Dog and Pony Show

by Richard M. Johnson

I asked her to marry me with a full-blown, all out production including actors, a stage, a soundtrack, an audience, flowers and a ring. It took me almost a year to plan. That evening we got cheers, applause and a standing ovation from ninety-nine strangers and eight friends I had convinced to show up, without giving what was going to happen away. Everyone who was there congratulated us, told us we were meant to be together, and told me it was one of the cleverest proposals they had ever seen or heard of. Sixteen years later she ended it all with a short argument and tears. I guess I wasn't clever enough, in the long run.

6S

Richard M. Johnson has lived in different parts of California all his life. He has recently had stories at "Hot Valley Writers" and in the anthologies "Meeting Across The River" and "The Story Salon Big Book of Stories." His poetry has appeared in "The Hiss Quarterly" and La Galet's "Shame Train L.A." He also has a couple of films floating about out there (just IMDB him under the name R.M. Johnson).

Spit or Swallow

by Kerry Hudson

It travelled to my stomach via a child’s hand in Sierra Leone, a crooked pilot’s sodden sports sock, from a back alley in 6th Avenue and finally via my undulating gullet. Perfectly hewn, like glass it reflected Eddie’s meaty face and my blue eyes, still cold and startled from being found at 3.46, bruised and swollen, by the side of a Californian freeway. He put it in a Trojan, dipped it in strawberry milkshake and I swallowed the irony that it was the most classiest blowjob I had ever given. I am the mule, I have seen enough movies to know that is my name, sweet looking, wide eyed, dressed in Marc Jacobs yes, but a mule none the less. I walk like I’m pregnant, though my belly is as flat as the shiny airport floor and I feel its twinkle in a latex prison cutting my guts. Later, when I have passed the grey customs of Heathrow, I will ruin my manicure in the airport toilets, rooting through my laxative laced shit for Eddie’s diamond; then - I will run for my life, away from memories of 3.46 at the side of the road, Eddie's blowjobs, and his belief that I am nothing better than an animal.

6S

Kerry Hudson writes short stories and is currently working on her first novel. She is 27 and lives in North London, in a pile of books and shoes called home, with her beautiful partner Susanna.

Elm

by David Holzel

I planted an elm seedling, two feet high at most, hugged it to the school wall so we wouldn’t trample it playing soccer. In a city whose elms had all died away, mine was safe. And blossoming perennially, it would surely survive its planter. But man is more like a tree in the field than I knew. Our 31st annual reunion: a stump like a milking stool. For me, still summer.

6S

David Holzel does his writing in Maryland. You can read him here and here. He wonders if he's really going to follow David Hasselhoff on the list of authors.

My Friend Koko Loko

by Misti Rainwater-Lites

Koko Loko is not pretend. He's invisible. This invisible chimpanzee friend of mine is more fun than most people I know. Five minutes ago, on a whim, he hopped on a Greyhound bus to visit Kim Wu in LA. Koko Loko and Kim Wu keep me from killing myself. They keep me in pinball wizard giddy hostess ass poetry ebullience.

6S

Misti Rainwater-Lites would like to share her world with you.

So Many Bones

by Ashley Farmer

The last time I saw my father it was over the fence that separated our yards. “I’m sorry I always beat your ass,” he said. “That’s okay,” I replied. Plum trees frothed above us. He said, “I’m sorry I never told you I had joy in my life, like seeing my name written on a piece of rice when I was a kid.” He turned away from me, and I wanted to say something, but it was getting very dark and very cold and I still had so many bones to rake up.

6S

Ashley Farmer lives in Syracuse, NY where she is an MFA student, teacher and bad drummer. Her work has appeared in McSweeney's Internet Tendency, ATOMICA Magazine and elsewhere.

Write It on a Post-It Note

by Emily McPhillips

I could make my own wedding dress, and it’d be made out of A4 sized white sheets of paper that I’ve been taking from work, ten sheets a week, and nobody would notice, or really care, because they’ve all been taking packs of Post-It notes home like small luminous presents. I can imagine this one guy I work with, called Ken, getting home from work, throwing his briefcase aside, and his wife, who has one of those names like Melinda, but it isn’t quite Melinda, but it sounds good to say, will call out to him with her pet-name for him, that is something sweet enough to eat, and he’ll present to her his weekly offering of the Post-It notes like something that should really be romantic, or even something as acceptable as a carton of cigarettes from the airport-duty-free, but Melinda or Melanie, or the woman with the name that makes me think mmm will kiss her salesman husband Ken, in a way that is as memorable as a first kiss but as knowledgeable as the last. I photocopy some order forms, I think it was twelve copies, but I don’t really care, and when I get back to my desk I am looking forward to moving that lever on the side of my chair that makes me zoom up and fall down. We’re up seven stories and I have a window, and if I look out of the window, I can understand what a bird’s-eye-view looks like from here. The people below don’t look as small as the bride & groom on a wedding cake, but there are similarities; one woman is wearing a white dress, and there are men wearing suits, and I see one man bend down to tie his laces, and his shoes are shiny, and maybe he can see his face in the shine from his shoe, and he is looking up at me, seven stories high, and he is wondering how many sheets of paper it will take to make me a wedding dress, and what time am I clocking off work. I imagine Ken asked Melinda to marry him by sticking a Post-It note on the door of the fridge, a little yellow invitation of happiness, that took Melinda a week to reply to, but with emphatic capitals, "YES!" and "PS, We need more milk!" and I am understanding how important good stationary levels will be for any of my future relationships.

6S

Emily McPhillips, author of The Tip, was born in 1985. She lives in Manchester where she studies Journalism at Salford University. She has recently had her work published on 3am Magazine and Straight From The Fridge, and has work forthcoming for Dogmatika.

Never Met a Stranger

by Jenn Scheck-Kahn

You're not supposed to know strangers the way I do. You're not supposed to see their troubles acted out and if you do, you're not supposed to like them more for what you see. You're supposed to fear the ones who talk and the ones who don't talk, fear the way a woman scratches, a place that is okay to scratch in public as long as you do it right and not her way. A body is a body. When I see a stranger being her private self, she is a body cut open. I like what I see because it's not mine; there is a person I can know.

6S

Jenn Scheck-Kahn's fiction has placed in the Atlantic Monthly 2007 Student Writing Contest, received Glimmer Train's 1998 Short Story Award for New Writers, and has appeared in failbetter.com and Tea Party Magazine. She earned her MFA in fiction from Bennington College.

Six Sixes by Joseph Grant

an Online Magazine from Six Sentences



Joseph Grant is one of 6S's favorite sons, and the hits just keep on coming. 6S is proud to present Another Six Sixes by Joseph Grant, a collection of six original six-sentence pieces. To view the magazine, just click the blue “OPEN PUBLICATION” tab above. You’ll be taken inside, where you can turn the pages by clicking the arrows to the left and right. To view a “full screen” version of the document, once inside, just click the little diagonal arrows above the document (located to the left of the little envelope). Enjoy!

6S

Six Sentences are all you need. (Unless you need more. Or less.)

You Never Know

by Joel Heffner

Each year, when I was a teacher, I lead a class trip from Brooklyn, NY to Washington, DC from 5:00 AM to about 10:00 PM. I came home with a pounding headache every time. One year, while getting off the bus, a boy stopped and very seriously said, "Thanks, that was the best day of my life." I wasn't sure if he was being sarcastic (as 14 year olds can be) or serious. A few minutes later, a young man who I thought was the boy's brother, came up to me and told me that the boy lived in an orphanage and didn't get to go very far from Brooklyn. You never know when your headache can be someone else's best day ever.

6S

Joel Heffner is the creator of The Story Starter where you can get ideas for more than 300 million stories. (No kidding, he counted them.) The Story Starter was recently chosen by Writer's Digest as one of the year's best sites for writers.

Premium Lager

by Sathyanarayanan Chandrasekar

Fifty-five minutes past the midnight, the roads have only canines marking their territories and preparing for a vicious onslaught on any unwelcome visitor; few hours ago this was a busy road, with traffic queues extending more than a mile from the junction, with aggravated honks and flayed tempers; it seems so peaceful now though, except for those canine howls. There is a whimsical police directive in place that no alcohol shall be sold later than thirty minutes preceding midnight. You walk along the road, talking about all the good times that were, the promises of good times to come, and of the good people who would join you in good times, gregariousness is the right word for the moment. All houses along the street have the lights put off, early sleepers; all shops their shutters down; the boisterousness of the group is tempered, realizing that there is no way of finding alcohol this late in the night. A rough, dishevelled individual emerges from the darkness and announces the password; which could mean he was trying to sell amphetamine, hashish, marijuana or plain grass to us; we shake our heads in disapproval, beer we ask; he nods his head in approval and motions us to stand far so as to not evince suspicion. "Premium lager" at hand the group heads back - boisterous and laughing at the city which made them prisoners of their own desire.

