All Good Things...

a "delay" announcement from Six Sentences

Well... it just wouldn't be real life if things always ran according to plan! An unforeseen delay has pushed the release of Six Sentences, Volume 2 to an undisclosed date in early April. The bad news: you have to wait a little bit longer to check it out. The good news: it's still AMAZING! Feel free to take out your frustrations (and call Robert McEvily a "bozo") in the comments section below (all comments will be entered into a lottery - six commenters will win prizes on the day the book is released). In the meantime, fasten your seatbelt and enjoy a peek inside a sci-fi novel - your driver is the one-and-only Adam J. Whitlatch...


Six Sentences offers a sincere apology for the delay, and would like to finish the phrase it started: ...come to those who wait!

Why They Fight

Six Sixes by Adam J. Whitlatch

Adam J. Whitlatch leads us inside his novel, E.R.A. - Earth Realm Army, and inside the minds of his characters. To view the magazine, just click the document. You’ll be taken inside, where you can turn the pages by clicking the arrows to the left and right. Enjoy!


Six Sentences? Yes indeed.

Now is Alright

by David Fishkind

They say if you look hard enough you can find the book that mirrors your life. I dedicated my life to finding my book until recently I stumbled upon it one day wandering secretly through the Library of Congress. It is forty pages and written in Russian and I thought if I sat down and read it over and over again long enough I would be able to discover the meaning to my life and/or the significant events I can look forward to. I discovered that I could not read Russian so I pretended to read it over and over again for several nights before giving up. Later, I crawled out of the library and into a ditch and slept with the book in my arms. Today I looked for a Russian who could read me the book; tomorrow I will find a Russian who can read me the book.


David Fishkind blogs here.

I'll Tell You a Story

by Jacob A. Zernick

I cried earlier. A friend rang me up and I told her everything, that my day was terrible. We talked about a lot of things. In the middle of all my crying, an ant crawled right in front of me. Not long afterwards, he stopped moving and died. There was another ant not a foot behind him and soon they met up, and then the second ant picked him up and carried him away, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything that sad in my life.


Jacob A. Zernick has had much better days since.


by Marguerite Sansone

A day off. I sit here in my sweatpants wondering what I should do next; how I should fill these precious, highly anticipated hours. I stare at the snowman figurines, dusty in the morning sunlight, and feel I should put them away – it is March after all – but I stall, thinking there are more important things to do. I eat, bathe, dress and then fill the remaining daylight hours making a deposit at the bank, food shopping, preparing dinner - all necessary chores. Six o’clock comes, then eight o’clock, and I wonder, where in God’s name did this day go? I pack up the snowman figurines, blowing dust off their white bulbous faces, and hope that tomorrow, like the changing seasons, will bring something more.


Marguerite Sansone is a paraprofessional children’s librarian who lives in New Jersey. In her spare time, she writes children’s stories and screenplays, and has recently completed a mystery novel.

Aunty's Gift

by L.A. Craig

The wrapping paper promises much; shiny pink butterflies dance and flutter across its surface, the cerise ribbon bow imitating their wings. I can’t be there on your birthday, so I’ll give it to you early; an extra few days to wonder at its contents. Poking and prodding, you’ll guess all things girly, but you’ll be wrong. By the time your birthday gets here, you’ll have wound yourself into a frenzy; euphoric with excitement at what the day will bring. My present will become lost amongst a pile of many others; you’ll forget who gave you what in the confusion of mass unwrapping. Only seven, I’ll forgive you, I just hope it doesn’t disappoint.


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

Fake Fruit

by Samantha Duncan

"Marriage teaches you how to argue, not those silly classes," my aunt told me. It was the summer before my senior year of high school, and I was taking a debate class I found highly stimulating. But I did believe her, as she would sit in the kitchen by herself and argue with her husband, who had been dead for three years. "I never took a debate class, and I win every fight," she said, and I had no doubts about it. She was winning a debate right now at her table of one, yelling about the water bill at the bowl of fake fruit in the middle like she wanted to eat it. It was obvious she had more in that head of hers than I would ever get out of any class.


Samantha Duncan talks to both fake and real fruit.


by hazel tenenbaum

sometimes simple things are all i need. complexity ends up feeling boring. what was meant to provoke one's mind or be creative becomes dull solely for that reason. if we all just stripped everything to its core and left it bare everyone would realize what makes them truly happy. simplistic nature creates pleasure. and even in complicated matters people find elementary treasures.


hazel tenenbaum wishes to remain anonymous.

Birthday Party

by Audrey Kuo

It was the sense of exclusion that stung most. More than the blows she knew were coming, she hated looking down at the jeering crowd: rambunctious, greedy, lustful. At first they had treated her with reverence, filling her with treats before hoisting her high above their rapturous faces; now they were taunting her with their shouts, their eagerness to tear her open and plunge their ravenous hands into her and pull out her insides, only to run off again, their faces sticky with her sweetness, her parts strewn about like the discarded candy wrappers. At the end of the night, they would leave her battered on the floor, or pieces of her would remain in the tree, colorful tatters blowing in a slow, weak breeze. So as the boldest of the bunch stepped forward from the group to make the first strike, she shut her eyes, plunged herself into darkness. She felt what the eight-year-old child did, as his face was obscured with a strip of folded cloth; together they were blind, and together they could hear and feel the solid connection between stick and paper flesh.


Audrey Kuo is trying to decide which kind of penniless person surrounded by words to become: journalist, grad student or creative writer. (She once kept her friend Esther from a literary criticism essay in order to discuss pirate symbolism, "latitudinal positions," Aztec sacrifices, and the brevity of the Wikipedia article on pinatas. And she once wrote six other sentences.)

Alma Mater

by Tom Mahony

I stood on the corner watching the world go by. The biggest piece of crap jalopy I’d ever seen drove past. Rust had claimed most of the roof, black smoke belched from the exhaust pipe, the wheels wobbled as if ready to fall off. The longhair driver had a spacey grin plastered across his face. The license plate frame said: Alumni, San Diego State University. Ah, I reminisced fondly, the old alma mater.


Tom Mahony, whose online home is here, is a biological consultant in central California with an M.S. degree from Humboldt State University. His fiction has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and has appeared or is forthcoming in Flashquake, The Rose & Thorn, Pindeldyboz, In Posse Review, Boston Literary Magazine, Verbsap, 34th Parallel, Void Magazine, SFWP, Kurungabaa, The Flask Review, Foliate Oak, Decomp, The Oddville Press, Bewildering Stories, Long Story Short, Flash Forward, Laughter Loaf, and Surfer Magazine. He is currently circulating a couple of novels for publication.

Oh, So You're the Quick One

by Jake Kilroy

Mary came home annoyed. "Gerald, you didn't even try to mow the lawn," she said, raising her voice. Gerald scoffed and, with eloquent sarcasm, replied, "That's because I was making hummus, Mary." Ah yes. The hummus. It would certainly be a long night of fighting.


Jake Kilroy, contrary to popular belief, was not raised by handsome wolves. Instead, he was brought up by his nuclear family to lead a radioactive life in Orange County, California. Jake, 24, graduated from Cal State Fullerton with a degree in print journalism and a minor in political science. (You may know him from fancy dinner parties in your area. He is often the only one to bring licorice to such gala events.)

Lucy in Oz

by Gia Lo Scalzo

All day Lucy studied the faces of her co-workers who were assembled for a workshop designed to improve race relations in the school where she worked. An empathetic being by nature (and wired from the coffee and donuts), Lucy rather predictably did not see the risks and fell right into the people around her, thinking all the while of the great Atticus. "This is how I can really know," she reflected. But while trapped temporarily in the chest cavity of a tall, black, raucous security guard named Dizzy John James, Lucy gasped for breath and felt herself slipping, melting, seeing only blue and black and blue again. Her hair was burning at the roots (a sensation that was new to her), and she knew she was invisible, a ghost as pale and thin as a spider web. So she clicked her ruby reds and got the hell out of there as fast as she could, retreating without delay from the sharp glare of Technicolor.


