Memphis Fast Fiction Home
Joey Miller

Cheyenne was going at in the bathroom when he peeked his head around the corner. Hairspray was thick like a fog, and he coughed in spite of himself.

“Can I help you with somethin’?” She asked, not for a moment ceasing the cyclonic movement of spray can and hair pick. “You know it takes me at least two hours to get ready to go out to Denim and Diamonds. I don’t need your interruptions.”

“Now, baby, put down the spray for just a second, alright?”

“Dalton, if you make this hair fall like some bad soufflé, I will never forgive you.”

“Alls I want to know is if the chaps are too much…or just enough.”

He took a step out from behind the bathroom wall. The chaps were denim, and slightly darker than the jeans he wore under them. Above them he wore a black and purple western print shirt, pressed to perfection and off-set by a rattlesnake’s head bolo tie.

“Do a little twist.” Cheyenne said, spinning her index finger around in a circle. “Like you’re doin’ a line dance.”

She smacked her gum as he did the turn.

“Nah, just right. Makes your tush stand out.”

Memphis Note
Denim and Diamonds was a western-themed nightclub that opened up in the mid-90s to cater to the Garth Brooks line-dancing set. Catch was, it opened up in a neighborhood that was on the way out, and after not too long the white clientele they catered to were too scared to show up. Demin and Diamonds didn’t make it out of the 90s.

Ashley Roach

Tyler Glover stood inside his own wound.

The walls of what used be his restaurant were blackened with ash. Smears from the fire department’s hoses looked like a nine year old’s ecstatic finger paintings.

The building and everything in it was a total loss.

“Oh god, Virginia, this was everything I had. This was my life.” He said, falling to his knees in the middle of the debris.

“Well, that doesn’t exactly speak to your opinion of your wife of only forty-eight years.” His wife joked gently.


“It’s just walls and things. We’re the heart and soul of this place. The rest all be fixed as good as new.”

“That takes money. Money we don’t have. Hell, money we’ve never had.”

“Ty, we’ll find the money. You’re the Mayor of Orange Mound, the biggest damn cheerleader this community’s ever had. And this building’s place as been here long as anyone can remember.”

She pulled her husband to his feet.

“People will remember that. They’ll remember you. And then everything will be just fine. You’ll see.”

“How can you be so sure?”

“Cause if they don’t, I’ll knock their heads in. Now, c’mon. Let’s get this place cleaned up.”

Memphis Note
Tyler Glover is affectionately known as the mayor of Orange Mound, a title bestowed upon him by a previous mayor of Memphis. His restaurant, Tyler’s Place, was know as the City Hall of Orange Mound. In 1998, after an electrical fire, the future of the restaurant was uncertain. Thankfully, several community organizations banded together to get Glover the money he needed to keep his doors open.

Amy Pace

Connor pushed open the door open for her. “If you’re looking for souvenirs, you’re not going to find any place better than A. Schwab’s.”

“Oh god, none of that meretricious crap, please.” She stepped in behind him, peering out cautiously over her designer sunglasses. “I don’t want go home with a suit case of obese plush toys wearing Memphis t-shirts.”

“Really, Bryce? Could you sound more like a pretentious grad student if you tried?” He shook his head at his girlfriend. He loved her, but sometimes he wanted to strangle the entitled New England out of her.

“Straw hats, corn cob pipes, snow globes, obscene vanity license plates? This is where you bring me?”

“That’s because you’re not looking in the right place.” He lead her over to a neglected, dusty corner of the story. An array of religious candles, fetishes and small pouches of dried animal parts covered the tables and peg boards in front of them. “Maybe if you can’t finish your graduate thesis, you can voodoo them into thinking that you did.”

Bryce’s eyes went wide. “My inner high school goth is so hot for you right now.”

“I’m really not sure how to take that.”

Memphis Note
The voodoo corner of A.Schwab’s has sadly gone the way of the dinosaur as they ready themselves to be sold, but for many years it was a source of curiosity, wonder and an endless supply of presents for people that didn’t want anything from Target.

Patrick Woods

I’ll admit, I probably wouldn’t have been stomping down this stretch of Madison after dark if she hadn’t said yes when I asked her out.

She’d immediately told me what we were doing and where to meet her: a punk show at an empty warehouse.

“Listen for the loud noises, I’ll be there.” she’d said.

Part of me knew it was a dare to see if I’d show up. Part of me thought she wouldn’t show up.

But there she was, waiting outside the door, smoking a clove.

She was beautiful, wild, dangerous. Like trying to catch fire in your hand. I knew I was in over my head, but I didn’t give a damn.

Immediately, she grabbed my hand and hauled me into the deafening concrete cavern.

The spasmodic din coming from the band was physically painful. Guitars slashed my ears, drums beat my chest.

“God!” I shouted, ears ringing between songs. “This is just noise!”

“It sounds like noise now, but once it cuts down and the silence takes hold, you’ll feel the emptiness left in its wake like a wound in your side.”

Then she kissed me and bit my lip. I tasted blood.

“Just like me.”

Memphis Note
After the Antenna closed, the Memphis alternative and punk scene found itself homeless. Several make-shift, pseudo-legal, rent-probably-not-paid, spaces popped up to take its place. They were little more than four walls with enough power to run a PA system – some didn’t even have toilets – but that’s all they needed to be to gather a crowd.

Pat Guarino

It was hard to tell which the Cat’s Meow was more: a swinger’s club or a dive bar.

It was one of those chicken or egg type questions. Or, as the proprietor liked to put it, 
“Silly questions people ask themselves when they should be screwin’ instead.”

The Cat’s Meow occupied a decent sized house, set back from the road a bit and remodeled into a restaurant. The parking lot was the paved over yard, and was mostly empty except on weekends.

Like any dive bar, there were regulars, and something of them could be pretty eccentric, even for a sex club. One of them had a fastidious cleaning fetish and go attack the bathrooms, which worked out well for everyone.

The only really odd regular was Bob. That’s what they called him at least, no one ever got his name. He’d show up a few times a week, order a pitcher of beer, and sit in the corner avoiding eye contact with everyone.

Some one once suggested that Bob might not’ve been entirely aware of the sort of place the Cat’s Meow was, and thought everyone else was off their rocker.

But that couldn’t possible have been true.


Memphis Note
The Cat’s Meow was one of those places that flew under the radar of everyone that wasn’t looking for a place like that. It was out of the way, quiet, and unassuming. Problem was, Memphis cops were stopping in to “keep an eye on the place” and the Commercial Appeal got wind of it. They ran an expose, the city and the department were embarrassed, and the owner of the property evicted the Cat’s Meow. The building is a rib shack now. Keep that in mind if you ever stop in to eat there.