Memphis Fast Fiction Home
Chase Kearl

Fall in Memphis is not a season. It is a brief, bloody war between hot and cold, where the chief casualty is the sinus health of everyone in the city.

Such was the case for one James Cooper, a middle-aged man that was trying his best to keep his yard free of the constant downpour of leaves. Mucus ooze flowed freely from his nose, drying into his mustache, as he wrestled with the rake and yard bags.

“This is what I get for living in a place with so many dad-burned trees.” He grumbled to himself.

He’d already piled up several waist-high mounds of leaves around the yard when he noticed the orange tabby cat stalking along the white picket fence at the edge of his yard.

It yowled, taunting him.

James Cooper narrowed his eyes. “Best not, if you know what’s good for ya’.”

But it was too late, the cat was an orange blur around the yard, leaping and pouncing and burrowing into the leaf piles. The piles exploded, the leaves drifting across the yard, back to where they came from.

Looking out across his yard, there was little James Cooper could do, except sniffle.

Memphis Note
Fall really is a war in Memphis. Hot days take over for a few days at a time, only to be pushed back by cold ones that are in turn replaced by more hot ones. Temperatures change thirty, somtimes forty degrees in a twenty four hour period. You’re lucky if you make it out with only a mild cold.

Shane Adams

The far bank of the Mississippi River had vanished. Arkansas was lost underneath an expanse of muddy water. No one living could remember anything like this.

A small group of men stood on the crest of the bluff, watching in awe at the river’s power.

“Won’t help the economy any.” The councilman said with a sigh. “No one travels with things like this going on. Hotel are empty, restaurants still. Lord, even Beale Street’s gone quiet.”

“Gonna make shipping hard. Trees, wrecks, all matter of flotsam will’ve gotten moved around. Riverboat piloting’ll be a challenge ‘til they learn the new water.” The wharf master shook his head grimly.

“It is like in the Bible, we’ll have to demarcate between diluvian and antediluvian once the waters subside.” Remarked the preacher.

“If they ever subside,” snarled a cotton man, who’d assuredly lost a fortune in flooded fields.

“We missed the worst of it, utter devastation to the north and to the south. Whole negro communities have been displaced in Mississippi, levees bursting down in Louisiana.” The mayor tapped his foot on the wet grass. “I’ll always be grateful to these mounds of dirt for keeping that monster of a river at bay.”

Memphis Note
The Great Flood of 1927 is arguably the worst flood in United States history, with nearly a million people being affected by the rising waters of the Mississippi. Thankfully, Memphis was left remarkably intact because the bluffs held back much of the flood waters, much in the same way we managed to escape this flooding this last spring.

Mo Alexander

When the lieutenant stepped out of the car, the soles of his shoes sizzled against the black top. It’d been over a hundred for two weeks now. The city couldn’t take much more of this heat.

The first officer on the scene was a young patrolman, he sat on a concrete planter in front of the modest shotgun house, holding a handkerchief against his mouth, vomit splattered at his feet and over his shoes.

“Another one?” Asked the lieutenant.

“Yes, sir. Elderly lady. Neighbors called in about the smell. She’s – it’s bad in there, I wouldn’t go in, wait on the morgue boys.”

“Might be a bit of a wait.” Sighed the lieutenant, he hadn’t gotten much sleep since the bodies started piling up. “They’re pullin’ some triangulation crap, saying the need the city council to authorize the overtime or they can’t keep workin’ these hours.”

“How many does this make?”

“Somewhere north of seventy, I imagine. If it keeps up at this rate, we’ll be lucky if it stops before it breaks a hundred.”

“What the hell are we supposed to do, sir? Can’t arrest the weather.”

“Do like they did in the old days, son. Pray for rain.”

Memphis Note
During the summer of 1980, a killer stalked the streets of Memphis, taking 83 lives in less than three weeks. It was a heat wave that locked the city and most of the Midwest in hundred-plus degree temperatures. All of the victims were elderly citizens, and nearly all of those were poor minorities. While the cost in human life was staggering, it helped teach the city how to prepare and manage extreme heat, keeping future death tolls to a minimum.

David Nielsen

Life and Death sat across from each other at a table in the main showroom of a dingy Holiday Inn near the airport. Around them a throng of nerds drifted between board, card and roleplaying games. Memphis GameCon was in full swing.

“I find it remarkable that even after all the times I’ve excoriated you for not taking our divine task seriously, you still insist in making light of it,” Life said humorlessly.

“Aw, c’mon man. Don’t be like that.” Death leaned back in his chair, smirking. “This is awesome!”

Life harrumphed.

“That whole chess game shtick is old news.” Death waved dismissively. “Just be glad I didn’t pick an iPhone game. You’d really be screwed then.”

It was true, Life hadn’t taken to modern technology as easily as death Death. He gave in with a sigh. “Terms?”

“The usual. You win, people live. I win, people die.”

“The method?”

“I dunno know. It’s the South in the Spring. Was thinking a good storm, tornadoes, maybe even hail. Maybe throw in a flood if I beat you really badly.”

“And the game?”

“That’s the best part, man! They’ve got all the games you’d ever want. I’ll even let you pick.”

Memphis Note
Memphis GameCon is a convention for gaming enthusiasts of all kinds held in the fall of every year. The best part of it is the wall of games they’ve cobbled together. They let con attendees come and check the games out like a library, so you can play whatever you want. Forget the bizarre panels on LARPing, go just so you can play out of print games.

Brandon Dill

The storm had ripped through the city. Trees were down, power lines strewn across the ground like spaghetti, roofs, if they were missing, could probably be found a block or two away. Near as anyone could tell, the whole city had gone dark in the storm’s furious wake.

My father immediately organized a round-the-clock neighborhood watch. Drafting my brothers and I, as well as our rather militant neighbor and his massive pickup truck.

The truck was used as a make-shift roadblock into our neighborhood, with a fallen oak blocking the other street in. Camping equipment was pulled out of storage, and in no time, there was an outpost in the middle of our street.

A cooler of beer followed shortly. Then some curious neighbors, and then their beer and ice from rapidly warming fridges. Grills were wheeled out from backyards, charcoal fires making the summer night even hotter.

I grew up running through the yards of some of these people, yet this was the first time I’d spoken to them.

And as my younger brothers ran around zapping each other with barcode scanners they’d scrounged from the militant neighbor’s things, I almost felt thankful for the storm.

Memphis Note
Hurricane Elvis is what they called it. If you ask anyone who’s lived here their whole lives, they’ll tell you it was probably the worst storm they can ever remember. Parts of the city were without power for days.