It is in La Lagunilla, a poor area of Mexico City. Two sisters, Herlinda and Dora, with their not-so-complacent sidekick, Concha, are running an underground tailor shop. Struggling to make ends meet, the sisters neglect to pay taxes on their profits so when they get a knock at the door from a man taking a census, a pang of fear shoots through them. They are convinced that their underhand dealings are about to be exposed by this official, and their livelihoods destroyed. In this comedy, misunderstanding is the source of hilarity as colourful characters from all levels of society play their own parts in trying to stay afloat in an economic depression. In a poor area of Mexico City, La Lagunilla, a modest home is converted into a sewing workshop with four sewing machines and a wardrobe with cheap mirrors that distort the image of whoever looks in them.

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Dora es fat and Herlinda thin. The census taker is thin and wears glasses; he has the face and manners of a pleasant student. A room in a poor dwelling, converted into a sewing workshop.

It is also a bedroom. It has a brass bed at the back, bright gold and very rickety, with a knitted bedspread and embroidered cushions. A small altar over it, with candles and the Virgin of Guadalupe. Four sewing machines. A wardrobe with cheap mirrors that distorts whoever looks in them. A big clock with a double alarm is on the bureau. Remedios is trying on a dress. She is a generously disproportioned lady, both front and back. Dora is helping her.

Herlinda is cutting fabric on the bed; Concha is at one of the machines. Look, feel it. Pure silk. Remedios Oh, its so pretty.

And that cherry colored one? I got it from the United States. By heart and very fast At this point in time, there is being taken in the whole republic a commercial, industrial and transportation census. I am one of those in charge of taking the census in this zone.

It says here on the form He makes use of a table, takes out his papers that all the information is confidential and cannot be used for financial reporting or tax purposes Herlinda Then this is from the tax office. Just the opposite. A census just serves to Herlinda But you just spoke of the tax office The census taker Just to explain to you that they have nothing to do See, the young girl is my niece In a low voice to Dora Get me 5 pesos.

Dora You want me to get you what? Herlinda With her fingers she signals 5 We are just family, nothing more. Concha shakes her head no. Concha smiles, lowers her eyes.

Dora begins to cry silently. Herlinda passes her hand over her forehead. There is a pause. Sobs from Dora. The census taker takes out a cigarette and lights it absently. Paco comes in, half aseep, with faint signs of alcolholism in his appearance and voice. Paco So that when the other countries find out they can attack us?

The census taker Its just that At two thirty I have to hand in my work! Oh then run along. I wont take any more of your time. The census taker Shouting And what am I going to hand in? No one will give me information, everyone cries. They are going to fire me. Today I only have six forms done. Give me some information.

Not to do so is a crime. I can make a report and turn it in. New howls from Dora. Autoshop, Inc. He pinches Concha. Concha Ow! Herlinda Hush, Judas. The census taker With those 10 pesos For everyone, right? It looks fine on you, very elegant. You have no idea. Just beautiful. She opens the wardrobe Look, feel it. Hide that fabric!

Elbows her Of course we are! You poor things. She falls into a chair. Because this is a private home and coming in like this is a Are you throwing out of your house a census taker from the Secretary of the Economy? And in front of witnesses? No, not exactly throwing you out, no. The tailor threatened me with his scissors, in the tortilla shop they insulted me. Do you see these sheets? They are certificates of report.

To enroll you in the census. What time is it? He looks for the clock. With her fingers she signals 5 We are just family, nothing more. No, not a workshop She gets between Dora and the wardrobe. What do you want five pesos for?

Yes it is a workshop. We sew a lot. And here, look, this is full of fabric and they sell it. They say they are gringo fabrics, but they buy them in la Lagunilla. Can you register me in a union? If I knew I would register myself. Are there a lot of unions? Yes, a lot. For musicians, street sweepers, drivers There are lots. Let me write that down. That thin woman is awful. Yesterday she scolded Perrita because her boyfriend She makes a gesture in front of her stomach.

And she made me shave my head. Just imagine, she said that I had lice. Lies, not even one. But she put D. He backs up and scratches himself nervously. Now young man. She gives him her hand since you see now that this is a decent house and that


Books by Emilio Carballido

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Emilio Carballido

Li Quanzhong was a warlord late in the Chinese dynasty Tang Dynasty , who controlled Lulong Circuit from , when he overthrew the prior military governor Li Keju , to his death in His sons Li Kuangwei and Li Kuangchou successively served as military governors, it is not known when Li Quanzhong was born, but it is known that he was from Lulong Circuit's capital Fanyang. During Emperor Xizong's Guangming era, he served as the military advisor to the prefect of Di Prefecture. After that term, he served under the military governor Li Keju. In spring , Li Keju and his ally Wang Rong the military governor of Chengde Circuit, were apprehensive that Wang Chucun the military governor of Yiwu Circuit, was allied with the powerful warlord Li Keyong the military governor of Hedong Circuit , as they feared that Li Keyong would have designs on their territory, they therefore entered into a pact to jointly attack Yiwu, conquer it, divide its territory. Li Quanzhong's subordinate Liu Rengong dug a tunnel into Yi Prefecture's city walls, the Lulong troops were able to use the tunnel to capture it. However, after the Lulong troops took Yi Prefecture, they became arrogant and did not take precautions against an Yiwu counterattack.

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