Old Tricks

by Ravi Mangla

Once school let out Denise would visit the animal shelter, imagining which puppy she'd select if her father wasn't allergic to the fur, her brother to the saliva. She'd resolved to name it, ironically, Tiny if it was big (though she didn't want a big dog), Spot if its fur was clear, Shaggy if short-haired, and Sam even if it had more of a Rover disposition. She married; they bought a small home not far from where she grew up. Her husband's allergies were so sensitive that a single hair on the lapel of her jacket would set him off sneezing. She watched the gene get passed on to both of her children. Resigned to standing in front of the shop window, while the puppy pawed at the glass on its hind legs, she marshaled with her hands, trying to teach it to sit and stay.

6S

Ravi Mangla lives in Fairport, NY. His writing has recently appeared in Eclectica, Elimae, Johnny America, and McSweeney's Internet Tendency. He hopes to flip this movie into a script and get Eddie Murphy to play all major characters, including the puppy. Sometimes he blogs here.

The Dyspeptic Secretary

by Arthur Chertowsky

The sounds of construction can be heard from outside the putty colored office - jackhammers, cranes dropping metal pipes, the occasional shrieks of passersby being killed by falling debris. An obese 53-year-old male secretary slumps behind his desk, guzzles an intensely pink bottle of Pepto-Bismol, and wails, “It’s been seven years since 9/11, will it never end?" The office loudspeaker sputters on. This is your Fire Safety Warden... conducting a test of the fire safety emergency response system... do not be alarmed... in the event of an actual emergency, you must follow the directives given to you by your floor warden or your Fire Safety Director... this is just a test. "Every day is a test, Mister Fire Safety Warden,” responds the secretary. “Every day I walk through rubble and ruin to get here so I can listen to you playing with yourself over the loudspeaker, but my day is coming, I'm getting out of here, someday... when the time is right..."

6S

Arthur Chertowsky is obsessed with the idea of fleeing New York City.

When I Grow Up

by Joel B.

I stood there blankly staring at my cousin being lowered into his grave, I thought about all the times we’ve had together. As I threw my rose down I kept expecting him to leap from the casket from the previous eight years of knowing him to be full of life and smart. I looked to my left then my right at the people weeping over him, I was so curious about how an 8-year-old could cause so much grief with so little time on earth. I spent the next ten minutes thinking before my dad put his hand on me, and said, “Son, its time to go." The ride home was dull and grim. When we got home I looked at my family still weeping over his death and I thought, When I grow up... I want to be just like him.

6S

Joel B. is a 12-year-old from the rolling hills of Central Texas. He wrote this on what would have been his cousin's 9th birthday, which was on Father's Day. He was introduced to Six Sentences by his mother, and immediately wanted to write one.

Six Sixes by George

an Online Magazine from Six Sentences



George has six letters - that's all you need to know. 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 are all you need. (Unless you need more. Or less.)

Little Things

by David G.B. Brown

All the little things: the traffic jams, paper cuts, stubbing your toe, oversleeping, being thirsty, ugly grey days, a baby’s smile, the first day of spring, snow on Christmas, her laugh – would you really skip any of it? All the little bad things remind you of how good things can be, how fleeting those moments are and how we should cherish every one, because we understand good because there is bad, light because there’s dark. Next time you get stuck in traffic or you cut your finger on a piece of paper, try to smile – cause you know you’re gonna get out of the jam and you know your finger is gonna heal, and sometimes the freeways really are free, and when was the last time you actually got a paper-cut anyway? And remember: babies grow up, spring turns into summer, sometimes you have Christmas in southern California, and sometimes you’re gonna make her cry. We don’t get infinite chances and infinite moments, so do the right thing and make sure you don’t live your life with any regrets. Don’t hold back, don’t waste time, pay attention, figure out what’s really important, be yourself, love someone, hell love everyone, smile more, be optimistic.

6S

David G.B. Brown is an actor, writer and musician living in Michigan.

Sad & Glad

by Judy Johannsen

The room was dark but she could see the faint glow of the street light through the linen blinds covering the window. Her eyes were restless and lacking human warmth as she brought the gun to her head. Years of chasing a dream had now come to a close. Although pain was inevitable, she felt joy. Her heart beat intensely as she pushed the gun harder against her temple. She took a deep breath and slowly began to pull the trigger back...

6S

Judy Johannsen lives in Nebraska. She works outside - alone all day - and cannot stop her mind from producing thoughts.

Can I Take Your Order?

by Tia Napolitano

No, Ma'am, it's not at all an odd request that I cut your obese eight year old son's $25 steak up into bite-sized pieces before serving it to him. Sure, Sir, I'll take a picture of you pretending to take a bite of your underage girlfriend's crotch with a fork and knife, and by the way, that's very creative and funny. Nope, I don't mind at all that you place your hands on my waist and push me to the side, ever so subtly grazing your hand over my ass as you pass by. Of course, folks, you can take a picture of me to show all your friends back in Texas "the tiniest waitress you've ever seen." Yes, I do this to pay my bills. No, this wasn't quite what I was planning on doing with my degree.

6S

Tia Napolitano wishes she could burn her apron in protest. She's currently open to suggestions - any suggestions at all - as to what else she could do to supplement her income.

Soaring

by Terry Sanville

I parked the car and walked toward him. The crippled soldier stood alone on the lip of the high mesa, staring into the vermilion depths of Chaco Canyon. He turned and waved to me. A red-tailed hawk cried. Gazing upward, I glimpsed the outstretched wings of the soaring raptor. When I looked back, the soldier was gone.

6S

Terry Sanville lives in San Luis Obispo, California.

Pushed Off

by Richard Williams

Dammit, that's not fair. I screamed all the way down, but not from fear, from anger. All I wanted to do was to look first, to see what it looked like, from fifty feet up. It was Navy Boot Camp, and we were having survival drills, with this one having to jump from a fifty foot platform into a tank of water, simulating having to evacuate from a sinking ship. You were told what you were about to do; but, if you hesitated, you were pushed. Like I said, dammit, all I wanted to do was look first - you didn't have to push.

6S

Richard Williams is a World War II Vet, a coach, a teacher and writer, an artist and calligrapher, a current events and history buff, a book hound, and a music lover.

Mass Transit Oedipus

by Marie Lecrivain

While reading the Santa Monica Daily Press over coffee and a steak burrito, I wondered if the lead story about a John Doe found dead on the beach is the same weirdo who sat next to me on the MTA 333 bus yesterday – the one who renounced god the father. He said his mother was god, that the sea was his mother, and that a mother wouldn't hurt her child. He revealed that he'd just been released from jail, and that he was going to go visit his mother to tell her how much he loved her. He asked me where he could buy some daffodils. His bloodshot eyes, holding-tank aroma and spastic hand gestures inspired my silence. As he got up from his seat, the last thing he told me was that he didn't believe in my gods or this person's god or that person's god or anyone else's... just Mother... whom he loved.

