Wake Up Weight

by Brenda Stokes

Each morning, before he left for work, I’d feel a shift of weight on the mattress. He would sit beside me and I’d roll to the right into his arms as he’d say “Good morning,” and I’d smile in return. We would share a brief kiss, a bent hug and out the door he’d go while I laid there for a few minutes more, savoring the comfort of sheets and warmth and the thoughtfulness of good mornings before clamoring out from under the covers into the cold air of the day. The bed still presses down each morning with that familiar shift of weight. A warm palm rests at the curve of my spine and I smile. I want to open my eyes, turn over and say good morning and goodbye like we always did, but I know when my eyes flicker open - still encrusted with sleep - there will be nothing there, the bedroom empty, and any weight that fills my bed will be all my own.


Brenda Stokes is a freelance writer from southern California. (When she's not concocting stories and poems with which to pester her friends and family, she's teaching her pet rats tricks.) You can find out more about her here and here.



by Sean Kennedy

The flowers are the first thing I see, lying across the kitchen table like a seductive glamour model with a note from you to me which simply reads “I’m sorry.” All I’ve been thinking about is the way we left things this morning; you asking me to calm down and me telling you to go fuck yourself. I guess I can really be a bitch sometimes, when the stress becomes too much and I feel the need to lash out at those around me; you’re just in the wrong place at the wrong time and catch the brunt of my aggression. The flowers are beautiful; a mixture of exotic colours – the likes of which I’ve never seen before – which remind me of how much I love you and how lucky I am to have you with me. I inhale the sweet, but sharp, fragrance and feel an immediate lightness rush to my head; that’s when I realize something is wrong. I collapse to the floor, body contorted in an unnatural mess as my mussels begin to react against the poison soaring through my veins, and as the world slowly fades away and my heart begins to stutter, I find myself not angry, but relieved by an overwhelming sense of peace; because the flowers are... just... so... beautiful...


Sean Kennedy attends the University of Salford in Manchester, England. His full catalog is here.


Given to Air

by Kevin Michaels

Somewhere west of Cherry Hill, where Route 30 merged with the Turnpike, the first rays of sunlight broke through the morning in an explosion of red, yellow, and orange hues that lit up the sky. Porter steered his Harley through the toll booth, feeling the power of the engine between his legs and a comforting familiarity in the vibrations from the road. He opened up the throttle and felt the cold rush of air in his face as he accelerated into the car lanes. He knew Donna would find his note taped to the refrigerator in their Jane Street kitchen and laugh when she got to the part where he wrote that something was broke between them, but he didn’t know how else to say it – beyond the things already spoken, too much remained in silence between them. She never took his clumsy attempts at finding the right words seriously, even when it was all he had left to give. As the white lines and the miles rolled past like the years he had wasted chasing dreams that would never come true, Porter wondered if she would really miss him as much as he hoped.


Kevin Michaels, whose full catalog is here, is a writer and surfer who lives at the Jersey Shore.


by Rashmi Vaish

It was always the vodka. The double shots of vodka that he would gulp down one after another every dark dreaded dusk till his voice would get low and husky and his words and fists like jagged-edged rocks would come flying at her, expertly aimed to beat to a pulp every soft, exposed corner of her, with not a single scar visible to the outside world. She would wake up every morning with his scent from the night all over her body and in her mouth – Marlboro Lights, vodka, Calvin Klein aftershave, hot steel and leather from his bike and exhaust fumes – and it would take a long hot shower while he lay sprawled, asleep and spent, to clean herself inside and out. It wasn’t long before she would look in the mirror and wonder who she really was, if she even existed because, as he would say, she wasn’t a good wife, had no personality, couldn’t tell a wrench from a screwdriver and would never make a good mother either, if she ever got pregnant, that is, the useless woman. Then he got in an accident and some weeks after his funeral, the police came by the house to tell her they found out that apart from his high blood alcohol level, which was the number one reason, a loose brake wire had also contributed to the crash and that he must have slipped up in maintaining his bike or he would still be alive. She breathed in the aroma of fresh coffee from the cup she’d just placed in the officer’s hands, the gentle scent of lavender underlining the air around her, looked out over the porch at a quiet sunset's blood-hued rays caressing the first star in a delicately twilit sky, nodded and murmured as she exhaled, “It was always the vodka.”


Rashmi Vaish wades through her thoughts with the occasional entry in her virtual notebook. She hopes to one day grow up to be a real writer.


What You See

by Catherine Aitken

"That’s it!" you bellowed at me with a puffy red face while sweat was pouring from your hairline in the Texas heat, "I am calling child welfare and sending you away forever, I cannot stand you anymore!" I remember the heat of your breath and the spittle that flew from your mouth to hit me as you screamed not two inches from my face and I began understand that it did not matter what my perceived sin was, because anything was an excuse for you to take out your rage, disappointment and anger of your own life, upon me, your own personal mental punching bag. You held the phone, that phone, on the wall in the kitchen with the lime green counter tops and linoleum floors, your tool to eviscerate me from not only you but my family, my home, my life. As I heard you talk, negotiating to give me away, I grabbed for the phone, struggling against you with all I had in me and I was balling at the same time begging and pleading that I would be good from now on, gasping for breath between the oceans of snot and tears running down my nine year old face. After you hung up the phone you helped me pack a bag, determining what I could and could not take with me, telling me there was no room for my bear to go with me and then you told me to wait on the front step for strangers who would come and take me away, but they never came. Finally, you told me to come inside and made mention of how sad and pathetic I was because "strangers do not even want you..."


Catherine Aitken, pictured above, uses writing as a tool to learn about herself, people, and the world around her.

Six Directives

by Eve Bowen

Wear your Nicole Richie sunglasses: they make you feel chic and no one will tell you to take them off, so be brave and wear them — go ahead. When you see your reflection in a store window, note the position of your shoulders: if they’re slumping, remember that this isn’t a permanent condition — you just need to get yourself to a yoga class; if they’re upright, let there be a spring in your step — you’ve just been spared a visual reinforcement of depression. When you’re grief-stricken and can’t eat, stock your apartment with groceries — you’ll be ready for solid food again, probably sooner than you think. When you’re in a funk, consider the music you’ve been listening to: if you’ve had “I Just Don’t Think I’ll Ever Get Over You” on repeat for three days, it’s time to take the Garden State soundtrack out of rotation and put on Stevie Wonder — you know Music of My Mind makes you want to dance; you know you won’t mope to the words “Every day I wanna fly my kite... every day I wanna get on my camel and ride.” When you’re out and about, tilt your face toward the sun, not the pavement — plants aren’t the only life forms that benefit from aiming themselves skyward, you too can gain nutrients from daylight. Give your cat quality time: she senses when she doesn’t have your full attention, she knows when you’re shirking — yet if you devote even a few minutes solely and completely to her, you’ll be rewarded with purring; you may also suddenly realize that, for those few minutes, you’ve been relieved of the affliction of self-critical thoughts — indeed, of any thoughts at all.


