Bunny-ears

by Michael McLaughlin

My grandmother's last words died as a thought in her head as the bus smashed into her left shoulder: I think we're almost out of eggs. When he was in the hospital my grandfather would lecture me unceasingly about what a tragedy it was to die alone without having anyone to hear your last words: Biggest waste on earth, all those years of life, those tens of thousands of years of wisdom, lost forever. He never forgave himself for not being with his wife to hear her last words, even if they would have been mundane and about chicken embryos, and each time the doctors told him his leukemia had returned he would think the same thing: I'm finally coming, Bunny-ears. I frequently asked as a child why he called my grandmother Bunny-ears, but he always dodged the question with an elusive response: I don't know what Bunny-ears means anymore than I know the meaning of life. Grandfather's deathbed confession was not to a priest; rather it took the form of these words breathed harshly into my ear when I was fourteen years old: I do know the meaning of life. Now I share my grandfather's meaning of life with everyone so that his life, his years of wisdom, will not die as a thought in my head as a bus smashes into my left shoulder: Find your Bunny-ears.

6S

Michael McLaughlin, a graduate of Penn State University, resides in West Windsor, NJ. He is currently employed in two fields: Entrepreneurship (the scheming of ways to get money and notoriety) and Pen-for-Hire (writing to obtain either money or notoriety).

The Empty Ride Home

by Kevin Michaels

This one was special; she held a place in your heart none of the others filled – the two of you shared such a unique bond that it hurts now to let her go. You love her the same way you loved them all but there is more to it with her, although every time you told her that, Kylie just laughed and brushed the long strands of hair away from her face with a sweep of her hand, leaving only a knowing smile. It was the same kind of smile she gave other guys vying for her attention and affection; the kind that would bend your heart in ten different directions and leave you searching for words to fill the spaces left behind. All summer you had tried in vain to bridge that distance between you in an attempt to get back the closeness that had disappeared but you already knew Kylie didn’t mind what was there - she was more comfortable with awkward silences than you were. You sit now in the car with the engine idling, looking for the right words but she is oblivious to that longing you have to be significant to her for just a little while longer. She opens the door and turns to give a half-hearted kiss good-bye; it is only when she sees the tear inching down your cheek that Kylie says, “Dad – please,” in such a way that you are both embarrassed and proud, but she is quickly out of the car and off to her dorm room before you can say anything else.

6S

Kevin Michaels, whose full catalog is here, is everything New Jersey (attitude - edginess - Bruce Springsteen - but not Bon Jovi). His work can also be found at Word Riot, The Literary Review, Darkest Before the Dawn, and Dogzplot. He is a writer and a surfer who lives at the Jersey Shore.

Crayon Trouble

by Peter Cherches

I remember the great Crayola scandal. The trouble had to do with a crayon called "flesh." This crayon just happened to be the color of white people's flesh. And during the sixties, while some big battles were being fought, someone was attentive to the little details. Crayola was sufficiently embarrassed, and "flesh" was renamed to something a little more neutral. "Peach," I think.

6S

Peter Cherches blogs about food and travel here.

The Day My Father Became Human

by Maja Flensberg

My childhood came to an abrupt end the day my father admitted to me that he in fact wasn't the world's strongest man. He stroked my hair and told me that he hadn't ever been a cowboy or a magician in a circus. I looked at him, as my eyes filled with tears. Disappointment overwhelmed me, so I ran from him. I had worshiped and trusted him so blindly. At that moment I became aware, for the first time, of the strong resemblance between him and human beings.

6S

Maja Flensberg likes to write.

The Gardener

by Chris Campbell

I was 17 when my grandmother came to live with us. She smelled of roses and urine. She was lucid, but spoke only in rhyme – Victorian poesy learned a century ago. Her voice gurgled like a garden hose that has not been completely turned off, air and water dancing in the back of her throat. Nearing death, her skin turned translucent and flaked off like the dry parchment of an onion. At night, in her bed, she would weep for hours, “Life is a stony way of woe; please Lord I am ready to go” and in the next room, buried under blankets, I was a coward, unable to lift her feather pillow.

