I Love L.A.

by Rod Drake

Shabby, filthy, blank-eyed, brain-dead zombies are pounding on my front door, looking for a free meal, and that meal is me. I don’t turn on any lights or the radio or television but stand behind the door and say very clearly, ”no one is here, look somewhere else,” so they stop, now believing no one is home and start shuffling off, moaning unhappily. When they are about 20 feet away, I open the door, step out holding twin sawed-off shotguns with pistol grips and holler at them. They turn around, confused and hungry, as I blast all four barrels into them, ripping several of them to bloody shreds, so that the remaining zombies, most now lacking fingers, hands, or ears, begin consuming their fallen comrades, much like a slow-motion shark feeding frenzy, forgetting all about me. I reload the shotguns, lock the door and set out to get some groceries and more ammunition. It’s just another perfect day, I love L.A.


Rod Drake is the Official 6S Author of Halloween and Friday the 13th. Boo!

You'll Wake the Dead

by Joseph Grant

It wasn’t my idea to conduct such an experiment; in reality, it was my stupid friend from MIT. Not that he is of a sub-par intelligence; no he is quite the opposite, a brilliant man who doesn’t always have the brightest of ideas, but who somehow dragged me, a man of reasonable astuteness, to accompany him to Calvary Cemetery, overlooking the blinking lights of Midtown Manhattan in the middle of a freezing October night and why I agreed is beyond me, but yet there we were, disturbing the graves of the departed. Apparently, my friend had read in some East European auto journal how the dead were being used in their unique biodegradable state as excellent sources of alternative fuel and the whole procuring process only took a matter of minutes with each volunteer, if you will. It made little sense to me, but much sense to my friend, a cheapskate by birthright of equally skin-flint parents of East Far Rockaway and it was my friend who schemed to take the alternative gas market by storm with its natural, endless supply of the free of charge deceased. Ethics and decency aside, as these were never my friend’s strong points, he had concocted a devious drilling and siphoning device using kind of a reverse livor mortis embalming procedure as maybe the best way to describe it, to draw up the raw natural resources from the lifeless, but typically and absentmindedly, he cut costs from the magazine blueprint and also forgot to probably carry a two somewhere along the line in his calculations and therefore as we were approximately on our seventy-fifth corpse, something wasn’t right. For as we scrambled back to the car amidst the disturbed graves of some of the worst criminals and gangland murderers in history, my wife’s admonition of: “You’ll wake the dead!” became prophetically true.


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

Just a Bad Dream

A Six-Pack of Horror by Peggy McFarland


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.

Life of a Craftsman

by Daniel Warskow

I am a smith; I work with myriad tools at my disposal. Each morning, prior to working on the daily orders, I carefully look over my tools, discriminating as I select the ones most appropriate for the day's labors and hone them to a razor's edge. My life is creating finished goods out of raw elements, carefully forging functional items and simultaneously brilliant works of art. Now I hammer away at the amorphous mass, each ferocious strike follows the previous, energetically building on the work already completed. Within mere moments, I have produced a finished work based solely on a vision. I am most pleased with my choice of tools; today, I chose adjectives.


Daniel Warskow is fighting the urge to become a writer and only occasionally blogs about it.


by Michael D. Brown

Chimpanzee Moko sat at a typewriter three hours a day every day except Sunday, when his trainer took him to church and he rested. After three years, Moko had finally tapped out a coherent short story. It was surreal in a way, what with misspellings and skewed syntax because after all chimps see things a little differently than humans do. His trainer, somewhat exasperated by all the clacking it took to produce such a short piece of work, set Moko to the task on a laptop with a silent keyboard, but the chimp became distracted by all the images flashing on the Internet, in fact, developed an addiction to surfing until the trainer darkened the screen. At first, seeming disheartened, Moko would not play anymore, but he must have liked pressing mushy keys because he soon took up typing again, and went at it for six months straight, tap-tap-tapping away, until one day in December when he stopped; just stopped and would not move a hairy digit. The trainer, in checking the printout that evening, found at the end, the words, “wot s tha meeening of it all....i m don heer.”


Michael D. Brown writes whenever he can. Some of his work can be found at Outside-In.

