99 Undos

by E. Cleveland

I did not lie to my mother and some doctor about seeing dots in front of my eyes just to get glasses — because Bobby Johnson, only the coolest kid in second grade, had glasses — thereby impairing my vision for life. I never wore an extremely tight Howard the Duck t-shirt (awarded by 96 ROCK WKLS for correctly stating that "Video Killed the Radio Star" by The Buggles was the first video on MTV) on my first day of college. Nor did I slash razor marks in my forehead and sport a black t-shirt with the words "PAIN SINK" inscribed in red fabric paint, daily for a full semester, after the campus slut ended our two-day "relationship" and slept with all but two of the Northwestern Wildcats football organization. I did not drink four liters of cranberry juice to trick a drug test then try to fart while waiting for the train to the interview, soiling myself instead because cranberry juice softens the stool remarkably. In no way did I ever drunkenly give a crack addict my home telephone number at the suggestion of her four-foot tall pimp (who drove a comically overcompensating Ford F-250 Super Duty pickup truck), take her to Denny's where we changed tables, like, six times because she saw her grandmother's "likeness," then buy her groceries, resulting in her calling me several times at around 3 a.m. for a ride to Taco Bell. I did not take paid vacation days on Monday and Tuesday, September 10th and 11th, 2001, telling my boss I would be in New York City on those days just to avoid the mandatory two-day "Multicultural Sensitivity in The Workplace" seminar, subsequently becoming the office hero and having to tell the same lies about my purported ordeal until I quit three weeks later because it was just too weird...

6S

E. Cleveland, author of I, Inept Whore, writes as a means to avoid committing crimes. He lives in Los Angeles for his sins.

Ecstasy (to go)

by Michael Obilade

The lovers embraced in a passionate confluence of energy. She grabbed his hair, dragging nails across his back as he clenched her thighs, buried his lips in her breasts. Sodas splashed, customers cheered as they made unrestrained love against the cash register. People peered through the drive-through peephole in awe. The manager screamed a high E, shattering windowpanes everywhere. "And that," Ben answered, "is why Julie and I were fired from the Burger Bonanza yesterday."

6S

Michael Obilade lives and writes in Massachusetts, where he is learning to play the banjo.

First Date

by Dirty Blonde

The best day of my life was spent holding you at the waist, my chest against your back, as you sped us eastward. Each time we stopped, I took off my helmet and you had to fasten it for me because I’d never been on a motorcycle before. I held on to you for so long and so tightly that your shirt smelled like Hanae Mori and me through the night and into the next morning. That was six years ago. I need you to find this, to find me. I won’t need to pack a bag - just have my helmet waiting and smile at me as you put it on.

6S

Dirty Blonde, author of I Sleep Alone, doesn't need you to know her true identity, but swears that she's a real writer and a real blonde.

Corona

by German Voodoo

I'd a choice, between the drinking and the children. My wife - bless her - said, "The children can't stand to see you drunk all the time." I was hardly ever drunk, as in Really Pissed Over the Cliff Sopping Drunk, but a buzz flew my eyelids all the live long day. The children, beautiful children, not drunks, didn't seem to mind - or maybe they did and I couldn't notice. Eh, Corona's no pleasure like Christmas Morning. Cheers to alcoholics everywhere, they're foreign and French.

6S

German Voodoo is 15 years old and lives in Nashville, Tennessee.

Eclipsed: August 28

by Pamela Johnson Parker

The lunar eclipse started here about an hour ago. First the moon blushed rose, then reddened, then her center went rust-yellow, as though she were painted with Betadine. Her core disappeared, the word m-o-o-n erased into a singular lower-case o. Hollowed circle, scooped-out melon. Her edges were cantaloupe, then copper-clad, then vanished, and as she disappeared faint stars usually lost in her brightness emerged, lights flickering through the leaves of the water maples like fireflies at dusk. Emmett Till died on this date, at 14: Fifty-two years extinguished like the moon.

6S

Pamela Johnson Parker, author of Antiques Roadshow: Marriage c. 1967, is an MFA student and adjunct creative writing instructor at Murray State University in Kentucky. She blogs at Pamela's Musings.

Best Regards to Albert

by Diane Brady

Two days after he attended the carnival in a small New England town, impressed with the special talents of people young and old in the big canvas tent, the 8-year-old boy sat at his desk, teaching himself how to write backwards in cursive. Developing this skill made perfect sense to him because he had always solved math problems in reverse and assumed if his mind operated backwards then his handwriting should reflect that. It didn’t take long to learn how to the form the letters -- he practiced them in reversed order, starting with the Z and ending with the A and then made simple words until he could write entire sentences; years later he stood at the blackboard in his high school Latin class and wrote a homework sentence on the board entirely backwards, in Latin, causing the teacher to grumble and mutter something about it looking like Greek. At the university he excelled in quantum physics, often challenging his professors to look at the world from his reverse perspective, emphatic that his view was the key to new scientific discoveries. Colleagues in the graduate program laughed at him, of course, but since he was accustomed to such reaction, he ignored them and continued developing his own theories about the physical world and spent weekends in the lab performing experiments no one understood. On the last day of the Fall semester, he wheeled a large metal cabinet of reinforced steel into the lecture hall during a freshman class, wrote a few equations never seen before on the blackboard, opened the cabinet door, stepped inside and waved his hand, a sly grin on his normally sullen face, and then closed the door, latching it tightly from inside; no one ever saw the graduate student again, for when they opened the cabinet he was gone, and no one, even his honored professors understood what had happened, aside from pondering the odd equations he had written just before his disappearance; ten years later he was awarded the Max Planck Medal for his work, which the department chair proudly accepted in his honor; the former graduate student, then attending a German university using his great-grandfather’s name and studying aerospace rocketry, read about the prestigious award in a local paper, prompting him to quickly pen a letter of congratulations to the American school -- he laughed deeply when he posted it for inside the envelope his letter was written on round stationery with START on the outer edge and the rest of the words spiraling inward all in cursive, backwards in German, his true initials prominently displayed in the center.

6S

Diane Brady, author of Lucky No. 7, hasn’t perfected the disappearance act yet, but she can write backwards in cursive. She lives in Denver.

Tan Lines

by Anita Hunt

It's raining. I'm sitting on the sand, at the beach, on one of the hottest days in August, and it's raining. The sand is warm between my toes but the surf is turning gray and rough, attracting surfers like ants to the splattered remains of an ice cream cone on the sidewalk. As the waves baste me in salt water, a flock of gulls retreat from the open sea, flying over my head; I don't look up (I'm no fool) even as they taunt me with cries of dummy, dummy, dummy for not seeking shelter from the storm. Soaked in sea water, breaded in sand, I run for my car, dodging the rain drops, a string of seaweed stuck in my hair for decoration. It's raining harder.

6S

Anita Hunt is a high school art teacher, an artist, a mom, a grandma and a Professor of Neat Stuff.

Silence

by austere seeker

You’re upset... did I say or do something wrong, your tone, well, text really, sounds different, stark stiff formal held back, something the matter? Something I said, or did, or didn’t, you know I’ve been having health, work issues... not that you asked, like a switch off? Why do I sense that something somewhere is wrong... you’ve just called me by my name, not that usual term of endearment! Something’s crawling, tingling on my skin. Dammit, say something! You think I won’t find out who she is, your new prettina-muse?

6S

austere seeker lives, works, and writes in Mumbai.

Testosteronium

by Robert Clay

I looked down at the small cold silvery ball of plutonium. The cold is an illusion of course, deep down inside that metal ball is the sort of heat that can power a city, or burn one. MANmade element? Well, women have more sense. They would prefer to make an omelette than this shiny little key that opens the gateway to hell, and I’m inclined to agree with them. Not as much fun though.

6S

Robert Clay, author of Too Late for Sorrow, is a Seafarer now stranded on land. He lives in Cornwall in the UK.

Outing

by Rista Abouradi-Hoffman

Coming out for Stacy was more awkward than painful. With a closed fist of waded up panties, she searched for words. Her sister, Ramona, had walked in just as her lover relaxed on the bed. "Get out of here," clenching her hand tighter, "get out!" Slowly stepping backwards, Ramona put her hand around the brass door knob. "Stacy, you need to read Leviticus."

6S

Rista Abouradi-Hoffman, author of Post-It Notes, is still looking to join a writer's group, so if you're in one and you'd like a new member, just click her name and send her an email!

Laurence Olivier is My Lover

by Quin Browne

We are lovers. Sliding from one phase of knowing each other to the other with a ease that caught us both by surprise; going from discussing something now forgotten to leaning into each other - tasting, discovering, putting my mouth on his neck, his hand there, right... there. I had been on a hiatus of sorts, a decision abandoned with his wicked, bad smile and my answering kiss. Moving together, giving over my trust, both fumbling to fit into this new place in our world, I was wrapped in glorious sheets, lost in remembered rhythms, his hands on my hips, his body beneath me. Stopped short by an orgasm that surpassed every cliché ever written in a bad bodice ripper novel, I splayed my hands on his chest, gasping for air and laughing as I said, "That was magnificent!" "I know," he replied wearily, "but, I don't know how I did it."

