Six Days in Japan

by Telly McGaha

It was so different from America: the language, the food, the culture, the alphabet. At times, it was too much and I was overwhelmed trying to process it all, but I loved every minute of it. I also loved you. You took me to the cafĂ© to get okonomiyaki, the regional dish of Hiroshima. I tried it but didn’t like it and it stunned the entire restaurant, and embarrassed you when I asked the chef for salt. That meant, in your eyes, I could never live in Japan and could never be with you, but did you ever stop to think you should’ve ordered me the shrimp and cheese okonomiyaki instead of the udon?

6S

Telly McGaha loves writing poetry and posts it here. He still travels abroad, still lives in the United States, still loves Japan and still doesn’t like okonomiyaki.

Criminals Today

by Kristen Tsetsi

The gun isn't big, but it could kill me, so I stay quiet like he told me to. I've seen the news; hardly anyone lives through this unless they're brave or have people skills, or sympathy, like that woman who kept that court shooter in her house by talking about God. I only have contempt. Cat burglars, at least, take pride in their work - they study up, they perfect. This shining example of our get it now and get it easy society is too lazy, too lacking in self respect to do anything but kick in the door and scare me with his big, bad gun. I make sure to tell him that before he shoots me.

6S

Kristen Tsetsi, whose full catalog is here, is the founder and co-editor of Tuesday Shorts.

Emigration

by Julian Baker

He never used to like himself. First of all he started wearing only the clothes from the identical suitcase picked by accident from the luggage carousel. Then ordering what he saw the neighbouring table was eating in restaurants. He had fallen asleep on the train home. Reached the end of the line. He would live here now.

6S

Julian Baker started writing one weekend in June, and thinks he would like to write more. nthposition has published a story. he blogs.

5 Petals

by Yukiko Yoshinaga

Loves me. Loves me not. Loves me. Loves me not. Loves me. In less than a week I'll be at the Berkeley Amtrak station with my suitcase and my guitar; I'll lock myself in the bathroom and paint my lips and eyelashes before stepping out of the car in majestic corduroy deshabille and when I spot you in the mess of strangers for the first time after three months of I miss you too; I'll still be in like with you and you'll still be gay.

6S

Yukiko Yoshinaga wishes she knew what's good for her.

It Was All Part of the Plan

by Sean Kennedy

When a random man fell from the sky and hit the pavement with an echoing thud, most people in the street started to panic. A young lady, who was unfortunate enough to be in close proximity to the splat, was decorated with a scarlet spray which ruined her white, silky shirt. Like most people, she started to scream. But I stood their calmly, amongst all the chaos, and laughed at the coincidence of the situation. It was the fact he landed in the same street I was on at the same time I was walking down it. The man falling from the sky hadn’t surprised me; it was all part of the plan.

6S

Sean Kennedy is a maverick renegade.

Tomorrowland

by Howie Good

At birth we’re given a name we wouldn’t choose. Later our parents die to make room for the future. There are regular trains into the city, but few trains out, and the clocks on public buildings are often missing or else wrong. The weather never improves. Some days a hesitant crowd of mothers in black gathers outside the former opera house on the basis of a rumor. Oh, how strange to wait to be examined and not know to what extent the testimony will change in the course of transcription.

6S

Howie Good spends time here.

Gypsy Day

by Cory Henson

Sometimes, he secretly wished that he were a gypsy for a day. Grab a few friends, pick up a red radio flyer wagon, and pack it with magic tricks and tambourines. They would then dance to drum beats with fire batons in the park. Strangers' fortunes would be told and he would let them know that they're all going to be successful business men and women. What beautiful life lines, he'd say. Yet, he would know that he was the only one living.

6S

Cory Henson is a native Texan. He is a recent college graduate and is wondering - what now?

Glasses

by Alison Doernberg

I unlock my apartment door and release the day. Scarf untied, boots off, junk mail in the recycling, keys in the bowl designated for the purpose of not misplacing keys. Walking back across the kitchen, my eye catches the two water glasses side by side in the sink and suddenly I am awash in your absence. Just this morning, you were spreading jam on toast and lacing your shoes at the kitchen table while I fastened an earring, half-dressed. And I carried on with my day, and I returned home. Like a story told out of sequence, it is at this moment, standing alone in the dusky golden light, that I feel you enter my life in a perceptible way, as though my center of gravity has shifted.

6S

Alison Doernberg has trouble falling asleep knowing that there are dirty dishes in the sink. Most of the time, anyway.

