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Daniil Kharms
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Fedya Davidovich

Fedya kept prowling round the butter-dish and finally, seizing the moment when his wife was bending over to cut a toe-nail, he quickly, in a single movement, took all the butter out of the butter-dish with his finger and shoved it into his mouth. As he was covering the butter-dish, Fedya accidentally clattered the lid: his wife straightened up immediately and, spotting the empty butter-dish, pointed at it with the scissors, saying in a severe tone: -- The butter's not in the butter-dish. Where is it?
Fedya's eyes flashed in surprise and, extending his neck, he had a look into the butter-dish.
-- That's butter you've got in your mouth -- said his wife, pointing the scissors at Fedya.
Fedya began shaking his head in denial.
-- Aha -- said his wife -- you say nothing and shake your head because your mouth's full of butter.
Fedya's eyes widened in astonishment and he waved his hands dismissively at his wife, as if to say -- What do you mean? It's nothing of the kind.
But his wife said: -- You're lying. Open your mouth.
-- Mm, mm -- said Fedya.
-- Open your mouth -- his wife repeated.
Fedya spread his fingers and mumbled something, as if to say -- Ah yes, I almost forgot, I'll be back in a sec . . . -- and stood up, intending to leave the room.
-- Stay where you are! -- snapped his wife.
But Fedya quickened his step and slipped out of the door. His wife darted after him but, since she was naked, she stopped by the door as in that condition she could not go out into the corridor, where other tenants of the apartment would be walking up and down.
-- He's got away -- said his wife, sitting down on the divan. -- What a devil!
And Fedya, reaching a door along the corridor on which hung the sign 'Entry Categorically Forbidden', opened that door and went into the room.
The room which Fedya entered was narrow and long, its window curtained with newspaper. On the right-hand side of the room by the wall was a dirty, broken-down couch, and by the window a table made of planks placed at one end on a bedside table and at the other on the back of a chair. On the left-hand wall was a double shelf on which lay it was not clear what.
There was nothing else in the room, unless you count the man reclining on the couch, with a pale green face, dressed in a long and torn brown frock-coat and black nankeen trousers, from which there protruded freshly washed feet. The man was not asleep and he fixed his gaze intently on the intruder.
Fedya bowed, clicked his heels and, having pulled the butter out of his mouth, showed it to the reclining man.
-- One and a half -- said the host without changing his pose.
-- That's not very much -- said Fedya.
-- It's quite enough -- said the tenant of the room.
-- Well, all right -- said Fedya and, having removed the butter from his finger, placed it on the shelf.
-- You can come for the money tomorrow morning -- said the host.
-- What do you mean! -- exclaimed Fedya -- I need it right now. And anyway only one and a half roubles is . . .
-- Bugger off -- said the host drily and Fedya fled the room on tiptoe, closing the door carefully behind him.