6S

Quin Browne, author of Blind Date (one of 6S's most discussed and viewed pieces), wasn't going to write here anymore. But she lost an unspoken bet with a friend. She hopes that friend will collect his winnings, because he's right, as he is, far too often.

The Accidental Suitor

by F.S. Hallgrimson

It was the perfect crime. Well, almost. As he walked away with his cheap treasure, his eyes locked with a feverishly attractive curly haired girl, her lips curling the longer they held gaze. Did she see and would she tell? There was only one thing he could do. "Here, this is for you."

6S

F.S. Hallgrimson, who was responsible for Goosing the Queen, usually gets away with it.

Hunger Humbles

by Nikki Spencer

We huffed up the sidewalk, sweating. It was vital that we see a man, today, before he exited the huge gray structure; our very existence depended on meeting this man. I could feel greasy sweat beading on my upper lip and trickling down my back. The monolithic building ahead was playing tricks on my tired eyes. Was it getting further away as we hurried to it? I looked down at my hungry boy and noticed he had wet his pants.

6S

Nikki Spencer's life is crazy and very full at the moment with three children (ages 5, 4, and 18 months). Her roles have included graveyard shift waitress at a truck stop, dental assistant, dental lab technician, wife, and mommy. Even though she reads everything she can get her hands on, she's never considered herself a writer. Now, in the middle of child-filled days, she finds herself craving more. More education, more intelligent conversations, more reading, and recently, more writing.

Peer Pressure

by Rebekah Sue Harris

I'm sure I'm not the only one who does it. Staring at the back of a just-finished book, wishing there were more. Eyeing a fallen pink sequin on the bank's dark green utilirug, wishing I were still young enough to get away with picking up trash just because it's pretty. Sitting on the stoop and comparing the different ways the neighborhood sounds depending on the time of day. As I let my surroundings capture my attention, the way my high school English assignment said to look for "fabulous realities," I assume that you, gentle reader, do the exact same thing. Is there any way I can write a Six Sentences about this?

6S

Rebekah Sue Harris is the editor of Modified News and the author of Overheard at the Cash Register. She has a great family, a laptop named Floyd, hundreds of books, dozens of tattoos, a full-sized tricycle, chronic pain, and a cat named Heyboy. One or all of these will be the death of her.

Eating Tomorrow's Dinner Today

by Bob Jacobs

Someone once told my wife to treat each day as if it was her last. She cheats. She eats tomorrow's dinner today. Not just tomorrow's either, she's eaten all her dinners up to about March 2018 already and can barely squeeze into her clothes. She sweats a lot, gets out of breath from walking, complains of pains in her knees and her feet and lately her chest. Each day I look at her and think it could be her last.

6S

Bob Jacobs, author of The Eccles Cake Affair, lives in the south-east of England with his wife and kids and Sony Vaio.

Six More and I May Smack Him

by Janice Weiss

Mommy look! Mommy look! Mommy look! Mommy look! Mommy look! Mommy look!

6S

Janice Weiss doesn’t believe in corporal punishment. She just thinks about it from time to time.

Rocks of Ages

by Madam Z

When I was a child, I got off to a rocky start. When I was a teenager, it was all rock and roll to me. When I was in my twenties, I was often stoned. When I was in my thirties, my marriage was on the rocks. When I was in my forties, I hit rock bottom. When I was fifty, I met Tom, and he rocked my world.

6S

Madam Z, author of Pearl Harbor in the Rose Garden, loves six and isn't afraid to admit it. Do yourself a favor and check out her blog.

Old Country

by Shaindel Beers

"Oh, Pshaw, your father'll get a new job right away - why he's an old melon-baller from way back! It's just silly that university couldn't realize it." Mellon-baller? Who were these people? Her parents always talked about the "Old Country" and used odd sayings and mentioned places and occupations that sounded so ridiculous she had always suspected they had made them up. Now that she was in her thirties, Lily's friends found her parents (aging hippies/gypsies emigrated from Hungary) endearing and begged to come over for dinners and family gatherings, but when the day arrived she'd find herself nearly as embarrassed as she had been in high school - wouldn't they ever be normal?

6S

Shaindel Beers, author of Long Way Home, is a Professor of English at Blue Mountain Community College in Pendleton, Oregon, and has taught at colleges and universities in Illinois and Florida. This piece was inspired by her boyfriend, Lee, who says the damnedest things sometimes.

Your Lucky Day

by Robert McEvily

You get older, and certain days of the year, formerly important, like the last day of school or Christmas, lose their grip, become irrelevant. Even your birthday becomes something of an annoyance, an embarrassing day where you feel like ducking the spotlight. But you? You’re lucky enough to be in love, really in love, so there’s a certain day that actually tightens its grip as you get older, becomes more and more and MORE important. It’s the day the love of your life was born; the day that made your life worth living. Happy Birthday Jill – I Love You!

6S

Robert McEvily totally loves Jill, and totally loves her birthday.

A Winter's Victory

by James William Mount II

A winter-chilled warrior heatedly draws his sword from its cold scabard. A soft hand halts the young man's hand. He looks down into an old man's weather-wrinkled smiling face. The old man spoke, "What destroys many a man and sword alike is temper." The young warrior understood. He waited with his men in calm composure and received victory when the enemy gave in to temper and attacked.

6S

James William Mount II is a caucasian male, 45 years old, gainfully employed with the Greenville Hospital System since November 17, 1986. He is hearing impaired and has brown hair and brown eyes.

Post-It Notes

by Rista Abouradi-Hoffman

Amber had been working at Old National Bank for three years with the same routine: bagel at eight, soda at ten, and between noon and one, sneak into Derek's office. He was the bank's manager who always seemed to overlook women for promotions. That fact infuriated her even more as two months prior, she was eligible for lead teller. After slipping in to his office, she took just one thing each time. On his desk, there were as many as fifty Post-It notes with a name or note probably scribbled down as the phone hung from his ear. It was exciting to extract just one little yellow piece of the puzzle then watch for the frustrated look on Derek's face.

6S

Rista Abouradi-Hoffman is still looking to join a writer's group, so if you're in one and you'd like a new member, just click her name and send her an email!

Bananas

by Harry B. Sanderford

Dog winged the monkey's gerdonderplonk just past ceremony. Winkle-wizzened water garglers awoke wanderjanked while apple-gated confederates slept on. Rusty pipe smack-down cancelled water lily gumbo's two o'clock and Patsy sang Crazy for the millionth time. Cart-wheeling donkey kong cougar camp visionaries lament then relent and consent. Rotty board deliverance wiggles wormy can-can hula-hoops and a dirty dozen daisies die. Woman howls moon, monkey bites Dog, man slaps clock and Patsy still crazy, falls silent.

6S

Harry B. Sanderford, author of Dookey Earl... Pukey, Hurls!, is a Central Florida surfing cowboy who'd sooner spin yarns than mend fences.

Merced

by Josh Hancock

Merced, his baby sister, turned over in her sleep, so Pedro could not see her face. All he could see was her long black hair; how dark and thick and womanly it was. Merced had tacked paper butterflies to the walls. Pedro wanted to see her face and she finally turned over after he had sat there long enough. But there was nothing there except her womanliness in the dark on the bed. For a long time Pedro looked at the paper butterflies on the wall; they were easier to look at than the strange grown woman sleeping beside him.

6S

Josh Hancock is a community college instructor in California. He's the author of the 2001 novel Between the Rain, and has stories accepted for publication in "Yellow Mama" and "Black Petals" in the fall and spring.

While Smoking

by Rista Abouradi-Hoffman

Smoke rushed Aamira's face as she tilted a cigarette between her lips. Ashes hit the inside of her left ankle while she sat in the floor sorting laundry. Emptying out the last pair of pants, should found a gum wrapper with "Tehani" and a phone number below it. It was her own hand writing, so she dialed it on her cell phone. A woman answered and greeted her in a familiar way, "Salaam, beautiful, I thought you would never call me." Aamira hung up in surprise and began to recount her whereabouts of the last nine days.

6S

Rista Abouradi-Hoffman is currently looking to join a writer's group, so if you're in one and you'd like a new member, just click her name and send her an email!

Overheard at the Cash Register

by Rebekah Sue Harris

Oh my God, did you see that woman SMACK that old, helpless man? She's still screaming at him and she's got no manners whatsoever! We know what we're talking about, even though we didn't know that he's been missing for forty minutes, panicking his wife and that horrid daughter who just tried to shove him away from the candy and toward his wheelchair and oxygen. We know that HE is the victim, even though we don't know that he took off his oxygen and snuck off to buy physician-forbidden candy. We don't care that the helpless old man is stronger than his wife and daughter, and that he's physically attacked them, even though they love him and are trying to take care of him. We know what we saw, so call the police.

