In Plynární Street, where the "Nádraží Holešovice" metro station is today, stood a house and a shop with a company: Karel Winter, glazier and picture framing. I spent my childhood and youth here, but I was not born here. The young master glassmaker was very nervous about his wife's pregnancy, and when the birth was approaching, he sent her to her parents, who had a house in Bubny. He trotted there three times a day, whistled under the windows, one of the relatives peeked out and shook his head as if nothing had happened. This is how my increasingly nervous father commuted on the Holešovice - Bubny route for a whole week, until at last they were told from the window on Saturday that he had a boyfriend. Knowing what was appropriate, he ran to Bělský Street, where the famous confectioner Král was, bought a lot of cakes, and ceremoniously came to his wife. She was quite tired and the new father, satisfied that it turned out well, sat down on the bed and talked and chatted, eating all those cakes with forgiveness. However, even after years, his wife sometimes reproached him for it.
The fact that I spent my childhood in a framing business between paintings probably had some effect on me. From the day I kept the pencil, I liked to draw. Aleš, Lada and other painters who were born in the countryside remember how they searched for every piece of paper they could draw. I didn't have these problems. There was never a shortage of clippings in the paper mill around the corner; and I think few little boys draw as many as I do. Relatives thought I might be a drawing professor one day. No painter, it was not a solid existence at the time, the artists did not have a permanent salary, they drank, they had debts and they were surrounded by models of bad reputation.
I am several years older than the Prague Zoo in Troja. There was still something to glaze over and I always went with me. Before the terrarium glazed, I played with an iguana, a monitor lizard or a black-and-white teju, which I learned as a student that they are always ready to attack and bite in nature. I went to the heated pavilions for the tree frogs I kept at home. It was a nice experience to catch flies from the back of an elephant named Baby or Rhino Max. Today, I wouldn't go into the fat-skin paddock anymore. At that time, however, relations between humans and animals in the ZOO were more neighboring. For example, in the winter, when not all the quarters had been completed, Professor Janda had the lioness Šárka with him in the hall. I wish every boy could visit someone who has a lion at home. No wonder I had great sympathy for animals. Relatives again decided that one day I could be a professor of natural sciences. As a student, I worked a bit with the zoological department of the National Museum, especially hunting mice for them. I liked Associate Professor Obenberger at the museum. He was a world-renowned entomologist, but he liked to write popular science articles and books on nature and illustrated them himself. I liked that job. But it turned out differently. I graduated in 42, during the Heydrichiads, when colleges were closed, and instead of science, I went to another high school - the state graphic arts. And even though I attended the Faculty of Science after the war, the drawing was already prevalent. So instead of a naturalist who illustrates his books as an amateur, I became an artist who cultivates natural science as a great hobby.
Bedřich Kopecný and I have already known each other during the war, as collectors of oriental curiosities. Bedrich was a reading book example of bohemian. Gifted, funny, shapely handsome, excellent companion, always slightly but sympathetically drunk. He loved heroic parties, for example, from his birthday on March 1 to his holiday on March 7, he celebrated Bedřichonoč, for seven days and nights. He wore a two-liter beer bag, and because the pubs were slow, he returned sometime in two or three days. But he always brought beer. The pub was truly his home, he liked to act like a cavalier, and more than once in the evening he paid a round for the whole table. Otherwise, he was quite careful about the money, especially he didn't care much for his clothes. This terribly appealed to the many ladies who circled him, imagining how they would dress him, get rid of him, just to make him a very neat husband. None of that worked. Bedřich treated the women very courteously, he was willing to be seduced, but from the beginning of every relationship he pretended to be a great enemy of marriage. When the ladies realized that he meant it, they soon turned back. Bedřich meant it, he grew up in a daily quarreling family and it affected him for life.
When I was divorcing, he went to witness me. He strengthened himself for the performance with beer, rum and vodka, appeared in court and said: "Famous court, you did well to call me as a witness. And I, as my filial duty dictated to me, stood by my mother 's side, "and so he talked long enough until the president of the court interrupted him." we are not discussing the divorce of your parents here, but of the petitioner present here. " So Bedřich went to the point. He swayed slightly and recited his testimony with flowery words. I was fainting, I just expected, as I know from English detective stories, to be fined for contempt of court. Surprisingly, the court listened with interest, in the end everything turned out well, but when the proceedings were over, the president asked me not to leave. He then asked me a serious question: "Please, what did the Hiller drink, each of us felt something different from him, so who was right?" Nobody had it. Bedřich had a few beers, vodka and rums, and in order not to draw beer from him, he put on two rolls of hashlers. He was satisfied with his appearance in court and went to drink the success. In the pubs of the lower price groups, he felt like a fish in water. Only in the summer did he make an exception, he went to his cottage in Klínec. There, in 1948, with a bottle of fruit vermouth, we agreed to set up a company to produce cartoon humor.
It was not difficult to come up with a company name. After the winning February, national and cooperative companies with names such as Masna, Druča, Obuna, Chemodroga, Vodotechna and other distortions ending in the letter "a" began to emerge. The newspaper could not boast of this convenience, they thought that when someone wanted to buy ten blankets of salami and saw around them the words "Sausage sales", "Butcher and sausage maker", "Sausages", "Meat, lard, sausages", "Sausage production" , is completely confused and does not know where to enter. However, the beautiful and uniform name "Masna" leaves him in no doubt that this is the store he was looking for. How practical! And because we wanted to sell something that no one really wanted, which was a really impractical idea in the forty-eighth year, we founded Neprakta. Today, no one knows that it was meant as a company, and I hear the name. We came up with the first ten jokes at the time, I drew them and we went with them to the Svobodné slova editorial office on Wenceslas Square. The pictures weren't worth much, but the kind editor Peroutka chose two so that we could come again. We crossed Václavák, went to the Porcupine editorial office and the friendly editor Vavřín also chose two pictures. Then we went around the corner to MY 48 magazine in the third place, and there a less kind editor asked us if we were in the Youth Union. So we did backwards and we didn't go to any other newsroom. Nevertheless, the magazines began to speak on their own, and so over the years our scope has expanded. We usually went to the editorial office together, Václav Lacina came up with the name Neprakta quadruped for us. In the twenty years of cooperation that ended Bedřich's death, we have published thousands of jokes, and perhaps this was not a useless job at that gloomy time.
Excerpt from the book On a Visit to Neprakta by Jiří Winter - Neprakta