Memphis Fast Fiction Home
Shane Adams

The far bank of the Mississippi River had vanished. Arkansas was lost underneath an expanse of muddy water. No one living could remember anything like this.

A small group of men stood on the crest of the bluff, watching in awe at the river’s power.

“Won’t help the economy any.” The councilman said with a sigh. “No one travels with things like this going on. Hotel are empty, restaurants still. Lord, even Beale Street’s gone quiet.”

“Gonna make shipping hard. Trees, wrecks, all matter of flotsam will’ve gotten moved around. Riverboat piloting’ll be a challenge ‘til they learn the new water.” The wharf master shook his head grimly.

“It is like in the Bible, we’ll have to demarcate between diluvian and antediluvian once the waters subside.” Remarked the preacher.

“If they ever subside,” snarled a cotton man, who’d assuredly lost a fortune in flooded fields.

“We missed the worst of it, utter devastation to the north and to the south. Whole negro communities have been displaced in Mississippi, levees bursting down in Louisiana.” The mayor tapped his foot on the wet grass. “I’ll always be grateful to these mounds of dirt for keeping that monster of a river at bay.”

Memphis Note
The Great Flood of 1927 is arguably the worst flood in United States history, with nearly a million people being affected by the rising waters of the Mississippi. Thankfully, Memphis was left remarkably intact because the bluffs held back much of the flood waters, much in the same way we managed to escape this flooding this last spring.

Jamie Elkington

They stood on the walkway up near the trolley tracks, watching the muddy river waters lapping away at Riverside Drive and the foot of Beale Street. A few dozen people were gathered down at the flood water’s edge, some wading in, a few being brave or stupid enough to go for a swim.

“Ever played that old computer game Oregon Trail?” He asked me.

She nodded back. “You have died of dysentery.”

“Hah, exactly. Think any of them have any idea what’s in that water?”

“Doubtful. But think about how great of a snake oil diet tonic it would be. Drink a pint of the stuff, and watch fifteen pounds come right out your butt.”

“Completely natural, too!”

“Of course! That means I can skip FDA approval for it, right? Just go straight to market with my dangerous and untested weight loss product!”

“You’d have to dress up like Mongo. You know, to really sell the whole package. Become some kind of urban witch doctor.”

And with that, they broke into a fit of uncontrollable laughter.

She recovered first.

“No, but seriously, some one should probably tell those people not to swim in that crap. They could get really sick.”

Memphis Note
During the flood that happened earlier this year, when the muddy waters of the Mississippi rose up and covered parks of Tom Lee park and Riverside Drive, you could see people going for a swim in the fetid water. And, as we watched this, the sane and reasonable among us all asked the same question – just how stupid do you have to be to do something like that?