Eve Bowen works at The New York Review of Books and is a graduate student at the Bread Loaf School of English. (These six sentences were inspired by Jamaica Kincaid's "Girl.")

Taking Tapioca in the Parlor

by Matt Lydon

"Waldo, you are, without a doubt, an absolute maestro in the art of tapioca," Jane said, smiling up from her pudding. The years had worn both of them to virtual nubs of humanity, skin once stretched taut in the heat and fire of youth, now loose, jowly and old. The look befitted both of them, and though most in Jane's circle would never have dared say so, she and Waldo made a handsome couple. It had been decades since Mr. Foster's death, and Jane's feelings toward Waldo had simmered to a warm, delicious shiver in these intervening years. She could never tell him, or give in to those feelings and claim that happiness she felt could be hers. For Jane Foster, and her milieu, passion with the handsome, faithful, long-suffering man-servant was just not acceptable, so praising the tapioca was the only channel a lady had.


Matt Lydon is a pre-service teacher and writer living near Philadelphia, PA. He usually writes here.


Friday Night Aftermath

by Peggy McFarland

A warm body snuggled against her back. One eye-lid shot open. Think Zoe commanded herself. She remembered the bar, the singer with the sexy eyes, too much tequila and... it got fuzzy after that. The body shifted! A warm tongue licked her cheek and... dog breath?


Peggy McFarland's stories have been (or will be) published (soon) at FlashShot, Long Story Short, Everyday Weirdness, Absent Willow Review, Sonar 4 E-Zine, hoi polloi III, Harbinger*33, WordSlaw, 6SV1 and 6SV2. Her full 6S catalog is here.



by William Bogert

Finally something good was to come out of this damn hole in the ground. Six weeks of hauling ore out, busting rock and crawling around on his belly would finally be rewarded. With a spring in his step at the thought of going home to his wife and baby son, Toy, like all the other Chinese goldmine laborers, walked towards the back of the main shaft of the Granite Hill mine, where the owner told them their wages would be weighed out in gold. The long wire fuses had been rolled out the night before down to the end of the tunnel. As soon as the last of them disappeared into the mine, the foreman hammered down the plunger. Nobody ever gets out on payday.


William Bogert lives and works in the Pacific Northwest. He loves loud motorcycles and reluctantly indulges in the occasional poem here.


by Jessica Otto

Home scratches at its shingles and pulls the air conditioning unit to its glass paned back door with tree-like arms and keens a deafening whale song of mourning. We captured it from the wild three months ago; it was starving and we fed it pieces of dining room tables and gas key fire places, we gave it a new roof and a solid foundation, regular walks around the wolf pen (let it mingle with the vultures I said, but no one would listen). The vet found rot and mold in its corners; Home was force fed antibiotics and had to be quarantined for fifteen days while it belched chairs and sofa cushions and microwaves. After feeding time Home likes to sit back porch facing east and picture window by the peeling paint of the front door facing west, Home will sit and watch the sun set for hours, Home will stay like that all though the night. The creaks of the floorboards are like the old knee injury I use as a barometer; sometimes Home shakes when the tornadoes come through. It probably has bad memories or perhaps ecstatic ones — who knows why animals shake — when it rains Home hitches up its porch and hops from one foot to the other avoiding the puddles where it can.


Jessica Otto lives in an apartment with her husband and cats.

The Importance of Teeth

by Kayla Kerr

I sat down next to him and he smiled, which really, is why I sat in the first place. I would have liked to ask him how his day was, or how his life felt if I weren't so strange and in love with him. He started to converse with me, or technically, himself, while I hummed a sad pretty song inside my head. He ended his statement in a frown and I hoped he didn't much mind my lack of speech. With this he concluded and smiled at some girl behind me. He might have asked me how my day was or even how my life felt if I weren't so strange and in love with him.


Kayla Kerr is bio-less.


The Form of a Question

by Steve Edgehouse

Of all the times to have dumped me, I would have never guessed she'd choose four minutes before I went on Jeopardy! She drove me to Chicago for my audition, she called me at work and played the congratulatory message into her cell phone, she's been reading me practice answers from index cards for the last three months. Trebek's out under the lights warming up the crowd, my competitors' eyes are slits of concentration, and here I am, getting a half-assed apology for her choice of timing. I'm begging for an explanation and she can barely look up from her Blackberry. I didn't have a good "get to know you" story for the producer with the clipboard when he asked me for one an hour ago. Do I ever have one now.


Steve Edgehouse teaches writing at Bowling Green State University.

A Penny Saved

by Laurita Miller

She wipes the tables of coffee circles and spilled sugar, collecting the pennies and nickels left there for her service. Through the window she sees the students walking to and from campus, serious and focused. Sometimes they come in and sit in groups, talking about parties and papers over their café macchiatos. Others sit alone, sipping from large mugs of cider or flavoured lattes, hunched over thick books, and she imagines the wealth contained within those pages. They all leave their coins upon the ring patterned tables, and with their heads filled with theories and formulas and ambitions they rush off for the next class. Only 628,418 more pennies until she can join them.


Laurita Miller likes shiny things and also things that come in sixes. Her work can be found in a few places including Gloom Cupboard, Flashes in the Dark, and the upcoming Harbinger*33.

Anteater Attack

by Rod Drake

Our colony was attacked only hours ago, reports are still coming in from all sector tunnels, thousands, maybe tens of thousands are dead or missing. None who survived will ever forget that monstrous, black tongue snaking through the dark tunnels bringing sticky death to all that it encountered. The queen, thank Axion the Ant-God Creator, was not slain and eaten, and remains safe with her egg sac bursting with potential new workers to replace at least some of our devastated ranks. Rebuilding has started already, earth is being moved, collapsed tunnels opened, so hopefully there will be survivors, and this holocaust will not be as bad as we fear at this point. But we need protection from this ravenous beast, thus our scouts, under a white leaf, are even now meeting with the red ant colony some distance away, to see how we can breed a poisonous bite as they have done. Even if we could just wound the anteater, stun him with small amounts of poison, hopefully draw sufficient blood to weaken him, throwing that scent into the air so that jackals will pick it up and track him down, well, that would be salvation and sweet revenge, thank Axion on High!


Rod Drake wonders if the Mayans were right about December 21, 2012.


