Don't Turn Around

by 6S Halloween Contest Winner Sean Kennedy

Whatever you do, don’t turn around. She’s standing right behind you, silent as the grave and staring absently at this very screen, just waiting for you to look deep into those white, empty voids where her eyes used to be. Her long, black, tattered hair falls around her shoulders, framing the rotting face of a once sweet and innocent child. In a few seconds you’ll feel something brush the back of your hair ever so slightly, but I warn you not to look; for it’s only her fingers, or at least what’s left of them. When something that horrific happens in one place, it leaves a scar in the world which stays throughout the corrosion of time. Just remain still and she’ll disappear for now, but she’ll always be here somewhere; standing in silence, gazing at nothing, waiting to catch those unfortunate souls who look into her eyes and make them feel what she suffered that day.

6S

Sean Kennedy, who just scored a free copy of 6SV1 and a $20.00 Amazon Gift Certificate, attends the University of Salford in Manchester, England. (Congratulations Sean! And thank you to everyone who participated in the contest! HAPPY HALLOWEEN!)

Wellsian SciFi Meets Philip K. Dick

by Rod Drake

Everyone thought it would be terrible when the Martians conquered the earth with their heat ray and tripod machines, but actually things didn’t change that much. After all, the earth’s various governments had been pretty greedy, corrupt and deaf to their citizens’ suffering for decades, so what would be different under our new red planet rulers? It took a little while to get use to seeing the gray octopus-like Martians undulate through the streets, but soon they barely got a second look, particularly after they acclimated and began wearing custom-fit Armani suits (with 16 sleeves for their tentacles). Capitalism won them over in short order, and they grew to love fast food, cell phones, iPods, malls, television and the Internet, especially Internet porn (I guess boys will be boys no matter how many tentacles they have). Something about naked human girls captivated the Martians, but who doesn’t enjoy looking at nude hotties (we earthlings all remembered that old movie title, Mars Needs Women, which apparently was true). Eventually the Martians blended in so well that we forgot all about them and just went on with our mundane daily lives, and before long it was hard to distinguish a Martian from an earthling.

6S

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

El Dia de Los Muertos

by Joseph Grant

Lupita lay in bed, near death’s door or at least that’s where she thought she was as she coughed and suffered through her late October influenza and hoped for a sweat to break the fever, but the sweat was a long time in coming and all that morning while they buried her grandmother she thought about the possibility of never being well again. Her being sick was made worse by not being able to properly say goodbye to her beloved abuelita, a woman who had practically raised her from birth, had fed her sopa de pollo, posole or albondigas when she was not well and practically smothered her with love and affection when she was, but there lay Lupita, unable to honor the woman who, in many ways, meant more to her than her own mother. Dwelling in and out of consciousness, Lupita’s eyes settled on differing things in the room, such as her colorful Ojo de Dios that she made in class, the large wooden crucifix over her door or the portrait of Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe next to the large bureau where she hid the diary that held her innermost secrets and thought of her dear grandmother until she fell asleep. During the following day she thought of her young life and how she would now always miss her precious grandmother and how long of a life there was to go without ever seeing her again and she wished she could see her grandmother again but this impossibility made her muy triste. In the late afternoon of the first of November, her family gathered their calaveras de azúcar and other favorite foods and beverages that her grandmother enjoyed during her lifetime and left to the cemetery miles away to prepare for El Dia de Los Muertos, a time-honored tradition many people of their town practiced to communicate with the souls of the departed, as well as to pray and light candles that symbolized their loved one’s souls, all in an effort to encourage visits by the dearly departed. Lupita smiled as she knew her family would save her some yummy pan de muerto to eat if she felt up to it and just as she thought again of her grandmother, there was a familiar knock upon the door.

6S

Joseph Grant's full 6S catalog is here.

Sweet Talk

by Madam Z and Harry B. Sanderford

Sadie loves to dress up for Halloween, but she's having a Hall o' a time thinking up a costume she hasn't already done, since she's been everything from Popeye to a demented nurse to a Martian, and oh yeah... a tube of toothpaste. This year she really wanted to push the envelope way outside of the ordinary and was mulling possible options when Stanley piped up with his annual suggestion that she could wear just go-go boots and go as Puss in Boots while he would put a pot on his head and go as Peter in a Pan. "Stanley, I told you last year and the year before last, and I'll tell you again, WE ARE TOO FRIGGIN' OLD TO BE RUNNING AROUND NAKED IN PUBLIC, and if you mention my decrepit go-go boots one more time, you'll be gone-gone and your Peter WILL be in a Pan!” There was a moment of poker faces before they both had to laugh, then Stanley dumped the contents of a plastic pumpkin on the kitchen table, rummaged around for a Ring Pop and holding it up for Sadie said, "You will never be old in my eyes, girl goblin, Happy Anniversary!" Sadie accepted the tawdry treasure, and with tears of joy in her eyes she replied, "It's been a lot of years since the day we made our lust legal, but you're still my favorite Tootsie-Troll." Still uncertain about her costume, Sadie licked the new lolly seductively as Stanley laid her down on the mattress of miniature sweets and began kissing her from her Mounds to her Whatchamacallit, whispering, "And you're my Bit-O-Honey, Sugar Baby."

6S

Madam Z and Harry B. Sanderford go together like Halloween and candy.

Between Heaven and Hell

by Adam J. Whitlatch

Every person on the planet had their own little theory about what would happen when the Large Hadron Collider straddling the Franco-Swiss border was finally turned on; some thought it would create a black hole and the planet would be slowly sucked into oblivion. Other doomsday theorists speculated that the force of the high-energy collisions might erase the boundaries separating our world from any number of parallel dimensions, causing our worlds to blend together; most people laughed at that one, myself included. The most popular theory was that the high-energy collisions would ignite the atmosphere, reducing the Earth to a smoking cinder in a matter of minutes - I would have preferred this to the alternative - but all the speculation in the world couldn't have prepared us for what happened that cold October morning when scientists flipped the switch. Who could have guessed that the largest technological marvel ever created by man would rend gaping holes in the fragile cosmic fabric that comprised the boundaries of both Heaven and Hell, unleashing a flood of souls like water from a broken dam? Furthermore, who would have known that these souls, loosed from their respective astral realms would find their way back to their earthly bodies, crawling from burial crypts, pounding and clawing incessantly against sealed coffin lids, and lurching out of morgues all over the world? And who would have thought that they would be so hungry?

6S

Adam J. Whitlatch wants you to join the resistance TODAY.

The 6S Halloween Contest!

