I never take out the trash without dabbing some lipstick on my lips. I pray in my mind that no one sees me carrying it. I am a beautiful woman and the presence of dirt in my hand wrinkles my image. Fortunately, the elevator is empty. I step carefully. The foggy mirrors send back a cool smile, checked daily. I flutter my eyelashes in delight. When the elevator stops, I smile sweetly at a young man who greets me and gives me a startled look. It's not until I get home that I realise why. The traces of that red lipstick trailed vampire-like on my canines.

(Translated by Anca Maria Florea / University of Bucharest, Faculty of Foreign Languages and Literatures, MTTLC, year I / Corrected by prof. dr. Nadina Vișan / 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 December 2022, the group has 9,880 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 every few days. 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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