All About Perspective

by Janet Yung

The old lady was dying and her family could only watch and wait. They hovered around her hospital bed, hoping for any wisdom she’d impart to them as she drifted between this life and the next. Her eyes would occasionally flutter open, but close as suddenly, tight against the light and the foreign surroundings filled with tubes and machines monitoring the vital statistics of her progress. “What does it all mean?“ her son asked when she appeared for a moment to be conscious, having regained her cognitive skills, her lips moving. “It’s all about perspective,” she said. Then she was gone before she could elaborate.

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Janet Yung lives and writes in St. Louis. Her work has appeared in The Green Silk Journal, Muscadine Lines, Keep Going and qarrtsiluni. (Click here to make a donation to Janet, half of which will support 6S.)

From the Heart

by Bill Hicks

If you play New Kids on the Block albums backwards they sound better. "Oh come on, Bill, they're the New Kids, don't pick on them, they're so good and they're so clean cut and they're such a good image for the children." Fuck that! When did mediocrity and banality become a good image for your children? I want my children to listen to people who fucking ROCKED! I don't care if they died in puddles of their own vomit - I want someone who plays from his fucking HEART!

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Bill Hicks, who died in 1994, was a comedian who challenged mainstream beliefs. He often criticized media and popular culture as oppressive tools of the ruling class, meant to "keep people stupid and apathetic." His six sentences are excerpted from a 1989 performance.

Dante Doran's Divine Tragedy

by Shaylen Maxwell

In this version, Dante's Francesca is walked to the guillotine, a book, a copy of Calvino's If on a Winter's Night a Traveller still in her clutches, and semen still dried upon her thighs. She lays her head, she holds her breath. She has been wicked, yes, but she has no regret. Her Paolo is amongst the faceless crowd, now rooting for her demise. He's not cheering. The axe drops, her head rolls, and the pages of their beloved book blow open in the breeze.

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Shaylen Maxwell has a degree in psychology from York University and her work has been published in publications in the U.S. and overseas. She currently resides in exile with her menagerie of wild animals: a red wolf, two deranged cats, and four blood-thirsty bunnies. (Click here to make a donation to Shaylen, half of which will support 6S.)

Revelation

by Mary Pfeiffer

From across the room the first time he was there, she noticed only how the white shirt darkened his bronze arms and black hair; the next time, he was wearing corduroy trousers and he had a square jaw. Gradually, she discovered that the shadow of his beard that outlined the lower half of his face even when he was fresh shaven annoyed her, making her think he would have made an excellent example of the man who used the “other brand” of razor. His quick, firm walk declared a strength beneath his hard skin. She noticed there was something in his clean rugged looks, in his vivid personality, in the smile that played at the corner of his mouth, that exercised a lively influence of friendliness over those in any group he joined. It was after she knew him well, had memorized and catalogued each feature of his wiry frame that she found his eyes. Hidden under bushy brows and dark lashes too long for a man, their blue intensity drew her into his very soul.

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Mary Pfeiffer resides in Texas, living in Walter Middy dreams where she entertains readers with her words. In real time, she teaches writing and needs to complete her own assignments. (Click here to make a donation to Mary, half of which will support 6S.)

Camel Toe

by Chris Conroy

Joe wears his sandals with socks in the winter. He left his slippers at his old house in the fall. In summer he almost hit her — his wife — for the first time, like his father had his mother too many times before. That spring there was a switch, a dripping faucet was fixed, his wife lost weight and their dog — Bromley — was hit by a car, a Hybrid. Joe looked down, wiggled his socked toe in the sandal and thought of his wife’s — his ex-wife’s — camel toe before she lost the weight and slept with the plumber; he thought of the word love. Joe wears his sandals with socks in the winter.

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Chris Conroy writes after breakfast and before lunch. (Click here to make a donation to Chris, half of which will support 6S.)

The New and Improved Adolescence

by Adam Gilmour

I can’t cope with this kind of pressure. Life used to be toy tractors, cycling down hills, football in the park, muddy trouser-sleeves and nettle-stung ankles. Then it was homework, comics, Clearasil and StreetFighter II. Then it got interesting, what with the social awkwardness, slacker films, study periods, shots, wage-packets and stop-outs. But next is here, and there's loans, friend networks, functions, weddings, funerals, christenings, lets, sub-lets, promises, letdowns, deadlines, barking and banging at the door, a distinct lack of hours, minutes, daylight. Maybe I shouldn’t have hung around for so long on that leisurely bit before, but there isn’t time or space to think about that now, acutally, cripes, this is it, I’ve just run out.

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Adam Gilmour, 26, is currently studying in Manchester, England. When not reading or writing, he can be found bartending at a local Japanese restaurant. He thinks John Wyndham, Fleetwood Mac and hummus are all vital components of an enjoyable lifestyle. (Click here to make a donation to Adam, half of which will support 6S.)

A Girl

by Andy Cerrone

A girl sits on a bench in the Boboli Gardens. She dabbles with art; and art does so with her: she draws and writes, her eyes attached to the statues of Poseidon and Neptune... or is it The Old Man of the Sea himself with Achilles? Regardless, she continues drawing in obtuse and acute angles; she directs her pen mercilessly over each point with warranted beauty and unwarranted softness that cradles the broken jaw-lines into the once strong and smooth structure of seven hundred years ago. She is poised and willing. "Hey, get a picture of me hanging from this statue," and the young man bolsters himself atop the God, awaiting the snap-click-shutter of the digital camera. She takes the camera from the bench, slowly, and aims the lens towards what once was a God but now has reduced itself to nothing more than a limb.

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Andy Cerrone is a freelance writer, a graduate of Lesley University with a B.A in English, and an editor. His writing credits include short fiction in Commonthought Literary Magazine and The Houston Literary Review as well as poetry in The Greater Boston's Intercollegiate Poetry Publication, Live Poet Society Publication, Oak Bend Review, The Houston Literary Review, and The Bibliofiles Literary Magazine. He's currently preparing manuscripts for graduate school, and working on his first novel. (Click here to make a donation to Andy, half of which will support 6S.)

Laying Down an Old Friend

by A.J. Brown

With our bodies enveloped by the chill of the frigid air the two of us dug the hole large enough so the small casket would fit in it with room on all sides for us to stand in the hole as well. We talked and dug, dug and talked until, finally, it came time to lay the home made wooden box in its place where it would remain for as long as the world rotated. After placing the coffin in the open grave I looked up to see Sam crying, his shoulders hunched and his face in his hands, his breath billowing up above his head. I inhaled letting the cool air fill my lungs and pushed myself from the hole, careful not to step on the coffin, and went to him. Go on up to the house, I said, I'll finish burying Cargo and I'll be up there when I'm done. I watched him into the house and then turned back to the grave, my heart heavy and tears in my eyes as I lifted the shovel and tossed the first bit of dirt onto the casket.

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A.J. Brown, married with two children, is a southern boy with a penchant for the dark side. (Click here to make a donation to A.J., half of which will support 6S.)

The 6S Super Bowl XLIII Contest!

A Request for Predictions from Six Sentences!



Cardinals? Steelers? Who do you like in the Big Game on Sunday? Make your prediction in the comments section below, and if you hit the score right on the head, you’ll win a free copy of Six Sentences, Volume 1 – our first print anthology! Predictions can be made STARTING NOW, and ending as soon as the opening kickoff is airborne! Now go ahead, make your prediction, and don’t forget to stock up on your favorite snacks – Super Bowl Sunday is almost here!

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Six Sentences encourages you to write, but every now and then, you just gotta kick back and watch the game!