A Frightening Invitation from Six Sentences

If you think you have what it takes to scare an audience silly, and you’re interested in winning cool prizes, then you’re in the right place! All you have to do is write a scary six, then post it in the comments section below. You must post your six, along with its title, by 11pm EDT tonight (and for those of you in other time zones, just check the time stamps of the comments and make sure your entry is posted before “Thursday, October 30, 2008 11:00:00 PM EDT”). After the deadline, the winning entry will be selected, and will then appear in the lead slot on the site on Halloween (tomorrow!), and its author will win a FREE copy of Six Sentences, Volume 1, along with a $20.00 Amazon Gift Certificate! Now get your scary wheels turning and enter the contest! Good luck... and Happy Halloween!

6S

Six Sentences, when you put your mind to it, can be awfully scary.

Being a Stepdad

by Doug McIntire

After three-plus years of being a stepdad, you tend to learn a few things. For me, I’ve learned that mom isn’t so good at math, which makes my arrival in the family both timely and fortuitous. But more importantly, I’ve learned how much a twelve-year-old can sneak in to steal your heart when you aren’t looking. It only took a slip on the parallel bars in gym class, followed by a broken nose, and my rush to get to the school to see how she was for me to realize that she had slipped in when I wasn’t looking and had latched onto me in ways that I couldn’t foresee. Now that the surgery to reset her nose is over and she’s sitting on the couch watching movies, her nose bandaged in a splint to prevent it from moving, it still tugs my heart strings to know she’s hurting and there’s really nothing I can do about it. So I get her ice cream, and take her pillows and blankets, and hope that I’ll be there the next time she falls, hopefully to keep her from hurting herself, but at least to help her dust herself off.

6S

Doug McIntire likes to write a lot but enjoys time with his family more.

Dinner with the Undecideds

by Arthur Chertowsky

It sure is fun being part of a weekly focus group of undecided voters and being interviewed by TV anchors and then meeting for dinner afterwards! Last week some of us were on diets, but this week we’ve decided to have the dessert cart sent to our table! Some of us are vegetarians, or have been vegetarians, and some of us are life-long carnivores, but this week some of the vegetarians are becoming carnivores and some of the carnivores are swearing off meat! The clock is ticking and Election Day is nigh, but I’m still of two minds about the presidential candidates, and I find myself asking myself the same questions I asked myself months ago after we all knew who the candidates would be! In some ways I think all politicians are the same, and in some ways I think they’re completely different! Tonight I want coffee, or maybe tea!

6S

Arthur Chertowsky is... undecided?

Stagnant

by D.J. Berndt

Poems say, "read me." Cigarettes say, "smoke me." Bottles of beer say, "drink me." Women say, "love me." Pills say, "swallow me." I don't say anything.

6S

D.J. Berndt has accomplished nothing of importance.

October Whimsy

by Rachel Jendrzejewski

I liked holding your arm that night I kept losing my shoes, the night of sleepy chilly late-night cherry vodka stumblehome. I liked the security of surreal new generous you, my oddly reassuring lullhum in an unfamiliar sea. Some silly side of me wanted to kiss you, and I wondered, Did that corner of lace make your Catholic bones quake? I know you're not my soul mate and I'm not yours (you'll never love Brecht and I'll never love motor sports), and one day the waves will part, taking you to some graceful mermaid and me to my faraway questionmark sailor. But right now, you call Good morning? to my room with your rolling accent, your shy polite hesitation in the hallway, then turn on Polish radio and start scrambling eggs; so I emerge in my glasses and fix coffee on the stove like you taught me, and we bump and blush and ignore. And as we sit down to breakfast and you talk and talk and talk... I listen and smile to myself and think, Dear stranger-turned-friend, I liked holding your arm.

6S

Rachel Jendrzejewski is a writer of plays, poems, grants and valentines. She currently lives in Poland and is a founding family-member of The Traveling Neighborhood.

Cold Caliber

by Mercedes Yardley

The thing about guns is that they’re so charismatic. You walk into a room, it makes its appearance, and suddenly every eye in the place is on it. Case in point. I think, Nice Glock 37, firing a .45 GAP caliber, with a magazine capacity of ten rounds, full mag weight of 9.53 ounces, trigger pull of 5.5 pounds, aimed at my heart, dead steady. All this before I even take the time to look up and see who’s holding it on me in the first place. And then I’m not surprised, not at all, just... kind of sad and let down, if you know what I mean.

6S

Mercedes Yardley really, really hates to be sad and let down (if you know what she means).

Ready, Aim, Fire

by Harry B. Sanderford and Madam Z

A ragged rider, face smeared with dried blood and campfire soot, fetched the Winchester from the saddle and stomped the dust off her boots before entering the saloon. Carrying the rifle loosely on one hip, she charged up to the crowded bar and started yelling, "Look here fellas, I'm hurt, I'm horny and I need a man right now, so which one of you polecats is gonna take care of me?" The men at the bar looked up from their drinks then away or down at their boots, so this raggedy Annie Oakley ratcheted the rifle's lever and upon regaining their attention, shot the mirror behind the bar to show that the Winchester wasn't exactly loaded with sofa pillows and that she was not there to be ignored. Most of those cowardly cowboys stampeded for the door, but two of them stayed behind: Curly, a big, square-jawed, hard-muscled sharp-shooter from out of town, who looked at Annie and said, "Lady, I got a gun as big and hard as that Winchester of yours, and I'm your man;" and Zev, the only Jew west of the Mississippi, who stepped up in front of Curly and declared, in a voice as sweet as milk and honey, "My dear woman, it is clear that you need some tender loving care, and while the gun in my pocket is not a rifle, my aim is true and your satisfaction is guaranteed." Curly swept the little fellow aside, unlooping his suspenders which Zev caught hold of and digging his heels in, water-skied along the saloon floor planks in the big man's wake towards Annie, who was on the bar unbuttoning her shirt and wondering what Mary Chapin Carpenter would do in this situation (WWMCCD) when it came to her, "Hey Curly, hey Zev, boys, you don't have to fight, HOTDOG, I'm feeling lucky tonight!" But, as always in a situation like this, the question of "Who goes first?" rears its head and Curly shook Zev off his suspenders and charged toward the bar, unzipping his pants and grinning from ear to rear, but Zev scooted in front of him and started helping Annie out of her shirt and dusty pants, licking every inch of every erogenous zone on Annie's lucky body, until she was bucking like a wild pony, while Curly stood there, shell-shocked and helpless as Zev mounted his filly and Annie reached over and grabbed her rifle, aimed it at Curly and said, "Hit that dusty trail, cowboy; I've found the promised land."

6S

Harry B. Sanderford and Madam Z know how to rise to a challenge.

Death Dream

by D.T. Arcieri

I dreamed I was laying on my death bed with my eyes closed. Friends and family stood on line and took turns whispering in my ear. “We love you,” said my family. “Don’t leave us,” said my friends. But someone I didn’t know, a stranger, was there. He whispered in my ear, "Your destiny isn’t written for you, it’s written by you.”

