A Bridesmaid's Duties

by Michelle King

She found a dress that she liked, but the one in the shop was too small; it didn't do up properly, didn't hang right. "You try it," she told me, "you're a skinny bitch, it might fit you." So I modeled it for her, walking sedately up and down a make-believe aisle in the middle of the shop. "It looks better on you," the assistant whispered as she helped me to step out of it. I smiled and leaned in, matching her conspiratorial pose. "So does the groom," I said.


Michelle King has written for fun all her life but only just started trying to publish. Her flash fiction has recently appeared online at MicroHorror.



by Carrie Lorig

I needed to make a patch, so I threaded my needle with some strands of longitude and latitude. I had no idea using them would pull the wires out from under the birds. On several farms, barbed wires unclotted and went smooth enough to step over. I heard lanterns collapsing and popping outside. Only then did I realize what I'd done and the herding that would be required to fix it. I thought of the orthodontists I would need to catch floating teeth, and of the equator writhing loose in a street far north where no one speaks his language.


Carrie Lorig is living and teaching in Seoul until the first day of Fall. She blogs, but not well, here.


Eating Cake

by James Simpson

The seven of us were out drinking when she said she'd always fantasized about having someone eat cake off her ass - her smooth, round, firm, milky white ass. Days later when I showed up at her door holding the four-layered hummingbird cake covered in luscious blankets of cream cheese frosting she just looked at me, her head tilted to one side, eyes all squinty. It seemed forever before her face softened and brightened. Her mouth formed a silent 'Oh' and she grinned, pulling me inside. We adore cake. Our children think this story is gross.


James Simpson is a freelance journalist and award-winning fiction writer. He is currently hip deep in his first novel and hopes to be up to his neck in it before long. Links to his writing can be found here.


All About Perspective

by Janet Yung

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


Janet Yung lives and writes in St. Louis. Her work has appeared in The Green Silk Journal, Muscadine Lines, Keep Going and qarrtsiluni.


The Excitement of Silences

by Dwight Peters

In his life, letter writing has been his main exchange of thoughts and emotions. In fact, he has no memories of ideas or feelings until after the time he started writing letters. The letters are where he recognizes that he can communicate and know intimacy. He does try to figure out how to speak to people and to hear them. But still the quiet moments alone are the ones where he is most together; there is a freedom with this way of communication for him that extends beyond his abilities with his physical presence, beyond the relationships he has been able to have with anybody. He once got a letter from someone who told him that they knew of a person who had so much trouble expressing any part of much of anything at all that meant enough — so much trouble being close to others — that the person would go to the movies and sit a few seats from someone when there were plenty of other places to sit that were not as close to anybody.


Dwight Peters lives by the water.


They Came Calling

by Damyanti Ghosh

They came calling before the night had reached its darkest hour. She knew it was her they called though her eyes were closed and she lay, curled in her tiny bed, un-sleeping but not quite awake. Their calls came, setting the curtains flying like sails at high sea, puffed with the force of their cries. They called again, in a rising chorus that would have woken the dead in her family and her neighborhood, had those people not already risen before in answer to these very calls. She curled her small toes into each other, turned her head, breathed in the laundry smell of the pillow case, felt the swish of satin against the down on her face. She lay there, quiet in the dark, till the lightening of dawn, wondering when they would realize that she knew it was her they called, and that she would make no answer.


Damyanti Ghosh is a writer of short stories, some of which are forthcoming in various print anthologies. You can find her here.


Recession Proof

by Sarah Cedeño

Someone has carved a pretty convincing silhouette of a deer hanging (from nothing) by its neck on the sign for Allied Builders. This is the picture of recession on Canal Road, but it’s creeping through the village. The graffiti artists are working hard, declaring “Fuck Brockport” on a once-white van parked in the old Brueggers lot, or coining the word “Blamege” on the abandoned Burger King building where people used to order food: white collars, a Number Six; blue collars, the Two for Two Bucks. There is a Pawn King now, but the lazy-eyed college-aged employee, who punches nonsense on a calculator, still doesn’t know how much to offer for the jewelry, so he says to the people, “Yeah, it’s just not worth selling it for the six bucks I can pay you.” Outside the vacant Burger King, the Pawn King rejects gather, their stomachs growling for that six-dollar gold heirloom. And across the street, A CVS Pharmacy will go up in the old Brueggers lot, but the graffiti artists won’t have insurance for legal drugs.