6S

Rebekah Sue Harris is the editor of Modified News and the author of Clutching Fear. She has a great family, a laptop named Floyd, hundreds of books, dozens of tattoos, a full-sized tricycle, chronic pain, and a cat named Heyboy. One or all of these will be the death of her.

Brief Encounter with Anonymity

by Alana Wilson

She stopped for a bite to eat in a neighboring town, nobody here knew her story: wife, mother, member of the PTA and the Library Council. On any given day, her chores kept her from frequenting restaurants in the afternoon; she’d heat up a bowl of leftovers from last night’s supper and eat it between loads of laundry, loads of dishes or loads of garbage being taken out to the receptacle on the curb. Today she was a single woman, seated at the counter, trying not to hide behind the pages of a newspaper. She spoke briefly with the waitress about the coffee and while she was watching the waitress walk away from her, a man sat down beside her -- not just any man, he was straight from the pages of People or US, he had flawless skin, toned body, dark hair and green eyes; in her daughter’s terms, this guy was “hot;” instantly she could feel the heat from his body warming the entire length of her right side. She wanted to smile at him, start a conversation, look into his eyes and hold the gaze a second too long, she wanted to touch him and feel the heat of his skin, she wanted to be wrapped in his arms; she pictured herself taking a ride in his truck, sitting next to him, keeping his warmth close, smelling his manness, and risking her reputation for night of passion. She sat uncomfortably for a minute before she told the waitress to make the order "to-go;” who was she kidding, she had to get home; her kids were due off the bus soon.

6S

Alana Wilson, in a crowd of authors, would be the one on her knees in reverence to all of the talent. Last year, she won an "honorable mention" in her college's writing contest. She is the author of Plain Jane.

The Eccles Cake Affair

by Bob Jacobs

This morning Pauline brought home two Eccles cakes from the bakery on the corner of St. Dunstan's Street. I'd just bitten into mine when she screamed and said hers resembled the face of Maureen, my ex. She sulked for a while then zoomed off in her Renault Clio, returning an hour later with half a dozen Tesco bags filled with chocolate eclairs. All afternoon she's been pulling them from the bags one after another, wrapping her hands around them, squeezing gently until the cream runs out between her fingers then licking her fingers clean and mouthing my brother's name over and over. Just now I found her lying knickerless on her back on the sofa, eyes closed, knees parted, blobs of cream splattered all over her face and hair. I go numb at the thought of all those carbohydrates.

6S

Bob Jacobs, author of Testosterone, lives in the south-east of England with his wife and kids and Sony Vaio.

Sanctuary

by Rod Drake

I wish that damned Golem would stop bothering me, banging on the church door at all hours when it knows it can’t come in, and I’m certainly not going out. You shakedown a little Jewish girl for her lunch money, and next thing you know, a gigantic clay monster is stalking you like a pregnant ex-girlfriend. Luckily, I made it to this Catholic Church on West 58th Street, and it being Christian, holy, sacrosanct and all that religious stuff, the Golem is powerless to enter. Still, that doesn’t prevent Golemzilla from lurking outside, threatening me with his bulk, and I can only assume its single-minded mission: crush me to a bloody pulp (for a lousy two bucks and forty-seven cents). The priests and parishioners aren’t exactly happy with me hiding here, as they have figured out that’s why the Golem is hovering outside like a double-parked angel of death with a killer headache and the last name on his list is nowhere to be found, and he only has 8 minutes left on his shift. Father Merrin has been talking to the Golem, trying to convert it I think (the old Catholic try) and during one of his sessions out on the church steps, I decide to try and make a break for it; I slip out the back door, run down the street like my life depended on it, I’m nearly at the subway entrance (what is that enormous shadow looming over me?), just a couple more feet now, and I will be safe from that clay monst—

6S

Rod Drake, author of Blue Moon, denies that any of his stories are based on real experience, although if they were, that would really be cool. Check out his longer stories in Flashes of Speculation, Fictional Musings, Flash Flooding, Flash Forward and MicroHorror.

Communication Breakdown

by Justice

You never talk to me! Why won't you talk to me? What are you thinking? What are you feeling? How did we get here? We're going nowhere!

6S

Justice, author of Living with a Stranger, is an exasperated husband who, after 20 years, is still in love with his wife.

Carnality

by Anthony Teth

The wind's chill caress did little to restrain her passion. Tiny claws dug deeply into my backflesh as she entwined herself around me, playfully nibbling my bottom lip between deep, desperate kisses; heightening my seemingly insatiable hunger with each lash of her tongue. It was as if the grey stones of the shadowed alleyway itself pulsated with carnality, and it took all of the self-control I could muster to prevent myself from tearing every inch of cloth away from her soft, pale form. The lace beneath her skirt gave way to blasphemously smooth skin and wet, pouting lips, and I knelt to taste generously of their nectar. For what seemed a blissful eternity, soft moans echoed gently against the cobblestones. Slowly, methodically, I made my way back up to her warm, panting mouth, and kissed it with moistened lips of my own.

6S

Anthony Teth, when not studying mystical and esoteric literature, works as a hired thug at multiple night clubs in Providence, RI. He is the author of Nightmouth.

Halfway Unzipped

by Belinda Furby

Loretta’s skirt was biting into her waist. It was too tight and she should have known better than to cram herself into it, but she wanted to look good for this party – especially good, sexy. And this skirt was the most sexy, most expensive piece of clothing she owned. But the tightness had worn on her during the evening, making her cranky despite the three (or was it four?) martinis she had drunk. Now she had a headache and was ready to be home, out of this skirt, and into the solitude of her own bed. She had already discreetly unzipped the skirt halfway when she got in the car, trying not to let Mick notice.

6S

Belinda Furby, who gave us Grandma and the Devil, is a mom, wife, engineer, and fledgling writer. She lives in North Carolina with her hubby of 21 years, her son, two daughters, and dog.

The Most Peaceful Moment

by Elizabeth Rollo

As the sun began to rise, I realized that I was experiencing the most peaceful moment of my life. Just two hours earlier I had given birth to my first child, a son. As they bent me in half on the operating table, explaining that the medicine had gone the wrong way, I knew they had meant that both my son and I were critically in danger. I thought of my son, still inside me, and how he was so close, yet I may never see his face. As the anesthesiologist’s arm was wrapped around me, holding me up, I looked down at his gold bracelet and thought how odd that it would be the last thing I would ever see in my life. I was never so happy to be wrong, as I watched the light of a new day fill my hospital room, knowing that we had made it, my son and me.

6S

Elizabeth Rollo, a mother of three, lives in New Jersey. She still loves the sunrise, always looking for that perfect new morning light that brings her back to that morning nine years ago.

Goosing the Queen

by F.S. Hallgrimson

Mark knew he was a simple man. It meant that every conceivable emotion could display at any time without any internal check to prevent him from making himself the fool. It was such a moment. He leaned in and touched her. A flurry of activity surrounded the scene, motions and gestures made on account of him. Mark didn’t understand what his simple act had done.

6S

F.S. Hallgrimson may or may not be "Mark," and may or may not have goosed the Queen.

Misinterpretation of Red Shift

by Rista Abouradi-Hoffman

"Red Shift," thought Darren, "the universe is expanding with me in it, and I never gave it my permission." Frantic in his nineteenth floor apartment, he started fingering every corner of all conjoining walls, "It's tearing us apart!" Panic struck his body as he ran to the elevator, with a roll of duct tape around his wrist, pushing "G" for ground floor. At his Corsica, he began rolling out large strands of tape, putting them around the door edges with a extra long piece that spanned from the driver's side door, over the roof, then down over the passenger's side door. "You can't take my car, motherfucker!" He swore toward the sky, addressing "Red Shift" as if it were a deity.

6S

Rista Abouradi-Hoffman, author of Veronica, is almost finished with community college! In January, she plans to attend Rollins College (in Winter Park, Florida) to pursue a major in chemistry and a minor in creative writing. Rista is an avid animal rights advocate and wishes to develop a vegan cosmetic line (named "Wellington," after her youngest cat). She is currently looking to join a writer's group, so if you're in one and you'd like a new member, just click her name and send her an email!

