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"Mandela Effect" by Niles Reddick

After five o’clock, we got together at La Siesta for margaritas, fajitas, and tacos to celebrate Cinco de Mayo, and someone asked what the holiday represented. None of us cared what it meant, other than eating great food and, more importantly, drinking margaritas, but we all thought it was to commemorate Mexico’s Independence Day, a victory over Spain.

Marty, the human resources manager in our group, corrected that it was to celebrate Mexico’s victory of a French occupation and that our mistake was yet another example of false memories of a group referred to as the Mandela Effect, named so after people who’d had an incorrect memory of Nelson Mandela dying in an African prison when he hadn’t.

Marty shared other examples that seemed less significant: people remembered the name of Jif peanut butter as Jiffy; Curious George had a tail when he didn’t; the theme song for Mister Rogers was “It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood” when it was “It’s a beautiful day in this neighborhood”; and Hannibal Lecter said to Clarice Starling in Silence of the Lambs “Hello, Clarice” when, in fact, he simply said, “Good Morning.”

“Get out,” Frenchy said. “That movie scared the hell out of me.”

“100% all true,” Marty said. “It’s even true individually. What people say in interviews about their own experience in previous jobs seems to be false memories compared to the reports from their supervisors when we check.”

“You’re kidding,” Jan commented. “How do you know the former supervisors are telling you the truth?”

“We don’t, but we have to somehow find middle ground,” Marty said. “I have come to wonder what reality is.”

“Well, the reality is these are the best damned margaritas I’ve ever had,” Frenchy said, and everyone laughed.

“Except for the ones you had last week that you don’t recall because you had too many,” Jan said.

Niles Reddick is author of a novel, two collections, and a novella. His work has been featured in over 450 publications including The Saturday Evening Post, PIF, New Reader Magazine, Forth Magazine, Citron Review, and The Boston Literary Magazine. He is a four time Pushcart, three time Best Micro nominee, and a nominee for Best Small Fictions. He works for the University of Memphis, and his newest flash collection If Not for You has just been published by Big Table Publishing. Website:


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