6S

Sathyanarayanan Chandrasekar is a coding monkey, working out of Bangalore. He rues the large number of trees being chopped down in Bangalore in the name of road expansion, and the number of characters wasted on spelling his name. Left to himself he would want to be referred to as the "Kaiser." He blogs here.

Backwards Brian

by Chris Wasil

Brian never told anyone about the dreams he had. It’s not what you think; they weren’t violent, perverted or otherwise depraved – they were boring. Last night, Brian’s entire dream consisted of him sitting in the waiting room at the eye doctor’s office, where people flipped through magazines, tapped their hands to the quiet music, and looked at their watches every few seconds while the nurse periodically yelled out last names. The night before that, Brian dreamt he was shopping for conditioner at the pharmacy, couldn’t find his preferred brand, but then – to his delight – found that it was on sale for fifteen percent off. One recurring dream had Brian sitting in a crowded diner during his lunch break, eating a tuna sandwich that was a little dry, washing it down with a diet cola that was a little flat, and leaving a tip that he could tell the waitress considered a little small. The ironic thing was that his actual life was quite exciting; not only was Brian a famous quarterback slash astronaut, but he was also an international spy, had experienced amazing sex with both Marilyn Monroe and Cleopatra, and, despite his ability to fly, had a tendency to wind up in back in college completely unclothed and unprepared for his statistics exam.

6S

Chris Wasil, currently in his second semester of law school, is a die-hard Mets fan. His full catalog is here.

Pray

by Jen Dupree

I am trying to pray. The wafer still dissolving on the roof of my mouth, my knees rigid on their bend. Pray, I will myself, pray. Instead, I think about nice legs in short skirts, sand between my toes, sand between the sheets. Be reverent, allow the blankness, be ready for the divine. But - I want, I want.

6S

Jen Dupree lives and writes in Maine. She is the winner of a 2006 Maine Literary Award and is currently at work on a novel as well as short fiction.

Behind

by Brent Goodman

Behind the house we ungrounded lightning rods where copper wires plunged deep into clay. Shot squirrels with pellet pistols hiding cool CO2 cartridges in their grips; missed most times. Behind that tree the neighbor girl's swimsuit grew elastic. Take the crucifix off the rec room wall and hide his broken arms behind the couch. Behind her eyes question marks curl into hooks; it begins to thunder. Behind my brother I turn to shadow.

6S

Brent Goodman is the author of The Brother Swimming Beneath Me (Black Lawrence Press, forthcoming 2009). His work has been featured in Diagram, No Tell Motel, Diode, Poetry, Beloit Poetry Journal, Barn Owl Review, and other fun zines. He blogs about what he is thinking about having for dinner here.

A Lost Sunday Night

by Brian Kist

It's that moment of clarity that helps bridge the gap between the freedom of a worry-free weekend and the soul-suffocating drudge of the weekday. I have been told that I am a bad driver... by the insurance company, which is a harsh way to learn. In light of this expensive news, I budget by eating cheapo, salty noodles and avoiding most external social events that demand some cash. But I broke a guitar string this weekend and even those eight bucks for a new set seems like a mocking expense. Also, I don't know how to tell that certain girl that I don't want to "hang out" with her or pretend her work stories are interesting or pay for the text messages she sends me. Despite it all, those folks that know me the best don't care if I ditch them for a night in and for that I am the luckiest penny-pincher this side of Scrooge McDuck (with whom I am all too often compared).

6S

Brian Kist is a staff writer for a trade magazine in Missouri. He is probably too sarcastic for his own good. He also does occasional write-ups and promotion for his friends' band.

Triumphal Entry

by Ariah Fine

She sat on the kitchen counter in faded jeans and a plain white undershirt, her hair pulled back in an unassuming ponytail, her knees pulled up to her chest, a few tears trickling down her cheek. He leaned back and took another swig of milk, straight from the carton, trying to let her words settle in. She'd fully expected him to hit her, not because he'd ever been physically aggressive before, but her story was so outlandish, she'd imagined only the worst. "Was it James..." he questioned out loud, partially to himself, but also giving her a chance to come clean, "Matt, maybe?" Her tears came down again, hard now, she hadn't expected him to believe her impossible story, she almost wished the truth was as simple as he thought, but her heart still broke as his questioning gave indication that her hopes for the future were quickly slipping away. It was over, before it had even begun, and all that awaited her now was a life as an outcast, whispered about at the market, ostracized by her community, left alone to raise her child, that bastard child.

6S

Ariah Fine, author of Giving Up, lives with his wife and beautiful daughter in North Minneapolis. He writes daily at his blog.

Suicide Tasks

by George

1) Load iTunes with sailing / summer / beach music. 2) Rent convertible. 3) Drive south on I-95 to Key West. 4) Drink massive quantities of tequila/rum, or both. 5) At sunset, swim out to chest high water, place gun in mouth, lean back and pull trigger. 6) Let sharks feed off remains and finally become one with the ocean.

6S

George is writing to relieve the pressure in her head, because the Advil isn’t working, and a gun is out of the question.

Revival

by Savannah Schroll Guz

Boone bought a Bible, for his house did not have one, and began reading Revelations. He had not opened a Bible since he was a boy, since he had worn western style, hand me down shirts with pearlized snaps and denim collars. He remembered being pushed in front of his adoptive mother, who sat, whenever possible, in the front row at revivals and offered little Boone up to the preacher like a sacrifice. Reverend Franklin Geist swayed with the congregation and shouted, punching the air with a rigid finger long ago been blackened by frostbite. He held Boone’s shoulder with an unyielding grip and spittle flew from his lips as he shouted, encouraging women to “feel the fever of the Lord.” Like religion was an infectious disease.

6S

Savannah Schroll Guz is the author of "The Famous & The Anonymous" (2004) and the editor of "Consumed: Women on Excess" (2005). She is an art critic for Pittsburgh City Paper and a columnist for Library Journal. Co-founder of the "The New Yinzer Presents" reading series, she is currently working on a novel about quantum physics, the paranormal and the Holocaust. Find her here.

The Begotten and the Damned

by Joseph Grant

As a young boy and until I reached 18 just a few months ago, I was taught and had it whipped into me that the world is an abomination in the eyes of the Lord and at the Children of Christ Compound we were never allowed to see this outside world of sin and degradation, as it would not please the elder fathers and we were told we would be driven blind by such ungodly transgression. It's true what they say in the newspapers and what they call the televised news, even though none of my church wants to admit it. My father was also my uncle and my first cousins were married but so what, that was the Order the way in which Jebbadiah taught us and his father taught him before him and so on. It wasn't wrong in the Order for men to be the boss in the field and in the house and the first and last judgment according to God's word and women were both dominated and thought of tempting instruments of the Devil as it says so in our Bible regarding original sin to lead man astray from the Lord's chores and we knew the End of Days was at hand, for our elders told us this was so. Having left the Order when my sister was begotten with child by a married elder, among other abuse stories, it's not like I believe in it much anymore, as I have finally danced to the secular music, which has led me astray to watch television. Television has lead me to going to the movies into trying alcohol and smoking the green herb from God's good earth to having relations with young women with whom I am neither betrothed or promised to and who freely gave themselves to me without commitment or love and all I can think is what the elders used to tell us back at the church that this freedom was the Devil's playground, but may God have mercy on my soul, I like it.

6S

Joseph Grant, whose full catalog is here, is a 6S All-Star and the first featured author in our "Six Sixes" series.