I've Always Been a Dreamer

by Sammi Murphy

I thought you saw me; my shoes, glasses, and that one strand of hair hanging in the wind. Much too long, curling only at the very end. The bruise on my knee when we danced sporadically (hardly rhythmic) to funky beats; lingerie I wore although I wasn't at all comfortable with my body. Sometimes I imagined you were really listening, my lips trembling in desperation and uncertainty, words gushing out but winding around your ears like a draft of air through the back door. I apologize; I stared at your face hoping I would see one flaw, one freckle I had missed in my previous speculations. I was invisible all along.

6S

Sammi Murphy lives and works in Washington.

The F Line

by Scot Young

Last night I rode the late night bus down Market. The tourists and drag queens have all but deserted this line by now. I was just a passenger being transported to nowhere with people who ask for nothing and expected less. In the back seat, an old woman dressed in layers of mission clothes chanted a nursery rhyme and rocked gently back and forth, afraid to go to sleep. The ancient ninja in faded black with a worn frame and tired eyes fought the spirits with slow movements of tai chi, conquering them in mid-air, then bowing to nobody. At Powell, I got off knowing I was almost home and they weren't really any crazier than anyone else.

6S

Scot Young sometimes just likes to ride the bus.

Get This

submitted & edited by Margery Daw

Get this. Here in Chicago a bunch of married fireman took a big fire truck out to look for hookers late at night. And got caught on the truck with no pants. Citizens took photos. All their wives had to bail them out for soliciting hookers. And they lost their jobs and pensions for stealing the truck and the hooker thing.

6S

Margery Daw, whose full catalog is here, edited the punctuation of this anonymous reply to a 6/29/08 Craigslist Discussion Forum post entitled "Should I Worry About the Guy I'm Dating?" (MD is a pseudonym and part of a nursery rhyme.)

Color Wash

by Erin McKnight

She wants to paint herself into the creases of his skin. Her palette could erase sullied lines; smooth the creases that corrugate his fingertips. The soap is stained in her hues. Should they touch - passing the bar between them - milky suds will slide over the onyx brushstrokes of soot that burrowed into, and dyed, his ridges. Jet ink will spatter in confident drips down his arms. Her soapy incandescence will dilute, swirl, and froth around his toes like a lambent pool of pearls.

6S

Erin McKnight, author of Confession, is the fiction editor for the Prick of the Spindle Literary Journal. She hopes to regain her sanity once she completes her MFA later this month.

A River Reborn

by Joseph Grant

In retrospect, the great flood that swept through the valley nearly a century ago must have been terrifying, thought Ethan as he scratched his weathered, gray whiskered cheek and ambled over the parched brush that crunched beneath his boots as he examined the land for any evidence of the cataclysm that came in the night and swept people out of their beds and homes, drowning the lucky ones, but allowing the less fortunate to survive with the dreadful memory of loved ones lost and all the while holding onto the fear that always resurfaced with the advent of each falling drop of rain. As a result, the Los Angeles Aqueduct was built two years later, ensuring that such a catastrophe would never again befall the people anywhere in the whole of the 90-mile wide county, but in the process, it smothered many of the natural wetlands and choked off the water supply vital to the once countless beautiful rivers, one in which, as a member of the California Wildlife Preservation Committee, Ethan was standing, the water currently trickling at barely the ankle level, a sad visage of its former self. It had taken the voice of one, a petition of signatures in the hundreds of thousands and a ballot to pass, but in the end it was pushed through county legislature with little to no resistance or protest, as anyone with even a remote memory of that horrendous night were now eking out their last days, oblivious to anything but the flood of atrocious daytime television, if, anything at all. Only half a year had passed, a miracle by bureaucratic standards, but a blink in ecological tenure that Evan stood on the banks of the sinuous new river, no longer nourished by the Aqueduct, which would have been ironic, but in an even more paradoxical twist, by a new water system built to circumvent the now-antiquated and underfed Aqueduct. Within a few years time, the entire area would experience an unlimited environmental renaissance, starting with trout, pike, perch and largemouth bass being reintroduced to the eco-system, which would bring other aquatic life such as frogs, salamanders, snakes, turtles and insects for the fish and birds like the starling, finch, sparrow to pick at the fallen seeds that the scurrying field mice and rabbits would drop in the outer lying grass and sediment, as well as the deer, elk and hawk, which as a result would spark the growth of wild flowers, underbrush, sage and cedar trees beside the newly planted forest of future evergreen put down in the past few months by the Parks Department. Where man had failed his fellow man by building a dam that withstood every rainy night but one, all that it took was a lone voice in the wilderness for man to reinvent himself and rediscover the sanctuary in the cathedral of the pine, the fir and the spruce and as man paddled along in a canoe once again as he had for centuries and marveled at the beauty and the serenity of nature all around him, it was truly a river reborn.

