Back in what reader Voxindeserto has competently identified as the centre ring of the Seventh Circle of Hell (the place of punishment for suicides and spendthrifts), Louie the Demon Dog and the condemned pirate souls continue their eternal struggle. Our last visit to the pirates acted as a demonstration of forced soul-on-soul torment, though there was perhaps a hint of rebellion in Charley's sculpting of a topiary squirrel with which he meant to agitate Louie. In today's strip, we see the dead-eyed, emotionless pirates demonstrating somewhat more autonomy by attempting to fool the demon into leaping into a bucket of what I suspect may actually be holy water. The demon, however, is not fooled; the tell-tale bursting bubbles (representing the hopes of the souls) send him scrabbling under his Fiery Bed of Despair. The pirates may attempt to rebel, but the demon will always be one step ahead of them. He is playing with them, really. Every once in a while, he lengthens the leash, letting them believe they are nearly free...and then he yanks it back again.* The illusion of potential escape is, of course, part of the punishment. The pirates will never get free.
Unfortunately, neither will we.
*Oh, the terrible, terrible irony. The dog has the pirates on a leash! Snork!