6S

D.T. Arcieri is a biologist and playwright who lives and works on Long Island, NY.

DNA Fantasy

by Steven Kunert

Too bad the genetic makeup of humankind doesn’t mandate this evolutionary inevitability — as one gets older physiologically and psychologically, one naturally grows in freedom from inhibitions, sheds all prejudices and becomes more joyful. Imagine, for instance, the heightened happiness at your nearby old folks home, where ever so often the gay grays get so jolly that neighbors become annoyed enough to call the police and complain about the ancients’ overly loud laughter. Or fancy perhaps these neighbors dialing 911 when the retirees’ giddy frolic spills into the streets, as these radically and overly content wrinkleheads dance on the hoods and roofs of cars owned by those who called the cops, those not yet fully developed in happy human genetic progression — middle-aged fuddy-duddies stymied by obligations and issues brought on by their crappy careers, faulty finances and funky families. Envision on your avenue such a beautiful riot—some of the participants enthused pink-haired and rollicking stem cell research supporters driving solar-powered walkers, wise elders with perfectly seasoned double helixes and hormones and intellects, reflecting the given human biological dictum that as we age all of us get more joyous and free of our hang-ups. Just think, even some of those regularly uptight or angry folks you know — like Republicans and religious nuts — would be mellow and tolerable when reach their golden years. Well, okay, maybe they’re not ready yet.

6S

Steven Kunert's writings in fiction, nonfiction and poetry have stretched for 30 years in publications such as The Starving Artist Times, Dude, Rio Grande Review, Word Riot and decomP.

Memories

by Heather Parker

"This is a useful space," said the estate agent, opening the dark cupboard under the stairs. Annie's old, lined face drained as she remembered another room like this. Suddenly she was a child of ten again, sheltering from the German planes dropping their deadly cargo over Liverpool. Mighty explosions; splintering glass above her. Yet that was almost seventy years ago. "I'd prefer a bungalow," she whispered, clutching her heart.

6S

Heather Parker lives in the English Lake District with four cats, three dogs and a husband. Until recently she worked for the University of Cumbria, but now writes semi-professionally. She has won prizes in several literary competitions and many of her stories have been published in popular British and American magazines. Her new novel will be published at the end of 2008 by Drollerie Press. Some of her stories can be read on her website.

Tickled to Death (Seriously)

by Robb Todd

No! Stop! Please! Can't! Breathe! AaaAaaaAaahh hhhhhuunng ggnnn ggrrrll llloooff ffbla bleggg!

6S

Robb Todd knows that a grizzly bear would whip a gorilla in a fight. Easily. No doubt about it.

Eighty-Six This Site

by Chris Roberts

Six strictured sentences equates to a numerical variant of a theme magazine. This in turn translates to a teacher handing out a really bad homework assignment for grade schoolers to follow like so many lemmings. I think numbered/theme publications not even in the category of true literary work - it is a very specific subject rammed down a writer's throat. What is regurgitated is just that - indigested bits of forced prose of the one-dimensional, cardboard cut out variety. Real original, really boring. I dare you to print this.

6S

Chris Roberts lives in Brooklyn, New York. (This piece has been published exactly as submitted - not one edit has been made.)

Google Isn't My Friend

by Quin Browne

Frustrated after reading conflicting opinions, I used bowls of hot and cold water; not like I'd be around to discuss the results. In my mirror, my Doppelgänger; hazel eyes, cropped hair, lips pressed firmly together, she stared back. She blinked, not breaking eye contact, accepting her responsibility... this way, God would punish her... not me. Her blade went deep... one side, then the other. This is about us... we're weary and the possible pain of others was inconsequential. Amazement flared briefly as we discovered cold water worked as effectively as hot when you're bleeding out... definitely proof Google didn't know everything.

6S

Quin Browne misses New York, and wonders if it misses her.

Formality

by Jeanette Cheezum

I heard the wishes of my mother once while she put on her lipstick, mascara, and darkened her eyebrows, not knowing then I would hear this repeatedly for the rest of her life: “When I die you must make sure my eyebrows and eyelashes are perfect, not left white.” I paid attention to the details of her ritual each day, so when the time came I would not let her down; these were not the things a child should have to think about. When I left home and we didn’t see each other, the makeup thing was mentioned rarely — although still tucked in the back of my mind. Then one day I got the call no one wants to get... my mother had passed away. Oh, my God, I fell to my knees, I should have been there, not at work — oh no, the makeup. I arrived at the funeral parlor prepared with everything I needed; stood next to her and wept, making such a mess — then started over because I knew it had to be perfect.

6S

Jeanette Cheezum was a finalist in the 6S "Mixed Drinks" contest. She is a member of the Hampton Roads Writer's Critique Group.

And What If This Happens?

by Bill Cotter

It's early morning, you're alone, you can't sleep, so you get up to see if Ysidora emailed you about who the chickens are gonna be in the chicken fight tonight, but she hasn't, so you go sit on the commode to see if anything happens (there's been a dark, interior wailing since those smelt tacos at your stepdaddy's sober-singles fish-fry & book swap yesterday), telling yourself you're not going to check the email again for thirty minutes, and to kill that long, ugly thirty -- twenty-nine and fifty seconds now, by god -- you grab the '58 Kokomo Yellow Pages on the floor by the sink because it's all you can reach, and just when you find the page with the pop-up of Suzanne Tamim winking at you from her diamondplate Catherine wheel, you hear a knock at the door. Not the front door. The back door. What then, huh? Fool, you left your pistol in the bed of Huey's El Camino, your pigsticker's still buried point-up in Clay Shaw's sideyard, and those peckerheads from the steamfitters' union still have your sweet, sweet cordless Paslode Impulse nail gun. No, no, wait -- lemme guess: you're gonna do what you always do: trade your long, spinel-black Breck-Girl hair to the wigmaker for a bogus diplo passport and a new set of thumbprints, then vanish like medical oxygen down some dying queen's throat.

6S

Bill Cotter lives in Austin, Texas. His first novel, Fever Chart, is coming out this spring on McSweeney's. He doesn't like to go outside if he can help it.

To the Limit

by Jean-Paul Richard

Huayna Picchu, a rock outcropping, rose majestically from the plain of Machu Picchu, a steeple of rock pointing to the sky. I felt fine, a bit winded because of the high altitude, but my sixty-five year old legs were not sore; yet it was another ninety minute climb up a narrow, winding, treacherous path. I looked longingly at the summit, but a gnawing doubt in my gut told me that maybe I had finally reached that age where I couldn’t do it all anymore. I watched as others began the climb, though not without a pang of envy, a twinge of disappointment. “I’m really surprised you didn’t go," my wife said a few minutes later. “I was sure tempted, but maybe I’m just getting smarter as I get older.”