6S

Marie Lecrivain is the executive editor of poeticdiversity: the litzine of Los Angeles, and the fiction editor for Magnapoets. She playfully moonlights as an 8th level whip wielder in Dante's Inferno, and is a writer in residence at her apartment. She's been published in various journals.

Birthday Present

by caccy46

She made a promise, saying "Whatever you want for your 30th birthday, that's what I'll give you." Now she found herself lying there butt-naked on the bed still sweating from working out at the gym. All she wanted was some time to cool off, a warm shower and a clean robe. But, a promise is a promise, and there he was, his black curly head between her legs, licking and sucking on her like she was crème brûlée. She just couldn't understand why he was so turned on by smelly sex. It's not that she didn't love sex too; she just didn't want it right after the gym.

6S

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

Involution

by Kate Artz

It wasn't even my idea to begin with. The last time we got involved in something like this it almost killed us. Now look at us - strangers in a strange land, as some would say. Bullshit. You knew exactly how this would all go down. This is your hand; play it.

6S

Kate Artz is a college student desperate to survive. She enjoys comic books, video games, and blogging about things she would like to do and have.

Words of the Working Class

by Elissa Cain

I saw a man today in passing, his appearance rugged and dirty like that of a manual laborer (a brick-layer or carpenter, perhaps). His body was strong but his face was stronger, with a wide-set jaw and Roman nose reminiscent of a comic book hero; his eyes were unclouded and bright, with a glint of intelligence and compassion that seemed far and above the caste that his soiled façade suggested. He was conversing with a cohort, who looked equally as working-class but devoid of the hint of cleverness and concern found in his friend. What a rare bird, I thought to myself as my brain tuned into their exchange, waiting with bated breath for a mention of Sophocles or Ptolemy, or maybe even Hawking. “What’chu gonna do tonight, man?” asked the smaller, wiry companion, rubbing the back of his dirty hand under his nose to wipe away the sweat that trickled down from his forehead and created salty tributaries in the filth that coated his face. “I’m gonna get me a six pack and build me a bonfire out back by the tool shed and maybe burn some tires,” he replied in an obviously uneducated and gruff voice, “You got any dope?” Intelligent proletariat hero he was not, but at least he knew how to start a fire... that should count for something at least.

6S

Elissa Cain amuses herself with her thoughts in the great but lonely state of Alabama. She is glad to have found a playground where she can commune with other’s thoughts and share things that go unsaid in the material world.

To Err is Divine

by Chris Wasil

God woke up one Saturday, and halfway through His second cup of coffee He decided He was going to make a new world where no one ever made mistakes. “The problem,” said God to His cat, Jingles, “is that people just screw up too darned much! This time, I’m going to get it right.” So He sat down at His desk, an impressive, heavy-looking desk, the kind you would imagine God having, and He picked up His pencil and began drawing what this mistake-free world was going to look like. After a while, He realized that this new world would be a very boring place, where no mistakes meant no struggle, where no mistakes meant no pain, where no mistakes meant no triumph, and where people would probably forget to talk to Him once in a while. So He laughed to Himself for having such a silly idea, crumpled up His drawing, and accidentally spilled His coffee all over His desk with a yell: “Me damnit!”

6S

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

Untitled

by Carolina De Noda

She wipes her mouth with the napkin and reflects on her past. Life changed so quickly, in ways she would have never imagined. Now she was standing on the edge of her future but her past was tugging at her. She didn't regret her decision. She could blame whoever she wanted for her life choices but this was her choice to make and she had made it. Now she was living with the results, feeling freedom for the first time.

6S

Carolina De Noda has been writing since she was a child. She has been published in various online magazines and runs her own poetry site.

Untitled

by Jasmin Guleria

I've finally adjusted to the constant flow of traffic and typical weekday construction that bangs along the tree-lined, bar-hoppers dream of an avenue I call home. Lying in bed under a down comforter which looks more like peaks of whipped egg whites, the sun's glare beckons me to get up as I lay burrowed inside, not wanting to move, last nights dream laying vivid in my mind. Eyes open, the day begins, the taste of your mouth lingers, while the sound of your voice continues to pound inside my skull, but worst of all is the silence of words left unspoken that haunts me consistently like a constant migraine no amount of pain killers can cure. Will I ever see you again? The mixture of anger and hurt is palpable and I wish to throw it in your face in the guise of a dirty martini. I am sure the day will come when I will see you and live out my dramatic soap-opera moment, leaving you fumbling for words that are too late in our lives for me to hear or you to say.

6S

Jasmin Guleria is a freelance writer currently residing in New York. Her work can be read here.

Untitled

by austere seeker

To win he needed a Big Idea, and turning to history he distilled one - to cut up into tiny slivers this big pulsating city by the sea, to systematically whittle away its lifeline, its vibrant energy, drain the electric spirit this metro prided itself on; decimate and destroy in much the same way the country had been chopped into three acrimonious blood-strained chunks six decades ago. Divide and fester, turn locals against outsiders, let ambition and sloth run rampage. Periodically stroke fires of greed, fear and red-hot anger with the mantra Outsider, outsider! In the tightly-wrapped slums by the high rises, in the teeming hovels by the high-speed expressways, in the shanties that hung precariously by the sea; in the malls, frosted glass front offices and multiplexes, burn ever-so gently, so that in the smoldering ashes, no questions remain. Who are you, where did you come from, why and when did you get here? Irrelevant questions that the giant city in its mad frenzy had never paused to ponder, questions that so terrified, that in due time the city shrunk into itself.

6S

austere seeker, whose full catalog is here, lives, works, and writes in Mumbai.

Pieces of Me

by Michelle Duvall

It really isn’t enough to simply write the words. Throwing the words onto the page with reckless abandon can be detrimental to the career and reputation of a serious wordsmith. It requires a careful, almost snobbish prejudice before settling on the perfect word. Creation of a world is not a task that can be accomplished by just anyone you know, and no one can tell this story as I can because I, and I alone, hold the secret ingredient. And what is it that makes mine so much different? It is the only one that contains pieces of me.

6S

Michelle Duvall, among other things, is a single mom, a teacher, and a writer. She is the author of Taking Detours.

Emptiness in War

by J.R. Parks

It was silent amidst the slaughter but for the hot brassy rain of shells clinking against the sandy streets, until at last the fiery spout ran dry. The whir of radio chatter lulled into a quiet hum, and what would have been the roar of iron monsters, slowly and softly sputtered out with the hiss of thirsty fuel tanks. Kevlar coated suits and sweat drenched checkered scarves bobbed through the crooked rebar forest, and the heat waves shimmered golden on the air. Mute cries were further muffled. Hand signals hushed by severed thumbs. And spirals of black smoke fell like shadowy blankets over America's sons.

6S

J.R. Parks is a children's author and writer of speculative fiction and poetry. Some of his other works can be found here.

