Ivan Ivanovitch is a frustrated writer. One day he attends the funeral of a casual acquaintance and falls to contemplation in the graveyard. He hears the voices of the recently deceased and buried, and he listens to their conversation. They discuss card games and political scandals. As the deceased prepare to entertain themselves by revealing all of the shameful details of their earthly lives, Ivan Ivanovitch sneezes. The dead go silent afterward.