They Only Come Out At Night

by Adam J. Whitlatch

John scratched his thick white beard and cursed under his breath as he stared at the scene of death and mutilation that only last night had been a flourishing chicken coop. All over the room, masses of matted feathers, wings, gristly bones, and cloudy-eyed heads littered the floor, nesting boxes, and the brooder; they hadn't taken the eggs, the dirty varmints - why the hell hadn't they taken the eggs? Three nights now this had happened; he looked up into the rafters at the remaining six hens and two roosters cowering there, frightened and shaking, and decided that enough was enough. Tonight I'm gonna bag those sons a bitches, he thought with resolve as he set down the rusty steel traps and began collecting the pieces of carcasses with the most meat left on them. He went to bed that night with a smile on his face, certain that in the morning the nightmare would be over and he'd have the filthy varmints right where he wanted them. Imagine his horror the next morning when he opened his door to find three bloody steel traps dangling from the nail above his door and a message scrawled in blood on the door, No MoRR cHiKenZ HooManZ nEXt!

6S

Adam J. Whitlatch is fighting a losing battle with weasels, coyotes, and neighbor dogs in his chicken coop. (Sometimes he wonders if they're not something bigger... and smarter.) He lives on a small farm in southeast Iowa with his wife and their two boys and continues working on new sixes as well as his novel-in-progress "E.R.A. – Earth Realm Army." (Adam's full 6S catalog can be found here.)

Six Sixes by Grace Andreacchi

an Online Magazine from Six Sentences



Grace Andreacchi becomes our first two-time six-sixer! To view the magazine, just click the blue “OPEN PUBLICATION” tab above. You’ll be taken inside, where you can turn the pages by clicking the arrows to the left and right. To view a “full screen” version, once inside, just click the diagonal arrows above the document (located to the left of the little envelope). Enjoy!

6S

Six Sentences provides more Vitamin C than six full glasses of orange juice.

So What Are You Up To These Days?

by Jonathan Pinnock

They have these reunions every ten years, but I’ve never been to one before, so it’s interesting to see who’s changed (the ones who were always youthful-looking) and who hasn’t (the ones who have looked middle-aged all their life), and in any case it’s a good time to catch up with people you haven’t seen since you left the place, if only to see if you’re doing better or worse than them. Anyway there’s this guy sitting next to me that I vaguely remember, but I can’t quite put a name to: prosperous-looking, tanned, bit of a paunch, obviously doing pretty well for himself. So we do the usual mutual introduction thing, and I remember him now, although I’m struggling to fill in all the details, because (as I say) it’s been a while since we last saw each other, and I can’t even remember which subject he was reading. He’s evasive when I ask him what he’s doing these days, but after a few glasses he opens up a bit and tells me that’s he’s actually in the torture business, which comes as something of a surprise, but these are strange times that we are living in so I try to act as if this is nothing unusual, and start asking him questions like what’s the best thing about being a torturer? (all the foreign travel apparently), what’s the worst thing about being a torturer? (again, all the foreign travel) and how do your kids feel about this? (no problem, apparently, and they certainly don’t get hassled in the playground any more). Then I remember: this guy used to be an activist, a hard-line leftie, a real firebrand, so I mention this to him, pointing out the obvious irony, and he laughs and says to me that he just grew up a little and by the way am I still the same apathetic wishy-washy liberal that I always was? And I say, maybe I am, maybe I’m not, maybe I might be, I’m not sure of anything these days, and he just nods and smiles at me while I blabber away about my insecurities, and I’m quite impressed later on when I realise precisely how much I have given away about myself without even having been shown the instruments.

6S

Jonathan Pinnock was born in Bedfordshire, England, and - despite having so far visited over forty other countries - has failed to relocate any further away than the next-door county of Hertfordshire. He is married with two children and a 1961 Ami Continental jukebox. His writing has won a number of prizes, short-listings and long-listings.

Pretty Flesh

by Jen Dupree

This, the press of pillowed flesh against shrunken denimn, the purpling wounds raw. To look good. To look better than her and her and her. Breath sucked in, think about pulling the doughy mass all the way to the other side, to the slim, perfect vertebrae. Tender is as tender does. So beautiful.

6S

Jen Dupree lives and writes in Maine. She is the winner of a 2006 Maine Literary Award and is currently at work on a novel as well as short fiction.

Lunacy

by Darcy Rasmussen

We were spinning the full-moon night, becoming-wise women. We spun, freed, tuning ourselves. From this place, the spiral paths open to view; the coils of past, present and future sliding like Eden’s snake. In this place, I find my maiden and my crone. I remember that which I have always known. And, with the unfailing instinct of the orb weaver, I spin.

6S

Darcy Rasmussen, whose full catalog is here, writes when the spirits move her (and the children are in bed).

My New Cage

by Nathan Tyree

It isn't really a cubicle, but more of a cubette. This is half of a cubicle with a "fully integrated high efficiency work station" built into its flimsy space. I am forced to sit staring into the corner like a child that has been unruly in class. My eyes burn from the fluorescent light and the weak coffee. I feel dehumanized. Perhaps I should grow whiskers like a rat.

6S

Nathan Tyree, whose full catalog is here, has recently been nominated for the StorySouth Million Writers Award for his story "Notes Toward a Unified Philosophy," which appeared in Poor Mojo's Alamac(k).

Gratitude

by Jon Cable

No demands. No questions. No expectations. No judgment. Throw his ball for him. True gratitude.

6S

Jon Cable, in trying to escape, is tangled up in rusty swords and cloudy-eyed dragons.

Ascension

by Eric Payne

I placed my tools on the cold, white porcelain of the pedestal sink in my bathroom: a tub of lavender scented shaving cream from England, a badger hair shaving brush, and a diamond-sharpened straight razor with a nickel-plated handle. As a boy, I learned the mechanics from watching my father, although he never actually taught me; and as a man, I mastered the finesse from six years of daily practice. But this day was different than any prior to it - I applied the warm cream to my head more out of necessity than whim. As I relieved myself of the burden of comb and brush I watched the already sharp lines of my perfectly trimmed mustache and goatee grow sharper and the expressiveness of my eyebrows become more pronounced. After the heat and steam and cold splashes to close my pores, I saw the man God intended when he made me. The regular dude I had been was rinsed down the drain, leaving in his place a pharaoh in the mirror staring back at me.

6S

Eric Payne, author of World Traveler, has had pieces in Spindle Magazine and DiddleDog. He blogs here.

Privy

by Christopher Cocca

I college-toured NYU with Ramon at the end of sophomore year and he lost the button from his shorts in a urinal at Port Authority when we got off the bus. We left Milltown early and got there close to 9 and Ramon and his dad were both runners and I was in a thin stage so we had time to kill in Chelsea and then a steady pace uptown and I liked the way I looked in storefronts. At 11 we saw the arch and purple banners with sliver torches matting Washington Square and its tree-and-old-brick frame. They didn't give free t-shirts like the Jesuits at Fordham but there was this gorgeous leggy blond with a continental accent and she asked about "flats" and I knew she meant apartments because I had been to England but she wasn't British or anything like our crushes who sang in musicals and took tours of FIT. She was older or just maybe European and she knew everything she'd ever do and then we knew we didn't. Ramon went to Milltown Sate and I went to a small school and that day in the city when things were out in front is ten years gone and sometimes when I take a piss it seems like much less left.

6S

Christopher Cocca is the author of The Insult.

Instructions

by Susan Moody

1: Insert right pinkie finger into right ear. 2: Twist around. 3: Withdraw and eyeball contents adhered to end of finger. 4: Then insert finger into mouth. Just when I think I have seen it all during my years of commuting on the train... somebody cranks it up a notch. I just shouldn’t watch.

6S

Susan Moody is a member of the 6S Social Network. Check it out.

Jewelry Slut

by Diane Hoover Bechtler

Charlie Manson knocked on my door. He asked for nothing. He said nothing. He handed me a pristine pair of 18K yellow gold Victorian delicate filigree earrings. I accepted them without hesitation. That’s when I knew what I was.

6S

Diane Hoover Bechtler earned her MFA in Creative Writing from Queens University in Charlotte, NC in 2007. She has had short fiction published in journals such as Thema, Pangolin Papers, and The Dead Mile School Of Southern Literature.

Redline

by Adam J. Whitlatch

The engine's roaring, but I can't hear it over the crunching guitars blaring from all eight speakers; this is what I live for - Heaven is one hundred and fifty-five miles-per-hour. Broken yellow lines blur into one, the landscape on either side of me fading into alternating green and brown streaks of trees and rock. Speed is my drug; hard, fast, face-tightening, gravity-altering, knuckle-whitening, teeth-gritting speed. Flashing red and blue lights flicker in my rear view mirror, issuing the latest challenge, and I smile – I haven't had a decent chase in a long time. Come on, 5-0, let's see what you've got under the hood of that Crown Vic. Fifth gear.