6S

Jean-Paul Richard, a member of the Hamptons Roads Writers Group, enjoys writing short memoirs for his grandkids. He also teaches technical writing to organizations who respond to Federal proposals. He's written articles for Exceptional Parent and Arise.

Retribution

by Kim Tairi

As she climbed the stairs, every inch of her body ached and walking wasn't easy. She thought to herself, this is one injury that time won't ever heal. It wasn't at all like the movies... hitting people hurt like hell. Her knuckles were bruised and the ringing in her ears hadn't stopped yet. Watching the light go out in his eyes was sickening and the waiting was making her stomach churn. Death, his death hadn't made anything better... the suffering continued.

6S

Kim Tairi, a poet and runner, is looking for Sanctuary.

Explaining Why I Love You

by Ryan W. Bradley

Every night when I leave work I get in my car and drive the back way out of town. You know: up through the park, and then cutting through the neighborhoods on the hill. The sun is always in my eyes, but the further into winter it gets my shift's end starts to coincide with the sunset. I'm sure the colors are beautiful, but I can't see them because I'm colorblind. You know that already. So, I imagine you in the passenger seat, because I know at the stop sign on the corner of Laurel Street you would tell me to close my eyes and then you would describe every hue until my eyes opened again at the touch of your lips on my cheek.

6S

Ryan W. Bradley is currently working on his MFA in creative writing from Pacific University. He has published poetry and fiction, and is compiling a memoir of the time he spent working construction in the Arctic Circle. He lives in Southern Oregon with his wife and two sons. You can read his blog here.

Control

by Tim Horvath

In my neighborhood, two vehicles announce themselves with regularity, the ice cream truck and mosquito control. Let us establish from the outset that only one of these wishes its arrival to be known, while the other tips us off due only to an accident of design, whereby the four-stroke engine of the sprayer rattles and sputters like an iron lung out of warranty as it spews its pseudo-chrysanthemum fog into the air. Each sound is, in its way, unmistakable, and maybe this is why in my dreams the two coalesce into a single vehicle. The children, hearing the calliope song, leap up from their block-stacking, their nose-probing, their worm-tormenting, their treehouse-revamping, their busted-parachute simulations and olympian hopscotch and secret-hoarding, and converge on the truck, just then making its way around the cul de sac’s bend. The cloud shooting out of the pipe, they are sure, is ice cream vapor, and they rush to jockey for position, tongues outstretched under the vaguely floral mist; a slight delay before they fall back coughing and clinging to each other, retching on lawns, in culverts, along the roadside. As they gradually pick themselves to their feet, confused but with appetites unabated, a few catch the eye of the ice cream man, who appears to evince some remorse even as the song starts up again.

6S

Tim Horvath's work is out or forthcoming in Alimentum: The Literature of Food, Fiction, Web Conjunctions, Puerto del Sol, and many other places. His novella, Circulation, will be released by Sunnyoutside Press later this year. He teaches at Grub Street Writers in Boston and will teach writing at Chester College of New England starting in the spring of 2009.

Raccoon Whisperer

by Michael J. Killips

I followed the large raccoon as he worked his way under our deck. The larger mother raccoon watched me from a distance, seeing that there was little she could do to protect her youngin’. There was just enough space under the deck for me to crawl in GI fashion towards the raccoon in the back corner. He stood with paws raised high making himself as big as he could showing his teeth as he hissed at me. I slowly moved forward offering my hand extended down low as I often do when I meet a new dog. My dreams of becoming a raccoon whisperer ended in a sudden flurry of scratching, biting, hissing, screaming and blood as I was forced to find a new way out from under the deck through the deck’s lattes.

6S

Michael J. Killips has written scripts professionally for medical video productions. Now he's looking to expand his writing experience by exploring different genres.

13 Years

by mgirl

As I rummage through these dusty boxes that have been hidden away I am reminded of what my kids were doing thirteen years ago. I open a book and see a scribbled sentence my daughter wrote: Nicole is awesome call her! I'm amazed at what one simple sentence written years ago can do to my heart today. Friends ask me if I'm a pack-rat, and I deny it but when it came to my kids I kept everything, neatly filed and boxed from kindergarten to grade seven. The one time I tried to sneak something into the garbage I was caught and questioned by my son; today that piece of art is sitting on my bedside table. It makes me sad to think about leaving this house, as I blow the dust off these boxes and re-box my memories to make them fit into a smaller place, but I know I will always have them all in my heart, the happy and the sad, to share forever.

6S

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

Free Market

by Ravi Mangla

He was a dyed-in-wool communist who attended right-wing speed dating events on Monday nights. It might have had something to do with the way they buttoned their top button, took the daintiest sips of vaguely alcoholic drinks with names like cheap motels. He kept eye contact, listened to stories about their cats. Nodded politely. He whispered laissez-faire, like silk on his tongue. During the closing prayer, after the gong had quaked a final time, he imagined the sensual caress of a million invisible hands.

6S

Ravi Mangla is affiliation-blind. His short fiction has recently appeared in Dogzplot, elimae, Boston Literary Magazine, and McSweeney's Internet Tendency. He blogs here.

I See You

by Robert Scotellaro

I work the ICU night shift at St. Mary's, watch one spirit after another drift off (it's different than you might expect), and I wonder if some of the other nurses see them as well, or if I'm the only one with this gift — or curse, depending on how you look at it. Mrs. Nagle's, for instance, slipped out all smoky and shimmering: a chicken strapped to a mule that kicked its wispy hindquarters right out of there, and Mr. Pike's was a gorilla made of sparks teetering across a hanging bridge with several slats missing. But this new guy (right before we put the paddles to him) had a clown climb out with a black cat on his head (pin pricks of blood showing through the grease paint) — two big clodhoppers ready to clomp off, when his heart snapped into normal rhythm and the clown dropped back in. He wakes as I adjust his IV — tell him, You're alright now, but you've had a close shave. "And here I was trying to grow a beard," he quips, his eyes all droopy, and I smile; hold his hand as he drifts off to sleep — the monitor's reassuring beeps, a sweet music. Outside the window snow is falling, and I wish I had a cigarette (keep trying to quit), but wish I had one as I see another — a glittery form this time, sailing away from the wards: a wolf juggling beer bottles, or maybe it's hammers — it's hard to tell through all those big flakes and it's really coming down pretty good now.

6S

Robert Scotellaro's work has appeared or is forthcoming in a variety of magazines and anthologies, including Ghoti, VerbSap, 971 Menu, Boston Literary Magazine, The Laurel Review, Red Rock Review, Northeast Journal, The Vagabond Anthology, Macmillan and Oxford University Press collections, and elsewhere. He is the author of several literary chapbooks and the recipient of Zone 3’s Rainmaker Award. He currently lives in California with his wife and daughter.

