An Only Child

by Cara Grill

When I was 13, my best friend was a life-sized Barbie doll, perfect and blonde and sweetly na├»ve. I protected her from the ugly things, the horny boys, the middle-school intrigues, the older, tougher girls. When I moved away, I worried that maybe I’d sheltered her too much. A few years later I heard she had been killed by a drunk driver; she was 6 months pregnant at the time, too young to even get married. The friend who called to tell me the news sighed when she was done and said “Maybe it was for the best after all.” If I could have reached through the phone and murdered her, I would have.


Cara Grill lives in Seattle, has Superman pajamas, and once taught her cat how to use the toilet.

At Least

by Bettie Amato

Where do I begin? There’s so much I want to say. I’m just terrible at expressing myself. I’m already half done and I don’t feel anywhere close to my point (and I don’t even know if I have a point). Jeeze, just one sentence left after this one. I’m just no good under pressure… but at least I’m honest, right?


Bettie Amato is a student at the University of San Francisco.


Part 1 of 6 by Peter Wild

The wheels started coming off that night we went to the dog track. It was colder than a witch’s tit – you could see the breath frosting even when you were breathing in – and we weren’t speaking, which wasn’t anything new, I know, but it felt different all the same. You were over by the tote guy getting a price on a dog called Fried Turkey Lunch when I overheard some little snot talking music and mispronouncing the name of Deerhoof – who are, like, my favourite band. (He kept saying Deerhuff over and over, Deerhuff, man, Deerhuff – Deerhuff rock, man – Deerhuff are the fucking bomb, baby.) I had to slap his face, had no choice, had to slap his face and say it isn’t huff you retard it’s hoof, hoof okay, hoof so it rhymes with roof and truth and proof and uncouth. I kept slapping at the kid until he took off running up the bank of seats, his friends yelling, asking me what my problem was but I didn’t care, I was proud of myself – leastways until I turned round and saw you stomping off towards the exit.


Peter Wild, author of Gum Runner, has introduced a new concept to 6S - the six-part story (with each part exactly six sentences). Look for Part 2 of "Deerhoof" on Sunday, March 4th, and look for Peter at

On Judgment Day

by Shawn M. Hetz

I look around, and I see little hope of help for the road that I lead - the warning signs are staring me in the face, like a deer staring into headlights. There is a feeling I cannot resist, and that feeling is to go on. The pain is great but my mind is strong and my will even stronger. But is death the only way to slow me down? This I do not know. What I do know is in the end on Judgment Day, I will be able to smile and tell God that I did what I felt was right.


Shawn M. Hetz is the author of The Pain, The Trick and Beating the Odds and Society.

A Tribute to Madam Z

by Louise Yeiser

The mysterious Madam Z doesn't know this, but she has been my new best friend ever since she wrote about her difficulty in simulating happiness when it would be so much easier to curse the world and shake her fist at the wind (a loose translation), but I would've added that I wanted to throw my ungrateful grown children in the garbage and mow my husband down in the driveway with the family car, but there is no need to go to extremes, since everyone gets the idea without being gross about it. Anyway, I swear that in real life Madam Z is my Creative Nonfiction teacher - well, probably not really - but I insist on pretending she is, maybe because it's fun to believe it so; which is, for all I know, the justification behind all beliefs, political and religious - well, probably not really. But it's a pretty nifty profound thought, as profound thoughts go. Or not. Anyway, if you took her piece here and substituted melted butter pecan ice cream for the spilled glass of wine, it would describe my January, February, and now possibly my March attitudes to a tee or a T or a tea, whichever you prefer, if it's really all that horrendously important to you in the grand scheme of things, which it might be. Or not.


Louise Yeiser, author of The Boss, is a published writer and writing student at the University of Pittsburgh. She authors Sneak Peeks, edits A Good Look at Mastiffs and lives with her two cats and as many English Mastiffs as she can fit into her house.

