ORIGINAL FICTION: “The Man Who Would Not Be King” (Part 2)

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PLEASE NOTE: This is Part 2 of the story. Part 1 is online here: http://www.republibot.com/content/original-fiction-man-who-would-not-be-...

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Outside Dressing Room 17, the Security Chief straightened his tie and smoothed out the wrinkles in his pants as best he could. He was nervous. Summoning up some of his famous resolve, however, he reminded himself that “The King of Rock and Roll” was a man just like any other, and knocked on the door.

“Who is it?” The King asked, in his unmistakable West Texas drawl.

“Presley. Aaron Presley. From Pinkertons. I’m in charge of security here tonight,” the chief said.

“Come in. Come on in,” the king said. Aaron took a deep breath, and did as he was told, and handed his ID over to the man for his perusal.

The king was not an imposing figure, rather short and a little goofy looking, slightly bug-eyed and hopelessly myopic, which he attempted to hide with sunglasses, whether indoors or out. He’d had some plastic surgery to fix his jug-ears, and dressed entirely in black. Even with his oddball looks, he was already the most popular musician of the twentieth century, and not yet thirty. This was the man who, along with Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, and Buddy Holly, had invented Rock and Roll a decade before, and in the years since had led the mad charge to transform it in to something newer, stronger, better, stranger and more operatic and glorious and strange and unique. He was a living legend, he was a genius, he was brilliant, and if he was kind of on the ugly side, so what? ‘It’s supposed to be about the music,’ Aaron thought, ‘Can you imagine what it would be like if the look was more important than the sound? What a travesty.’

Aaron had been around a lot of legends, of course, but for some reason the musical ones always made his head swim. He was a naturally musical guy.

The King looked at the ID, then handed it back to the Security Chief. “E. Aaron Presley?“ He asked, “What’s the ‘E’ For?”

“Gah. It’s…well, it’s an embarrassing family name. I don’t use it.” he answered.

“Oh, we’ve got that in my family, too. I’m not even going to tell you about some of the unseemly names we’ve got ‘mongst my kin. Is that a Memphis accent I hear?”

“Sort of. I was born in Mississippi, but we moved there when I was young.”

“Well thank God you’re here,” The King said, “You know I was always told Florida was part of the south, but there’s so many Yankees around here I may as well be in Ohio or Canada. It’s nice to hear a voice from home.”

And just like that, Aaron was at ease again. He’d heard about The King being a class act, but he’d never realized just how smooth the man was. He had an idiot daydream of himself in circumstances like these, a life of ease and artistic talent - he’d been tolerable on guitar, and was a good singer in the church choir - but of course stupid ugly reality got in the way. Once again, he lamented his life, and wondered how he’d gotten so far without ever really feeling like he belonged. It was as if being around this man was a reminder of how off-track his own life had become. He mentally cursed at himself - now was not the time for such reveries, and spoke.

“Thank you, sir,” he said.

“So how can I help you, Mr. Presley?” The King asked, while crossing the room and sitting down on the couch.

“Actually, that’s what I wanted to ask you, Mr. Orbison, Sir.” Aaron said.

“Roy, please.”

“Sorry…Roy…Is there anything I can do for you?”

“Oh, no, Claudette and I are quite happy, aren’t we, honey?”

“…yes…” came a distracted voice from the back room.

“Well, alright sir. I just wanted you to know that everything is under tight control tonight, and we aren’t expecting any problems.”

“I don’t reckon so,” Orbison said, “but I figure the audience is giving you Pinkertons boys fits.”

“Between you and me, I’d rather provide security at a riot,” Aaron said.

Orbison laughed politely, surprising Aaron.

“Is the president actually here?” He asked.

“Nixon? Yes sir, Aaron replied, “In fact he requested you for the entertainment you know.”

“Yep. So I heard. Actually, I doubt he’s that big of a fan. I think he’s just trying to look hip.”

“Probably.” There was an awkward moment of silence.

“Uhm….” Aaron volunteered, “I was talking to Captain Reynolds a little while ago - he asked if there was any way I could arrange a meeting with you afterwards…”

“Burt Reynolds?”

“Yessir.”

“I didn’t realize he was gonna’ be here! Mercy! Tell him that I asked *you* if you could arrange a meeting with him!” he said excitedly. Aaron laughed, while The King went on, “I don’t get to meet the first man in space every day! Man, I’d love to discuss aeronautics with him!”

“Oh?”

“Yeah, I always wanted to be a pilot but…you know, with my eyes…it was music or the oil fields. Still, I love planes…”

While talking, Roy started to scribble something down on a large sheet of paper, and handed it to Aaron.

“What’s this?”

“Autograph. You looked like you lost the nerve to ask for one.”

“Thank you! Thank you sir!”

Aaron left.

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