Memphis Fast Fiction Home
Joe Leibovich

In the wake of the cultural civil war of the mid twenty-first century, officials decided it would be best if all aspects of education were restructured into the Standardized Model.

The Standardized Model was two fold solution to society’s problems. First, it would deliver a uniform education directly to the student’s brain via a series of synthetic neural codifying proteins and memetic conditioning.

Then, due to the minimum of time needed to ensure a standard of education, billions of hours of new productivity would be created.

It would be the beginning of a new, unconflicted society.

Or such was the intent.

The deviation in the Standardized Model changed everything.

The only thing known for certain is that harmonic and rhythmic elements of a provincial style of music known as the “Delta Blues” altered the memetic programing of the Standardized Model.

The result caused students to develop an eagerness to question everything around them. Societal stability was once again at risk.

The deviation spread like wildfire through the national social network, affecting hundreds of thousands before being contained.

Memphis was the worst hit, with nearly every student infected.

It is unknown if the Standardized Model will ever work there again.

Memphis Note
This is pretty much what happened with rock and roll in the 60s, except without the overt educational brain washing.

Kip Gordon

“The problem with science is that we refuse to acknowledge the superior craftsmanship of God. We think we can replace it. In fact, the best option is to simply modify the creator’s work for our own needs.”

Opening big was her plan. Fluster the conference with religious words. Pave way for what was coming.

“In pathology, we’re fighting vectors, not disease. If you kill the delivery agent, you kill the disease. Want to beat dysentery? Make people to boil water. Want to stop Lyme disease? Kill all the ticks. But why kill what you can use?”

Next, leave them in a state of aporia, confused about where she’s going.

“We took the most common types of mosquitos on the planet. We gave them something we call “Hope”. It’s a gene sequence that replaces some of their trash genetic code, makes them produce a cure-all for nearly every common childhood disease. Then we let engineered females loose in the most historically mosquito devastated city in America. All they have to do is find a mate and the people of Memphis will never have to pay for a childhood inoculation again.

We didn’t replace God, we just did him one better.”

Memphis Note
The three most virulent species of mosquitos in the world lovingly call Memphis home. The long, humid summers and stagnant swamps and ponds make this city something akin to heaven for them. It’s nearly brought us to absolute ruin between the yellow fever, malaria and West Nile virus. Now, just imagine if you could use that vector to spread the cure instead of the disease.

Ben Pope

They all had facial hair, intentional or otherwise. This was a very good sign. As was the amount of junk spread across the tables. Wires were being soldered into circuit boards that powered servo groups, it all looked very complicated.

Excellent. Complicated was good.

He dropped the black box to the floor to get their attention then cleared his throat as the Midsouth Makers Group raised their heads and gave him confused looks.

“I’ve heard you’re group to see about engineering something, shall we say, off the beaten path?” He twisted open the clamp locks on the box as he spoke, tossing the lid aside when they were all undone.

”I have a proposition for you,” He continued, reaching into the black box. “And while your first thought might be that this is some kind of elaborate practical joke, or that this is something more suited to a carnival freak show, I ask that you hear me out.”

He pulled his arm out of the box and held aloft an incredibly detailed plastic head of Elvis Presley. In the back, a nerd fainted.

“I am going to build an android Elvis impersonator. And I need your help to do it.”

Memphis Note
The Midsouth Makers Group is a lose association of people with boundless curiosity, the desire to make new things, and to share that knowledge with others. They hold regular meetings and have a collaborative workspace where members can work on their projets. You better believe these are the first guys I’m going to when I need help building my robot army.

Amanda Yarbro-Dill

“You can’t be serious.”

He knocked back the shot of cheap whiskey, grimaced and chased it with a pull from his beer. “Seems pretty clear cut to me.”

She shook her head at him, incredulous. “You just told me that the twelve-bar blues is alive. Alive, reproducing and evolving, if I heard you correctly. How is any part of that clear cut?”

“Just think about it for a second. It meets all the qualifications for life. It grows as more people listen to it, it reproduces when people try to play it, and it adapts as the players reinterpret it. It is unequivocally alive.”

“But that could be applied to any kind of music, hell, any kind of idea or knowledge that gets passed on and changed.”

“Exactly. Our brains are ecosystems for information.” He lifted the empty shot glass to the waitress, motioning for another. “Seed beds for memetic life.”

“Alright then, Mister Phd, if you’ve got this brilliant idea, why the hell are we in some dive honky-tonk out in the middle of nowhere?”

“Why else?” The lights in the bar dimmed, and a lone musician took the makeshift stage. “To witness the birth of something new.”

Memphis Note
The twelve-bar blues, the most common and well know of all the blues forms, came up from the union of European instruments and African musical notions. Around Memphis, the twelve-bar blues bent and shook into the most potent tool of the Delta bluesmen. Through them, it was retooled by the subsequent generations into rock and roll, itself another fusion of white and black cultures, and a uniquely Memphis creation.

Martin Dinstuhl

“What are we looking for out here again?” I asked as I followed behind my graduate instructor, bushwhacking through what I was sure was private property in north Shelby county.

“The long lost Odiferous Belt.” He shouted back, unfazed by the bizarreness of his own words.

I how ever, was not. His words stunned me momentarily, like a blow to the head. “Wait! The what now?” I hurried along, trying to catch up to him.

“About a hundred years ago, there was a stretch of our fair city that stunk up to high heaven every summer.” He stopped walking as he began to tell his story. “Everyone thought it was swamp gas, their neighbor’s trash or something.”

“Ok…,” I said, unsure of where his story was leading.

“Turns out, it was some reddish-purple beetles that were responsible for the stink. They’d come out every summer, looking for stuff to eat on the ash trees. They’d stink up the whole city.”

“So, we’re looking for beetles?”

“Long lost beetles!” He shouted, enthusiastically. “Heh, you know what the smell was? The stink the beetles were squirting out?”


“Cyanide.” He said with a devilish grin before stomping off into the brush.

Memphis Note
Before the city pushed outward into what we now think of as Midtown, there was a regular ring of odor that popped up each summer. After some investigation, it was discovered that the smell was coming horned beetles that were found climbing ash trees. To this day, we don’t know the exact type of beetle, only those similar to it in the area.