Memphis Fast Fiction Home
Kara Prior

He tossed out the blanket while she sorted through the picnic basket. They were late and had missed nearly all of the Sunset Symphony. Up on stage, James Hyter was belting out the final lyrics of ‘Ol Man River’.

“I don’t ask you to do to much do I?” He asked, fussing over a rough spot in the blanket to avoid looking at her.

She stopped what she was doing and looked up at him with a smirk. “You’ll have to give me more than that.”

“It’s just, I don’t know, I don’t want you to feel like I’m stuck to you. Like a movie theatre floor or a piece of gum you stepped on. You don’t have to say yes if you don’t want to hang out.”

She took his cheek gently in her hand, turning his face toward her. Her palm felt exquisitely cool on his skin.

“I like hanging out with you.” She leaned close to him. “I like you, silly boy.”

Over head, a firework screamed into the sky, exploding in a bulbous shower of purple sparks, the boom echoing for miles.

Down on Earth, they were too distracted by fireworks of their own to notice.

Memphis Note
Sunset Symphony is the wrap-up event to the annual Memphis in May celebration that includes the Beale Street Music Festival and BBQ Festival. For most of my life, the event was closed by James Hyter singing the “Ol Man River’ and one of the best fireworks displays in the South. Sadly, Jame Hyter passed away in 2009.

Kerry Hayes

When they’d argued over his tipping the take out waitress, he knew that something was amiss. They hardly ever fought, and when they did it was always over something substantial, and the end results were, frankly, political. They’d agree to disagree and a compromise would be met.

But this? This was completely irrational. He was paying for dinner, he could tip whatever he wanted. Or, at least that’s what he thought.

Driving toward their apartment, after the firestorm part of the fight had died down, he spoke up.

“Wasn’t about the tip, was it?”

“No,” was her curt reply.

“Then what?”

“It’s just, I don’t know, this place. All the flaws. We want to have a family, right?” She folded her arms across her chest and frowned. “But this city is so messed up, how are we supposed to support a place like that?”

“It’s where we grew up,” he said, earnestly. “And I think both came out okay.”

“I, I guess, maybe. But that doesn’t mean that things are the same anymore.”

“There’s not a place that’ll get better if people give up on it.” He put his hand on her leg. “And I’d rather try than give up.”

Memphis Note
I believe that nothing good in life is ever easy. And if you can carve out a good life in Memphis, it is also not easy. But, if you do it, it the most exceptional kind of life.

Ben Powers

“We’re going to time travel.” She’d said to him.

“We’re going to what?” Had been his response.

“Go back in time a million years.” She explained.

“I don’t believe you.” He said stubbornly.

“You will.” Was her smiled reply.

He thought about that conversation as they paddled through a narrow creek. Him in front, her in back, steering. A maze of ferns, spider webbed bushes and saplings trapped them in the tiny channel.

His manly nature kept rearing its recalcitrant head, whispering in his ear that she had no idea where they were going, that he needed to take control of the situation, save them both before things got too bad.

Then it all fell away. The claustrophobia evaporated into a wide open lake, dotted with lilly pads and dappled with sunlight drifting down through the cypress trees.

“See, time travel.” She said behind him.

“Wow,” was all he could think to say.

She piloted to a sandy shore and beached the canoe. Then she took a blanket and spread it out for them. Finally she helped him from the boat and laid him down on the blanket, where they made love for the first time, a million years ago.

Memphis Note
I’m convinced the Ghost River is a wrinkle in time. You turn a nothing bend in a creek and suddenly you’re seeing the world as it was long, long before human kind ever thought it would be a good idea to come down out of the trees.

Holly Golightly

“I’m gonna miss seeing you like that.” Taking his eyes off the road for a moment, he gave her a look.

She smirked and waved a hand at him. “Yeah, well, that makes one of us. I know I won’t reminisce about the days of swollen ankles, swollen tits and, well, swollen everything.”

He hooked the car around a corner, not even bothering to obey the stop sign.

“JESUS CHRIST!” She pushed herself back into her seat and punched his shoulder. “This is not the time to out-idiot every driver in Memphis.”

“Hey now, I’ve got my emergencies on.” He said, giving her a grin.

She held her belly, not returning his smile.

“It’s still a little early. What if -”

“I was early. And look at me.” He squeezed her leg in reassurance. “I turned out just fine.”

“Yeah, my big strong man.” She put her hands on his and squeezed back.

They were pulling into the hospital now. Another bolt of pressure shot through her body.

“One last thing.” She was still holding his hand.


“So help me god if you ever knock me up in summer again. I’ll kill you myself.”

He kissed her cheek.


Memphis Note
I know a lot of women who’ve gotten pregnant over summer. I can’t imagine a more inconsiderate thing to do to another human being than get them preggers during the hell that is a Memphis summer.

Dianne Larson

She caught him in the dining room, peering out the window with his binoculars, all of the lights in the room off.

“GREGORY WILSON WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!” She shouted at him, causing him to jump.

He swore at her and told her to shush.

“I will not be shushed! Are you looking at that Richards girl again?” She’d once found him ogling the teenage daughter of their neighbor. Then threatened to leave him. That’s how she’d gotten her first fur coat.

“Dammit, Martha, no! ” He motioned for her to come over to him. “This is something much more important.”

He pointed to the house across the street, there was a moving truck in front of it. She peered through the binoculars. “The movers?”

“Look in the dining room.”

“So? They’re Indian or something.”

“They could be terrorists!” He hissed.

“Gregory, honestly.”

“We have don’t know anything about these people or where they loyalty is! They could be building a dirty bomb!”

She rolled her eyes at him.

“Come to bed, Gregory.”

“In a minute!” He was already back to spying on them.

She signed and walked out, wondering how she could turn this into another fur in her closet.

Memphis Note
I won’t name names, but there are places in the suburbs of Memphis where you feel like you’ve traveled to another planet. Where all common sense has fled, seemingly replaced by consumerism and Fox News.