Dressed to Impress

by Paul Phillips

I have made a mess of both my personal and professional lives; my wife and children have recently left me in disgrace, I am on the brink of being fired from my high-paying job and my financial situation is far from impressive. Due to these circumstances, I have the most important meeting of my life this morning. I slipped into my Bespoke shirt and most expensive Giorgio Fiorelli suit. My Florsheim shoes polished immaculately, completed the image of a man on a mission. The Beretta - that had been tucked inside my Hugo Boss leather belt - is now placed firmly against the roof of my mouth. I think it is very important to dress well when meeting your Maker.


Paul Phillips can't believe it's not better!

Your Madness

by N. God Savage

You were halfway across the parking lot when I caught up with you, swirling dementedly, a hideous dervish to my frustrated anchor. From a distance, you seemed nothing more than an unruly drunk, too much too young, carried home, thrown up, slept off, moved on. I’d have given anything for that to be the case as I caught up with you: anything for a look of recognition to fill the hollow sickness that suffused me. I’d already seen that dead-doll stare a hundred times, but when I grabbed you and spun you round it caught me as deeply and as sharply as the first. I felt it as a clinging vacuum in the pit of my guts. If only you could sleep this off.


N. God Savage is a writer and philosopher from Belfast, Northern Ireland. Links to his blogs can be found here.

King Me

by Sue Ellis

Larson says we can harvest horseradish in any month spelled with an 'r.' He's the big-shot gardening expert now. After global warming, crop failures and food shortages, he's elevated in stature from neighborhood blight to sought-after advisor. Eats it up, too, in his filthy coveralls, holding court beside a stinking chicken coop. "So, Jurwry and Argust are the months to dig?" I ask him innocently, and he doesn't even condescend to smile at my wit. I palm a couple of eggs when he's not looking.


Sue Ellis is a retired postmaster who lives with her husband in Spokane, Washington. She has been previously published in Flash Me Magazine, Camroc Press Review, Wild Violet, and Dead Mule, all online publications. She is a member of the Internet Writers Workshop.

That Night, We Slept Separately

by Stephen D. Gibson

The snow was suddenly thick on the ground the next morning, white, heavy with water. She asked if we had two shovels and I thought of them, one light and plastic, the other heavier, a blade of ragged aluminum. We shoveled together, outside, as snow continued down and the cold grew less bitter. Inside our children threw juice at each other and shared cold chicken with the dog I hated. Often my wife and I divide tasks, the two of us, but that grey morning we worked together, side by side, pushing back the cold. Forging warmth.


Stephen D. Gibson teaches at Utah Valley University.

The Apology

by Samantha Stephens

My heart is somewhere in my throat acting like a champagne cork to stop the sound sliding out. This situation could have had a million different endings, but the one where I have to apologise was always going to be the worst. I watch his lips in anticipation, hoping he is chivalrous enough to let me avoid my struggle, to know that he is making me surrender my last remaining ounces of pride. His lips part and his tongue slithers out, wetting his bottom lip like it always does when he’s really mad. Then his eyebrows rise and it is like they have commanded his tongue to return to its hiding place. I imagine them falling again as I walk away.


Samantha Stephens, who blogs here, is a third year student of Creative Writing and English Literature at Edge Hill University.

Atlantic Time

by Zeptimius Hedrapor


Zeptimius Hedrapor can be reached here. (Click the image for a closer view.)

The End

by Danny Eastwood

She demanded an apology for what I'd done. I refused which turned her pale face pink. Apologies do not come into my line of work. She screamed at me, reaching into her bag. She gave me one last chance. With a shake of my head she shot me dead.


Danny Eastwood can be spotted at Edge Hill University in the U.K.

Cross Purposes

by James Lightfoot

Is that your motorcycle? No. It's nice. [No response.] I said it's nice - can't you just acknowledge me? [No response, hasty exit.]


James Lightfoot lives and writes in Montreal.


by Rashmi Vaish

She tried to tell herself that it was the currents of arctic air sweeping in from the north that twisted in her chest, but it was the fragments of the day he said goodbye that were still embedded in her, the day she had wanted to scream but only heard the roar of silence. “I’m prickly, babe, always restless and besides, we’re just fooling ourselves here,” he’d said, a sharp edge of steel lining his voice as he pulled away from her. She had wanted to ask him of his promise to her that he would be with her at the frayed ends of her days, she had wanted to ask him why, why now, but the lattice of words, the only thing that held them together for 25 years, had crumbled away and her question remained suspended in the sudden vacuum between them. It had been a decade since she had heard his footfall fading away for the last time, but that day was like an old wound – you think it had healed years ago but it suddenly makes itself felt again with aging ferocity right smack in the center of your bones. A thin wind rustled the pile of his letters in her lap, letters of love, reproach and that last hurried note a year before the end. The pale, late afternoon sun glinted through the bare poplars leading up to the river as she reached out to the empty chair next to her and whispered his name.