6S

Chris Campbell is an architect by profession but a poet at heart. Her work has been featured in the Yolo Crow, Sacramento News & Review, and Unity Magazine. Her blog can be found here.

The Outsider

by caccy46

I remember how my body would react the moment I heard his car in the driveway, feeling like all my organs would pull together in one tight, cramped ball, protecting one another from the dreaded onslaught. His heavy steps announced his anger as he crossed the house to see me and the children in the den. When he entered our little sanctuary, it was as though he sucked all the air out of the small space, leaving room only for his presence and negative energy. Unaware that he halted all activity, be it folding laundry, talking, homework, he'd plop heavily in his chair. He was too egocentric to realize that he'd created a new silent tension; his wife and children sat quietly waiting for his questions, his derisions, his complaints. He had no idea what a pleasant and ordinary atmosphere he'd destroyed and that he clearly no longer belonged in this family.

6S

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

Blood Red Summer

by Nathan Key

The only time I ever took a beating was during the first year I went to summer camp. A bunch of us were waiting in line for the snack shack and I made a snide remark about this huge kid who was teasing me. Moments later, I had my back up against the side of a wooden barn and he proceeded to deliver blow after blow my to face until my nose exploded in blood. My shirt was ruined. A camp counselor forced an apology out of him and then told me I had to forgive him. After all, forgiveness is what we Christians do, right?

6S

Nathan Key is a writer / philosopher who lives in Seattle, WA. He writes screenplays for Media Partners and publishes plenty of fascinating essays and fiction on his website.

February 6, 2am

by Dirty Blonde

When he violently tore her out of bed was when she learned that he’d all but confirmed the affair. When he shoved her away and onto the floor, the only light in the living room was from the too bright neon signs on the adjacent building but she could still see his shadowy face dripping with rage and pain and still more rage. She didn't know that the cut on his chest was from the largest knife from the block on the kitchen counter. When she scrambled up from the floor to stop him from walking out, she didn't know that he'd cleaned up his own blood from the linoleum floor and the knife three days before. But then somehow he decided to stay. When he told her years later how he got that scar, she cried; not because she was the reason for him putting a knife to his heart but because she had never realized that a scar was even there.

6S

Dirty Blonde, whose full 6S catalog is here, doesn't need you to know her true identity, but swears that she's a real writer and a real blonde.

Curriculum

by Oliver Cassidy

Two weeks ago in a fifth grade classroom in Boston, a bespectacled boy raised his hand and asked the teacher - Miss Hunt, 24 years old, newly-hired - if it was true that "early Americans stole their land from the Indians." The classroom grew quiet. Miss Hunt asked the boy where he'd heard such a thing. "My dad told me," he said. Miss Hunt folded her arms and sighed, then rose from her chair, strolled to the front of her desk and leaned on its edge. "Your father's mistaken," she said, not quite evenly.

6S

Oliver Cassidy is the author of The Receptionist.

Biting the Dust and Sending It Off

by Louise Yeiser

On Friday, I was ready to email my end-of-summer work to my MFA mentor. I had the email typed, proofed and spell-checked, with all six attachments lined up in their proper order: letter to mentor (4 pages), main manuscript, draft 2 (45 pages), second manuscript part 1, draft 2 (10 pages), second manuscript part 2, draft 1 (5 pages), book review 1 (5 pages) and book review 2 (3 pages). I was searching for the SEND button, when I had a flash - there he was, a World War II Japanese kamikaze pilot whose mission was to fly into an American aircraft carrier loaded up with just enough gas to get him there, but not enough to get him home. Oops, I value my life after all and I think I’ll head back to the base and let my commander know, he thought, as he plummeted into the sea with no parachute. Oh, for God’s sakes, Louise, I scolded as I pressed SEND, it’s your writing, not your life. Right?

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.

Revolution #9

by Howie Good

The queen swallows poison from the silver thimble around her neck. The king, though, trusts that the executioner’s aim with the ax will be true. Only the old remain weeping behind closed shutters. Reports of miracles arrive from throughout the kingdom: love suicides returned to life, God’s preemptive voice heard in the crackle of flames. Before the royal library burned, there was a place to sleep. Now the secret police know who the insomniacs are, and the insomniacs themselves just how interminable the night is.