The Logic of Ruin

by Joseph Grant

From the time he could reason to the tender age of seven when it was first discovered Arthur Rimsdale was a math prodigy, the course of his life had already been set with the start of a long journey of awards and accomplishments and stopping at the destination of his being one of the youngest experts of astrophysics in the world. With the notoriety came the open invitation to teach anywhere but he matriculated at Columbia as New York was the perfect mathematical city in that, it was a prime number among cities as all were compared to it, filled with infinite geometrical positive integers and the hyperbolic geometry of the grids that made the city fascinated Rimsdale and besides, Columbia was where he had met his perfect 36-24-36 as a fellow student, married her and had their perfect 2.0 kids who held a 4.0 average in their private schools when all were not in their flawlessly large Colonial-style house on Long Island. Everything was ideal, more than a man could ask for and that was the problem, thought Arthur and as he rolled his Alfa Romeo up his straight driveway into his heated garage one perfectly crisp winter's day, he couldn't have been more miserable, he thought to himself. According to his calculations, his life was now theoretically half-over and he had nothing to show for it except success and a clinical, reserved life, but he had never taken a chance, never had drawn outside the lines, but far from a mid-life crisis, he deduced, it was more of a life crisis, a wake-up call before the Big Sleep. Everything had always been carefully planned with great care and exactitude with the outcome being quantified to maximum efficiency from his piano and cello lessons to his trigonometry award at eleven to his groundbreaking thesis on thermonuclear fission in deep space. Caught in the wash-rinse-repeat life cycle, he quit his tenure at Columbia, began working in a greasy spoon nearby and when his wife balked, left her for a waitress with a drug problem who already had three kids and counting, moved into a small three bedroom with her in Staten Island, traded the sports car for an SUV and as a result, Arthur Rimsdale celebrated the turmoil that now was his life, elated in the disruption about him and the man who was once an erudite university professor now became an interested student in the logic of ruin.


Joseph Grant is one of 6S's favorite sons, and the hits just keep on coming.

On the Curb

by Desiree Kannel

It is common knowledge that the stuff people leave on the curb is free for the taking. For Steven this was like winning a lottery you never had to buy tickets for, so when he saw the young woman sitting on the curb in front of a Spanish style bungalow, he took her home. “Where are you taking me?” she asked. The voice unsettled Steven because nothing else he ever picked up had talked to him. Not the sofa with the torn fabric and stains, the TVs with the cracked monitors and missing knobs, the coffee tables with the rickety legs and water rings, and especially not that giant one-eyed half-stuff panda that watched him from the corner of his bedroom. After the woman asked a second time, Steven pulled over, took her from his car, placed her back on the curb and drove away.


Desiree Kannel holds an MFA from Antioch University and is the fiction editor for The Sylvan Echo. She also leads a writers workshop called Rose Writers.


by J.S. Breukelaar

Bobby geared up and went to find the DJ, but the DJ had left the building. He pushed through a door and began to climb the stairs, dark drifts of dust at the edges. At the top he pushed hard against another door and there she was, up on the roof, sitting with her back to him high above the silent streets. “Listen to me," the DJ said. He wiped his eyes and sat down beside her on the ledge, his legs dangling into space and the wind gusting all around. He knew she would not let him fall.


J.S. Breukelaar is a writer based in Sydney, Australia.


Tour of My First Apartment

by Alexia Ruggles Brown

Here is my first apartment. This is where my boyfriend and I made a pretend home, but didn’t make love. This is where we ate, here at the couch, and stared at the TV. This is where I stashed the wine bottles. This is where I gave up. This is where I lay empty and weak as he yelled from the hallway that he wanted me gone.


Alexia Ruggles Brown writes about things here.

Warehouses and All

by Phil Slattery

I met the world-weary expatriate American at a garden party in Egypt in ’89, several months after he had left the Somali oilfields. He remembered that outside his barracks near Mogadishu there had been warehouses full of rice donated by foreign charities to combat the perpetual famine. The impoverished, inept government had no trucks to distribute the rice and fighting among factions within the government insured none could be arranged while their arcane laws kept them from simply opening the doors. So the rice sat as starving women tried to glean the few grains they could from what had fallen off trucks hauling it in or from what had leaked out through cracks in the walls. One night he awoke to commotion and found that the warehouses were in flames. “The rice had sat so long that it had rotted, so the government burned it ― warehouses and all,” he said with a look that spoke volumes about his exasperation with the world.


Phil Slattery is a native of Kentucky and graduated from Eastern Kentucky University in 1980 with a B.A. in German and Russian. His fiction has been published in Futures, Ascent, Medicinal Purposes Literary Review, Wilmington Blues, The Copperfield Review, Spoiled Ink, Midnight Times, and Mobius.

Boyfriend and Girlfriend

by Michael Estabrook

In high school we went steady some of the time, you wearing my ring with the “M” on it, but mostly we were simply steady dates, officially boyfriend and girlfriend. Then onto college, attending different colleges, you needed your independence, your freedom from me, freedom to date other boys. Yet, for me you were always my girlfriend, and for you, surprisingly during all that time I was still your boyfriend. “I always considered you my boyfriend,” you said to me. Then after 2 years of this loose situation, like live wires jiggling in the wind, half-way through our Junior year I pinned you, something bigger than going steady, more serious, college versus high school. But not as serious as when I asked you finally to marry me, becoming your fiancée, and then after that your husband, certainly the best title of all.


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


The Old Title Didn't Work

by Peggy McFarland

An old friend stopped by, to chat, catch up, just say hi. He drank her beer while he talked about his travels, the people he met, the ones he hooked up with, his job and how he was back and free. He helped himself to her bourbon, got another beer, took off his shoes and told about his plans and how he was back in town just to get back on his feet. She started to tell him about her job, but he excused himself to use the bathroom - all the bevies, you know, he said. When he returned, he sat closer to her, winked, and asked how about a go, for old time's sake. She smiled graciously as she stood, opened the front door, and thanked him for stopping by; it was exactly like old times.


Peggy McFarland's stories have been (or will be) published (soon) at FlashShot, Long Story Short, Everyday Weirdness, Absent Willow Review, Sonar 4 E-Zine, hoi polloi III, Harbinger*33, WordSlaw, 6SV1 and 6SV2. Her full 6S catalog is here.

Getting to Know Me

by Hal Sirowitz

I only have six sentences to tell you about myself. If I start at the beginning, that’s the only part you’ll know. Let’s start in the middle. Maybe I should start at the end. But then there’ll be no build-up. I think I blew my opportunity for you to get to know me.


Hal Sirowitz is the former Poet Laureate of Queens, New York.

You Have No Messages

by Rashmi Vaish

Icy cold panic gripped his heart and clung to his insides like wet seaweed. He had accidentally deleted the voicemail message she’d left for him, a humdrum handful of words saying she was on her way home. He called her cell phone and it went straight to her greeting, her soft yet businesslike voice alternately making him calm and wanting to throw up and scream. Hands clammy and heart pounding, he logged into his inbox but there was no new email from her. “And there isn’t going to be, you stupid jerk,” a voice inside him cursed at him. He remembered with a dull, throbbing nausea – it was a month to the day that he had interred her ashes in the family plot.