6S

Adam J. Whitlatch still has his first car, a candy apple red 1984 Chevrolet Monte Carlo affectionately named "Red Lightning." He longs for the day when his writing will pay him enough to bring Red out of the barn and back onto the highway where "she" belongs. At eighteen he lost his license for getting sixteen speeding tickets in a year (fifteen of those were in his father's Ford pickup). They couldn't catch the Monte. (Adam's full 6S catalog can be found here.)

i keep dreaming i'm alive, part 2

by Alan Thomas

the ceiling of the sky is so heavy; you are melting. an ominously expansive sound explodes beyond itself. you turn away from the ocean to see the sound, as it burns your eyes with a deafening roar. a monstrous and twisting wall of wind is propelled violently towards you. your limbs seem filled with liquid concrete, and they vibrate awkwardly as you forget how to breathe. you fear the storm will annihilate you entirely, as you close your eyes to escape and awaken from the dream.

6S

Alan Thomas aspires to humanness, and writes because the voice of the immeasurable beauty of life does not speak English.

First Crush

by Connor de Bruler

I once knew a boy in my first grade class who, unlike most people at that age, was completely content with his sexuality. It wouldn't have been such a big deal had he not had a crush on me: a naive imaginative little boy completely oblivious to such concerns. I quickly made it clear to him that I wasn't gay and did not like him very much, but it didn't stop the tidal wave of late night phone calls, crazed love poems and his constant attempts to get close to me. Eventually things grew out of hand after a surprisingly non-traumatic fondling incident, where the teacher had him removed from the class. Like most kids seem to do so well, I forgot about it. Only now, in high school, do I see him from time to time in the crowded hallways, and wonder if he still knows who I am.

6S

Connor de Bruler grew up in Greenville, South Carolina and has lived in Indianapolis and Nuremburg, Germany. His work has been published by Bending Spoons Literary Magazine and Fictional Publications.

i keep dreaming i'm alive, part 1

by Alan Thomas

you are sleeping. a lucid dream swirls inside your head as you lie in a fresh puddle of your own sweat. behind eyelids sewn shut, your eyes skip in spasms back and forth furiously. you are weighted with a heaviness as you move towards the ocean; your thoughts are jaggedly anxious and tormenting, stabbing holes in your fragile mind. you approach the sanctuary of the grey-green water. feeling a momentary sense of refuge, you stop at the boundary between land and sea.

6S

Alan Thomas aspires to humanness, and writes because the voice of the immeasurable beauty of life does not speak English.

Fever at Watervliet

by Maureen Alsop

The strawberry sun vacillates between the noon smoke of paper mill factory towers and the blanched horizon of a midnight farm. An unrealized harvest is the action of drought. Sleepers, your role is sleep. The temperament of your bed, predawn, is the dull mix of ragweed & stone; your shoulders round toward sternum as sidelong your transparent ribs repeat a series of answers - a thin grain, a blossoming heat, the pent shapelessness of a cloud. The one small thresh of the circle. Your one good leg holding its weight.

6S

Maureen Alsop is a four-time Pushcart Prize nominee.

Ground Rules

by Teresa Tumminello Brader

If you hit it over the fence, that’s an out: nobody wants to retrieve the ball from the neighbor’s slobbering Great Dane. Daddy and the oldest of my brothers, both lefties, have to bat right-handed; Daddy even runs to first base backwards. Because there are only six of us, my youngest brother announces, “Ghost runner on first,” as his spot in the batting order comes up. After he’s bunted the ghost to second and beaten out the throw — he’s small and quick — my little sister whacks the ball into the corner of the yard behind the air conditioning unit, clearing the bases of all runners, phantom and human alike. Daddy pitches to me, lobbing the ball gently over the dirty rubber home plate. Though I’m the oldest, I get four strikes; and I never ever have to worry about hitting it over the fence.

6S

Teresa Tumminello Brader, whose full catalog is here, was born in New Orleans and lives in the area still. Her stories have appeared most recently at 971 Menu, Debris Magazine, and Bare Root Review.

Mortmain

by Miles Klee

"You are aware that we ourselves cannot perform the surgery required to reattach your hand. Were you aware?" Naw. Girl comes at you with that infomercial knife screaming I told you not to leave your wet towel on the bed, what goes through your head is: hell, I'll be fixed in no time. Doctor has the gall to pretend his nose-pick is a nose-scratch as he inquires would I like to see the appendage. Well come on if you're gonna 'cause baby I'm gettin' on the news tonight.

6S

Miles Klee, a McSweeney's contributor, wouldn't mind having an agent. He blogs here.

A Look Inside

by caccy46

Was someone creeping down the hall and opening closet doors? I thought I heard the floorboards moan, a creature on all fours? Could it be my fourth dimension looking down on me? Pondering all I've said and done, lost to my memory. Exchange self-flagellation with a sweeter interlude. By not judging, just accepting bits and pieces I include.

6S

caccy46, whose full catalog is here, is a mother of two who's been married for 32 years.

The Floods

by Jared Booth

Last night I watched the floods on the news. I watched them wash down the streets of towns and villages I had never been to, while news reporters stood in front of them and told me where they had come from and where they were going and what kind of damage they had caused on their way. Televisions and radios and fridges and plastic things floated on the floods like tiny boats for midgets. Then, while the reporter was looking the other way, I watched as you floated by behind him, sailing on your back, smiling and waving as you were carried on your way. I waved back at you, but I don't think you noticed. You looked like you were having a whale of a time.

6S

Jared Booth, 25, lives in England.

My Life Each and Every Day

by Connie Rose

I dye. I spin. I weave. I blog. I love. I'm happy.

6S

Connie Rose, artist, crone, lover of home, who blogs here and has her website here, lives in Eureka, Humboldt County, California.

Now, Always, Forever and Longer

by Paige von Liber

She struggled to understand the test results; tears, images and fears all jumbled the words, her mind and her soul. They were conclusive after the third opinion, the big C, cancer. It has now touched her in a very personal way, invading her beloved, threatening to take all from her — from them. There was a 3-5 year survival rate under current acceptable treatment plans, if nothing goes wrong. She could see the fears darting out of his eyes, in search of hers, for a calming hope, a faith that she would stand with him, lay with him, during the life sustaining treatment when the time comes. Damned Multiple Myeloma (who ever heard of such crap?); now it consumes her even as she affirms her eternal love, now, always, forever and longer.

6S

Paige von Liber is a poet and artist. She works full time as wife, mother and legal document specialist. Paige enjoys life, writing, photography and numerous artistic endeavors. You can find her blog here.

The Good Life

by Peter Schwartz

Boom, the world! I'm conscious, way-too-fucking conscious because some dog's tearing the living shit out of my foot and I'm under something that must be a porch. God I'm a fuckup; I'm sweating rivers, there's dogshit in my hair and puke on my clothes, ha! So I need to get the hell out of this scene pronto, so I put on my rocket boosters, kick the dog so hard he yelps, wiggle out from underneath what sure enough is a small, cheap-ass porch and run like this is the Olympics and not just another god-damned, broken-down trailer park. I need meth, pot, liquor, speed, coke, H, and all of the above but first I need money. Got any?

6S

Peter Schwartz studied Advanced Fiction Writing with Rick Moody at SUNY Purchase. Since that time he has published stories in such journals as Pindeldyboz, Johnny America, and The Dublin Quarterly. His deepest wish is to simply live a life of beginnings.

Below Ground

by Lesley Pink

Sherri wore purple, a deep purple top which hung loosely over her belly and light purple pants that stopped just above her ankles. With one hand, she hung on to the pole, noticing the glances in her direction, glances that weren't supposed to be noticed by her, glances that were telling her, "Hey, you're too big to wear all that purple." She stared at the ads above the seats: 1-800-IMMIGRATION, Fix Your Bunions Now Without Surgery, Catch Everybody Loves Raymond at 7PM. Sherri noticed a young couple, no more than 25 or so, whispering to each other, when the woman chucked her thumb in Sherri's direction. The man started to laugh, his eyes fixed on Sherri. She adjusted her necklace (it was purple, too), smoothed her hair back, walked right up to them and said, in as polite a voice as possible, "You'll both be dead in a week's time."