Mind the Gap!

by Bev Turner

The brain's a funny thing; stores all sorts of useless information, and odd things tend to escape whenever there's a gap. Always thought that the only difference between the Mildly Crazy and the Truly Far Gone is the ability (or lack thereof) to rein in insane thoughts. We all have them - some of us are better at hiding them. One of the good things about a close relationship is the freedom to let these thoughts roam free. But then we wonder why our latest love is seen running for the hills. Right... moving on!

6S

Bev Turner lives and writes in Cape Town, South Africa.

Bee Plus

by Louise Yeiser

The old wooden trunk with its chipped corners, scratched sides and two-inch wide leather straps that once held it tight, is filled with dreams that pop out, hand in hand with the strong smell of cedar, every time I open the lid. My mother bent over her work in a straight-backed chair at her sewing table, among folds and folds of material cascading from her lap, with many-colored patches of fabric neatly piled, with even edges, into the basket at her feet that were as bare as the dark, wooden floor. She worked with white and lavender, folded at the bottom of the bed in my guest room, and pink and beige, which is on my niece’s bed in Florida, and lemon and green in a quilt whose whereabouts I lost track of. When she could no longer quilt, she stored her new squares, her old favorites and all her leftovers in the trunk for safekeeping, so on special days, like her birthday or the anniversary of her death or her wedding to my father, I almost tiptoe around my bed and sit cross-legged on the floor in front of it. Slowly, so slowly, I lift the lid to savor the colors escaping into the air and listen to the song of her humming and stitching, and I breathe my fill of the memories and the cedar and all the goodness which is the only part I want to remember. And for just a quick piece of a moment, I can step back into an improved, silky-sweet version of yesterday and relive it the way I always wanted.

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 knits.)

Bailout, My Ass!

by Joseph Grant

Don’t believe the hype, as the song lyric goes. Well, do you really think that this bailout is going to help you or me or is it going to keep the status quo, well, status quo? Wall Street and the banking institutions threw a party and as we’ve all read, sent their bloated frat boys on vacations after getting drunk off the blood, sweat and tears of the average hard-working American, avariciously mortgaging us out of house and home and now they want us to refinance their orgy of greed. The party got so out of hand that it affected everyone else in our global neighborhood and many futures have been foreclosed and now the government, parental as ever, is stepping into the picture and telling old Fannie and Freddie next door that the block party is over. Meanwhile, Bernanke, Paulson and their cabal wipe the distaste of oversight and wretched excess from their mouths with clean white linen napkins but who gets stuck with the bill? There are 700 billion reasons why this swindle doesn’t wash spotless but billions more coming why we will just have to clean up this mess and go straight to bed without supper like they told us.

6S

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

Multiples

by Lissette Diaz

I miss you, your face, and your Fred Flintstone feet. I miss the warmth and safety of your hugs. I miss all those stolen moments where I would wake up before you and stare at you sleeping so peacefully. Of all the things I miss about you, what I miss most... is your smell. You can think a million things about where and who I was, but I still miss the world of safety and comfort that existed on the slopes of your chest. It's the only place that's ever felt like home to me.

6S

Lissette Diaz is currently invoicing the boredom of her life until something big happens.

When I Came Home to Cindy

by Timothy Braun

When I came home to Cindy I was drunk and she had bought a cat, a cat she hadn’t gotten food for. Cindy was angry and didn’t talk to me. The cat ate the leaves off my mahogany fern, and hissed when I picked a fight with Cindy, just before I passed out. The next day Cindy was gone, along with my wallet and all her dresses. I tried to share my breakfast with the cat - double whiskey, coke, no ice - but the cat wouldn’t have any and jumped out the living room window. I never learned the name of the cat.

6S

Timothy Braun is a writer living in Austin, Texas. He teaches in the Department of English at St. Edward's University. You can learn more about him here.

Homecoming

by Mary Mageau

I’m out again - I need a place to stay tonight. He pushes past me stashing two six packs in my fridge, then walks around quickly: checking all the windows, counting the mailboxes at the front entrance, locking the back door. His arms are full of ink now – all prison tatts, he’s still so edgy and has that same smell of unwashed clothes. He opens a cold beer as we face each other across the kitchen table. "And what about your restriction order?" I’ll be gone tomorrow.

6S

Mary Mageau, who lives "Down Under," writes whenever she can and publishes poetry in Contemporary Haibun, Gusts, Eucalypt, and Paper Wasp.

What the Movies Don’t Teach You

by Joseph Grant

Life certainly doesn't go the way it does in movies. True love doesn't necessarily stay true, the good die young and many times without reason or rhyme, there are no happy endings in life, many times there are just endings. Villains don’t get always taught a lesson or get their comeuppance; sometimes they get elected to public office and become bigger villains. Wars aren't always just, not always fought for the right reasons and heroes sometimes make it home in body bags. Sometimes heroes don’t come home at all. We are actors constantly in search of a meaningful script, flubbing our most important lines and scenes; only to think of killer lines way past Act One, never comprehending our role, never knowing when Death will yell from the darkness: “Cut... that’s a wrap!”

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 Tenth Funeral

by Momo Okayasu

Between the ages of six and thirteen, I went to nine funerals for people I loved and I never cried; not one salty droplet. I never really knew why everyone around me couldn't stop. The fact scared me and I thought something was wrong with me, like maybe I was a heartless person, or maybe I never cared in the first place. Today, six years later, he died in my arms and I couldn't stop crying. His blood won't wash from my hands, and I can't stop seeing his last shuddering breath before he lay still, staring at me with wide eyes as if asking me to bring him back. So maybe there is something wrong with me: nine family members, nine friends, nine funerals, and not one single tear to honor them - but today, I cried every tear I had at the tenth funeral for a small black kitten named L.

6S

Momo Okayasu doesn't really have a bio. She's just a writer who's been trying to think of something for 6S - and recently had a reason to write.

A Smile

by John Cabeen

I had some blood work done at the hospital last week. I sat down across from a woman wearing a chemo cap in the crowded waiting room. I looked around and my eyes caught the woman's. I smiled at her. She smiled back. I felt good the rest of the day.

6S

John Cabeen, who jots down thoughts, is an adjunct teaching English at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

The Rehabilitator

by Steven Kunert

I was about ten when the young hawk died in Mother’s hands, and she said, Death will linger but life always hovers higher. Later, she fed a fallen cedar waxwing nestling from an eyedropper filled with orange juice and apple mush, while in a cage next to her a once lame sparrow chirped, I’m ready. I saw them come, injured or half dead, and I saw them fly again or go to the dirt in our backyard, where she always put those. One day I pointed to a robin’s feather rising from under the soil. No worry, she said. It will go up or it will stay down, and either way, you’ll be fine.

