He was staring blankly out the window. His beard and hair, which were long and white, made him look like a young and lonely Santa Claus. The family had forgotten him there. His girl-friends stopped coming. All three of them and him had been inseparable. School. High school. University. Until he said that he wanted to be like them. The men in white came at night. Bipolar disorder from unwanted intersex surgery, it said on his chart. I wanted to be just like my clones. I was a woman; why did they want me to be a man? A tear streaked down his cheek, the one stained by a soul's confusion.

(Translated by Camelia Diaconu / University of Bucharest, Faculty of Foreign Languages and Literatures, MTTLC, year II / Corrected by prof. Eliana Ionoaia / 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 January 2023, the group has 10,220 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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