The Burning Season

by Joseph Grant

The party in Sherman Oaks wound down in the cool, early morning hours as the devil winds of the Santa Ana fired up and Luis would not remember kissing the hottest girl invited, nor much of the party after or losing his wallet, except getting home to where his woman secretly burned with jealousy and fiery indignation. Inocente, hombre he yelled as the tactical unit burst into his bedroom and threw him to the carpet while his common-law wife, Rosario looked on in horror. Esto es loco thought Luis drunkenly as he was lead roughly through a blur of rooms in handcuffs only to be met by the surreal sight of the hills surrounding Pacoima on fire and the reverberation of helicopters and fire truck alarms wailing in the distance, not to mention his baby boy’s cries echoing in his ears as he was unceremoniously thrown into the back of an unmarked squad car. He had been down this road before, but that was for dealing meth although he had done his time and had been clean ever since, but what didn’t make sense was the fact that this was no large-scale gang-banger crackdown, for as far as he could see, he was the only one in the neighborhood who was picked up, as everyone else was going about their business as usual, despite the impending fire emergency in the hills. He had no idea why he had been singled out and would not know until months later, after he had been shipped back to Sonora and opened a letter from the States, informing him that the Congressman’s daughter gave birth to a baby girl with brown eyes just like her father’s. With his blood boiling, he tossed the letter into the terra cotta chiminea and watched it burn until it twisted and crumpled then turned the color of night.

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Joseph Grant rocks the 6S mike with force and frequency. His full catalog is here. (Click here to make a donation to Joe, half of which will support 6S.)

Couched

by Luke Storms

I sit here, couched. A breeze enters the room, snapping the curtains. It is like watching a dance. The wind circulates through the room, stirring the plants that rest on the windowsill. Specs of dust in the sunlight whirl over each other like rapidly boiling water. I breathe in the cool air while a shiver runs up and down my spine.

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Luke Storms is often chaired and desked and sometimes even walked. His writing has appeared online and in magazines such as Current, Toronto Tourism, and Alive, and he also blogs over at Intense City. (Click here to make a donation to Luke, half of which will support 6S.)

Wally Listens

by Peter Cherches

It's January 27 in Norman, Oklahoma, and Wallace Stanton, eighty-seven years old, Wally to his friends, thrice married, thrice widowed, now alone, sits in a tattered old armchair, holding a seashell to his ear, the left one, the good one, from daybreak till nightfall, just sits, shell to ear, waiting. It's January 27, and Wally listens to the shell, just as he has every January 27 for the past sixty-two years. January 27, Wally's anniversary, as are April 14 and June 11, but January 27 was the first one — Wally's first wife, Wally’s first love, Amanda. January 27, the day they married and the day she died, one year later, their anniversary, a vacation in the South Pacific. January 27, the day she drowned. January 27, the day on which, every year ever since, without fail, without explanation, though wives two and three, Christina and Jane, certainly must have asked, Wally listens.

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Peter Cherches blogs about food and travel here.

Seeing Red

by Mary Mageau

Straight ahead, perched on a perspex platform in the window of an elegant boutique called RAGS, I see a pair of red shoes to die for. The color takes my breath away - a richly vibrant crimson, like fresh blood flowing from an open wound - dream shoes with their low cut fronts, sling backs and the thinnest, highest stilettos I’ve ever seen. I could wear these with my three quarter slim line jeans, a red and white gingham blouse covered with frothy ruffles and then I’ll have the look: so pert, perky, prettily petite. You don’t walk in these shoes – you stalk in them, so I’d team them with a bias cut black jersey evening gown, no jewelry, just a single crimson rose in my hair: so chic, sleek, sveltely slinky. Transfixed I move closer to the window to gaze and fantasize until I catch sight of the tiny price tag that reads (gasp), $500. Crestfallen I move on but soon I’m dreaming again about my cute red K-Mart sneakers, navy town shorts and a blue and white striped T shirt with a sailor collar: so nifty, naughty, nattily nautical – so perfect for my weekend.

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Mary Mageau lives in a rural village in Queensland, Australia. She writes whenever she can: non-fiction for magazines in Australia, New Zealand and Singapore; poetry for Haibun Today, Atlas Poetica, Gusts and Paper Wasp. (Digital photography is a passion that enables her to capture Australia’s magnificent flora and foliage for her creation of haiga: "photo poetry.")

Somerset

by Reed Tangler

A man dressed as a puppet walks down Main Street. A young girl with an old-fashioned film camera snaps a photograph. A bird lands on a stop sign. An ambulance turns into a Burger King parking lot. A dog strains for a dropped potato chip. A town grows older.

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Reed Tangler occasionally resurfaces.

T-Minus Graduation

by Calista Nasser

As the days count down to the end of my college career, I am filled with a mix of fear and excitement. The economy is a fallen soldier, taking down the job market with it. Applications, interviews, and the endless wait for emails from recruiters have consumed my life. Where will I be? What will I be doing in six months? I don't know these answers, but I know I can't wait to find out.

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Calista Nasser - full-time student, part-time worker - is just trying to live the American Dream.

A Job Well Done

by L.A. Craig

One holds a large plastic pipe while the other unloads a wheelbarrow from the truck; the brush is left to one side. Plastic pipe man leans his hollow tube against the wall and starts a pneumatic drill, jiggering at the concrete until it cracks. Striped cones cordon the operation. Wheelbarrow guy loads his vehicle with the broken concrete, pushes it up the plank ramp and dumps it into the back of the truck; repeating the manoeuvre several times as he transports the mini mountains of earth from beneath the concrete. Plastic pipe man abandons his drill and sinks his hollow tube into the freshly dug hole; both peer down. Thirty seconds later it’s pulled out again and tossed on to the back of the truck in a somewhat pissed off fashion, wheelbarrow guy gives the area a quick sweep, the cones are packed tighter together and they’re off; that was three weeks ago, there’s been no sign of activity since.

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L.A. Craig lives in Newcastle in the U.K.

I Was Naked Today

by Catherine Van Alstine

My son held the door open for me as we entered the juvenile courtroom when his name was called; after waiting and anticipating this moment for three hours, our time had arrived. Suddenly I was naked, standing there feeling exposed in that cold courtroom with its cement floors and brick walls; everything was hard, as if to tell me of what was to come. In my head I repeated to myself this is an opportunity. For him, for me, for hope... even though I only half believed it and could not muster the needed courage to offer them to him. He lowered his head slightly, looked up briefly to the judge and lawyers with his big brown puppy-dog eyes, and somehow he seemed smaller to me, younger and more vulnerable. That made me want to stand close to him so that he would understand he was not alone, but that would have been a lie because he is very much alone in this, just as we all are.

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Catherine Van Alstine, whose full 6S catalog is here, uses writing as a tool to learn about herself, people, and the world around her.

True Romance

by Howie Good

We discuss in whispers how to do it, standing up or lying down or front to back. By the time we decide, the workers have returned from break and are attacking the building with sledgehammers and crowbars. Maybe tomorrow, she says, getting out of bed. I can barely hear her. Chunks of masonry are crashing from a great height to the street. Later on the news, there’ll be reports of blinding dust clouds, couples looking up just before being crushed and buried, an infant found crawling about the rubble in the elaborate harness of a seeing-eye dog.

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Howie Good, a journalism professor at the State University of New York at New Paltz, is the author of six poetry chapbooks, most recently Tomorrowland (2008) from Achilles Chapbooks.

Just to Make the Title Seven Words

by Kathryn Reylado

I spent my life hunting for four leaf clovers. The phrase is skeletons in the closet, but turn the handle: my closet's full of rabbits' feet. I never learn; look, this is the scarab beetle I bought from the blind woman at the market in Cairo. I've taped my mirrors to the walls, made them shatter-proof; ladybugs rustle between my sheets in gardens of their own making; I prayed for all my bones to become wishbones, so perhaps then I could take them, clean from my body, break them, and fashion my own skeletons to hide and hide from, then leave behind. Then I'd run, start another life. One newer and shinier than a face-up copper penny.

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Kathryn Reylado is a dual citizen of Futility and Escapism.

