Memphis Fast Fiction Home

The ride to the airport had been the quietest one that she could ever remember. She tried turning on the radio only to have her husband flip it back off.

In the back, her daughter twisted her long, golden hair around her finger, and looked anywhere but at her father.

They were on the way to pick up her college boyfriend, he was coming to join them for the holidays.

It was only last night that she told them that he was black.

And it hadn’t gone over well with her husband. He’d said something inappropriate and narrow-minded, and their daughter had responded in kind.

“Don’t you call me racist!” He shouted at their daughter.

“Then don’t give me a reason to call you one.” She’d fired back, before storming into her room and slamming the door.

They hadn’t spoken since, and time was fast running out.

Her husband looked in the rear view mirror and cleared his throat. “Does he love you? Treat you right?”

“Dad, you raised me right.” She said, finally looking at him. “I wouldn’t be with him if he didn’t.”

That made him pause, then nod.

“Good. But he’s still sleeping on the couch.”

Memphis Note
It’s always a tricky thing living in a city like Memphis, a city where racial tension is felt by all, but buried just far enough under the surface so no one talks about it. And it can often surprise you when they’ll flare up. An educated man saying something stupid, a rich man being petty, a disapproving silence instead of a welcoming hello. Really, the only thing you can do is just make up for the idiots by being even more accepting of your fellow man.

Greg Brady

My father and I were never close.

I was the last of his seven children. Two of which I never knew. A car accident had taken them from him.

By the time I came along, he was too old and I was too young.

To me, my father was the stern-faced man with heavily starched shirt that came home every night after dark, downed a double negroni then ate dinner alone in his study. His children having been fed some hours before.

Water was our only connection. A former Navy man, he made sure all of us were sure and strong swimmers. Growing up, any body of water I thought I could swim, he let me.

Any save the Mississippi.

To which my constant protest was of course I was strong enough to swim across it.

Then, early one morning, while everyone was still asleep, my father roused me and we drove north into Shelby Forest. Turning off of the main road, we came to a stop at a sandy beach with glass slick water.

He pointed out across the water. “Race you to the sand bar.”

And then, as the sun rose, we swam the Mississippi River. Together.

Memphis Note
Hidden under the lush green of Shelby Farms is a stretch of the Mississippi River where the water shallows and the current slows. Sand bars and long beaches appear, and for a fleeting moment, you would never suspect that these waters belong to one of the most powerful natural forces in the world.

Pamela Stanfield

“She’s dragging the family down, Dad.”

They sat in the study of his father’s Florida retirement estate. The mansion was a long way from the house his father had grown up in with over a dozen siblings, and an even longer way from his political legacies in Memphis and Washington.

“I think the family’s done a good enough job of dragging itself down. Myself included.” His father had his feet up on his desk, and was studying a news paper through his reading glasses. “She’s just following in our very well tread path.”

“You could talk to her, get her to rein it in. Not act like such an entitled princess in front of the press. Her crap’s making it hard for me to do anything at a national level. It filterers up, you know. Gives people a bad association when they hear my name.”

His father gave a haughty snort. “That’s my name, too, son. It belongs to all of us. And, near as I can tell, the only thing it guarantees you in this world is that you’ll never want for anything…save a normal life.”

Sighing, his father put the paper down. “You just can’t pick family.”

Memphis Note
There is a certain political family that’s been operating in the Memphis area for more than four decades that I won’t specifically name, but they just can’t seem to get out of the way of scandal. Drug and alcohol abuse, shady dealings and criminal charges have hounded them since the early days. But, sure enough, they’ve somehow managed to create a political dynasty that’s a local equivalent of the Kennedy’s.

Rikki Boyce

She ran her finger against the wall, a thin film of grease and dust gathered on her finger. She sighed. “Dad…”

He chuckled and shrugged his wide shoulders. “Don’t worry, that’s not what they cook with. Least, I don’t think it is.”

His daughter shook her head and stuck out her tongue. “Yech.”

A middle aged waitress with teased out hair sauntered over and asked them for their order.

“Give us a minute, darlin’. Little missy here is still looking over menu. Oh, bring us some of those fabulous dill pickles. The fried ones. Just to get us warmed up!”

“Really, Dad? Do you know how much fat is in those? How many calories?”

“Oh, pshaw. Those are merely inconvenient facts.” He smacked his lips. “This is what I love about Southern cooking. They take something as beautifully simple as a dill pickle, then they do something obscene with with it. They deep fry it.”

“It’s disgusting.”

“Only in its brilliance.”

“Dad, you’re gonna kill yourself eating like this.”

“Kiddo, I’m old, you’re grown. Ain’t no ladies gonna come sniffin’ around these parts any more. You can have your yoga and wheatgrass shakes. I’ll keep food a bit more hedonistic.”

Memphis Note
Southern cooking. A delicious waist expanding, artery hardening cuisine that Memphis sits directly in the middle of. I know we get a lot of flack for being the fattest city in the nation, but, c’mon, if you lived a place with food like this, your figure would be a distant concern.

Jamie Elkington

The letter said it all.

It told Luke’s brother where he’d been these past five years, it told him how great things were going, and how Luke finally understood who he was supposed to be.

It didn’t say all that at once, of course.

The letter started with them back as kids in Nutbush, driving down Tina Turner Highway. His brother would talk about her legs and her voice and her tits, and all Luke could think about was her outfits.

Then it went on to say that Luke didn’t blame his brother for not taking a side the night their father had beaten Luke worse than ever before. In fact, in the letter Luke said he was glad his brother hadn’t done anything. Their father needed someone there to take care of him with mom gone. And that Luke forgave him. Their father was from a different time, he wasn’t ready to have a gay son.

He ended the letter hoping that his brother, and yes, even his father would visit him in Memphis soon.

The letter said everything Luke had been wanting to say since the day he left.

So, why couldn’t he drop it in the mailbox?

Memphis Note:
Nutbush is a town northeast of Memphis, out past Covington. The most notable resident of the city is Tina Turner, the legendary singer, whom they renamed a stretch of Route 19 after.