Felix was a cowardly man. Prim, proper, gentlemanly, of course. But a complete and utter coward.
He was afraid of the dark. Scared of strangers. Utterly petrified by any sort of animal. Felix had even once fainted upon seeing himself in the mirror.
He was such a coward that he couldn’t bring himself to end his own life.
You see, poor Felix had lost his girl. She had never known Felix existed. He was too scared to introduce himself. But her wedding announcement in the paper had crushed him.
As fortune would have it, the reverse side of the wedding announcement held a curious bit for those with an overabundance of cowardice. It was an opinion piece about a Southern town, with one particularly intriguing line for a man like Felix.
“If one is unwilling or unable to take one’s own life, all one need do is take a stroll down a Memphis street after dark.”
Which is why he found himself in a dank Memphis bar, clutching the wedding announcement in his left hand and a glass of bitter liquid courage in his right.
And Felix planned to take that walk.
After last call, once he was drunk enough.
The quotation in this story is my bad paraphrasing from memory of an actual article you can find about Memphis in the Pink Palace. The article is from the late 1880s, and shows that even a century and a half ago, Memphis wasn’t a place for the timid.