6S

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

Use It Or Lose It is Not Working

by caccy46

Huge chunks of my life are wiped from my memory like they never happened, yet I remember the cracks on the sidewalk walking to my friend Bonnie's house in first grade. Do you think that's something I should be concerned about? I can't remember the last five books I read - and LOVED - but I can tell you about standing behind the doll house in kindergarten, crying because Paul Joffee wouldn't walk home with me up Beach Street where there was a crossing guard because he wanted to walk up Parker Avenue and cross at the traffic light like the big kids. My mid-20s to my mid-30s are a complete blur, that includes my wedding and the birth of my first child, but I can still feel the stir in my groin in third grade, for Heaven's sake, when George Rogers slowly put his hand on top of mine on the armrest in the movie theater on a Saturday afternoon. I think this is really strange, and I really don't understand it at all because when we try to pick out a movie to watch, and I make a choice, my husband is always saying, "We've seen that" and I'm too embarrassed to admit I don't remember it at all, even after he goes through the storyline. I can quote you what I've ever paid for any item I've ever purchased, and I can't recommend a book or a movie for fear I'll be asked for a brief synopsis.

6S

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

The Art of Flirtation

by Cassandra

Artistry lies in the little ambiguities. The gestures that mean nothing while seeming to mean so much. As your flirtation grows more noncommittal, artistry asymptotes. What you want to do is construct a structure as impressive as it is hollow, as gorgeous as their wildest dreams and as empty as you'll leave their heart. Think of birds' bones. Designed by Darwin (the cruelest of flirts; he's been toying with species for billions of years) to be hollow, they'll let you soar briefly but they're oh so poignantly fragile, so easy to shatter.

6S

Cassandra is well acquainted with the trick of the Trojan Horse.

Pumped Full

by Ben Spivey

At the foot of my bed, at night, my television reads me info and static. My television tells me who just died, when to laugh, and what I need to be afraid of. My television cooks and eats spaghetti for and with me, I say, “Thank you that tasted good.” My television stays awake with me, even after it gets black rings around its eyes. We take showers together (in warm water) and make love afterwards. My television is at the foot of my funerary box.

6S

Ben Spivey is a full time student and writer living in Atlanta, Georgia. He works at a cluttered desk, drinks too much coffee, and doesn't get enough sleep.

Sea Change

by Bill Millar

The fisherman promised to show her his creels. The boy pleaded to come too. The first contained a large fish which lay there flapping, dying. The boy wept for it to be returned to the water. The fisherman looked bemused, the boy’s mother, unamused. Many years later the boy realized that without her presence, the fish might have lived.

6S

Bill Millar is bioless.

She

by Tharuna Niranjan

Dwells entirely in the realm of the mind. She floats with ease among the thoughts spread like stardust, glittering and winking in the illumination of the grey. She embraces with passion the unraveling neural connections, scattering a rainbow through the mist of black and white. She is smitten by the ephemeral dance of the electrons as they groove to sensory inputs; she grooves to the music willed forth from the ether, playing a tune on her wispy cartilage in endless replay. She finds pleasure in the rhythmic resonance of words trying to articulate and manipulate the haunting magic of emotion. She is in love.

6S

Tharuna Niranjan wants to be out of her mind!

Sit Down and I'll Tell You

by Bob Jacobs

For those who have ever asked, "Why are we here?" sit down and I'll tell you. You see, a few billion years ago the universe formed and ever since then atoms have been rearranging themselves with the sole intention of answering that very question, forming worlds, creating life, and stimulating evolution. Life moved all the way from simple unicellular micro-organisms through to complex bipedal hominids until, at a particular time and in a particular place, two pale sentient beings labeled Simon and Garfunkel brought together a sequence of vocal and instrumental sounds known as "Bridge Over Troubled Water." That song is the entire reason the universe was created. Or, more precisely, to achieve an expression of love so deep and irrefutable that the universe could smile and know it had done its job, and could then begin unraveling, undoing what it had done, bringing down whole civilizations, ancient and new, extinguishing life forms, slowly at first then gathering speed, destroying whole planets, solar systems, galaxies, until where once there had been words and music, notes and lyrics that could light up a black hole, only a smug silence and sentimental darkness would remain. As the pace of unraveling increases around us, I can't help wishing that the people of the world might gather together in one gigantic naked group hug, listen to that expression of love over and over at high volume, laugh a little, cry a little, and enjoy what we had, before it's too damn late.