Sarah Cedeño is a writing instructor at the College at Brockport in New York who takes graffiti to heart.



by Nathan Patton

My daughter wants to perform a 9/11 reenactment for her junior high talent show. I tell her that people don't want to be reminded of such a tragedy. She responds by quoting the box office revenues, foreign and domestic, of Titanic. She says the director's name, but she doesn't have to. I know which Titanic she means. I hardly think of the other ones.


Nathan Patton lives in the Boston Mountains with his wife and guitar. His work has been published by Arcana, Speakeasy, Dakuwaka, and Young American Comics, and has been hung on many refrigerators.


Ground Unicorn Horn

by Rich Baiocco

Cliff won’t share the ground unicorn horn, just sniffs tiny piles off the back of his fist, clicks his jaw like a typewriter and we drive too fast on some back roads up north. “Come find me when a Unicorn rams its horn through your father’s breast, alright hippy!” “He’s my father too,” I mumble and Cliff says “Step,” as if that makes it not real. Our headlights slice across the antlers of a large Elk on the side of the road and Cliff becomes enraged and whips the Nissan into a 90 degree skid on the wet grass, reaching for the crowbar under my seat when we stop. “It’s just a deer,” I try to say but my mouth doesn’t seem to work after slamming my head on the dashboard when Cliff hit the brakes, and he’s already outside with the crowbar yelling “I’ll kill every last one of these unicorns. Lynch ‘em all from these trees with their own damn rainbows.”


Rich Baiocco is a writer living in New York City and the author of the short story collection Julie In Mittens.


Repeat Offender

by Laura C.

He buried the body beneath the teeming sea of kudzu on the corner of Park and Boulevard, which lay silently a few blocks east of their home. On one of their nightly walks around the neighborhood, during which they almost always passed the abandoned lot, he saw a patch of vines and greenery silently shuffle and sway near the edge of the block closest to the road. The air was thick with humidity and a hazy, gauze-like aura gave the scene an ethereal quality, causing him to question his senses. “Do you see something in the kudzu?” he asked his girlfriend. “No,” she said, as unaware as she had always been. He turned to look at the abandoned lot again only to find no sign of life within the weaving vines, and, in a moment divided between relief and disappointment, he thought to himself, Maybe next time.


Laura C. lives, works, writes and plays music in Athens, Georgia. She hopes to one day add "Cephalopod Whisperer" to her CV.


Old Cigs

by Milo James Fowler

I can smell him before I see him. I'm not an ageist; it's not the old-man-odor of ointments on rusty joints. It's the stale, musty scent of his cigarette smoke that wafts toward me as I come up for air mid-stroke. It hovers in the space between chlorinated water and morning fog like a foul spirit, daring me to suck it into my lungs and let it fester. I don't know why he paces the length of the pool while I get in my thirty laps for the day. We are alone together here, neighbors, strangers.


Milo James Fowler is a full-time junior high teacher and a part-time writer. Visit him anytime, day or night, here.


Terrible Boys and Their Petty Toys

by Brittany Beltram

Pretty little passive aggressive asshole that you were... content to prey on the innocent, trying to take what wasn't yours. Eyes of blue so tried and true found me lost in the initial bliss. A beautiful boy and his perfectly simple predator's kiss. Your tenacious touch led to unobliging thoughts and catatonic hips; you whispered as I wept, with pleading eyes. It was no surprise that my disguise was in my bite. My final fight... because I will not be forsaken... not today.


Brittany Beltram can be reached here.


Adventures of a Nontemporal Being

by Stuart Boehmer

There was a nontemporal being who was trying to write a story for Six Sentences. He tried lengthening the sentences as much as possible by the use of commas, semicolons and dashes - anything to avoid coming to a period mark, so that the sentences would go on and on and on; then he was struck by a thought. This presented a problem: how could a nontemporal being be "struck by a thought?" He tried to think this through, ignoring the question of how a nontemporal being could "think something through." He couldn't do it. So he went mad.