Rashmi Vaish, former newspaper journalist and urban dweller, now lives in rural northern New York state and is currently dabbling in creative writing, photography and horse riding. She recently started updating her two-year-old blog more frequently. Drop by.


Against the Wind

by Patricia Visciarelli Quigley

His name is Jon, a homeless man who spends each day exactly like the one before, and the one before that. After rubbing the sleep from his eyes, he tosses a few worldly possessions on top of his bedding, and stuffs the rolled up bundle into the basket of his bicycle. Then he hits the road. Along his usual morning route, he stops to pick up coins he spots on the ground. He always finds the amount he needs to buy a cup of coffee to go with the day old donuts waiting for him behind the local grocery. The shaking hands of the old man at his next stop accepts the coffee and donuts with a warm smile and a wave, as he watches Jon peddle away; his tattered clothing billowing like sails as he once more rides against the wind.


Patricia Visciarelli Quigley is a systems engineer for NASA.

Good Instincts

by Diana Reed

As an infant, she slept sprawled across the crib, sure to wake in minutes when a passing car set off her startle reflex. Two years later, running on unsteady feet, she learned to throw her hands forward to break each fall. At sixteen, she swung the wheel far enough to the right when the car loomed into her lane. One night after lecture, she knew to say goodbye at the door to the good-looking guy with the too-needy eyes. Now forty, she finally indulged her personality freely, without diluting words for polite company. At seventy, after the diagnosis, she threw a party, then signed the DNR.


Diana Reed lives and writes around Chicago.


Weston Pier

by Mel George

When I was twenty and you were nineteen, we went to Weston-Super-Mare, because we loved rubbish things. We sat on the pier, bickering and content, away from everything else, and watched some old people riding the gaudy little train down to the amusements. They were determinedly clutching newspapers in the wind, macs done up and sunglasses on, one occasionally bellowing something into the other’s hearing aid. We grinned, and one of us said, "that’ll be us one day." With the rest of the world factored out, just us and the rabid seagulls, it seemed possible. But things happen, and Weston Pier burnt down.


Mel George is a born and bred Bristolian, exiled to Oxford. She co-edits The Pygmy Giant, an online home for new British writing.


by Sophia Macris

That summer we were listening to Vampire Weekend, Paul Simon, Albert Hammond, Jr. We were drinking cocktails made with rum; shots of absinthe to be obliterated. We were reading non-fiction and writing non-fiction and sleeping with married men or considering sleeping with married men. We spent half-day Fridays getting pedicures and chasing boys with Wayfarers who did not want to sleep with us because they weren't married. We drank iced coffee as a social experiment. We alternated caffeine and alcohol to make it through the day and night, as if that was something we should be doing.


Sophia Macris is reading Cavafy, eating figs, and making plans.


Forever Numb

by Salena Casha

I've always wondered what convicted serial killers and murderers think of as they're walking down death row. Do we consider them animals, easily euthanized and later forgotten? I twine my fingers into the lab's fur, my dog’s body inflating and deflating with each of his labored breaths. "I’m doing this because I love you," I whisper, trying to convince myself it will end his pain. The needle descends with precision, the instrument held tightly between the vet’s fingers. Innocence, such as this, has been lost before in search of self-justification.


Salena Casha, author of Mind Tricks, is a freshman at Middlebury College intent on majoring in English. Her work has also appeared in Niteblade Magazine.

Visiting David

by Stephen Wegmann

A long row of homes leads down the shore, towards sunrise, towards weeds at shore. At the house there is a static silence, a silence you bottle and pack as I stand in the empty living room listening to Jack ambling around, his claws tacking against the hardwood. I have a feeling, a feeling I know the light shifting slowly through the blinds can immediately sense as it falls across my face. Maybe I should be here instead; here, as opposed to in my head, guessing what we’re going to do next. Maybe I should just be my own feet in my own sand on my own beach in my own living room. I turn to you in what must have been a purposeful manner, because you immediately look up from the box marked EVEN MORE STUFF and kind of cringe the wine glass that’s wrapped in paper that’s in your hand because you know -- I have a plan.


Stephen Wegmann makes coffee for a meager living while he dreams up really subtle yet wholly tender moments. He also needs to get a life.

11:55pm, 9/6/2009, Ahora Esta Noche

by Carter Maddox

Lots of green stuff tonight. C and I made drunken quiche. (He said he wished he could have it everyday and smiled and later laughed and told me I should be the chef for his wedding, and I thought Wow, so I went from being a love interest to being a staffer. He followed up by saying that I'd also be his best man.) Lots of incense. There's a layer of dust on my mirror.


Carter Maddox is managing editor for Texas State University-San Marcos's Words Work literacy journal. He's published in GuyWriters magazine as well.


The Going Price

by Sean Gregson

By the time he got to the roof, several people had fashioned placards in support of the jump. It wasn’t that they hated him particularly; he was more a personification of a set of laws and concepts they just couldn’t get their heads round. What they could get their heads round was that this would be a start to recuperation. The crowd quickly picked up the chant one of their members had composed on the spot. His tie fell first, then his pinstriped jacket. After that, they were all left looking like clowns who’d forgotten to bring along the trampoline.


Sean Gregson's play, Donal Fleet: A Confessional, premieres this evening at Hampstead Theater.

Brown Paper and Bubble Wrap

by Kathleen Elizabeth

She’s dusting my shelves, and packing up my dolls, books, and toys as she goes. All I can do is watch from outside the window, disconnected from the woman by thin glass. I want to tell her to put everything back, to pull out my lace trimmed blanket and curl up on the floor between the bookshelf and the bed post the way I used to. She’s wrapping me away in brown paper and bubble wrap. She won’t cry for me because pushing me away is a way for her to start something new, something exciting and grown up. What the hell right does she have to push her childhood away before I'm ready to let go?


Kathleen Elizabeth is a student at Central Washington University where she's majoring in English and Musical Theater. She's working on a young adult novel and a screenplay and has no clue which one she'll finish first. (To read more of her adventures, visit her blog.)

To Control the Weave

by Christopher Jacobsmeyer

Chaos raged in the void as Gareth struggled to bring it under his control. Whenever he thought that he was about to make progress, something (he couldn’t quite make out what it was) screamed past him at incredible speed, and it strained him so much that he almost lost his concentration. Mental energy coursed through him as he drew the glowing mass of incorporeal tendrils that was the center of the void unto himself. Just as he was about to reach out to it, it shot away, shrinking in size until it disappeared. “Blast it,” Gareth muttered as he slipped back into reality. As much training as he had in the mystical arts, some things were still beyond his grasp.