The Stuff I Used to Love

by Olive Rosehips

On my desk I have a working antique gumball machine from Ford for 1-cent gumballs with a little key to open the bottom to retrieve coins. At my glamorous dressing table, I have the most beautiful plum Fenton stained glass lamp with a hand painted shade and art deco base; memories of a carefree time before children. Facing my bed is that glamorous, antique, art deco dressing table, hand carved with plenty of craftsman details and extraordinary pulls, and a large, round mirror. In my living room, amongst ball and claw legs, you'll find an imported Italian marble coffee table in an antique style, of carved mahogany and a matching side table. I’m not bragging (you may very well find these things atrocious), but rather sobbing gently as I tell you that I had all of these things before having children and those same children have dinged, chipped, cracked or stained every one of these collected delights. What I want to know is... someday, is it all right to go to their homes and destroy their things, too?

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Olive Rosehips listens to jazz, knows she can't sing, drinks dirty martinis, and paints her toenails dazzling shades of red.

Six Sixes by Sean Patrick Hill

an Online Magazine from Six Sentences



Sean Patrick Hill makes his 6S debut in a big way. (These pieces were requested after his first two submissions.)
To view the magazine, just click the “Open Publication” tab above. You’ll be taken inside, where you can turn the pages by clicking the arrows to the left and right. To view a “full screen” version, once inside, just click the diagonal arrows above the document (located to the left of the little envelope). Enjoy!


6S

Six Sentences urges you to write, create, and express yourself. On a daily basis.

Nature of Flow

by Clayton Cash

I've always been the solid type, the type who borrows the patience of stones, who sits by the stream and watches it smooth the edges of pebbles. I thought I had perfected the technique, I thought I could grind down your edges and make you into that into that perfectly symmetrical river stone you had, and we could carve an inspirational word, like love or peace, into your surface. I walked home from work and found your note next to the salt shaker. You took your things: the coffee maker, the rug, the bra that had been on the chair for a month. You took the sheets and the pillows and I was terrified when I saw how empty it was. It had been raining all summer and the river by the farm was raging, carrying the pebbles in it's bed further south.

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Clayton Cash is a poet by nature, but dabbles in prose as well. He currently resides in Northern Vermont, and is working on a short poetry collection for chapbook publication before he gets his BFA in Creative Writing.

Revival

by Penni Jones

I watched and listened as they spoke in tongues, products of religious ecstasy or overactive temporal lobes. They were all sure this display would save my soul. I felt bad for them. They tried so hard. I raised my hands in the air and started shrieking nonsense. The preacher smiled, satisfied with his own grandeur.

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Penni Jones is a stay-at-home mom transplanted from the south to the frozen tundra known as Michigan. She writes during any free time she can find, and is currently revising her first novel, Hook-Ups and Heists.

The Train

by Afrodite Boukas

She quickly said goodbye, smiled and scurried towards the LIRR. She knew that he was walking just as quickly to NJ transit. Same station, different trains, different lives. She knew that in another life or another time they could have been going home on that train together, but as usual, time was not her friend. She felt tired and worn, much like the metro card she held in her cold hand as she sat, relieved, in the aisle seat. She had an hour and forty five minutes to sit and daydream about a life not lived, a day spent loved, and a man that was not hers to keep.

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Afrodite Boukas is a research assistant and closet writer who is slowly "outing" herself. She lives on Long Island with her husband and two children, but will always be the gum-chewing Bronx girl in red pumps.

Judge Not, Lest Ye Be Judged

by Madam Z

Even with my fingers in my ears, and chanting “La-la-la...” to myself, I can hear my inner critic’s gruff, scorn-filled voice telling me, "Your writing stinks and you stink. Don’t even think about trying to write another stinky story, you disgusting stink-bomb!" “Oh yeah?” I reply, pulling myself up from my fetal position on the floor. “Guess what, big guy. That stink is coming from you, you stinking gas bag, and not only that, I’m going to keep writing, no matter what you say, because I’ve got something to say and I’m going to say it, no matter how offensive it may be to your tender olfactory sensibilities.” “So there!” I add for good measure, as I turn my back to him and resume my post at my desk, determined to churn out a tale as fragrant as a crimson rose on a sweet summer day.

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Madam Z (the one-and-only, and whose full catalog is here) maintains a must-read blog. Stop by.

Red-Letter Day

by Crorey Lawton

Early this morning, I learned from the guy sitting next to me that in Korea, you never write your name in red. "You only write the names of the dead using red ink," he told me. "Never write your own." We looked around at the other people in the class, and shared a secret smile at all of the people who had used red markers to fill out their name plates. And then this afternoon I found out that my friend Gilberto died from a fall from a ladder while picking an avocado. His broad smile is extinguished forever, and all I have is his name written on my heart in big, red letters.

6S

Crorey Lawton, whose full catalog is here, builds levees and digs mounds. You can read a journal of his project in Guatemala here.

Novel on a Napkin

by Roland Goity

I can write a story that will fit snugly within the boundaries of your cocktail napkin there. One that so eloquently captures the underlying need to embrace our fellow man it will turn the barroom brawlers here into peaceniks. One that so deftly touches even the hardest of hearts, it will turn the pickup artists into dreamy romantics. One that so inspires, delights, and regales, even the drowning-in-their-drink drunks will be laughing with joy. Would you like to me to write such a story? Okay, then, raise your glass and slide me the napkin and let’s see who here’s got a pen.

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Roland Goity lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. His stories appear in a number of print and Web publications. He is Fiction Editor of the online journal LITnIMAGE.

Second Person Singular

by Frank O'Connor

You are the kind of person who mistrusts the second person singular. Meta-narrative only makes things worse. But you read on. You think that, maybe, it will all be worth it. Perhaps something will be revealed to you; an insight, epiphany or homespun wit. Six sentences in, you discover that you're wrong.

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Frank O'Connor is a compulsive addict in the army of frustrated writers. He blogs here, and his work has been published in Flashquake, Pequin, and Monkeybicycle, among other places.

Probably

by Michael Estabrook

I remember that time in college when Patti decided she needed to date other guys to be certain I was the one for her. I hid above the cafeteria and watched out the window as they came in for lunch. He threw snowballs at her and she giggled and clutched her scarf to her chest. I wonder how different her life would be if she were with someone else like that guy right now. I mean if this jackass would have been sweet and caring and attentive instead of pawing at her the whole damn day, she might have found something in him, something she connected with and loved. Then things would have been so different from the way they are now, I probably wouldn’t be here today.

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Michael Estabrook, like a surfer searching for the perfect wave, is a poet prowling for the perfect poem.

Driving

by Samantha Sterner

“Them woods are dangerous,” the old man said, his voice crackling with disuse. “I would stay away.” They thanked him and paid for their gas and chips. “People disappear there,” he called after them. And though they believed him, they went anyway. If they heeded every warning of evil, they would never get anywhere.

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Samantha Sterner lives and writes in North Carolina. Her work has been featured in Candelight, MicroHorror, and The Monsters Next Door.

Memory

by Nathalie Boisard-Beudin

In the wooden halls of memory, I seek an escape, banging on doors that will not let me in or out anymore. I started the construction of that mighty manor house some years ago at the suggestion of a therapist: I was having problems sorting out my thoughts at the time, confused about who I might be and why some unpleasant things happened to me. It was meant to store the bits of knowledge I’d scraped along and which I thought of as being important at the time as well as holding my repressed secrets safe. So I went along with the notion, sorting and compartmenting the memories as I built the gothic construction around them, room after room, stairways after secret passages, careful in the way I kept them well apart lest they meet and mingle, breed or even gang upon me. However, while I thought they were my captives, they in time closed all the doors on me - one after the other - and I am left wandering empty corridors, begging for scraps of light, of warmth while people and places around me gradually lose their names, their faces, their scents. Now the only thing I really want is to fly away.

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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.

