Tag Archives: cultures

Flash Fiction: What the Budapestians Do

I asked people who have Liked my Facebook “writer” page to suggest prompts that I could use to write flash fiction to post here. I got the following prompt from my brother, Jordan:

“When in Budapest, do as the Budapestians do.”

Here’s a story based on that.

What the Budapestians Do

Image by dadotres, used under Creative Commons.

He had been in Europe for a month, wandering, exploring, hopping trains like a hobo. Searching for himself.

So far he’d found plenty of old architecture that made him feel small, a variety of local beers and wines that made him feel big, and a painting of Hitler with pink bunny ears.

These were different worlds, in many ways, cultures that felt so different on the ground than they looked in the pages of a book. You couldn’t move through these places simply as a tourist, smiling and watching and marveling at all the things that were so unlike your own home, where everything was done the “normal” way. Here in the streets, the pubs, and the hostels, what caught his attention were not novelties, but realities. The French were not Parisians; the Germans were not Berliners; the Dutch were not Nederlanders: they were people. They worked real jobs, saved up real money, and were excited about real entertainment. They helped when they could, laughed when you told a joke, and bled when they were cut.

He hadn’t yet “found himself” amidst all the helping and laughing and bleeding, but what he had discovered was that in Budapest, just like anywhere else, if you cut someone as a joke, they tend not to laugh, and they aren’t likely to be very helpful afterwards, either.

It’s a small world, but in the end, aren’t we really all alike?

Hope you liked it, little brother. Stay out of trouble!