Flash Fiction Story 006: "The Albescu Letters"

The following correspondence was recently found in the basement of the Great Hall of Recently Adopted Western Culture (formerly the Dumitru Palace). Never delivered to its intended recipient, the letters offer historians an intimate view of the final days of the Albescu Regime, the fall of Communism in Eastern Europe, and a touching attempt at familial unity.

The Democratic Republic of Stovania has forbidden the letters to be distributed among their people, citing concerns that aging Albescu loyalists may renew their attempts at counter-revolution, but many insiders with the current government are only embarrassed that their postal system never delivered the letters.


2 February 1990


To: Constantin Albescu

Crazy Al’s Super American Used Cars Emporium

Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, USA


From: Lord President Dimitru Albescu, Chief Architect of the Eternal Socialist Revolution

Dumitru Palace

Colastchu, Stovania


Glory to the Glorious Socialist State of Stovania, Dearest Cousin!

The revolution still works for the people! The people are not hungry, and they are happy in their labors! My advisers continue to assure me of this. Other enfeebled countries have fallen to a pungent brew of Soviet meddling and Western Nonsense, but not Stovania! Our utopia will continue to stand, even when humanity has disappeared into dust! Don’t believe what you read in the news! Communism is back, baby!

But enough about me! Oh, how I have missed our talks! I know now that I am partly to blame. Clearly there was some miscommunication between us, and I would like to put it in the past. 

You wanted to defect—I’m sorry, move—to America to start a new life, and I did not take it well. I ordered most of your nose shot off, but I have sources (not the secret police, relax) that tell me it makes you even better at selling automobiles to the capitalists. The Americans have sympathy for you! You should be thanking me!

But let us let bygones be bygones, no? You have a new life in America; I am beloved as a benevolent ruler of the last communist country in Eastern Europe. We’re both very successful, and I forgive you.

I have even dismissed as pure fiction the reports that you pilfered 14 metric tonnes of gold bullion with you when you fled for the West. Likewise, I assume that you will dismiss as the heights of fantasy the reports that I—or rather the Socialist State of Stovania, as we are one and the same—owe Credit Suisse an immediate payment on the loan I took out to convert our tank fleet to hot air balloons. It was a great idea at the time! I didn’t think capitalists knew how to fire upward—er, I mean—the balloon thing never happened. I do not know how these rumors get started. 

It is all forgotten! I am not in need of money, and you are very happy in your new home. Let us be friends now.

But drop me a line, eh?

Your affectionate cousin,



22 February 1990

To: Constantin

From: Dimitru

My greatest and oldest friend, Constantin!

Why have you not written me back? There is nothing to be afraid of! I merely miss hearing from you, and if you wanted to send a few bars of bullion back, what’s a little gold between family?

I have sent my wife and children out of the country. No particular reason. Time for a holiday! Reports that ninety percent of my country has been overrun by peasants who have not had a meal since 1985 are just Western propaganda. You already knew this, of course! Why am I telling you?

We have had some difficult times as of late. Instability in other countries might yet demoralize our people, but they are strong! They only need a strong voice to remind them of the ideals that have brought us to this golden age of human civilization!

I am that voice! I have a speech prepared that will prove to the whole world that I never lost the love of the people and never will!

Wish me luck! Also, a little money would help.

Your affectionate cousin,



3 March 1990

To: Constantin

From: Dimitru

Oh, Constantin,

Dear sweet, generous Constantin,

The speech was not my best and I am frightened. From this broom closet where I remain in complete control of the Socialist Revolution, I can hear their insults and jeers coming from the streets.

“Dimitru is killing Stovania.”

“We haven’t eaten in a year!”

“Dimitru eyes yaks in a way we collectively find unnatural!”

Utter nonsense. It’s Soviet Propaganda. It’s Western Nonsense! My feelings about livestock are immaterial!

I think often of our days as children. When the winter would be cold and we would be scared that witches or Romanians would come for us in the night. Grandmama would tell us that if we only stayed true to one another, we would be safe.

I need only survive for a few more days. The Secret Police will come for me.  


It’s almost as if the people don’t love Socialism as much as I do. It’s a sobering thought, indeed.

Still hopeful to hear from you,



Two days after the final letter was written, a rapidly organized military tribunal loyal to the Stovanian Liberation Front found Dimitru Albescu guilty of corruption, embezzlement of the Stovanian Treasury, and communing with yaks designated as livestock. Citing a desire to get to the recently opened Stovanian McDonalds before the lunch rush, Liberation Front soldiers shot Dimitru five minutes after announcing the verdict. Surviving leaders of The Front recently admitted that some of the charges may have been specious but insist the sentence would have been the same.

In an interview after the discovery of the letters, Constantin Albescu (having changed his name to Albert Constance after he defected in 1982) angrily denounced any notion that he stole bullion from the Stovanian Treasury. Shortly after said interview, Constantin disappeared.