Memphis Fast Fiction Home

Darling, your hand held the knife that slit my throat from ear to ear, but I do not believe you to be the one to blame.

No, as I look on from the afterlife, I can see that surely the inherent problems of your weaker sex lead us here to your addiction and my death.

It pains me to know that I was the one to first suggest to the doctor that you might be in need of some of medicine. You seemed agitated as I took on expanded responsibilities at the cotton exchange, and I needed you stilled.

The doctor assured me that it would quell any agitation in you, and for a while it did. But then even more aberrant behavior manifested, so I suggested to the good doctor that he find something more potent to still you.

I could see it in your eyes as you laid me low, an otherworldly possession that might have been considered fury or rage in a man, but must’ve been brought on by an unexpected complication from your medicine.

I am dead, my darling. I can only hope your demons are quieted, or that you find another man to quiet them.

Memphis Note
I came across a report of a woman slashing her man’s throat in the late 1800s, supposedly she was high on morphine. I’m not exactly sure how she was able to stand if she was high on morphine, let alone kill a grown man, but at that time opiates were widely used as a solution to various “women’s problems”. Maybe she was just sick of being drugged.

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.

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.

Wayne Kee

In one hand, he held today’s Commercial Appeal, with his face resplendent and eyes blood shot on the front page.

In the other, a pink slip from the job he’d just been fired from.

“Dude.” Was all he could bring himself to say.


Just the other day, he was having the time of his life. Hanging out in the park, playing the didg’, making eyes at that pretty girl with the dreads and wooden plugs, smoking some of the kind bud. You know, just celebrating 4-20 with all God’s natural gifts.

But this? This was a total bummer.

How was he supposed to know that lanky guy with the camera wasn’t just some chill bro out to enjoy the festivities, like the rest of them? The cops weren’t narcing on them, so why did this guy have to?

Man, was that guy a buzzkill.

Ok, yeah, he probably shouldn’t have called into work saying he had the stomach flu, but that’s besides the point. It was four-freakin’-twenty, that’s like a national holiday in some places, right?

He just needed to relax. Don’t regret things you can’t control, right?

Wait, was that how it went?

“Whatever, dude.”

Memphis Note
In what I’m sure an aggressive act of schadenfreude, every April 21st, the Commercial Appeal publishes a picture of the group of stoners that gathered the previous day at Overton Park to celebrate the unofficial holiday of marijuana. And invariably, some one loses their job because their boss sees them in the paper. Which is admittedly, bad, but also just a little bit funny.

Amy Pace

The house was tiny, unremarkable, in a neighborhood that a woman of her worth would not normally be seen in. Children chased after her car as she pulled up, their mothers watching suspiciously from the porches of the other shotgun houses.

She steeled her nerves before walking up to the front door of the house and knocking.

The door opened, just a crack. “Yes?” A pair of dark eyes peered over a chain latch.

“I…I”m here for tea.” That was the code she was told to give. The door closed in her face, the chain rattled, then swung open again to let her in.

Inside, intricate arabesque patterning covered the walls of the room, twisting and turning into itself. When she blinked, she swore the pattern moved, like it was alive.

“Hello.” Said a girl standing before her, barely on the cusp of womanhood, yet with a child hanging off her hip. “Twenty dollars. Now”

She put the cash into the girl’s hand, who promptly shoved it down her shirt.

“Ghede Loa rides Mama.” The girls said opening the door to another room. “Drugs in tea bring her back. You have ‘til then to speak wit’ your dead.”

Memphis Note
In the same way it was at the crossroads of white and black culture to create rock and roll, Memphis is also at the crossroads of African and European religions. Voodoo and belief in the supernatural permeates the region, and there are dozens, if not hundreds, of small churches with their own specific takes on spirituality and ritual.