Gia Lo Scalzo is a teacher who lives in a little house in Connecticut that has a deep and overgrown backyard (affectionately known as the "forest") from which she occasionally hears unidentifiable animal noises. Girls from the Bronx are lost (and scared) in the country.


by Bambi Almendinger

The only time I travelled somewhere far away I never left my father's side. Untrue. I don't really know who my father is. He went to Germany once. I have his mouth. And now nineteen years and five months after first meeting him I drive down the road trying to remember a dream I had of him, but can only recall the car he used to have.


Bambi Almendinger is a student living in southern North America.

The Bubble

by Aurora Lee

I kept her in a bubble, so protective of her. I sheltered her from harm and sickness and sorrow. All I wanted was for her to be happy and safe, and she was. And beautiful, too. I thought I had protected her, prepared her for the world – and she was so excited for it! But I’d kept her in a bubble and it turns out... I was protective to a fault.


Aurora Lee is an Admin Assistant in Nova Scotia. She is also a writer, cross stitcher and photographer.

Six Sentences, Volume 2

featuring a hidden message...


Six Sentences begins the 6-day countdown to the publication of its second print anthology, featuring an introduction by Neil LaBute, a guest appearance by Rick Moody, and hundreds of original sixes by a talented lineup of international authors. Look for it on March 31st.

The Rape Trees

by Kim Beck

Along the southern border in Naco, Arizona, my partner and I scout for signs of desert invasion; cuts or stretches in the metal fence, foot trails, water bottles, debris. It is bleak and hot, almost one hundred degrees, but we fight everyday to defeat the human traffic. After noticing a yawn in the fence and a beaten path leading through the cacti, we stop to listen for jabbering illegals, snakes, or cougars. 250 yards in amongst Saguara and Chuparosa, we notice a Joshua Tree littered with women's underwear and bras. Female victims, imprinted with rape, garments displayed on trees as trophies, pay high costs to male guides for a snatch at a better life. There are too many rape trees here.


Kim Beck lives in Kenai, Alaska where she writes short and micro fiction as well as novels. ("The Rape Trees" was inspired by a new blip that barely registered thirty seconds of screen time but has hung with her for weeks. Now it lives in a Six.)

The Incongruous Man

by Joseph Grant

Come in and shut the door the Operations Director said as I apologized for my late arrival to an obviously important meeting, I reasoned as I looked around the room. Should a terrorist group have known about the hush-hush meeting, they could easily have taken out most of the upper tier of not only the United States Government but many of its wealthiest citizens, as well. I sat at the only chair left in the room, a smaller less important table with bean counters, the government’s version of the kiddies’ table during the holiday meal and listened to a very well-known military spokesman sullenly brief everyone about a video loop and other film recently discovered, not sent care of the Taliban or Al Qaeda but from our old newsreels. Initially the point of this meeting being a mystery to us all, the General’s speech began to make sense as he pointed out what was apparently the same exact person, always in a crowd scene, mouthing some unknown words until it had been deciphered by an Agency lip-reader, the film cleaned up in Ultra HD and then it all became startlingly clear. Some eagle-eye at the Agency first spotted the incongruity and aided by canisters of disintegrating film, old newsreels, kinescope, The Library of Congress, the military, video from the Edison Foundation, several well-known news outlets and film from private collections, we were all able to spot the identical face again and again. Although surrounded by the brightest minds of intelligence, no one in that astute room could explain why a man in 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair would be trying to warn the viewer of that time about Pearl Harbor, appear in the Lumiere Brother’s 1895 film at La Ciotat and pass by the camera to nod and mutter about the Lusitania, then in 1960 Paris trying to warn about September 11th, the atomic bomb in a crowd scene at the 1927 World Series or how this man had foreknowledge or why he had not aged in any of the endless reels shown but the General assured us as we buzzed uncomfortably in our seats that the media was now being monitored very assiduously.


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


by Stephen J. Davis

One day I was pondering over the state of my three ex-girlfriends. The curiosity consumed me so I hired a private investigator who returned to me after several weeks. "Virginia," he said, handing me several photos, "is happily married with kids in West Virginia." "Georgia," he continued, "is quite beautiful but she’s a newlywed in Georgia." "And Dakota," he said lastly, "lives in South Dakota now with her husband, an evangelical minister." I tried responding with a thank you but could only muster a nod as I stared out my window at the vastness of Texas — The Lone Star State.


Stephen J. Davis is an elementary school teacher near San Francisco, California and the author of the supplemental education series, Math Games Galore!, available here.

Not With a Bang, But a Bleat

by Alice Folkart

The electricity had come on again than morning, and for just a minute the radio had blared jumbled voices and static, some of it in Yiddish and French, almost no English, so she knew that New York was probably either gone or taken, and that she'd most likely never see Ari again. She sighed, slipped out the side door, and clinging to the shadows twilight was building against the stone walls of the house, made a quick run for the barn, hoping that their sniper was having a smoke or masturbating with his old girlie magazines or something. It would be humiliating to be killed by a gun-happy kid who thought of her as a only a two-dimensional duck on a midway target practice game, on the way to milk the goats that had been bleating for two hours, begging her to come with her bucket and relieve them of their milk; they were the last of the livestock, the last providers of anything resembling protein - the milk had made damn good cheese once she'd been able to get to the ruins of the library and find some books on goat husbandry and cheese making. The sun had fallen into a cloud bank even before it came to the hills, sucking all the light and life out of the view of what had once been, before all they'd cut the trees for fire wood and dismantled most of the houses for materials, a classic, post-card-perfect historic New England town, the town to which Fiona had escaped, a town far enough away from the carnage, the plagues and the radiation clouds to be safe, at least for a little while. As she milked, leaning her cheek against the warm flank of her favorite goat, Hannah, she knew that her time was just about up, that she could hold out alone here for only a few more days, and then the psychos from the city, disfigured by industrial-strength military bacteria and viruses, half blind, lame, insane, slowly, painfully dying, and wanting more than anything to take someone with them, would get her. She'd go on until she saw them coming, and then... well, that's what she was saving Ari's pistol and that last bullet for, and she would do it right in front of them, maybe give them one little twinge of pleasure, poor devils; her only regret was leaving the goats.


Alice Folkart lives and writes poetry and short fiction on the island of Oahu in Hawaii.

Through the Looking Glass

by Jay Franklin

I open my eyes to a bright light, to a man in a mask and a green outfit, his white hands stick to my skin as I take my first breath, welcomed into the world for a lifetime. My mother cries as I’m taken to my first day of school; I was too excited to take notice of her tears. What I see next is the desert as I killed my first man; I had to since it was him or me, and that was what my training was for. My last memory was dressed in white, our happiest day - all around wept tears of joy as we walked through a shower of rice to begin our lives anew. Those tears were in sorrow after her plane fell from the sky, hymns were sung as her box lowered into the ground. This is what flashed before my eyes as the headlights of the oncoming car blinded my sight before impact.


Jay Franklin is a novice writer with no formal background in anything. He lives with his wife in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and hopes this six didn't completely suck.

Picking Blackberries

by Mel George

Remembering you is like picking blackberries. Each memory is sharp, and sweet, and refreshing. But to pick one requires a dive through the brambles. Pricked fingers and scratched arms that still sting while I’m chewing the berries. They don’t come quietly; there’s no sweetness without pain. Some days I brave the thorns and enjoy them; some days I look for some friendlier fruit.


Mel George can usually be found on a train. Random bits of her writing are scattered 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.

