Grigory Pyotr Fyodor Rumyantsev Velikaya is a direct descendant of Empress Catherine the Great, the most renowned and longest-ruling female leader of Russia. Velikaya came to America in 1973 to teach an introductory chess class at the Shrewsbury, Massachusetts Boys & Girls Club and liked this country so much he never left, despite persistent efforts to deport him. He sat down recently with Scions of the Idle Rich for a wide-ranging interview with only one condition; that Punchnel’s would not disclose his current whereabouts to U.S. immigration officials.
SOTIR: Grigory Pyotr Fyodor Rumyantsev Velikaya . . .
GPFRV: Please, I do not stand on formalities. Call me Grigory Pyotr Fyodor Rumyantsev, as all my friends do.
SOTIR: Sure—have a seat, make yourself comfortable.
GPFRV: I prefer to stand.
SOTIR: Readers of Scions of the Idle Rich . . .
GPFRV: What is a scion anyway?
SOTIR: It’s the little car with the big features made by Toyota for Gen Y consumers in North American markets.
GPFRV: (. . .) You’re kidding, right?
SOTIR: You’re quick! Yes, I’m kidding. A scion is either a detached living portion of a plant joined to a stock in grafting, or a descendant. There are a lot of them in Faulkner’s novels.
GPFRV: Detached plant portions?
SOTIR: No, descendants–particularly degenerate ones. As I was saying, our readers would be interested in learning more about your great-great-great-great–
GPFRV: You may want to stop and catch your breath.
SOTIR: Thanks. Great-great-great-great grandmother, Catherine II, a/k/a “Catherine the Great.”
GPFRV: You’re kidding again, right?
SOTIR: Well, no. Our SEO consultant . . .
GPFRV: Again with the fancy talk! What’s “SEO”?
SOTIR: Search engine optimization. We hired a kid who told us we were practically invisible among the North American Human/Horse Love Association.
GPFRV: And that’s a problem?
SOTIR: The more eyeballs we attract, the more ad dollars we bring in.
GPFRV: I see—it’s all about the rubles.
SOTIR: On the nosey. So we want to reach out to those whose feelings for the equine community aren’t saddled or haltered or bridled by hidebound sexual inhibitions.
GPFRV: Listen, that story about Catherine dying from sex with a horse is a base canard.
SOTIR: I thought a canard was a duck.
GPFRV: It is, but it’s also a false or unfounded report or story. Say, do you have any oats?
SOTIR: What do you think this is—Oprah?
GPFRV: How about some water?
SOTIR: Fine—we’ll get you some.
GPFRV: And a carrot maybe?
SOTIR: This is the internet, not PBS. Anyway—what can you tell us about that historic horse-woman liaison?
GPFRV: It never happened. The Marquis de Sade made the whole thing up.
SOTIR: Hmm. So that crack we’ve been using for years when we meet a woman who says she likes to ride horses . . .
GPFRV: What crack is that?
SOTIR: “You like the feel of a wild beast between your legs, huh?”
GPFRV: (. . .) You never really said that, did you?
SOTIR: Once—it didn’t get me anywhere.
GPFRV: Why am I not surprised?
SOTIR: Back to our topic of the day: you’re absolutely sure Catherine the Great never had sex with a horse?
GPFRV: I can’t prove a negative, but my relatives always said “that horse won’t dressage.”
SOTIR: Okay, we’ll take your word for it. What are you reading these days?
GPFRV: As I get older, I’m going back to re-read the classics.
GPFRV: Check out booksforhorsecrazygirls.com. There’s My Friend Flicka, National Velvet….
SOTIR: Um-hmm. How about movies—seen anything you liked recently?
GPFRV: Seabiscuit was good. Say, uh, I think I drank too much water.
SOTIR: That’s the occupational hazard of doing interviews. Do you need to use the restroom?
GPFRV: Yes, but if it’s not horsey-capped equipped, I’ll have to go outside.
Horse photo by Rachel C from Scotland (Flickr) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.