Memphis Fast Fiction Home
Eric Tate

“You’re doing this all wrong.” Martin put a hand on my shoulder as I frantically tried to keep up with the rapid-fire questions coming from the judge’s table.

“First you do this.” He poured yellow beer into the plastic cup in front of me. Then poured another for himself, and topped off everyone else. “Then you do this.” He raised his hand, waving it about like a kid who had to pee, and asked the judges to repeat nearly all of the questions.

Half the tables in the place gave us a death stare.

“People take it too seriously.” Said Ben, one of our other teammates. “We mainly play to annoy everyone else.”

“The only thing we really care about winning are the free pitchers from the beer rounds.” Piped up Kerry, typing away on her laptop, a flagrant violation of trivia rules.

“I’ve seen people go up there like a complainant before a judge. Argue for hours over an answer. It’s trivia in a dive bar. I’m here to kill brain cells, not stimulate them.” To make his point, Ben up-ended the last of the pitcher into his mouth, then slid it over to me.

“Your refill.”

Memphis Note
Ah, trivia. Specifically, trivia at the P&H. One of the most bloodthirsty shows of pointless fact accumulation I’ve ever seen. Where I used to spend every Tuesday, proudly lowering the bar a few pegs on my team “We’re Not Competitive, We’re Belligerent”. The names have not been changed to protect the innocent in this story. Mainly because we weren’t.

Shawn Wolowicz

Atomicko sat down on the Hernando de Soto bridge in a huff.

The concrete support cracked under his hundred ton bulk, with several sizable chunks falling off into the river. Tension lines snapped, flicking against Atomicko’s metal skin like rubber bands. He ignored them.

He kicked his feet out in the Mississippi, sending water spraying out hundreds of yards.

Atomicko was bored now.

He’d done all the cool stuff already. Slid down the Pyramid. Done the King Kong bit on the Morgan Keegan Tower and the Clark Tower. Played football with FedEx planes at the airport. Chased the buffalo herd at Shelby Farms around for a while. He’d even tried to play a game of hide and seek with the Army when they showed up, but they just wanted to shoot at him.

When that little imp had shown up this morning while little Billy Turner was eating his Tony flakes, promising to turn him into his favorite villain from comics, Billy thought it was the start of the best day ever.

But as the sun started to set, Atomicko had painfully adult realization.

Life as a two-hundred foot tall atomic robot from the future just wasn’t very practical.

Memphis Note
Just a bit of name dropping in this one. For the record, I don’t know any kid in town that hasn’t at one point thought about sliding down the slope of the Pyramid. It just looks too fun.

April Steele

She was giving him one of those looks. One of those ‘I don’t believe you, so I’m just going to sit here and nod, then hold it over your head when you’re wrong’ looks. He hated that look.

“You’re going to love it. Blackberries as far as the eye can see. Promise.” He tried to reassure her as drove across the bridge.

“Mhmm.” Was all he got for his efforts.

He tried again as they pulled off to the dirt access road. “Enough blackberries to satiate the cravings of the worst berry addict. You’ll be able to eat all you want, and still have enough left over to make jars of jam, maybe even some blackberry wine.”

Another “Mhmm”.

The car came to a stop under the bridge. “I’ll get the buckets.” He said, then jumped out.

She took her time getting out, he could tell she was expecting disappointment.

“So where are these-” The words froze in her mouth when she saw them.

The blackberry thicket was acres deep, as high as their heads, and dotted with deep purple and black berries.

He smiled at her, ear to ear, then tossed her a bucket.

“Watch out for poison ivy.”

Memphis Note
This place actually exists on the Arkansas side of the Mississippi River, just under one of the old bridges. Learned about it from a photographer friend of mine.

Derek Stiles

It was late on a Thursday, after 11. His parents had gone to bed, and he was supposed to be asleep.

Under the blankets, earbuds in, a tiny FM radio in his hand, he waited. Listening for that telltale sign that she was about to start. That warm, alluring inhale she began each show with.

All he knew about her was her name. June B. Like any properly mysterious DJ, June never gave her full name. She called her weekly WEVL show June Bug Radio. And he lived every week waiting for her broadcast.

He loved it because of what she played. French African jazz. Eastern European turbo pop. Beijing punk rock. Brazilian hip hop. Japanese rockabilly. And so much more. Music like what everyone else was playing, but from places no one he knew had ever been.

He also loved it because of her. He had no idea what she looked like. But in his mind she had chestnut hair, or sometimes fiery red. He could never make up his mind on the details. All he had to go on was her music. Which meant she must be absolutely killer.

She inhaled. June Bug Radio was on the air.

Memphis Note
WEVL is the local volunteer radio station. People can join the organization and get their own block of time on the FM dial. I’ve got a cousin who’s been doing a show for years, and I’ve discovered some of my favorite musical acts through their eclectic mix of programming.

Bill Boyce

I came upon the two men in the black of night.

Surely if they had seen me before I took their lives, they would not have known what to make of this figure rising from the mire. Lithe. Half-naked. Female.

I killed the one that slept first. Silently exposing his insides, while the other played his harmonica, completely unawares of what was coming for him. I did the other just as quickly, playing a note with his final breath.

I left them in that bog to bloat under the next day’s sun. Such was what they deserved.

They had dug up the grave of my beloved, desecrated his body, and fled with his skull. No doubt they meant to sell it to buy more poison to throw down their gullets.

To do such a thing to a great man like John Murrell was more of a sin that any I have committed.

The Mystic Clan may have faltered since the passing of their founder and master, but I could never, ever, forget him.

I would shepherd his remains to that ancient sycamore tree. Part the rich earth with my hands. Then plant him like a seed amongst the roots.’

Memphis Note
John Murrell and his Mystic Clan were a loose organization of several hundred bandits in the Mississippi River region of Tennessee and Arkansas between the 1820s and  1840s. Murrell himself was a bit of a regional legend, though one more akin to a boogie-man than a benevolent figure. It is said that millions of dollars in plunder are still buried around Western Tennessee, yet another reason he was called the Great Western Land Pirate in his day.