Surviving This

by Anthony Shepherd

He doesn't know the humane way to kill a rabbit, having never needed to know before tonight. And it bothers him greatly to discover that it's come to this, that he's been reduced to capturing and killing his own food like a simple savage. Earlier in the year, after the factory foreman had said "George, we're going under," and after Crystal had later told him, "I'm taking the boys to go live with my mother," and after the bank had finally sent him that letter with the words Foreclosure Notice printed at the top in bold, he had had a great romantic vision of disappearing underground, bucking the system by dropping out of it, to wander the country like Kerouac and grow fat off soup kitchen handouts. But he only made it as far as the old train yard just outside of town, where he'd set up camp that first night, and he quickly learned that soup kitchens never have enough to go around. So now he works diligently and does the first thing that comes to mind - he holds the creature tightly by the middle and smacks its head against a rusting box car with one loud thump, then a second, and a third, until it no longer kicks or bites or makes that horrible noise like screeching tires across wet pavement. He never wanted to kill anything, and the cruel brutality of it all is almost enough to make him sick; but once it's all finished, and once the smell of roasting meat restores his appetite, he finds solace in learning that he can survive even this.

6S

Anthony Shepherd thinks too much and acts too little, but that's beginning to change. To feel good about himself, he either keeps company with grown men who enthusiastically play with dolls, or with those anxiously awaiting the zombie apocalypse. He is nearly 30.

Tales from the Household

by Gina Perry

Spare the rod, spoil the child; spoil the rod, spare the child. Rod the child, spoil the spare. The spare child spoil the rod. The spare rod spoil the child. The child spoil the spare rod: the child spoil the rod spare. The child rod the spare spoil, the child rod the spoil spare.

6S

Gina Perry, author of Cacti or Bust, is a writer and storyteller in Manchester, England. She likes to entertain herself in pubs/bars/cafes/parks by asking strangers to tell her stories, true or otherwise. (She now also has an aversion to rods, children, spoiling, spares and the word "the.")

On the Road

by Alun Williams

The Viking Motel in Breakwater, Idaho did not make it on the list of the top hundred motels a man on the road should visit. There’s a woman behind the reception desk sitting behind a glass window, reading True Confessions and chewing gum, and I had half a mind to place a "Do Not Feed the Animals" sign in front of her. I was staying one night, one night which would be one too many, but I was tired and had no place else to go. The bed was hard, the towels dirty, the tv’s black and white and there were remnants of the last guest’s pubic hairs in the shower. I lie naked on the bed and called my wife to tell her that I wouldn’t make it home 'til tomorrow and she screamed at me, telling me that I was a shit, but hell, I already knew that. I find a porn magazine instead of a Gideon’s Bible but God is watching so the light bulb fails and I’m left holding my dick in the dark, which is as good a feeling as it ever gets on the road.

6S

Alun Williams, ex-member of East of the Web and author of The Long Box, lives in Wales. He now writes in Critters Bar and Zoetrope under "maxie slim" and "Maxwell Allen." Several shorts by Alun have been published in Write Side Up, Cambrensis and Secret Attic.

On Possibilities

by Ben Latini

I sat across from her at the small table and noticed that her hair was curly, but not too curly and I saw myself reflected in the window behind her with a look of alarm. I asked if we were in a coffee shop and she said, “Uh, yeah.” I wondered how I could not have known that as I held on to the table and tried to steady myself, but since the table was round it felt like I was holding the giant wheel to a giant ship. I asked her if I was a pirate and she said, “Uh, no.” That was a relief. But then I thought of all the other things which I hadn’t asked her about and therefore still might be (space alien, Korean pop star) and I was overwhelmed and scared and felt like leaning over to vomit a microcosm of the entire world.

6S

Ben Latini really wants people to know that he exists. His blog is here.

Face Paint

by Bella B

I’m completely in your hands. The end of the paintbrush flicks fast over my pale-painted cheek in a delicately unfathomable pattern, a flower, a rainbow, a butterfly. I am transformed, and transformed by you, a stranger. Later, I sleep without washing my face; it’s late, I’m tired. And in the night, my pale cheek paints a faded multitude of flowers, rainbows, butterflies onto the pale pillow. And in the morning, I am still transformed.

6S

Bella B, who blogs at The Flying Pen, is 14 years old and has been changing who she is since she was old enough to talk. Four younger siblings give her the excuse to use face paint on a regular basis. Hurrah. She lives in England with said siblings and unsaid parents.

Tenderhearted

by Libby Sumner

I sat at the kitchen table, my fingers trailing over the picture of my recently dead husband. He had been such a wonderful and loving man, to the woman across the street (and across town, downtown, up the street a little ways and somewhere a few states away). A part of me wanted to laugh while the other part wanted to cry because, despite his indiscretions, he was good to me. I finished off the last bite of the wonderful meal I had prepared as I gazed at the picture. I sat and sipped my wine, glad he had been a tenderhearted man all of his life. After all, it had cooked up wonderfully with the rice and peas I'd picked out to go with it.

6S

Libby Sumner, author of Morning Death, adores and admires Adam J. Whitlatch. She lives on a farm in rural Tennessee with a plethora of animals (and her husband). She's written roughly half a dozen unfinished novels ranging from sci-fi to smutty romance. (She hopes to finish at least one of them some day.)

Discard Any Unused Portion

by Frango

Viagra pisses me off in ways hip replacement surgery does not. They both stand to improve a guy’s lifestyle — and undoubtedly, his swagger — but come on. Old legs deserve a second life. Old sperm do not. Surely, Mother Nature knew what she was doing when she set that expiration date. Okay, here’s a compromise: Could someone please invent a drug that heightens the maturity level of teenage boys — "for her pleasure?"

6S

Frango lives near Seattle and really doesn't have issues with men or their body parts - just the drug companies that tinker with them. She promises to use more creativity and "show-not-tell" phrasings, should she ever grow the balls to submit anything, ever again, anywhere.

Bitter Chick Channels Henry Chinaski

by Nicole Criona

I'm sick of my collection of commitment-phobic faux husbands who faux-date me. They pay for meals, fix my sink, kill spiders, and teach me how to flea-bomb my apartment. One is gay — and I never dated him — so he gets to stay. For the rest, I'm working my way up to faux-divorcing them. After they each buy me a few more drinks, I think I'll present them with a post-dating faux-nuptial agreement. That will get rid of them.

6S

Nicole Criona. Los Angeles native (one of the few left). Writer. Co-Owner of LAwritersgroup.com, where writers are placed in grass-roots writers groups. Gripe-Blogger at Verbs via Ones and Zeros. Her favorite character in all literature is the evil science genius Crouton, who wants to take over the world and turn it into cheese, invented by her 5-year old nephew who leads the battle against him. Most importantly, faux-bitch.

Accidents Happen

by Simon Stratton & Ed Bowman

"Hey Gary, just phoned to say thanks for the meal yesterday... but I should tell you that when I left your house afterwards I accidentally reversed over your cat Muscles, killing him... and now he's buried in my garden - only kidding! Just messing with you. I really called to say I won the lottery and I'm dumping you and buying some better friends - only kidding! Ha ha, of course not; in fact I've really been chosen as the new 007 and want you to play the new Bond girl – have you got a wig? Don't bother shaving your legs, I like them hairy – ha ha, no, seriously, I'm phoning because... I slept with your wife! Ha ha, no, but actually I really did run over your cat yesterday and I'm sorry."

6S

Simon Stratton and Ed Bowman, authors of People You Meet on Holiday, met at Manchester University and now write together (occasionally).

Lucky No. 7

by Diane Brady

The teacher kneeled on a blue mat in the school gymnasium, heart racing as he shook the boy's shoulder and then squeezed hard, his head low, shouting into the child's ear, "Are you OK?" There was no movement, no sign of recognition, so the teacher continued his assessment -- airway, breathing, circulation -- tilt the head, pinch the nose, give two breaths, watch the chest rise; he probed the child's neck with thick fingers searching for a pulse, and after ten seconds he pushed the jersey aside, lucky No. 7, and began compressions. It was nine years ago, nine summers past since he knelt beside his own son on the coarse sand of the Maui shore, breathing desperately, pleading, bargaining to exchange his life for his, the foam of the sea mixing with the foam from his young mouth, the blue lips and the paleness spreading over his face where once it was golden from the sun. In the gymnasium the teacher pushed harder on the boy with one hand, allowing the chest to recoil thirty times and then breathing again and again; five cycles, recheck -- airway, breathing, circulation -- still no response, keep going, focus, waiting for the emergency team to arrive and take over, waiting for the professionals to do what he could not. It had been a special trip that summer, a celebration of school accomplishments for his son, a bonding of the family after months of his wife working overtime at the law firm and him coaching too many games that spring, a chance to reconnect and enjoy time together, swimming, snorkeling, touring the island. He redirected his attention to the child on the blue mat, the boy with no movement, no recognition, no response; he was exhausted, the sweat of his brow growing with each compression, his own heart beating faster and faster; and then the instructor approached and tapped him on the shoulder, signaling for the teacher to stop, but he could not stop and instead continued pushing and pushing and pushing the boy's chest until he heard a sigh; finally, the woman pulled the plastic manikin away from him; "You passed," she said.