6S

Bob Jacobs, whose full catalog is here, lives in the south-east of England with his wife and kids and Sony Vaio. In his spare time he likes to lie motionless on his back, whistling and staring at clouds.

Oh Yoko

by Kate Artz

Last night I had a dream that you were moving into the city and you were taking all of my furniture. You told me not to worry. I wanted to say something to you, but I wasn't sure what it was so I just kept saying your name. I thought you could read my mind, but I guess you couldn't because you got into a car and drove away. Someone was waiting for me inside. I sat down in the wet grass and waited for the next thing to happen.

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.

On Style

by Peter Cherches

Samuel Beckett claimed he wrote in French, his second language, in order to write “without style.” If that was really his intention he failed miserably, but then, in a sense, a theme of much of Beckett’s work is the paradoxical success of failing miserably. Beckett is perhaps the writer I admire most, but concerning the question of style I disagree vehemently. Style is the only thing I’m interested in. It’s substance I try to avoid. Of course, I usually fail miserably, but sometimes, I like to think, I come pretty close.

6S

Peter Cherches blogs about food and travel here.

Beach

by caccy46

The beach had stopped becoming a summer ritual several years ago when her skin turned traitor and robbed one of her greatest pleasures. Summer after glorious summer was spent luxuriating on the sand and filled her life with favorite memories, her most tender moments, staring at the ocean endlessly, helping her create and solidify her closest held beliefs. She went back today after so many years, covered in long sleeves, lotion, hat and umbrella but more completely protected by her fear of what had transpired in the years she'd been gone and afraid what reconnecting with her old friend would touch in her. The familiar sounds of the waves and smell of sea air, the crunch of hot sand underfoot were all the same. The voices of others were blocked while she made amends with herself, and found that old friends do not judge or forget. They embrace you and continue where you left off.

6S

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

3-Minute Reading

by Louise Yeiser

“They will always think of you as a blond who writes,” my agent warned, “so you may want to reconsider your hair color.” Later that evening, I gave my first public reading. “I was the victim of a violent crime,” I began, and launched into it with my description of the bruises on my cheeks, the blood in the whites of my eyes and the closing of my eyelid, beaten shut; and during a pause, I looked up and saw a room full of eyes staring wide, and not one inch of movement, not even the silver blur of a pin dropping; so I rested in my white space and sipped the silence. The message wasn’t in the chopped-up, glued-together segment I read that evening; the message was me, facing a hundred people, my scars offered up to them in a strong, clear voice with no sign of self-pity. So let them think of me as a blond who writes. It suits 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 studies creative writing at Carlow University in Pittsburgh and Ireland, and she has dedicated her life to remaining blond.

Incarnations

by Noel Sloboda

The official start of the dinner party is delayed because of Costa’s tardiness. After apologies to the miffed hostess, he explains why he has arrived by himself almost fifteen minutes late. He has a dying pet at home, and his wife has remained there to tend to the animal. It’s a sweet kitty they’ve had for almost two decades, and they couldn’t stand to leave it alone−or easily decide who should forgo the party. The hostess grumbles like she has something caught in her throat, then swings her bright eyes away from him, toward a woman in a shiny red dress on the other side of the table. Costa doesn’t say anything as he considers both the upside and the downside of cats having nine lives.

6S

Noel Sloboda, originally from Massachusetts, lives in Pennsylvania, where he teaches at Penn State York. His writing has recently appeared in Mythic Delirium, Mud Luscious, Niteblade, Tuesday Shorts, Word Riot, and Chronogram.

The Afterparty

by Joseph Grant

The next time I die I will stay there if given the choice again; as there seems to be even more interesting people this time around, unfortunately. The last play I had been in had run its course but stupid me, ever the actor and ever the egotist, had heard about an interesting new part, much different than the last, so I took it. I had forgotten about how hard it was, getting to know your character again, memorizing your lines and hitting your mark each time on cue and then making it all look believable. From what I recall, the Afterparty had great fantastic smells depending on where you walked; it was either the delicious aroma of baking bread or chocolate chip cookies or fresh brewed coffee or the smell of fresh rain and the thing that threw me were the new colors, the new shapes and sights but more so, the new emotions available. But I thought I could really give this new part some dignity, humor and bite and make it mine, really mine but this was not always to be, as sometimes I was lambasted by the critics and trashed in reviews, some of them even from me. The Afterparty will be an ultimate celebration with singers, dancers and artists not bound by canvas or picture, poets not stopped by form or structure and the endless creation will be something to behold and make the entire Renaissance look like a finger-painting; so I'll see you there.