6S

Howie Good, a journalism professor at the State University of New York at New Paltz, is the author of six poetry chapbooks, including the e-book Police and Questions (Right Hand Pointing, 2008), available free here. He has been nominated twice for a Pushcart Prize and twice for the Best of the Net anthology.

Six for David Foster Wallace

by Audrey Kuo

And what were his final thoughts, as he felt his legs swinging beneath him, those lengthy anchors of pendulums: would this become a footnote - and if so, judged how, as romantic or foolish or tragic or wasteful or something else entirely - tacked on to the canon of his stories, then? Because the "human" side of literature is always there, the autobiographical factoids and real-life similarities that maybe could have been inspiration or clues or the simple objects and events later "metaphorized" and offered as fiction, whatever that means, as if any of it is really real anyway, with and alongside and within the text being offered to the reader. He, of all people, knew that the author is inseparable from the text, embedded in it, as suffused with and by the meaning as cream once absorbed into the whole of a steaming mug of coffee. Fuck. What a shitty metaphor. I could never do him justice.

6S

Audrey Kuo just graduated and this is not making the world seem any more sensible. She also misses Vonnegut.

Six from Mind Games

by David Gianatasio



Do you want to vanish, slip across dimensions, into a different world? That's when the years melt away, like leaves blown through an autumn sky. The sodas explode in geysers as they slither down the wall like snakes. We've never been so free. A week later, I could barely lift my head. Even Superman has his hang-ups.

6S

David Gianatasio's Mind Games (from which six random sentences are excerpted above) drops in October from Word Riot Press. His full 6S catalog is here.

The Toll of the Recess Bell

by Max



6S

How tired I am of this unbearable distance between us. How I long for the toll of the recess bell. Have you forgotten me? Grown mindless of me? Tell me I am not writing into an abyss. Or that is what will become of my heart.

Strike a Pose

by Jaemin Yoo

She stares blankly at herself in the mirror; she tells herself she's in control, but she knows it's a lie, she was never in charge. She can feel the tears burning, but she holds them back; now isn’t the time. She puts on her makeup, there's too much, but she's past caring, it covers up that ugly face staring back at her. She gets up, she thinks to herself: I'm so fat, I think I’ll go home and vomit then maybe I’ll be pretty, I am a bitch, a fake... She sucks it in and walks through the curtain; it's so loud, so damn loud, if only they'd turn down that music... She takes a breath, camera flashes all around, she walks down the catwalk, in a dress suffocating her, she wanted her fat to hang out, to be able to eat again; she smiles and strikes a pose, she thinks to herself: breathe, pose, lie, smile...

6S

Jaemin Yoo is thinking about philosophy: where'd it go and when did it leave?

Generations

by Jasper Stone

At a work party, glass of wine in hand, he said pompously, “When drug addicts quit, even though it rarely lasts, they’re doing what normal people do every day, but act like they should get a god damn medal or something...” I stood slightly outside the circle of people he’d attracted with his boisterous tirade, listening. With each word that spilled from his lips, my heart rate increased. Suddenly, I became aware of the copper taste in my mouth where the blood had begun to trickle from the left side of my bottom lip. The boss - my father - stood there condemning people until his eyes met mine, his daughter, the recovering addict. His alcohol-glazed eyes flinched, and even through my anger, I knew he’d never forgive himself for getting me high for the first time.

6S

Jasper Stone is working on a memoir and a book of poetry. Previous work has been published in 6S, Pen-Pricks Micro Fiction, Mad Swirl, and BluePrintReview. More writing is available in her blog.

Heat Wave

by Michelle Panik

That weekend, you didn’t leave Costco without a fan, a watermelon, or both. One hundred and three degrees wasn’t record-breaking, but for May it was unusual. Costco was showing mercy and had priced their fans and melons to sell. But even so, I couldn’t tell my mother how much I’d paid for either. As I carried them into her apartment, one held like a lunchbox and the other a football, I said I’d found the fan in my laundry room, and the watermelon had been free with groceries. Everyone in San Diego was worrying about the upcoming summer, not caring about the cost of A/C and just hoping the units would last the season; my mother turned that fan off every time she left to look in on elderly neighbors, including the time she found senile Mr. Newsome fiddling with his furnace, muttering that the damn thing wouldn’t shut off.

