Fogg is the direct-line descendant of Phileas Fogg, who won a lucrative wager when he traveled around the world in 80 days in 1872, thereby assuring his descendants of at least some measure of wealth, should they carefully tend to his subsequent investments in Vanderbilt’s steamships and the lamplight potential for the black ooze that was forming the basis of J.D. Rockefeller’s new oil business.
Born to a mother who was consumed by the world-wise writings of the pseudonymous alter ego of Samuel Clemens, she first wanted to name her son Mark, but the two single syllables of the full name had a grunt-like tone she found unappealing, so, reluctantly, she opted for the more formal double-syllabic extension of the first name.
True to his names, Markus Fogg was born with an insatiable sense of wonder, traveling the world and writing about it, enabled by the versatility of the English language in all its embellishments: from straight reportage to a free-flowing, unfettered fiction, including a sequel to “Finnegan’s Wake,” an exegesis of “Paradise Regained” and a collection of short stories heavily influenced by the lugubrious writings of Flannery O’Connor.
Eventually, Fogg wandered into the attention of your editor, as this magazine was in its formative stages. He presented a portfolio that included his writings, photographs, sketches, some atonal sheet music, a range of poetry from silly rhymed ditties, using a half-dozen noms de plume, to a collection of near-indiscernible Ezra Pound-influenced cantos based on Middle Eastern and ancient Oriental formats your editor passed over with an affected “hmm,” lest he betray his ignorance of the artforms.
Fogg secured an assignment as reporter-at-large for the magazine, green-lighted to wander both near and far, returning to these pages in each issue from God-knows-where.
As he headed for the door, he touched the brim of his fedora rakishly, scribbled some lines in his notebook and mumbled something about rereading “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.”
“You read it, chief?” he asked, one hand on the doorknob.
“I remember disjointed phrases during a pot-induced fog in Greenwich Village during the ‘60s,” I replied. “Why do you ask?’
“Fog, hah?” he countered with an engaging smile.
“Oh,” I replied, “sorry.”
His smile broadened. He nodded and let himself out.