Memphis Fast Fiction Home
Cameron Harper

That a was the sixth time in the last hour the negro waiter had walked past them with a tray of beer mugs on his shoulder.

Three times he’d walked past them to the polling station, mugs filled to the brim. Three times he’d walked back to the saloon he’d come from, mugs drained to the bottom.

“Should we do something about that?” Thompson said, pointing his nightstick at the waiter as he turned into the saloon.

Shrugging, Leopold pointed out that this might be the last time for anyone gets a decent drink in the whole state.

They’d been pulled from their regular beats to keep an eye on the polling station during the state’s prohibition vote. With the exception of rattling beer mugs, it had been completely uneventful.

“I’m tellin’ you, we really should do something about that,” Thompson nagged.

“Fine, fine, fine.” Leopold said, pulling a handkerchief from his breast pocket. “Waiter! Over here!”

The waiter stopped, looked anxiously at the two white patrolmen and walked over, slowly.

“There a problem, mister?”

“Your fermentation is showing,” Leopold said with a smile, draping the handkerchief over the mugs. “Bring two more for us next time you fill up.”

Memphis Note
One of the few things Tennessee has ever been ahead of the curve on was the prohibition of alcohol. The state dried out close to a decade before the rest of the country. Or, at least it was supposed to. But thanks to the loose politics of Boss Crump and select enforcement of state laws, Memphis stayed wet much longer than the rest of the state.

Scott Brown

James slammed the sweaty bottle of champagne down in the middle of the coffee table.

“No one touch that.” He said, pointing to the bottle and tossing his motorcycle helmet onto an empty chair. “If the vote comes back, we’ll share it. If not, I’m chugging all of it myself then driving off the de Soto bridge.”

“Sounds like a crappy way to spend Thanksgiving.” Joked George, ashing his cigarette.

“Yeah, well, winning might be an even bigger pain in the ass.”

“Hey, shut it!” Shouted Charles from the couch. “The news is coming on.”

The men, potential business partners, crowded around a small transistor radio. Waiting, hoping, praying, that fate would smile down upon them.

“Good evening.” The voice from the radio crackled and hissed. “With the last of the precincts reporting in, we are predicting that the measure has passed. Starting at the first of the year, the residents of Tennessee will once again be able to order liquor by the drink.”

A deafening whoop of joy went up from the five of them. They were in business.

“Now you jackals can open it,” laughed James. “And some one, for the love of God, start writing some checks!”

Memphis Note
Before November of 1969, restaurants in Tennessee were unable to serve you alcoholic beverages with your food. Which put a damper on the profitability of nightlife across the whole state. But, with repeal of the measure on the horizon, five friends were plotting something…big. They’d lined up the investors, had the restaurant license ready to go, and all they needed was for the vote to go in their favor. If it did, then they could open up TGI Fridays and get the party going in Overton Square.