Memphis Fast Fiction Home
Annabeth Novitzki

The good lieutenant escorted her home from the dance, he and the belle weathering scornful looks from the old families and pro-secession youth.

He opened the white picket gate that encircled her home, and let her through. As she passed, her elbow grazed his side and he winced.

“My good sir, are you alright?” She asked, a concerned look on her face.

“It’s nothing. Merely bruises from a few locals that had too much to drink, and wouldn’t bow to proper authority. I assure you, they came out far worse than we did.”

“So brave.” She pressed her linen handkerchief into his his palm. It was soft and warm, and he imagined it smelled of her. “Here, this shall protect you from such danger in the future.”

“My lady, I doubt that even such a wonderful gift as this would be enough to protect me from a rain malicious blows.”

She smiled, a demure but knowing smile, and then whispered in his ear. “But then, it shall be my responsibility to kiss each bruise to make it better.”

And that is how she left him for the first, but not the last, time – stunned and reeling on her sidewalk.

Memphis Note
The Union occupation of Memphis went on for most of the Civil War, and in that time, the two sides had to more or less learn to live with each other. Resentment still festered against the Union, and fights between drunken groups of men were not uncommon – which was the primary reason alcohol sales were banned. But, even with that tension, some Romeo and Juliet connections had to have been made.

Martin Dinstuhl

I am not who I am.

The things that occupy most of my week: my day job as a cubicle monkey, helping my mother around the house, are not me.

Instead, who I am, the real me, comes out every Saturday night. I push aside the Oxford shirts and pressed khakis and bask in the glory of my sequined tuxedoes. Red, white, blue, of course. They shimmer back at me and I change into my real self.

I’m Raiford’s bound.

They know me, so I walk past the line and step right in. Finally coming home after a long week away.

The air vibrates from the music, tingling my nose with the vapor of cocaine and the musk of sex. I grab a cold forty from the bar, and leave the cup behind.

It is still early, the place has a long way to go before it hits maximum boil. There’s still space on the disco light dance floor, and no one’s passed out on the white leather couches yet. By the end of the night, there won’t be space to move.

Then I spy the drum set, empty and beckoning, and I know where I’ll be spending my night.

Memphis Note
Raiford’s was a Memphis institution, a place where the only rule was that you had to have fun. And the place’s namesake owner, did his best to make sure that happened.

Jonathan McCarver

“Which one of you are going to tell me what the hell happened?”

The lieutenant stomped the ground in front of a half dozen battered enlisted men, twitching his legendary mustache in irritation.

“They was Secesh, sir.” Came a voice from the end of the line. The Stache was on the speaker in a second.

“They’re all Secessionists, you jackass! The whole damn city is! Braver men than you idiots fought and died for this city, and not one of them did it so you could get in a brawl over the obvious!”

The Stache turned back to the rest of them and growled, “Are any of you planning to start a riot over rain being wet?”

No one responded.


He returned to stomping. “Now, are the rest of your brains so addled that they’ve reinterpreted my simple question into some kind of monumental logic puzzle, or are you going to tell me what really happened?”

“We paid a dollar to dance at the ball, sir. Then they refused to let any Union soldier take a turn. We objected.”

The Stache stopped, and the tips of his mustache went up – the sign of a smile.

“Well, that’s something different.”

Memphis Note
A year into the Union occupation of Memphis, there’s a newspaper account of a half dozen Union men clearing out a dance hall on Saturday night. They’d paid a dollar to get in, but had then been told they couldn’t dance with any of the women. After two hours, they’d had enough and turned the dance in a brawl. Which they won.