6S

Diane Brady, author of Flight, lives in Denver, Colorado, where she has several jobs, including teaching CPR, AED and First Aid classes. While living in Alaska for 18 years she spent time as a volunteer EMT on a small-town fire department. This piece is fiction, although several of her students have saved a life with CPR. Diane hopes everyone learns this valuable skill -- and never has to use it.

Worst Phone Call Ever

by Juno Henry

The worst phone call I ever received came to me after work one evening, as I rubbed my sore feet. Standing in front of children and attempting to teach in between periodic exclamations of "George, don't do that," is more tiring than one might think. I'd spent an ordinary day, discussing ordinary things, and nothing had been special at all. The weather had been unremarkable, the agenda of the staff meeting -- not to mention the hidden agenda -- had shown nothing surprising, nothing out of the ordinary; no warnings, nothing to send up a mental flare. Until the phone rang, and I mindlessly picked it up -- wondering if the red area which I'd just rubbed redder was in fact a corn, and if I would have to now buy those strange things in the drug store called "corn plasters" that I had hitherto happily avoided -- and I heard my friend Lena crying. My ex-boyfriend had killed himself the previous night, and my life was suddenly, irrevocably and completely altered.

6S

Juno Henry usually writes here.

Field Trip to Symi

by Sophia Macris

After lunch Lucy hiked us up the side of the cliff where, at the top, we posed for a tired, squinty picture. Back at the harbor, Nick bought a pair of fake Chanel sunglasses. He liked them. When we had walked off the ferry there was a photographer snapping tourist photos, but we didn’t notice him. On our way back, he had the photos up for sale, and there was one of Nick and me that I should have bought. We look like celebrities - I’m wearing white pants, a pink t-shirt, and a big white hat and sunglasses, and he’s wearing jeans and one of his tight thrift-store rock star t-shirts and we’re both turning away from the camera, walking together, looking like we belong.

6S

Sophia Macris, whose last piece was Untitled, is currently reading Stendhal, drinking Bianco, and staring at a picture postcard of Marlon Brando.

Another Side of the Park

by John Parke Davis

I found another side of the park last night, a street where the TVs flickered in unison through the windows, where every house played the same show but there were no people watching. The sprinklers turned on and off casually as I walked by, showering the sidewalk with lukewarm water. Lawnmowers buzzed in the distance somewhere, and all the microwaves dinged in time. My heart beat faster. It's odd how terrifying it can be when you are completely surrounded by things. I ran back home and turned on the television.

6S

John Parke Davis, by day, fights/defends crime/law and order (but not necessarily in that order) as an attorney. By night, he sleeps and dreams odd dreams. He and his brother give away fresh, hot stories at their website/blog and they would love for you to visit.

Your Mother's Daisies

by Jesselyn Collins

In the center of our house, illuminated by a single light bulb, there is a pot of flowers that your mother sent last spring. She is a good German housewife, and wants me to be your good German housewife, so she sent domestic things like flowers and recipes and an apron with blue pockets that are red on the inside. I live in fear of power outages. I jerk awake in the middle of the night sometimes and turn on every light in the house and the radio and the television and I pace and pace and iron your shirts. I’m sure one day I will come home to see that the single bulb has blown. In the sudden darkness your mother’s daisies will have wilted and died.

6S

Jesselyn Collins is a 19 year old semi-student living in New York.

Blue Moon

by Rod Drake

No media notice was necessary because everyone on earth could see the whole thing as it happened – an asteroid the size of Australia hit the moon and broke it apart, sending huge continent-size chunks hurling toward us, less than two days away. Not enough time to try and deflect them, and too many big fragments anyway, plus the oceans and weather are in an uproar without the moon’s gravitational pull to regulate them, so missile launches are out of the question as time quickly runs out. Funny, it wasn’t terrorism or nuclear war or global warming or any of the endless things that we were afraid would end life on earth and destroy the planet itself, just a random rock flying through space. Communications are spotty at best now, due to the severe weather storms, so everyone is pretty much on their own as the moon fragments loom larger in the sky each passing hour. Most people are panicking, and I guess this is the right time to panic if there ever was one; I’m sure lots are praying like they have never prayed before to whatever god they worship, hoping that he/she/it hears them this time. As for me, well, I just want to make it on foot to Emma’s house through all the confusion in the streets and increasingly bad weather so that I can be with her, and we can await the end together, keeping each other amused and loved as though nothing else in the world mattered.

6S

Rod Drake, despite rumors to the contrary, is not working as an Elvis impersonator in Las Vegas. He is however the author of Chalk in the Rain. Check out his longer stories in Flashes of Speculation, Fictional Musings, Flash Flooding, Flash Forward and MicroHorror.

Kissing the Sky

by Brandon Joldersma

Every once in a lonely while, I'm reminded of that day you and I danced through the trees. Through the forest, over the meadows and rivers, the autumn wind in willows, we danced. Whirling and twirling, dipping and darting, tossing and turning, we kissed the sky. I was Harrison Bergeron and you were my Empress. The blood flowed through our veins with renewed course and vigor, giving purpose to every step we made. And nothing else mattered.

6S

Brandon Joldersma is an English student at Hope College in Holland, Michigan.

Morning Death

by Libby Sumner

She rolled over and fumbled for the snooze button on the alarm clock as the annoying DJ sang out the time as Six A.M. on this BEEEEAUTIFUL Monday morning! She glared momentarily at the first edges of dawn peeking in through the curtains. Her glare melted into a smile as his arm wrapped around her and snuggled her back into the covers. He pulled her away from the sunshine and snoozing alarm clock while he nuzzled her ear and cuddled her for a few minutes. Her nose wrinkled at the smell that tickled her nose and she started to mumble something about him needing to brush his teeth when she remembered that he was dead and supposed to be at the funeral home. As she rolled slightly to look at him her scream was drowned out by the same all-too-chipper DJ.

6S

Libby Sumner, author of The Gag, adores and admires Adam J. Whitlatch. She lives on a farm in rural Tennessee with a plethora of animals (and her husband). She's written roughly half a dozen unfinished novels ranging from sci-fi to smutty romance. (She hopes to finish at least one of them some day.)

The Actress

by Peggy McFarland

Her lifelong dream was to be an actress; to be adored, doted upon, loved. Her courage failed when her father threatened to never see her again if she pursued her foolish dream. So she met a man, thought she fell in love and convinced herself she could be happy with such a life. Her courage failed when he threatened to never love a woman again if she left him to pursue her reckless dream. So instead of audiences, she met the neighbors; instead of exotic locations, she went to the grocery store; instead of being another, she signed checks with her legal name. And when he returned home at the end of his work day, ready to adore her, dote upon her, love her... she took a deep breath, adjusted her smile, and whispered, "Lights, Camera... Action."

6S

Peggy McFarland, author of Not the Mom, has now written eighteen sentences for this site. Someday, she hopes to write many, many sentences all in a row.

Otherwise, What's the Point?

by Stephanie Burton

It was dawn, and I watched him dress for work as I laid in his bed. "Do you always wait?" I asked, pulling the sheets up over my breasts. "Yes." I studied him for a minute, replaying the sound of his voice. "Why?" I asked finally. "Because," he said, turning around from the dresser to face me, "I want to know you."

6S

Stephanie Burton, author of Conceal the Face of Vulnerability, was trained as an investigative reporter, and has lived all over the world, including London and Australia. She currently resides in New York City with two fabulous roommates who politely deal with her assortment of male suitors. You can read more about the sagas of Stephanie's love life (and other adventures) at Spread Eagle in NYC.

Veronica

by Rista Abouradi-Hoffman

"My wife will be off work in twenty-three minutes," Jason breathed out in exhaustion as he zipped then adjusted his belt notch just one hole tighter. Having pulled a white cotton tee over her exposed breasts, Veronica smirked at the fact his wife worked at Lane Bryant. She had never seen his wife but knew for sure the chance of a moderately proportionate woman working there was slim to none. Veronica smiled, taking four twenties out of the wallet that had fallen out of Jason's back pocket. She closed her purse while passing through the wooden door frame. She thought, It's great to have a wife.

6S

Rista Abouradi-Hoffman is almost finished with community college! In January, she plans to attend Rollins College (in Winter Park, Florida) to pursue a major in chemistry and a minor in creative writing. Rista is an avid animal rights advocate and wishes to develop a vegan cosmetic line (named "Wellington," after her youngest cat). She is currently looking to join a writer's group, so if you're in one and you'd like a new member, just click her name and send her an email!