Rashmi Vaish lives in northern New York State and occasionally writes in her blog.

High Fidelity

by Robert Scotellaro


Robert Scotellaro's flash and micro fictions have appeared in numerous print and online journals. He lives with his wife in California.


by Felicia Gregory

I feel the thoughts in my head tumbling around. I think they’re held up in there and refusing to move. I wish I could blow my nose and all the words would come out. I could arrange them like those poetry magnets you find in bookstores. Maybe then I can put something decent together. If only I had a cold.


Felicia Gregory wrote this while hugging a pig.

Proposition Forty-Six

by Sumanth Prabhaker

The men are tall here, but not as tall as trees. They tilt their noses down at us, as if we caused their problem, which they see as our problem, but it isn’t. What’s done is done, and besides, there are other options. For example, I am a vocal supporter of Proposition forty-six, the reinstitution of Height Cancellation Therapy, which allows men ages three through seven to wear a specialized lead cap that promotes longevity by stunting growth, and which was deemed by a board of female jurors ‘retarding’ and ‘unsuitable’ and I think one of them said her husband was like a wet puddle in bed due to the unforeseen side effects of the cap, and which finally was recalled and melted for automotive parts seventeen years ago, long before my mother or I were born. Since then, male votes have been spotty and hard to count on, which is why Propositions thirty-three through forty and forty-two have all fallen way through, despite many of them holding good promises for us. I deny none of this, but it is yesterday’s news; innovations have been made; I am looking to the future.


Sumanth Prabhaker is the founding editor of Madras Press, a non-profit imprint that publishes individually bound short story and novella-length booklets and distributes the proceeds to a network of charitable organizations selected by its authors.

Bad Smells from the Basement

by Oliver Cribbens

I can't go down into the basement anymore. Today it smells like burnt pancakes, yesterday like molding roses, and the day before like fresh squeezed orange juice. This morning I smelled my armpits; they smelled like sea water and the smell reminded me of the corpse in the basement, that special little surprise next to the furnace. Its skin is brown and pale, and the face is blue with gaping shocked eyes. After eating some yam fries I grabbed a stick from outside and poked its head, and it just stank. I only wish someone had told me about him before I bought the place.


Oliver Cribbens lives in San Francisco. This story is based on true events.


by Rain Xue


Rain Xue is a student and writer in Nashville, TN. (For a closer look, just click the image. And click here to make a donation to 6S - every penny helps!)

How You Say It

by Erin Yarbery

Sometimes it’s difficult to say what I want to say in only six sentences. But sometimes it’s equally as hard to say what I want to say in six pages or chapters or years. Yes, years. I’ve been married for four years now and I often feel as though I’ll never be able to say everything I want to say to him. Then again, maybe I have already said it. Sometimes, I guess, it has nothing to do with time and space and numbers; it has everything to do with how you say it.


Erin Yarbery can be found here.

Difficult to Say

by Navin R. Johnson

Marie, are you awake? Good. You look so beautiful and peaceful - you almost look dead. And I'm glad because there's something I want to say that's always been very difficult for me to say: I slit the sheet the sheet I slit and on the slitted sheet I sit. I've never been relaxed enough around anyone to be able to say that - you give me confidence in myself. I know we've only known each other for four weeks and three days, but to me it seems like nine weeks and five days.


Navin R. Johnson is the adopted white son of African American sharecroppers.