6S

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

Final Cathedral

by Forrest Roth

Despite successes in these international entanglements, the agent thought his entire dealing with the woman at her husband’s uptown condo not too commendable: hired movers, when so inept of protocol that they forget bringing gloves, should never ask the subject for spare styrofoam packing. But her unhurried disengaging of the chain-latch only compelled him to show a magistrate signing off on the retrieval of Kleinmann’s last canvas in his “Cathedral Series,” which he discovered, after almost falling hastily over a serpentine leather couch, she had hung in the den as simple decoration above a blank, artificial fireplace. Other than navagating devious furniture, this case might have proved mundane due to the husband having already left for the Exchange, as the police downstairs in the lobby anticipated. Little doubt the famously emotive, dark contours of Kleinmann deserved better than a securities broker propping his feet on an Ottoman in front of it, and him keeping from his wife an undocumented business trip to Vienna, as well as why he had overlooked a required legacy check. The agent did not mention this because no such information was granted in triplicate on his clipboard. With pen in hand he had her read here and here and here, each a different dwelling of sorts that attached fresh nuisances since, he tried explaining in routine diligence of a painting’s legal removal, she became sole witness whose maiden name signed, instead of her married name provided, was now brought out from its presumptuous seclusion.

6S

Forrest Roth is the author of a novella, "Line and Pause" (BlazeVOX Books), with other fictions appearing in various print and on-line journals. He lives in Buffalo, New York.

Six Sixes by Thane Thompson

an Online Magazine from Six Sentences



Thane Thompson gives us Memoirs of the Marlboro Man. 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.)

Our Day Will Come

by Margery Daw

Sea urchins, the sushi delicacy, were once a scourge. They gnaw the wood of lobster traps, destroying them. (Turns out they love wood - and they never get any.) The village idiot who cleared the sea urchins made a fortune reselling them. Lobsters themselves were once thought peasant food. Indentured servants protested - successfully! indentured servants! - to eat lobster no more than three times a week.

6S

Margery Daw, who was the Second Runner-Up in our First Contest, is a pseudonym and part of a nursery rhyme.

Isn't This What You Want?

by Bob Jacobs

And then, for no apparent reason, sex with Gloria became a noisy, physical affair, she would pant loudly, calling out, "Yes, yes, oh yes, more, oh GOD yes, give it to me, right there, RIGHT there, oh Jesus Christ and all His disciples, do it, DO it, DO IT." This went on for weeks, thrashing around beneath me, raking my back with her nails, grabbing the pillow behind her head and thrusting her pelvis at me, and each time my hard-earned erection would turn to marshmallow and I couldn't finish, until that last time as it softened she grabbed my ears, brought her face up to mine and screamed, "OH GOD, I'M COMING." I moved away from her and said, "For Christ's sake Gloria, we've been married twenty-five years and you've never behaved like this until recently, what the hell's wrong with you?" She frowned and said, "Isn't this what you want?" I said, "No, of course not." She sat naked on the edge of the bed with her legs crossed, lit a cigarette, blew the smoke out calmly and said, "Well Christ almighty, it's what I fucking want."

6S

Bob Jacobs, whose full catalog is here, lives in the south-east of England with his wife and kids and Sony Vaio. In his spare time he likes to lie motionless on his back, whistling and staring at clouds.

Surprising Adjustments

by Donna Calhoun

Two years ago we moved from near Washington D.C. to semi-rural North Carolina and, while I love it here, it’s been quite an adjustment. Once on my way to work I saw a goat waiting beside a mailbox in someone’s front yard. I think he was waiting to fetch the mail when it arrived. Recently I was driving to school to pick up my son and ended up being very late because I was following two houses down the two-lane road. They had a police escort because the one-story ramblers completely took up both sides of the road and oncoming traffic had to pull into driveways and fields so the migrating houses could pass. Country living is proving to be full of surprises.

6S

Donna Calhoun is a transplant from Northern Virginia to semi-rural North Carolina. She is the proud mother of six children who have begun to bless their family with grandchildren. Her husband of over 30 years lovingly supports her writing habit.

Shhh…

by Richard M. Johnson

At dinner she told me all the troubles she had been having with her boyfriend, how he was trying to play it cool, and how he had taken a step back in their relationship. I sat there staring into her azure eyes thinking what a fool he was, and prayed for her to tell me she was leaving him for someone who would cherish her as much as she deserved. Her eyes widened and she stared at me, asking, “What did you just say?” Oh, crap, I thought I had been using my inner voice and now it seems that wasn’t true. I stuttered, “I... I... only meant...” She smiled and placed her forefinger against my lips, silencing them before sharing a dozen cinnamon kisses.