Christopher Jacobsmeyer is a self-styled fantasy author dabbling in the realms of sci-fi and horror. His tolerant wife and headstrong daughters humor him as long as it suits their needs. If that weren't enough, a trio of cats keeps him in check with their whispered designs of conquest at night.


Six Sixes by Hal Sirowitz

a 6S Online Magazine


Hal Sirowitz is the former Poet Laureate of Queens, New York.


Without Intent

by Blake Arnold

I watched my body rise out of bed, don the black sweatshirt, dark jeans, gloves and wool cap I picked up from the Goodwill, and slip out the back door into the night. Her presence so overwhelmed me that before she dumped me I could feel it when she was about to call: not like precognition, like truth, so I knew she wasn't home. She called me Hurricane Charlie because I let my emotions take me over when I was hurt but I was just going for a drive. The blue and red lights and whir of the siren appeared out of nowhere. They shouldn't have arrested me just for sitting in front of her apartment. The plastic bags were an impulse purchase as was the hack saw.


Blake Arnold writes dark fiction and comedy. He spent several years doing spoken word with the ambient band The Cosmic Debris and resides in Los Angeles.

To Dance, Perhaps to Dream

by Yvonne Eliot

She pirouetted daintily, small feet perfectly pointed. Her arms were as graceful as butterfly wings, seemingly about to send her into effortless flight. As the music rang its final chords, she dipped into a deep curtsy and held the pose, waiting. Applause broke out amongst the court. It was agreed that she was the finest dancer the court had yet seen, well deserving of presentation to the prince. He beckoned to her, and she approached with great humility, allowing herself only the briefest of smirks before her dagger struck his heart.


Yvonne Eliot is in the process of transforming her writing from an avocation to at least some semblance of a vocation.

A Single Night of Passion

by Jeremy C. Kester

The taste of bourbon weighed heavy on her breath. We kissed furiously parked in the dark lot, and I could almost get drunk off of the smell alone if the writhing movements of her body weren’t enough. This moment I have been waiting for since seeing her dance across from me years ago. I wished that this could be more than a drunken escapade during a careless evening. The windows began to fog heavy. Outside, the world began to disappear, just as my friendship with her will when the sun later breaks through.


Jeremy C. Kester is a father and husband moonlighting as a writer of fiction and poetry.


Red Asphalt

by Jodie Buschman

You could expect it at this intersection. Black asphalt stained red. As usual the large farm trucks taking the corner too fast. Motorist and pedestrians staring, mouths open, laughing. It just doesn’t stop. It is a sight you soon don’t forget, these trucks heaping with an overflow of tomatoes bound for the processing plant.


Jodie Buschman found 6S through Rebecca Auge. (Thanks Rebecca!)



by Ann Lewis Hamilton

He looks like Brad Pitt. When they walk into a restaurant she can feel people watching them – wow, how did she get so lucky? – she’s sure that’s what they’re thinking. He opens the door for her, has excellent table manners, laughs at her jokes, he smells good. He doesn’t fart or belch or talk during the news like her ex did – the farting, belching, motormouth asshole. The sex is incredible. He is hopelessly boring, their relationship is shallow and empty and dull, but I’ll deal with that tomorrow she tells herself as he opens the door and they step into another restaurant.


Ann Lewis Hamilton lives in Los Angeles where everything smells like smoke.

Ruining Rachmaninov

by Tricia Friedman

It wasn't raining. Not then, when you arrived at my door. There is one flight of stairs after the elevator jostles itself open at 11, as though it nodded off on its way up. I let you in, and the way that lover's on lent time have to love, we undressed quickly. Somewhere, in between bookends of kisses, Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor came from my stereo, it seemed to cue the July rain. Sergei can stay the hell out of my apartment now.


Tricia Friedman is currently a Peace Corps Volunteer, living in a valley among Morocco's Atlas Mountains.

Rotten Bananas

by Colette Martin

Angel didn’t notice everyone staring at her as she worked out. The bruises on her arms and legs were so common that she no longer saw them in her own reflection. Last night – or was it this morning – the bananas were rotten. She lifted harder, heavier, longer than she ever had. Right now she had to be strong. Later she would buy bananas.


Colette Martin is a "marketing executive turned writer" who blogs about life in Corporate America here.



by Nicola Henderson

On the eve of her 47th birthday, the age at which her mother had died, Marta was struck by a terrible longing for a life she had not lived. It might have been the arrival of the decree nisi that stirred the feeling, marking the end of another disappointing union, or it might have been the appearance of her mother's wan ghost peering out from behind her reflection in the mirror. With unusual detachment and clear-headedness, Marta reviewed the part she had played in all her relationships and began to discern a pattern. Her parents, sister, friends and lovers had failed to meet her expectations of impossible perfection, stubbornly refusing to submit to her will; she damaged them all, but mostly she damaged herself. For a moment before it evaporated, she cradled the insight in the palm of her hand. It left behind a shimmering trace.


Nicola Henderson lives in Edinburgh, Scotland. She enjoyed six so much the first time, she did it again.

Buyer Beware

by Peggy McFarland

Vlad draped a shroud over his coffin, added a glass table-top, slid chairs close and then stepped back to check the effect. He added candles, a vase of orchids and tables settings. "Buffet," he told the empty mirror, smiling at his bon mot. He coated his body and clothing with SPF 70 sunscreen and then sprayed again - one burnt ear-tip taught him there was no such thing as too careful. Thanks to Coppertone and HGTV, he now lured healthy, fresh-blooded beings into his home instead of slinking into the night like a dirty rodent to hunt alcohol-saturated beings - talk about heart-burn! Outside, Vlad mowed the front lawn, slowing around his balloon decorated mailbox and taking extra care not to dislodge the "OPEN HOUSE" sign.


Peggy McFarland's stories have been (or will be) published (soon) at FlashShot, Long Story Short, Everyday Weirdness, Absent Willow Review, Sonar 4 E-Zine, hoi polloi III, Harbinger*33, WordSlaw, 6SV1 and 6SV2. Her full 6S catalog is here.

Freud’s Dentist

by Brad Rose

Last Monday, I went to the dentist. I had previously missed two appointments - just slipped my mind, and forgot to go to them - so, after apologizing to the dentist's receptionist who had called to inquire if I were dead, or just plain forgetful, I went to get my teeth cleaned. I think teeth are directly symbolic, at least according to Freud, but I can't remember what they symbolize - probably something associated with sex. These days, most of Freud’s theories have fallen out of favor, or been discredited, so I’m not sure what to make of dreams of missing teeth. One thing I do recall from reading Freud however, is that sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. Funny thing happened at the dentist, though: after he finished cleaning my teeth, he suggested that I take up smoking cigars.


Brad Rose shares more of his work on the 6S Social Network.