On Meeting My Future Self

by Edd Howarth

During my childhood, on the cool, star-sprinkled summer night of the village fair, an old gypsy lady held my palm and told me that, one day, I'd meet my future self, and I'd kill him. Granted, it was a strange thing for an old gypsy woman to say to a young boy, and I never gave it much stock until yesterday when, while waiting on a bench at Piccadilly Station, working steadily through a pack of Marlboro, I faced a man who just had to be my future self. His appearance was softer, greyer; body bent with the weight of age, wrapped up tight in a worn Anorak with one hand pressed to his throat; but beneath the fog of age the familiar features, the bent nose, the razor-scar nicked into the chin, the slight scowling expression, pierced through. I barely had time to think before the overhead clock chimed in a new train, and the future me was up and hobbling across the stone floor to the gate, still holding his neck, like those tobacco-mudded fingers were the only things keeping his head and body together. In the end I panicked, and I think that's what annoyed him: me grabbing his sleeve, yelling about being him from past, and dropping my cigarette and stooping to pick it up while his eyes lingered on the smoke and his hand tightened around his throat, giving me that one angry wheeze before storming off. My future self departed into a swish of coats and baggage, and I stood there knowing I'd missed the most important opportunity of my life.


Edd Howarth obtained his BA in English and Creative Writing from The University of Plymouth. He is currently pursuing an MA in English and Creative Writing at Longwood University.


by Willis Hulings

When the bomb goes off, there will be a couple of things that are probably guaran-fuckin-teed to happen. Things like ears and noses and arms and fingers and hair and stomach and toes and muscle and intestines and eyes and bone and blood will permanently affix themselves to everything in a radius of right about... fifty feet from the center of the blast. Noises are going to emanate from that circle like shouted-loud echoes across the Great Smoky Mountains; man screams, woman screams, child screams, animals screams and shouts no creature can hear, nor make, in any other situation. Those who lose their arms will try to stand and run, only to wobble for a bit until they fall straight back down onto what was their neighbor, while those without legs will feebly crawl back to their foxholes. A veritable shit-ton, pardon my french, of things can and will happen. But I'll say with dadgum certainty, that the man at the center of that blast, the one who it was intended for... well... he'll just be another shredded earlobe on the floor, and I'll have done my job.


Willis Hulings is a student and writer living in Nashville, Tennesee.


by Tessa Scoffs


Tessa Scoffs blogs here.


by Alex Moody

There is a brand of hand sanitizer called “Endure.” You use it, and you endure these things: swine flu and economic hard times; literary theory; downstairs neighbors, their adamance rising through the kitchen linoleum; muddy first drafts; drive-through lanes in a creaky car with one working window, and that window is on the passenger side; high school acquaintances and pictures of their cakes and children in a Facebook news feed; the destabilizing shape of a goat’s pupils as it stares at you through metal bars. Slather yourself in glittering cool protective hand sanitizing gel and slip-slide through the day. Squish it in your eyes and wash away the visions. Fill your ears and mute the world. Endure.


Alex Moody is a writer living in Nashville, Tennessee.

A Puzzle Piece Away from Home

by C. Feraday

I wrap myself in princess dresses and slide my feet into undersized high heels until they blister and my head aches from the music at the ball. I chop off my hair and let a sea of sweater swallow me, hiding my curves in layers of cloth, until I'm so lost and far from myself that I just want to go home. I wander blindly in search of it, in search of comfort in my own skin, of a packaging that fits. And then I see her, and she is beautiful and delicate and forbidden, her smiling shooting straight through the costumes to the real me that was before so stubbornly concealed. I slide my hand into hers, marvelling at how well our fingers lock together, like two pieces of the same puzzle. She is the perfect fit and I am home.


C. Feraday is a wanna-be writer freezing her ass off in Canada, eh.

Boy in the Balloon

by Boudreau Freret

It soared high across the land, a slow floating spectacle for all to stop and stare. Broadcasts interrupted, breath held. Like a child trapped in a well, only better - so much better because of the potential for splatter - potential death transmitted live. The networks stood erect in excited anticipation. Then when it came down, they did too. He was not inside.


Boudreau Freret's satire has appeared online at Yankee Pot Roast and The Talking Mirror. His first non-satirical submission is coming soon to Mylène Dressler’s American Stories NOW.

New York Story

by Dan Mindich

After honeymooning in an Italian fishing village, my wife and I returned to JFK airport. The long-term parking shuttle stopped somewhere near nowhere, and the doors opened to a desolate stretch of tarmac. Loaded with luggage, an older man disembarked, looked back in the bus and asked, "Thees eees to go Aeroflat?" Time stood still while we tried to figure out what he was saying. As the doors closed, one guy spoke up, "Hey, good fucking luck, buddy." And, we knew we were home.


Dan Mindich, a graduate student in education and the editor of FacultyShack, no longer lives in New York.