I Built a House in Your Arms

by Peter Holm-Jensen

I built a house in your arms, stole it from our love and took it to what I thought was the old desert. I was trying to sing Amazing Grace all the way to the Swiss banks of the soul, but all I did was sweat, and you reported me to the Great Commission before I hit a clean note. I went back to the friends you once tamed me of and got fat and drunk; that got boring real quick. So now I’m back to what they call square one. Some days it seems like a valid option. At least you don’t live in fear of getting ahead of yourself.

6S

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

We're All Allergic to Poison

by Veronica

He was allergic to everything, and had become a total pain in the ass whenever we ate out. He would argue with waitresses about food content and preparation, substitutions and prices. I find myself over-tipping every time I think about it, but then I toast him silently, sadly. It's ironic someone so obsessed with his food allergies would die from food poisoning. Or maybe, on some level, it isn't. Maybe somehow, he just always knew.

6S

Veronica: Ghost Writer. Writer. Ghost.

Dream Walker

by Carolyn Carceo

I sit back, close my eyes, and try to visualize a comforting, safe place, and I find it. It is somewhere I remember from childhood - a deep, cold, still mountain lake, reachable only by long hiking trails, a grass and sand beach only here, the lake rung by an old mixed forest, erupting in a riot of early summer colors, the forest surrounded by an unbroken ring of mountains, green-carpeted with an occasional splash of color, their bare tops glistening like gemstones under the noon sun. I see a single oak tree on the forest's edge, providing a solid backrest; I sit, the sun warming my face, and I feel myself relax, sinking deeper into this scene, leaving the real world behind. I am calm, my mind open, my senses more alive - the tree scents are strong and varied, the slight breeze cool and invigorating, the sounds of the local animals separate, distinct, and quite clear. But I never hear him coming - dark gray, long, lean, with intelligent eyes, he sits before me, and I hear his voice in my mind. "Now, we will..." my guide, this wolf begins, and today's lesson starts.

6S

Carolyn Carceo lives on the north shore of Massachusetts (with Shadow and her sister Blizzy).

Debris, the Musical

by Arthur Chertowsky

My air conditioner was ruined by falling dust and debris from brickwork being done on the outside of my building – the workmen are totally replacing the parapet, meaning every single brick has been or will be drilled out of the outside wall from my windows up to the roof – and they're going to be working directly on the scaffolding outside my windows for an indeterminate number of weeks so I can't buy a replacement air conditioner until all the work is done, so, in my top floor apartment, under a tar roof, all my windows facing the blazing sun, I might be without an air conditioner for the entire summer. If there's high humidity, my apartment is a steam bath; if it's dry heat, my apartment is an oven. In addition, the elevator on my side of the apartment building (there are two wings, 130 apartments) is out of commission until July 3rd at the soonest, so, with my painful right knee and short-windedness, I have to climb up and down to the 7th floor in an airless stairwell, or – and this is somewhat better – I can take the elevator up the other wing of my building, walk up one flight to the roof, cross the incredibly huge, maze-like and confusing roof full of cables and stray construction equipment, to the door that leads to the stairwell on my side of the building, and then try to keep my balance climbing over the door’s mysteriously bathtub-high threshold and walk down one flight to my 7th floor apartment, which greets me with a blast of hot air, and gets hotter as the night progresses, because hot air rises in buildings like mine and collects on the top floor. To add insult to injury, last night I was looking forward to the Tony awards, but the scaffolding outside of my windows is causing extreme interference on my TV (I don't have cable, just an antennae) so I had to watch the Tonys on a 12" black & white set which somehow was receiving the TV signal okay. That's my life now – sitting in a steaming hot hovel, faced with a painful walk on stairs or over a dangerous roof if I want to come or go, and watching a black & white RCA set from before the end of the Cold War, all the while thinking that when I leave the debris of my home life every morning its to travel the hellish subway to the financial district, where I’ll walk through the construction debris of Lower Manhattan to get to work. I want to run screaming out of New York.

6S

Arthur Chertowsky lives and works in the crumbling city.

Envy

by Jordan Faris

I tripped over the small brown dog as I turned away from the karaoke mike in the backyard. Suddenly, there it was: a kinetic gristle-flex of motion, darting under my feet, and I tried not to step on him. I jumped back, and he ran straight where I landed. His shrill yelps filled the universe and I went down, smacking against the side of the garage and drawing looks of disgust from on high, young guests whose cellphone monologues had been interrupted. I got up (hurt but not wanting to show it), and began apologizing as this angry pygmy creature ran around the yard for ten minutes, barking and bleating out his outrage and pain, staring us all down, the culpable giants, his bleared, rolling eyes ready to take us on, a forest of enemy heels and sudden collapse. I couldn't help but stifle the urge to finish the job with both feet.

6S

Jordan Faris is an artist and writer. He's served as writer in residence for Mascara Magica, a prominent multicultural theater project in Southern California. His work has been published in Slipstream, The Wormwood Review, Xib, Puck, The Quarterly and others. He's currently developing projects in the graphic fiction genres.

Untitled

by Steve Young

I went to work for two hours, and decided to finish the rest of the day from home. I got to the house just as my girlfriend was leaving. I went to the bathroom to piss, my urine was perfectly clear. A friend had once told me that this means your body is well hydrated. Considering I had drank nothing but beer and Irish whiskey for the last two days, I didn't see how that could be true, but, I have never been one to argue with science. I held my penis lightly, looked at it with a crooked grin, and said, "Allow me to apologize in advance for what I'm going to do to you today."

6S

Steve Young lives in Phoenix and spends most of his free time moaning at the ceiling.

In Aeternum

by Craig Watson

There was something terribly wrong with Doctor Harland Tanner's medicine. He beguiled us - promised us immortality, the fountain of youth - and we believed him. Why wouldn't we? The man was, after all, the greatest scientific mind of our time. But now - trapped forever inside this paralyzed, ageless body - I stare out at the motionless masses and I wish I hadn't taken it. We all wish we hadn't taken it.

6S

Craig Watson was born and raised in England and now lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin with his wife Christy. His writing has been featured in The Drabblecast and "Horror 101: The A list of Horror Films and Monster Movies."

The Military Man

by Kate Kaminski

Beautiful Sonia, with the eyes of a startled cat and the legs of a goddess, I miss you. Why can't we all just go home, make love, drink good Russian vodka, and stop getting into shoving matches with imbeciles? Worthless preeners... one glance at those feather-topped helmets tells it all. What I wouldn’t do for a hot bowl of borscht and a frozen mug of Petersburg's finest. Ah, Sonia, of the marbled thighs and slender ankles, take me away, my darling... and, God, if you're listening? Take Lieutenant Stosvinskovich – he's lived long enough and he's keeping me from my Sonia.