That Certain September

by Joseph Grant

I awoke as always when the alarm went off and began to get ready for my shift as an X-Ray Tech at Saint Vincent’s Hospital. As I was taking a shower, my wife told me about the first plane hitting the Trade Center and I muttered Oh, God and quickly rinsed and toweled off and got into my scrubs. On my way to the hospital, I was confused to see the smoke and debris from what appeared to be the other Tower, now inconceivably engulfed in flames as well and I remembered thinking to myself how it was going to be a rough day in the O.R., with an overwhelming number of casualties. As I reached the emergency room entrance, I came upon a great deal of commotion and I spotted our Chief of Staff, Dr. Grenadus, ordering what looked like an army of volunteers who were hurriedly carrying planks of wood in this direction and that. People from all walks of life and from seemingly every ethnic background, all working together, were hammering the planks together for makeshift stretchers for the injured that would surely flood our doors any given moment now. In one of the cruelest ironies of that dreadful day, the stretchers were abandoned, never to be used.

6S

Joseph Grant, author of A Far Away Place, is originally from New York City and currently resides in Los Angeles. His short stories have been published in over 40 literary reviews and e-zines, such as Byline, New Authors Journal, Howling Moon Press, Hack Writers, New Online Review, Indite Circle and Cerebral Catalyst. Upcoming pieces will soon be published in Literary Tonic. His work has also appeared in The New York Bar Guide (as a reviewer) and in various newspaper articles that have appeared in The Pasadena Star, Whittier News and the San Gabriel Tribune. "Indigo," a work of verse, was published by Alpha Beat Press, and he has recently completed his first novel.

The Naming

by Shaindel Beers

She wondered if he had believed her when she’d said that the New Age Baby Names book’s purpose was to help with the naming of characters. She’d made up similar lies before - the last time she’d thought she was pregnant - when she was fifteen. So far she’d settled upon Fay, but she didn’t know if she meant it in the Irish or the French. French: Fairy. Also a variant of Faith, meaning: confidence; trust; belief. Irish: Raven, bird of bad omen, harbinger of death.

6S

Shaindel Beers, author of Long Way Home, is a Professor of English at Blue Mountain Community College in Pendleton, Oregon, and has taught at colleges and universities in Illinois and Florida. So far, three current or former students have had work accepted for publication here at Six Sentences. She is extremely proud of them!

The Moss Attack

by Shane Jones

Spores of moss began appearing on the horse’s feet, and eventually, layers of green on their legs and back. Selah spent nights awake and outside, trying to defeat the attack of moss by pulling it out in patches and then soothing the horse’s skin with tulip petals she had soaked in the troth. We continued the water troth attacks until the moss collapsed each horse, forming a dark green blanket to their heads. Selah couldn’t destroy the moss with her hands anymore because of the thickness of the moss, which was now bigger than each horse. She stayed out in the woods for four more days, sleeping next to the dying horses until the moss made its way down their throats. After the horses died, the moss moved its way from the woods and up the hill towards our home until we woke one morning and saw it crawling under the front door.

6S

Shane Jones lives in Albany, New York. His fiction has most recently appeared in Hobart and Rumble, and is forthcoming in Monkeybicycle. A chapbook of poetry, Maybe Tomorrow, is available from Boneworld Press.

The Desk Job

by Tana Velen

The secretary sat at her desk in the front office watching the employees converge for brief moments to get their mail, and then disband into their separate departments on separate sides of the building. At lunch time she would walk past the poorly stitched grey fabric of the cubicles that enclaved every desk. Inside of them she saw the employees using the required instant messaging program on their computers to communicate throughout the office. Today she was told to alphabetize the mail bins and for the first time ever, Marcus Shelling from Recruitment was next to Mallory Sullinsky from Compensation. When she finished she sat back at her desk and looked at the final product. Though in perfect order, she had never seen so many people so misplaced.

6S

Tana Velen is currently attending the University of Central Florida and plans on graduating next year with a Bachelor's in Creative Writing. In the future she plans on getting her MFA, thus improving her skills so she can write all day while living in the guest house of one of her rich lawyer friends.

People You Meet on Holiday

by Simon Stratton & Ed Bowman

"Hi, it's Alan from Alan and Deirdre. You know, the couple you met on holiday in Cairo, the retired engineer and his wife from Taunton? I know this is all a little bit irregular, but I have a favour to ask. After you left us to continue on our around-the-world cruise, we were boarded by pirates near Fiji and sold to a white slavery ring. I can understand it's a little awkward to ring you about this, only yours is the sole number I have on me, so if you could alert the authorities I would be most grateful. Please act quickly, Deirdre is about to be sold to a Tunisian warlord... cheerio."

6S

Simon Stratton and Ed Bowman met at Manchester University and now write together (occasionally).

The Red Man Feels No Pain

by Daniel S. Irwin

Getting a couple annoying skin tags cut outta the arm pit was pretty weird what with the injections, slicing, and burning to the point of creating the sound and smell of sizzling bacon. The nurse assisting the doctor was impressed by my stoic demeanor and mentioned that I didn't even flinch during the whole process. I told her that "the red man feels no pain." She remarks, "Oh, you're an Indian?" "No, that's the red man," says I. "In my case, when I get out in the parking lot, I'm gonna scream like a bitch."

6S

Daniel S. Irwin, author of Night Passage, is an artist and writer from the hills of southwestern Illinois. His work has been published in Krax, Nuthouse, Zygote In My Coffee, Spin, Plaza, and a bunch of other places maybe better off not mentioned.

Plain Jane

by Alana Wilson

I remember when I was in the eighth grade, I was riding to school with my best friend when her mom had labeled me a "Plain Jane." Added to my already low self-esteem, this title hit me hard, I recall being very introspective; yearning that I could just once be "that girl" that walks into a room, and people begin stumbling over their conversations because they had caught sight of me. Over the years, "Plain Jane" attempted to adapt: lipstick was applied, eye shadow was placed perfectly on my eyelids, and clothing was picked out that would be fitting to the trends of those who were "eye-catchers." Little did I know that my solid attempts made me even more unrecognizable than before, because now I was wearing what every other girl was wearing; still, in a bouquet of roses, I was the baby's breath. Now, many years later, I am sitting here, still introspective, concerning myself with the fact that once I let someone else's label of me define me; it is sad how influenceable little girls can be. Signed, Yours truly, Jane.

6S

Alana Wilson, author of Puff, the Magic Dragon, is a full-time college student, mother, wife, caregiver and slave to her extended family. (Sometimes a girl has to write to get away from it all.)

Turn Me On, Turn Me On, Mr. Dead Man

by Adam J. Whitlatch

Frank “The Roach” Carson crab-walked away from the ghastly apparition standing silhouetted in the doorway of his low-rent apartment. He gibbered and sobbed as the man slowly stalked toward him, his pale fingers working the bloody pliers open and closed with an agonizing slowness. The dead man sneered as he tossed two bloody fingers onto the dingy carpet and said, “Your friend, Slim Jim, rolled on you, Roach, but to his credit, he didn’t talk until I took the second finger.” “What are you gonna do, man?” asked Roach with girlish sob, eyes locked on the pliers. “The same thing you did to me, Roach,” said the dead man. “Except that I’m going to do it slow.”

6S

Adam J. Whitlatch, who gave us Hog Tamer, is the author of numerous horror and science fiction short stories, as well as the novel The Blood Raven: Retribution. He lives on a small farm in southern Iowa with his wife, Jessica, and their two children, where he continues to write new short stories and novels.

The Pit

by Jennifer Shubinski

Letting go of his mommy’s hand, Sam took each worn foam stair with purpose, one after the other. Using all his strength, he hoisted himself onto the platform, with a little boost from mommy. He stood on the platform, finger in his mouth, contemplating the scene of green and yellow foam blocks below. Sam had been to this height before, only to back down step by step into his mommy’s arms. Taking a breath and his finger out of his mouth, he fleetingly looked into his mommy’s eyes before looking away and jumped, down, down, down into the foam pit below. He struggled to the top, met his mommy’s eyes and uttered one word: Again?

6S

Jennifer Shubinski, as a former journalist, was dictated by word and “inch” count. She finds a sentence count much more civilized and enjoys writing about whatever sparks her interest and imagination.

Too Late for Sorrow

by Robert Clay

I can feel the tiredness now, creeping up like a cat on the hunt. The blood is puddling out, making the grimy wooden floor look like polished mahogany. The brain, frantically trying to survive, is shutting down systems in order to preserve itself. It’s true I think, you do die from the feet up. I want to say I’m sorry to all those I’ve put down this route, all those faces flying by like the pages of a book you don’t want to read. But the fixed glazed expressions of the dead are not in the mood for my remorse, instead they grin with skull teeth and welcome me to their world.

6S

Robert Clay is a Seafarer now stranded on land. He lives in Cornwall in the UK.