In the News

by Eliza Walton

Clara flips open her MacBook and taps Safari. Yahoo! tells her “Woman buys used couch for $27 and finds hungry cat inside.” Clara remembers the cat she had growing up. As she carried Tuna’s gentle bulk around with her, elbows crooked under elbows, how his orange belly spilled out under her suddenly downy arms when she was six. Sitting on the blue plaid sofa to watch cartoons, Tuna on her narrow lap purring wet streams of clear saliva through his long, white teeth, she’d wipe her arms against her t-shirt, or on the nubby, worn upholstery. Then she’d push him off to get cereal and milk or Cheetos and Fanta, while he meowed around her small, sneakered feet, in the time before someone else’s hunger meant anything at all.


Eliza Walton lives and writes in Maine, with her family and cats and dogs and canaries and snow.


by Loobell

The pale gold touches my lips, burning my tongue before it slithers down the back of my throat and makes me gasp. I contemplate more whilst waiting for courage to arrive; I am sure the bottle read “fortified” and I need those battalions now. A nervous eye on the clock, so early, yet where is he for goodness sake? The envelope drops with a gentle flutter; my heart in unison with it as it falls. Then [sigh] another job rejection appears before me. The world looks better through the bottom of a whiskey glass sometimes.


Loobell - harassed middle aged mother, badly lapsed blogger - once showed us the Light at the End of the Tunnel.

Through the Door

by Doug McIntire

I never expected to see her walk through that door. I hadn’t seen her in over twenty years, but I recognized her immediately. And I recognized the young woman who walked in behind her. She looked just like her mother did, back when we were still together. I didn’t even know she had a daughter. After an awkward hello, she said, "Nicole wanted to know who her father was."


Doug McIntire has never had this happen to him. He hopes it never does.

Easy Come, Easy Go

by Michelle Davis

“It ain’t easy being me,” she yells indignantly at the accusing eyes as they recognize then quickly and completely dismiss her. She stands there... on her concrete pedestal at the corner of Grand and Capital... waiting for the next sucker to come along... he always does... and she will “persuade” him to help a sister out. She works her magic on all those white knights in training who have accidentally or, at the very most, reluctantly watched Pretty Woman, passing by; ”It ain’t easy being me,” she cries to them, and like flame to moths, she sucked them into her hell. One by one, her damsel in distress routine charms them into faux rescue attempts and one by one they fall victim to the dragon’s greatest weapon. She always leaves them just as she finds them... a little lighter in the pocket maybe, but otherwise unharmed. She smiles at the ease with which she can seduce their chivalry and answer their carnal desires all at the same time; ”It ain’t easy being me” she sings to the next knight as he slows down to whisk her away to the Castle that rents by the hour.


Michelle Davis lives and works in Arkansas where she aspires to become one of the greats, but contents herself with the daily roles of mom, wife and teacher.

Albert Failed

by Brad Rose

He wasn’t a very good speller, and after her graduated he couldn’t find a job. It was a damn shame about that hair, too. He couldn’t afford a haircut, so he let grow long, even though he received the most rebuking looks whenever he strolled through town. Once, he made a reservation at a fancy restaurant in the most tony part of the city, just so he could prove to his new wife that - although he was pretty much a failure and worked now as a simple clerk - he still loved her, more than anything in the universe. When the Maître de finally called out his name, it was, of course, wrong. "Mr. I.N. Stein," he snidely announced, with a mocking tone of formality, “your table is ready.”


Brad Rose can be reached here.

In the Middle of the Night

by Mike Whitney

The kiss is long, excitement builds, her surrender incremental, the seduction approaches a shattering peak... and you awake to find yourself tonguing a wet spot on your pillow. Back to sleep, and you are flying without wings, sharing face time with old heroes and role models both alive and deceased. Your father is totally approving and affectionate, your mother encouraging of your boyish dreams, your first love affairs forgiving. You are free as a bird, roving from town to town, spreading love and joy to all whose paths you cross. Your old dog is at your side, your skill with multiple instruments amazing, your writing effortless and rewarding; ageless and fit, you awake to real life, refreshed and alert, ready for the new day, because in your dreams, you are forever young, untouched and immortal. Such fantasies will carry you through the day until you live again in the middle of the night.


Mike Whitney rocks and rolls on the 6S Social Network.

Best Friend

by Mark Rosenblum

He dreamed about her again last night. How she remained by his side as he ruined his life drinking away his talent, alienating himself from family as his pity party cast off all guests. He missed her, their walks together and the world view that led to his contemplative study of normal life in Strafford park; couples in love, couples fighting, street repair crews sweating in bright sun, waiters gathering tips from sidewalk tables, immigrant vendors pushing carts about the fringes of the square - the visual cues of life's hard times and good times that led to his AA meetings and their course of freedom from false contentment and finally, redemption. Now in control of his destiny once more, he promised to be a better person to himself and others and recognize that the world seldom grants us unconditional love. She was gone - age had run its natural course. When the time was right, he would get himself another dog.


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. His writing will appear in the upcoming anthology, Six Sentences, Volume 2.

what i want

by ryan manning

i want many suitors. i want to be pursued. i want miranda july to vigorously pursue me. i want to have sex with american apparel models. i want my inbox to be flooded with offers for sex. flooded.


ryan manning is a proper noun.

Every Rose's Thorn

by Joe O’Sullivan

As the lead singer for the Poison cover band Every Rose’s Thorn, Frankie stayed in good shape, kept his thick blonde hair teased out, and got plenty of chicks. He had a sweet collection of band tee shirts, 20 year’s worth, and he loved showing them off to the ladies. He just had to get a girl in the door and those black shirts tacked up on the wall in the front hallway would keep her busy until he could pour the first Jaeger bomb, and then he was as good as laid. That one night, after playing the closing night of the St. Henry parish carnival, when he brought that one girl home, the one with the Loop tee shirt and the roach clips with the feathers attached as a hair accessory? She thought his collection totally fucking ruled, and she was hot. That’s why he was so bummed when he woke up and found out Loop girl had not only taken his last $27 and his favorite Warrant tour shirt, but she’d also taken a horrendous dump in his toilet and not even flushed.


Joe O’Sullivan is a police sergeant in a suburb of Chicago. He is fascinated by clowns and alligators, and wishes he had a cool nickname like "Turbo Dog." Until recently his writing could only be obtained by subpoena, or a faxed request on department letterhead. His retirement plan is modeled on his blog, Sprawling Ramshackle Compound.

All at Sea

by Vaughan Simons

"You no longer float my boat. You just sink my battleship," she tells me, wearing her most solemn, iron-clad face. I ask her which battleship she imagines herself to be, but am unable to stop sailing forth in a futile final mission to impress her with my detailed knowledge of military seafaring. "The Sir Galahad was an explosive sight, but maybe you're the General Belgrano, and you think I fired on you in anger even though you were turning to make your escape? Or are you the Admiral Graf Spee, sending out a last distress flare before scuttling yourself to save all on board?" She doesn't answer - merely looks at me like my eyes are approaching torpedoes, before sinking beneath the briny without leaving a trace.


Vaughan Simons exists in a mostly virtual state, and maintains an expensive word habit at An Unreliable Witness and as editor of Writers' Bloc.


by Marina Richards

I picture my mother's hands fluttering through the air, then going still on the bronze photo frame of herself by the telephone by the bed. She likes to point out how elegant and thin she was before she got pregnant. How she could have been a runway model like Twiggy, or a singer like Cher, yet gave up her career ambitions to raise her kids. She had suffered, and now it’s her right to bitch about the unfairness of it all. And in many ways and as much as I dislike being her captive audience, I understand. Of course, I don't tell her this.


