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The story, told in comic key, takes place in Rome in modern times.

After school hours, Ettore often joins a group of friends with whom he indulges in acts of petty crime and violence. After a crisis with his school professor and an amorous encounter with one of his class-mates, he realizes his true condition, as well as that of his family: his father, who at times also dabbles in petty thievery, is in prison, and his mother who confesses she is expecting a child, is forced to take recourse to abortion because of their precarious financial condition. Ettore therefore decides to abandon his studies and find work as a waiter in a large bar.

When his father comes out of jail, Ettore begins to plan a series of perfect burglaries, employing his hapless father as material executor of the thefts.

Success is assured and rapid, and once the family becomes rich they all work in a bar of their own property; his mother at the cash-till, his father behind the bar and Ettore himself as manager of the new family business.