The Final Interrogation of Ceauşescu’s Dog by Warren Leight

BOMB 73 Fall 2000
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A small interrogation roomA man pacessmokes cigarettesA dog sits on a chair.

MAN: The people believe you are beyond reform. Some want you to suffer; others, to die right away. Since ours is now a just and fair system, you are entitled to make a statement. What do you have to say for yourself?

DOG: I am Ceaușescu’s dog. His daughter’s dog, actually, but she is rather unstable. Even though he gave me to her, I have always considered him to be my true master.

MAN: You know that your master was a cruel and ruthless tyrant who brought misery to his people, and shame to his nation?

DOG: I am dog of Ceaușescu, and my relationship to him is the simple relationship of dog to master.

MAN: You do acknowledge that master was a tyrant?

DOG: No. The wife can be a bit stern, I will say that. And the daughter, as I say, has many moods. But I am my master’s pride and joy and have known nothing but love and affection from him.

MAN: You are speaking about the most reviled despot in our nation’s history. Do you understand that anyone still loyal to him is subject to the death penalty?

DOG: Listen, where is my master? He will straighten this whole thing out, and you will be sorry. Let me tell you.

MAN: Your master is dead. He was shot, like a dog in the courtyard, as he tried to flee the people’s wrath.

DOG: He will not be happy when he hears how you have treated me.

MAN: He is not coming back.

DOG: He travels often, you know.

MAN: He has gone straight to hell where he will burn for all time.

DOG: Just last month he was in Iran. They love him everywhere he goes. He told me so.

MAN: He was shot dead. On Christmas Day. He is not coming back.

DOG: Oh. I see.

MAN: Do you?

DOG: No. I am a simple dog.

MAN: The people believe you are beyond reform.

DOG: I am a simple doggie.

MAN: But you lived on imported meat. The people were starving, while you ate the finest veal.

DOG: Sometimes lamb. Or steak.

MAN: While people starved.

DOG: I did not see any people starving.

MAN: You didn’t?

DOG: The people at the palace were all well fed. They ate anything I left over. Often they even pinched some for themselves—but what can you do—servants.

MAN: I have heard they weighed your veal on a scale made of gold.

DOG: Yes, and I will tell you the truth, that was not done for my benefit. The gold, I always felt, left a slight metallic taste. I believe this all came about so that the servants would not pinch from my supper.

MAN: While our people lacked basic medical care, you were given drugs and vitamins flown in from Prague.

DOG: I have allergies.

MAN: You were bathed daily in glacier water.

DOG: I hated the baths. Again, because of the allergies, I—

MAN: How did you feel about the sacrifices the people were making? The suffering they endured while you were pampered.

DOG: The people always loved me. The servants were especially kind to me. Once, once I was mistreated, but that did not happen again.

MAN: Yes, you bit the hand of Salvo, while he was feeding you. He slapped you, and then because he slapped you, he was put to death. Is that correct?

DOG: I was not slapped again by him.

MAN: It’s true then that you bit the hand that fed you.

DOG: Sure.

MAN: Why?

DOG: It tasted good.

MAN: Weren’t you aware that it might cause suffering?

DOG: I did not suffer.

MAN: But the man whose hand you bit—

DOG: I don’t understand.

MAN: You bit the man’s hand.

DOG: Yes. Of course.

MAN: He was trying to feed you?

DOG: Yes. Yes. We’ve been over this.

MAN: Weren’t you aware that it might cause suffering?

DOG: I did not suffer.

MAN: But the man whose hand you bit—

DOG: Yes—

MAN: Did you not, for one second, think about him, his hand, the pain you—

DOG: I do not understand what you are getting at. His hand was here. If he did not want me to bite it he should not have placed it so near my teeth. Listen, where is my master, he will straighten this out.

MAN: Your master is dead.

DOG: Oh really.

MAN: The interrogation can not end—(takes a breath, retreats to his notes). In your house, you had your own Oriental rug.

DOG: It was a Bokhara.

MAN: A Bokhara?

DOG: Yes. Again, this was not my choice. I loved the feel of it but its taste was nothing to get excited about.

MAN: And this rug was red, was it not? The same color as the blood shed by our people under the hand of your master?

DOG: Again, I liked the feel of it, but the color, that was for them. I do not see color, you know. I am a simple dog.

MAN: Then fetch.

DOG: Pardon?

MAN: Fetch this.

DOG: You’re joking.

MAN: Jump up. Jump! Jump up and fetch, simple dog. Go on. Jump!

DOG: Are you out of your mind to talk to me this way? Do you know who my master is?

MAN: Your master is dead.

DOG: Yes, well, in that case, I will just sit here and wait until he comes back. You may go now. When I want something, I’ll let you know.

The man is near his breaking point as the lights fade to black.

Warren Leight’s play Side Man won the 1999 Tony Award for Best Play. He is currently working on a screen adaption. His new play, Glimmer, Glimmer and Shine, will be presented at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles in January 2001. The Final Interrogation of Ceaușescu’s Dog was presented this spring as part of EST’s One-Act Marathon. It will be staged again in the fall at the Chicago Humanities Festival.

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Originally published in

BOMB 73, Fall 2000

Featuring interviews with Vik Muniz, Shirin Neshat, Madison Smartt Bell, Javier Marias, Misia, Michael Frayn, Karyn Kusama, and Michael Roth.

Read the issue
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