Memphis Fast Fiction Home
Matt Farr

Louie had anchored himself in a small cove off the Mississippi. He didn’t want to set foot ashore, afraid the Chickasaw might not take too kindly to his trespass.

Then, from all around him, came a great racket, like a strong wind was tearing through the wood around him, only, the air was still.

All of the fowl hiding in the trees and bramble suddenly took to wing, screeching and cawing at each other.

It was one of the most downright peculiar things Louie’d ever seen.

However, the water beneath his boat suddenly flowing in the opposite direction quickly outstripped it.

But when the sandy shore started to shake like frying grease, he knew he’d never see its like again.

And thanks to the falling tree that crushed his boat, he nearly didn’t.

As he hit the frigid water, he remembered the only sound advice his father had ever given him. “Swim with broad strokes, boy.”

Broad strokes, he reminded himself as he swam toward the beach.

Ashore and thankful to be alive, he hoped that Chickasaw would understand his predicament and not kill him on the spot.

Escaping one death into another would just be too much to take.

Memphis Note
The New Madrid earthquake of 1811 was probably the most powerful earthquake to happen in the continental United States in recorded history. It was actually series of four 7.0 and higher quakes that reshaped the Mississippi coastline from New Madrid all the way down to the bluffs of what would become Memphis.

Jarrod Taylor

Potbelly Lee tossed out a bucket of water onto a heap of camp trash.

“Dickerson! You old cuss! Wake up!”

The pile of trash shifted, then an impossibly dirty mix of hair, beard and man came up out of it. “Whatchu done that for! I ain’t botherin’ nobody!”

Lee held up a piece of thick paper, imposing block capitals lettered pressed into it “Rider just nailed this up to a tree back in camp. What’s it say?”

Dickerson was both the drunkest man in a camp and the only one who could read.

He squinted for a moment at the words, then smiled, showing of his few remaining teeth. ”Only if you give me some of that stew you’re cookin’ on that potbelly o’ yours.”

Potbelly Lee’s name was not for the size of his waistline, but rather because he was the only one in camp with a proper stove.

“Fine, just read it,” Lee snapped back.

Dickerson hungrily licked his cracked lips. “ ‘Parently some fine folk have grown jealous of our idyllic existence here out in Indian territory and aim to make us riffraff inta respectable folk”

“Do what?”

“We’ve been sold, Potbelly Lee, sold to the US government.”

Memphis Note
The territory that Memphis covers has been occupied by Europeans for the better part 350 years. First it was the French, then a mix of frontiersmen that made regular use of the forts and settlements the French had left behind. But, legally, the land belonged to the Chickasaw until Andrew Jackson purchased it from them in 1819. He officially founded Memphis shortly after, right on top of one of those frontier camps. Its initial population? 50 people.