Filed Today

by Lisa McKnight

I filed for divorce today. The woman who handled all of my paperwork at the courthouse seemed bitter, angry and judgmental, or maybe she was perfectly friendly and I am just projecting. As I stood there waiting, I recalled the day, 12 years ago, when he and I applied for our marriage license. At that court house the license desk was decorated with cupids and red hearts and the clerk who signed our license, his last name was Love. Love, something I believed in, until very recently. I then wondered about where I will be 12 years from now and if I'll believe in love then, or if it's like finding out Santa isn't real, once the illusion is over there's no going back.

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Lisa McKnight always chooses Dare when playing Truth or Dare.

Six Sixes by Belinda Subraman

an Online Magazine from Six Sentences



Belinda Subraman delivers Six Sixes straight from El Paso, Texas. To view the magazine, just click the “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). Okay, enough directions. Enjoy!

6S

For some background on "Coin Belt," the fourth story in the collection, click the play button below to listen to a brief podcast.



Six Sentences urges you to write, create, and express yourself. On a daily basis.

The Cheerleader

by Kevin Michaels

January 2009 "Six of the Month" Nominee

He sat behind her in Honors English, each day studying everything about her – how she casually flipped the hair from her face with a dip and shake of a shoulder and the way she brushed her fingers gently across her neck before raising a tentative hand with the answer to the teacher’s question. The Boy lived for those moments when she would turn around and talk with him before the bell rang, quietly laughing together while he hung on her smile and the things she said; alone at night he imagined walking home with her, sliding his hand inside hers while sharing something more meaningful, aching to matter to her. He noticed how she changed when school resumed after Thanksgiving; the words between them remained the same but her eyes told a different story – one of betrayal and hurt caused by someone she might have once trusted. Though the marks on her skin faded and the waves of time washed away what had been there, her pain never lightened. The Boy longed to find a quiet moment so he could tell her to be strong – not to waste her life trying to get back what had been taken away, but he could not work up his courage. He never found the words; before The Boy could say he was sorry for what she must have lost, she left school and took the fragments of her innocence somewhere new to start again.

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Kevin Michaels, whose full 6S catalog is here, is everything New Jersey (attitude, edginess, Springsteen... but not Bon Jovi). His work can also be found at Word Riot, The Literary Review, Darkest Before the Dawn, Powder Burn Flash, and Dogzplot. He's a writer and surfer who lives at the Jersey Shore.

Familiarity and Mystery

by President Barack Obama

Michelle is a tremendously strong person, and has a very strong sense of herself and who she is and where she comes from – but I also think in her eyes you can see a trace of vulnerability that most people don’t know, because when she’s walking through the world, she is this tall, beautiful, confident woman. There is a part of her that is vulnerable and young and sometimes frightened, and I think seeing both of those things is what attracted me to her. And then what sustains our relationship is I’m extremely happy with her, and part of it has to do with the fact that she is at once completely familiar to me, so that I can be myself and she knows me very well and I trust her completely, but at the same time she is also a complete mystery to me in some ways. And there are times when we are lying in bed and I look over and sort of have a start. Because I realize here is this other person who is separate and different and has different memories and backgrounds and thoughts and feelings. It’s that tension between familiarity and mystery that makes for something strong, because, even as you build a life of trust and comfort and mutual support, you retain some sense of surprise or wonder about the other person.

6S

President Barack Obama gets underway today. His six sentences are excerpted from an interview conducted by Mariana Cook on “Couples in America.” His words were spoken on May 26, 1996.

The Hole in the Wood

by Jessica Word

He played his acoustic guitar for me, sitting Indian-style on the carpet. I lay upside-down on his bed – a futon mattress without a futon – focusing on the dark round hole in the center of the strings, hoping not to vomit. I was drunk. He knew it. So he sang because he could, because my head was sloppy, because he knew I wouldn't care if his fingers nailed the cords or if his throat found the notes. His music, my anchor.

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Jessica Word is a writer, but always feels awkward admitting that to strangers. (She doesn't, however, feel awkward about eating Cheez-Its and chocolate for breakfast.)

Tyka

by Dianne McKnight

I open the door and there she is doing the mongrel wiggle-waggle in a girdle and heels. I pick her up and she licks my face as fast as she can. Never get enough, never get enough, never get enough, her own joy wriggling her from my arms. Smaller now she fits under the couch. I can’t always see her, even on my knees. Then she’s there, brown eyes wide, like she just this second caught a ghost and brought it back for me to see.

6S

Dianne McKnight holds a BA and MA in English from UNC Charlotte, and an MFA in Writing from Vermont College. Her work has appeared in various literary magazines, including River City Review, Doorknobs and BodyPaint, Tattoo Highway, riverbabble, flashquake, In Posse Review, Hobart, Mississippi Review online, The Green Tricycle, Pindeldyboz, VerbSap, thievesjargon, Cezanne's Carrot, and Opium.

West Coast State of Mind

by Nikki Nulton

I am convinced that you can only live in the Northeast for so long before you freeze. Here, people walk down the streets, faces twisted into grimaces, shoulders rigid and arms folded against the cold. It's only a matter of time before that kind of frigidity follows you into mild March days and chases you into the summer months. Even in mid-July, faces scowl at other scowling faces, shoulders stay frozen stiff, and arms remain folded, against the memory of the cold and human contact alike. Despite my chapped lips, stinging eyes, and wounded spirit, I'll fight the temptation to let my face contort out of my crooked smile. I've never been to Cali but my mind is in Pacific Standard Time.

6S

Nikki Nulton is a full-time student and full-time counselor currently residing in freezing cold Northeast Pennsylvania. She dreams of being a full-time writer somewhere warm.

Honeymoon at the Atomic

by Anthony Venutolo

January 2009 "Six of the Month" Nominee

Inside one of the darkest bars on the planet, away from the smoldering Vegas sun, two newlyweds barreled into my daytime bar, just off Freemont. Fresh-faced and scrubbed (he with his craggy polo and flip-flops, she with an equally wrinkled sun dress); they didn’t jibe since it was the kind of joint people came to when they just didn’t care anymore. The Atomic: a would-be beacon in a sea of grimeholes, beckoning its hopeless. And what of them? Lonely Nevada drunks, crappy pickpockets, former goddesses well beyond turning their tricks, and sunken men without prospect who abruptly discovered they were 46, scratchy and achy. Even the fucking jukebox gave up.

6S

Anthony Venutolo, who works as an editor at a Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaper, has written short stories, dabbled in screenplays, scored in journalism, and is trying to get a comic book off the ground. He also writes Notes from Hemingway's Lounge.

Athens, Georgia

by Quin Browne

So entwined they resembled some mutant crab, two young men scuttle across the mat, each contributing to the illusion of wrestling. Their object was to not allow anyone to grasp the slight physical nuances that made it the lover's tryst it had become for them. Smokescreen in place, they were school rivals who took turns winning, no one the wiser. Touching, grunting, hands sliding over each other in sweeping caresses, bodies pressed together... the sport allowed them the freedom of movement over each other they sought. Locked in a hold, face to face, lips near ears, heavy exhalations of breath bracketed sighed love words. Cheers and smack talk are later exchanged from the windows of filled cars as they conga line from the parking lot, the combatants surrounded by supporters while they, themselves, sit in a quiet bubble; their silence put down to loss or exhaustion - never to a rending heart who has left its beloved behind.

6S

Quin Browne is a writer who has yet to find that beloved who is "home." She blogs here.

Amnesia

by Mel George

I can remember the whole conversation in the coffee shop up until the words, "so I'm leaving." After that, all I can remember is the way the sugar packet crackled in my fingers; the little crumbs on the table - some of them ginger-coloured from the carrot cake and some of them sugar grains. I can remember the small sharpness of them on my fingers as I meticulously herded them up into a triangle shape, and the scraping of the end of my spoon as I destroyed it again. I can remember nodding and laughing, although I couldn't hear what you were saying over the thudding of my heart. I can remember the bitter aftertaste of coffee in my mouth, and jumping out of my seat as someone nearby dropped a cup. And I can't remember what I said when you asked me if I was all right.