6S

Steven Kunert's writings in fiction, nonfiction and poetry have stretched for 30 years in publications such as The Starving Artist Times, Dude, Rio Grande Review, Word Riot and decomP.

The Fairest Among Women

by Geoffrey Bristol

...lives in a room overlooking the river to my home; I land there often: the quiet, frozen suitor. She is childlike, a maiden of the valley. We talk, and tea, and stroll in the garden. I offer her a white-gloved hand; she smiles. I ride home at dusk, and watch the water. She lives alone, humming, and trimming her gowns.

6S

Geoffrey Bristol visited a few evenings ago.

Playing Charades in Miami

by Lola Koi

"Mami... take off your clothes," he told me in Spanish as soon as we had escaped from the tropical heat. His voice wavered nervously, as if asking a question, but his eyes devoured me confidently. I realized that no amount of required Spanish classes in high school or college would have been sufficient to teach me the vocabulary that I wanted to know at that moment. Between kisses, he anxiously whispered something that I couldn't quite understand about letting him know if he were to do anything that I didn't like. I liked everything so much that I couldn't come up with the few words I knew and instead moaned and screamed like a histrionic telenovela star until we finally collapsed, naked and sweaty, onto the hotel bed. As we lay drifting toward a nap, I became acutely aware that a graduation ceremony being held in the atrium below our room probably heard everything, and sex with someone who doesn't speak your language is a lot emptier and louder than in your fantasies.

6S

Lola Koi, a criminal defense lawyer from Miami, has been called a math goddess, a grammar nazi, and a tiger in bed.

Attention Span

by Crorey Lawton

People are always teasing me about my short attention span, but you know what? They're just jealous, because I see connections where they don't, like the time that Allie's pants got torn and I started thinking about how I tore my shirt playing basketball just like my uncle who played at LSU before Shaq came along - did you know he finally graduated? And when I start talking about Shaq, nobody ever understands why. Free association, my mom calls it - it's just the way my brain works, bobbing and weaving around like a boxer, rope a dope, pope soap on a rope, float like a butterfly on the breeze. It's fun, but hard to shut off when you need to concentrate on what the teacher is saying. Is that a quarter under your desk?

6S

Crorey Lawton's short attention span makes him love disaster response work - the adult ADHD dream job.

Permanent Tan

by Derek Taylor

The biracial boy sprinted in a zigzag stumble, tears and snot streaming across his contorted face as ice balls peppered the pavement around him and the epithet of “Run, nigger, run!” echoed in his ears. Reaching the house, he bolted up the steps, through the front door and into the warm safety of the parlor. Several minutes later he sat on the sofa sucking noisily on a fudgsicle, tears drying, having related his ordeal to his father. “Well, what do you consider yourself?” The boy’s features furrowed in an expression of serious deliberation: “I guess I’m tan, Dad... yeah, I’m tan.” A bittersweet smile curled at the corners of the father’s mouth and he hugged his son close.

6S

Derek Taylor, author of Bum Gig, believes in race as a purely social construct. His words can be found at Bagatellen and Dusted Magazine.

Tumbleweave Connection

a sequel to Purple Weave by Eric Spitznagel

I drove out to Oakland last weekend to visit my brother-in-law - or more truthfully, to visit Shaniqua, the purple weave that lives in the bushes outside his house. It's been almost a year and she still hasn't been claimed, and having survived a particularly nasty California heat wave, she's starting to look haggard and pinched, like an elderly woman chain-smoking menthol cigarettes outside of her mobile home. But Shaniqua, who once looked so sad and abandoned, is now blanketed by a new, slightly smaller weave, black and curly and with just a hint of oily glisten, like something Samuel L. Jackson would wear while playing a gangster bad ass. The way both weaves are entangled together, it's difficult to read their intentions, and I wonder if the black weave has instigated a turf war, forcing Shaniqua into an epic battle for land ownership. As I stand on my brother's front lawn and study the tableaux - they're like two hairy squids fighting in slow motion - I'm convinced that they're really in love; that by some combination of fate and dumb luck, they were both thrown out of car windows at the exact same trajectory and somehow landed on the very same bush, and now they're spooning like young lovers who don't ever want to let go. I sprinkle their bush with a handful of leaves, making them a blanket, because Shaniqua is my friend and I want her to be happy and sometimes even weaves need a little privacy.

6S

Eric Spitznagel has written six books, one of which features a scowling cat on the cover for no apparent reason. He writes for magazines like Playboy, The Believer, Radar, Rolling Stone and Vanity Fair, among many others. He has one more testicle than Hitler did, which he considers a moral victory. (And his blog is called Vonnegut's Asshole, which is kinda ironic, as he infrequently writes about either assholes or Kurt Vonnegut.)

Boneyard

by Gorey Laurie

Mark drove up here week before last and spent a few days with us. He's a big fan of geocaching which means you buy a hand-held electronic device that links up to satellites in outer space which report back to you topographical coordinates which point to a general area you've self-selected in which you go looking for something of which you are given only a loose and cryptic description, which may or may not be in allegedly plain sight. If you're intuitive and lucky you'll find it, and in most cases, apparently, it will contain things people hid there instead of putting in the trash. One of the things we found in what may be the world's most ravaged cemetery was a starving cat - but that wasn't what we were looking for. One good thing about geocaching is that you go to places you'd probably never go to otherwise, and that parched and desolate cemetery was certainly one of them. Now I keep thinking about that yowling cat whose tail was half bald.

6S

Gorey Laurie is a semi-retired mail artist who sometimes writes sentences and stuff like that.

The Low Grumble of Thunder

by Hosho McCreesh

Been raining three days straight here in the desert and I ain't never seen anything like it. "Monsoon season," they say, and the air's so heavy that the pages in old books curl, the plaster sweats, and the doors are all swoll-up in their jambs. Watching it rain I had this crazy dream that, just for a few days, them doors would stay shut and the whole world would just stop. No one would bother with work and, instead, they'd just stay home, talk, laugh, get drunk listenin' to news reports, or old Ledbelly records while starin' out the window as the rain come runnin' down. They'd stay up real late just gettin' to know each other again, remember why they loved all the people they loved, and they'd sleep peacefully to the low grumble of thunder with the windows cranked open a hair. I know, I know... it'd never work.

6S

Hosho McCreesh loves writing with a drawl. He's currently alive, working, writing, and painting in the Gypsum & Caliche Badlands of the American Southwest. Portions of his work are available from Bottle of Smoke Press, sunnyoutside press, and 10pt Press.

Rod & Reel

by Danita Rambo

I am always trying to take care of you and you are always trying to get out from under me. If you would just say what you wanted life would be easier. I promise. You don't though. You just hem and you haw and I am left floundering. Quit catching me and throwing me back into the sea.