A Cold Day in Helsinki

by Paul D. Brazill

The January night had long since waned when Mika blasted Aki’s brains over the snow covered street, producing a more than passable Rorschach test. A murder of crows sliced through the whiteness as the purr of the passing motorcycle grew to a roar, masking the sound of the shotgun. When day eventually melted into night, the moon hung fat and gibbous, the bloodstains now black in the moonlight. Mika draped Aki’s cold, dead skin over his own pallid flesh as, shivering, he breathed in the scent of cheap aftershave, cigarettes and booze. Sour memories trampled over his thoughts with bloodstained feet. Together forever he rasped, as tears filled his bloodshot eyes.


Paul D. Brazill was born in Hartlepool, England (a town famous for hanging a monkey), and is now on the lam in Bydgoszcz, Poland (South of Hel). He is currently under house arrest here.

Vain, Blind and Impolite

by Talking Heads

You start a conversation, you can't even finish it. You're talking a lot, but you're not saying anything. When I have nothing to say, my lips are sealed. Say something once, why say it again? We are vain and we are blind. I hate people when they're not polite.


Talking Heads was an American rock band formed in 1974 in New York City and active until 1991. (These six sentences are excerpted lyrics from "Psycho Killer," their 1977 debut hit.)


by Jelena Vencl Ohlrogge

The mouse tastes good. It is crunchy and sturdy and it can be chewed for hours without deterioration of that initial feeling of satisfaction. I do not understand why you keep on choosing paper instead; my newspaper, for example, every morning, always the very page I am reading. Yes, I did chew on your mouse and I did try the paper, I am not just saying! The mouse is much better, and I stand firmly behind that statement; I am actually willing to take a lie detector test if you do not believe me. Yes, we may have different preferences, but I can read and you can't, so, please, let me read my newspaper in peace and go and chew on your mouse, or - learn how to read and then we can discuss this issue again.


Jelena Vencl Ohlrogge is a loving wife and a crazy cat lady who loves math, science, writing and painting. She lives in Stockholm, Sweden and blogs here.


Six and Counting

by Hal Sirowitz

I only have six sentences to tell you about myself. Now it's just five. I want to argue that the above is not really a sentence but a fragment? Shouldn’t two fragments equal one sentence? Let’s say I made a mistake and thought there were seven? Is this piece about me or censorship?


Hal Sirowitz is the former Poet Laureate of Queens, New York.

We Never Met In the Middle

by Matt Lydon

I could never have been called the best brother in the world, but it still hurts a little. Knowing that both your sisters mostly want nothing to do with you gets a guy down. There's not even a good reason or event we could pinpoint as our relationships' collapse. Just three personalities, drifting along that sometimes swirl and eddy around each other, as tides of family rip, swell, and ebb around us. Some of my friends suggest I can fix that damage, but at this point, why bother? Everyone has to want to.


Matt Lydon is a pre-service teacher and writer living near Philadelphia, PA. He usually writes here.


One Word

by Jessica Fritsche

It only took one word to punch him in the gut, hard and blunt like a tackle on the field, right between his ribs in the tender spots where his organs lay dormant and still, his body in shock. He tried to make his mouth form a smile, something comforting, anything better than the tremulous ring of surprise (an unattractive moue on an attractive face) but it eluded him and formed words instead, tumbling out like acrobats. When, he asked, how long and how did she know, how did she feel and what would they do and did she still love him, was she sorry? He was sorry, both on the surface and deep down, sorry for the loss of everything he liked to do on his own, sorry for wrong turns and time wasted and the reek of his own fear, clammy and sharp, sorry that he would never know if he could be something else for someone else, that he would only be this for her. "I hate you," she said without venom, with the first bloom of bitterness, "I hate you." He shrugged, he nodded, he tried to smile and took her hand in his, tugging her towards him to walk down the hall, to take the lead for the last time.


Jessica Fritsche is a writer from Dallas, TX. When she isn't wrangling cats or cowboys, she serves as Associate Editor for So New Publishing and Assistant Fiction Editor at 42opus.

The End

by Joel Heffner

Starting a book is always exciting. You never know if it will be worth the effort. Many times I don’t even finish it because it’s so bad. Sometimes, if it’s really good, I’ll write a positive review on Amazon, never a negative review. I get angry at some really, really, really good books, too. I hate the part in a really good book that says, “The End.”


Joel Heffner created The Story Starter.


by Jordan Faris

She has a Medusa-head of dirty dreadlocks and she walks back and forth between the study aisles, spitting out threats and profanities at the bookshelves. The students in their first year of community college ignore her; after all, what will she really do? I remember a story about an ancient king feigning madness to escape his enemies, drool glistening on his royal beard. I watch her weave her way around the chairs and computer desks, spewing her tirades at oblivious targets. I think about that king and his ploy, how it bought him life to fight another day. For a moment, she stops and takes a deep breath, a second to meditate on where to go from here.


Jordan Faris is an artist and writer. He's served as writer in residence for Mascara Magica, a prominent multicultural theater project in Southern California. His work has been published in Slipstream, The Wormwood Review, Xib, Puck, The Quarterly and others. He's currently developing projects in the graphic fiction genres.


Her Own Personal Pronoun

by Zeptimius Hedrapor

Not long after moving to the city, Anne met Pat and they fell madly in love. The next time she made her weekly call to her mom, she focused her mind before dialing, and during the chat, she carefully weighed every word she said. "Pat is a designer," she'd say, and "Pat and I went to the movies yesterday." She actually managed to throw in a "Pat is shaving" once, which was technically true: legs, though - not beard. Pretty soon, the big announcements came - I think Pat could really be the one; Pat would love to meet you guys, but we're both incredibly busy; Pat is moving in with me - and finally, the Big One: "Pat and I are getting married." Maybe she was letting her guard down, maybe it was the inevitability of the truth getting out; whatever the reason, three weeks later, she finally slipped up and said that word she'd been dancing around all these months: SHE.


Zeptimius Hedrapor can be reached here.

Day 273

by Rashmi Vaish

Sunlight trickled down the cotton drapes and collected in a little pool on the nightstand. She winced as the bright crack of day jabbed at her eyes. Her mind, still battling misfiring neurons in a wasteland of dying serotonin, was buried too deep under cover to react. She propped herself up on her side, took a sip of water and stared at the sunlight, gaudy and obscene in its shiny happiness. “Screw it,” she muttered and pulled the sheets over her head again. Oblivion, thy name is comfort.


Rashmi Vaish wades through her thoughts with the occasional entry in her virtual notebook. She hopes to one day grow up to be a real writer.

