Memphis Fast Fiction Home
Alpha Newberry

It was late, the office was empty. The rest of the boys were out celebrating a job well done, I was on my way to join them but I could still hear the sound of a type writer from down the hall.

It was coming from Jack’s office. We’d been transferred to this branch of the FBI together, worked a lot of the same cases, our jackets were pretty similar.

His love of paperwork was something we did not share, however.

“Can’t you leave that ‘til the morning?” I asked.

“We blew through most this year’s budget on just this operation. All those fingerprints…Hell, I’m just glad the Brits didn’t put up any kind of any extradition fight and that the crazy bastard didn’t decide to go to some place that looks less favorably on capital punishment. That could’ve been a real legal scrape, let me tell you.”



“We got James Earl Ray, got him cold. We did our job. Come get a drink and let the guys in Washington worry about paying for it.”

I flipped the light off to his office, leaving him in the dark.

He joined us at the bar not much later.

Memphis Note
The manhunt for James Earl Ray was, at that point, the largest and most expensive investigation the FBI had ever run. Tens of thousands of fingerprints were examined, hundreds of thousands of passport were scrutinized and over three thousand agents were involved. For the Memphis branch, the hunt for Ray has never been topped.

Amy Pace

When the judge cut the eight of them loose, and all five hundred of them negroes stood up at once, I thought for sure either I was gonna die, or I’d have blood on my hands before I got out of that courtroom.

I ain’t never heard no other noise like that. The shuffle of shoes against wooden floors, the stomp of heels hitting the ground, the drawing in of breath, all in unison.

I swear to God, the fat bailiff next to me half pissed himself.

I wasn’t much better. I tried to remember what that girl I’d had a month back looked like naked, and just why she’d agreed to the tryst in the first place. I figured if I was going to have a last thought, I’d make it a fun one.

But, as the eight Klansmen filed out to the whoops and hollers of their kind, them negroes just stood silent, watching, like they were saying more with their mute witness than any lawyer had said over the course of this whole case.

Then, they all filed out together, not saying anyone to anything, just movin’ on.

I think that’s when I remembered to breathe again.

Memphis Note
In 1874 a group of Klu Klux Klansmen lynched 16 blacks in Gibson County, Tennessee. Their trial was held here in Memphis. The judge freed all eight of the men that were charged, while five hundred blacks watched on, knowing that this country’s courts were not for them.

Shawn Wolowicz

I never saw the drugs, never touched any money.

That was for the gophers – kids young enough that cops wouldn’t grab them when they rolled our corner. Cops went for those that worked the grind first, guys like me,.

But, like I said, I never saw any drugs, never touched any money.

My corner was boarded up and burned out section of Klondike. Close enough to the projects and schools, far enough from the cops.

“Shit looks like Fallujah.” My supplier had told me when I’d set up here. “Straight outta Call of Duty.”

I recognized the Volvo coming down the street. It belonged to a rich white kid in his early twenties. He’d gone from being an infrequent user to one of our best customers in a matter of months.

“White boy, you gonna smoke his brains out if you don’t slow down.” I said as the window slid down.

Filth crusted around the blood-shot eyes that stared vacantly up at me as a hundred held between scabbed fingers was extended to me.

“We’re out man,” I said without thinking. Then, “Get the hell outta here.”

First time I ever took a moral victory over an economic one.

Memphis Note
I haven’t written about it much because I don’t think I can do it justice, but Memphis’s drug problem is just as prevalent and dangerous as ever. There are whole neighborhoods that are ruled more by the rules of the drug game than the rule of law. But, the Memphis police have started to push back against them, and the crime statistics have finally started to come down.


He poked at the last ember of the fire with a stick. The waning heat from the coals tightened the skin across his face and dried the tears that rolled down his face.

Behind him, he heard his father struggling with the body, rolling it in a sheet they’d pulled from the carpet bagger’s things after they’d killed him.

“Paw,” he began ask a question, the couldn’t quite figure out what he wanted it to be.

“Yeah, boy?” His father answered curtly, as he cinched the legs together with a length of rough spun rope.

“Why’d we have to kill that man, again?”

“Like I tol’ you before: so them Yankee bastards don’t think they can just come down here and turn us into slaves.”

“Won’t people find the body?

Shaking his head, his father stood up and examined his handiwork.

“The river’s good for more than just shippin’ cotton and lookin’ at while you drink.”

His father gave the wrapped corpse a sharp kick, and it slid down the muddy bank into the black waters of the Mississippi.

“Any luck, the current’ll drag it straight to Memphis. Ain’t no way they’ll mistake that, huh, boy?”

“I suppose not, sir.”

Memphis Note
The Mississippi has probably had more bodies dropped in it than all the graves both in and around Memphis. Its strong currents and a few heavy stones were you needed to destroy any evidence of a murder. A fact that was utilized far too often by the bandits that operated during and after the Civil War.

Greg Akers

Jeanine found him slumped over his desk in the study. She went from elated that he might be dead to disgusted when she realized he was crying to himself.

“Darling! They’ve finally done it.” He moaned as she approached. “Those damn orthodoxy bastard, they’ve killed my business! They won’t let me sell cocaine. Not like I used to. All that income – it’s going to disappear!”

Her slap came out of nowhere, catching him mid-sob.

“Murray, you are a terrible husband, an absent father and a pathetic lover. And, so help me God, if you don’t keep me comfortable, I’ll let all your new country club friends know that you bought your way up to their level by selling drugs to the negroes.”

Pulling her new mink stole tight, she stepped back from him.

“So, if they won’t let you sell it like you used to, find a new way to sell it. The demand isn’t going to go away, prices are just going to go up. Time to be big, Murray, bigger than you’ve ever been.”

She planted a cold, hard kiss on his cheek then left him alone in the darkened study.

He’d never felt so small before.

Memphis Note
At first, Memphis’s cocaine laws were as lax as its liquor laws. But then, racism was introduced into the anti-drug equation, and attitudes began to change. The first big step toward prohibition of the drug was when the city voted to ban the sale of less than a pound of cocaine to anyone with out a prescription. A pound being much more than any normal addict could hope to afford. Sadly, all this did was push the drug underground and create even more crime around it.