Diana Cornea
He really loves cotton candy and the carousel. He sits in his invisible stall and reads. Or he looks through the window and reads truths on people's faces. Today, the first snowflake fell. He knows he's only got a couple of days left and that's it: he'll hide surprises under the trees. Today he ate four apples coated in red sugar. And a gingerbread cookie. In the mirror above the sink, stringed on a nail, he sees how the smile widens and reaches the wall, goes outdoors, touches people, and circles around the world.

 Aurelian Țolescu
I became an old man when I was 12 years old, when my nephew who still calls me Santa was born. I loved the role of being the young uncle, full of enthusiasm and aspirations. I played Santa Claus several times until the year when, after saying the poem and receiving the presents, he recognized my hands. I began to feel the weight of the beard when my parents and my brother died, and the loved ones in my life left me, throwing me in the dumpster of loneliness. I sense that the long and harsh winter of life is approaching.

Adina Colțea
I hear knocking on my door and my heart leaps, for I am not expecting anyone. I quickly run my hand through my hair and I open. A distinguished gentleman with a graying beard begs me to let him in. Hide me, he says, as if we've known each other forever, and any other words would be unnecessary. It was Santa Claus in the flesh. We talked all night long, munching on gingerbread and drinking mulled wine. At dawn, he read me a long list of his own neglected wishes. They'll last us until spring, I laugh helping him take off his shoes.

(Translated by Maria-Ilinca Darie / University of Bucharest, Faculty of Foreign Languages and Literatures, MTTLC, year I / 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 January 2024, the group has 12,500 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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