6S

Lesley Pink, whose full catalog is here, lives in Forest Hills, New York.

A Flash of Realism

by Joe Roche

We sit around in Fiasco’s room, with it’s unused light bulb and its general sense of disorder, listening to songs that were written long before we were born and that not many people our age would give anywhere near a damn about. I look at the time on my phone and think that maybe I should go to bed soon. But then Fiasco speaks up with “Why?” and that’s all he says but it resonates. Without him knowing (he has no idea I’m thinking this, but I’m sure, if pressed, he’d agree with it all) it points out all of the things that I should realise right now, as I fill up my glass and choose the next song off of my current favourite Eels album. We worry that we have essays to hand in in a few days, girls that either love us or don’t, only enough of our student loan left to keep us going until our parents bail us out and, worst of all, not enough cigarettes and cider to keep us going for the rest of the night. And yet we still pretend, oh, we pretend.

6S

Joe Roche is a student at Kingston University in Surrey. Links to some of his writing can be found here.

The Gathering

by Annie Donwerth Chikamatsu

The earth rocked as we knelt before our ancestral resting place. Bones lovingly placed, rattled within glazed ceramic jars cradled in the hollow beneath the cover stone; flowers and offerings tumbled with burning incense around our knees. We and the stones held our ground silently. We had passed the morning pruning the grave cedar, carrying pails of water, scrubbing stones and steps rooted in the inheritance of devotion. We had observed the proper rites using the appointed tools grandfather had assembled. The earth shuddered reminding us of how he had talked about “The Big One” and of how very far away we were from the provisions he had respectfully stored.

6S

Annie Donwerth Chikamatsu writes from Japan. Her work has appeared in publications in the U.S., the U.K., Japan and cyberspace.

Waste

by Adam J. Whitlatch

Before he died, my grandfather used to tell me stories about a time long ago, long before the bombs fell, when people didn't have to search for water; no one had to pillage abandoned, burned-out shopping centers for dust-covered bottles of imported water. He told us that people would relieve themselves in gleaming porcelain bowls filled with crystal clear water several times a day, and then flush their waste down a hole with gallons - gallons of clean, uncontaminated water. It used to flow magically into homes from multiple points called "taps" that would open with a mere flick of the wrist, and people would let precious water flow directly into a drain while they ran foamy bristled brushes over their teeth, then they would bathe in large tubs filled to the brim, sometimes spilling over the sides as they splashed and played. These of course were the times before the road pirates, the mutants, and the cults; long before men like me had to risk our lives and search for clean, uncontaminated water, fighting off these threats and sometimes worse. If only we had known then what we know now, maybe we wouldn't be in this mess; children wouldn't cry in their beds for a mere drop of disease-ridden muddy river water, livestock wouldn't be forced to drink their own recycled urine, and our dead wouldn't be processed to harvest every last drop of usable water from their bodies. My name is Matt Freeborn, and I am a Weller; I scour the wastelands for clean water so that you don't have to, so please do me one small favor... don't waste it.

6S

Adam J. Whitlatch is the author of the novel-in-progress "The Weller: Tales of the Wasteland," the story of a Weller named Matt Freeborn who travels the wastelands of post-World War III America in a souped up '71 Road Runner searching for clean, drinkable water. Adam supports Charity: Water, an organization dedicated to bringing clean water to people in Africa. Please watch this short video featuring Jennifer Connelly, then visit charitywater.org for more details.

Stew Bum Salvation

by Thane Thompson

The faded, mustard-yellow playbill pointed me further into the alley and read, "Whisker's: NYC's Sweetest PUSSYcats!!" I strayed deeper into the bowels of the alley until I found the battered, nondescript steel door that was painted black, but had a shiny, well-used handle. I'd never done anything like this before, and my heart was throbbing in time with the bass that banged away at the inside of the door; as terrified as a fresh-fish convict on his first night in the big house. When I stepped in closer to reach for the handle, my foot brushed against a pile of newspapers, and I jumped back as a stringy-haired stew bum sat up, fixed me with his rheumy gaze, and rasped out, "That's right, boy, get in there and get what you can; 'cause the Devil's in the details!" He gave me a coy little smile and then flopped back down into his little nest just as my cell phone rang, and I was startled enough to answer it instead of sending it straight to voice mail. I stood there, suspended between heaven and hell, and babbled, "Yeah, baby... uh-huh... just about done... yeah, the meeting went well... OK, I'm heading home now... love you, too... OK, bye," before I took a last look at the throbbing door, and then started back up the alley towards the subway.

6S

Thane Thompson, whose full catalog is here, writes literary prose and poetry, fantasy, and science fiction. His work has appeared at The Writer's Eye Magazine, Pen Pricks Micro Fiction, and is forthcoming at Tiny Lights "Flash in the Pan." He lives in Ohio with his wife, daughter, and two highly opinionated cats. He freely admits to liking cheap wine, expensive movies, and hand-blown glassware.

A Dying Gift

by J.H. Batson

There was nowhere for the man to run, and yet he ran with all his heart, seeking shelter from the sights of my gun. Wounded though he was, there was an admirable quickness to his step, as if he were running in fear from death itself. Maybe I am death, sent here from the heavens to shatter the consciousness of this young man. I wish I knew the thoughts that ran through his mind in his last moments. To be certain of your death – to know that all the pain and suffering of life is coming to an end – I can't imagine the comfort that he received. And I can only hope that he is grateful for the gift of death that I have given him.

6S

J.H. Batson, author of Oversteer, is not a murderer. He is, however, looking forward to his high school graduation.

Lies, Lies, Lies

by Regina McGrew

They lie to me. I know this. I wait for truth and hear more lies. Why I remain I do not know. Loyalty, love, or fear, it doesn't matter. Inside I crumble with each lie said and bide my time until I am strong enough to speak up, stand up.

6S

Regina McGrew has a thing for Asian men and men of darker complexions. She blogs here.

Are You Looking at Me?

by caccy46

When she looks in the mirror now, she is both horrified and fascinated to see the signs of age that crept up on her when she had no time to think about such things. Her mouth, at rest, is a permanent drooping crescent moon, allowing the world to see her sadness when it has no business peering in such private places. The eyelids she once loved to apply colored shadows to have disappeared, replaced with loose, wrinkled skin that has been burdened with rubbing away too many tears. She feels jilted by the sun, never believing it would punish her so many years later, leaving all sorts of interesting spots and bumps that appeared suddenly. She thinks it's still a nice face; it's just not her face. It's her mother's face.

6S

caccy46, whose full catalog is here, is a mother of two who's been married for 32 years.

Polaroids

by Samantha Entwistle

You said you wanted pictures, mementos, something to remember me by. This is me, lying in my bed wondering whether it will ever be warm again. This is me, standing on the bridge of the river in our town thinking will the currents be strong enough to take the hurt away. This is me, sitting in the cafe where we ate lazy lover's breakfast on Sundays, unable to taste my coffee or swallow my toast, as I watch the couple, that used to be us, kiss and coo. This is me, walking away, sloughing off the skin you touched, throwing the heart you broke in the trash. This is me, say "cheese."

6S

Samantha Entwistle, whose full catalog is here, thinks 6S's are like Polaroids - she likes to see what develops.

Balancing the Books

by Blue Gal

Meg lay on the operating table in the quasi-stupor that comes from being numb from the armpits down. As an accountant with the Social Security Administration, she knew more than her obstetrician thought she did: that on average, he lost money with every baby he delivered. Yes, she'd see him for a couple of post-partum visits, but unless she had a third (and of course her tubes were being done right after the delivery), there was not much more serious cash he could get out of her insurance company once the baby was out. She couldn't feel the C-section incision or too much of the extraction, but she heard the fanfare of men's shouts when her daughter's body emerged. The celebrations and congratulations Oh she's beautiful! All right! Woot! came not just from her husband but also from Doctor Verigan, who didn't cry like Jeff did, naturally, but his eyes twinkled. Only then did she think, Ah, they're a growth industry, babies.

6S

Blue Gal writes for lots of blogs, most notably Blue Gal, The Aristocrats, and Crooks and Liars. Her own blog Blue Gal is a winner of both the 2006 Weblog Award for her audience size category, as well as the Postie Award given by Americans United for the Separation of Church and State. She has been blogging and community-building with small bloggers since Election Day, 2004. Her three wonderful children often feed themselves and know to look for her in the computer room.

