Memphis Fast Fiction Home
Scout Anglin

“I made most of my money running this saloon. And most of that came from the gambling, so you’ll have to take my word when I say a thing or two about taking a chance.”

Edward Shaw finished pouring the whiskey and slid the tumbler across to the Republican Party official across from him. It was too early for the bar to be open, and this wasn’t a friendly meeting.

“They say if you’re poor, you’ve got nothing to lose.” Shaw poured himself one, and immediately downed it. “I say if you’re rich, you can afford to take a bigger risk than the people with nothing, and that’s what I aim to do.”

The party official pushed the proffered drink away with a frown.

“You still won’t beat him, Shaw. Not even if you got every negro in the whole state to vote for you.”

Shaw took the drink for himself, hissing through his teeth at the alcohol burn.

“You’re probably right. But you’ll lose, and you’ll spend the rest of the term stinging from that loss. And you know what? I bet next time the you won’t take us for granted and nominate a racist son of a bitch.”

Memphis Note
Edward Shaw was a freed slave that became one of Memphis’s first advocates of racial equality. He made his money running a saloon and gambling hall, but used that money to start a newspaper and become a lawyer. He was the city’s first black wharf master, and a key ally of the local Republican Party. Which he proved to them in an election by splitting the vote against them because they ran an avowed racist.

Caroline Mitchell Carrico

“What the hell, Mike?!” I was livid. “That was a very important conversation with some very important people you just interrupted.”

It was chilly out on the terrance, the noise of the party inside permeated the walls behind them.

“I’m sure it was electrifying, but it’ll have to wait.” He dug a cigarette from a crumpled pack and lit it. “How much do you know about history? Egyptian, specifically.”

Oh god, I thought, he’s been drinking. “Why would I know anything about Egyptian history?”

He shrugged. “Figured you might, seeing as this town is named for a dead Egyptian city and all. Did you know when a new king came to power back then, they’d go around chiseling out the names of people they didn’t like? They’d even pull the heads off their rival’s statues. All out of spite.”

“What does any of that have to do with me, Mike?”

The cigarette hung from his lips, burning.

“They just unsealed a whole bunch of indictments. You’re name’s on a lot of them.” He dropped his cigarette and stomped it out. “There’s a new king, and he’s looking to chisel out some names and take a few heads.

“Happy birthday, Senator.”

Memphis Note
I’m sure at some point in Memphis history, some one’s made the connection between pharaohs wiping out the historic records of their predecessors and a similar activity here in Memphis. If not, I suggest one of you get on that post haste.

Alpha Newberry

The portrait photograph over the fireplace glowered down at her, and she chased a handful of pills with a swallow of scotch.

“Shut up, old man.”

The picture did nothing, unmoved by her protestations.

“I told you to shut up!” She screamed at it, hurling her glass and the unflinching visage of her father. It shattered against the plexiglass covering the photograph. This was not her first such outburst.

Collapsing to the floor, she started to whimper.

“I did what you wanted, I got revenge on them for what they did to Joe. I got his seat. You said that was enough!” She doubled over, howling, scraping her nails along the wooden floor, leaving rough claw marks in the wood.

The portrait above the fireplace remained silent.

“Twenty votes was enough!” Growling, angry, she thrust her head up, fire burned in her eyes. “I’m a state senator now! You can’t talk to me like that. I won’t be bullied by you anymore!”

She furrowed her brown and cocked her head to the side, like she was having trouble hearing something. “What? What did you say? You’re getting quiet. Why can’t you speak up?”

The antipsychotics were starting to kick in.

Memphis Note
This may or may not have been inspired by our local state senator from a rather large family that is heavily involved in Memphis politics and her rather public separations from reality and love of a good drink. May or may not be, mind you.

Ashley Harper

The health commissioner shifted nervously in the wicker chair. It was just before noon on a Saturday and he found himself seated at a table on Boss Crump’s porch. Crump hadn’t held office in the city for some years, but he still more or less ran the government. And when he summoned you, you came, no matter the time or day.

“I believe in a quiet city,” Came Crump’s gravely voice from behind him. “More than that, I believe in a city that sounds good. It keeps people happy, keeps them calm, keeps the crime down. Don’t you agree?”

“Yes, sir?” The commissioner hadn’t meant that to come out as a question, but he didn’t know where this was going.

“And what keeps a city sounding good? Songbirds. A darling little girl down the street, Lucy, raises them. Told me a stray cat got in, killed all of her birds. Says they’re doing that to all the song birds in the city. Chipping away at the population.”

The commissioner blinked at Crump, confused. “I’m sorry, but what does this have to do with me?”

“Good lad, you’re the health commissioner, I want you to catch the cats.

All of them.”

Memphis Note
This actually happened. Crump got fed up with the stray cats in Memphis eating all the songbirds, so he organized a massive effort to round up all the strays in the city. All because he wanted the air to be filled with the sound of chirping birds.

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.