Marina Richards is a freelance writer from the Boston area. Her fiction has been published in Volume 10 of the Hawaii Pacific Review, and her essays in the Humor Press and Writer's Digest Magazine.


by Robert Scotellaro

She put on the new nightgown she'd gotten at Penny's and slipped into bed — felt the one that was left, the satiny material against it — could hear him in the bathroom brushing his teeth. The lifelike silicone breastform with ("natural pink Caucasian nipples") lay out of her bra on the dresser. She wanted to tell him about the moments she'd been having: the sparrow she saw that suddenly landed, half in, half out of a diamond in a chain-link fence; the orange tips of their daughter's birthday candles in the dark, for that instant when she first blew them out; yesterday's spring rain — the way that woman in the park tilted her umbrella as she talked with a friend. She hoped he wouldn't come on to her. He stepped out and stood there for a moment, wiping toothpaste foam from his chest, and when he looked up, she followed his gaze to the dresser, where it lingered. She pulled back the covers and patted his side of the bed — reached for the remote.


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.


by C.T. Terry

My ex invited me to her wedding. I told her I had finals at school. It would have been fun to go, though. A lot of my friends would have been there and we could have got drunk. But I have principles. If I know what your pussy tastes like, I won’t come to your wedding.


C.T. Terry grew up on the East Coast. He lives in Chicago, where he's a Fiction Writing MFA candidate at Columbia College. He has published Gullible Zine since 1995.

Tupelo Regressions

by Doug Mathewson

So in this dream me and Elvis Presley are about eight or nine years old, drinking big glasses of cold milk at his Mom’s kitchen table. We’re telling each other about our past lives, all of them we can remember anyway going way back. Every single life of mine had me as one kind or another of dirt farmer, just digging Polish potatoes, picking Alabama cotton, pulling weeds under the Mexican melons, and I don’t even know the name of what I was growing when I was Chinese! Elvis had this funny look on his face, eyes half closed and mouth half smiling but was all serious business when he told how he remember every single one of his amazing lives. He told me about driving a golden chariot pulled by six jet-back horses, he told me about fighting with a sword in The Crusades, he told me about being a merman with a long beard and a tail, he even told me some darn fool story about being the first man to walk on the moon. All I could do was sit there in my Leave it To Beaver striped shirt, swinging my legs back and forth drinking my milk while I thought: Elvis surely is the King, king of the bull-shitters that is!


Doug Mathewson, whose full catalog is here, lives on the Connecticut shoreline and writes very short fiction that occasionally turns into essays or poetry. His current project is "True Stories From Imaginary Lives." He has been published online by PenPricks, Micro-Fiction, Creative Soup, and Tuesday Shorts. Lately he seems fascinated with writing stories that are six sentences in length. More of his work is available at his blog.


by Quin Browne

It is in those hours before early morning, before light starts, when the room is still dark. I am never sure which of us awakens first, of whose body is aware... if it is you or me that changes from the soft movements of sleep to the focused movements that occur when you are conscious of that person next to you. The sweep of a hand down a stomach, the arch of a back allowing a slumberous murmur to become a welcoming moan. Adjusting to each other with still stretching limb, bodies warm, damp, sliding one into the other; a gasp. Touching your body to map you in my mind, my hands become my eyes... there are deep rumbles of laughter in your chest, my face in your neck, those final sounds you make causing me to close my eyes in deep release. Finally, I struggle to stay in that semi somnolent state... these dreams are far preferable to the naked truth of my solitary existence.


Quin Browne keeps an online journal, where she rambles about nothing. Her 6S body of work is something she's proud of creating.

Four Legs, Four Stories

by Emily Anne Epstein

I wasn't sure if I should feel guilty about the cat or not. Sure, I had wished it dead several times, what with its long claws, filthy paws and dreadful smell, but I knew I was too cowardly to kill it. Out the window. "It jumped," I told her; she didn't believe me. Our suicidal kitten let me relish in her pain without remorse. Maybe that was worse.


Emily Anne Epstein is a journalist based in Buenos Aires, Argentina where she's known to practice photography, writing, and poor Spanish. More of each can be found here.

The Stage Itself Is Darkened

by Colin Herd

We mime sexual attraction at points, looking deeply into each others' eyes; I am surprised you can focus on anything but my lemon-coloured shorts. I am the boy and you are the man which means you wear bell-bottomed trousers and have a shaved head. The man has a chicken which stuns me into a kind of frenzy; it flutters, the most graceful wing-beat I have ever seen, and the most insistent, and the most piercing, and the most grave. I am excitable of course, feeling invincible in lemon as usual, but the boy slowly takes the chicken and deliberately squats with it between his thighs, squeezing it to death. The man watches from the shadows. (Not everyone believes the chicken dies.)


Colin Herd lives in Edinburgh, Scotland and maintain a blog here.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Phase 2 of the "Final Sentence" Voting!

We went from over 100 contestants to 36... now we're down to SIX! Just six finalists remain in the "Final Sentence" Contest. And now it's time to choose the winner of the $20.00 Prize! May the Luck of the Irish be with our finalists! Choose your favorite HERE. Then go and have yourself a terrific St. Patrick's Day!


Six Sentences encourages you to VOTE HERE to help determine our winner! The voting results will be posted in the comments section (below) tomorrow at 4pm (EST). Good luck to all!

Date Four

by Troy Wallace

I want to tell her how much I like her. I want to tell her she's pretty lousy in bed. I want to tell her, so she stops looking at me that way, that she's never going to mean as much to me as (her), and that I don't think we'll be together forever. I want to tell her there's no good without the bad, and that only the good things matter, because the bad things can all change. Maybe some day I'll love her. And maybe some day she'll get naked in the light.


Troy Wallace lives in the Midwest and enjoys 6S because he believes less is more.

Formidable Barrier

by Edgar Canter

Sometimes I think that you would still enjoy the way I used to call you and shout your name like I had won the lottery or the way I used to look into your green eyes, which told me things about love and myself that I had never known. Sometimes I think that you would still like the way I used to comb through your thick hair and push it aside to whisper I love you into your ear with enough force to make you giggle and enough poignancy to make you melt. But now the mountain stands between us, a tall formidable barrier that neither of us has the courage to cross. Love was created by the brave, for the brave. Sometimes I think that you would like to be brave with me again. I could stand to climb such a mountain.


Edgar Canter is a 19-year-old pants-wearing student at Syracuse University. He enjoys fish, phish, and the late 1960s.

Six Bulls

by Paul van Winkle

Conchita Cintron, the "Goddess of the Bullring," died in Lisbon today at 86 after having killed over 750 bulls in the ring. She had been injured in the ring many times and seriously gored twice, once in each thigh, but both times she fought on and killed the bulls. She once described the technique of killing a bull: "The bull to a certain extent commits suicide when he charges, exposing to the matador's sword only upon charging a small, vital and lethal spot just forward of the shoulders and behind the horns. No, it doesn't take great strength to kill a bull, but rather a keen eye, a steady nerve and a true hand." La Diosa Rubia, as she was called, entered the bullring for the first time at 13, killing her first bull in Tarma, Peru at 15, having gotten used to the idea of killing by practicing, day after day, at a slaughterhouse, endlessly jabbing and stabbing at doomed oxen who bellowed - but did not die. When told by her teacher that she was closing her eyes at the moment of the strike, she became determined, and now keeping her eyes wide open, killed six oxen the next day, painlessly and instantly, with just six, sure strokes.


Paul van Winkle currently lives in Atlanta and has worked to master the art and science of business development for global creative groups just so he can allow himself a little time to read, write and think. Mostly about how interpretation, communication and intelligent selection are the existential centerpins of all evolving lifeforms. (Because the marketplace battlefield is rarely easy or uncomplicated.)


by Rhian Waller

A maniac at the mint decided that money was pooling in all the wrong places. Finding blackmarket plastique, he embedded nanotriggers at the core of coins. The charge was carefully balanced so that the blast wouldn't be powerful enough to hurt a thrifty member of the public. While housewives' handbags blew to rags and pensioners found their penny jars pulverized, there were no flesh wounds. But businesses went ballistic, safes detonated from the inside; underground vaults imploded, folding down the foundations of banks. Cashiers brought protective glasses to work, managers panicked and pounds became hot potatoes in a capitalist boom.