I Will Fill Your Mouth with Cotton

by Caro Harvey Cooper

She was breathing through her mouth again. It still amazed Anna that such a delicate mouth could make such a grating sound when left untended. It turned from beautiful lipsticked source of wisdom and witty remarks to cavernous wind tunnel – the same way a garden could be so peaceful when the sun shone but as soon as the light disappeared only rapists and rabid beasts could be found crunching over the dead and dying leaves. Her mouth became a tool of the devil; it kept Anna awake and was destroying their love. Anna had always wondered what it would be like to slide down a giant cheese grater, how much it would hurt – she believed this was the aural equivalent. She scrunched her fist and punched the pillow right next to the snoring head, half hoping to make contact with her lover's skull.

6S

Caro Harvey Cooper, author of The Streets are Grinning, has a second thumb on her left hand, so she's perfectly suited to write (and count) six sentences.

Sleep

by Sandy Daussin

5 a.m. leaves you lost and inside a broken dream of wanting that will never be satisfied. The only thought that drags you from your bed finally at 6:30 a.m. is the idea that soon you will be flushing the night breath from your mouth with some really hot, really good Starbucks coffee. Thank God they started selling that stuff at the grocery. You're so tired you could sleep for a month and still not be done with it. If only you could smash all of the lives you yearn for into one, singular occurrence. As it stands, its like living with a ghost of who you should be.

6S

Sandy Daussin lives and sleeps in North Carolina with her husband and two daugthers. One day, when she isn't so tired, she'll write a blog and be able to post a link to it. Right now, she'll have to be satisfied with 6 sentences.

Katie's Six by Peggy McFarland

an Online Magazine from Six Sentences



Peggy McFarland gives us six painful glimpses into the life of a young girl. To view the magazine, just click the blue “OPEN PUBLICATION” tab above. You’ll be taken inside, where you can turn the pages by clicking the arrows to the left and right. To view a “full screen” version, once inside, just click the diagonal arrows above the document (located to the left of the little envelope). Enjoy!

6S

Six Sentences urges you to write. And when you're finished? Write some more.

He Sits There

by Jennifer Wright

He sits beside me; he has all year. For one hour a day, five days a week, he is there. Directly beside me, only one row to the right, he sits. I can see him out of the corner of my eye, and he doesn't notice, doesn't stop me. In those five days, I can see him whenever I wish. The weekends - the vacations - they're torture.

6S

Jennifer Wright is fourteen, and has been writing for several years. She's not famous, but she will be one day.

Distancing

by Rita Rubin

Trying to recall what it felt like, not so long ago, to rock her daughter in her arms, singing lullabies off-key, the mother sighed. To reassure herself - to deceive herself? - that the girl still needed her as much as ever, the mother gently smoothed her sleeping daughter's tousled blonde tresses. Although the girl stirred, she did not wake. Glancing at the packed footlocker, whose contents she had memorized and neatly labeled, the mother felt older than she ever had. She tried not to think about the leave-taking, only a few hours away, and wondered whether she would be able to hold back the tears. The early morning light began to creep around the window shades, and the mother padded back to her own bedroom, acquainting herself with the silence.

6S

Rita Rubin, a long-time newspaper reporter, has discovered in middle age that she also likes to make things up. She lives with her husband and two daughters in the Washington, D.C. area.

Being Alone Together

by Beth Brigham

We drive in silence, tension hanging heavy between us. He stares out the window as the green hills roll by, his fingers drumming against the armrest in a staccato rhythm. My jaw aches from the effort of not asking him, "What's wrong? What are you thinking?" I nibble at the hangnail on my thumb, stealing glances at him out of the corner of my eye, and pretend to concentrate on the road. The afternoon sunlight illuminates motes of dust floating through the car, its inappropriately cheerful rays doing nothing to dispel the darkness of the unspoken. Then he turns with a smile and asks, "Are we there yet?"

6S

Beth Brigham has been published in local, regional, national and international publications. Writing keeps her sane. (Well, depending upon your definition of sane.)

Grace

by Kevin Michaels

The sand felt warm, the way it usually was on Saturday afternoons in Seaside Heights; face down on the beach under a hot July sun that burned my back and shoulders while Jenny was getting cheese fries and Cokes from the boardwalk concession stand. Later we would jump the waves, venturing farther from shore until the life guards motioned us back, their shrill whistles straining above the roar of the surf and the cacophony of voices that filled the air - ready to save us if we needed help. As the waves rolled into our bodies she would squeeze her arms around my neck and try to drag me under but I could always kicked free, riding the wave to the beach and tumbling out of the water with my stomach red, raw, and bleeding from the shells and pebbles that tore my skin and filled the waistband of my trunks; the water would surge forward over the chairs and towels of people too close to the tide line, sending them in a frantic scramble towards drier ground before pulling back with the empty cans, baggies filled with left-over snacks, and cheap plastic toys that had been left behind. Later Jenny would shiver as she held me close on the blanket, towels wrapped around our shoulders, her lips cold, salty, and wet as they pressed against mine, and the warmth we shared would spread throughout my body and stay with me on the drive home. I could feel that warm sand under my face as I opened my eyes in an unfamiliar expanse of desert, just north of Tikrit - a world away from New Jersey and the cool waves of the ocean; the ground was wet with the blood that poured from the gaping hole in my stomach and the mangled pieces of flesh and bone that had once been my legs. I heard the voices of the soldiers around me, the fear and panic in their screams as they tried to help, and felt the searing wave of heat and pain that swept over me - I closed my eyes and wanted only to be home again.

6S

Kevin Michaels, whose full catalog is here, is the author of two upcoming novels (BOUNCE and STILL BLACK REMAINS). He lives, breathes, and writes at the Jersey Shore.

Written Release

by Jasper Stone

She received the letter from jail that let her know their relationship was over. It wasn’t a clichéd “Dear John” apology dripping with shameless excuses. Instead, tucked into a sloppily written paragraph were the simple words, “I got white pride tattooed on my right hand and your name on the other.” After the brief nausea and disbelief wore off, she folded the letter, and placed it back into the envelope where it still rests. She felt a sense of relief for having a reason to let go completely without further explanation. It’s been years, but the thought that those words are imprinted into skin and can be placed hand in hand still manage to sink her stomach.

6S

Jasper Stone writes fiction, poetry, and non-fiction.

The Escape

by J.C. Montgomery

Told to be ready at nine o’clock, we each took our places and waited for the long shadows of the afternoon to merge into one, indicating it was time to leave. Grasping my knapsack to my chest, I turned to take one last look at the place I once called home. Memories instantly overcame me; my emotions so raw that if anyone had spoken a word, I would have crumbled into a screaming ball of hysteria. Standing there, overwhelmed with guilt, I closed my eyes tightly, crushing unbidden tears back into nothingness. Reopening them to the gloom around me, I allowed the memories of my childhood to incorporate themselves into the corners of the room, thus banishing them forever into shadow. One by one we made our way out the window; leaving behind everything we knew and everyone we loved.

6S

J.C. Montgomery is an aspiring writer based out of Reno, Nevada. When not reading, writing, and panhandling for lattes, she quilts and plays ice hockey. She often dreams of someday owning her own coffee house, which would be conveniently sandwiched between an ice rink and a quilt shop. She can also be found reading and reviewing books as The Biblio Brat, and posting to her online journal Loose Leafs from a Commonplace.

Best Western Hollywood

by Kate Kaminski

In the Best Western Hollywood, this squeaking blue plastic club chair is AAA approved. In the dusty, tired courtyard waits a Pacific Bell telephone booth with folding doors of the old-fashioned sort, and the Vista Del Mar Ave. service station boasts white-painted iron work and a generous offering of suspension, batteries, and struts. Cars rush the freeway and outside the window a lemon tree is loaded with pale sour fruit, just out of reach. Lemons aren’t the only thing out of reach, though, are they? How did I get here, you ask? The better question is, how will I get out?

6S

Kate Kaminski is an underground (a.k.a. "outsider") writer & filmmaker whose motto is "Go ahead, swim upstream. It's better exercise."

Falling In

by Jennifer Chase

When we got back to the table, neither Lou nor Ross half-stood. Our refined gentlemen, such as they were, just sat there in their plaid sport coats knocking back Southern Comforts and gobbling up their sautéed mushroom appetizers. "We thought you gals had fallen in," Lou quipped, his mouth full of masticated mushroom. He and Ross chuckled. Clever, clever men. Seemingly endless reservoirs of cleverity.