6S

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

Anja in the Upper Room

by Lizzie Duszynski

The day that Anja is to foolishly take the back alley, a shortcut, and find a foreign arm around her waist, a rough palm gripping her face, she takes great care to dress herself, as if she's privy to the approaching hour. Tediously, she bends over the squat ironing board, wiping the mouse brown hair from her sweating forehead, twirling it from the nape of her neck and securing it atop her head, as the iron sputters and hisses over the cotton dress, the sun-faded curtains hang heavy at the open window. In a minute or two, after she's slipped into the feathery blue dress and made a mental note that yes, she did unplug the steaming iron; she'll be at the sink, the sweating tumbler of gin balanced precariously between all ten of her finger pads. She's in a rush now, nothing new, all of that pressing and steaming and curling, and she's got to take the edge of her dress in her fists and pick up the pace until she's jogging — the iron gates guarding overgrown lawns leading to deteriorating houses, these all lurch in her vision with each step she takes, her heart anxious and light. Anja will hear her mother's worried tenor in her head as she turns toward the alley, one orange streetlight casting a halo over the pavement. The cicadas are out this year, their sirens inescapable, their dead empty shells caught in a moment of action, of climbing—just as this shadowed fist snatches the rippling hem of her skirt, pulls her in, down, bloodies her knees and palms.

6S

Lizzie Duszynski is a writer living, sleeping, and dreaming in Chicago. She is sure that once Anja realizes what has been done to her, once again, she will be very displeased and despondent. She's a good sport and Ms. Duszynski is forever grateful.

Six Sixes by caccy46

an Online Magazine from Six Sentences



caccy46 shares her unique talent... to the sixth power! 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 are all you need. (Unless you need more. Or less.)

Evening Show

by Dave Rowley

Pablo stands below the birches in the park as joggers pass by. The outstretched limbs of the trees, and the outstretched twigs on the ends of the limbs, form a ceiling of veins across the darkening sky. Pablo shakes a succession of black doves from each sleeve, the shadow birds rustle upwards as bike riders, power walkers, and evening strollers quicken their pace and hurry home. He bows before leaving. The smell of cooking dinners shuffle the leaves, children drain from the streets, the thump of bird-wings pulse through the sky. From not far away at all, one dog answers the bark of another.

6S

Dave Rowley is originally from Sydney, Australia. He now lives in Seattle with his wife Tina and their son Finn. He doodles, writes poems, and blogs.

Milestones

by Peggy McFarland

His entire life, she looked forward to each first: his first bath, his first tooth, his first steps, his first words, his first award, his first date, and even his first heartbreak. She felt important and special after sharing each of his life’s milestones. He was still awake, animated and bursting with news, when she arrived home. “Ma, for a dollar, ONE DOLLAR, they put their boobs in your face and motorboat you, and twenty dollars gets you a lap dance - I got two!” His first trip to a strip club stunned her; it just was not a milestone she ever expected to celebrate. She consoled herself with the mother’s mantra: at least he shared this with me.

6S

Peggy McFarland, whose full catalog is here, writes.

The Muses

by David G.B. Brown

The Muses take turns, and I am glad for it. They whisper in my ear and give me little nudges, and off I go to the computer or the piano or the notepad, and write away until the glass of inspiration they’ve poured me has run empty. I love those moments, when the words flow effortlessly, even if they’re not very good words. There are other times when the Muses are silent; I don’t mind these times, as long as they don’t last for too long. I usually come out of these silent periods when one of the Muses gets tired of being quiet and whispers something really juicy in my ear, and off I go to write again. So come, Muses, whisper in my ear, push me to the pen and paper.

6S

David G.B. Brown is an actor, writer and musician living in Michigan.

Music

by Matthew O'Shannessy

I know there is a tiny gremlin inside my ear (hello!). It has a wet hessian sack full of pins and needles that it pushes up and down my ear canal. It pisses putrid white liquid until I can't hear a thing. It transforms into electricity and makes the muscles in my neck twitch in pain. Have you ever thought about scooping your eardrums out with the wrong end of a silver spoon? I'm convinced that the deaf have better sex than those of us who can hear music.

6S

Matthew O'Shannessy writes copy for websites about organizational change and epoxy resin flooring, among other things.

Song Sung Blue

by Richard M. Johnson

The boys took me to a strip bar on La Cienega for my bachelor party, telling me it was the traditional thing to do. Bored silly, I watched a half-dozen or so naked women gyrate in an apathetic haze, oblivious to the leering men around them. Then, without warning, a familiar Neal Diamond song sprang from the speakers, landing on the unsuspecting patrons and dancers. From the back of the joint one timid male voice sang out, then another and another until all the men in the place were singing along, off key, yet with gusto. The women on the tables stopped dancing and looked at one another in disbelief, then started to giggle enjoying the respite. It was the only reason I will remember that evening fondly.

6S

Richard M. Johnson, author of Dog and Pony Show, has lived in different parts of California all his life. He enjoys writing these stories and is grateful whenever he is allowed to play in the Six Sentences garden. (Writing his bio? Not so much.)

The Things We Do

by Quin Browne

Draped in black, we stood huddled around the hole dug in the semi-frozen earth, the beauty of the first warm day of the year too bright for the occasion we were there to attend. The velvet lined box looked minute so far below, the first bits of dirt hitting it were muffled, more like dust motes landing on a table. Connie's voice lifted into a hymn, with the ceaseless wind picking up the pure tones, bringing them skyward, where they lingered for a moment before they, too, died. My daughter stepped forward, her voice was clear and strong as she gave the eulogy for her childhood friend, Irik... and her eyes filled with tears that painted the words with sorrow. It was over... we left the spot to go back to the house... to do those things one does after a funeral; chat, eat, move forward with life. I stopped for a moment, and lifted my face to the sun, giving thanks for the warmth that had thawed the earth enough to get that mangy little hamster corpse out of my freezer at last; then I, too, hurried to get out of the wind.

6S

Quin Browne's full catalog is here, which includes anything mentioning her name, and that video. (She places all the blame on the director who shall remain nameless *coughROBcough*.) Her time in New York has been grand, letting her find her voice, her stride, and Six Sentences, all of which she is eternally grateful for... the last most of all. ("So many of us first spread our wings here," she said. A message for Quin, whose wings helped put 6S on the map: THANK YOU and BEST OF LUCK in your new life!)

Frenzy

by Jessica Patient

First the petrol pumps ran dry. The media tracked down the last man with a running car. For months; websites, magazines, cable channel chat-shows and newspaper columns were dedicated to the last droplets of oil in the car’s engine. Under the scrutiny of the world he broke speeding limits along abandoned motorways, dodged growing potholes and cruised around derelict car parks until he found a space in the disabled zone – no one else would need it. Yesterday the dial hit zero on a road trip to the seaside. The pumping of the oceans has now begun.

6S

Jessica Patient is currently studying for a MA in Professional Writing. She blogs here and lives in Bedfordshire, England.

Relationships

by Louise Yeiser

I’ve done the same thing the same way for so long that if my pattern were any clearer, I’d have a neon sign strapped to my face. They were all men I couldn’t trust - not really - which is a clever, ineffective way of fooling myself into believing that I was in control. And now a new sort of man has eased his way into my life, a man who is the definition of “staunch.” If I were to climb aboard, he would hold my weight and carry me. He is married. Not to me.