Stuart Boehmer is a nontemporal being. He has no biography.



by Laura Garrison

My husband's parents were on their way, and I had burned the chicken. It was time to find out if this new oven was worth what we had paid for it. I pressed the button marked "Reverse." As I watched through the window, the black smoke disappeared while the charred skin turned golden and then pinkish-white. The carcass sprouted feathers, the head and feet grew back, and then it was shrinking so quickly that by the time I registered the bewildered expression on the downy chick's face she was no more than a brown egg balanced on the wire rack. My mother-in-law was not going to be pleased.


Laura Garrison lives in Maryland. She enjoys drinking tea, taking naps, and doodling.


The Start of Something Nude

by Greg Dybec

We prance down gray New England streets not like kings, but jesters; convulsed in chuckles and sweet fortuitous contact. We’re elastic beings, snapping off each other’s bodies in mid-drunken stride and pulling back together for more. You’re heavenly, I tell her. We’re in costume, she replies. I tell her that my place is close, and that as different as we may not realize we are, I’m up for new beginnings. Nude beginnings, she says, as we rubber band down the street.


Greg Dybec has work appearing or forthcoming in Dogzplot, 6S: The Green Bike Stories, Fiction Collective, and others. Unfortunately his favorite number is seven, but that’s all starting to change now.


I Miss Us

by Richard M. Johnson

Despite the playfulness that returned to your eyes the last time we ran into each other at the yogurt shop. Despite the warm hug you gave me as we parted ways when your friends decided it was time to go. Despite my best friend asking recently, if you came to me and asked me back, would I go with you? I had to say no. I can tell neither of us has grown. Not significantly enough, over the last five years, for the old flame to reignite and flourish under the dark cloud I shiver beneath every time we are in the same room together, alone.


Richard M. Johnson, who turned fifty-two on August 3rd, is thinking out of turn again.


Two Skies

by Jamie Hogan

By the chill and the turn of the leaves and the fog around his heart he knew that this was the anniversary of his father's death. He stood and stared at the endless golden plain rolling away from him and his insides were simmering and he decided it best to be alone. His feet took him into the mountains. He sat on the prow of the promontory his father called tanka ihake, great end, and spoke his questions, but the only answer he received was that there were two skies - the one we look into with wonder and the one we ignore all around us. It was evening when he returned to camp and his son was stoking the fire with care, exactly the way he'd taught him, exactly the way his father had. Standing under pioneer stars and loving the icy brush of a northern breeze, he decided morning would be a good time to introduce the boy to his grandfather, and both skies.


Jamie Hogan is a writer, though his paying gig is Training Manager for a healthcare system. He lives in central North Carolina, and he's blessed with a wife and two wonderful boys.


Mother's Day

by Kyla Malafronte

She did not look like a mother, not at all. Her neat suits - suits, always - were carefully pressed, the pleats sharply creased. At seven, he was clever enough to doubt whether she had ever actually cared for him. The photo album (on a high shelf and seldom touched, but kept dustless by the small army of household help) showed him in her arms, but they had an oddly artificial quality, and he suspected they had been more or less posed. He imagined the nanny placing him into his mother’s lap, immaculately dressed, both of them. Picture perfect.


Kyla Malafronte is getting ready to be a freshman all over again.


Miserable Day

by Rod Drake

My God, it was a miserable day; a cold, drizzling rain washed everything into a dreary gray mess. Obviously the girl standing under the leaky awning of the abandoned used record store had been forgotten, and now she was soaked, her pretty outfit drenched, her hair plastered to her head like it had been shellacked. Her Alice Cooper eyes looked so hurt, as she wondered, I’m sure, where that worthless boyfriend of hers was, what had happened to make him forget her here. She was so pitiful, fragile, wet and alone, that I pulled over to the curb, rolled down my window, and against my better judgment, asked, “Need a lift somewhere?” She didn’t know me, but something about the situation and her misery caused her to throw caution to the wind (which was both cold and wet), and she said in a shaky voice, “Yeah, take me home, please.” She never made it home; they found her body three months later.