The Legend of Saint Lugo

by Reed Tangler

Once upon a time, there was a faraway land where half the people had great hair and the other half were completely bald, even the women. The two sides hated each other and fought constantly (they burned each other’s houses to the ground and kidnapped and tortured each other) - the situation was really, really bad. Then one day, a guy named Lugo arrived in the land, and because Lugo had unexceptional hair – fuller on the sides, thinning on top, a weird color halfway between brown and gray - neither side wanted to claim him as their own; no one knew what to make of him. So both sides joined forces and beat him to death with stale baguettes. Whack, whack, whack! From that day forward, the land’s been reigned by a blissful peace.


Reed Tangler occasionally makes things up.

Jeff Foxworthy, Murdered

by Scotty Landes

Jeff Foxworthy was found dead today in his backyard. His body was crudely hidden under a pile of Budweiser and Milwaukee's Best beer cans. There are no suspects yet; however, local police believe an "on air" gaff recorded by Mr. Foxworthy may have disturbed some of his most loyal fans. Apparently, earlier this morning, Mr. Foxworthy visited the morning drive duo Dr. Creepy & Wayne Boy for a regular guest appearance. Following his interview Mr. Foxworthy's microphone was left on accidently. Here is a transcript of the mistaken broadcast: "I don't even like rednecks and I think they should all be shot for being so dirty, ugly, gay, and, let's face it, the least American people on the face of the earth!"


Scotty Landes was born in Maryland, went to college in Massachusetts, and now lives in Brooklyn.

Sex or Syntax

by Rod Drake

Scott was in love, actually in lust, with the desirable Chloe. He loved Chloe’s incredible body totally, fully and frequently. And Scott loved what she could, and would, do with it to him. But she peppered her conversation with endless inane expressions like “let’s meet around 3ish” and “it’s so kooky-cute” and ”wait just a min-min” and “swinging the old ick stick” and “that’s so awesome-mendous,” which bugged him no end. And he just couldn’t get Chloe to stop saying them, no matter how hard he tried, which finally made him weigh phenomenal sex against annoying syntax. So Scott broke up with her.


Rod Drake, author of Pigeons Dropping, hoped to grow up to be a cowboy, fireman or space explorer; a writer is kind of all those things. Check out Rod's longer stories in Flashes of Speculation, Fictional Musings, Flash Flooding, Flash Forward and MicroHorror.

The Women of Fists and Bottles

by Amy Guth

Kinna walked through the trees in her nightgown for easily two hours before reaching the road. She didn’t much care about fingerprints or evidence or incarceration. In that moment, all she cared about was her dead husband, Eddie, wrapped in plastic, duct-taped, buried, covered in rocks and looking fucking pathetic as usual. She sat in the car and drew in a breath and let it slip out noisily and jagged. For less than a second, felt slightly remorseful, as they, the women of fists and bottles, are taught to feel. She laughed instead and quietly drove home in his car.


Amy Guth, author of Eavesdropping Will Get Me Everywhere, has written about blaxploitation, Judaism, feminism, media literacy, bandwagonism, art, cult films, racism, hate crime and social irritants for all sorts of places like The Believer, Monkeybicycle, blah blah blah. She's toodling around at the moment promoting her novel Three Fallen Women and having a very nice time, thanks. She blogs Bigmouth Indeed Strikes Again. Come say hi.

Putting the Sin in Wisconsin

by Montgomery Maxton

(P)ost (S)cripture: it is our secret, our dirty scandal, our refusal to a paternity test, our first class jet set to a moonlit island for a ‘business meeting’ after a layover at blue grass international i say to you with a sunday evening note from uptown manhattan to the manor of sugar maple trees. if you were the super hero who could fix anyone’s body i would ask you to remove my dependency on gel aids that take me to the sandman, to correct my bleeding kidneys (rub them in your warm hands), to implant a technological device that is fail-safe with assurance that my body remains in strict opposition to alcohol. every night i wake up in a panic, something has gone wrong in my sleep that defies all science of the potent milligrams that put me out at four in the morning to begin with; I wake up in a panic, grab for the empty spot where so many wish to fill, look around swiftly while my face blurs in a fight to remain a solid and the encephalon neurons fire in a dire attempt to bring me lucid. all of my accounts are overdrawn and the account of my body struggles to remain just above surface level zero. our top story tonight: the federal aviation administration has released the chilling black box recording of the crash of flight 5191 that, among others, was carrying a [same-sex polygamy] couple headed to their honeymoon in the tropics – {begin audio voice over with crash scene footage} (inaudible) “are we going down the wrong runway” ((was never said)). 49 of 50 died, the lone survivor remembers nothing, sleeps only on sundays, plays his guitar as perfect as king david picked the harp… and in other kentucky news barbaro has been euthanized and lucky ‘h’ christmas, resident of quality, formerly of Montgomery, has died at seventy-four; he will be buried in the goodwill cemetery in loogootee - take our online readers poll: is the ‘h’ short for halloween?


