Memphis Fast Fiction Home
Pat Guarino

It was hard to tell which the Cat’s Meow was more: a swinger’s club or a dive bar.

It was one of those chicken or egg type questions. Or, as the proprietor liked to put it, 
“Silly questions people ask themselves when they should be screwin’ instead.”

The Cat’s Meow occupied a decent sized house, set back from the road a bit and remodeled into a restaurant. The parking lot was the paved over yard, and was mostly empty except on weekends.

Like any dive bar, there were regulars, and something of them could be pretty eccentric, even for a sex club. One of them had a fastidious cleaning fetish and go attack the bathrooms, which worked out well for everyone.

The only really odd regular was Bob. That’s what they called him at least, no one ever got his name. He’d show up a few times a week, order a pitcher of beer, and sit in the corner avoiding eye contact with everyone.

Some one once suggested that Bob might not’ve been entirely aware of the sort of place the Cat’s Meow was, and thought everyone else was off their rocker.

But that couldn’t possible have been true.


Memphis Note
The Cat’s Meow was one of those places that flew under the radar of everyone that wasn’t looking for a place like that. It was out of the way, quiet, and unassuming. Problem was, Memphis cops were stopping in to “keep an eye on the place” and the Commercial Appeal got wind of it. They ran an expose, the city and the department were embarrassed, and the owner of the property evicted the Cat’s Meow. The building is a rib shack now. Keep that in mind if you ever stop in to eat there.

Martin Dinstuhl

“They want us to what?” Leon had to yell to be heard over the sound of the three-piece punk band playing its heart out a few feet away.

Chris leaned closer and shouted in Leon’s ear. “Keep it down. They want us to keep it down. Says we’re ruining the mood.”

Leon pulled back, dumbfounded. Chris shrugged at him, palms up.

They’d rented this unfinished loft space near the river specifically because they didn’t think the downstairs neighbors would care about the noise.

After all, what could a swinger’s club say to them? Keep it down, you’re interrupting our group sodomy session?

It never occurred to them that exactly that might happen.

The three-piece had stopped between songs to fiddle with their instruments. They were notorious for playing so hard they would knock themselves out of tune after three songs.

Chris took advantage of the brief silence. “What do you want to do? Stop the show?”

Bow-chica-wow-wow bass issued up from the floorboards under their feet.

Leon smirked. “Not a chance.” He casually pushed the speakers over, face down on the floor. Then told the band to play on.

They were evicted a week later.

Memphis Note:
Something like this actually happened at a punk show I was at years back. There was a period in the late 90s, early 2000s when kids were getting a few hundred bucks together and renting out empty spaces to throw shows. The places never made a dime, and were often shut down with in a month or two. But while they lasted, they were the only place in town to hear that kind of music.