What's the secret to a healthy relationship? He brought me three slices of bread, and had me taste them. Then he spoke. At the first slice, you had no reaction. It was tasteless because there were no condiments on it. At the second one, you grimaced. The taste of caraway covered up the taste of bread. At the third one, your muscles relaxed. That's the secret. He got up as if he expected me to leave. Then I asked him: what about the pepper? He did not answer, but I thought I saw him smiling.

(Translated by Constantin Istrate / 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 April 2023, the group has 11,000 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, Luchian Abel, and Vlad Mușat. (Drawing by Adrian T. Roman)

Versiunea în română a acestui text se poate citi aici, în rubrica Ficțiuni Reale.

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