How is it possible to get an eight in first grade? I asked him as I went back and forth between amused and irritated. An eight, when you know how to write, to read, to count? Impossible. He answered me, looking me straight in the eyes, that he didn't understand my anger. Eight is next to nine, and nine is next to ten, just a tiny little neighbour sets them apart, he gesticulated. Mama, you have such a brilliant child and you still get upset? Mhm, I frowned. Yep, brilliant, he nodded. What could the mums of the children who got a four, a grade that can never even dream of saying hi to ten over nine's fence, say to that?

(Translated by Cristina Stan / 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 May 2021, the group has 6.400 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, Răzvan Penescu, 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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