6S

Richard M. Johnson tries to use his inner voice often, because saying those things out loud normally gets him into a lot of trouble.

I Am a Lollipop Fiend

by XD

I stared at the bowl of sugar-coated goodness on a stick. I was entranced. It would be my ninth lollipop that hour. My teeth had a thick coat of plague on them. I wanted that lollipop. I took it.

6S

XD is a pseudonym (and a woman).

On the Short End

by L. Allison Stein

She remembers being young, peering over the edge of the kitchen counter, spotting the ceramic cookie jar that was fashioned to look like Felix the Cat. There had been a small, fire-truck red stool, bought just for her to stand on; to do more than glimpse; to revel in the big person's paradise of unlimited access. It was with the help of the stool that she had finished half the cookies in the jar, and then helped her mother make some more to refill it with. That little red stool was transported all over the house, enabling her to reach new heights no matter where she was; much to the chagrin of her father, who was tall and clumsy and always swore as he tripped over it, stubbing his big toe. She remembers that stool now, some twenty years later, wearing four inch stilettos and waiting in line at the coffee shop with a counter fit for giants. She wishes she still had that stool as her feet ache, her calves throb, and the barista behind the counter continues to serve only those he can see across it.

6S

L. Allison Stein remains small in stature, but big in heart.

Married & Divorced in 10 Minutes

by Nina Spezzaferro

I met a guy at a bar. Descending the stairs into the subway, I daydreamed that we went on a date. When the train arrived, we were monogamous. In transit, we got engaged and then married. On my way out of the subway, I gave birth to four children, fathered by an ungrateful and selfish man. "I gave up my whole life for you!" I shouted as I turned the key in the lock to enter the apartment that I lived in, alone, with my pessimistic self.

6S

Nina Spezzaferro, a writer and editor, lives with her pessimistic self in New York City.

My Affinity for Circles

by Geoffrey Billetter

A continuing movement, a cycle, represents a circle. The circle can be a period for the end of a thought. The circle can encourage you to link arms to form a group and show off your strength in numbers. Alternately, the circle can be a trap for your prey. A hole show in 2D is a circle that you can fall into, look through, live in, hide in, or fill up. A circle as a coin makes my hand busy and my pocket full.

6S

Geoffrey Billetter loves circles.

Infection

by Jane Thomas

Red delicately pulled a filmy white tee over her head, gently working it down her body. This was a satisfying sort of pain: the swelling flesh red around a brightly colored design. She loved a new tattoo, and her body, like a great chapel, would never be finished. Next came the cotton full-bottomed panties. This pain had no redeeming qualities: a surge in flora that was normally kept in balance, an itchiness that could not be scratched, and the strong suspicion that her beau was not hers alone. She was just now realizing in the heat of infection that she was wrong - she mistook his awkwardness as endearing, his nervous laugh for sincere inexperience, and his professions of love as truth.

6S

Jane Thomas has been writing since the second grade. Now a grown-up, she is a perpetual student and lover of life.

Reunion

by Robb Todd

My cousin didn't tell me to keep it a secret. Everyone at the reunion thought his dad, Uncle Billy, wasn't there because of work, like Uncle Jesse's wife, Deena. I unleashed a wildfire of whispers. When it reached Uncle Jesse, he wailed - he already knew. Uncle Billy and Deena are married now. They don't come to the reunion any more.

6S

Robb Todd lives in the Boogie Down Bronx. He likes to type with his thumbs.

The Unstoppable Truck

by Bob Jacobs

Gloria has been "almost fifty" for years, the big five-oh approaching like an unstoppable truck, headlights on, horn blaring. Yesterday it finally happened, it came and went - marked with a little foreplay for old time's sake - and we awoke this morning to a world still turning. I came back from the bathroom and found her naked in front of the dressing table mirror, buttocks on the pink padded stool, plumpness and gravity spreading them outwards like fresh dough. Her bosom sat on her belly, her nipples stared at her feet. "What is it?" I asked, as her lips quivered. "My God," she hissed, bringing her hand up to her mouth: "I'm almost sixty!"

6S

Bob Jacobs, whose full catalog is here, lives in the south-east of England with his wife and kids and Sony Vaio. In his spare time he likes to lie motionless on his back, whistling and staring at clouds.