6S

Danita Rambo writes too much poetry and not enough prose.

Internal Combustion

by Thom Gabrukiewicz and Quin Browne

I do not sleep; there is no shut-eye, no tuck-you-in, sweet dreams, don't let the bedbugs bite – because this is the brand of insomnia that can't be touched with valerian root, melatonin, Lunesta, Xanax, Vicodin, Valium (I know, since I've tried every alternative, in every combination). Nighttime is killing me, so, I counterattack by killing time — driving endlessly with no radio, only the noise of the wind slipping through the cracked window, the hiss of the tires on the macadam road's frosting of rain and oil and my suddenly hypersensitive hearing that is causing the sound of my heart and the blinking of my grit-filled eyelids to join the Chevy's orchestra in a perfect rhythmic counter-point in my head. It's this hippy-hop thump-thump, blink-blink that catches in my throat, catches up; the tears start as wells in my eyes and turn into a cascading fury that makes oncoming headlights stretch light like florescent taffy. There should be a space, a place... a time for all of this to have rhyme and reason in my world, yet, that space, that place, that... time, are as lost to me as my sense of reality is right now. The two-lane blacktop is dark and desolate; I flick the lights off and join the darkness – and with seething, teeth-clenched rage, stand on the brake pedal with both feet and squeal to a lurching stop. I imagined it was just like this for Paul, that night, the decision to drive for miles, speed increasing, turning the lights off as he hit the curve - and putting my head on the steering wheel, I finally gave myself over to the rage of my grief.

6S

Thom Gabrukiewicz and Quin Browne, as members of a mutual admiration society (and seeking a new challenge), decided to take 6S to a new level: alternating sentences without first deciding on a plot. They now throw down the gauntlet to their fellow writers - see what you (and a partner) can do with this same format...

Snowball

by Crispin Best

There was a snowball on the ground. I walked over and trod on the snowball. It squeaked. It was not a snowball. It was a piece of polystyrene. I thought about how I felt and decided I felt OK.

6S

Crispin Best is wearing an orange t-shirt and feels sad when he thinks about the moon.

Six by Six, Issue 1

an Online Magazine from Six Sentences



Our premiere issue of Six by Six features work from Georgina Bruce, Meghan Daniels, Emily Kajsa Herrstrom, Jac Jemc, Jillia Nash, and Martin Reed. 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.)

Summer Skin

by R.C. Neighbors

The July sun burned my back as I paused on the dock and watched the gentle breeze rippling the surface of the lake and rustling the leaves of the oak trees on the shore and raising the gulls into the sky, their wings outstretched over us. She smiled expectantly, golden bangs clinging to her forehead, her body hidden by the murky water. I stepped closer to the edge. My scrawny arm rose to scratch my narrow, naked chest, and she splashed me, flashing her bare shoulders. I took a deep breath. My trunks dropped, and I dove in.

6S

R.C. Neighbors, when no one's looking, likes to pretend he's a writer.

In It

by Kristen Tsetsi

I tug on my jeans, cover up with my bra. He is asleep before I put on my socks, naked on the couch with one bent leg propped against the back, the other flat and angled open. Even drunk, most people would be self-conscious. Most would have pulled something on first thing. Were he anyone else, I would be embarrassed for him, would find a light blanket, or a robe or a bath towel, to drape over him. I sit on the floor and run my fingers over his body, the tissue-soft skin of his inner thigh, the sparse hair curls on his lower abdomen, the dark hollow where neck pools into collar bone, and I wonder if I could ever be comfortable enough, trusting enough, to sleep this way, watched, the way I am watching him.

6S

Kristen Tsetsi is the author of Homefront and co-edits Tuesday Shorts.

Snap

by Katherine Grosjean

When things turn inward to churn and choke her, she makes herself bleed. She curls her pointer fingers down and starts scratching, gently at first, the inner side of her thumb, until the skin lifts and pills, and then comes off in one raggedy ball. Painless, really, almost disappointingly so, but the next layer sears, resisting, and she has to use the fingernails of the other hand to grip and pull at the lifted edges. This skin pulls back, stretching and tearing and stinging until it finally lets go with a defeated little snap. A dark dot of blood appears and she sucks it away, always surprised at its metallic taste. Later, she will stare in wonder at the flashes of pink and perfect skin peeking out from under the ugly uneven surface, and she will grin.

6S

Katherine Grosjean lives and writes in rural Ontario, Canada. Her work has appeared at McSweeney's Internet Tendency, Smokelong Quarterly, Snow Monkey, Pig Iron Malt, and other fine publications.

R U the 1 4 Me?

by L. Allison Stein

Janine came down the stairs wailing as though there were some kind of emergency, and by the look of her there just might have been: hair all mussed, thickly applied mascara dripping out of her eyes, bra strap ragged and hanging in a giant loop over one shoulder, pajama bottoms dragging over Tigger slippers. She sobbed; huffing, sniffing, snorting; reaching for an embrace from the only other person in the room: her mother. I hugged her confusedly as she trembled in my arms, head tilted into the nook formed out of my neck and shoulder, mouth agape to prolong the noise, webs of saliva stringing together her large front and tiny bottom teeth. "He blocked me," came her explanation, high pitched, whiny, and I knew immediately who she meant by he, feeling a quick rush of relief; I had decided not to quash her fancy, to explain that he was actually some slightly sick, single, lonely, 40-year-old still living at home. I only knew this because I was some slightly frustrated, single, lonely, 53-year-old, going on twelve years without a husband and eight without a date, snooping on my fifteen year old's internet activity - including chatting with those on her contact lists - to keep her safe, only to end up growing close to and nearly falling for the creep who'd been flirting with her until four every morning. I stroked Janine's hair, muttering hollow optimism into her ears, allowing the warm sensation of secret pleasure - simmering gleefully at the prospect of another sensual, midnight conversation - to overlap the guilt of having stolen my daughter's online beau.

6S

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

Old Spice

by Peter Schwartz

When I was twelve I decided drinking cologne would be a good idea. See, it was the eighties and it was easy to feel shallow so one night I thought, my insides are what matter most, or something like that, and chugged a five ounce bottle of Old Spice. It tasted poisonous but even at that age I knew self-improvement always carried a price. Because it was well after midnight, I resisted waking up my parents. Alone in my bathroom I threw up many times, my only consolation thinking how disgusting the insides of my fellow classmates must smell. They were putrid animals and I was a civilized gentleman with delightfully fragrant organs.

6S

Peter Schwartz has more styles than a Natal Midlands Dwarf Chameleon. He's been published in Arsenic Lobster, Epicenters, Media Cake, 5 Trope, Verdad, and VOX. He's currently working on his fourth chapbook, "Postcards to the Sun." See the extent of his shenanigans here.

