Elvis phoned at midnight. There was no mistaking that voice.
"You want the scoop
of a lifetime, man? Right now the whole world is observing the 25th
anniversary of my so-called death. Have I got news for y'all.
Meet me at the old Pixie Drive-in in thirty. Don't be late. No
cameras. Remember, I know karate."
I got there ten minutes
early, parked facing the highway and was watching for a stretch-limo
to pull in when my passenger door opened and Elvis climbed in. He
looked good for a 67-year-old. His hair was cotton white and combed
in the bouffant style of the early years. He wore trim blue jeans
and a dark shirt with the collar turned up. That upper lip twitched.
"I guess you're
wondering why I phoned, man. Well I'll tell ya. Politicians
and CEOs are ruining the country."
This was rich. "So
you came back to tell us how to get on the right track?"
"No man, it wasn't
as noble as all that. It's... it's my stocks, man."
"Do I have to spell
it out for ya? My 401K went bust, man, I need some endorsements
quick; or social security, one or the other."
Suddenly it all made
sense. The King was a pauper.
"Don't look at
me that way," he said. "You got questions?"
"Yes, why me? You
could've called anyone. Peter Jennings, Rush Limbaugh, Anna
"They turned me down, man. You're the only one who believed me, thank ya vurr much."
"So who's that in your grave at Graceland?"
"Joe Bob Stamper,
man. Best impersonator I ever seen, far as looks and personality
went. Too bad for him he couldn't sing a lick. He was wasting
his life in this little dive outside Tupelo. I offered him the
chance of a lifetime. Joe Bob did it my way and was happy to do it.
It was his greatest performance; fooled all the doctors."
"Incredible. Where have you been staying the past quarter century?"
"Vegas, man, where
else? Out there I'm just one more impersonator." He
snapped his fingers. "Ask away, man, I got an early flight to
LA tomorrow to find an agent."
"You're looking great, Elvis. How-?"
"Took up running in
the 80s like everybody else, then went on this Dr. Adkins
high-protein diet. That includes peanut butter and banana sandwiches
man; fried baloney, too. Best of both worlds."
"Right. Uh, how did 9-11 make you feel?"
"You had to ask. I'm
all shook up. Is that the answer you wanted? You playing me for
laughs, man?" His hands caressed the air in some martial arts
"No, no, I'm your biggest fan."
"I ain't got
no more cars to give away, if that's your angle. But to answer
your question, Tricky Dick had the right idea. Only good Republican
president we've had the past 30 years. He made me a special
agent. I can show you the badge. I sent feelers out to George the
Elder, but he didn't want to be associated with my long hair.
Now his own boy's into Ozzy Osbourne. Go figure. They could've
made me a special agent and sent me to the Middle East, like in
Harum Scarum. I don't mean to brag, man, but I was a pretty
convincing A-rab in that film."
"What about President Clinton?"
nothin' bad about Bubba. Kid after my own heart. He had me on
the payroll for a while."
"Let's just say Bubba had good taste in women and food, not to mention music, and leave it at that."
"What do you think of today's music?"
"You call that
music? When I turn on the radio I'm sorry I ever put rock 'n'
roll on the map. It was all down hill after the BeeGees went disco.
Let's wrap this up man."
"What do you do for fun?"
"I get out, put in
an appearance at McDonald's or a gas station, just to keep a
presence in the tabloids. Sometimes I cut a new record and slip 'em
into the archives, so they'll keep the boxed sets coming. Had
the number one record in England this summer; you can look it up. ‘A
Little Less Conversation.'"
"You mean we're finished?"
"No man. It's
the name of the song. Never mind. Listen, I've gotta go. See
ya on the news. It's now or never."