6S

Michelle Panik has a BA in Writing and Art History from UC San Diego, and an MFA from the University of Maryland. She lives in San Diego with her husband and their dog Louie, whom she likes to post photos of on her blog.

The Voice of the World

by Tom Carey

When I lived in Nevada, years ago, the roads were not fenced, and I could explore that beautiful country, going wherever my Landrover could take me. One day, around 6000 feet up in the Spring Mountains, I came into a little hanging valley, with good grass. Toward the center a small spring fed the grass and three live oaks. The only sounds were the trickle of the spring and the grass whispering in small winds, a bird I could not see muttering occasionally. I lay down on my back on the grass near the spring and rejoiced. It happened there, at that time, that the voice of the world filled me up, the voice of being, speechless, yet bearing all meaning, soundless, yet more piercing than any sound, a voice more profound than any music, impossible to forget, and I learned then that this could not be described.

6S

Tom Carey lived in Nevada years ago.

Out on the Drag

by Giuseppe Taurino

That afternoon, after I got laid off, I went down to Dirty Martin’s for a couple of beers and a greasy burger. As I waited for my food, an old man wheeling an oxygen tank waddled toward the counter. He bumped his way past tables, sat a few stools down from mine, and ordered a Budweiser. We made eye contact and I nodded politely. The oxygen tank pumped along like a club song, while the tube in his nostrils rose and fell above his landing strip mustache; short bursts of air popped through his mouth. The aluminum tank stood beside him like an obedient dog, and I wondered what it felt like to wheel your life around, handle and all, to walk about knowing that your next breath was literally in your own hands.

6S

Giuseppe Taurino is a guy living in Austin, with an MFA in Creative Writing and a job in education.

This Is Really About Yuri's Friends

by Hairless Orphan

Yuri's mom has tits out to here and a wardrobe that is one-dimensional but not boring. We could never really talk to Mrs. Yellow-Down because the z-axis of her presence was always at the periphery; it pressed down on you the way God does in a church pew. You can't listen, not look, look normal, and respond intelligently all at the same time, which is probably why Mrs. Yellow-Down thinks all men blither. It didn't help that Ms. Yellow married Mr. Down, a man who actually did blither, even beyond Ms. Yellow's company. But she couldn't tell the difference, at least not until Mr. Yellow-Down blithered his way into an early grave. That was two years ago, and after the accident there were two solid weeks of respectful mourning before we all tried to make it with Mrs. Yellow-Down.

6S

Hairless Orphan is neither hairless nor an orphan. He still hasn't done enough to have a bio, but his obit would be pretty long.

Blackout

by Joseph Grant

What awoke me was the chugging and spurting of the engine, it must have been running all night, now it was gasping on all cylinders. It must have been one hell of a night, I thought, looking in the rear view drunken hindsight when I spotted the police car, empty and parked behind me. A groan comes from the back seat and it is there that I see the blood of the stripper and she is lying there, her eyes vacant, but I cannot tell if she is still high or in pain from the bullet wound I spot as she holds the gun in her outstretched hand, but at least she is still breathing. It scares the shit out of me, but not so much as the sight of the officer shot dead on the road next to me and I vaguely remember the stupid girl shooting at him and me telling her not to before everything went black. It is then that I feel the back of my head and the dull, throbbing pain and the blood encrusted in my hair and think how I must have been grazed by the stupid bitch shooting in the dark. But what really scares the shit out of me most, as I sit there with a wounded stripper, a dead cop and no gas to get the hell out of there even if I wanted to, is the sight of the police car, lights flashing, tearing down the road towards me.

6S

Joseph Grant, whose full catalog is here, is a 6S All-Star. Originally from New York City, he currently resides in Los Angeles.