6S

Mel George doesn't like getting up in the dark. Random bits of her writing can be found in various places, including here on 6S, and at Every Day Fiction. She edits The Pygmy Giant, which you should visit if you're British and love writing.

The Legend of Hollis Williams

by A.J. Brown

On a cold, wet day in December, they laid Hollis Williams to rest at the back of the cemetery near an old dogwood tree that had died some years earlier. Not much of a prayer was said for the old man, but plenty of them were lifted up for his many victims, their lives cut short by his quick temper and sharp axe. In an act of either stupidity or for show, Lewis Jesup Williams, Hollis's brother, threw the axe into the grave with him, not thinking much about him returning from the dead, axe in hand and in a foul mood. They went about their days, none talking of the murders and the shape the bodies were in when they were found. In a drunken state many years later, Lewis went up to the cemetery, which no one visited any longer, cursed his flesh and blood, and urinated on the grave. Nobody knows for certain if it's true, but legend tells us that Hollis Williams vanished from the grave, his axe right along with him, and Lewis, well... Lewis was eventually found scattered about Brevard County, pieces here and there, but no head ever turned up.

6S

A.J. Brown, married with two children, is a southern boy with a penchant for the dark side.

Mother Love

by Catherine Van Alstine

I was crying; not the sobbing, moaning type, but instead the silent, scared kind of tears that slid down my cold red cheeks only to be frozen on my scarf, which your beautiful little head was nuzzling into for warmth. We waited for the bus as the blizzard kept on, the freezing wind biting my cheeks as I did my best to shield you from the cold. After a while I gave up on waiting and began walking down Peterson Avenue in the direction of home, stopping along the way as needed to put you, your diaper bag and my purse down in order to stretch my arms and back. You would look up at me scared and cold, demanding to be picked back up with your little arms reached out and your eyes pleading just above your little cherry nose. I move ungracefully in the two feet of snow, and I no longer feel my toes, but you nuzzle your face in the warmth of my neck and your runny nose takes my warmth as I make my way through the drifts of snow where the sidewalk once was. Eventually I stopped looking back for the bus, stopped hoping it would come and understood that I was on my own, you were completely in my hands, and the sheer enormity of that brought fresh tears to my eyes as I kept on making my way home.

6S

Catherine Van Alstine, whose full 6S catalog is here, uses writing as a tool to learn about herself, people, and the world around her.

Imagination

by Courtney Huffman

The girl walked down the hallway with such grace, all the girls looked her way with envy; wanting to be her, wanting her power. Nobody knew her inside though, how every emotion pounded at her, making her weak, innocent. Every day she was sad, and every day she was the envious one. She was the one who wanted what people had, the happiness they felt. Because - though everyone wanted her beauty, her power, her popularity - it was just a show. It was only their imagination.

6S

Courtney Huffman is an aspiring writer devoted to grammar and reading. She hopes to save the day by writing a book that reaches out to those who don't feel loved.

This Thing Just Ain't for You, Dawg

by Corinne Purtill

The first few weeks of American Idol used to be an annual treat for me, a sort of post-Epiphany holiday present. These are the episodes in which people whose only gift is a blissful lack of self-awareness get their dreams smashed to pieces on a portable linoleum dance floor. When I had a full-time job with business cards, promotions and occasions to wear important shoes, I would watch these clueless losers belt Pat Benatar like a cat was clawing their vocal chords, and I'd laugh along with America when they looked at the judges with genuine outrage and shouted in their own defense, You don't know nothin' about nothin', Simon, 'cause I got what it takes! But then I quit that job to follow a dream of my own, and now the thought of watching that rejection puts a knot in my stomach. Because how do I know? How do I know if I'm believing in myself and following my dreams and all the stuff you're supposed to do, or if I'm just standing in front of dumbstruck judges, hands on my hips, frog in my throat, shouting You don't know nothin' about nothin', Simon, 'cause I got what it takes!

6S

Corinne Purtill is a writer working on her first book. Her website is here. (The eighth season of American Idol premiered this week on Fox.)

Speed Bump

by Maggie Schurr

I could feel the oath in his fingertips as they raked across my back, his nails catching on the bone speed bumps they ran into. His lips were perfectly content at my collarbone, happy with making bite marks and bruises on my shoulder, carefully branding me where he knew I could hide it. It was better, for both of us, if I could hide them later. The real world would see it in simplest terms; the real world would make it something evil. I clutched harder at his shirt as he broke skin, and I felt his exhale of pleasure in my ear. And I wondered if maybe the real world was onto something.

6S

Maggie Schurr is going over the speed limit.

Miasma

by James Jacobo-Mandryk

Tall in his bundle of coat lurching bobbing he appears at your side. A palm at his brow. His stupid mouth, his wayward eye. Something in his. No hellos. You had wished once he would bow to you again but now there is only his lapel, the snow sticking silent, the nothing of the day.

6S

James Jacobo-Mandryk lives in Montreal.

Sorry, No Postcards

by Elle Matheuse

I’m all set; I’ve canceled the papers, packed my things away, the house is lemony-fresh and I’m as clean as a whistle. I’m very excited, heading off into the unknown all by myself. I know I should have told my nearest and dearest about my plans but they’d only worry and try and talk me out of it, and I really need to do this. OK, that’s it: time to go. I hope it’s quick. I hope it doesn’t hurt.

6S

Elle Matheuse has much and little to say about everything and nothing.

Believe It or Don't

by Madam Z

Many former agnostics and atheists "get religion" when they see their mortality getting closer. Even my hell-raising old Grandpa Nels started going to church when he turned 90. I, on the other hand, only 19 years old and still imbued with the youthful feeling of invulnerability, decided that I wanted to get rid of religion, but to play it safe, I thought I’d better read the Bible all the way through, to see if there was anything in there to deter me. By the time I got through Deuteronomy, my mind was made up - the bible was just a collection of fable, myth and folk tales. So I shook off the cloak of superstition and donned the mantle of rationality. I am a reasonably good, kind and moral person because I want to be, not because I fear post-mortem retribution if I am not; but of course I’m still a long way from 90...

6S

Madam Z, whose full catalog is here, maintains a must-read blog. Stop by.

Unhygienic Restroom Practices

by Mariel Pauline Rosen

Grabbing my wrist - so narrow, your nephew could wrap his hand around (and he did, last night, at the cinema, hesitant to remove his gloves for fear of impropriety and frostbite) - was a classic unnecessary gesture. Calloused and cracked and crying for a covering of lotion, which I have and you could have borrowed, shackles made of snow topped with bloodied cuticles that I did not bloody touch. I fear you do not wash your hands upon exiting the restroom, otherwise my gloved palm would be in yours, despite being quite adept at crossing the street without assistance (I have been for quite some time) from you. But, that is disgusting, and now my wrist - so gently held on evenings past - needs at the very least some Purel, which I have, and you could have borrowed. I would let you, after your hands were cleansed of course. It is winter, germs are everywhere, especially on your man bits - and I just do not know where they have been as of late.

6S

Mariel Pauline Rosen likes Sunglasses and Cigarettes, and occasionally drops by the 6S Social Network.

Snoring

by Erica Moreno

The man I love snores very loudly. He is the same height as me with callused hands, smells of old spice and sweat, and has soft brown eyes which he rolls at me when I tell him I want to be a famous writer. "I don't understand writing," he told me one morning after I had read a four page story with no ending, stretched out on his bed. "It's all an expression, you shit, eat and sleep writing, you exhale words like cigarette smoke, writing is the extra shot of sugar at the bottom cup of your morning tea," my inner-Bukowski ringing strong. Opposites attract like a science experiment that hasn't lost it's fire. The man I love snores very loudly, but one night he stopped, so I shook his shoulders and asked, "Baby, are you dying?" and he snapped the elastic on my underwear and we both fell back asleep.