Montgomery Maxton was born and raised in Ohio. He resides in New York City, unemployed, living off the interest of his millions. He has a magical life. He wakes up in the middle of the afternoon to a unicorn licking his face. He reportedly goes to NYU. He is often spotted in Hell’s Kitchen. He is working on a novel. He writes letters to a murderer that he sometimes talks about on his popular blog that his mother, faint of heart, doesn’t read. He loves talking to total strangers, so say something to him.

Why California

by David J. Billings

The first time I laid eyes on California was at Long Beach airport in 1982. I was eleven years old, and as I stood with my very Catholic grandma watching the baggage carousel go round-and-round, I saw a guy in a surfer T, pegged jeans and checked Vans get mauled by his hot blonde girlfriend who just got off a plane from somewhere that wasn't California. Even when my dad took a wrong turn and we ended up on a dead-end hill overlooking oil derricks and brackish inlets, I had this very true sense this landlocked kid from Phoenix was home. I spent the rest of my adolesence with my body in one place and my soul sitting on the side of the Santa Monica freeway. The dirtiest times of my younger days in Hollywood and the most pristine memories of Point Dume as a father meld into a fantastic collage in my brain; it's all been beautiful. When people ask me why California and especially why Los Angeles, the only answer I can give that they will understand, even if they don't really understand, is that I belong there.


David J. Billings is an Author, Illustrator and Unconventional Coach. His hat currently hangs in Washington, DC but he's moving the hat and the hook back to California as soon as possible. You can see a book about getting there here.

The Boss

by Louise Yeiser

I wish I could sit and talk with my dad's old best friend named Boss, who really wasn't; that's just what we called him, and looking back on it now, I haven't the slightest idea why. He lived in New York, and used to visit our family every year on the weekend before or after Valentine's Day, bringing heartfelt gifts of rhyme, stories, and lively jazz numbers his wife, Corky, would write before they were released on mid-sized records that went round and round on our turntable at 78 rpms. Sometimes we sang her songs while he fleshed out their melodies on our tinny, old piano that was kept in the family room, which was really nothing more than a cold, damp basement; but not back then, and certainly not on Valentine afternoons when Boss and Corky were visiting. I remember once when he wrote a short story about my sister's horse being made out of sycamore bark and leaves, and I lent him adjectives and nouns to make it more interesting, and gave my puppets permission to act out the speaking parts, which they did on a blue wooden stage, while I hid behind a red curtain, pulling them this way and that. The combination of fancy, wit, and silliness caused Boss, my parents, my brother and both my sisters to roll on the green, white, and tan basement/family room carpet in fits of laughter, until their sides ached and they begged Boss and me to stop, which of course we finally did. Like I said, I wish I could sit and talk with my dad's old best friend named Boss, who really wasn't; that's just what we called him, but I can't because he went and died two years ago, and looking back on it now, I haven't the slightest idea why.


Louise Yeiser, author of The Favorite Dress, is a published writer and writing student at the University of Pittsburgh. She authors Sneak Peeks, edits A Good Look at Mastiffs and lives with her two cats and as many English Mastiffs as she can fit into her house. Her hobbies, which change frequently, this week include tootsie roll pops, Jane Eyre, and cleaning out bedroom closets.

Three's a Crowd

by Madam Z

The neighbor's bed was squeaking again. Sadie wished the wall between their apartments were either thicker, so she couldn't hear anything, or thinner, so she could hear everything without having to put her ear up against the wall. But it wasn't thicker or thinner, so Sadie did what she did every time the rhythmic thumping started; she hunkered up to the wall and pressed her right ear tight against it. She could hear Frank going "Uh, uh" and Jane going "Ah, ah" and she started to get excited, just thinking about what was going on. Suddenly, all the sounds stopped, even though she was sure the neighbors weren't finished with their sexual exercises. She pressed her ear harder against the wall and then jumped away like she'd been shot, when she heard Jane yell, "Okay, Sadie, get away from that wall, you cheap voyeur!"