6S

Jennifer Chase, of the Alabama Chases, wrote "Triptych Kudzu," unaffectionately dubbed "The Manuscript That Will Never See the Light of Day." (She's also the author of Wax.)

Douggie

by Chris Wasil

Most people from my hometown have just one encounter with Douggie in their lifetime, but never more than one. They’ll see a fat, middle-aged retarded man, dressed in navy blue from head to toe, ride up to the little league field on his bicycle, and maybe they don’t walk away. He’ll yell hi at their faces, and they might awkwardly smile and say hi back, and if the conversation goes any further, chances are Douggie will offer to sing the theme to Green Acres for them, or pick his nose, or both. Then, around the same time his body odor hits their noses, he’ll probably reach his hand deep into the front of his sweatpants to scratch himself. He never, ever, picks up on their embarrassment, which they’ll always feel even though they’re not the ones violating every accepted rule of social grace. After that first experience, they know better than to stick around when Douggie rides up.

6S

Chris Wasil, currently in his second semester of law school, is a die-hard Mets fan. His full catalog is here.

Keeping Secrets

by Adam J. Whitlatch

She's staring at me across the table with those guilty eyes, and I can already tell my evening is ruined; suddenly this pizza sitting between us doesn't seem quite so appetizing anymore. After a couple false starts she finally manages to find her voice (although shaky and nervous) and after I reassure her that she can tell me anything says, "I love you... and I don't think there should be any secrets between us, so I have a confession to make." My throat tightens when she says, "I kissed another guy at a party last week, but it was nothing... I swear!" I lean back in my chair and sigh, this simple action is probably what saves my life, because I can just barely see the Horde troopers an instant before they crash through the pizzeria's plate glass window and open fire, laser bolts turning the quaint little establishment into a war zone, complete with mozzarella rain and cheese shaker grenades. I quickly overturn our table and drag her behind it with me and she screams as a red blast of laser fire takes out a chunk of the table's edge next to her head. I reach behind my back and draw the laser pistol concealed underneath my jacket and – meeting her panicked and trembling gaze – say, "Honey, there's something I've been meaning to tell you, too."

6S

Adam J. Whitlatch is the author of numerous horror and science fiction short stories. He lives with his wife and two sons in southern Iowa where he continues to work on his second novel "E.R.A. – Earth Realm Army." (He hates when war breaks out during dinner, but his wife is slowly getting used to it.) His work has also appeared in New Voices in Horror Magazine. (Adam's full 6S catalog can be found here.)

Ten Feet

by Lissette Diaz

I wanted you to know that even though you won't really listen to me, you should know I still think of times we shared. Like that time we were sitting at the edge of the river and you and I were talking and I said something funny and you said to yourself (out loud), "Wait Will, why aren't you kissing her," and then you kissed me. Although it wasn't the first time we'd kissed, it was the first time I realized I was falling for you; we kissed as we sat on that bench; even though it was dark and chilly I wasn't cold in your arms. I remember thinking how your smile lit up your face, and you mentioned how unintentionally romantic the night had turned out as we walked back to your house to do shots of bad tequila as you nervously showed me pictures of you and your friends on your fridge, and I felt like I never wanted to go home. So we sat in your room and cuddled and watched Malcolm in the Middle and told each other our darkest secrets and our silliest dreams; we kissed and we held each other softly, as if there was no need to do anything else. You'd probably have me believe that you share times like that with all the girls, right?

6S

Lissette Diaz is a native New Yorker, pet owner, art lover, and self-proclaimed solitude junkie. She's the author of Enough.

Jasfoup in Monochrome

by Rachel Green

It’s not often that Harold surprises me. We’ve had a very easy-going relationship for some years now (separate bedrooms and bathrooms but shared kitchen) and I thought I knew just about everything about him. Today, though, I was shocked when he told me the vicar had been round for an unexpected badger when I didn’t even know we had badgers in the garden – perhaps that’s why one was unexpected. Harold looked at me a bit strangely, with his head on one side and that lock of platinum-blonde hair falling over one eye. (I always want to brush it backwards.) “Not a black and white badger,” he said, “he wanted a donation for the church organ fund again.”

6S

Rachel Green, whose full catalog is here, is an English woman who spends far too much time writing about demons.

The Jacket

by Lynn Johnson

The black canvass jacket has a red lining. A size 10, with an unmistakable sun design on the reverse, it has a delicate silver chain connecting the two breast pockets when zipped at the front. The sleeve is slashed above the right elbow, approximately four inches, and is loose at the shoulder suggesting a struggle may have taken place. A dark stain, likely to be blood, on the lining of the jacket suggests the wearer had suffered an injury to the chest. It was found in a hedge outside the High School and to date the owner has not been identified. Police reports indicate they suspect foul play and have asked for full co-operation from the public in this matter.

6S

Lynn Johnson has been living in Scotland for nearly three years and has finally found the time to write. She's the author of Grandma's Shrinking!

Apology

by Dan Friedson

We talk, one facing the open refrigerator while the other fishes dirty plates out of the sink. Through the window in the door, a mound of cracked leaves settle under the large oak. I tell Amelia it’s a beautiful day, she says the yard needs cleaning. I shape the breath in my mouth to sound like the words she wants to hear. They’re not unfamiliar, just words I don’t say. I hand her a glass of water that she doesn’t know if I mean to hold or give.

6S

Dan Friedson is a teacher and poet living in the surprisingly hip city of Pittsburgh.

Always Talk to Strangers

by Alice Crooker

On a recent flight from Seattle to Chicago, my husband and I were entertained mightily by our seatmate. The man was unassuming, but blossomed into a first class comedian when I commented to him about the unappetizing dry meal which was presented to us. He immediately rose to the occasion and began eating the food with a flourish and exclaimed, “It doesn’t get any better than this!” He had me laughing so hard, the tears were rolling, and other passengers were jealous of the fun. I am so glad I got him going and wonder how many opportunities for fun I may have missed by being too proper. My motto now is Always talk to strangers.

6S

Alice Crooker is a retired accountant and the author of "Peas, Pills and Parkinson's."

Father and Son

by Ian Rochford

There was once a man of great wealth who had been estranged from his only son for many years. Feeling the weight of advancing years, he persuaded his son to accompany him to the top of a mountain which stood on his vast estates. Looking out over the fields and vineyards which stretched to the horizon he said, “One day my son, although you have disobeyed and disappointed me often, all you see before you will be yours.” The son turned to his father and replied angrily, “All I ever wanted from you, Father, was your love and respect but you denied me these too often, so as far as I am concerned, I have no father!” The father, clutching his broken heart, collapsed stricken to the stony ground and died. Grinning, the son turned and began to survey all that was now indeed his.

6S

Ian Rochford, whose full catalog is here, is an unemployed Australian screenwriter (ostensibly of comedy) who recently rediscovered the pleasures of writing short stories. He is now plundering his fading memory for all the good ideas that came and went unrecorded, which probably accounts for the maddening inconsistency of his output.

Jolene

by Heather Leet

Did Dolly Parton have the ability to see the future? When she wrote that song about not taking her man did she know that she was telling my future? When she wrote of “flaming locks, eyes of emerald and a voice like summer rain,” did she foresee my pain? I saw him slowly slide away from me toward her as I cried myself to sleep. I asked her not to take him, but he was already gone. I hate Dolly Parton and her stupid song.

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Heather Leet, whose full catalog is here, 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.

And She Was Never Seen Again

by Nyx Hunt

The late fall day holds the world in its cool embrace. The sun, shining through the rich brown canopy of tree leaves seems like a distant dream, with little light and less heat reaching me as I sit on the forest floor, bored and alone. Then you come with your spotted wings, your black as night eyes, and your sharp toothed grin. A soon as I see you, you run, blending into the colors and textures of the forest completely, disappearing from my sight. But I can hear the soft click of your claws as you scrabble through the undergrowth. I will follow you deeper into the woods.

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Nyx Hunt is bioless.

The Sounds I Made with Him

by Peter Holm-Jensen

I made sounds with him I never made with you. He never talked about being shipwrecked between my legs, he never bored me with speeches about the essential solitude of sex. He never clutched Madonnas in bed. His house was airy and free, he gave me room and gave my body what it needed. He couldn’t have cared less about the Rose or the fullness of my lips. I never missed him.

