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Blue Suede Shoes

 by Terri Hanauer

            John Pole was an obituary writer. A good one. He met his future wife in 1977. Their first encounter was at the Chicago Tribune, when she came in asking to meet the man who’d written the obituary for Elvis Presley. She’d been a fan – well, more than a fan. She had a little thing with him after one of his concerts in Vegas. She snuck backstage at the International Hotel and begged the guard at the door to let her in. Actually, she fondled his privates. No one had ever done that to Samson McShane before, not once in the 15 years he’d worked security. So when it happened to him, he couldn’t wait to get to the employees’ locker room and brag about the petite blonde who dry-jerked him – and all he had to do was leave the stage door ajar.

            This was the gorgeous period when Elvis’ black velvet eyes gushed into the heart of every woman with a beating vagina. Mary Beth’s was pulsating like no tomorrow. She was only twenty, and apart from the frat boys who were too drunk to do anything and her Uncle Francis who just wanted to watch her jump up and down on her bed, she was still a virgin.

            She slipped into the dressing room after his first show and locked the door. Elvis was already too drugged to hear anything except his mother yodeling. He still dreamt about her. He still longed for his home in Tennessee. He still wept at the murder of his innocence.

            Mary Beth slid off her pink cotton panties that had Saturday embroidered on the back. His sweaty, white jumpsuit was hanging. Mary Beth wiped her face in it because she wanted to smell him forever. He moaned in his sleep. She kissed his perfect mouth.

O lips. O cherries of the Gods. O vessels from which songs of ecstasy pour forth. He was wearing silk pajama bottoms. She reached in and took it out. She kissed him again and made it stand on its own. Then she lifted her skirt up high and climbed on down. He moaned some more. She hoped he’d sing Blue Suede Shoes because it was her favorite. He didn’t. So she did.

            He poured his music into her – that’s what she called it – his beautiful music.

            Elvis turned his head as she unlocked the door. “Hey baby,” he slurred, “that was real nice.”

            When she read his obituary eight years later, Mary Beth marched into John Pole’s office and slapped him across the face. Then she kissed him. The slap was for Elvis’ untimely demise. The kiss was for honoring him, for not smutting up his death, for not mentioning that he’d been on the toilet straining with a bowel movement that put a great deal of pressure on his heart.

            Mary Beth died twenty-two years later. John wrote her obituary. The first lines read, “Mary Beth Pole, Elvis Presley’s secret paramour, died peacefully in her sleep, surrounded by her loved ones. Blue Suede Shoes played in the background as Saint Peter welcomed her through the Pearly Gates.”

            John Pole was an obituary writer. A good one. But he left out something important. Behind Saint Peter was Elvis, waiting, barefoot.


About the Author

Teri Hanauer is a woman, mother, writer, poet, actor, director, photographer, supporter of human rights, dreamer, explorer, jester, meditator, friend, activist, Canadian/American, traveler, sister and daughter. She's been cut in half (Teri was magician Doug Henning’s assistant), had her baby blessed by Stevie Wonder, and been hugged by the hugging saint, Amma.

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