To hell with that smartphone or whatever it's called, God forgive me, it's like he's gone mad since he bought it. Only work and Youtoob all day long. When I looked for him, he was watching those swollen up dudes gain muscle. He said, I won't give up until I get big. And he started going to that - that goddamn place where people sweat out everything they didn't manage to while mowing. At the gym, yes. And who the hell knows what he did and what he swallowed, because all day long you'd see him drinking powders or pills, until one day he dropped down dead next to the bed. What's the use of being big now if you're dead, Vasîli.

(Translated by Oana Ionescu / University of Bucharest, Faculty of Foreign Languages and Literatures, MTTLC, year I / Corrected by conf. dr. Daria Protopopescu / Edited 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 October 2022, the group has 9,400 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 Ficțiuni Reale.

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