Madam Z, author of Happy New Me, knows all and hears all.

Vampire in a Dirty City

by Shonali Bhowmik

I'm in the city and I'm living for me. I'm catching up with history. Is it dirtier here, or am I too clean? If he doesn't get you, then someone else will. If she doesn't stay, then someone else will. I'm a vampire in a dirty city, all dressed up and I feel pretty.


Shonali Bhowmik, author of Hawking Loogies, is the leader of the band Tigers and Monkeys ("Vampire in a Dirty City" is the first verse of one of her favorite songs), and a member of the comedy group The Variety Shac. She pays her bills working as a temporary attorney.


by Robert McEvily

I crave her. Want her. Need her. Love her. I've forgotten my life before her; can't imagine a future without her. (I've asked my heart surgeon friend and tattoo artist friend to combine their talents by inking her initials on my left ventricle, but they've both slapped me and told me to shut up.)


Robert McEvily, creator of Six Sentences, wishes Jill a very happy Valentine’s Day.

Pigeons Dropping

by Rod Drake

After the fact it was named Black Tuesday, the day the pigeons in New York City stopped being pushed aside, kicked and poisoned, and finally took revenge. Like well-trained winged commandos, having waited decades for this moment, the pigeons swooped down on the startled populace with vengeance and blood on their tiny minds. Thousands of New Yorkers were killed in the surprise assault, tens of thousands more were wounded, blinded, missing ears, nose tips and patches of hair as wave after wave of dive-bombing pigeons in teams and solo unleashed a savagery and bloodlust never before observed in pigeons. Patrolman Mitch Brenner emptied his pistol into the sky, dropping several pigeons, and then retreated inside his bombarded police car on West 58th Street to reload, wondering why this happened and how long it would continue, and where his partner was. The aviary terrorist attack that no one could have foreseen or understood hit all five boroughs simultaneously, forcing pedestrians to hide in subway cars and cower in glass-cracked stores as the heavy aerial siege continued for six horrific hours, without stop, without mercy, but with plenty of human blood. Then as the sky darkened with rain clouds, the pigeons simply stopped the attack as suddenly as it had begun and went back to being cooing, waddling, begging pigeons again.


Rod Drake, author of Party Trick, is pretty sure this is not his first life, nor will it be his last one probably. Check out Rod's longer stories in Flashes of Speculation, Fictional Musings, Flash Flooding, Flash Forward and MicroHorror.


by Erik Grayson

When I was six years old, I took an old transistor radio my father had given me, dismantled it, spread the pieces out on my little child's desk, and tried to figure out where each part would go to make the tiny contraption work again. When I found that I could not reassemble the radio, when I recognized that I had ruined my father's present, when I began to suspect that I had been foolish, I hatched a plan: I was going to go back in time, to the moment I had first clasped the radio in my hands and I was going to prevent myself from tinkering with it in the first place. With a renewed sense of purpose, I collected all of the pieces of metal and plastic, the bits of wire, and the faux-leather shell that had so recently housed these components, scooped the whole pile into my backpack and ran to the basement to find a hammer and the scraps of wood and the coffee can of nails I would need to transform the mound of useless radio parts into a time machine the likes of which even H. G. Wells could not have envisioned. Within fifteen minutes, I had built the vessel that would transport me from the present to the past, and I steeled myself for the journey. Following a tense countdown, I closed my eyes, tugged on the black wire that would activate the machine, and went nowhere. Discouraged, I abandoned my plans and neglected to consider, until this moment, the very distinct possibility that the red wire would have done the trick.


Erik Grayson, author of A Mind of Summer, lives and works in upstate New York.

