In the mornings Alexei Petrovich’s Mama yawns loud and long: hurrah, onward, a new morning gushes in through the window; the cactuses shine, the curtains quiver; the gates of the nighttime realm have slammed shut; dragons, mushrooms and frightening dwarfs have plunged below the earth once again, life triumphs, the heralds blow their horns: a new day! a new day! Da-da-da da da-daa!

Mamochka combs her thinning hair quickly with her hands, throws her bluish legs over the high bed frame—let them hang for a moment and think: all day they’ll have to drag around the one hundred and thirty-five kilos that Mamochka has accumulated in the course of eighty years.