In The Dabbler this week, I reproduce part of an instruction manual from the Frank Key Academy of Terpsichorean Élan. I am afraid to say that a pre-publication reader for The Dabbler, employed to vet all contributions, contacted me a few days ago and had the gall to call into question my qualifications for running such an academy.
Dear Mr Key, he wrote, on laughably self-important “Dabbler Pre-Publication Vetting Protocol” headed notepaper, Much as we admire your pratings, we must strain every sinew to protect our readers from charlatanry, poppycock, and flapdoodle. If, for example, we were to run a piece on the Black Bat of Harrenhal, we would entrust the commission to a writer fully conversant with the career of Ser Oswell Whent, not to some booby. These are important and serious matters, after all. That being so, I cannot help wondering why in the name of all that is holy you presume to lecture our readers on the art of dance, when it is blindingly obvious that you could not dance your way out of a paper bag. Yes, Mr Key! Before I took up my current post with The Dabbler I was an official observer at the Pointy Town Paper Bag Danceathon, and well do I recall the pitiful figure you cut, for six or seven hours, as you failed to make your escape from the paper bag by dint of the twist, the hoo-cha, the Watusi, and the peasants’ reel, turn and turn about. I am afraid that wild horses would not drag me into the unconscionable position of passing your piece for publication.
As it happens, that last sentence was an idle boast. Upon receipt of this pompous cant, I hi-ho’ed over to Dabbler HQ with a harras of wild horses in tow. Wild? They were savage, almost demonic. We soon got the matter settled, and I doubt I shall be hearing from that little twerp in future.