Only Nine

by Penny Mukes

His face was pale and ashamed when he asked her if she remembered that day. Mel laughed - a little anxiously - and replied, "I barely even remember it." But she did, and they both knew it. How could she have forgotten; it was, after all, the day she learned what the meaning of bitch meant. It was the day she lost faith in relationships. But relief floods his face, and they leave together, their hands awkwardly tangled in a web of lies and distrust.


Penny Mukes was far too young for her first relationship, but at least wrote a really great story from it.


Familiar Rhythm

by Douglas Korb

I. I is not a family. But we. We is a family. And they. They can’t be our family.


Douglas Korb's poems have appeared in magazines such as RHINO, 5AM, Poet Lore, Mannequin Envy and elsewhere. He has held previous posts in poetry as National Poetry Month coordinator for the Academy of American Poets and as critic for GrowlerPoetry.org, a website dedicated to the reviewing of first books. He holds a MFA in creative writing from Bennington College and his chapbook, The Cut Worm, won Bright Hill Press's 2006 chapbook award.

Death of an Alleycat

by Rachel Clark

The calico cat slinks across the wet pavement, in search of warmth, or at least a dry patch to curl up in until the storm passes. Her fur is soaked and matted, and her limbs tremble with cold and fatigue. A scar stretches across her side - a memento from kittenhood. Her tail is mangled to form a question mark - a souvenir from being flung into a lake in her adolescence. Now,the old cat haunts her alleyway, which she fiercely defends each day. She finds a dry patch behind a dumpster and welcomes sleep, for the last time.


Rachel Clark is a 16-year-old Alaskan with frizzed-out hair and a worn-out notebook. Her work has appeared in 6SV2 under the pseudonym Alice J. Byrd.

Our “Six of the Week” Nominees!

(August 31 – September 6)

The Ten Year Set-Up
Freida Bee

Monica Bustamante Wagner

The Typewriter Prayer
Bella B

Breakfast Rebellion
Margaret Bail

Matt Rollins

Sophia Macris


Congratulations to our six nominees, and to Tracy Moore, author of "Life Support" - last week's winner! Vote here for your favorite, and in the “Six of the Week” poll in the right column of the site. The winner (who’ll receive a Custom Print of their Six) will be announced on Monday, 9/14. Good luck at all!


The Ten Year Set-Up

by Freida Bee

For years, I’ve thought my husband and my best friend would make a great couple. He thinks I’m crass and I think him a prude. He seems to want me to be the ways I see her being, and she seems to appreciate the things he does for me far more than I do. Isn’t it interesting that I’ve managed to arranged her staying at our house while she is in between places? They have my blessing. I just hope they don’t kick me out.


Freida Bee writes stuff and posts some of it here.


by caccy46

Like many women her age, she had experienced her share of beginnings and endings, most of which were memorable, the sorts of things young people look forward to with inexorable excitement and an innocence tinged with anxiety. Unlike many women her age, a tragic event ruthlessly carved a scar before life could resume its course. And, as tragedies often leave in their wake, nothing was ever the same. As another love entered and a new life grew and kicked within her, naïveté was gone along with the prospect of ever again feeling exhilaration. She had been robbed of more than she realized the day the wave that separated them and swept him away. No beginnings, no endings would ever hold much impact.


caccy46's full 6S catalog is here.


The Truth About Elevators

by Matt Siegel

In any American elevator built or installed since the early nineties, the close-door button is nonfunctional unless activated with a key — by fireman. Unfortunately, it’s quite difficult to tell the age of an elevator. And then there’s the factor of timing — because button response varies, leaving you only to second-guess whether it’s active or not, which can lead to feeling foolish. One’s best bet, then, is to just take the stairs and be done with it all. The same, exactly, is true for my place in the dating pool (in metaphor... and substituting early nineties with late eighties). But sadly, I can’t figure out what the fucking stairs symbolize — or pass that fucking fire test.


Matt Siegel earned his MFA in fiction from Georgia College & State University and currently teaches at Southern Connecticut State University. His works of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry have appeared in Pebble Lake Review, Redivider (twice), So to Speak, Press 53, Pearl, Buffalo Carp, and elsewhere.

France at 20

by Devora Rogers

February in France. Street lamps illuminate drizzly narrow cobblestone streets. Stone muses grow out of fountains and water streams down their marble locks. Cathedral bells dignify time and regulate day. Ten clementines five francs, aubergines eight francs le kilo au marché. Earl Grey tea and Madeline's for breakfast with Daphné before school.


Devora Rogers writes about new media for a living, blogs about Europe for fun and recently completed her first novel. She lives in Los Angeles.

Dour Lady

by Sarah Elizabeth Colona

Mother’s heart — that capricious beast that stalked our childhoods — diminished and finally expired in the rusted crypt of her cold breast. Her children grown and out of the state — it was Aunt Cora, Mother’s youngest sister, who found the body, robed in geranium pink silk, slumped over its mahogany vanity table. There, chapel candles flickered down to their wicks. The mirror, rimmed with dried, palm crosses and prayer cards, cradled Mother’s reflection in amniotic light. A nest of velvet jeweler’s boxes cushioned Mother’s withered cheek. What lovelies had been taken out for one last caress?


Sarah Elizabeth Colona lives and teaches in her home state of New Jersey. She earned her MFA from George Mason University, where she served as poetry editor for So to Speak. Her poems have appeared in Measure, Six Little Things, The Chimaera, and several other journals, including Cabinet des Fées: Scheherezade’s Bequest. New work is forthcoming in Jabberwocky and The Ampersand Review.


The Souvenir Shop

by Alex Laska

In my town there is a souvenir shop. A girl works there with a small head. Sometimes when I have nothing to do I go there. There are a lot of shot glasses that say Cooks Forest with bears and deer on them. I consider for a moment living in a tent. I ask the girl with the small head if there is a book about Cook Forest, she replies there was, but she doesn't know where it went.


Alex Laska, 25, grew up in Sigel, Pennsylvania, and graduated from Clarion University with an English Degree.


by Monica Bustamante Wagner

Some things are better forgotten. You pick up a shovel, dig a hole in your mind, and watch the memory fall and fall into the black void till you hear the thud when it reaches the bottom. Then you refill the hollow with soil, smooth it down with the back of your shovel, and walk away in oblivion. Until one day a scent triggers a thought, the breeze murmurs his name, and the oak trees of the landscape remind you of him. The memory crawls its way up, like a mole emerging to the sunlight. You loved, you hated, you forgave, but you will never forget.


Monica Bustamante Wagner has a Bachelor’s in business and a Master’s in HHRR. She loves to write and is currently finishing a YA novel (while nursing her newborn and helping her older boys finish their homework).

