Here’s the 360 words I did with it (and I wasn’t the only one who saw Elvis in there somewhere):
All Shook Up
In the waste of the morning, you appear as freshly garish as you had last night. Elvis in death drag. Tourists river around you, starting their Lent in T-shirts, cargo shorts and continental breakfasts, heavy on the pastries.
You’re like that every time: like Elvis tried out for Kiss and (being Elvis) managed to overdo it. You’re why I’ve trolled Mardi Gras since that time in New Orleans. The donut-pudge, the swaggering stride.
Yep, you’re Elvis.
My mother was your biggest fan. That’s about all I know of her. She died when I was two. Dad hated you, but tolerated your music coz of Mom. The same way he tolerated me.
Your zebra-striped cape ruffles at a passing taxi. You twist toward me.
I drop my double espresso. You never made eye contact before.
A black finger pokes from spotless opera gloves pinning me to the balcony. When the finger wiggles, I feel it in my chest like a wire tugging me toward you. I stumble through the guest room, not sure whether my feet are accepting your invitation or fleeing for their lives.
You pivot as I approach. Auburn hair whisks past my face trailing a familiar scent. Peach blossoms. Vertigo punches me in the nose.
It’s about friggin’ time.
Keeping that sack of bones and flesh animated is grueling work. Only so much a fat-and-sugar diet can do. If I see another greasy fritter, I’m gonna firebomb a bakery.
Didn’t think I could secure the kind of connection I’d need to make the exchange, but then you showed up. Your shock of recognition–it wasn’t the Elvis-is-not-dead tabloid shock. It dug deeper. I know, because that tiger pit of self-abnegating adoration caught me.
For ten years, I nurtured our little link until I figured I had you.
But I didn’t—no, not really, not until you got close and recognized me, not the King. Shook me up too.
Poor thing, looking like a parade float plowed you over.
The mom in me might’ve martyred herself, halted the exchange, but I’d been in that corpse too long to let sentimentality get in my way.
Sorry ’bout that, kiddo.