Travel Advisory

by Corinne Purtill

I checked the bag in Johannesburg. By the time it rolled wearily from the luggage carousel in Cape Town, its cheap lock had been sawed away. Inside my zipper bags were unzipped, the neatly folded piles kerfuffled in search of a trinket to exchange for a few desperate rand. On the Richter scale of travel misadventures, it was a minor tremor. I wasn't even miffed. Until, that is, I examined more closely and realized they had decided that I had nothing worth taking after all.


Corinne Purtill is a freelance writer based in New York City.

Bed is a Ship

by Georgina Bruce

Bed is a ship that sails through the night, on inky indigo waters; through silver surf, curlicued and shining. There are no lights, no lanterns, only burning cigarettes: small hot golden warnings that can be seen for miles. (I never smoke in the daytime.) The bed is haunted by the ghosts of slaves, who mutiny all night long against the piratical captain. We are monstered by giant squid, with their blindly thrashing tentacles, and fish with legs and teeth, who cling onto the headboard and crawl onto the sheets, dripping seaweed. I fight back as best I can, with whatever comes to hand, while the slaves chant, heave ho and away, as they row me ashore, or run me aground in morning’s rocky harbours.


Georgina Bruce is the bearded lady.

Six by Six, Issue 4

an Online Magazine from Six Sentences


Our fourth issue of Six by Six features original pieces by Rod Drake, Alisa Rynay Haller, Thomas Mundt, Tessa Scoffs, Sean Kennedy, and Absolutely*Kate. Enjoy!

By the Road to the Emerald City

by Alan Girling

Think of the colour, and it is you: your mind, your body and your clothes. It warns me, the man, of danger, and warms the bull in me, pulls me deep inside where gladly I love, die and am reborn in you. Mars wars, the Bordeaux grows, and here on this sea of poppies we get high, make it and sink into bliss together. Here I mine the twinned cinnabar crystals of your soul, kiss you with cherries, take you with strawberries and massage your beating heart with the unerring fingers of a Chi master. I am your dog Clifford, adoring and devoted, Erik your Viking, untamed and vigorous, and always I am your beet, your twizzler, your Manfred von Richthofen - le petit, le diable, le baron rouge. Think of the colour, and it is me.


Alan Girling used to write short stories, but these days it's mainly poetry and other musings. He actually suspects many of his old stories were really poems in disguise. Examples of both can be found in such publications as FreeFall, Blue Skies, Hobart, The MacGuffin, Smokelong Quarterly, Snow Monkey, Ken*again, River Walk Journal, ink, sweat and tears, and In My Bed Magazine.


by Tim Wilkins

I hit the first red light on the way to work and spend the time gazing at the passenger seat of the car I’ve had for almost a year now, and I begin to notice the virginity of the seat beside my own. The padding is still solid and supportive, and no creases are visible in the leather. The floor mats are spotless. It’s a shame that I’m wasting this other seat; I’m sure somewhere there is someone who needs an extra seat in their car. I wonder if they sell cars with just one seat. Maybe I should get a bicycle.


Tim Wilkins is a pre-service teacher from the Midwest. He blogs here.

Overrated White People

by Marc Lamont Hill

We're celebrating Christopher Columbus today, despite the fact that he was an immoral treasure hunter who merely stumbled upon a region that had already been "discovered" by indigenous nonwhite peoples. A few more overrated white people: Bill Clinton (who - despite bombing Africa and the Middle East regularly, approving the Welfare Reform Bill, the Prison Litigation Reform Act, and "three strikes" litigation - is still regarded as a messianic figure by black folk). Babe Ruth (the beneficiary of smaller playing fields and a segregated league). Tony Romo (who continues to find new ways of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory). Justin Timberlake (who is somehow considered more talented than dozens of black R&B singers). And Paris Hilton (who- wait... what does she do again?).


Marc Lamont Hill is a professor at Columbia University and a Fox News commentator. His six sentences are excerpted (and slightly altered) from his Metro column.

Love Thy Neighbor

by Barrie Miller Kirby

There was no 911 to call in 1951 when Lois went into premature labor, so instead of looking up the phone number of the rescue squad she called a number she knew and summoned the person who could get to her the quickest. Irene came from across the street to the bed where Lois lay and bled until the child she conceived after eight years of marriage lay dead between her legs. Irene wrapped the bloody mass in a towel and called the doctor. She did as he instructed. With sorrow but without ceremony she took the boy — beloved but unnamed — to the bathroom and flushed him down the toilet. Years later when Lois’s body twisted and fell over the kitchen table, her husband Eddie didn’t call 911 — he called Irene.