The Corporate Ladder

by Irene Sieders

Climbing up the corporate ladder, we moved 450 miles to the north, close to the city of San Francisco. Because of the housing prices, we bought a small house with a little garden, but were surrounded by bigger and better houses, where bigger and better people lived, at least, that was the unspoken message I got from my ex-husband. He said he would never invite his boss or colleagues to the house, because he was embarrassed by the smallness of it. I grew to have an inferiority complex about the house and every day, when I drove around the neighborhood, I saw the bigger and better houses that we should be living, and our dog grew neurotic in the new house. He started catching birds in the garden and peeing on precious objects in the house. One day, he broke through the fence and physically attacked the neighbor’s dog, which made the neighbor scream hysterically as if she was being gang banged by a group of skinheads and afterward we took the dog to the Humane Society and put him up for adoption.

6S

Irene Sieders, whose website is here, is a Dutch woman living in the Netherlands. She's an amateur writer, a housewife, an English literature reader, a daily blogger, and a dog walker.

Fairytale at the Lakeside

by Jessica Patient

Strolling along the bankside, Kate felt the razor sharp, marble-sized pebble prickle her feet. But soon pain would not exist. The little mermaid crawled onto the land to escape her family and find freedom; maybe Kate could find happiness at the bottom of the lake. The water’s edge trickled over her feet, washing in, washing out. Scooping handfuls of pebbles, she added them to her collection in her jacket pocket. Kate needed to make sure she stayed at the bottom, her fairy tale ending.

6S

Jessica Patient is the gold medal winner of the Worldskills UK 2008 Creative Writing competition. She lives in Bedfordshire, England.

Late Night Commercial Break

by Joseph Lupoli

So... you call yourself a writer... when all you know is how to compose and present beautifully written and captivating novels and short stories? Are you perplexed when agents and publishers turn you down time and time again, especially when many of the best-selling authors you read write nothing but flat, generic, easily forgettable beach book tripe? Well, here at the Apex Technical School of Bogus Creative Writing, we’ll teach you how to pen and submit smut, junk, basic blood-and-gore trash, and even "children's books by accident!" But that’s not all! If you act now, we’ll get you started in our comprehensive workshop that will teach you how to downgrade your talent to the point where you’ll be able to write in a typo-laden, loathsome, threadbare, "shock value only" style so that agents and publishers will say YES! But remember, we can’t call you — you must CALL US!

6S

Joseph Lupoli, who blogs here, resides with his wife in New Jersey. He is a coach/mentor for developmentally disabled children and adults. This makes him the most in-shape couch potato who ever lived. Joseph is not particularly of sound mind, but he doesn't hold that against the hundreds of agents and publishers who have turned his work down. In fact, he poses no threat at all to other living beings, even his wife. Most people he's never met actually like him. Joseph's hobbies include: playing lots of tennis, violently cursing at no one in particular while searching for his glasses in the morning, and boycotting TV in favor of great but obscure foreign films. He is also a certified mixed martial arts junkie.

Cutter

by Mindy Munro

I had never heard the term self-injury until my son sat down across from me at the kitchen table and told me he'd been doing something stupid. I continued slicing the chicken cutlets in front of me, pink and soft with pale veins and strings of fat, remembering what a difficult labor it had been with this one; like a stubborn fruit he refused to budge and the doctors and nurses had crowded around my open legs with some sort of suction device, my first-born child's resistance to living in this world already a part of his personality. I imagined all of the typical scenarios; several sets of young hands passing around a homemade pipe or a gold bottle of prescription pills, the label peeled off and discarded. I imagined a group of boys in a speeding car, a bottle wrapped in brown paper being handed back and forth between them. I imagined the girl next door fumbling with a borrowed condom. Instead, he slowly rolled back the sleeves of his sweater, revealing dozens of bright red lines, some of them new enough to have beads of blood still bursting through the cuts in long straight rows, like a field of fresh strawberries.

6S

Mindy Munro has been published by Ruined Music. She blogs here, quite sporadically.

O'Hare

by Colin Bassett

We were in Cooperstown and swimming in the lake in the mornings. Someone drove us one and a half hours to Albany for a flight after beers in a café. Flying made us hungry and grown-up feeling for moments in Chicago waiting. We ate and drank a little and felt crowded boarding in the dark after a shuttle had taken us to the plane. I felt sick and listened to music and you watched people talking in front of us and didn't sleep or say anything. We both noticed the teenage girl across the aisle reading a book we had both read, then watched the storm we were flying around and I felt like the clouds were maybe the opposite of what it felt like to swim so that the shore is behind you and there are just dark lines of waves and a thin horizon and something that feels sad and a little boring, like distance.

