Two old men are talking in a hospital room. The one who has been reduced to a bedridden patient recalls his past as a singer who performed and sang the main roles in famous light operas. The second patient still can walk a little, helped by a stick. He used to be a successful journalist. The singer keeps an album of his photographs in various roles under his pillow. In the hospital mortuary, an assistant goes through the things left behind by the two old men. They both ended their lives as lonely people, without family. The assistant reveals to the hospital hairdresser that both men made their pasts up. The singer was in fact only a member of the opera corps and the journalist contributed solely to the gardening column. The hairdresser, offended at the lies of the two men, claims that people are obliged to tell the truth under any circumstances. He then packs up his instruments and walks through the hospital corridor in a white cloak, pretending to be a doctor in front of a patient lying on the stretcher.
Zdenka Karlovská, Zdenka Petřková
Bohumil Hrabal (Podvodníci – povídka ze sbírky Perličky na dně)