Memphis Fast Fiction Home
Shawn Wolowicz

There is no home like the house on Willett I grew up in.

This might be an obvious statement, but it really was special.

You see, my house had monsters. And every night as I went to bed, we would go to war.

Shrieking banshees and clawing imps lived in the walls, tormenting me with their constant howling and scratching.

A werewolf made his nest in our attic, dragging his claws and dripping his slobber on the boards above my head.

Frankenstein’s monster lived in our basement, howling and rattling his chains every time he got too cold in the winter.

For years, I slept under my blankets, a flashlight my only protection against the things that went bump in the night.

But then I got older, and I started to help my father around the house.

I helped him fix the drafty mouse holes in our walls, to patch leaking, rattling pipes in our attic, to replace the antiquated furnace in the basement.

As I worked with my father, the monsters started to disappear, one at a time.

Then, one night, they weren’t there at all.

In that house on Willett, my father had taught me to slay monsters.

Memphis Note
Every house in Midtown Memphis has its own set of monsters. They are the unique noises old homes make that you can never quite decide if they are your pipes expanding…or something horrible living in your walls. I find children that survive these monsters to be of a heartier, more assured stock than those that grew up in monster-free homes.

Matt Farr

“Wait, what? What do you mean you’ve never been to Saigon Le before?”

I shrugged, meekly asserting that I’d never been a huge fan of Asian food.

All four of them stared back at me, faces blank, as if I’d just admitted I wasn’t too keen on that whole “breathing” thing.

And then, all at once, they exploded in a cacophony of reproaches.

“I, like, lived off the lemongrass tofu for a whole semester. They’d just have it waiting for me every day after class.”

“Don’t you know that’s borderline racist? ‘Asian food?’ That’s like saying you don’t like European food. Asia’s a continent, not a country.”

“Your zip code is 38104, right? You realize that there are requirements for being allowed to live in Midtown, right?”

“Blasphemy. Pure, and simple. Why don’t you just go ahead and admit you don’t like Elvis, you commie.”

I wasn’t entirely sure of the bearing of my supposed political ideology or musical taste might have on the fact that I just didn’t care for the stuff.

But, this did make me sure of one thing: Memphis hipsters will argue about hole-in-the-wall Asian places just like rednecks will argue about barbecue.

Memphis Note
Saigon Le is spoken of in reverent, hushed tones. It is the sort of place where the harsh, almost militant service is forgiven for the delectable dishes that come out of the kitchen. If you live in Midtown Memphis, and haven’t been, I advise you to rectify that – immediately.

Shawn Wolowicz

He slips into the drainage culvert and sprints down the darkened tunnel, careful not to be seen. The claws on his feet clicking against the wet concrete, slobber dripping from his chops. Above, the sun is falling out of the sky, and night is rising. It is time to feed.

Several seasons have passed since he found himself, quite by accident, in the heart of the city. For a while, he’d tried to find his way out of the maze of streets, bridges and ditches. But, after a while he gave up and accepted this as his new range.

Here the humans leave delicious, fatty food out of their pets. And when he can’t find that, the fat pets themselves are always easy prey. Easier at least than the squirrels and rabbits he’d chased as a pup.

Occasionally, he’d catch a familiar scent on a tree or patch of grass. Another of his kind, but the markings were always old, muted, decayed. His life here was good, but lonely.

Busting out of the tunnel into a residential neighborhood, he lets loose a howl. Night has fallen completely, and he will be nearly invisible.

The Midtown coyote is on the prowl.

Memphis Note
The elusive Midtown coyote was the subject of much speculation during the later part of the 2000s. Did it really exist? Or was it simply the hallucination of a Central Gardens lawyer spiked off a few too many cosmos? As the years went by, the pet body count kept rising until the coyote was finally caught in a Midtown backyard the day before New Years Eve in 2010.