Barrie Miller Kirby is a writer living in North Carolina.


by L. Ryan-Harper

Fine writing, like fine spirits, is intoxicating; it is the nectar of another's tongue and the hard swallow of another's vision. We drink it in and our eyes are opened. There are among us souls who are infatuated with the written word while others prefer visual interpretation of the word and still others who need the titillation of the spoken word. Words overwhelm the senses, play upon our auditory canals and trip pictures in our minds. The silent word speaks volumes and the spoken word lies mutely beneath the crush of silence. Crush of silence itself sounds like a jackknifed semi carrying a load of alphabet soup; cans burst and strewn across a super highway spelling disaster to oncoming traffic.


L. Ryan-Harper is trained in the lost art of putting pen to paper.

The Night We Died

by Page Wright

He left me, alone in the darkness, so that he could track his prey, alone. I'm not sure if it was the first time he left me, or if I ever had him to lose, but it was the last time he walked away from me. He went to chase the wolf that had been attacking our home and all those close to us; he went to save us and to destroy us. The wolf did not tear us apart, he did, he chose to go out into the night alone, away from me, away from the home we made together. The wolf killed him, but he killed me. Martin was mauled, murdered, viciously taken, while I slept silently and never woke up.


Page Wright writes from Hertfordshire.


by Sandra Knisely

Guadalajara is a two-story house with peeling white paint, a crooked stoop and a paper sign in the window: OPEN. You go inside and a 10-year-old boy asks if you prefer to sit at the front counter where you can watch the cook toss meat over bright orange flames or in the back at a paper-covered table beneath a TV blaring a game show in Spanish. Your two companions look sort of scared by the whole place, but you really want to make a go of it, and when you notice an old woman cutting up a mound of cacti pads at a table next to the one in the back, you tell the boy that's the spot because you like watching her hands, which are long and oddly smooth, run a big knife over green flesh, slicing off prickers and brown spots. The game show erupts in cheering as you scan the menu and spot a plate of bistec and nopales, which you've never heard of, but then you read the English print in parentheses and look over at the woman, and you decide you want to eat her nopales because you want her to see you eating her nopales so she will think you are her best customer today and feel glad that she is cutting up cactus for someone like you. The boy comes and you don't pronounce the words right when you tell him what you want, but he doesn't correct you and brings a plate heaping with juicy meat and sliced vegetables that look and taste like pickled green beans, sweet but sharp, a flavor you don't like. You meekly separate out the nopales, pushing them into a distinct pile at the edge of the plate, and when you finish you walk shame-faced past the old woman, too embarrassed to leave your share of the tip.


Sandra Knisely is a Wisconsin-based writer who does in fact like eating nopales and many other things. Her work can be found here.


by Kevin Paul Miller

My mind is like a busy village now. It’s not the kind of place where tourists stop to buy quilts or local pottery. It’s more like a Village of the Damned. Little blonde ideas with piercing eyes gather together in conspiratorial cells. I liked it better when my mind was like a blues bar, where ideas moaned and wailed about coming home to find their lover in the arms of another idea, but the blues bar mind was labeled a public nuisance and closed down. You would think I’d have a say in these matters.


Kevin Paul Miller lives in Kansas City, MO. He writes short fiction, verse, haiku and related forms.

The Greater Good

by Gee El Dee

Before they raised the retirement age to seventy, proof was published that people were living longer. A person living to one hundred could afford another five years. When the national debt continued to climb, a harassed man with defeat in his eyes said it was everyone’s duty to work for as long as they could. It wasn’t long before instead of looking forward to retirement, people looked forward to simply dying. When it was proven that no one enjoyed retirement anymore the first machines to plug people into were rolled in. After all, if nobody wanted to retire and everyone – with a little help – could live until one hundred and twenty, it was only sensible to utilise the resource.


Gee El Dee wrote his first novel at the age of 9. It was a two page masterpiece - he still laments its loss.


by James Broderick

Night provides little relief from the torrential downpour that soaks my soul. A printed list of responsibilities soothes a troubled mind just as a hearty meal satisfies a growling stomach, unless I forgot to turn off the stove. Trust and confidence elude me; wisdom and awareness avoid me. The foul stench of suspicion and uncertainty lingers in the air, smoldering like a cigarette that I'm not sure I snuffed out completely. Many questions remain unanswered. Perhaps I better check the back door again.


