Monica Bologa
The woman lays out the tablecloth with firs printed on it, sets the plates which she only takes out of the box on holidays, pours the bean stew with sausages, and then calls her husband to dinner. I want cabbage rolls, not bean stew, the husband shouts at his wife. There are none left, the wife replies. The husband grabs the plate and smashes it against the wall. After cleaning the bean stew from the wall, the woman goes to bed on an empty stomach, but at peace. A neighbour has taken the cabbage rolls to her son in the capital.

Oana Jindiceanu
Grandma made them as big as a fist. I don't like them small, she said, followed by an inappropriate comparison. Never vine leaves, only cabbage. I can't remember any another dish; she must not have been a brilliant cook, she only cooked to survive. I'm going to do them myself this year; I've looked online. I lay the leaf, fill it up, wrap it up, then lay all of them in concentric circles at the bottom of the pot. Therapeutic. I think of her. She wouldn't like them, they're too small. She would curse me for sure. Sour cream on top.

Radu Gramatovici
The very next day, there was no sign of Charles. Nobody noticed it until someone asked how many of us would be at the Christmas Eve dinner, but, after a quick search of the cabin and surrounding area, we relaxed. He'll turn up eventually, we all thought. The empty seat at the festive table didn't bother anyone either. When the cabbage rolls were served, I noticed the similarities and said to the host: they look like Charles' thick fingers. He looked around, leaned over a bit, and whispered: we only use leg of pork.

(Translated by Alin Sescu / 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 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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