Memphis Fast Fiction Home
06.12.2011
ear-piercing
Peter

For years he’d prayed to have these urges expunged from him, for God to fix what must’ve been a mistake.

Then, after the first time he acted on them, the prayers shifted. Now he prayed that he wouldn’t get caught, that the boys wouldn’t tell anyone what he’d done.

God heard those prayers more than He heard his original ones.

But, the priesthood had ways of handling priests with problems and proclivities like his. When he was discovered, he was quietly shuffled away. Lost, like a slip of paper into the belly of a bureaucratic beast.

He found himself in Memphis when it was all over, preaching to a congregation that was a mix of blacks and hispanics. They also had him in counseling, a rehearsed and awkward affair where everyone’s best was done to talk around what had happened.

And for a while, his prayers went back to what they used to be. To be free of these ear-piercing urges.

But after a while, they assigned him to help with the youth outreach program. Everyday became a struggle, one that he could feel himself losing.

He knew it would not be long before his prayers would change again.

Memphis Note
When the Catholic sex abuse scandal swept across the church, Memphis was not spared. A Dominican priest (his order, not nationality) was charged with sexually assaulting a 14 year old boy in the suburbs of the city. His was moved to Saint Louis after the assault, and this was not his first reassignment for his sexual conduct. The diocese of Memphis settled the civil case for $2 million dollars.

29.11.2011
harbinger
Matt Farr

The neighborhood kids called him Blackfoot.

Initially, it was supposed to have been a jibe about how filthy his feet were, but Blackfoot took to it like a pig to stink, going so far as to cover himself with warpaint and stick feathers in his hair.

They weren’t eagle feathers like real Indians had, of course. These were much smaller, from robins or blue jays that lived in the neighborhood.

Fully resplendent in his war gear, Blackfoot was the sort of child that others parents looked at as a harbinger of their own child’s descent into savagery.

Sometimes the other kids would invite him to play Cowboys and Indians with them because he could be a better Indian than any of them. Blackfoot always felt a special joy when he was allowed to play with them, even if the rest of the children were trying to shoot him.

Then the two men from protective services knocked on his door one day, asking to speak to his parents. His mother cried a lot when they pointed at him. Blackfoot hid in the bushes until the men left.

That night, they scrubbed his feet, but they never could quite get them clean.

Memphis Note
Before video games, television and the Internet sucked the life out of children the world over, summers were a time to go exploring and adventuring. And if you lived in Memphis, this was often done without shoes, which inevitably led to your feet turning as black as the tarred asphalt you ran across.

23.10.2011
arbitrary
Blake Palmer

Bobby Jenkins was a precocious kid. He was reading years ahead of his grade level, dressing himself, keeping his room clean, but his feet still didn’t touch the floor as he sat at the kitchen table, eating the oatmeal he’d prepared.

“Hello.” Said the pale girl sitting opposite of him.

He looked up and waved. He didn’t talk with his mouth full.

“Oatmeal?”

Bobby nodded. “Arbitrary grab from the cabinet.” He’d learned that word this week.

“Your house is nicer than what we had. Before the Yellow Fever took all us.”

Frowning, Bobby scolded her. “I told you, if you’ve got to stop talking like that if you’re going to keep coming around.”

Tears welled up in here eyes. “I know. I just miss my family.”

“You could go to them,” Bobby nudged, gently.

“But I’m scared! Scared to leave my home. Even if it is your home now.”

His mom walked into the kitchen, still putting on her ear rings. “Who are you talkin’ to, kiddo?”

Bobby looked up. The chair across from him was empty.

“Nobody.”

His mother looked at him curiously for a moment, the mussed his hair.

“C’mon, time to get to school.” She said.

Memphis Note
The Yellow Fever epidemic dotted the city with graves, both hidden and marked, single and mass. It is inescapable that was as time wears on, something will get put atop them. And when that happens, who knows what gets stirred up.

27.07.2011
virgin
Steve Cook

When the sound woke me from sleep, I first thought it was thunder. But when it it did not cease, I leapt from bed to see what it was.

Out in the street, I was not the only one that had heard the noise or shared the notion to investigate. Sleepy citizens in their nightclothes blinked into the mist and pre-dawn light. The deep, resonant noise grew steadily louder. As I walked further into the street, my fathered called anxiously after me from the house.

All at once, a great host of men mounted on horseback galloped up the street. They did not stop for anything, sending animals and people, myself included, diving for the safety of the gutters. There must have been hundreds of them, thousands even.

They wore Confederate grey, which set some men to cheering for liberation and others to pelting them with rocks. One man took at shot at them with a rusty hunting rifle, and then another man shot him in the back with a pistol because of it.

It was at this juncture that I suddenly realized that I had no desire to die a virgin, and promptly retreated to my father’s house.

Memphis Note
Nathan Bedford Forrest’s raid on Memphis took place early on a late August morning during the later part of the Civil War. He lead 2000 mounted calvary into the city, challenging the 6000 man Union garrison. It was not an attempt to retake the city, but rather an attempt to harass Union forces, secure more supplies, gain intelligence and assassinate a few key targets. Nearly all of these goals were left unachieved, save for the supply run. The raid would be the last major military action in Memphis during the Civil War.

21.06.2011
dog
Josh Roberts

She’d been through this before, in her younger years. She was fit enough, pretty enough where it didn’t matter; she was saved. The cage was something she didn’t comprehend, didn’t live behind long enough to worry about.

Then her owners had grown old, things had happened she couldn’t help, and one day one of them was gone. The other followed soon after, and she was left behind, forgotten or simply left behind. Either way her life began again, alone this time.

It was years later they came for her. She was too much of an oldling by then. She’d heard the stories from the others about what to expect, and there wasn’t strength left in her to resist.

Now, back in the cold steel of the cage, she found it was no longer her she worried about, but rather the lostlings. Their plaintive howling sounded into the empty night, fear and uncertainty in all their voices, gnawing at her soul.

She couldn’t help but think of her childer, and hope they were not among the mournful choir. But she knew it did not matter. For now they were all but dogs to the men that walked them to their end.

Memphis Note
Right now there is a crisis in Memphis. It revolves around the quality and morality of the city’s animal pound. Any animal that isn’t deemed cute or adoptable enough is thrust out of sight to be killed as soon as possible. Numerous legal issues and firings have also cast a looming shadow of doubt over the efficacy of the city’s management of the facility.