, though, Glub found the struggle to keep body and soul together to be a desperate one indeed. At its nadir, he was employed as an advertising copywriter for the B. Walter Horton Agency. He wrote what many would consider to be far too much ad copy during his brief tenure there, and much, much too much of it has found its way into this book. It should be noted that none of the clients on whose behalf Glub wrote those ads is in business today, but that may have less to do with the quality of their product than with how it was huckstered. Mercifully, “Bud” Dzmc (as he preferred to be called at the agency) was handed his walking papers, once his bosses realized that he was not, in fact, the janitor, as they had supposed him to be for many months.
His next attempt to make a living saw him take a job with the E-Z Shake and Bake Ice Cream Parlor and Bakery, where he worked in the Pie Containment Department of the organization. It was during his weeks in the place they called “Pie Pan Alley,” that he began to gain some renown as a “piano banger.” When the department manager finally found out who had been thumping his baby grand with a baseball bat, Glub was sent packing. His stint in the meat packing plant didn’t work out either. Nevertheless, it was around this time that he began to fancy himself a smithy of tunes. You can see the results of that flight of fantasy in the second chapter of this thankfully slim volume.
Let us at last abandon the miserable history of Glub’s adventures in the workaday world and dwell, instead on how his supposedly “lost” notebooks came to be found. By the end of his secret life as a poet, Glub had compiled a considerable body of work, edited by Miss Fensterwalder’s third graders in lieu of having to rewrite their many missing book reports, into a series of, either meager books or fat pamphlets. As you might expect, nobody at all in any of the great publishing houses of Chillicothe, Ohio, evinced the slightest degree of interest in lining their birdcages with those pages, let alone publishing them.
All seemed as it should be, when an enterprising outfit in the heart of Dixie decided they were going to compete with the wildly successful purveyors of caramelized popcorn and peanuts. So as to cause maximum customer confusion to their advantage, they named their product RedNeck Jax. They further decided to make the stuff available only in the jumbo, economy 465-oz. box.
Now it just remained for them to find a prize to stick inside the box that was, if such a thing could be possible, even feebler than the prizes of their competitor. In a moment of what can best be described as 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration, the new confectioners on the block decided to use the Lost Notebooks as a featured prize. Truth be to tell, one batch of carmelite junk is pretty much like another, and the American consumer can always be counted on to go for the biggest possible size of anything at all. We are left to surmise that the reason the upstart company went out of business with the speed of a nosebleed is because of the quality of the prize in their box.
It was only a matter of time (not nearly enough, I’d say) before some discerning collector, who is now in something like the Witness Protection Program, bought up the few boxes of RedNeck Jax that had not yet been consigned to landfills. The next thing you know, The Lost Notebooks of Glub Dzmc had been found. Oh, joy.
(To be continued.)
Shaggy Dogs: A Collection of Not-So-Short Stories (actually) by T.C. Lane