How I Ate the Dog part three

So why so many ellipses, random pauses, etc., in Grishkovets’s play?  Because it’s a monologue told by the author himself, and the author affects this homespun, natural style of speech to better match the material.  He assumes a self-deprecating, earnest tone, as if you’re a trusted friend to whom he’s telling his musings and half-baked childhood dreams that all the same are significant in the human sense, since we all have such musings and dreams, only we never voice them.  Plus, much of the dialogue is improvised, so Grishkovets keeps the whole thing completely free-flowing and conversational, and the written version with its many ellipses reflects this.

And just a sidenote: Russian Island is no joke.  The whole of this island, which Japan still contends is part of its territory, is given over to the Russian navy.  In 1993, four sailors starved to death there after a greedy officer hoarded food supplies.

How I Ate the Dog
Yevgenii Grishkovets


This is exactly like, well…. Like…. Remember, 15 to 17 years ago they were showing, with great pomp, and before that everyone was talking, saying that for the first time in the movie theatres of the country there was a real horror film, “Legend about a Dinosaur.”  Tickets were decidedly impossible to buy; they were showing the film for two weeks in movie theatres with large screens.  At the ticket offices was a crowd…  I went three days in a row, stood idle for an hour, and, having been convinced that today, alas… I went to the theatre exit and waited for the end of the showing.  From the lobby you could hear a little bit of especially loud music and something else…  Then the people came out, and I looked at their faces.  They had seen it…!  They had already experienced it!  They came out and in some way differed from everyone else, they moved, as it were, slowly, as in video clips, carrying a knowledge that was unknown to me, that I also would attain, that I feared, but that which I must…, without fail.  But they had already lived through something, they already knew….  I wanted to see this in their eyes….  I respected them and understood that I couldn’t even talk to them….  Then, on Friday, I myself watched the film….  Well, there you go, watched it…. and left… and went home…

But there it was more serious business, here it was….  It’s like, you know….  You’re walking to school, it’s dark because it’s winter.  Everything really familiar, all the noises bother you.  Well, there’s this little path through the snow, trees, snow.  In front of you loom up other wretches, some mothers pulling their torpid first-graders.  Snow, branches, cold.  You’re walking like this, so that your hands don’t touch your mittens, and through the trees and the snow on the second floor gleam three windows.  They gleam with such a venomous, peculiar light.  This is the room for Russian class.  And now there will be two periods of Russian right off the bat…….   And you’re walking, but this is worse of all, this sorrow, this is intolerable…

And of course you learned everything, your homework is done, and, in general, there’s nothing to fear.  But….  Those three windows….  And through your head passes different plans of how you might avoid this, and thoughts about how it would be awesome, if…, or about what the guys from School 48 said, how they….  But you walk….  Horror….  It’s just you also know that the teacher hates you.  No, not because you’re this way or that.  Just because she really doesn’t like you.  You still don’t even guess that people can not love you, because you’re still….  Ooooohhhh…

We traveled onward…. Past Baikal.  It took a long time to pass Baikal, then we traveled some more…  The city of Ulan-Ude.

It’s curious when some Muscovite tells some foreigner: “Yes… Baikal – our pride, this lake is the biggest, deepest, there’s such and such a percentage of the world’s freshwater, there’s fish…!”

What Baikal?  It’s farther away than Africa…. A lot farther….  And schoolkids in Khabarovsk write essays in ninth grade about “Dostoevsky’s St. Petersburg.”  What St. Petersburg?  What are you talking about?  A seven-hour time difference between these cities, and birch trees…, many…, many…, many birch trees.

Incidentally, if you pronounce the word “many” (“mnogo”) many times (“mnogo,” “mnogo,” “mnogo”…), then it will break up into sounds and lose its meaning…, and it’s that way with any word.  Names especially quickly break up….  Well, that’s how it is…

We asked the sailors about what it was like to serve, well, in the sense that….  Well, as it were… scary or not, whether strong….  Well, you understand….  But we asked, as it were, without any particular interest, kind of like….  And they said: “Noooo, now serving is alright, Boy Scout camp, totally fine, no one’s fingers will…, don’t piss yourself.  Now, when we served, that was….  Back then it was, yeah…  Seryoga, you tell them now, Boy Scout camp.  Noooo, totally fine…  Only, the main thing is, don’t wind up on Russian Island, and then it’s fine…

I somehow immediately remembered and worried: “Okay, so the main thing is, don’t wind up on Russian Island, because it’s not worth it to wind up there, and if you don’t wind up there, everything will be fine.”  But for some reason, we didn’t really believe that everything would be fine.  We arrived in Vladivostok early in the morning, it was still entirely dark, and fog hung in the air…, not even fog, but kind of little bitty rain, but so small that it doesn’t fall, but literally hangs in the air.  It was surprisingly brightly light by the floodlights of the train station and the port, which in Vladivostoke are next to each other, and tremendously cold.  But I didn’t end up seeing Vladivostok in the daytime, already three hours later they were taking me on a boat to Russian Island.



3 Responses to “How I Ate the Dog part three”

  1. Good day
    Where can I find the full text of How I ate my dog? I want to inquire about translation rights as i want to translate the play into Afrikaans for a possible performance at my Dramadepartment in South Africa?

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