Don Williams
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Don Williams is a prize-winning columnist, blogger, fiction writer, sometime TV commentator, and is the founder and editor emeritus of New Millennium Writings, an annual anthology of stories, essays and poems. His awards include a National Endowment for the Humanities Journalism Fellowship at the University of Michigan, a Golden Presscard Award from Sigma Delta Chi Society of Professional Journalists, a best Commentary Award from SDC, Best Feature Writing from the Associated Press Tennessee Managing Editors, the Malcolm Law Journalism Prize from the Associated Press, Best Non-Deadline Reporting from the United Press International, Best Novel Excerpt from the Knoxville Writers Guild, a Peacemaker Award from the Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance, five Writer of the Month Awards from the Scripps Howard Newspaper chain, and many others. In 2011 he was inducted into the East Tennessee Writers Hall of Fame. His 2005 book of journalism, Heroes, Sheroes and Zeroes is under revision for a second printing, and he is at work on a novel and a book of journalism. His columns appear at and have been featured at many other well-known websites. To run his column, gratis, at your website, post this link to a dedicated spot: Need a speaker, panelist, tv commentator or teacher for your group or to lead a writing workshop, in your town? Email

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When Elvis' 401(k) goes bust, it prompts midnight visit from pauper-king
(Copyright by Don Williams, All rights reserved   08/09/2002)

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 Nicole...."

"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 move.

"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?"

"Don't say nothin' bad about Bubba. Kid after my own heart. He had me on the payroll for a while."

"Doing what?"

"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."