James Broderick is quite happy most of the time, and tall all of the time.

Kirkland Street, 1981

by Sue Reid Sexton

We had bring-your-own-instrument parties in our tatty condemned flats, which meant if you’d got a biscuit tin and a stick you were welcome; the booze was understood, and the blow, but you were welcome anyway if you came with the right heart and mind. Real musical instruments gained more respect of course, Paul’s bassoon, Sue’s flute if she was brave enough, Andy’s guitar, Hugh’s moothie, a penny whistle, all great, but dried peas in a jar or slapped knees would do, table edges or the door jamb, fine. There was the occasional electric guitar, a bass with amp, but electricity cost money and we were poor as house mice. The meter would die and someone would keep the beat banging on the cooling metal heater ‘til fifty pence was found; money was common property on which we pounced mercilessly for topping up the excitement with cider or Buckfast from the corner shop. Sometimes even the door jambs were full, no surface left to bang, no floor to squat on. The music would wander aimlessly, bucking and hiccoughing like a young heifer, but always, somewhere, a moment of clarity, all hands on deck, all glances met, two flutes entwined, two voices humming, the unity of a beautiful anarchy of sound.


Sue Reid Sexton, who lives in Glasgow, is the author of four novels. (The latest is about a woman who keeps her husband's body in the house long after he is dead. It is not autobiographical.)

Six by Six, Issue 3

an Online Magazine from Six Sentences


Our third issue of Six by Six features original pieces by Timothy Gager, Nicola Henderson, Brian Le Lay, Colette Martin, Pam Murphy, and Daniel Williams. Enjoy!

Movies or Stories from Friends

by Alex Thornber

She could hear the muffled party sounds through the floor as he led her to an empty room. She could almost make out a conversation taking place downstairs. He closed the door behind them but she still felt awkward. None of the movies or stories from friends could have prepared her for the moment, fast approaching. Six minutes later, they emerged from the room, their hands twisted in a knot of pressure, mistrust and regret. A tear rolled down her face while a smile embroidered itself arrogantly on his.


Alex Thornber is living, writing and studying in London, England. He tries to keep a regular blog here.

Hobo at Heart

by Nyx Hunt

I wake up to a train whistle sounding outside my bedroom window. It is the darkest part of a cold autumn night. I wish I were away with the train. I can feel the cool breeze blowing through the open door of the boxcar I would sit in; taste the tangy night air in the back of my throat. I can feel the power of thousands of pounds of steel barreling down the endless track to destinations unknown; see the twinkling lights of small towns in the distance as we blaze by. Adventure awaits me in my dreams.


Nyx Hunt is a mom and a wife, who loves to go on wild adventures in her dreams.


by Tim Wilkins

I guess it was a seizure. Her body just got too hot too fast in the bathtub, and she passed out. Then she drowned. The running water pumped into her ears, mouth, and nose. Then she cooked and boiled in the tub all day. The water frothed under her from the jets, and when I found her after work and tried to pull her from her crock-pot, her skin came off in my hands like wet tissue paper.


Tim Wilkins, a pre-service teacher from the Midwest, blogs here.

The Afterburn

by Erin Nicole Cochran

Sometimes I sit on that stool and think that I just like the color of it. The amber gold that sits and swishes whenever I lift the shot glass to my lips and sip. The taste of it is warm, like a sweet fiery honeysuckle that stings the back of my throat and coats it like cough syrup. I don’t drink it down like it’s a race because that would be spoiling the flavor, and five dollars for two fingers of it isn’t cheap. The cigarette smoke gives it an even cozier taste, like a blanket covering my shoulders from the freezing temperature of the bar. Whether summer, winter, or fall, the conditioned air is biting, and I crave the golden warmth.


Erin Nicole Cochran, a graduate of West Virginia University, is currently attempting to finish the last ten pages of a novel that never seems to get finished.

How I Met Your Wife

by Stephen D. Gibson

"Thomas Elijah Truman." "666," she said, and I gave her my confused look. "The letters of your names," she said, "six of each." "Oh, sure," I said. "That's me; a regular devil." Her smile only got wider.


