Memphis Fast Fiction Home
Laura Jean Hocking

“Piss,” Jack said aloud in the alleyway to no one but himself.

He considered swearing again, something stronger, but held his tongue. His employer, the widow Mrs. M.E. Conway, abhorred any sort of profanity, and though she wasn’t with him, he felt it unwise to risk.

Skulking onward, Jack attempted reasoning how exactly he was going to spin his story to the Widow Conway. The fact that he had spent the most of the night gambling at Joe Wetter’s establishment was intractable. As was the unfortunate nature of nearly ever penny belonging to the Widow. Money he was not supposed to have in the first place.

“Piss,” he said again.

Jack was already on thin ice after she found him drunk on her deceased husband’s brandy. In addition to her hatred of profanity, the Widow Conway was also a vehement adherent to the Temperance movement. She had been most cross with him. Now, he feared, this newest infraction might strain her good graces to the breaking point. And what was a gentlemen like him supposed to do if he was turned out in a place like Memphis?

Jack really didn’t have any choice, did he? He would have to lie.

Memphis Note
With the exception of Jack, all of these characters are real. Joe Wetter did run a gambling house in the 1880s, and it did take $600 from Mrs M.E. Conway’s personal secretary during a night of gambling. We know this because the secretary ratted Wetter out to Conway and her dear friend Judge Hadden, who had Wetter arrested on embezzlement charges when he refused to return the money!


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