Elvis Likes Little Richard

Contributor: Chris Sharp

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I am living in a senior housing community with many old timers. Apparently, they all remember Elvis Presley vividly. The truth is, I am not young myself, but at age 55 I am old enough to qualify for this season’s low-cost senior colonies. So after being here for over a half a year, I developed the idea that the only reason why these people are not dying off like old flies is because of the rejuvenating way they have redecorated their old histories.
My next door neighbor has told me she has recently been visited by Elvis himself. He has arrived in her dreams at night, and like a side-burned vampire he disappeared at sunrise. But then Elvis returned the next night. My neighbor wants to tell the world about this. She is not the most computer literate person in the world, so when I offered to release her story to the “World Wide Web,” she reacted as if I were performing a miracle... Now she is so grateful to me she has given me the use of her garage – since she owns no car herself – for the use of any of my friends who might come driving in to visit me.
So here she is – the woman who so loves the King so much she has given up her garage for his sake (and for my sake).

My name is Melanie, and no one had ever called me “Mellie” but Elvis Presley visited me and the first thing he did was call me “Mellie.”
He apologized that he had arrived in the form of a common dream. “You have to put up with so much useless junk in dreams. Mellie, I used to dream an awful lot in my life,” he explained to me softly. He had those big lips that animated themselves with each word he spoke, like lips had little lives of their own.
He was dressed the way I had seen him in magazines, in tight pants and silver all around him, from his ankles to his neck. All his sequins and womanly taffeta were sitting in the plain old chair I was thinking of taking out of my bedroom because no one ever sat in it. But at that point Elvis had given this chair a royal crown just by plopping on it.
“I want to want to thank you, Mellie, for being a fan of mine.”
“How could I not be a fan of yours?” I said, and then I smacked my mouth when I realized I had interrupted him.
“There are so many good fans, and now I know them all. You see, to understand my music, you have to be a good person.”
“Are you a ghost, Elvis?”
He smiled at me, with those sweet long teeth of his.
“I am in Heaven now,” he said, proud as a boy. “I was one messed up dude, so it surprised me that the Old Guy thought of me as Heavenly material. But he explained it to me.”
“Is the Old Guy ‘God?’”

He nodded and went right on.
“It turned out that my music changed the face of America, in a way that pleased the Old Guy. You see all my music came from African-American roots. What I did was put the black music in my white body and pass it out again.”
“And then there flowed the integration of all the races in America,” I pitched in. “Marvelous, Elvis.”
That Elvis was pleased I understood. Then he was delighted I knew what he was talking about by the old black rock’n rollers Chuck Berry and Little Richard and how they influenced his own early music. At last he stood and swayed a little, like the old concert energy was getting to him.
“May I ask a little favor, Mellie?”
He stepped toward me until those hound-dog eyes were inches from mine. “I want you to buy up the old Little Richard music, Mellie, and play it when you sleep.”
I repeated what he said, but even then it didn’t make sense to me.
He explained that by my fulfilling his wish, he would glean this music into his consciousness again. “Little Richard isn’t played much in Heaven, not like my music anyway. But my own music depends on how his inspires me.”
“You’re coming back?”

“Mellie, I need my man’s Little Richard sound again, if my own sound is going be fresh.”
So I started buying up Little Richard’s music wherever I could find it. Then I played it all day and night, until the music started the movements going in my dreams. In those dreams I kept seeing Elvis in that chair, clapping his hands, snapping his fingers, bobbing his head while his shaggy hair flew around.
This lasted about a month. About that time I got so tired of Little Richard that I listened to the Beatles to erase that other lingering sound.
Then the other day I was at a restaurant to treat myself to lunch. It was a habit of mine to splurge myself on the day I receive my monthly check. But this lunch was different. The cashier up front wouldn’t take my payment.
“A young man has paid for your lunch,” she told me.
I looked around everywhere. “Where is he?” I asked. “What does he look like?”
“Tell you the truth, he looked exactly Elvis Presley.”
Meanwhile, the cashier looked like she was just having another day.

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Chris Sharp has many stories in Linguistic Erosion, Yesteryear Fiction and Weirdyear. His current stories most hit on the Internet by readers are under Google: “Short stories by Chris Sharp.”
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