After an hour Iulian was close to apoplexy. He had been asked about twenty-three times for his date of birth. About ten times if his name was Ştirbu. The girl over the counter was laughing as she typed into her phone. From time to time, she looked at the computer. From time to time, she smiled at him too, but her beauty didn't impress him anymore. She called him Hîrbu about eight times, smiling politely. Aha, with the letter î not â. Sîrbu. Finally, Iulian succeeded in paying the fence tax. Goodbye Mr. Strîmbu, we look forward to seeing you again.

(Translated by Diana-Maria Croitoru / University of Bucharest, Faculty of Foreign Languages and Literatures, MTTLC, year I / Corrected by Professor James Brown)

Real Fiction is a collective project started in 2013 by Florin Piersic Jr. The concept of Real Fiction continued to exist as a Facebook group, after a volume of stories was published at Humanitas Publishing House. (In January 2021, the group has 3.000 members.) The authors write ultra-short stories, with the texts limited to 500 characters (in Romanian, so the length of the English translation might be a little different) - a flash-fiction exercise on a topic that changes almost daily. The group's coordinators are Florin Piersic Jr., Gabriel Molnar, and Luchian Abel. (Drawing by Adrian T. Roman)

*Versiunea în română a acestui text se poate citi aici, în rubrica Ficțiuni Reale.

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