Rhian Waller is currently studying Creative and Critical Writing at PhD level. She tends to have too many or too few jobs. (Her hobbies include Poi, experimenting with food, and throwing socks at annoying people on television.)

The Bleeding Building

by Peter Wortsman

I was seated with Dan Rather on the rooftop of a bleeding building: I believe I’ll report this to the building authority, I said. Oh no you don’t, said Dan. But the building is bleeding, I said, it needs a transfusion. Not on your life, said Dan, nobody scoops Dan Rather. You mean, I said, you’d let it bleed to death? Listen, son, he said, as long as Dan Rather’s sitting on top of a story it’s still alive and kicking.


Peter Wortsman - author of a book of short fiction (A Modern Way to Die, 1991), plays (The Tattooed Man Tells All, 2000; Burning Words, 2004), and travel pieces (The Best Travel Writing 2008 & 2009) - is still fond of brevity.

"The Final Sentence" Contest!

Phase 1 of the Voting Process!

Holy Cow! We had over 100 entries for the big "Final Sentence" Contest! So... since we need to narrow it down, and since it's March (which is known for the big March Madness basketball tournament), we've kept in that spirit, and selected 36 semi-finalists arranged in six brackets of six entries each! It's time to vote in Phase 1 of determining the winner! Just click the link HERE to cast your vote in each bracket - the results will give us our six finalists. Thanks to everyone who entered, and Good Luck to our 36 semi-finalists!


Six Sentences encourages you to VOTE HERE to help determine our six finalists! The final vote will take place on St. Patrick's Day (Tuesday).

Vernon Park

by Emily McPhillips

The park is pale silver in winter; the grass weaving along, mixes of metallic chains and threads, a tough sort of armour. On a circle of walkway you will see: a black metal fence, a fountain, a host of benches as guests, and plaques with old names upon them: dedications and remembrances that stay rooted and still. I walk on and miss things - I hold onto things, too. I hold branches until they snap, I walk on ice still to be found on the edges of paths in the deep of the shade, and I travel along the lengths of helpful handrails that tell me when my route will change. By the old band stand my muscles ache from walking up flights of concrete steps covered by curved and empty trellis. I stand looking to the furthest point in the distance, to an electrical pylon that stands in the same manner that I do: elbows outwards, pointing fierce - only the way I see it, the pylon looks smaller than I, like a toy placed on a hill.


Emily McPhillips was born in 1985. She lives in Manchester where she studies Journalism at Salford University.


by Diane Brady

Every morning I sweep what has entered my board house from the day before – pieces of ash from the fires burning around the village, dead ants, beetles, cockroaches, termites; I keep hoping the larger critters stay out and don’t crawl through wide cracks in the walls, and aside from one frog the size of my fist and several gecko friends, the snakes, tarantulas and lizards have not visited me yet. On Saturdays I usually do the wash, soaking my clothes in a plastic tub on my second-floor back porch before rinsing them downstairs in the adjacent building where the toilet and coldwater shower are housed; the water is hard with minerals so it takes a lot of powdered soap and capfuls of softener; the clothes then hang on a line around my huge kitchen, drying quickly in the tropical breeze that moves with force through the windows. My limited supply of dishes, silverware and coffee mugs are washed in two, large plastic bowls, the thin water pipe emerging from a gaping hole; there is no inside drain, so I hurl the dirty water over the side of the porch, occasionally hearing the sound of a spoon hitting the rocks below. After four months in my little Belizean home, far inland where the sugar cane grows, I have settled into this routine with little effort. But now I have another house to clean, and I am resistant to the idea and continue to procrastinate; I find distractions at all of the most opportune moments. For inside this great, haunted mansion, cob webs from my past still hide and cling in the most remote corners, and I am hoping that after 27 months in this developing country I will have the courage to sweep them clean, too.


Diane Brady is a Peace Corps Volunteer currently serving in Belize, C.A.


by austere seeker

Yvonne; she’s an Yvonne, that much I gather. At first I was stunned, strange chatter, wisps that would sneak up to puncture the quiet like a sudden radio blare - all oui’s and oo-lala’s. Rambunctious music like a tinny carousel waltz, jostling, laughter, the rustle of silk, and much clapping. In the corner sits a dwarf in a tall hat, beady eyes skimming the room past the crowd at his table, absinthe-high, a magician-wizard looking for images to trap in black charcoal on white. The image now crops up, dissolves when it so pleases - a creamy arm flung in abandon, foot lifted mid step, face ice-white with that painted pout and those eyes; they make one tremble. In coffee cup froth, in the mist on the bathroom mirror, in the jostling bazaar on my way home, in the conference room talking numbers, she drops in unannounced - first a trace of music-chatter, and then that floating wisp till the volume revs up, deafening, now you see her now you don’t, she grabs your arm and won’t let you be and you know it; tell, tell my tale! she insists.


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

No Fairy Tale

by Rod Drake

When Grimka the witch was shoved unceremoniously into her own oven, she realized how those damned kids had played her. Hansel and Gretel, if that were their real names, were neither innocent nor probably even siblings. They were a pair of savvy juvenile con-artists with murder on their minds and a feverish candy addiction. Grimka wondered how many times these #%$&* brats had pulled this same bait-and-switch routine on other witches. As the flames consumed Grimka, it occurred to her that the number of witches using the candy house modus operandi had been mysteriously vanishing lately obvious victims of these witch hate crimes. Grimka heard the children’s laughter, hollow and mean, as they slammed the oven door shut.


Rod Drake, whose full catalog is here, is the Official 6S Author of Friday the 13th (and Halloween).

Postcard Girl from Asbury Park

by Sheri Kasprzak

I wish I wasn’t here. I’m so sick of this desolate, splintered boardwalk, a remnant of happier summers, of cotton candy and warm sand. Bums and hookers live here now. Postman, ship me off to another city where someone will appreciate my figure reclined in a skimpy, red bikini. For the price of a postage stamp, I could find romance and adventure again. Please take me with you, anywhere.


Sheri Kasprzak's work has previously appeared in Twisted Dreams magazine. A full-time journalist, she lives in New Jersey with her husband, James, and sons, Gabriel and Sebastian. She is currently working on her second novel, The Sisterhood.


by Michael Solender

She lie in bed, hours since retiring, churning and tossing fitfully in the black dark arid night air that sank in through the open window. The crickets did not drown out the recurring chorus from the mornings misdeeds that rattled in her heavy, bony head. She felt truly sorry... she was sorry... but the words that leaped from her lips not in anger but with vengeance had found their target squarely. Wounded and shocked at the same time he immediately retreated to the extra bedroom and shut the door tightly; she heard his tears steadily falling, each taking another drop of what little affection was left for her. Now, she pitched and flopped, her bed cold in the hot air without him. Morning would not bring her relief and she knew this, she covered her ears to make it stop hurting.


Michael Solender is a corporate refugee and freelance writer based in Charlotte, North Carolina. He writes a weekly Neighborhoods column for the Charlotte Observer and blogs here.

The Carer's Affair

by John Ammirati

The wealthy widower Mr. Jones was fading away in the last stages of Alzheimer's, and was cared for by a 40-something private nurse named Nancy; his family wanted nothing from him but money and had long-since stopped visiting the lonely old Jones house. Mr. Jones had never spoken in front of Nancy, never expressed any opinions about the food she fed him, the baths she gave him, the music she played in the house. Nancy became bored and curious and one day slipped Mr. Jones a Viagra tablet and started massaging his penis to see if that would inspire any sign of life in his vacant eyes. When he became erect, Nancy mounted him and rode away for a couple of minutes, dismounting before she thought he might come. She lied down next to Mr. Jones and masturbated herself to climax, thinking of all the men in her life who abused, belittled, and humiliated her. Looking down at Mr. Jones's pleading erection inspired wild laughter in Nancy, who ended their session by spitting in the old man's face.