The Favorite Dress

by Louise Yeiser

The little girl sat in the living room with her grandfather and her new doll, while her mother bustled about in the kitchen making dinner, and her brother and sisters played upstairs. She wore her favorite party dress over her sturdy frame, the red and white checked one, with puffy sleeves and see-through pinafore that tied in a big bow around her waist. When her grandfather asked her if she would dance for him, she became embarrassed and told him no, causing her mother to emerge from the kitchen, wiping her hands on her apron, saying, "Aw, come on, honey - Gramps would love to see your beautiful dancing. Be a sport, change your mind, trot upstairs and get your leotard and slippers, and I’ll let you wear one of my petticoats, how about your favorite, the blue one?" The little girl shook her head, even though she loved to twirl in the stiff, full layers of pale blue chiffon, watching them flair in filmy waves around her legs and pretending to be Cinderella, while the skirts spun a web around the body of her Prince Charming, engulfing him, binding him to her, and making him hers forever. Decades later, when she sat with her uncle in his family room, nestled in a worn, red, leather chair, with her legs tucked under her, talking for the first time about the specifics of her grandfather's death, carefully skirting around the word "suicide," all she could remember of him was that she wished he had seen her dance.


Louise Yeiser is a published writer and writing student at the University of Pittsburgh. She authors Sneak Peeks, edits A Good Look at Mastiffs and lives with her two cats and as many English Mastiffs as she can fit into her house. Her hobbies, which change frequently, often include chocolate, yoga, and crossword puzzles.


by Elizabeth Rose

I just didn't understand why he had to touch me there. He could have brushed past me in any other way; it wouldn't have felt so intrusive. It sent shivers down my spine like some insipid sickness I can only just remember, taking me back to some unknown place and time. I want to scream at him and tell him how fucking rude he is but she looks at me with raised eyebrow over the top of her glass and I know I'm doing it again. I swallow my pride with my scotch and raise an eyebrow in return, feeling my eyes invert to glare at him still but in secret. Pride warms in my belly with my invisible two fingers to them both.


Elizabeth Rose is a special needs teacher from the UK, who after a stint in Jamaica is now residing in the south of Spain.


by Ali Al Saeed

God created the universe in seven days. I destroyed myself in seven seconds. That’s how long it took me to pick up the gun and shoot my baby. I wonder how long it would take God to destroy his own universe? Can he bring himself to do it? I’m not quite sure he could.


Ali Al Saeed was born in 1978 in Bahrain and wrote his first story at the age of ten. He rediscovered his passion for writing ten years later when he became a journalist in 1998 and has been writing professionally since then for a number of leading newspapers and publications. Ali is the recipient of the Bahrain Outstanding Book of the Year Award for his debut novel QuixotiQ (2004). His second book of fiction, Moments, a collection of short stories, was published in 2006. His stories have appeared in a number of anthologies, literary journals and magazines. To learn more about Ali and his work, please visit his Official Website.

The Dancing Spirit

by Thomas F. Crum

There is an old adage, “When a pickpocket meets a saint, he sees only his pockets.” When we get overly concerned in life with defending ourselves from imagined or real attacks by blocking and striking back, we tend to misperceive loving intentions and react in this same tense, fearful mode. Notice that when a friend goes to put his arm around you, the direction of his movement is very similar to a hook punch. If you are training all your life to fight the world around you, what happens when the hugs come? Do you verbally or emotionally take people’s heads off and have to apologize later? As we give up the fighting mind and develop the dancing spirit, our timing and our actions become in tune with each situation.


Thomas F. Crum's six sentences are taken from “The Magic of Conflict: Turning a Life of Work into a Work of Art.”

The Patron

by David Maris

I’m attracted to waitresses. I love their outfits and the cleanliness of their hands. They ask me what I’d like to have, and I tell them, and they smile and get it for me. I discreetly stare at their asses. They lightly touch my shoulder and laugh at my jokes. They say goodbye when I leave, which creates an illusion of affection, which gets me through the rest of my day.


David Maris may be sitting at the next table.

This Place

by Heather Leet

She knew that it was no use, no use at all. She was never going to escape the confines of this godforsaken place and she felt her soul tremble. She been born and raised here in this place where children aged quicker then mold grew on stale bread and her daughter was destined to live out her days in the same manner. When she had discovered she was pregnant, she dreamed of a wonderful life filled with everything someone who has nothing dreams of for their children, but those dreams were crushed under the weight that was this place with its dirt and grime and sad stories that never seemed to change. She looked down at the small bundle wrapped in pretty pink and smiled. She regretted everything and nothing.