6S

Louise Yeiser, whose full catalog is here, has been published in print in Kerlak’s Modern Witches, Wizards and Magic, and Six Sentences, Volume 1. Her work appears online at Tuesday Shorts, Flashquake, and Long Story Short. Her blog is here. She is single.

Fence Christening

by Lutie

Pants around his ankles, little white butt like a backyard beacon, my son Sam pees on the splendid 6-foot fence we’re building. Bold, but fair – he’s a solid helper. Works for ice cream sandwiches, holds the level, passes me galvanized nails, and takes good care not to knock over my third beer. Is it okay to have that many beers before noon, if you’re toiling by 8 a.m.? Do I have to care on a Saturday? “Hey Sammer, shove a bum buddy, I’ll help you put this fire out.”

6S

Lutie is a copywriter living in Toronto and thinks Six Sentences is a fun way to keep the brain sharp.

Listening

by Rod Drake

Jerry Shuster didn’t know where his special ability came from, or how long he had actually had it, but one day he realized that he could hear through walls, understand hushed whispers uttered fifty feet away and focus on one specific conversation in a huge, noisy crowd. It was great; eavesdropping for fun and laughs, learning personal secrets from private conversations, listening in to intimate details on all sorts of subjects, including tips on money-making ventures, of which Jerry took very profitable advantage. Flush with cash, and a success at his job since he could discover other employees’ ideas and steal them for his own, Shuster was happy with his life, needing only one thing to make it complete; a girlfriend. He found her when he singled out her erotic, whispered cell phone conversation on a crowded subway platform, listening long enough to know what she liked and wanted to hear from a man, then took her train and charmed her during the ride, ending up spending the night with her in a classy uptown hotel. Next morning, while still in bed with Marie, he confessed the secret of his amazing hearing ability and how it had brought him fame, fortune and fun. Marie, who had sensed he was “special” when he approached her at the subway station, used her own unique power - permanently stealing others’ abilities - on Jerry and then called up another power she had recently collected to wipe Jerry’s mind clean, leaving him blank and drooling like an infant for the hotel maid to find.

6S

Rod Drake, whose full catalog is here, is the Official 6S Author of Friday the 13th. Check out his longer stories in Flashes of Speculation, Fictional Musings, Flash Flooding, Flash Forward, MicroHorror, and AcmeShorts.

That Takes the Cake

by Brad Powers

I wasn't there when they stole the Keebler truck. When James announced to me that they had stashed all the baked loot in my parents' camper, the one they had graciously allowed him to stay in after being banished from his own home (for some kind of delinquent behavior, I'm certain), I fumed quietly. When I learned the next day that they had run the emptied truck off the edge of Hanson Canyon, wiped clean of all prints by the seasoned thief, Brian, I declared them insane. That Sunday, the story appeared in the local paper, along with a cash reward for tips about who was involved, and I demanded they dispose of all cookies, crackers, chips, and snack cakes at once. If they were planning on using my parents' camper all along, they should have had the sense to invite me in the first place. That would have been a different story, and I might have even eaten some of the cookies.

6S

Brad Powers daily engages in the pinnacle of creativity: writing instruction manuals. Usually using 6 steps or less. This leaves much to his imagination.

Grad Nite

by Yukiko Yoshinaga

And then there was Tori and Leah in the forest, everything dry yet vaguely aquatic, the lights of the town muted by the fog. And when we stood in a circle with the lighter and the box of incense, the flame would catch the tip of the stick and then burn and then glow; it felt like something holy. I untangled the koinobori from our tree and Tori and Leah danced around the two of us, radiating benevolence like a pair of fairy godmothers. That night we drew trails of fragrant smoke in the air, white spiderwebs in the black starless sky. The next morning I kissed Leah goodbye. In the crowded terminal her eyes shone dull and shy as ever, but I smelled smoke in her hair.

6S

Yukiko Yoshinaga is a tad over fourteen years old. She doesn't have a blog, but she keeps her journal in her pillowcase and too often writes about people she knows.

At a Supermarket in Japan

by Brooke Arnett

He holds up a packet of chocolate-flavored instant ramen; "We have to get this," he says. Aloe juice, mushroom cookies, sugary squid jerky: even if all you saw was our basket, you'd know we were foreigners, or children. We reach for the most ready-to-eat tidbits and the gaudiest packages. Meanwhile, old ladies, natives here, buy the big, plain bags of dried sardines. Do they use them for soup? I wish something stranger than us would happen here: a pterodactyl crashing through the front door, or a bear picking up bottles of shampoo between two of its claws.

6S

Brooke Arnett's flash fiction can be seen daily at Story a Day.

The Winds

by Eamon Byrne

It is sweet to sit and talk to you he says, to which I reply that the sweetness is mine, effendi, or words to that effect, and when he asks for the latest news I tell him the first thing I know he wants to hear, which is that our armed forces are shooting about the city at speed, being careful to finish with your excellent one, knowing he likes being called that. Ah, he says, that is very good of our brave strugglers, the reckless criminal little Bush will not escape the wrath of Allah by hiding within the shifting winds. When I tell him that is good but we’re suffering casualties, he tells me to drink my tea before it gets cold, and I am obliged to hastily cover my mistake by adding that this is nothing compared to the travails of our enemies, being quick to tag on great one, because that usually goes down well. To be expected, he says, for their aircraft carriers are impotent since they cannot cross the desert, for it is made of sand. This is an insight I can add nothing to but that the winds are favourable to our cause, but fortunately it sends him on a spree of wind-related invective, such as that their canvas tents will never cope with the shamals blowing in from our north, that their latrines will be rudely scattered by the swirling sands, and that those who venture out at night will be sprinkled with their stools even if they manage to find their way back. I nod my head to each of these wisdoms and continue to do so as he tells me to continue to light the oil wells as he has instructed, for their bombers cannot see us clearly while the dust and soot are so thick that the sun hangs eerily in the afternoon sky like a white plate.

6S

Eamon Byrne lives in Sydney, Australia. He writes for the pleasure of it.

North Beach Pizzeria

by Mona Lisa Safai

A few days ago, I went to a pizzeria with a good friend in North Beach. Next to us sat another two people, a guy and a young woman - maybe friends, maybe a couple. They must have been in their 20s and they were in college or graduate school. The conversation turned vague and peculiar when the guy began telling the girl that he had “taken care of her professor” and that she didn’t have to worry anymore. She suddenly seemed relieved at his news. When I got a chance and glanced, they were walking out into the back seat a black limo.

6S

Mona Lisa Safai, author of The Deed, is a writer, poet, and book reviewer in San Francisco. Published pieces include “The Unknown Rose," “The Unquiet Funeral," “Restless Senses," and poems in the Poets11 anthology. Several book reviews can be found in The Midwest Book Review, Northeast Book Review Books, TCM Reviews, and Diverse Books. She is also a contributing writer at the online journal Suite101.com.