Thanks

by Sammi Murphy

There are all these things wrong with me now; they were probably there before, but you made them harder to see or perhaps just easier to deal with, you blinded me in the happiest of ways; thanks. The list could really go on for a while, but here I'll name just a few: I spend money faster without you, I smile less and bitch more, driving in my car isn't nearly as fun as I thought it was with you in it, food is less appealing, I trip over myself and my words afraid of what I might say, I don't really appreciate things like breakfast, grass, or swing-sets; my hands are colder without you, my bed less soft, my phone less appealing, medication more interesting and addicting without you; my nails are shorter, my hair messier, my body dirtier, my clothes stingier; thoughts pour out of me like pathetic bits of dribble, uncontrollable and always desperate without you. I don't really care about other people like I cared about you, I like myself less and less the worse I treat people because they aren't you, I don't want to get to know anyone like I knew you and if I see anyone fucking touch you I swear I will go berserk. On the other hand, I guess I won't actually see you ever again, the most I'll have are remembrances of your voice, bits of your hand writing, old emails, the recorded message on my voicemail from ages ago, a thousand or more memories as I walk through my house or down the street, enter any restaurant or visit any store; every single song I hear will scream your name and every movie I watch will have "you" based theme sets. I can't help but be worse off without you because I can't imagine any way I am better now that you're gone; it might not have been that I did "better" things when I was with you, but you made my spirits soar and I was a much kinder person when you were around... I am worse off because I couldn't care less, I am worse off because all I wish for are clouds and rain, sunshine depresses me and if your name is mentioned I go all to pieces, I will never be the strong person I was with you and maybe that is a bad sign, maybe that means I've got this all wrong. A thousand "maybes" will not change that there are a million things wrong with me now that I didn't see before, you blinded me, you see, blinded me in the happiest of ways; thanks.

6S

Sammi Murphy lives and works in Washington. She's trying her darndest to recover from this.

He Wouldn't Take No for an Answer

by Peter Cherches

There once was a man who wouldn’t take no for an answer. Whenever anybody responded “no” to a request, an inquiry, a plea, he’d respond, “I’m sorry, but I refuse to take no for an answer.” This man, who lived in New York, decided one day to move to Philadelphia, so he boarded a train with all his things and asked the conductor if he was on the right train for Philadelphia. “No,” the conductor told him. The man replied, “I’m sorry, but I refuse to take no for an answer,” and he took a seat. He now lives in Boise, Idaho.

6S

Peter Cherches blogs about food and travel here.

The Day After the Good Day

by Lauren Becker

He said he would call tomorrow, which is today and today he said he will call tomorrow. Though he liked me for eight hours yesterday, today's clock pities me. I was wrong to think he could not backpedal so soon. I am a dirty towel, used deodorant, stale bread, an abandoned pit bull, drugstore perfume, Styrofoam. I thought I had some time to hide behind my hair. When he held my hand, I forgot the last time I bought into a pretty scam, paying all I had for a vacation time share built on a swamp.

6S

Lauren Becker works in public affairs in Oakland, California. Her work has appeared in Word Riot and DOGZPLOT, and will appear in mud luscious. She was tempted to make her bio longer than her story, but decided to behave like a grown-up.

Friday Nights

by Corri Harris

"I get lonely" he said as he handed me a piece of his sweet bread. He's a stocky 50-something man with a round face and thick accent. The room is filled with chattering people and reggae. I have to watch his lips to understand his stories of his travels to America. He smiles as he boyishly belly dances in front of a room full of strangers. Tonight he is not lonely.

6S

Corri Harris signs her emails with a quote by Vernon Law: "Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lessons afterward."

Slip Into My Red Pumps

by Governor Sarah Palin

Alaskans – like me, America – don’t waste time, so I’m gonna get right to this. After a heart-to-heart talk with Todd, Track, Bristol, Willow, Piper, Trig, and Bristol’s boyfriend guy, I’ve decided to withdraw my name from the Republican ticket. Now please don’t be sad, and please don’t feel abandoned… it’s just that I had a really really vivid dream recently about John McCain being called by our heavenly father to serve in heaven much much sooner rather than later, and in the dream I was late for an exam and I couldn’t find my keys, and that awful Couric woman kept throwing newspapers at me. Honestly, my personal ambition and lifelong hunger for fame, money and power got the better of me, and I completely lost track… not my son, I mean I completely lost touch… with who I really am... deep, deep down inside: a beauty pageant contestant slash sportscaster. Please don’t be too hard on me. I ask you a favor tonight, my fellow Americans, and it is this… to look deep, deep in your heart, and ask yourself a simple question: if you were in my shoes last month, wouldn’t you do exactly what I did – take this opportunity and run with it?

6S

Governor Sarah Palin, whose original title for this piece was “The Six to Nowhere,” is debating Senator Joe Biden tonight in St. Louis. (Unless she suspends her campaign to help solve the country’s financial crisis.)

Batter Up!

Our First Annual 6S World Series Contest!

Okay Gang, it’s now October, and all sports fans know what that means... playoff baseball! Since we haven’t had a contest in a while, here’s a quickie (and our newest instant October tradition): Which teams do you think will make it to the World Series? This year’s American League contenders: Tampa Bay Rays, Boston Red Sox, Chicago White Sox, L.A. Angels; the National League contenders: Philadelphia Phillies, Chicago Cubs, Milwaukee Brewers, L.A. Dodgers. Just click “COMMENTS” (below) to add your prediction, and be sure to include all the following information: a) the two teams you think will go to the World Series, b) the team you think will win, c) the number of games in this year’s World Series, and d) your prediction for the final score of Game 2. The deadline to respond is Friday, October 3rd at 4pm EST, and our GRAND PRIZE WINNER will receive $50.00 (choice of cash or Amazon Gift Card)! This contest is open to everyone (including our international friends), so spread the word... and good luck!

6S

Six Sentences is hoping for a Game 6.

Self-Doubt

by Ani Smith

Once upon a time... just kidding. Oh shit, there go two of my six. This is definitely harder than it looked. Oh god, this is awful, I'm not a real writer, I'm a sham, a nobody, a wannabe who is terrible with narrative and uses far too many semicolons; what am I doing? I'm finished, crushed by self-doubt once again! Argh!

6S

Ani Smith is crushed by self-doubt on a near daily basis, though she occasionally writes about other things here.

Beautiful in Your Tragedy

by Mercedes Yardley

I said why are you so solemn all of the time? You really need to give it up. He said I’m thinking about when my heart stops beating; it’s only a matter of time. Will you wear flowers in your hair? Will you take one out and toss it onto my casket? I was thinking about how beautiful you would look in your tragedy, how stunning in your black eyed desolation, without me.

6S

Mercedes Yardley promises to take a flower from her hair and toss it on the grave of anybody who requests it.