John Ammirati lives in Manchester, England and sings for the band Amida.

The Radio is Playing

by Patrick J. Salem

The rising sun’s heat has excited the ladybugs on the window in my writing room. The blink, blink, blink of the cursor against a blank, blank, blank page accuses me of laziness and lack. Outside the window, the locust tree is still bare, and I can see a pair of woodpeckers bop up opposite sides looking for larva as the nuthatches move from birdfeeder to barked trunk to have their breakfast. I challenge myself to write only a paragraph, just six good sentences to tell a story, but my mind wanders. I check e-mail, falling 401(k) funds, early symptoms of pregnancy for my wife, and a couple of porn sites in an effort to find “inspiration.” Thank God, the dog is barking, and I gotta go.


Patrick J. Salem is a former journalist from Chicago who, during the middle of a mid-life crisis, has enrolled in the MFA program at Columbia College Chicago.


by Anita Satyajit

People laughed at the madwoman. Some ignored her but most chose to smirk as she ran about the streets singing praises of her lover. She sang lyrics of the love which ravaged her soul; words to which only she knew the meaning. Some in town listened to her, felt her loss and threw her compassionate glances. But caught in the madness, she saw no one. Not even him, as he walked by casting a tired eye at her.


Anita Satyajit is a writer who loves to constantly seduce, play, and battle with words. She is predominantly a non-fiction writer but her secret closet is stacked high with stories and poems. For more, visit her blog.

The Votes Are In!

And the Award Goes To...


Six Sentences congratulates the winner of the February 2009 "Six of the Month" Award, who'll receive $25.00 and a commemorative prize!

The Losing Battle

by Dana Parent

Shabby tourists, corralled safely behind the bulky spindles of an unraveling rope, blindly thrust their video recorders into a sea of uplifted arms to capture the sight of a cannon’s wrath splintering the enemy’s beleaguered sinking boat. Only the folks down front bristle in the fire warming their skin and cower in frightened unison as one battered mast splits and topples upon the stubborn captain refusing to abandon the soaked planks sagging under his feet. The remaining horde, jostling for a glimpse, must wait to revel in the action until they arrive home and sink into familiar, sullied couches and flip through the stacks of developed photographs. Some will linger to watch the mayhem replay on miniature iridescent camcorder screens before they wander up or down the strip or into the casino to waste untold riches in hopes of hitting a jackpot of innumerable nickels or quarters with the flick of a wrist. Tonight, a young man adrift in the mob flinches at every rumbling echo awakening his unsteady nerves. He doesn’t care about the show.


Dana Parent lives and writes in Richmond, Virginia. He occasionally tends a small garden there.

The Final Sentence

A Quick Writing Contest from 6S


When you click the play button above, the video will scroll five short sentences. Your mission - should you choose to accept it - is to finish the story with a sixth and final sentence. Just type your sixth and final sentence in the comments area before the deadline - Friday the 13th at 6:00pm EST. After the deadline, six finalists will be chosen, and we'll have a quick vote to determine the winner. The winner will receive a $20.00 prize! (Winner's choice: Amazon Gift Card, iTunes Gift Card, or direct PayPal payment - Good Luck!)

Favorite Authors

by Mac Walton

He listed some of his favorite authors, and he had to have composed it ahead of time, kind of like a mix tape, alternating somewhat unevenly between obscure novelists, and what she thought of as the understandable titans, like Jonathan Franzen or David Foster Wallace, writers whose popularity, because they were only popular in certain circles and social strata, did not hinge upon a sacrifice of quality, writers it was not only acceptable but necessary, if one was to be taken seriously, to love, or if not to love than at least to study and appreciate and maybe find some token objection with which to disguise a fundamental failure to connect (or maybe you just read it at the wrong time in your life). She noticed right away that the list was about 90% male (he listed 14 authors, all men save Margaret Atwood, of all people) but she didn't know how he would react if she confronted him about it. He seemed intelligent and passably feminist or at least receptive to feminist ideas and critiques, the ones that jived with his experience anyway, but she wasn't sure what to do. She was grateful for the conversation, and didn't want to end it just because in all the times he had recited this list no one had ever had the guts to tell him that he needed to read more books by women, and she didn't think she did either, except that by not telling him would she be screwing over the next girl he recited it for? And so she didn't tell him, at least not yet, reasoning that the odds of him ending up in love with another feminist wouldn't beat the odds of him ending up in love with either herself (or someone else who didn't particularly care) or a non-feminist, and thus it wasn't worth risking their nascent relationship over. Then she thought: or was it?


Mac Walton is 22 and shy, and kind of a musician.


by Mindy Munro

My ex-husband was married again recently in a sunset ceremony on a rooftop overlooking the Bay Bridge. He had invited the three of us - our son, our daughter, and myself - and we had accepted because the support of family is as important to us as it is to him. His entire life, he had never had it from his mother. In fact, up until a week before her death she was still calling me - which was something I endured with not so much patience, but pity - expressing with absolute certainty that the two of us would eventually get back together even though we'd already been divorced for several years and he was happily living with someone else. As the sun went down over the city my ex-husband and his new spouse kissed and then cut the cake, a white three-tiered buttercream with two tiny plastic people, both in tuxedos, proudly perched on top. I was glad his mother wasn't there.


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


by Angela Hu

I've always wondered about the personalities of each punctuation. A period can be a deafening silence to an end or a matter-of-fact statement. A comma, so effortlessly put, may be construed as a pause or thought, as if taking a gulp of breath, and continuing on. The apostrophe seems like I'm someone else's. Not entirely belonging to myself, but nevertheless manifesting in theirs. But whatever I decide to use, the semi-colon always expresses my deepest thoughts; it helps me assert my independence, in contrast with all the modifiers in this world.


Angela Hu, originally hailing from the sunny state of California, is a budding journalist masking her deepest passion for photography in the vicious field of Public Relations at Syracuse University.


by J.R. Carson

There is really no good reason for me telling you what I’m about to tell you, other than the fact that I’m tired of talking to myself and I’m afraid I may start talking back (cliché, but true). When I was 42 years old, I saw a man murdered before my eyes; he was shot dead by a mugger for what couldn’t have been more than a few dollars in his worn out leather wallet. What stuck with me wasn’t the murder, though – it was the wallet, as it reminded me of being a child and receiving my first birthday card with cash in it, a crisp twenty dollar bill. I begged my mother to immediately take me to the store so I could buy a nice wallet, my very first wallet, to put all of my future money in – it didn’t matter to me that spending the money meant that my nice new wallet would remain empty until my next birthday. Though I’ve never had better luck with my money since, I was comforted on the day I witnessed that murder by patting my pocket and assuring myself that the same familiar wallet was still with me, still keeping a place marked for all of my future money. I walked away from the dying man and whistled a happy tune, knowing that there would always be another birthday coming.


J.R. Carson was born in 1971 and will likely die in 2012, when the world comes to its preordained end.

Intangible Tango

by Richard M. Johnson

She was not beautiful in a classic sense, but she walked into the reception area of the audition with the air of someone who did not have time for anyone she thought might be below her station. Eventually we were the only two left in the lobby, and I struck up a tentative conversation with her, asking how long she’d been dancing and what styles she specialized in. Her reply was simply "Tango." Duly impressed, I blathered on endlessly about how the receptionist was sick, and that I was only filling in for her, and how I thought Tango was amazing and that I was envious of anyone who knew how to move with such intricacy and grace. She stood, looking incredibly sensuous and serious, as she told me that anyone could learn the basics, and then held out her hand toward me. I knew I’d be fired if I was caught, but when I stepped into her embrace and we straightened into the first position, with her holding me close against her body, I also knew it was all going to be well worth the risk.