6S

Colin Bassett is the editor of the online fiction journal bearcreekfeed. He has published in the Mississippi Review, 3:AM, and Dicey Brown, and has two small chapbooks available here and here.

You Think I’m Stupid

by Doug McIntire

You think I’m stupid because I’m still here. I’m not. I’m waiting. I’m not waiting for you to make a mistake. I’m waiting for the exact moment when you will unsuspectingly place your trust in me at a time when you are most vulnerable. Then I will unleash my vengeance upon you, laying you bare and leaving you empty and forlorn.

6S

Doug McIntire is trying hard to make writing his primary job instead of his secondary one. You can find out more about him here.

Spinet

by Dara Weinberg

Sometimes, when I am about to give up, I search on Craigslist for pianos. I want a spinet, the kind that is as short as a five-year-old boy learning his scales for the first time, so that no one can sneak up on me while I'm playing. I will cut it open with Josh's hacksaw and build a shelf for my laptop in the roof of its mouth. When I have my modified laptop spinet, I will work on my novel every day with the fidelity of a concert pianist, and when I do not feel like typing, I will play scales. In this way, my procrastination will be productive, and I will have sonatas coming out of my left hand and sonnets out of my right after just a few months. In a year, I will have a soprano sitting (I will not say "perching" because I don't want to compare women to animals, but she is like a bird in more ways than one) on top of the spinet, singing my lieder and making me sandwiches, and we will be in love, and I will never look on Craigslist for the answers to my problems again because I will have no more problems to be answered.

6S

Dara Weinberg blogs here.

Glass House

by Paige Turner

He always shouts like a typewriter and each syllable rings hard and clean. Each name comes out thick and strong, so I know they're all meant for me. I've never met anyone who knew how to say "bitch" that way. Then his beautiful mouth, his filthy mouth, tells me how I'm precious. He holds me close and I can hear his heart; each beat rises hard and clean. I'm leaving before October starts.

6S

Paige Turner writes for a living and is infatuated with her pen name.

Life and Doubt

by Madam Z

Sometimes when I’m really tired, I think that life isn’t worth living, because what’s the point, anyway, if all you get out of it is an aching back and you feel lousy all the time? Then I go to bed and think maybe I’ll feel better in the morning, but if that’s not likely, then I’d just as soon die in my sleep. It would be nice if I could be having a pleasant dream at the time, so I’d die happy, but what would be the point of dying then, when I’m finally feeling happy? And who knows, maybe that good dream will help me feel better when I wake up and I’ll be all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, as my daddy used to say, before he got all depressed and blew his brains out. I know I shouldn’t think about that when I’m trying to go to sleep and have happy dreams though, and anyway I’m pretty sure I’d never do anything like that, because I’m not real fond of pain, as you can tell because of the way I carry on about my aching back and all. So next time I’m feeling bad, I’ll just take two aspirins and call you in the morning, and when I hear your sweet voice telling me you love me, I’ll know that life is worth living.

6S

Madam Z, whose full catalog is here, wrote this a while ago, after a rare foray into heavy-duty housecleaning. She is much better now, although the house is not. (Do yourself a favor and check out her blog.)

The Shower

by Christy Effinger

I didn’t mean to get drunk at the baby shower, honest, but I couldn’t find a shot glass in Haley’s kitchen, so I had to pour the rum straight into my punch. What kind of housewife doesn’t keep a shot glass in her kitchen? I have five or six squirreled away in mine. So while the other women played some game that involved sniffing at melted candy bars in diapers — no, really — I downed two glasses of spiked punch; then, while they played a game trying to guess the width of Melissa’s girth, I downed two more. I wandered into the living room just as the women passed around the ultrasound picture. “It’s precious,” I cried, “just precious,” and then someone told me I was holding it upside down.

6S

Christy Effinger is no longer invited to baby showers. She blogs sporadically here.

Fourteen Feet

by Drew Kalbach

There were cups. We filled them with sand. She said we should take a moment to weigh each other, she adjusted her glasses and looked down the street. We emptied the cups, she started walking. I followed her for a few feet then stopped. She was different and lost.