6S

Erica Moreno is on the brink of a quarter life crisis. Her blog, though, is under control.

Nothing Dangerous or Insane

by Christopher Cunningham

The dogs exploded in a burst of howling barks when someone’s knuckles connected with the hard peeling wood of the front door. I sat straight backed in my chair and held my breath. The television in the corner babbled on about some kind of war or something, something about Israel or the Muslims. The knock came again and the dogs charged towards the door, snorting and barking. I didn’t move. Not everyone likes visitors, especially so late at night and so close to finishing the job.

6S

Christopher Cunningham can be found here (where you can call him a jerk right to his internet face).

Massage Parlor

by Mark Rosenblum

Once we were finished, I peeled myself out of the leather dominatrix outfit he likes me to wear, put away the whip and blindfold, then untied him. He put on his shirt and pants then paid me. We made arrangements to meet again at the usual time. He put on his coat and was about to leave when I playfully asked him if he was forgetting something. He looked puzzled, then began to smile as I dangled handcuffs in front of me. He shook his head and laughed as he took the handcuffs and clipped them onto his belt next to his service revolver and vice unit badge.

6S

Mark Rosenblum is a New York native who now lives in Southern California (where he misses the taste of real pizza and good deli food). He was awarded Honorable Mention in the 2006 Mindprints Flash Fiction Contest.

Fortunate Circumstances

by Kathleen Gilbert

Janet Riley navigated her silver Honda Accord down the winding streets of the picturesque New England town. The foliage was at its peak and the trees reflected the sun with a radiant palette of fall colors. Leaves of yellow, red and orange spiraled downward creating stunning mosaics on the black pavement. Autumn was Janet's favorite time of year and as she drove through Scituate, Rhode Island she admired its quaintness and charm. I need to find a house as quickly as possible Janet thought as she felt the baby kick inside her stomach. Her husband was dead and she was alone; life was good.

6S

Kathleen Gilbert is an avid reader and aspiring writer.

Six Sixes by Scot Young

an Online Magazine from Six Sentences



Scot Young is now our latest writer to offer Six Sixes. (Gracias!) To view the magazine, just click the “Open Publication” tab above. You’ll be taken inside, where you can turn the pages by clicking the arrows to the left and right. To view a “full screen” version, once inside, just click the diagonal arrows above the document (located to the left of the little envelope). Enjoy!

6S

Six Sentences urges you to write, create, and express yourself. On a daily basis.

Walk to the Water

by Sean Ulman

Motivated to improve her dour mood, a college student home for break walked to the ocean edge. Battling persisting blues, she meandered to the marina docks, gazed at a rakish yacht and trembled. At one instant she thought the craft was a sleek, sublime, dream ship, a vehicle to a healthier mental place. A moment later, she found it vulgar and grotesque, a symbol of that worldly evil, wealth. She spit toward the boat, the erratic irascible wind flung the saliva backwards onto her cheek. Laughing and crying the girl clumped along the docks, attempting to stomp out her atmosphere of contradiction.

6S

Sean Ulman received his Master's in Creative Writing in 2005 from the Stonecoast MFA Low-Residency Program of the University of Southern Maine.

Crossword

by Summer Block Kumar

January 2009 "Six of the Month" Nominee

The old man had carried the crossword puzzle folded in his wallet for so long that the paper had gone soft and fine as cotton. He was one clue away from being done. He was too old to hurry. He was waiting for the world to teach him another word for relent. "Slacken," his son-in-law said loudly in the visitors lounge, "seven letters." His son-in-law was right: now nothing else fits.

6S

Summer Block Kumar's essays, short fiction, and poetry have appeared in a wide variety of publications, including artnet.com, McSweeneys, Small Spiral Notebook, Tarpaulin Sky, DIAGRAM, the San Francisco Chronicle, Monkeybicycle, Stirring, ALARM, Identity Theory, January Magazine, Rain Taxi, Newsweek Select, and Tripmaster Monkey. Visit her website here.

Obsession

by Princess LadyBug

Our conversation abruptly stopped and I looked up to find him staring off into nothing with a faraway look in his eyes. My first thought was to wonder where in the universe he was; then I realized I didn't really care. It also occurred to me that he was mentally absent from our life together more than he was present. I let out a deep breath (that I felt like I'd been holding since we'd met twelve years ago) and left the kitchen. In less than thirty minutes, I'd packed everything I wanted to take with me from this life, grabbed my laptop, and headed towards the door. I only stopped long enough to erase my number from his cell phone before I exited this life and entered another.

6S

Princess LadyBug, who blogs here, works for a non-profit by day, but dreams of being a writer by night. Her favorite authors are Laurell K. Hamilton, Charlaine Harris, and Stephenie Meyer, but her favorite writers are her friends, Cleggy and Cormac, because they inspire her to improve.

The Music of Six Sentences

A Random Sampling of 6S Tunes!


Find more music like this on Six Sentences

Shall we dance? Depends on your taste in music! No matter your taste, you’ll find something to enjoy on the 6S Social Network. Pop, rock, jazz, classical… you name it, we’ve got it! The player above represents a small 20-cut sample of the tunes on the Network, uploaded by Michelle Davis, Kaydi Johnson, Don Pizarro, and many other 6S authors, readers, fans and friends. Just click the play button to sneak a listen & sample a few tunes, and if you like what you hear, stop on by and check out the Network!

6S

Six Sentences can boogie with the best of them.

Lights

by Cheryl Chambers

The sweater faded under the light bulb's heat, under the clamor of glasses clinking, shouts, and ripped wrapping. A meteor projected across the sky, a flash of brilliance. It blinded two women standing outside for a cigarette. That was amazing, the one said. Yeah, the other said, but I should have worn the sweater. They threw their butts in the heaped snow, each tiny flame extinguished in a second, leaving wet paper and ashy clumps.

6S

Cheryl Chambers is a poet and fiction writer. She also reads for the flash publication Vestal Review.

Sal and Dean

by Rod Drake

When Sal played Guns N’ Roses’ “Sweet Child O’ Mine” for the 17th time in a row, his roommate Dean lost it. Dean popped the CD out of the CD player and tossed it forcefully out the window of their third-floor apartment. Sal, in shocked response, dumped his bowl of Green Mice ice cream onto Dean’s head. Dean, ice cream dripping down onto his shoulders and pooling in his ears, grabbed the squeeze bottle of McKean’s chocolate syrup from the counter and proceeded to empty it inside Sal’s sweatpants. From there, it was one-upsmanship as played by the Three Stooges, getting ever more inventive and progressively more dangerous. The standoff finally ended when Sal had to drive Dean to the emergency room to get a fork removed.

6S

Rod Drake never had a roommate experience like this, but knows people who have. Check out his longer stories in Fictional Musings, Flashes of Speculation, Flash Forward, MicroHorror and Powder Burn Flash.

The Strange Tale of a Cat Lady

by Mulled Vine

This is the strange tale of a woman who lived alone with 282 cats, her husband having left her after cat number 29. Her house was dark and rambling, with every nook and cranny filled with cats, and if one listened carefully at night one could almost imagine that the house was purring. One stormy night a loud scream was heard and the cat lady was not seen again. Rumors spread like wildfire across the town and it was popularly believed that she had been eaten by the cats. Animal Welfare was called in and arrived with a truck load of cages to collect the starving cats, but found the house to be empty with one exception: a large rat sitting in the middle of dining room. The rat looked up, leered at the intruders and let out a long, satisfied burp.

6S

Mulled Vine shares more of his unique imagination on the 6S Social Network.