Richard M. Johnson has two left feet, but is always willing to try.

Mission Bay Vision

by Jo Jardin

Piece: Two years ago, this place was a dump. Now it has evolved into a park full of close-clipped grass, teak benches, brazen breeds of dogs, and a vast amount of waterfowl. Adolescent trees awkwardly grow along the water's edge, and you know they still don't feel they belong there. Still, I've forgiven the trees - I'm a transplant here myself. The word "transplant" may mean that you don't belong, but it doesn't mean you can't love the new place. And I love our transformation.


Jo Jardin is a writer who was born and raised on the plains and has moved to the big City of San Francisco. (She's still entranced by it, and she's going on five years now.)

All the Floor Space

by Juan Gonzalez

Digna Carpio, 31, the miracle mom, walked in from the small bedroom where her six babies were just falling asleep. Six empty bassinets - lined up in two neat rows - took up all the floor space. She seemed tired and overwhelmed and fought back several yawns in the first interview she's given since the babies came home. "It's not easy to find time for sleeping," she said. The six infants, Joel, Genesis, Jezreel, Justin, Danelia and Jaden, were born in a four-minute span on the morning of Oct. 6th. They are believed to be the first Hispanic sextuplets in U.S. history.


Juan Gonzalez is a columnist for the New York Daily News. His six sentences are excerpted from today's article, "Carpio Family Finally Happy at Home with Sextuplets."

Swinging Low

by Madam Z

Stanley wasn’t satisfied with just one woman, and Sadie didn’t blame him for that, since she wasn’t satisfied with just one man, either. The difference between them was that Sadie would rather indulge her fantasies in secret; while Stanley was always trying to recruit another couple so he and Sadie could both screw someone new, while keeping everything aboveboard. One of the many problems with that approach was that he would select candidate-couples based on his attraction to the female half, without consulting Sadie to see if she was interested in the accompanying male. Another problem was that Stanley had only the most minimal social skills and no subtlety at all, so his attempts to introduce the idea to any of their soon-to-be-former-friends were not only unsuccessful, but also excruciatingly embarrassing. Finally, Sadie took matters into her own cheating hands and had a very private, very passionate affair with a man of her own choosing; who dumped her hard, right after Stanley discovered her one-sided treachery. Stanley divorced Sadie immediately, which was fine with her, since she was then free to be with as many men as she wished, but poor Stanley ended up getting married to the first woman he dated, and that woman made it quite clear that one man was enough for her and one woman sure as hell better be enough for him.


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

Remind Me Why I'm Not There

by Caren Coté

I have to get out of this room. I wish I had a long coat to wear over the pajamas I stole from Mike; that would be faster and deliciously eccentric. Downstairs in the hotel lounge I sit in a corner, watching mute television and drinking Diet 7-Up. The bartender brings them with a cherry, as though they were Shirley Temples for his niece. Mike's asleep, or I'd call. I promise myself I'll call while he's getting ready for work in the morning, but wake up in a tragically glamorous pose across the king-sized bed at ten-thirty.


Caren Coté has never stolen anyone's pajamas, but thinks it'd be cool to wear a long coat over them. Her short story "Schadenfreude" appears in the Winter 2009 edition of Ink Filled Page. (This is a novel excerpt; the long version is currently being rejected by literary agents.)


by Doug McIntire

I’d nearly forgotten, but it was time for me to perform my once-a-week cleaning of the cat litter, just in time for the trash to go out the next morning. It was late and I was tired, almost ready to turn in for the evening. As I searched for my sandals, I realized that they were in none of the usual places, which meant that my stepdaughter probably had made off with them. She was already in bed and I was in no mood to go searching for them, considering the miserable chore before me. But when I turned on the hallway light and opened her bedroom door, I saw her fast asleep, curled up in her blankets, the sandals laid out neatly on the floor by her bed. I smiled and realized that I didn’t really mind her sneaking off with my sandals.


Doug McIntire's stepdaughter is a constant source of material and offers him loads of encouragement to write.

So Many Nights Ago

by Bryan Young

After two years, the sight of the hotel where we said our final goodbye still weighs down my chest with longing and bittersweet memories. Even after so long, I can still feel you pressed against me in bed, taking a deep breath and saying something adorable and unexpected like, “God, I love the way you smell.” How’s that? I’d ask, and you’d say in that angelic voice of yours, “Like you.” I have to work to remember times like that instead of the cold night things ended, bitterly as they did. I cherished every stolen moment with you, and every time I pass that old building downtown I wish I were there with you once more. Despite it all, I hope you made the right choice.


Bryan Young is an award-winning filmmaker, columnist for The Huffington Post, and posts short stories regularly on his short story blog. He also runs Big Shiny Robot!


by Michael S. Collins

All Lisa wanted was to be alone. Away from the images and noise and elements of the past, away from the dead end jobs and the illuminative colours that danced before her eyes, away from the sordid dreams and worse reality, and away from them. She lay on her bed. Lay still, and let the darkness of the night reign down upon her, let the ever-increasing stillness of reality approach faster than one would have liked it to have when she first decided to enjoy the stillness. The bottle fell to her side, it rolled onto the floor and fell away, unnoticed and unloved, much like its owner, transfixed by the quiet reverberations of the heart. Lisa was alone, and happy.


Michael S. Collins is a member of GSFWC (the Glasgow Strange-Fiction Writers Circle). He's been published in several countries and writes book reviews for The Fortean Times.

This Is What I Mean by “Trying”

by Kevin Kaiser

“Fix it,” she says as she waves her hand at it, all of it, this midnight icy street of it, and beyond to the whole world of it, the entire universe of it. “I’m trying,” I respond, and wait for some great meaning to reveal itself from the space between my words. “Fix me?” she asks for the second time tonight. And again I tell her she’s the only one who can do this, fearing the switch from the vagueness of the intangible “it” to the distinct and still intangible “me” that is her, all of her. If nothing else – and I am nothing else – at least I am honest, but honesty can’t prevent me from wasting this moment that dissolves like a solitary snowflake upon her hot and furrowed brow. If I mean anything at all, this is what I mean by “trying.”


Kevin Kaiser journeys through the underworld in search of energies, love, the self that is not the self, and the realization that all is one and, therefore, zero. The path is the other way.

Lost Chance

by Abha Iyengar

Just the thought of his arm, strong and brown, is a turn-on. The hair on his chest is my glimpse of ecstasy. It’s quite simple that I want him. They say that if you really want something, you should let it go. I never had a chance to do that. The girl next door took him away.


Abha Iyengar is a writer, poet, script writer and amateur photographer. Her writing has been published in several Chicken Soup series, Gowanus Books, Insolent Rudder, Arabesques Review, Kritya, Citizen 32, Breakaway Books, Dead Drunk Dublin, Nothing But Red, and other literary journals. Her website is here.

Another City

by Arthur Chertowsky

Mr. Ireland was already a walking anachronism when he was teaching the boys’ gym class at The High School of Art & Design in midtown Manhattan in the early 1970’s. His grey military crew cut, his red, white and blue bowties, the ever-present smile on his face, and his manner of movement, like an old song-and-dance man from a 1940’s war musical, all contributed to him being a fish out of water amongst the long-haired teenage artistes he had to shepherd through the required and despised exercises. More than his physical appearance, though, was his unexpected kindness and simple good nature that separated him from his peers in the teaching profession. Many times he’d pretend to roughhouse with a student in his class, using the boxing skills he’d learned long ago in the service in World War II to motivate a shy or disengaged boy. This tactic worked well with many boys for many years, until, I hear, in the 1980’s, his fancy footwork, and exaggerated punches that never connected, and goofy smile, enraged one particular boy, who, along with some similarly inclined friends, beat Mr. Ireland until his mind found respite in another time and place. Broken, alone, unable to support himself any longer, he wandered drunk and homeless through the streets of Manhattan, and once or twice, before his anonymous demise, a former student or two recognized their teacher, engaged him in conversation, passed him a few bucks, and moved on.