6S

Drew Kalbach lives in Philadelphia. His first chapbook will be available from dogzplot's achilles chapbook series in October.

Slumber Party

by Adam J. Whitlatch

No, it's not time for cake and ice cream yet; no, you can't open presents until Grandma and Grandpa get here; please don't bother that cat, he doesn't like strangers; no, you can't take the salamander out of his tank - because he sleeps during the day, that's why - what? - no, you can't buy him from me, I don't care how much money is in your piggy bank - oh, Hell's bells... who's been messing with my book and moved my bookmark? No, you can't go into my den; no, you can't play with my vintage action figures collection - because they're worth more in the box, that's why - leave the comic book alone... it's in a frame because it's worth three thousand dollars - no, you can't buy it from me, what are you the spawn of Sat- STEP AWAY FROM THE SWORDS, KID, I AM NOT MESSING AROUND ANYMORE! Okay, boys, it's time for cake and ice cream... boys... boys... BOYS... cake and ice cream... TURN OFF THE DAMN TELEVISION! Wow, that's an awesome present; no, you can't go play with it now, you have seven more to open; wow, cool Pokemon cards - what? - no, you can't buy that rare card from him... because you gave it to him, that's why; yes, you got another Indiana Jones birthday card... it's an Indiana Jones themed party; god damn it, leave that cat alone! Okay, boys, you pick out a movie while I pop the popcorn; no, I haven't seen the cat, go pick out a movie; no, you cannot watch The Return of the Living Dead, what kind of kid are y- no, you can't watch American Psycho; leave the damn cat alone; no, you can't watch Heavy Metal - yes, I know it's a cartoon, that's not the point; leave the cat al- are you happy now, you got scratched - you do not know how to take a hint, do y- wait, where the hell did you get a Scooby-Doo costume? Okay, boys, time for bed - kid, do not mess with me... my wife is a veterinarian and has access to horse tranquilizers; no, you cannot sleep with the cat - isn't that the same cat that just scratched you? - no, you can't sleep with the goddamned salamander; go to bed... bed... BED... ah, peace at last; I can hear you boys, I'm right next door - what's that, honey? - what do you mean "Let's have another baby?"

6S

Adam J. Whitlatch's house has been overrun by a platoon of sugar-hyped third graders from Miskatonic Elementary. If you are reading this, please send help... and vodka. When his house is not plagued with psychotic eight-year-olds, Adam writes Science Fiction and Horror. He is working on his new novel-in-progress Letters from an Angel. (Adam's full 6S catalog can be found here.)

Staying In

by Nathalie Boisard-Beudin

The pressure started early: Get out (join the race)! But he wanted nothing of it, so comfy was he in his perfect nest, safe and warm. If each of us is really a unique specimen, he thought, why must we all behave the same way? It was thus decided: he would not be just a random and insignificant member of the outside world; he would be the one that would have dared to stay in the room. Nobody had told him that this was not an option. When they finally opened a door into his world, he was declared still-born.

6S

Nathalie Boisard-Beudin, whose full catalog is here, is French but currently lives in Rome, Italy. Most of her writing is done in English, her second – and working – language. She works as in-house lawyer for the European Space Agency and has published micro-stories in the multi national anthology Wonderful World of Worders.

Jessica Simpson vs. My Penis

by Franklin Stone

I invented a game. For the past three weeks, I've been playing it. The rules are simple. If I make it through the day without masturbating while thinking of Jessica Simpson, my penis gets a point. If I don't, Jessica Simpson gets a point. So far, Jessica Simpson is winning 21-0.

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Franklin Stone is the author of Little Women, Big Tits and Bitches in Flip-Flops.

The Usual Story

by Peter Holm-Jensen

They started arguing. Their house became an evil place, a dreaded thing to return to each evening: the ill will waiting for them like a big black dog snarling at being left alone all day. Then he began blacking out whole days with drink, tearing them out of his memory. The usual story, I remember saying to someone, of love and related crimes. Except this one went far too far in its infernal logic. We read about how he did it in the paper the next day, what he used.

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