The Girl Across the Street

by Robert Swartwood

I remember her as the girl across the street, such an innocent, pretty thing, her brown hair in pigtails during most of the summer and the sun darkening the freckles on her face. We were the same age and did almost everything together — played games, went to the park, swam in the river, and there was even that one time in her backyard, behind the shed, where we shared what was for both of us our first kiss. Then we entered middle school and we had different classes and saw each other less and less; high school came and we hardly saw each other at all. After graduation, I went to college, she went wherever it was she went, and to be honest, until this morning I haven't once thought about her. But there she was on the front page of the newspaper, her face having aged poorly in the past twenty years, vivid crow's-feet around her eyes, and the article told about how she had beaten her husband to death with a baseball bat, how she had drowned her two children in the bathtub, before calling the police and telling them she was ready to go to jail now. And as I stared at her picture all I could think about was the girl I used to know, the one that lived across the street, the one who had smiled at me behind her parents' shed and asked could I keep a secret before leaning forward and closing her eyes and placing her soft warm lips against mine.

6S

Robert Swartwood's work has appeared in Chizine and Every Day Fiction.

No Choice

by Su Laws Baccino

Early on September 30, 1940, a Spitfire pilot wrote to his wife, This time next week it will all be over. He died that afternoon. This was my father, he was referring to my birth – not his death, we hope; his letter arrived two days after he fell from the sky. My mother went into shock and I pushed my way into this world two weeks later. A few days on and my uncle committed suicide, unable to come to terms with what he’d seen on the battlefield; he lay down on the beach as the tide came in and drowned in a few inches of water. A family floored, but not for long – this was war and they fought back.

6S

Su Laws Baccino, after a lifetime of traveling, retired to her roots and now lives on the Suffolk coast with her two dogs and a cat. She describes herself as "a rebel turned eccentric."

Liquid Shit

by Timothy Kozar

You know what the best excuse for ditching work is? Diarrhea. If there's one thing your boss doesn't want to do, it's picture you shitting liquid. You probably won't get much of a response, though it's possible that he/she will scold you for even bringing up the fact that you defecate. If you detect even a moment of hesitation as far as your employer believing you, just throw in a colorful word - such as "gallons" or "spraying" - and you'll be fine. I guess the managers of the world must just think that no one would have the indecency to lie about something like this, but they're wrong.

6S

Timothy Kozar is from Kalamazoo, MI. He's 26.

True Love

by Nyx Hunt

We stood out in the backyard so that I could help you trim your overlong beard. I decided that I should give you a hair cut too, as your hair was becoming way too long. I forgot - I do not know how to cut hair. After only a few disastrous snips I got out the clippers and just buzzed your whole head. I laughed, half in guilt, half at how ridiculous your hair looked. You just chuckled and said it would grow back.

6S

Nyx Hunt is, quite surprisingly, happily married. She is fascinated with words and the infinite ways they fit together.

Too Far Away to Touch

by Chanpheng Lew

Laurie was adamant. "When I get big, I'm going there," and she pointed to the red jewel in the sky with her little hand, her fingers just starting to lengthen out of the layers of baby fat. Although her daughter was talking about Mars, which was just featured on a TV special, Barbara was thinking how the child dances in unexplored regions every day. "It's very far away," she said gently, thinking about college, graduate school, marriage; all of which could fry away in an explosion on the launch pad. "And it's very dangerous." She saw the longing on Laurie's face and imagined how the expression would mature over the years, the same way her hand has started to turn into an adult hand.

6S

Chanpheng Lew is an aid worker in Southeast Asia, where she has lived for half of her adult life. When she is not working, she studies languages, goes to Buddhist ceremonies and provides opportunities for her neighbors to study her.

Untitled

by Ernest Bruns

“Have you ever noticed the similarity between absence and abscess?” she asked me years ago after her father died. Today I think I understand what she meant, but her absence seems more like an unrelenting cancer than an abscess. I look at the sunset and wish I could reach across the Void to ease the ache. Turning to my oldest daughter, I repeat her mother’s words. “Christ, Dad,” she exclaims as if I have affronted her newfound adulthood. “Do you always have to be so fucking weird?”

6S

Ernest Bruns is an instructional designer and technical writer in Austin, Texas. He is trying to follow his horoscope’s admonishment to practice living in both worlds today.

Time Flash

by caccy46

She felt like something was terribly wrong. Life was moving too quickly, leaving no time for her to adjust or prepare herself for the next phase. Yesterday her youngest left for college and she was still adjusting to her child's departure. Next week is her daughter's graduation, and she'll be off to graduate school in a moment. She tries to remember when it time began moving so quickly. She realizes it was a short time ago when she was single and free to pursue her dreams, but forgot to try.

6S

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

Eternity

by Terence Cantarella

The old wind-up clock on the bedside table said three a.m. and the boy, sitting on his windowsill, fought the heavy, persuasive lure of sleep. The street below was empty except for the occasional moped whirring by in the night, briefly obscuring the nighttime cricket songs of summer and throwing up invisible plumes of pungent smoke. Ship lights blinked in the dark distance and some were so far out to sea that it was hard to tell whether they were stars low on the horizon or large vessels on the verge of dipping down to the other side of the earth. An hour passed and drowsiness eventually jumbled his thoughts to the point of hallucination, until he slid off of the windowsill and onto his bed, but sleep didn't come easily and once again he was awake and staring at the stars through the open window. For years, they appeared as white dots painted on a flat surface, but now he could see their depth and understood that the bright ones were closer and the faint ones farther away. The notion of eternity briefly entered his brain and a sick, helpless feeling took hold of his gut and he closed his eyes and tried to think of something else, but the thought would never be far from his mind again.

6S

Terence Cantarella is the author of "The Goddess in the Lemon Grove," a novel about two young boys on a Greek island who convince themselves that they can sail a small fishing boat to America to escape their difficult lives. You can see more of his work here.

Regrets

by E.K. Hornbeck

I lie next to you, above you, pushing your legs apart with my legs, my mouth on your breast, my hand below your waist making soft small circles, so softly as you like, as you push against me with warm and wet and wanting more. My throat thickens and it is hard for me to speak, to ask you the questions that I have wanted to ask; that I have been afraid to ask; that I will regret asking. I whisper to you, my voice catching, did you go down on him (a breathless "no"); with eyes closed, you push more against my hand. I ask again, with more, did you go down on him, baby (a breathless concession: "yes, baby"), as you reach for my hand with your hands, as you hold me in place, as your whole body trembles. As your breath returns, I move on top of you, over you, above you, your eyes still closed, my legs on either side of you, I imagine you — doing that — to him. You take me with both hands; you and your honesty release my lust.

6S

E.K. Hornbeck lives in Charlotte, North Carolina and fights the good fight here.