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Peter Holm-Jensen, whose full catalog is here, is an émigré living in the UK, where he writes Notes from a Room.

A Questionable Inheritance

by Robert Lee Frazier

After our Step-Mother's funeral, my two sisters and I were sitting together in her lawyer's office when the truth was made clear. Instead of money, Aunt Trudy (that was the name she required us to call her) had left us a single handwritten letter. My sisters were in tears, she had stated firmly that both of them were nothing more than shallow, simple-minded whores... this left them shocked to say the least. However, I kind of thought mine was a bit less caustic, probably owing to the fact that, unlike my sisters, I would stay at home on Friday nights and play cards, watch TV and sometimes wash Aunt Trudy's hair. Mine read simply, John, you're a nice boy who really knows how to wash hair; have you considered going into the hair salon business with your gay cousin Ricky, you fags should stick together? Even though my sisters tried to convince me Aunt Trudy's final communication was "pure-evil," I feel fine... after all she did think I was good enough to someday run my own business!

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Robert Lee Frazier is a Cartographer by trade. He enjoys playing tennis, watching science fiction movies and collecting books. He lives in Maryland with his wife, four children, two in-laws and a lazy pug. This is his first published work.

A Honda Accord – Parked

by Cate Stevens-Davis

In the dark, her pale legs burn like street lamps or long white guide rails. He follows all the way to their end, pinning her to the crushed fabric with his piston hips. Later, when the fog clears from the windows and their breathing slows again, he rests one hand on her cold thigh and says, because he wants to have something to say, because he wants this not to be the last time, "I think this is the best place for us. I think, you and I, we work better tangled and cramped, taking up each other's spaces." She, blood thick with endorphins, smiles, stretches lips bruised by his mouth to say, "There's room between us now – room to stretch." And he moves to bridge the gap.

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Cate Stevens-Davis is a graduate student in Pittsburgh, PA - broke and tired and having a grand time. She sporadically documents her exploits here, and recently founded Fat Hound Press.

Uninvited Tag Along

by caccy46

I like to follow other people around in museums - not in a creepy way, but simply to hear different responses to the same art I am processing. Often I look for two older Europeans speaking English, but not always; just two or three people who interest me and who are talking loud enough for me to eavesdrop. It's a way of possibly viewing a piece from a totally different perspective. I don't think I'm obvious. At least I hope I'm not. Well, if I'm going to be completely honest, maybe it is a little creepy because eventually I define their relationship to one another, create their history and make plans for their future.

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caccy46, whose full catalog is here, is a mother of two who's been married for 32 years.

What I'm Trying to Say

by Eli Goldstone

I try to say, "There's been some sort of terrible mistake." I try to say "I'm frightened." Instead I go to the kitchen and press my forehead against the refrigerator. The council has sent me a final notice. Am I to understand then, that there will be no further notices? That this is the final one?

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Eli Goldstone is tired.

6S Photo of the Day!

May 7, 2008



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This adorable picture is called "Butterfly Baby." It was uploaded to the new 6S Social Network by Oceana Setaysha. Thanks Oceana! For a closeup view, just click the image. Better yet, visit the 6S Social Network HERE. You can meet your favorite 6S writers, upload photos, listen to music, take part in discussions... the sky's the limit!

Improbability

by William Lasser

I had a friend in college, a math major, who would figure out the odds of every possible event, real or imagined, that came to mind. Like running into his girlfriend on his way to class — for them to meet, she would have had to leave her dorm precisely two to three minutes after he left his; since they left every day within five minutes of each other, the odds would end up being 3.6 to 1, or something like that. But Dave's real mission in life was to debunk those bizarre coincidences that people attribute to Fate or God — like the fact that my wife's grandmother and my grandmother were friends, even though that had nothing to do with how we met. These things aren't as uncommon as you think, he'd explain, because no one ever specifies the actual coincidence in advance; the likelihood of running into your college roommate on a plane to Buffalo might be low, but since there are an almost infinite number of possible coincidences that might occur over the course of your lifetime, the probability that one or two of will actually take place is really pretty high. I know Dave was right, and whenever someone says, "The most amazing thing happened to me today," I have the overwhelming urge to tell them that what they thought was extraordinary was really quite commonplace, hardly worth mentioning. But I resist it, because people who don't understand probability theory always seem happier than those of us who do.

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William Lasser teaches political science at Clemson University in Clemson, South Carolina. He found out about Six Sentences from his son, Max Lasser, who wrote "Ants."

She Left

by Ryan Ridge

Dammit. Dammit. Shit. Fuck. Dammit. Shit.

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Ryan Ridge, author of Texas: A Love Story, is an English instructor and MFA student at the University of California, Irvine. His work has appeared in 5_Trope and Salt Hill.

95th and Collins

by Wallace Taylor

"Come closer, do more," I whisper as you kiss the top of my toes and shrink back. You're so full of love I want to jump inside you; bury myself in your scent; live forever in your passionate grip. My eyes are closed now and my whole head is smiling. You inch up my legs and back away; a bashful giggle skips out of me. "When do you stop being beautiful?" I gasp, and run into your wavy ocean embrace.

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Wallace Taylor lives and writes in New Jersey.

The Streets are Grinning

by Caro Harvey Cooper

She drives a rubbish truck. It's not as unsanitary as you'd imagine – she just sits behind the wheel of a truck filled with the discarded past of a city that fears its own filth. It's the "picker" - the guy on the back - who gets washed with the liquids and mystery rot that spray from the black bags. She just drives like a staccato song along streets that wait patiently for her, streets that love her and greet her each week with a trash-toothed smile. The rubbish waits for her the way he never could, never would. Six months she was inside – he barely waited three days.

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Caro Harvey Cooper has a second thumb on her left hand, so she's perfectly suited to write (and count) six sentences.

The King Bids Me Ride

by Peter Wild

The King bids me ride and so I ride. The King bids me ride and so I ride, though it be late in the day, figuratively and literally, though the moon doth punish the night with her scalding light, though the combined forces of our many enemies gather like stormbanks on the brow of the hills overlooking our city and though it may be many days before I reach my destination, too many days to count on the fingers of my hands and the fingers of the two riders sent to accompany me on my journey and though we may never return to see our city standing, still I ride. The King bids me ride and so I ride, even though I leave my wife, my dearly beloved wife, gasping and blowing like the sails of a ship in a gale, my dearly beloved wife in the midst of labour, our fourth child, my first son, possibly, due at any time so the ruddy-cheeked midwife had it and my wife, weakened and poorly despite the attachment of leeches and the drawing of blood into a cupped glass, gripping my hand, knowing I have to do that which I am called to do, knowing there is but one option when the King calls, the option being to ride, if that is what the King bids me do. The King bids me ride and so I ride for a rider is what I am, a man put upon this Earth to deliver messages from one place to another, swift as the North wind, driving my horse on until soapy foam spews forth between her teeth, until the sweat and heat of the beast between my thighs gives me pause to wonder how long she herself will last and whether I chose right in the stable with the rain thundering against the panel roof, the fetid breath of war and pestilence close by, tight agin me like the collar of a shirt. The King bids me ride and so I ride, though it be the last time, though each step takes me closer to my doom, though I am committed to a task I don't believe has any genuine value because in the final reckoning a man such as I stands or falls according to his ability to take an order and hold a position and do what needs be done. The King bids me ride and so I ride.

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Peter Wild, whose full catalog is here, is the editor of The Flash & Perverted by Language: Fiction inspired by The Fall. You can read more here.

Taking Tickets

by Kim Taylor

Each person places their ticket in the offering basket that I hold, wicker like the one passed at church basement services, and it's mostly the young ones who worry - can they still come back out, wander around, buy candy at the concession stand? Will I remember them and let them back in? When they return, they tell me hello, a little unsure, and I nod, because it's difficult to just sit and wait for a show to start. A small girl in tight braids comes out for a third time, and I look away to let her pass under my gaze, but she wants to be seen, and waves her arm at me. When she returns, I joke that a better plan, for me, would be to require the kids to give me part of their concession purchase before I let them back in, and I wink at her. But she's only ten, and she doesn't yet possess the wryness that comes with twelve or thirteen, so she puts a hand in her bag and offers me a chip.

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Kim Taylor lives in Ohio and is trying to become a poet because of the great money-making potential.