Memphis Fast Fiction Home
Ashley Roach

Tyler Glover stood inside his own wound.

The walls of what used be his restaurant were blackened with ash. Smears from the fire department’s hoses looked like a nine year old’s ecstatic finger paintings.

The building and everything in it was a total loss.

“Oh god, Virginia, this was everything I had. This was my life.” He said, falling to his knees in the middle of the debris.

“Well, that doesn’t exactly speak to your opinion of your wife of only forty-eight years.” His wife joked gently.


“It’s just walls and things. We’re the heart and soul of this place. The rest all be fixed as good as new.”

“That takes money. Money we don’t have. Hell, money we’ve never had.”

“Ty, we’ll find the money. You’re the Mayor of Orange Mound, the biggest damn cheerleader this community’s ever had. And this building’s place as been here long as anyone can remember.”

She pulled her husband to his feet.

“People will remember that. They’ll remember you. And then everything will be just fine. You’ll see.”

“How can you be so sure?”

“Cause if they don’t, I’ll knock their heads in. Now, c’mon. Let’s get this place cleaned up.”

Memphis Note
Tyler Glover is affectionately known as the mayor of Orange Mound, a title bestowed upon him by a previous mayor of Memphis. His restaurant, Tyler’s Place, was know as the City Hall of Orange Mound. In 1998, after an electrical fire, the future of the restaurant was uncertain. Thankfully, several community organizations banded together to get Glover the money he needed to keep his doors open.

Matt Farr

Tossing a pair of dead forties into the trash can, she does a visual sweep of the crowd, checking for anything or anyone that needs immediate attention.

She’s not looking for empty drinks – in her place, people can come up to the bar to get their own damn drinks – but rather, looking to see if anyone’s had a few too many.

Satisfied that she’s not about to have to break up a fist fight or mop puke off the dance floor, she heads into the back to check the night’s take so far.

And like most nights, it isn’t as good as it need to be.

She looks up at the certificate a local magazine had given Wild Bill’s for being a legendary institution of Memphis nightlife and sighs.

Being a local legend doesn’t pay your bills, doesn’t keep the lights on.

Hipster kids from Rhodes tossing out bad puns like “soulidified” that drink their weight in cheap beer keep the lights on.

Regulars that know there way around the place better than she does keep the lights on.

But with economy like it is, there are less and less of both.

At least the band plays no matter what.

Memphis Note
Wild Bill’s claims to be the last true juke joint in the Delta. I find it hard to argue with that assertion. Serving naught but 40s, wings and set-ups, and with the best house band in town, Bill’s is the sort of place you’d expect to find in a movie. But, like most hole-in the wall places, the margins are slim and any big disaster could push them over the edge. They nearly closed down a while back after a storm did some major damage to the bar. The doors are still open, though. And the band is still playing.

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.

Diana Owen

“I have decided to kill myself.” I announced, storming through the front door of my apartment.

“Oh, really?” Said my roommate, not even looking away from the television.

“Yep,” I replied, barreling onward. “I’m going to commit suicide, become a statistic, disappoint my friends and family, all of it.”

“And just how do you plan on committing said act? Hopefully in a way that won’t leave a mess. I’d hate to lose our deposit.” He retorted, nonplussed.

“I’m going to eat a Dyers’s burger every day until I die.” I leapt onto the couch, striking a majestic pose. “I am going to dance a the tango of gastric, cardiopulmonary death with century-old grease.”

At this he paused the game and looked up, eyebrow arched. “I think they’re still open. We could get started on this endeavor right now. Why put off ‘til tomorrow what you can start today?”

I looked down at him with a wild eye. “That sounds like a marvelous idea.”

He turned off the tv and grabbed his keys. “You know, the next time you wanted to get a burger, you could just say so.”

“Where’s the fun in that?” I answered with a lively grin.

Memphis Note
Dyer’s Burgers. The home of the 99 year-old (and counting) grease. Where the burgers are deep fried, and you know they’re done when they float. Where the meat, cheese and bun merge into a symphony of arterial death that tastes like nothing else on the planet. Everyone needs to eat one before they die. But I probably can’t recommend more than one, because you might actually die.

Laurel Amatangelo

The evenings were finally holding on to the day’s warmth.

If you could eat something cold at night with out getting the chills, it was time to open up for the season. And each summer she was blessed enough to have people lining up around the block waiting for the order window to slide open.

She’d poured everything she had into her Sno Cream Castle back in the 60s, and hadn’t stopped pouring for as close to thirty years as didn’t matter. Each year building into the next, slowly, but steadily, until there were people calling her a Memphis institution.

At some point along the way a customer had the fool idea to ask for all the flavors she had on one snow cone. When the next person in line ordered the same thing, she figured that it probably needed a name. The Rainbow Sno-Cone had a been a staple of her menu since then.

Initially, it seemed abhorrent to her why anyone would want something like that at. All those flavors just melted together in the ice, becoming a sugary mess. But, then she realized that was it. It was every sweet taste of summer, all at once.

Memphis Note
The Sno Cream Castle opened in 1964 at the corner of Willow and Getwell in East Memphis. Initially it just served ice cream and snow cones, but the flavors were unique enough to draw people in summer after summer. They added a fryer and stove at some point, expanding into hot foods. The Castle was owned and run by Edith Humber, and sadly the business passed into memory with her in 1997. Memphis was lessened by the loss of both.