In the Eye of the Beholder

by Joseph Grant

She had painted a self-portrait of herself once when she was young, quite young in fact, before life and its sometimes inherent lack of conscience and unconscious self-effacement had destroyed any traces of her youth. Her father, the first of many men in her life to demean her ambitions, told her that she possessed no artistic talent and that she was probably best suited for marriage if she married at all, so perhaps the portrait was an attempt to capture her life in a way that had never existed or to place a colorful, artistic spin on what had been a rather mundane, gray still-life. Looking back, the smile she portrayed was one of economy, not aesthetically pleasing like the Mona Lisa’s, nor the startled surprise of the Girl with a Pearl Earring or even the indifference found in the brush strokes of Les Demoiselles d'Avignon, but rather subdued, mirroring the quiet generation of the 1950’s in which she came of age. An appraiser had come around once and gave the portrait an average evaluation, but like the men who came before him, he was one of many who were ignorant at the portrait’s value as well as the subject behind it. She had aged as a consequence from the poor choices of the stupid men in her life while the painting, much like her carefree former self, remained stored away and hidden from view. After she died, her daughter rescued the painting from where it had been used for many years to cover a hole in a basement wall and took it to an art dealer who recognized it as a rare work of classic Post-Modern Impressionism and immediately bought it for fifty thousand dollars on the spot.

6S

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

Eating Habits

by IceQueen

She had Lies for breakfast, lunch and dinner everyday, and sometimes for supper too. At times, she pops a pill of Lies as she looks into the mirror. Oh yes, she enjoys eating them; so she thinks. She likes to think that those Lies keep her "strong" and "healthy," maintaining her positive appearance. Odd thing is, despite her strong belief that Lies make wholesome nourishment, she never told others about her Lie consumption. In truth, those Lies - they purge the life out of her.

6S

IceQueen is in the process of accepting that she is slowly, but surely, melting.

Citrus Punch

by Madam Z

I kept ignoring the lump in my right breast, thinking it would go away eventually. One evening, I started to cut a lime in half, preparing to make myself a vodka gimlet, and I thought to myself – the lump in my breast is the size of this lime – and my hand went directly to my breast to check the accuracy of the estimate. I tossed back a couple of shots and put it out of my mind for the time being, but a few weeks later I realized that the lump had grown to the size of a lemon. The bigger it grew, the more determined I was that if I could just forget about it, it would go away; but before long it was the size of an orange. I was getting more and more frightened, but I didn’t go to a doctor until it felt like a grapefruit was embedded in my chest. By then it was too late, of course, and now I’m lying here with no breasts (they took both of them), no hair (thank you, Chemo), radiation burns on my neck and chest, about to throw up for the fourth time this morning, and wishing I had never even heard of citrus fruit.

6S

Madam Z, whose full catalog is here, loves six and isn't afraid to admit it. Do yourself a favor and check out her blog.

Lock Up

by Joseph Lupoli

Vicious Victor and Micheal the Mauler never harass me because (A) I beat them both in arm-wrestling even though I'm a skinny stick-boy, and because (B) I'm the one who taught them how to make the perfect spitball; very round and with the correct weight-to-size ratio. I even showed them how to assemble and utilize two spliced and taped McDonald straws as the barrel to gain maximum distance, velocity, and accuracy. Prior to that, they used hollowed pens as their weapons. And their pens often jammed because the barrel was too narrow and the spitballs were not round enough. Spitball and projectile manufacturing combined with test firing and adjustments are really a fine art and it should replace say, metal shop in the school curriculum. Indeed, 7th grade detention has really proven its worth with flying colors.

6S

Joseph Lupoli was born in Indiana at 9:02 AM on the 8th of August, 1957.

The Writer

by Barry Basden

Lately he wanted to write about love, its joys and desperation, emotions real enough to make readers wince. At dinner he tried explaining this to his wife, but suddenly she leaned forward. "I prefer my honesty one on one. You write because it's safer." Tears welled in her eyes. "Yes," he said carefully, "lots safer."

6S

Barry Basden lives in Texas. He is coauthor of "Crack! and Thump: With a Combat Infantry Officer in World War II."

Things I’d Never Say to My Mother

by Adam McGavin

I’m okay with being the bad guy. I’ve figured out how I want to live the rest of my life and those plans do not include a wife, nor do they include having children. Having kids seems like an act – not the ultimate one, but an act indeed — in exercising just how vicarious and narcissistic a grown person can be. Don’t yell at me, it just seems that spawning one or more little beings that look half like you, and take any life path you choose to allow them to take seems a little too God-like; people shouldn’t be allowed to give life. If people spent more time taking care of themselves and less time following the path they’re allegedly supposed to follow, this world actually might be a better place. I’m not trying to get you to change your life, but personally speaking, I’d rather spend time wrapping myself up with hobbies and enjoying friends, rather than fusing myself to a person that’s bound to deceive me with at least her mind, and possibly worse (plus, I could never talk anyone into marrying me anyway).

6S

Adam McGavin is a 19-year-old aspiring writer from suburban Ohio. His prized possessions include a typewriter, stolen bowling shoes and a collection of cardigans. He attends Kent State.

Foolish Thoughts

by Mike Moffitt

I'm getting old. I'd been thinking lately of what it would be like to have my life to do over again. Eventually, it dawned on me. If I could start over, I would have never met my wife. So neither my children, nor my grandchildren, would have been born. I quit thinking such foolish thoughts.

6S

Mike Moffitt is an older guy who just stumbled on Six Sentences and decided to contribute.

Semantics

by Lauran Strait

Four-year-old Kyle, one of the ring-bearers-to-be, entered the church on the evening of the rehearsal. His six-year-old brother Paul followed three paces behind. "Look," Kyle said, pointing toward the pulpit, "there's a 'T' on the wall." "That's not a 'T,' dummy." Paul curled his fingers into a fist, then punched his brother's shoulder. "It's a plus sign, retard!"

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.

Street Therapy

by Thom Gabrukiewicz

When I see someone in a neck brace, I want to scream HEY YOU so they turn their head and I get to see the pain in their eyes. When I was little, I set fire to the neighbor's shitzu and now I'm so ashamed that I can't look dogs in the eye at all. When I talk to my mom, I'm OK, but if I text her, I get a raging hard-on; that's not one of those Oedipus things, do you think? "If you don't stop, I'm calling a cop you freak," the woman on the bus-stop bench hisses. I get up and walk away satisfied, alive, bouncy; I usually can get people to listen to my shit for a good five minutes before I finally invade their comfortable sensibilities - and leave swiftly before entanglements with the authorities can arise. And it beats the $250 an hour my therapist charges uptown.

6S

Thom Gabrukiewicz, whose full catalog is here, is a working journalist on the Left Coast who wishes someone would notice his other musings and offer him a big, fat book advance. He blogs here.

Jules

by Mercedes Yardley

The little girl was born with wings. She yawned and stretched them, still wet. The feathers were long and white and beautiful. “That,” said her exhausted mother, “explains a lot.” She eyed her husband. “Good luck with everything, baby,” she said, and promptly died.

6S

Mercedes Yardley believes that everybody is born with wings. Seeing them is all a matter of perspective.

Six Sixes by Lisa Miller

an Online Magazine from Six Sentences



Lisa Miller, our talented tour guide, escorts us out west. 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 are all you need. (Unless you need more. Or less.)