Heather Leet is a modern day Robin Hood, but instead of stealing from the rich she cajoles them into giving her money to help fund programs that will hopefully one day make the world a better place. She spends not enough time writing on her blog, and hopes to one day publish her collection of Love Poems to Dictators.

Happy New Me

by Madam Z

I’ve decided to be happy. How hard can it be? Just stop thinking negatively, remember the glass is half full, not half empty, turn-that-frown-upside-down, stop reading the newspaper and watching the evening news, ignore that persistent little pain in my abdomen, eat chocolate whenever I darned well feel like it, don’t look in the mirror ever, not even when brushing my teeth, remind myself that spring is just around the corner, resist the temptation to talk politics with my right-wing-zealot husband, find humor in the frequent situations where I walk into a room and have no idea whatsoever why I am there, understand that my grown children are just busy with their lives, not ignoring me, assure myself daily that I am not a defunct, decrepit piece of crap, watch some old Peewee Herman tapes and buy a new vibrator. Oh, wait... I forgot... I’m old, I’m broke, my husband and I fight over everything, my kids don’t care about me, I look like hell and feel worse, I’m halfway to Alzheimer’s, and Peewee turned out to be a big pervert. And now I went and knocked over my wine glass, so it’s 100% empty. But I am forcing the corners of my mouth to turn up, no matter how hard it is.


Madam Z, author of Flasher Fiction, lives, loves, and writes unpublished stories in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, though her heart is still in her native California, which makes it extremely difficult to do much aerobic exercise.


by Maura Campbell

He had to have her. He knew it the moment his eyes spotted her curvy lines and bold bordering on brassy countenance. Subtlety is overrated - he appreciated the in your face, I will not be overlooked, I will be heard quality that screamed from her every inch. She beckoned with a bewitching come hither quality that he could not resist. So he straddled her, turned the key and brought her engine to life. Stella was his.


Maura Campbell usually writes for other people - putting words in the mouths of (and on the page for) assorted public relations and marketing clients. This time of year in Michigan, she misses the sun and finds herself longing for her home state of Colorado.

Gum Runner

by Peter Wild

They threw me into a Singapore jail for smuggling gum. Can you believe that? Fucking chewing gum, man. Fucking Juicy Fruit. I'm doing time because they caught me smuggling Juicy Fruit. I deserve to be ass-raped every day for the next 12 months.


Peter Wild, author of The End of Us, makes his online home at

One Sunburned Arm

by Brent Goodman

Whole day traveling due north, passenger seat empty, driver's window down, elbow out, spring sun warming my face. This wide switchback river I cross and cross again throughout the hours cannot make peace with the path I have chosen. When I arrive in my reinvented life, who will recognize this journey sun-mapped across my freckled forearm? There is a distance in these fingers my left hand considers, though when I reach out in welcome or fear, another hand always extends to greet my own. Old meandering river: how many times must I cross you? I've grown sick of myself the pale arm finally sighs – asleep the whole way home, only now awakening.


Brent Goodman is a professional writer trying to live more creatively in a town where bowling alley country karaoke is culture and a single deer can gridlock traffic on the main road through town.

The Cost of Forgiveness

by Nathan Tyree

She looks at you because she doesn’t know where else to look and because she is afraid to look away. The blood on her cheek is still fresh; the cut above her left eye is weeping red from the right handed force of the blow. Her eyes are wet and slowly turning milky glass distant. Even now, before you have made the obligatory drive to the emergency room where an adolescent intern will apply the sutures to close her wounds and choose to believe that she fell down some stairs, she has forgiven you. She always forgives you just the way that she always forgave her father. You, however, may never be able to forgive yourself.


Nathan Tyree's work has appeared (or is forthcoming) in Flesh and Blood, Doorknobs and Body Paint, The Flash, Bare Bone, Dogmatika, Wretched and Violent, and The Empty Page: Stories Inspired by the Songs of Sonic Youth.