Staton’s Promise

by Sean Gregson

Staton is at a loss as to how he broke his promise. He can’t find the words to explain, because he hates people who say "out of my hands." It was though. Now he’s left with a bad taste in his mouth. He wishes it were like losing all your lives on an old, out-of-date computer game. Press RELOAD to try again.

6S

Sean Gregson is currently trying to take himself seriously.

Six Sixes by Susan Moody

an Online Magazine from Six Sentences



Susan Moody has a personal story to share. 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.)

Now, That Was a Nap

by epiphenita

That was a nap that makes the other naps whistle a low da-a-a-mn. That was a nap of stygian oblivion. A state of perfect matte blackness from which you awaken unsure whether tomorrow has eclipsed today. That was a nap that bulleted past with all but its wingtips tucked and obliterated your little sparrow of consciousness in such a blinding explosion of feathers and talons that you didn't have time to whimper. That, my friends, was a nap. Damn.

6S

epiphenita acquiesces to her sleep disorder with daily medication but celebrates a good nap in defiance.

Santa, Where Are You?

by mgirl

Men cannot be just friends with women without thinking sexual thoughts, was what I was recently told. I didn't believe it at first. I must have been naive to think that the neighbor up the road would fix my car and take me out for coffee just as a friend; but he was my father's age. When he proceeded to tell me my eyes fascinated him, and he couldn't get me out of his thoughts I was crushed. The light finally came on when my other male friends stopped chatting with me after I told them I was dating someone. I felt like a child who was just told that there was no Santa Clause, it couldn't really be true.

6S

mgirl, whose full catalog is here, loves to read and write, is from Canada, is forty something and has just become a Grandma. Both of her children have moved out and she spends most of her time now reading, writing and in the garden.

Sunday Morning

by Brett Eaton

Sunlight pierced the kitchen window and punctuated Caroline's little yelps. She was making bacon naked, which is fun to say out loud, and the grease from the skillet splattered her more sensitive parts. I was torn between worry about scarring such a beautiful form and transfixed by the bouncing flesh that seemed to move of its own accord, as if delighted by this rare taste of freedom. Caroline's golden hair teased the freckles on her left shoulder as she turned her head to catch me watching from the open refrigerator. "We're out of eggs," I reported. "Better make more bacon."

6S

Brett Eaton is full of big ideas lacking attention.

Tribute Act

by Jonathan Pinnock

A fly buzzes in the warm indoor air. The only occupant of the room lies dead on the floor. Next to him are two empty bottles: one of vodka, one of pills. By his limp right hand there is a music magazine, open at a page containing an unflattering picture and a damning review that describes him as a low-rent Hendrix tribute act. So it is perhaps appropriate that he has died by choking on his own vomit following an overdose. A fly buzzes in the warm indoor air.

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.

Cupid

by Mercedes Yardley

"Sorry, I just don't find you attractive, no hard feelings," she said, and smiled insincerely at her date's stunned face. She turned away and glared at Cupid, jabbing him once - twice - in the side. "Thanks for nothing," she hissed. He shrugged, then popped another Valium. "You said you wanted a slim guy with lots of power, and Death certainly fits that bill. And now I see that you ticked him off."

6S

Mercedes Yardley roomed with Death in college, and he's constantly asking to borrow twenty bucks.

The Diamond Sutra

by C. J. Serling

Once there was a novice monk who was sent by his master to the market to make almsround. The monk, who was but a young man, found himself tormented by impure thoughts and covetousness of the painted women there. When he returned to his master high atop the hill the monk whined, "Master, surely the flesh poses no barrier to the buddha." The master replied, "Surely it does not," then rapped the young monk twice on the knuckles and bade him spend the rest of the day in quiet contemplation of his impiety. So the monk did, in time coming to control his impure thoughts of the painted women in the market. And that night the master descended the hill and chanted the diamond sutra from a brothel bed.

6S

C. J. Serling, whose work has appeared in Flash Flooding, is a student of law and the classics. He lives in sunny Miami.

The Ship

by Maggie Sorensen

You are swimming at dawn. The sky’s color is starting to wane you feel your breath being sucked from your lungs. The dark water pulls you under, as the blood seeps out of the wound somewhere on your body, the only feeling you have left is that of dread and death. Many nights you stay under that cold and desolate water, many nights you feel that pang of sadness creep into you throat as you continue to run out of air. Hours and days have passed ships and boats have floated into view, but not one time could you reach up that withered hand to feel the warmth touch your skin. You feel the sensation of sinking every time the night closes over you, you don’t understand the fact that you are still living but you are grateful of it, the breath returns to your body just as soon as it had gone; you soon jump awake and feel that you are still underwater you had been dreaming, tears pool into your eyes and you cry out letting the last breath escape.