Hand Crafted Reflection

by Michael Garcia

He stood at the door. The keys were at the end of the hallway, resting on the aqua blue marble table that his grandfather had given him from Granada. He had heard the story so many times that he could recite it with almost perfect intonation and accent. “Bastardo! Madio stoolit from thad THUG thad hung aroun wid Franco.” He knew it wouldn’t change anything: she was too far gone.

6S

Michael Garcia is a creative trying to deploy his craft within the financial industry. He lives and works in Baltimore.

Lonely

by Ephraim Steelandt

You're ignoring me, I just know it. There's no way that you just happened to be busy every time I called you and sick every time I visited. How is it that you always have way too much on your plate when I need to talk but others can say Hi to you without getting their heads chewed off? You never answer my e-mails, letters, chats, texts, even birthday cards! You're just pounding the stake deeper and deeper into my aching heart every time you say Goodbye without asking How are you? And it hurts so much more than you'll ever know.

6S

Ephraim Steelandt enjoys the sensation of being paid attention to.

Jessica

by Adam J. Whitlatch

Her voice is velvet whispers, it sends shivers down my spine. My heart, it skips a beat, at the sound of her approaching feet. She turns the darkest night into the brightest day. She’s absolutely perfect, in every possible way. I live in the gaze of her eyes - deep hazel pools of brilliance. My Jessica.

6S

Adam J. Whitlatch wishes his wife a Happy Birthday today. This Six is made up of various excerpts from the song "Jessica" by Adam's band, Death Stroke. Adam and Jessica live in southeast Iowa with their two sons.

An Unhappy Man

by Nik Perring

January 2009 "Six of the Month" Nominee

School didn't suit him, it was boring, so he left when he was fifteen. He started working in a factory, packing pills, but that didn't suit him either so he resigned and found work at a bakery, but he didn't like it there either. He went on the dole, but the dole didn't suit him, not enough money, nothing to do, so he joined the army. Staying on base didn't suit him but that was fine because before long he was transferred, sent to the front. He liked it there, felt at home, alive, like he was doing something worthwhile, but one day he got in the way of a bullet. The wheelchair they put him in didn't suit him at all.

6S

Nik Perring is a writer and workshop leader from the UK. He's published short stories, poems and a children's book. He blogs here, and has a website here.

Sarah's Slight Sad Short Short Story

by Kent Oswald

Sarah kept her nose to the grindstone from an early age, like her mother urged. She kept her ear to the ground and her eye on the ball, just as her father advised. She never understood the advice from her sister about living too literally. Once she wondered if it were possible to measure happiness. She died financially stable and survivor of two (or do you count the really short other one as a third?) relationships. When she was buried, Sarah's nose was raw, her ear dirty and her retina detached.

6S

Kent Oswald writes for money, occasionally for fun and regularly at The Whinydad Chronicle.

Forbidden

by mgirl

The car was blanketed by a thick layer of snow. Inside they were hidden away from the world as he pulled her closer, pressing his lips hard against hers; his hands searched through layers of winter clothes for the warmth of her soft skin. She felt a strange connection to him the first time they looked into each other's eyes. His look captured her immediately almost like he could reach inside her soul. She tried to resist but was drawn closer by his gentle smile, his laugh and his touch. Sweat dripped down the inside of the window; she ran her finger across it to see if the snow outside had stopped, asking herself why she kissed a married man.

6S

mgirl, whose full catalog is here, loves to read and write, and does both in Canada.

The Beautiful and the Damned

by Joseph Grant

She was a beauty, really but a girl of too many ghosts. From the haunted look in her eyes when she brought up her unsuccessful marriages, the children from failed restraining orders, disastrous first dates and poor indecisions of one too many lonely nights. She passed on the one man in her life that held truth in his eyes to take up with a bad boy, full of empty promises and had just begun to wonder if her life would be better if lived alone. She was such a smart young woman, one of the most intelligent he had ever known and for her to take up with such a dope was completely illogical, but when was falling in love ever logical? It was a damned tragedy to him as she could have done anything in her young life rather than be the self-proclaimed savior of the lost boys (not men) in her life who needed nothing more than a mommy figure in their lives. Instead, she lowered herself to the bottomfeeders in life; low-self esteem had a way of conciliating that.

6S

Joseph Grant rocks the 6S mike with force and frequency. His full catalog is here.

Tracy's Walk

by Lucile McKenzie

The car kept pace with Tracy as she walked quickly down the dark sidewalk, the driver insisting, “Come on, pretty lady, let’s go for a ride.” She walked faster, looking straight ahead as she tried to ignore him. When the car stopped and the driver’s door opened, she ran. She reached her house, dashed inside and locked the door, as the driver called, “Aw, come on, baby, you know you want a ride with me.” She sighed with relief when she heard the car drive away. Later that night rough hands jerked her from her bed and a hard voice said, “Now we’re going to take that ride.”

6S

Lucile McKenzie writes both fiction and non-fiction. She likes to write flash fiction because she's blessed with a short attention span.

Cyberbullying

excerpted from a column by Wendy Davis

Attempts to harness the legal system to get offensive material removed from the Internet have often backfired, as the court proceedings themselves generate far more interest in the dispute than if everyone had kept silent. In her legal papers, model Liskula Cohen is asking a judge to order Google to reveal the identity of the blogger behind Skanks in NYC, a site devoted to smearing her. In New York, bloggers are entitled to anonymity unless the courts find reasons to believe the bloggers have libeled someone. This means that a court won't order the blogger unmasked unless it first finds that the posts allege facts about Cohen, as opposed to opinions. Technically speaking, the cyberbullying aspect of the posts might be irrelevant to that determination. But surely the judge will be aware that cyberbullying has resulted in tragedy on at least one well-publicized occasion - the suicide of 13-year-old Megan Meier, who killed herself after receiving hurtful messages on MySpace.

6S

Wendy Davis is a columnist for The Daily Online Examiner, from which these six sentences are excerpted. Liskula Cohen, who has modeled for Giorgio Armani and Versace, made headlines last year when a doorman at a Manhattan hot spot was jailed after smashing her in the face with a vodka bottle.

New Day

by Peggy McFarland

January 2009 "Six of the Month" Winner

Today would be different. When the alarm rang, she would jump out of bed (not hit the snooze button six times) and find an exercise program on a cable channel (she heard endorphins improved one’s mood) before she showered. She would smile, not scowl, at the barista and try not to dwell on the girl’s incompetence (even if she added cinnamon sprinkles to her vanilla latte). At work, she would show interest and laugh at co-workers' jokes or commiserate with their troubles, offer to help with a dreaded chore and even accept an invitation to join them for a drink after work (if they offered). When the annoying buzzing woke her, she focused on the red digits and slid the bar to “off” instead of “snooze” and wished it was last month (hell, even last week) instead of today. Today would be different alright, after yesterday’s meeting with Comb-Over-Carlson and those three little words... you are fired.

6S

Peggy McFarland, whose full catalog is here, still has her bartending job (no worries), and is happy to share her sixes here.

Puddle

by Toby Tucker Hecht

The shower door stood ajar with fat drops of water inching their way downward along the glass and coalescing in a sad pool on the tile floor. The last hint of his footprints stretched from that spot, out of the room, down the hallway, fading with the distance like a wisp of breath on a frigid day. The interior of the shower was still misty, but the warmth was cooling fast and she wasn’t sure whether the lingering aroma of the musky, masculine shampoo was real or only a remnant of memory now. It was thirty-two minutes since he said goodbye, leaving half the bedroom closet empty. Only the puddle on the floor remained to mark a life together gone bad. That would take a bit longer to evaporate.

6S

Toby Tucker Hecht, who last May gave us an Aphrodisiac, lives and writes in Bethesda, Maryland. Her publication credits include stories in THEMA, The MacGuffin, Spindrift, RE:AL, The Powhatan Review, Red Wheelbarrow, and The Baltimore Review. When not writing, Toby can be found at the National Cancer Institute, where she works in the Division of Cancer Treatment and Diagnosis.