Stephen D. Gibson teaches at Utah Valley University.


by Sean Gregson

He’s a boy, running through the disused bomb-shelters and tunnels that run below the length of Manchester. He jumps, twists and howls; he picks up a bottle and throws it at the ceiling. He has a stick which he runs along the walls, sometimes tapping out a rhythm on the doors which break up the brick monotony. Finally, he comes to a red door, huge and intimidating; his little hand can hardly wrap itself around the handle, he struggles but it won’t turn. Now, he’s an old man, a loner, walking back down unchanged tunnels of brick and mortar. Curiosity finally has the better of him.


Sean Gregson used to live in Manchester. Now he doesn't. He lives in Norwich. He stands by his decision.


by Joanna M. Weston

She’s being taken to court for hanging her laundry on the washing line. She’s trying to save the planet while her neighbour’s thoughts are, apparently, prurient. He says pillowcases and towels flapping in an easterly wind are "disgusting," too lascivious to be seen. When she hangs jeans and tees he, behind closed drapes, looks for her underwear. Sheets and diapers she feels are innocent beyond belief. He sees conception flaunted in the public view.


Joanna M. Weston has been publishing poetry, reviews, and short stories in anthologies and journals for twenty years.

Johnston Station ~ Late August

by Quin Browne

On the banks of the Bogue Chitto, there in the bend of the river where the current ran slow, a thick rope with a intricate knot at the end hung down from a tree far older than our tiny Mississippi delta town. On days when the humidity was so thick you pulled as much water as air into your lungs, we'd wait our turn out under the tree canopy that trapped heat, no-see-eums, and our giddy voices. A hard push; swinging out, you let go - your body paused in time and space, suspended just like Wile E. Coyote when he'd run out of cliff. You hung there long enough to contort your body or make a face at the crowd... long enough to feel your stomach contract in anticipation of the slap of the warm surface/cold bottom water on your skin. On occasion, you stood mid-flight, toes gripping to keep your balance, waiting to see if you'd built up the courage to do a back flip - your Great-Aunt Mamie's warning about kids who'd broke their necks flipping off that rope so far out of thought, it wasn't even a memory. Sometimes, though, you sat with ass cheeks holding on to that knot--your wrinkled fingers tight on the wet hemp - sailing out in a smooth line, and at that moment, right before the rope would curve out, jerking you into the return journey... you could see all the way past summer to autumn.


Quin Browne has a growing body of work. Some of it is published, some isn't. Life is funny that way.


by Teresa Stenson

This time, she'll make him remember. This time, she'll do all the things he loves. She'll arrange herself the way she knows she looks best, make the right sounds in all the right places, say yes to everything he asks. When it's over, she'll ask for nothing. She'll look away and let him take it in, let him remember, realise, feel his heart beat again for her. She's so sure that this time, he won't just fill her up and leave her empty.


Teresa Stenson writes stories that are short. Once, she made a short film out of one of her short stories. She is short. She's working on something longer. And she blogs here.

Little Plaid Ghost

by Jeff Wood

Sandra’s daughter ran out into the street chasing after a ball and got hit by a car, five years old, a shame, everybody agreed. Sandra couldn’t bring herself to change anything in the room: the same dolls, same toys, same plaid sheet, even the baby monitor were still in there. She kept the baby monitor receiver in her own bedroom, sometimes she would turn it on when she couldn’t sleep, sometimes she heard things on it. Crying, mostly, barely audible within the static. She went in the bedroom once after hearing her daughter crying and saw a shape under the sheet, a little plaid ghost, laughing. Play with me mommy, she sang, and Sandra fell into the warm soft bed, an insect falling into amber, and never left the house again.


Jeff Wood is a writer currently living in Pueblo, Colorado. He's been previously published in Java Journal, New York Press, Boston Phoenix, Bellowing Ark and the Grey Rock Review. More of his writing can be found at The Oort Cloud.

A Little Revolution

by Hal Sirowitz

One reader, who left a comment, accused me of being against the six sentence format. He called me anti-authoritarian. When my mother read me the ten commandments, I added on another one – not to drink coffee. My mother bragged to my uncle, who said, "What’s wrong with coffee?" And I say to that reader, "What’s wrong with an occasional revolt? Wasn’t our country built on a little revolution?"


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

Men and Women

Six Sixes by Michael D. Brown


Michael D. Brown writes whenever he can, laboring on his magnum opus: Any Day Now.