6S

Maggie Sorensen is a student of youth. Trumpets always sound at her arrival no matter where she goes. She'd like to think she's dangerous but, truth be told, she's just a fiery red-head.

The Man Who Couldn't Tie His Shoes

by Peter Cherches

There once was a man who never learned to tie his shoes. He was otherwise extremely smart and capable, a top student all through grade school, high school and college, always the class valedictorian. This man was so brilliant that he got a full scholarship to the most prestigious technical university in the country, where he completed a Ph.D. in Nuclear Physics in record time. When he was only twenty-two he invented a bomb more powerful than any that had previously existed, a bomb that could kill billions of people cleanly and efficiently without even the slightest damage to property. But still, despite all this, he couldn't tie his shoes. Thank heaven for loafers.

6S

Peter Cherches blogs about food and travel here.

From the Stoop

by Joseph Grant

From the stoop of my brownstone, the world passes me by and never stops and I sip a slightly warm beer in the sweet-scented, pleasant summer breeze that is only tenuously interrupted by the spices of other cultures mixed and melting in the pots of this mixed melting pot and I breathe a sigh of relief; for the City as it were, does not exist here, it is a distant memory of subway ride away. Tonight, Greenwich Village is a canvas alive with its showcase of artists, addicts and freaks and I sit among the growing blue shadows and watch the happy in-love couples as they walk by and think of you. My mind is taken back to the time, same time two years ago when I saw my future in your smiling eyes and I said hello and you kept walking but suddenly stopped. We walked the City that night and talked nearly until the sun rose and made love at dawn and you moved in with me not long after and we were happy for the longest time, but you felt the need to walk away from my door again and one day you were gone. The City changed for me then and with your leaving, the hidden ugliness became apparent, just like the smell of exhaust, urine, rotting garbage and now I notice the grit and the grime from the fireplaces that once seemed so romantic. Now loneliness sits with me on the stoop in place of you and the footsteps wander up and down my street all day and the winds grow colder now and the City is no longer the same wondrous place it once was since you stopped coming around my door.

6S

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

Envy

by June Sorensen

“They’re all writers you know,” she said to her friend on the other end of the phone. “Who?” was the reply. “My husband, and children. They think they’re going to be published.” Her laugh was harsh. “But I’m curing that right now,” she whispered as she hit the delete button.

6S

June Sorensen is a mom who keeps the souls of her children close to her heart, but believes in letting them out - often.

Never Again by Madam Z

an Online Magazine from Six Sentences



Madam Z (the one and only) loves six (and isn't afraid to admit it). 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.)

A Mother's Rival

by Rebecca Jane

Once upon a time Rockell lived in New York City and frequented pleasure spots where writers and artists engaged in noisy conversation; now she is a lactating mother living in San Diego with her in-laws who recently immigrated from China. Every day Rockell's husband nags her to get a job, but Rockell can't find the motivation after repeated rejections and failures on her former career paths; so, she insists she wants to stay home to nurture her child. One night Rockell's husband invited his colleague, Ms. Clout, for dinner; they nibbled English sweet peas while Rockell admired the attorney's sexy legs and lilting Eastern European accent. Ms. Clout gave Rockell advice: "Don't let low LSAT scores deter you; if you want to be a lawyer, go for it!" All Rockell really wanted to do was talk about how fulfilled she felt nursing her infant while singing old rhymes and whispering to wind nymphs and water fairies about cows jumping through the blazing night sky. But motherhood doesn't bring in an income, and Rockell's cocktail party conversation bored her guest; besides, she couldn't compete with Ms. Clout, who continued her dainty nibbling while she boasted about how liberated she felt with her book coming out soon and her multilingual, six-year-old daughter on a plane this very moment — an unaccompanied minor — on her way to stay with grandparents in Europe for the summer.

6S

Rebecca Jane, whose full catalog is here, writes fiction.

Her Customer

by Jane Thomas

They were getting out of the shower together one morning and in the weird language of dreams, he began to dry her off with a hair dryer. She began to shrink like a fine cashmere sweater and was so tiny that he held her in his hand. He had to leave for work and was afraid to leave her alone with the cat in the house. So, he put her in his mouth to keep her safe and sucked on her all day. That morning when he woke he could still taste her. He did not speak at work that day lest the lingering flavor of that dream fade.

6S

Jane Thomas has been writing since the second grade. Now a grown-up, she is a perpetual student and lover of life.