Rod Drake is the Official 6S Author for Friday the 13th and Halloween. Don’t walk under a ladder or let a black cat cross your path today!


She Frog

by Martha Williams

She had a face like a frog: wide mouth, prominent eyes – and when she touched him, her fingers felt clammy on his skin. He’d noticed it before, alternately intrigued and repelled until today when, in a moment fueled entirely by curiosity, he took her swimming. He monitored her expression as she saw the water; when her eyes bulged he wondered, do frogs have fun? Before he could turn to ask, she leaped in and swam like a fish – although without a fish’s grace or purpose – and he laughed to see her meaty thighs gaping wide as if to engulf the water... the world... him. And all the while, as she thrashed and splashed and even when she sank beneath the surface, her face remained an unearthly blank. Then she was gone, leaving only his baffled frown and the memory of green.


Martha Williams spawns her stories here.


The Firemen

by Paul de Denus

We sat by the third floor loading-dock, blowing heavy moist heat into our hands, watching as the fire winked out the falling snow. Two blocks over, an apartment building sat in flames, orange ribbons winding a wicked hula-girl dance on the blackened staircase that ran up and down the side, smoke choking from the second floor up to the roof, up to the sky. The firemen billowed in smoldering steam, as if on fire themselves, the spray from the hoses encasing everything in ice, the blazing structure slowly melting like a crystal ice menagerie. “How do things burn in this kind of weather?” I wondered aloud. Fred lit a smoke and shivered. “At ten below, seems some things don’t want to,” he said, his cigarette slowly dimming while smoke sat static in the air like it didn’t know how to move.


Paul de Denus is a graphic artist by day, writer by night. He has been published here at Six Sentences (The Love Book, Word of Mouth & 6SV3), Smith Magazine, Fictionaut and Espresso Stories.


I Still Wish I'd Handed Him the Bag

by Traci Cumbay

“Spare a dollar?” asks the bearded fellow wearing dirty clothes, and I tell him I don’t have cash, which is true. “Spare a bite?” he tries, pointing to my sack of leftovers from a chichi downtown restaurant. “Oh,” I say, “I have to write about this food for the newspaper.” Also true. “This life is fucked,” he says. True.


Traci Cumbay is a freelance writer and editor, and an MFA student at Butler University.


She Only Stares

by Stephen Torelli

A dim light flickers above an unfinished softwood bar as Mima walks closer so she can see. The men drool, softly bark and stare, but quickly turn away as if a bolt of lightning flashed their way. The lass peers to her right and at the far end sits an ageless, raven-haired beauty. Her ponytail dances in the faint light as she flashes her forbidden gaze. She says nothing. Leather wrapped in kidskin and a dagger tucked in her sash, she only stares.


Stephen Torelli can be reached here.


This, Those and Others

by Benjamin Imamovic

What is it with these things that never cease to exist out but of sole purpose to annoy? I am talking, of course, about broken shoelaces, about sudden deaths in the family, both your parents in one night. I am talking about awkward kisses, I am talking about escaping your local butcher with a steak shoved down your pants and crashing full speed into the closed door. I am talking about never running again. Cancers and amputations and being fired on a sunny Friday. What is it with these things, these little things that drive a man over the edge: it does not take much, a thought, a smile, and soon enough you are laughing at your funeral.


Benjamin Imamovic is living in Perth, Western Australia. Become a friend at his Facebook page.



by Donald Jett

I came to on the floor of the parking booth, a bloated beer can sweating in front of my face like a one-night stand. Not my type. I sat up and pressed at the knot on my temple until the pain became familiar. Then I grabbed the beer, held it to my head between drinks. When I was done, I tossed the can back into the night... bang bang. The owner of this lot is not liable for any damages.


Donald Jett is looking for a new job.