Ill At Ease

by Elizabeth Joyner

The intent look in his eye made it obvious he was trying to ruin her plans for the next four years, and she couldn't decide if she would fall for it. Looking back into those eyes that usually seemed so empty; she felt something for the first time since they started their awkward mix of friendship with sex. Typically when he left her for the night, as the sun was rising over the parallel apartment buildings, she was left with a feeling of triviality. She would walk back through her apartment door, straight to the bedroom and fall asleep for what seemed like days just to avoid dissecting the conversations of the evening. This time was a catastrophe, and words left from the previous night were a thousand waves hitting her in the face all at once until she could not breathe. For once she stayed conscious, preparing documents to show why she could not leave him for the next four years, preparing for the wrath of two United States Navy recruiters shouting at her for an hour as to why she never told them she had asthma before signing papers.

6S

Elizabeth Joyner is an English major. She lives in Orlando, Florida.

Turn Around When Possible

by Mr. Harlequin

I find myself using driving analogies a great deal in my life, both working and private, as they somehow seem to strike a common chord in people, allowing a clearer understanding. However, these tend to be minor issues, allegories to underline a minor point, a lazy way of making someone understand without the effort of raising them to your level of comprehension. Then suddenly, an insight into my life, ironically initiated by a driving incident, as someone pulls out in front of me and I brake sharply, both horn and mouth a symphony of anger and disgust, counter-pointing each other in a way of which Bach would have been proud. It is only as the adrenaline dissipates, the tension subsides, that the insight strikes me, hard between the eyes, the heel to my own mental hand. My life has become like my driving, apparent concentration focussed no further than the end of the hood, distraction a constant factor merely reacting to stimuli, to events, as they happen, rather than anticipating, of being in control. I have stopped planning, of looking ahead, SatNav dictating the direction of my journey as outside events dictate my wider journey, both creating an illusion of control that, simply, does not exist.

6S

Mr. Harlequin, based in the UK, has been known by many names, but the one used by his good friends has been taken (ironically by his closest friend), who uses it with more skill and style than he ever could. (It's his gift to her.) Despite time running out, he still has no idea what he wants to be when he grows up. (However, as he hasn't yet, and has no desire to, this is not the problem it could be.) He loves to write, but never loves to read what he writes. ("I cringe enough when shaving," he says. "Who needs more?")

Flight

by Diane Brady

Six thousand feet above the marshy flats of Fairbanks's Tanana River Valley, she raised the nose of the Tiger Moth higher and higher until they reached the top of the loop. As the biplane's engine sputtered and quit he stared at the dark bottoms of afternoon cumulus, gripped his shoulder harness, thought about the open cockpit and the parachute on his back, the plane gliding down the other side in a wide arc. She was so ecstatic she screamed as the engine restarted; they did it again and again. He was dizzy, watching the clouds and then the earth, listening to her joy and wondering why she was doing this to him; he suspected, though, that she was still angry after the night before when he said he didn't love her, didn't want to live with her or marry her. "Let's go flying one last time, tomorrow?" she had said. They did two barrel rolls and a split-S, and while she giggled into the intercom he closed his eyes, the only sounds he could hear were his own heartbeat - and the wind in the wires.

6S

Diane Brady is a former Alaska journalist and a pilot of 29 years. This piece was adapted from a story she published in 1988 in Before the Sun. She currently lives in Denver, Colorado.

Pearl Harbor in the Rose Garden

by Madam Z

This is war! The Japanese Beetles have invaded my rose garden and inflicted incalculable damage. They have drilled holes into the tender buds and turned the formerly healthy, green leaves into dry, brown netting. Fatalities have yet to be determined. I will spare no expense, I will seek no rest, I will persist until every shiny green devil has been destroyed. Or... I could try to reason with them, explain to them how distressing it is to see them ruining my roses, and suggest they could eat the weeds instead, but if they don’t listen I will unleash my full arsenal of destruction, but not today, because it’s way too hot outside and anyway, I am sort of a pacifist at heart.

6S

Madam Z, author of Blues, loves six and isn't afraid to admit it. Do yourself a favor and check out her blog.

Slots

by John Neal

She plays the machines like a maniac, dropping in one coin after another and smacking hard on the plastic buttons as though sheer force will land the reels in the way she wants. Meanwhile, her kids bawl and try to tear up the place. They're little monsters, but she doesn't seem to notice or care. I tell her I'm going to call the police - though I won't because I know they won't come - and I hope she'll leave on her own before I strangle one of the little shits. She makes change for five and says she's leaving after this. But she keeps playing and her kids keep crying.

6S

John Neal is an American ex-pat who tinkers with words in Southern Spain.

Chalk in the Rain

by Rod Drake

Thunder boomed, rattling the windows and then the downpour came; Iris watched it, thinking that it hadn’t rained like this since... since the hearing when the court took her daughter away from her, three months ago now. Iris remembered Chloe’s sidewalk chalk, outside, in the backyard, without a lid as she always left it. In sudden panic she raced through the house, stumbling over piled newspapers and half-packed boxes of Chloe’s clothes, running out the patio door, looking frantically for the chalk. The rain pounded her, lashing her hair to her face and neck, smearing her glasses with big drops, but somehow Iris found the chalk and grabbed the container, slipping and sliding her way back inside the house, shivering in the cold wetness of her clothes and the empty house. The chalk container was half filled with rainwater, and the chalk had begun to dissolve, mixing in a thick mishmash of colors, like memories running together, sinking slowly like a lump to the bottom of the plastic container. Iris put the container on the floor, sat down at the kitchen table on the dark afternoon, and began to cry as the thunder rumbled in the distance and the rain died away.

6S

Rod Drake, who scored The Big Scoop, has been to Hollywood, has been to Deadwood, and keeps on searching for a heart of gold. Check out his longer stories in Flashes of Speculation, Fictional Musings, Flash Flooding, Flash Forward and MicroHorror.

Fairytale Hair

by Heather Leet

It hung down her back in lovely curls and was her crowning glory. She often felt like a story book princess with that hair. But on this particular day as she and her family were herded into the camp and segregated by sex she did not feel anywhere close to a princess. As the camp guard shaved off the beautiful hair she refused to cry. Over the next few years she would rub her shorn scalp and smile. The hair was gone but she had survived.

6S

Heather Leet, author of The Toughest Job She Ever Loved, 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.

Quisling

by Lauran Strait

"Such little ones this time,” Elizabeth says, frowning as she fishes doves from dry ice inside the cooler. She lays the flock out on strips of foil in three rows of three — a mini cemetery — atop the kitchen counter, then slides one strip into a patch of light. The sunbeam limning her wrinkled knuckles seems to emphasize her age in painful juxtaposition to that of the featherless baby bird. Sighing, Elizabeth solemnly crimps and uncrimps the foil strips around all but the suntanning dove, readjusting and fussing over the shrouds until each is airtight; now they can be entombed in her upright freezer, next to the neighbor’s cat. "Only two hours," Elizabeth coos to the thawing bird. "Should I eat you with rice or potatoes?"

6S

Lauran Strait's work appears in more than fifty literary reviews, anthologies, journals, and e-zines. Featured on NPR's literary show, Word By Word, she's written a few novels and won an occasional writing contest or two. She edited for the sci-fi print magazine NFG, for The Gator Springs Gazette, and currently is the managing editor of the column section at Moondance Magazine. She teaches Techniques of Commercial Fiction and conducts writing workshops throughout the Tidewater area of Virginia. Most people think she's lazy as hell. (They're right!) Click here to visit her website.

Grandma and the Devil

by Belinda Furby

The game is Solitaire (or “Solitary” as she calls it), but Grandma doesn’t play alone. She tells me the Devil is her opponent, lurking in the unlucky play of cards. Every morning it’s her and the old serpent squaring off over the kitchen table covered in oilcloth. Grandma uses her skill, and her faith, to vanquish him for the day, to put him in his place. To outfox the Devil is her daily morning challenge. She slaps the cards down, plays until she wins, and only then is all right in the world.

6S

Belinda Furby is a mom, wife, engineer, and fledgling writer. She lives in North Carolina with her hubby of 21 years, her son, two daughters, and dog.

The Gag

by Libby Sumner

She spied the gag lying on the floor and the chance spotting of it, discarded in the corner, recalled his screams to her mind. The way he had begged unintelligibly against the moist leather had made her squirm with delight and even now her pulse quickened with the thought of it all. She distractedly gathered her cell phone, purse and keys off of the table in the hallway and her body tried to disentangle itself from the house's hold. She finally shook herself from her reverie and smirked thoughtfully while she turned off the light. He wouldn't be screaming again. Now would he?

6S

Libby Sumner, who adores and admires Adam J. Whitlatch, lives on a farm in rural Tennessee with a plethora of animals (and her husband). She's written roughly half a dozen unfinished novels ranging from sci-fi to smutty romance. (She hopes to finish at least one of them some day.)

