Barefoot, dressed in rags and smelling dirty, she begs at the Railway Station from Monday to Friday. She says her name is Otilea. At the weekend she disappears. Strange; then tourists come and she could earn more. But she is missing. One day I followed her: she entered a luxurious villa with a pool in the yard and a Mercedes at the gate. After an hour she came out completely changed: evening dress, nail shoes and red lipstick. The driver held the door for her and they sped off. The neighbors told me her name is Ottilia and she is a countess. Is he begging for gas?

(Translated by Angelica Ioana Curcan / University of Bucharest, Faculty of Foreign Languages and Literatures, MTTLC, year II / 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 September 2022, the group has 9,250 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 Ficțiuni Reale.

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