Eulogy for Beatrice Stitchens

by Annie Neugebauer

No one ever thought the knitting would become a problem. I mean, everyone has hobbies, right? But in the next three years, Beatrice was overwhelmed with an addiction to the yarn. She relished the feel of those tiny fibers slicked down by sweaty palms, the lithe clinking of the aluminum needles tapping and parting in a rhythm that she soon found she craved—no, needed—in order to stay sane. By the time people realized it was a problem, it was too late: she’d knitted over all of the windows and doors. Which is what brings us here today, to mourn Beatrice Stitchens, who in an uncanny accident, fell down the stairs onto her knitting needles and was unable to call the ambulance for assistance, as by then, she’d knitted down the phone.


Annie Neugebauer is a novelist, poet, blogger, and all-around dabbler of writing. She has poetry upcoming in the Wichita Falls Literature and Art Review, Texas Poetry Calendar 2011, and Volume III of Versifico. Check out more of her words here.


The Last Minute

by R.S. Bohn

Although I shower daily and forego moisturizer, there are spots on my chest. I decide I cannot wear the plum dress on Friday, due to its plunging neckline. I am distraught – I had planned on wearing this dress for weeks, its hue and cut and texture and neckline, especially its neckline, all designed to show me to best advantage. I curse the devil for giving me cleavage acne and choose, last minute, to wear a burgundy shantung silk sheath, though shantung is ten years out of fashion and I am fifteen years older than he and I feel time gripping me and yanking me through the bottleneck, towards Hades and oblivion. But when I step onto the famed parquet of the Queensbury, a familiar voice whispers into my ear from behind, “You have the most elegant shoulders I have ever seen,” and I am pulled back up by a finger trailing from left to right. Oblivion can wait; we sway all that long, warm spring evening, perfectly in sync.


R.S. Bohn writes flash fic that is often without flash (and is sometimes not even fiction) in a suburb outside of Detroit. She rambles, reviews and rides solo over here.



by Laura Williamson

There are many ways to withstand a marriage - she tried “it could be worse” for a long time. To this end, she taped a printout of Picasso’s Guernica to the wall above her computer. When doubt crept in, she would look at those sorry figures, arms stretched to the sky. Were they praying? Begging the bombers to stop? Does it matter?


Laura Williamson is a Canadian writer based in New Zealand.


The Bet

by Maryelle Hayward

At the stroke of midnight she steals through the window like a cat burglar and tiptoes over the gravel - white stilettos under her arm - to quiet the noise. By the time she reaches the convent gate she is hot and giddy, her feet mucky. The young man who is waiting for her in his Morris Minor speeds towards the border, where the Miami Show Band are belting out Beatles tunes. Much later, she races against the red rays of the dawn; slips back inside, washes her feet with cold water in an enamel basin before falling into bed. In the morning she yawns and dozes her way through mass. The large love bite on the right side of her neck is all the proof she needs to collect her winnings.


Maryelle Hayward lives in County Derry in Northern Ireland with her husband, obese cat, and three adult sons (who move in and out at will). She's had stories and poems published in anthologies, newspapers, and broadcast on radio. (She's a late developer - she started writing at fifty, so she has a lot of catching up to do.)


A Hot Corporate Cameo

by Meera Kannan

The air conditioner was playing snowball with us. Weird, these work places, it’s always "extreme weather" here. As usual, I turned around to the administration department behind me. There is this glass screen like the equator that separates us & "them" and divides the climate in their favor. I dabble with different art forms to attract their attention, too lazy to drag the earthly but committed soul onto the other side of the door. A shadow game, an action stunt, puppetry or pop act; my hot cameo role never fails to warm us up.


Meera Kannan, a financial analyst, is as passionate about words as she is about numbers.



by Christy Effinger

The earth science professor just resigned. Each summer he travels alone into the wilderness to count bugs, read rocks, chart stars. This summer he got lost in Nepal and found himself in Tibet. Somewhere deep in the mountains he had an epiphany and sent his resignation e-mail from a Buddhist monastery. At our fall faculty meeting we joke about his self-discovery; we shake our heads over his reckless courage; we wonder aloud what kind of impulsive fool would throw away a safe job with dental insurance and a government pension. What we don’t say is how much we envy him.


Christy Effinger teaches college English in Indianapolis. Her website is here.