Toast

by Chris Conroy

Take the bread out of the bag, two slices, any kind of bread — rye, whole wheat, white, multi-grain, Italian, French, homemade (homemade bread doesn’t come in a bag so you’ll have to put it in one and then you’ll also, after taking the loaf out of the bag, have to slice it, figure an inch thickness, give or take but you could run into problems later) — and drop them (the slices) into the toaster slots (too thick a slice of homemade bread may not fit into the slots, adjust accordingly) and push down the lever so the slices disappear between the coiled heaters. Many of the more modern toasters come with a lightness/darkness feature. It’s usually a knob that you can turn from 1 to 10. 10 being the darkest of toast, and 1 being the lightest. Your bread is toast when it pops up out of the slots and in view. It’s a common practice to spread butter or jam over your toast but there are no rules when it comes to stuff like that, put whatever you want on it — your toast — and then eat it.

6S

Chris Conroy, who taught us Newton's Law, writes after breakfast and before lunch.

The Start of Resentment

by Kristen Tsetsi

It's lonelier when he sleeps, when I imagine him not conscious. Four more hours, or so, until his alarm goes off, if he does indeed wake up at five. Five sounds right, sounds good. He wrote in his letter that he was up for sunrise, but maybe he was awake before that, since he was already drinking coffee at the time, sitting on the makeshift porch he'd built outside of his sand-dusted tent in Mosul. Jake (tick) Jake (tick) Jake (tick) Jake (tick). Not his face, not memories, but the name, repeating and repeating like a compulsive twitch, a skipping lyric, and I whisper - to the air that just might someday reach him - "Sick, sick, sick of you."

6S

The Start of Resentment is an excerpt from Kristen Tsetsi's novel, Homefront. Kristen also gave us Trial Separation, and links to more of her work can be found at her website.

I, Inept Whore

by E. Cleveland

First of all, the Mid-Wilshire Ramada was pricey - a whopping $159 for a pretty cramped room which lacked the charm and amenities of a Holiday Inn Torrance executive suite (an upgrade from the $109 standard room which included complimentary bathrobe, green tea and Judith Jackson toiletries if you complained about something, anything, at check-in). Add to this the newspaper ads, the dress and shoes, cell phone service, champagne, flowers and organic snacks and Renee was already about $400 in the hole. Her rate was priced to move at a modest 150 "roses" per one hour session leaving a $250 deficit which should probably have been invested in an index fund. This quickly became a $400 deficit when her client turned out to be a poor conversationalist who was only interested in sex with her. Men! Even if she was remotely interested in him, which she most certainly was not, she would never do something like that on a first date.

6S

E. Cleveland writes as a means to avoid committing crimes. He lives in Los Angeles for his sins.

Paperback Writer

by T.J. McIntyre

He picked up pen and put it to paper, scratching out a colorful world behind a veil of black-and-white handwriting. Reality dissolved around him, melting, losing cohesion, as he became lost in his own mind. He searched for meaning, found none, but pressed onward, enjoying the freedom of travel despite a lack of destination. He stopped and looked around, and saw that he was alone. His characters mocked him; he grew frustrated. Then he shut the notebook, rejoined his family, and smiled, feeling his son's euphoria as he pushed the swing.

6S

T.J. McIntyre, author of The Quiet Street, is a writer of speculative and literary fiction from Alabaster, Alabama. His work has appeared recently or is forthcoming in such publications as The Swallow's Tail, 55 Words, and Escape Velocity. In addition to being a being a published author, Mr. McIntyre is currently collecting stories and editing a print anthology, Southern Fried Weirdness 2007: An Annual Anthology of Southern Speculative Fiction, and the e-zine, Southern Fried Weirdness Online.

Rewind

by Sondra Harris

Sometimes I feel as though my voice is making a difference, and sometimes I realize that that doesn't matter... I hear myself and I believe, and thank heavens that's enough, because it may be all there is. I write not because I am good, or because I think I can become good, but because I cannot stop. Even if I give up trying to make a living at writing, I will write. I tell my stories, with or without an audience. I share my opinions, whether or not anyone cares. Once, I wrote in a burst of six sentences, and oddly, reversing the order of the sentences, from last to first, did not change the meaning of the piece.

6S

Sondra Harris is the author of Most Disgust and the book Getting My Think On. More of her work may be found at her website. She lives in Connecticut.

Nothing But the Truth

by R.F. Burke

I've seen the sad-faced girl leaning against the wall of the liquor store on Pearl Street, with tears in her eyes, leaning hard against the wall, with the sting still fresh in her mind and dust from the brick of the old wall under her nails, leaning her hips, a sad face, a song on her lips. I've seen the car door open on a sunny afternoon as I walked down Battery towards the waterfront, the cry lost in the driver's shaking hands, the asphalt dry and hot under the younger one, and the young paramedic's assistant kind and firm as he guards against them moving her body. I stood outside the Three Needs when the crowd spilled onto the street to get away from the slurring saxophone player and his two soldier friends who kept winking at the drunken girl from New York, the one my friend calls the lesbian, while she pushed the phone to her ear and told her daughter she was going to be late. I have sat under Waggy's awning on North and North watching the university students hop the dimly-lit puddles on their way home from their last night class, the papers pulled down over their heads dripping from the rain and blowing across the grey street. I remember when Sally Floyd was dancing outside the Oxford on Manhattan Drive at 3:30 in the morning, the same night that we saw the girl she was rooming with who disappeared and was later found shot in the old mill by the Winooski River. I want to know why this matters.

6S

R.F. Burke, in the summer of 2007, packed up his '94 pickup with all the essentials, threw the rest away and pulled out of Burlington, Vermont. Three years there was enough. He headed north to Montreal, city of cities, where he set to work recording an EP. He is looking for a drummer.

Dillon

by Taylor Murray

I'd say it started when he got me kicked out of school. I did the time, paid for the crime I didn't commit. That fall, I started an intense love affair with words before deciding that writing on walls was sometimes more satisfying than writing on paper. I drilled myself over and over again to one day show him the work I'd done. The winter came and went without a call, and then it came that hot summer day. I threw all the drawings away.

6S

Taylor Murray is a High School Senior in Southern California.

Pink

by Amy Guth

You look like a perfect fit for a girl in need of a tourniquet, the radio sang and I knew the singer was aiming right for my head. I can't just lie down and pretend not to be, but maybe can you save me like I think maybe you can. Because today this Wonder Woman is feeling soft and pink and tired, and I think if maybe you can save me from feeling my common girl's shoes, from the empty faces talking in cliches, from the ideas I haven't enough daytime to wrestle, from the debt-worry I haven't enough to meet, from the odd little shaded hearts getting all they need without an effort in sight. Maybe just today it's too much for me and struck me down already, before it's even started. I don't need much, just a little wink, a nod, a touch, a smile; a little some kind of something to remind me I'm maybe not so lost. Maybe in this early milk light, when the sun isn't too sure about shining just yet and the bricks on the street are fogged mirrors that match my ratty brains, maybe just for today, you could just save me from all this and I can be Wonder Woman another day.

6S

Amy Guth, author of At Sevens, 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.

Clutching Fear

by Rebekah Sue Harris

As I passed her at the door frame, I couldn't help but notice something white clutched in her hand, like Jo March's soiled glove. I went through as she walked out, and was assaulted by the scent of cloves and stale gas. While my surroundings were new, I couldn't help but notice the many-times painted grate, as old fashioned as something in my grammar school, or a grandmother's house. I stepped beyond the yellow light, through the second door frame. UGH - the woman who had used a paper towel to open the door, fearing germs, had peed all over the seat. I sighed, walked back to the sink, and got some paper towels and soap, because I didn't want her germs on my lily-white hiney.

6S

Rebekah Sue Harris is the editor of Modified News. She has a great family, a laptop named Floyd, hundreds of books, dozens of tattoos, a full-sized tricycle, chronic pain, and a cat named Heyboy. One or all of these will be the death of her.

The First Year Club

A Thank You Message from Robert McEvily

Wow. September 1st, already. If your writing has appeared on this site prior to this message (or if you currently have a piece scheduled for publication), you’re officially part of the 6S First Year Club, and that means you’re officially special to me. Six Sentences began on this date last year ('06, appropriately), so no matter how long the site continues, you’ll always be one of the “originals,” one of the First Year Club, one of the people who found the site early, saw something in it you liked, and decided (generously) to share your time and talent. Everyone in the First Year Club means a lot to me, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t call special attention to a select few: Madam Z, for her singular jazziness (and for being the very first person to sign up for the 6S Newsletter); Kimi Goodrich, whose coolness made the site seem cool and helped it grow; Rod Drake, for consistently chilling our bones with style and wit; Louise Yeiser, for her graciousness, generosity and encouragement; Peter Wild, for his wild (pun intended) imagination and British flair; Quin, for her honesty and courage; and Harry B. Sanderford, for being my (and everyone’s) favorite surfing cowboy. And now, to each and every one of my fellow 6Sers – Thank You & Happy Anniversary!

6S

Robert McEvily is the creator and editor of Six Sentences.