The Plagiarist

by Tim Woodall

I had a candle in my room and she would sit and mold the wax into strange shapes. All kinds of clichés aside, I’m fairly sure it burned out a week after the ice finally splintered beneath us. A year later I wrote a story about us lying in bed on Bonfire Night, while fireworks hung like constellations outside the window. It was published, but then she started cropping up in other stories, with a different name or hair color and, although it happens less now, sometimes I feel guilty. One of these days she’ll realize all this and sue me. And I won’t have a leg to stand on.

6S

Tim Woodall, from Chorlton, Manchester, is a tad Maladjusted.

Six Sixes by Irene Sieders

an Online Magazine from Six Sentences



Irene Sieders takes on the Six Sixes challenge. (With stirring results.) To view the magazine, just click the “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 loves the sixth day of the month. Happy 6th!

Brain Dead

by L.A. Craig

I’m so bored I could eat my own skin! Is this really how I make my living, staring, unblinking at this stupid computer screen; headset with microphone permanently glued to my skull? What happened to the creative, artistic side they all said I had? Lack of confidence to pursue it I guess, probably wouldn’t have amounted to anything anyway. Maybe I’ll whip off my clothes and do a streak through the office. That should liven up proceedings!

6S

L.A. Craig lives in Newcastle in the UK.

Dread, Sadness, or Inadequacy

by D.J. Berndt

I can shut my eyes if I don't want to see something ugly. I can push my fingers into my ears to stop a terrible sound. I can pinch my nose to ignore an odor. I can put on gloves and not touch a thing. If I don't like the taste, I'll just swallow it and chase. No matter what I do, though, it will never be possible to avoid feelings of dread, sadness, or inadequacy.

6S

D.J. Berndt blogs here.

Rash

by Sara Reihani

Love is boring, love is lame. It does not empathize, it does not humor you, it is not gifted with timing. It is not sympathetic, it is not subtle, it is not easily dismissed, it keeps no record of casualties. Love has no prescription, but rejoices in your pain. It always pricks, always tears, always hangs around uninvited and eats your food, always keeps you up at night with maudlin stories of childhood traumas. Love never fails to annoy me.

6S

Sara Reihani lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Ashes to Ashes

by William Brazill

I watched the flames hungrily devour the structure, walls collapsing in helplessness, beams disintegrating, furnishings screaming their protest. Charred ruins, embers, then ashes. The coldness of reduction, life incinerated to nothingness. I do not know why I set fire to my house. To forget the past, maybe. But I did not - and I have not.

6S

William Brazill lives near Washington, DC on the banks of the Potomac River where he writes fiction and watches the water flow by.

Six Sentences

by Barry Basden

Six Sentences is bullshit. Look at all the words in some of these stories. Ever heard of the semicolon? You can write a fucking novel in six sentences with enough semicolons. Face it; you need a word limit, or a semicolon limit. Ha, ha, fat chance; okay, now I'll wait six days for my rejection.

6S

Barry Basden primarily writes 55-word microstories. Some have appeared in Bird and Moon, Pen Pricks, Drunk and Lonely Men and, yes, even 6S.

This Will Be a Good Year

by Caren Coté

On January 12th I'll smoke a pack of cigarettes in the house. January 19th I'll buy a dozen eggs and cook them all in one delicious dinner. January 26th I'll donate our scale to Goodwill and make two pairs of expensive running shoes a present for the dog. Resolutions are for breaking. Exploiting my perceived lack of character is the best option open to me. As long as my husband doesn't realize what's happening.

6S

Caren Coté hasn't made a resolution in years, but has used saturated fat as a weapon. Her short story "Schadenfreude" is forthcoming in Ink-Filled Page.

The Sweetest Rose

by Lynda Forman

I am eating white cake with white frosting at 9:00AM on a Sunday. It isn't a special occasion, and I've already eaten breakfast. But you left again this morning, for the road that will lead you home, and I miss your sweetness. With each bite, I remind myself to lick my lips, close my eyes, and picture your eventual return. I will save the red rose made of icing for later, carefully eating all around it in straight, fork-controlled lines. When the longing becomes too great and I need to feel full again, I will part my lips and swallow the rose whole.

6S

Lynda Forman is a freelance writer in California, who is often a ghostwriter, so you may never see her name credited, yet you may have read her work. She loves cake.

Questions from a Television Screen

by caccy46

How do you know you exist? the voice asked her. "I don't know, really, except you are talking to me..." she began to hear the the voice echo the question again. "Maybe I'm not here at all..." (it was the first time she thought it a possibility). Do people visit you? the voice whispered. "They don't anymore... at least I don't think they do... I'm not sure because I'm stuck inside." I suggest you close your eyes and float away the voice suggested before the screen turned to static.

6S

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

Untitled

by Howie Good

After dark, I’ll renew my flight, a hat and scarf to hide my face and a pill sewn in the lining of my pocket in case of capture. I’ll pass through small towns God has abandoned, where the stoplights work, but traffic is frozen. I’ll hear guerilla fighters scurrying about the tunnels beneath the soybean fields. I’ll think progressively less and less about the future perfection of society. I’ll be hungry all the time. As in a legend, the ravens will feed me.

6S

Howie Good, a journalism professor at the State University of New York at New Paltz, is the author of five poetry chapbooks, including the e-book Police and Questions.

The Hidden Pale

by Jessica Castro

January 2009 "Six of the Month" Nominee

My mother and father met while working together at a factory in downtown El Paso. She was thin then, with inky long hair that kissed her waist, fresh brown freckles on her skin that were not quite the age marks that smudge her face today and wore heavy eyeliner he often caught her re-applying while she was supposed to be sewing labels onto denim. He was her supervisor and tried to hide the faded skin that lived underneath the gold band he hid in his pocket until he got in his car and drove home to his family. As a child, all I could look at whenever he came over for the weekend was the skin beneath the stowed band, the skin itself hidden from light and fresh air whenever he wasn't with us, this ring of pale skin that marked a marriage and a different family from the one he created with us. My mother never seemed to notice it, or maybe she chose not to notice it and fixate on it in the way I did as he handed me money to buy my favorite candy from the corner store, or as he reached for the knob on the radio to turn on some slow music for them to dance to. Instead, she easily allowed his branded hand to hold hers as he swung her around our living room for eighteen years to the music, always tossing her head back and laughing.

6S

Jessica Castro lives in Austin, Texas and is quickly approaching an age when she should have things "figured out." She blogs here.

The Current Arrangement

by Andrew Roe

Edward’s mother never cared for Charlene much, and so when she, Edward’s mother, thought her son’s single mother of two girlfriend (the kids lived elsewhere, in a different state) stole her electric toothbrush, well, that was it. She kicked Charlene out of the house. Because Charlene didn’t have any place to go, she started living in Edward’s truck, which was parked in the next door neighbor’s driveway, the house empty and vacated and foreclosed for some time now. When Edward’s mother was out running errands or playing bridge, Edward snuck Charlene into the house for showers, etc. And at night he smuggled her inside as well, thinking in the dark after she had fallen asleep how he was forty-one, and Charlene thirty-eight, and one of them had kids, was a parent, and somehow it had come to this. He knew that one day they’d get caught and then they’d have to figure something else out, the current arrangement was obviously flawed and wouldn’t last forever.

6S

Andrew Roe lives in Southern California. His fiction has appeared in One Story, Tin House, Glimmer Train, and other places. Find out more (a little) here.

Six by Six, Issue 2

an Online Magazine from Six Sentences



Happy New Year Everyone! Our second issue of Six by Six features work from Dave Erlewine, Tom Feltham, Rowena Forbes, Kate Gordon, Ellen Lindquist, and Alyssa Quintieri. 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 can take you places you've never been to before. Come along for the ride.