Memphis Fast Fiction Home
Alpha Newberry

“What about Ankylosaurus and Stegosaurus, The Dinosaur Brothers!?” Lou twisted up his face, hooked his fingers and struck his best ferocious pose to go along with the name.

I shook my head, something wasn’t right. “The group name works, but the individual names are all wrong. Ankylosaurus sounds too much like “sore ankle”. I don’t want some fat guy going for my ankle in the middle of a match.”

We’d been at this for the better part of two days now, trying to think up names for the audition tape we were going to send in to Memphis Wrestling.

“We need something that’s not literal, isn’t a direct reference to something, but just sort of feels, you know,” I paused trying to come up with the best word, and ended up with, “scary.”

Lou scrunched his face up and looked around the room, grasping for anything. He settled on the bookshelf and his eyes went wide.

“Alice. Through the Looking Glass.” He muttered to himself, then jumped up and clapped his hands. “That’s it!”

“What’s it?.”

“You’ll be Brillig, and I’ll be Slithy! The Jabberwockies!”

He struck his pose again.

And this time it worked.

We had ourselves a name.

Memphis Note
Memphis Wrestling was a fixture on every local boy’s television set from the late 50s on through 90s. It was just like the wild stadium wrestling we see on cable now, save without the budget or consideration for racial demographics. But, fans were loyal to a rabid fault, which let Andy Kaufman pull off his great staged rivalry with local wrestling hero Jerry “The King” Lawler.

Mark Dinstuhl

The cherry picker whined and shuddered as it came to a stop in the rafters of the Fedex Forum. Dust covered everything, but it was lightest coating was over the blue felt 2008 NCAA Tournament banner.

Darryl sneezed at the dust, then started to loosen the bolts holding the banner up.

“Remember when they put this thing up?” Said his partner, Philip, working the bolt at the opposite end of the banner. “The place was a madhouse. People running to get seats, the cacophony of cheers, the players showin’ off.”

Philip got real quiet, scrunching his face up in thought.

“Doesn’t seem right,” he said after a moment. “Who are they to take all of that away from us? From those boys? I mean, sure, take it away from that snake Calapari, but what’d the rest of us do?”

Darryl nodded along, not saying anything, loosening the bolts one at a time. Sometimes I was best to just let Philip go.

“It all still happened. They can’t change that. I mean, unless they have a time machine. Then they could change it for real, really take it away from us.”

Philip frowned.

“I’m glad they don’t have a time machine.”

Memphis Note
Because someone took a test for someone else, the University of Memphis was forced to vacate the 2007-2008 NCAA Men’s Division 1 Basketball season. 38 wins and a trip to the championship game all gone in a wave of a bureaucratic wand, and the coach that knew about all of it, fled to greater glory in Kentucky. They can take away the wins, but they can’t take away the electricity the whole city had during that championship run.

Caroline Mitchell

Dear readers, I come before you this day to humbly tell of you a great travesty that has been done, however inadvertently, by the citizens of this fair metropolis.

This past Saturday, I watched the warriors of the Blue and Gray end their year bloodied, bruised, but unbeaten and unbowed, having outscored their foes by nearly six to one over the course of the season. They truly lived up to Coach Lester Barnard’s motto of “Every Man a Tiger”.

And why shouldn’t they? On campus, at games and in student publications they are already known as the Tigers. It is a secret cant for students and alumni, used to glorify their gridiron champions. But, one doesn’t extend beyond the walls of academia. The newspapers of the city refuse to call them anything but the Blue and Gray, and thusly the citizens don’t know any better.

I think it is time for that to change.

I say, if they act like tigers, if they fight like tigers, who are we to tell them that they are not, in fact, Tigers?

Memphis, we should let them be what they already are.

Farewell to the Blue and Gray Warriors. Long live the Tigers.

Memphis Note
The University of Memphis (going to call it that for clarity’s sake) sports team was originally called the Blue and Gray Warriors. Somewhere along the line the students started saying that they fought like tigers, so they became commonly know as “the Tigers” by those that attended the school. But, the local media in town refused to refer to the team as anything but the Blue and Gray, even during Coach Barnard’s time. The team name wasn’t officially changed until 1939.

Courtney Morgan

“It’s a good offer, Clarence.” Said the well dressed man opposite from him, tapping the sheaf of papers arrayed across the table. “You get a slice of the concessions and ticket sales at any game they play, plus merchandising and a vote on any future expansion teams.”

Clarence Saunders stood up and began to pace across the room, nodding his head as he listened to his accountant.

“Bottom line, the National Football League wants the Tigers. It would bring southern blood into their yankee league, and opens them up to new crowds in the South. But, the final call is yours”

“I bought the damn team on a lark.” Sighed Clarence as he paced. “It was a marketing stunt. Get the Sole Owner name out in front of the crowds. What do I know about professional sports?

“I don’t know. Loosing Piggly Wiggly to those Wall Street sharks did something to me. Made me more cautious. Scared, I guess.

“With the way the markets have been lately, and our sales numbers…maybe it’s God surreptitiously warning me to play it safe.”

He paused for a moment, silent in thought.

“No. Tell the NFL, no. They can’t have the Memphis Tigers.”

Memphis Note
Clarence Saunders is the man that revolutionized the grocery store with Piggly Wiggly. But, he didn’t quite know how to handle what came out of that. After losing his business to predatory investors, Saunders opened a second chain of stores named Sole Owner. As a method of promoting his new business, Saunders bought the local American Football League team, the Memphis Tigers. The team, bolstered by a few recruits from the NFL, performed surprisingly well. When offered a chance to join the National Football League in 1930, Saunders passed, seeing the team as secondary to the Sole Owner stores. The AFL and the Tigers and Saunders’ Sole Owner stores all folded within the next few years. The NFL is still around and Memphis has been pining for a team ever since.

Matthew Trisler

“Doc told me I had to lay off the coffee and smokes. Didn’t say nothin’ ‘bout any sweet tea.” Shack hands the woman a tall, sweating glass of the stuff. She wasn’t as pretty or young as the girls that used to come by. But, then again, neither was he. Neither was anything anymore.

“Ever had real Southern sweet tea before?” He asks her, playing for time to try and remember her name. S-something, wasn’t it? She shakes her head and says no in an unfamiliar accent, which doesn’t help anything.

“They make it by takin’ regular iced tea and then boiling it. See, when you boil tea, you make more space for the sugar. You get everything movin’ around so quick, it slides together. That’s what I was like on the skis, you know. Movin’ and slidin’ around. All fast like.”

The segue is unintentional, and the nostalgia hits him like a submerged log.

He peers out at McKellar Lake, the estuary where he made a name and built his houseboat, not saying anything. “But, now look at it. It’s all crap and limbs and chemical run-off.”

He sighs.

“Guess everything’s gotta cool down at some point.”

Memphis Note
Southern sweet tea is an absolutely insane super-solution of sugar and tea. Which makes it a perfect paring to Marvin “Shack” Shackelford, the impresario water skier that dominated the marina scene at McKellar Lake in the 1970s. For a period, he held the world record for distance skiing, setting it on the slackwaters of the Mississippi that make up McKellar Lake. I don’t know what happened to Shackelford after the McKellar lake marina scene dried up as pollution became unbearable.