Mrs. Valerica has been carrying for over an hour, half-asleep, her mop down the cold hallways, leaving behind her a whiff of staleness, dust, sourness and a subtle hint of the chlorine splashed all over the toilets. She wears her mask under her chin, although she does not understand what is up with all this chaos, but this is what the higher ups have told her, to have it on her as to not cause any comments. She walks by the guard, says hi, and carries on with her work. Soon the first bell will ring and she still has half to go, and the loud masked people will be coming again, ruining in just a few minutes all the work she did that morning.

(Translated by Nina Iulia Tufă / University of Bucharest, Faculty of Foreign Languages and Literatures, MTTLC, year I / Corrected by Silvia Petrescu, coordinator of the translations)

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 Ficţiuni Reale.

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