Arthur Chertowsky, 100 years ago, achieved an MFA in Fiction Writing from Brooklyn College.

Jolted Passion

by mgirl

His hands pressed down against mine, allowing me to feel the warmth of his body. My heartbeat pulses under the pressure of his weight, overwhelming me as I try to move away. My body tries to resist but the excitement burning in my veins draws me back into him with a fierceness that makes me gasp out for air. Words aren’t needed between us; instead our bodies speak to each other like flames igniting, hot and passionate burning each other as our skin touches. He presses hard up against me, our bodies screaming out silent desires. Suddenly I’m jolted up by the sounds of muffled moans, possibly mine; damn it’s the alarm clock, just another dream.


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

Sisyphus Revisited

by Cullen Gallagher

Murder and sex – I know it’s a cliché, but there’s gotta be some truth to it, because one always goes better with the other. Try it sometime, and in that order. I did, and it was the first time in years I didn’t need any pills, which is saying something, since I’m no spring chicken. At least for the first two rounds, and then I found myself starting to wane. But then I remembered the revolver in my coat pocket, and the five chambers that were still full. I figured if it worked once, it would work again – right? – right, only now my wife and girlfriend are dead, and I’m still not satisfied.


Cullen Gallagher lives in Brooklyn, NY where he is a film critic. He also blogs about crime fiction at Pulp Serenade.

Don't Try This at Home

by Melanie Browne

I stole a fireball from Jerry Lee Lewis. I tried to learn to shoot it from my fingertips to spice up my writing and impress people. Some of my more hirsute friends received second degree burns on their arms or upper lips. My manuscript was burned to a smoky, smoldering pile. It didn’t work out as I had hoped. Goodness, gracious, what a mess.


Melanie Browne can be reached here.

My Metaphysical Evolution

by Mike Donkin

When I was four, on a long car trip to eastern Ohio to visit my father’s sister, I was reported to have proclaimed (perhaps with the contemplative wonderment of Sir Isaac Newton upon having his epiphany under the apple tree) that “when you touch it, it gets hard,” thereby causing my mother to find her son proudly brandishing his little prick in the backseat. Again, at the age of four, in nursery school, I looked about me and saw the other children’s eyes and considered the color lesson Ms. Lathan was teaching, and mused to myself that even though we all have the same word for the color red, it’s possible that what I see as red is something completely different than someone else’s idea of red; but, to my dismay, I was impotent to penetrate any of the other children’s minds, and thus had no choice but to concede, as did Descartes, that my consciousness was the only consciousness I could ever know. At the age of five I was blown away when Aunt Ruby, responding to my query of whether her penis sometimes hurt when she got soap in it, explained, with a thick Mandarin accent, that “girls have vaginas, not penises!” — and it occurred to me that all the women’s bushes I had seen previously contained no penises and that my subconscious mind had been placing them there as if to play a trick on me, or perhaps out of fear that I might die of shock. At age twelve, I would discover, quite by accident, that fervent rubbing of the penis would eventually produce orgasm, and with considerable guilt I wondered if I was the only person in my grade who knew this simple truth. A few months later I would declare to my seventh grade friends—some of whom had been masturbating for years — that mankind’s chief motivation in the world was, and always has been, sex. At the age of nineteen, during a contemplative walk, I reached a fork in the road, and it dawned on me that by defying my inclination to go right, rather than left, I was not exercising free will at all, and that everything I chose to do—as well as everything that had ever happened—was merely the effect of all the causes that had come before it; but in order for this notion to make sense, it had to necessarily follow that there had been a first cause, at which point I was reminded of something that had begun to confound me when I was very young, and that was the problem of infinity, which, no matter how hard I would strain, I could just never seem to reconcile; and I realized then how far I had come.


Mike Donkin occasionally throws coffee in the faces of friends. He is 24 years old.

Shake It Like You Mean It

Six Sixes by Peggy McFarland

Peggy McFarland, our January Six of the Month Award Winner, returns in a big way. To view the magazine, just click the document. You’ll be taken inside, where you can turn the pages by clicking the arrows to the left and right. Enjoy!


Six Sentences? Yes indeed.

The Cypher

by Joseph Grant

Youth is the ultimate currency, the man with the unfortunate name of Heinrich Goebbels said and smiled as he sat safely in police custody. The detectives had no idea why the man’s driver’s license listed his age as 104, even though he looked no older than 45, if that. But what they did know was that they had apprehended one of the world’s worst serial killers, if the bodies found on his large estate and the pungent stench of others unfound were any indication. He admitted everything most freely and told them how he gave the gift of death to each of his victims by means of draining the life out of them, means by which even he was not certain; but he confessed to possessing this malady from an early age, a timeframe that preceded their fathers and grandfathers and argued that he only freed his so-called victims from this mortal coil. Labeled insane by the detectives and a vampire by the newspapers, he scoffed vociferously at both indictments as he was clearly not mad and had no more power to instill eternal life than they had to keep him behind bars. He would be crueler to these policemen than he had been to his usual captors of Victorian London and pre-Revolutionary Paris, promising to leave these oh-so-nasty detectives, DA and judge to the cruel point of senility but not quite yet dead, while he would morph to the appearance of a much younger man, evading capture once again but this time, for more than 75 years.


Joseph Grant dedicates this six to the "Master of the Macabre," Adam J. Whitlatch.

Curiosity Killed the Cat

by caccy46

If you really knew me, you'd understand that I am more than curious; I am thoroughly intrusive and nosy. I have no explanations for why, but the sorts of things I'm interested in probably don't pass through the minds of most people. Here are some of the things I'd like to know - about everyone: how much money do you earn and how much do you have saved. What inheritance will you be getting and how much - don't leave out anything like jewels, art works, homes. May I look through your drawers and closets, including your jewelry boxes? How many times a week do you have sex and is it good; have you or your partner ever been unfaithful to each other and with whom...


caccy46, whose full catalog is here, is a mother of two who's been married for 33 years.

The February Six of the Month Award!

Congratulations to Our Six Nominees!

A short month. A tall order: choosing six of the terrific February pieces for the honor of "Six of the Month." After heated debates and passionate arguments, we've narrowed it down. Six authors, six pieces. Read them all here, and vote for your favorites. And make sure you also vote on the Official Survey Ballot.


Six Sentences congratulates all six of our nominees. The winner - who will receive a $25.00 Prize and Commemorative Award - will be announced on Wednesday, March 11th. Good Luck to all!

Tuneful Pockets for a Better World

by Gabriel McCaslin

What if everyone carried around a musical instrument in their back pocket? Some people would take it out at inopportune times and play subversive melodies. Some would play waltzes and mazurkas in groups, others would improvise alone in C minor on lonely afternoons. Others would neglect their instruments or leave them in their other pants when they went out. I myself would jam on the blues at opera conventions or maybe play a few bars of Mozart in a different key and in minor instead of major. I would keep an extra instrument tucked into my sock, just in case.


Gabriel McCaslin takes time off in Munich to watch the snow fall.

Vicarious Living

by Carter Maddox

We laughed together one time when the guy next door played his ukelele and we could hear it through the walls and you made a crass joke about the music being what it would sound like if Michael J. Fox were given a stringed instrument. I've watched you and your girlfriend begin a relationship, fall into one and then fall in love; I've laughed with her, too. I sit on my bed and watch you, roommate, be someone I wish I could be. You've got the outlook and attitude, the romantic partner, the mind. You're the on-your-toes entertainer, acting, living; I'm the journaler, analyzing, studying, imitating. And I like watching you, I like watching, I like watching.


Carter Maddox is a playwriting student.

The Next Six

Will YOU be among them?


Six Sentences invites you to enjoy today, and tune in tomorrow...