She strolls over to Squeezer and strokes the matted hair of the dog, resting her
hand upon his back.
Natalya: You’re such a good boy. Much better than this rubbish lying next to you.
Lomov: Watch it! Why do you have to speak so harshly around Guess?
Natalya: What does it matter? He probably can’t hear me anyway. That hound is nothing
more than a pile of rubbish. RUBBISH. RUBBISH RUBBISH.
Natalya gets up and does a little dance around Squeezer while constantly repeating the
Guess: I loved chasing the geese around the park. That was my favorite thing about youth.
Now I would simply be kicked and shoed away.
Squeezer: Well, could be the fault of the fleas or maybe the stench.
Lomov walks into the barn carrying two dishes of gruel. He plops one down in front of
Guess and the other in front of Squeezer. Squeezer, ever acting the part of a noble, perks
his own head up and sniffs the gruel. It’s a revolting smell but covers the tummy ridden
with malnutrition quite adequately. The struggle will last another day.
Lomov walks over to Guess and scratches behind his ears.
Lomov: Eat up, old man. You’ll need your strength. Father says we may go hunting
tomorrow and I thought you might like to tagalong.
Guess’s ears perk up at the words “tagalong”.
Squeezer: don’t get too excited. Maybe it’s just time to put you out of your misery.
Guess: Not now, you old geezer. Can’t you see that our family really does care? Even in
our fading years they still wish to share moments of their own life with us. That is loyalty.
Squeezer laps up the remnants of his dish as NATALYA STEPANOVNA enters the
Squeezer: Your name is guess for a reason.
Guess: And what might that reason be, your highness?
Guess: What a riot you are in your old age. You’re lucky to have not been subjected to the
slaughterhouse or an oriental market in downtown Moscow.
Squeezer: I am a pedigree!
Guess: Pedigree’s make the best glue.
Squeezer gives up and rests his head down on his paw. He is weary and famished. He
cares not about the argument with Guess. This is a daily routine. The constant belittling
keeps their wits sharp and passes the time. Squeezer simply cares about the dinner
Guess: What I wouldn’t give to lie upon Lomov’s crotch right now. Tis a shame we are
housed in this insulting tenement.
Squeezer: NATALYA STEPANOVNA’s crotch is much better and has more of a pleasant
smell. However, I’m with you. This building is not suitable for someone with such pedigree.
My mother would dig up her own grave if she could see me now. Oh, woe is that poor bitch!
A pair of old racing hounds lies in wait, comparable to a catatonic stasis, within a
dilapidated barn on the outskirts of an impoverished Russian village. The dogs are
awaiting a meager portion of daily gruel. In the old days, when the dogs had run races of
glory in the streets of Moscow, the dishes were filled to the brim with luscious meats
overflowing with frothy gravy.
The dogs were useless now. The racing world had left them out to pasture to rot and die.
The buzzards would have to hold off on pecking at their carcass. The dogs were adopted
by an overzealous family. The family argued all day long about who was the better dog;
but both dogs knew that the truth was they were equally lame.
Squeezer: Tis a miserable existence, for sure. At least your family lineage has prepared
you for such destitution.
Squeezer licks the bottom of his paw; providing an air of pretentious around his
character. The paw drops right back down upon the dirt floor. Squeezer keeps his head
up high while chatting with Guess.
Guess: What’s that supposed to mean? You and I ran the same tracks, smelled the same
bitches and urinated on the shoes of the same servants.
New panel: Scruffum’s and Squeezer have scraps nearby that they have been eating.
Squeezer: I am telling you, Scruff, one day, I am going to race. And when I do, even the alphas will
bow at my feet. Here, in Society Russia, the humans will beg me for food. In short, I will be a god
among dogs, and a dog among men!
Scruffums: Squeezer, we have both known many dogs who raced. And when they win, they are
celebrated, treated like royalty. But as soon as another dog begins nipping at their heels, they join
are thrown out as yesterday’s keşkek.
Squeezer: Surely you meant to say okroshka, being, as we are, Russian hounds.
Scruffums: Yes, we are Russian hounds, as you say, and so you might have expected me to use a
colloquialism involving that traditional Russian vegetable soup—
Squeezer: —not just any vegetable soup. It traditionally consists of two vegetables, one neutral, the
other spicy. Sometimes it is made with sour milk—