Connoisseur of the Self at the Door

by Kevin Spenst

“Mom, there’s a guy at the door selling something,” the lanky, blond boy shouts up the tower of stairs but the fedora-topped man at the door corrects him. “He says that he’s not selling a thing per se but he’s offering a whole new outlook on the world and our place within it and really he just wants to give us a tip or two on how to fall asleep or wake up or even just talk to each other with our unique selves intact,” the blond boy shouts, takes a deep breath and then looks back at the man for a quick appraisal. The tall man pushes his hat back to scratch his forehead and then nods yes, well done. There are weighty footsteps upstairs in a world suspended high above everyday interactions. The blond boy cocks his head to catch the words shouted from above. “Sorry, we’re not home,” he says with deflated-blue eyes and he shuts the door.

6S

Kevin Spenst's prose has appeared in the pages of Geist, Broken Pencil and the Martian Press Review. He has one collection of short-short stories in print called "Fast Fictions" which was launched with a fifty-venue, one-day only reading tour of Vancouver. To date he's written 1083 short-short stories online, the latest of which can be found here.

Under the Wrapping Paper

by Jeremy Hendrix

My 35th birthday just passed. I've got a wife, two kids, a mortgage, two cars, three credit cards, an IRA, two education savings accounts, and a 401(k). I've got a bachelor's degree, a master's degree, and I'm working on a Ph.D. What I don't have is the slightest clue what I really want to do with the rest of my life. By all external measures, I'm as grown up as I'm ever going to get, so why do I lay in bed at night with the same fear of the future that crept in when I was 17? During our Sunday afternoon phone calls I resist the urge to ask my dad when he felt "grown up" - either way I'm scared to death of the answer.

6S

Jeremy Hendrix has delusions of quitting his day job. Read more at Non-Addictive Sleep Aid.

A Very Tender Thing

by Kendra Grant Malone

Julia tried to wake her lover at noon so as to go into the city to get cupcakes in the East Village for breakfast. She felt a wave of shame for her selfishness when he began to rouse and subsequently failed, filled with tenderness, and instead sat on his fire escape smoking a cigarette and tonguing the gap between her front teeth. Julia watched her lover sleep from the window across his small apartment, with her legs spread wide over the window sill, and admired his beautiful mouth. Full of soft tongue and very sharp teeth, his mouth rested closed and pursed. Julia thought about what happened the previous night. It is a very tender thing to allow someone to ejaculate into your face Julia thought as she moved her thumb back and fourth across her lips.

6S

Kendra Grant Malone lives in New York with her temporary life partner, Nicole. She prefers Brooklyn to Manhattan, but not by very much.

On Not Looking

by Gary Filkins

We weren't looking; that's what we told each other when we met. We were tired of being alone and each of us had found ourselves in a place where it was possible to stumble across one another even if we weren't looking. She happened to stumble first, finding a story I'd abridged to 1000 words so it would fit within the guidelines of the dating site and finding my newly minted "profile" intriguing, sent me an email - even though she wasn't looking either. I responded and we bantered good-naturedly for a couple of hours through email as we did that little dance people do as they circle slowly while deciding if it's safe to make that first, halting and semi-formal personal contact. We then agreed to meet for coffee and spent 4 hours talking and laughing and studying and assessing before deciding that we'd like to prolong the acquaintance and meet again the following day. Little did we realize on that day over six (yes, six) years ago that even if we weren't looking, that wouldn't prevent us from finding, being found and even mutually agreeing to stop looking even though we weren't in the first place.

6S

Gary Filkins saw. He liked. He contributed. He's satisfied.

Seventh Wave

by Robert Clay

You've probably heard that old saying, every seventh wave is a big one. I'm not sure about the number 7 since I only ever saw two really big waves in my years at sea, one off Cape Agulhas, a notorious place for waves, and one real monster that climbed up out of those long North Pacific rollers like the savage head of some prehistoric predator rising above the tall grass. This was literally a wall of water, a Tyrannosaurus wave filled with rage and fury against these little men in their puny steel ship who dared defy nature. Well I'm still here, although the ship got badly mauled, in places the paintwork stripped down to bare metal by the sheer ferocity of that mighty water beast. I've been away from the sea for years now, perhaps I didn't want to give nature a "third time lucky" option on my life. One thing I do know, the sea is a relentless bitch, so when I'm down on the beach, I keep an eye out for that seventh wave.

6S

Robert Clay, whose full catalog is here, is a Seafarer now stranded on land. He lives in Cornwall in the UK.

Six Sixes by Stephanie Wright

an Online Magazine from Six Sentences



Stephanie Wright is now our third featured author with a second 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, 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.

One Morning at the Barbershop

by Lee Shafer

We’re waiting for my husband to finish getting his haircut when you note my swollen belly and ask, in a voice full of gravel, if it’s my first one. You tell me you and your wife never had any children and that she died twenty-two years before but that it’s your sister you really miss, and she died just four years ago. When you ask me how old I think you are I shift uncomfortably in my seat and tell you how bad I am at that sort of thing. You don’t look eighty-nine years old, though you confess to feeling it. You say that they’re all gone now, everyone you’ve ever loved, and that you’re lonely and you think God has forgotten about you. I run my hands over my pregnant belly and swallow the knot in my throat when the barber asks why you're back so soon, as you’re not even due for a trim.

6S

Lee Shafer lives in Redondo Beach with her husband and two insanely wonderful boys. In her free time she's a writer and a jewelry designer. You can check out her blog here.

Six Powerful Sentences

by Lisa Anne Reynolds

I am strong enough to do this and succeed. I am determined to make it this time. I am disciplined and know what to do and how to do it. I am inspired by all the people and things around me with the promise of a better me. I can do this. I am worth it!

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Lisa Anne Reynolds is a student at Blue Mountain Community College in Pendleton, Oregon. In addition to writing poetry and short stories, Lisa enjoys volunteering in the community, reading, movies, and spending time with family and friends.

Elementary Plumage

by Wynne Hungerford

Kemper Wray had a name like bird. Her mouth was similarly shaped like a beak, and her thin arms could easily have sprouted feathers. We all waited for her to grow up, for her legs to get dry and orange but she just wanted to play the piano. When we came back to school after summer vacation and entered the fourth grade, she hadn't gotten any taller. There was a waiting list for who would get to go flying with her first, Kemper Wray didn't know about it though. She ate worms and insects in her closet at night, suppressed her hunger, and tried to live like the girl she thought everyone wanted her to be.

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Wynne Hungerford goes to the Fine Arts Center for creative writing in Greenville, South Carolina. Woody Allen is her inspiration, along with natural things like dunes, tumbleweeds, and bones.

Daddy

by Grace Andreacchi

Please Daddy don’t. Please Daddy don’t Daddy please Daddy. I’m sorry Daddy please Daddy don’t Daddy. I won’t do it again Daddy. Please Daddy don’t Daddy please please Daddy don’t Daddy. He always hit me anyway.

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Grace Andreacchi's full catalog is here.