On the Prowl

by Irina March

It was shaping up to be yet another wasted evening and he was about to leave when he spotted her across the crowded bar. She was by far the best prospect he had come across in weeks. He therefore wasted no time in introducing himself and used all his considerable charm to effortlessly keep the conversation going by expounding on his very favorite subject: himself. She was of course fascinated and before he knew it they were sharing a fourth drink and he was suppressing a grin as she shyly suggested they continue the conversation somewhere more private. Since she insisted on freshening up before they left, they agreed to meet by the door after he had settled the tab. He gave the waitress a sly wink as he reached for his wallet but it was nowhere to be found.


Irina March is widely believed to be illiterate. She's hoping this present venture might put that to rest.


The Typewriter Prayer

by Bella B

I am writing you a letter on a broken typewriter. The keys stick, and there is no paper, and the ribbon is gone, but the letter is there. It makes a loud noise in the quiet of the night and sometimes I am frightened that it will wake someone up, someone in one of the flats above, maybe? But I keep typing into the nothing, hitting the broken letters clack-clack-clack against the dusty black back band of the machine, the dot-dot-dot dash-dash-dash dot-dot-dot of my fingers on the letters (almost in time with my uneven breath), hearing the end-of-line bell ring sweet and silver, shift for capitals and punctuation, cedillas, percentages, ampersands, exclamations, the old interrogation mark with the swirl at the tip. Like an SOS from a sinking ship, like calling to aliens, like a baby playing at hide and seek - if I can’t see you, you can’t see me - some ancient logic says that if I don’t see it, you will - but only you - this invisible message in an invisible bottle washes up only on your shore - if the neighbours hear then you might not - I start to ramble - my sense is gone without you - though suddenly the thought strikes me this is almost like a prayer. Dear God - Dear You - hello - hello - if you’re out there - where you’re out there - do you hear me? - do you see me? - I miss you - Amen.


Bella B hails from England and writes from the UAE.

Waking Up

by Pam Murphy

In wonderment, I charged happily into my dream, humming as I went, my pink frill a safe distance from the ground. Without warning, I slammed into the clashing, self-preserving, silently-driven music of unfamiliar marches toward dreams I couldn't see or touch for the vividness of my own. How inexplicably my unacknowledged self-righteousness turned to self-loathing and doubt. I stopped moving, released the pink frill to fall where it may, and felt the awkwardness that only comes with epiphany. I am not alone. I am no longer the sun, and in dawning recognition I watch the mass of suns stalking the earth, unaware, and I feel the helplessness, the pompousness, of my shallow comprehension.


Pam Murphy, mother of three teenagers, caregiver to four unrelated children, and recent college graduate, lives, loves, and works in Woodland, Alabama (a town most easily understood by placing a finger halfway between Atlanta and Birmingham on a map and squinting to read the fine print). She is currently researching MFA programs hoping to find a fit, working on her first novel, and looking for freelance work.


by Matt Rollins

Morning smelled like the night before: fish oil, chili pepper and fried prawns, all confused by the chalk dust of jasmine incense. We sat, our bare feet pressed against the wood floor, pointed politely away from each other. "Would I be accepted into your Heaven?" asked Atthasat. I looked past him. At the front of the driveway, near the trash bins, two monks stood patiently, each with a clay bowl. "Well, from a strictly biblical standpoint - no, you wouldn't."


Matt Rollins is a graphic designer who also writes.



by Hal Sirowitz

Six sentences are relative. It isn’t much if I wanted to start a relationship. But when did I say I wanted to do that? It’s a lot of sentences if you want to be left alone. I guess I want to be left alone. Is there another choice?


Hal Sirowitz is the former Poet Laureate of Queens, New York.


by Sophia Macris

I developed my taste for bourbon on the twenty-seventh of June. We were drinking at that bar across the street from your building, someone else was buying the drinks and they were Manhattans, I was intent on tying my cherry stems into knots with my tongue and kept drinking until I'd succeeded. I wore my favorite dress, I was drunk when I got there, I'd walked from South 2nd and Bedford, only once took a wrong turn. You wore your seersucker suit; you were so thin; you smoked Marlboro Lights outside the bar because of the Brits. Come on, skinny love. And you were content to let me walk away.


Sophia Macris is reading Cavafy, eating figs, and making plans.

Silcroft Road, 1976

by Maureen Jivani

Late December, and the frost is icing the gutters. At number seven a radio plays "Blue Christmas;" a lip of moon grins at the scene. I see your silhouette, a glare of stars and artificial snow against the panes. You, the boy whose voice I could never hear, who imprisoned himself inside the house, convinced the road might swallow him, or leave him scarred, that the frost would never soften. Dan, every winter I remember this. All my snowmen I name after you.


Maureen Jivani writes poetry and short fiction. She has an Mphil in Writing from The University of Glamorgan and has published online at Nthposition, Qarrtsiluni, and Retort. Her work has appeared in print in many UK literary magazines and journals including The Wolf, The Rialto, and Magma.


Breakfast Rebellion

by Margaret Bail

Conventional wisdom would have you believe that eating cookies for breakfast is a risky proposition. Experts say high fiber! low sugar! whole grains! low fat! and fresh! will lead to a long healthy life. But where’s the fun in that? What about a little quality with the quantity? There’s a reason it’s called the most important meal of the day. So I say screw convention; cookies are soul food and consuming them for breakfast will make your life nirvana.


Margaret Bail - writer, grad student, mom - is hiding out in the vast, unending northern plains.


by Daniel Schweimler

Most people said that Mrs Gomez didn’t deserve to die – at least not in the brutal and bloody way in which I bludgeoned her to death. Others felt that I should at least have spared the dog. But a whole wall of the prison cell in which I’m writing this is covered in letters of support. Mr Martinez from Buenos Aires for example wrote that the attitude and behaviour of people like Mrs Gomez – while on the surface insignificant and even banal – were the first cracks in the structure of a civilized society and should be forcefully eradicated, by whichever means necessary. Mrs Gomez was unfortunate, I’ll admit, to be the one I’d managed to get my hands on after the other retrogrades had, under the cover of darkness or while I was otherwise engaged, left their foul smelling calling cards right outside my front door. And even when I caught them in the act, they ignored or abused me, despite the sign on the tree clearly indicating in bold red letters that Dog Owners MUST Clean Up After Their Animals.


Daniel Schweimler is an Englishman living in Buenos Aires where he used to be a journalist (but got tired of making things up so is dedicating himself to creative writing instead).

I Came Over Drunk

by Lisa Burke

I came over drunk - because I was. I felt bad about it, since I couldn't be happy unless I was drunk. It lifted me up, lifted me right on up... or in. Maybe ½ inch in, and six inches up. I landed right outside my body where I felt no pain, no weight, no leverage. Of course people look at you cross-eyed when you're a little drunk, but if they are free, if they are a little weird, they will see it, and they'll laugh at those jokes, and they'll get it.


Lisa Burke, who blogs here, is going crazy in Connecticut.