The Good Stuff
Billy, Elvis and Jesus
Length: 788 words
Stop your negative buttons being pushed.
When it's time
for a better life,
it's time for
The Second Trigger
More Information ...
Billy, Elvis and Jesus
Every morning, the same ritual. You dust both
photographs. Turn Billyís face up again for another day while the coffee brews.
You look at Billy, then at Elvis. Outside the sun is coming up.
You never give up. Not you. Yes, it has been eighteen years since Billy walked
out the door. That door. And ever since the door has grown smaller and the world
beyond it vast and mysterious. A cruel kind of secret, maybe.
Billy, he never said boo. He left without a word. A light sleeper, you would
have heard him if he had a last word or two. You donít know where he went. Heís
never called, never even dropped a postcard.
Mama, when she was still alive, always explained it to you this way. That Billy
went to sow some wild oats. That you must have let him down somehow, him being a
man and all, and you a woman. She said you could read all about it in the Bible.
But you never bothered to read about it. That Bible reminded you too much of
Mama and her runaway mouth.
Mama never knew the truth, that Billy didnít have any wild oats to sow. Billy
wasnít so hot in the tame oats department either. But you got along with him
fine. Oats or not, a warm body next to you on a cold night was a comfort.
Billy was no Casanova, not by a long shot. You always figured he would come home
once he figured this out. Maybe when some woman told him so, and not so sweetly.
You loved him because he was Billy, for his sturdy frame and strong jaw, That
was enough. Still is, sad to say. And this is why it wonít surprise you if he
comes back. That will mean he has learned his lesson, that no one loves him the
way you do.
Itís strange, though. Elvis has been gone a long time too, but somehow itís not
the same. Oh, you know all about the sadness of Elvis being gone. Who doesnít?
You believe that Elvis was a giant among men when he was alive.
Now that heís gone, heís still about ten times bigger than the best of them. You
think about this a lot, how a dead god is better than a cold man.
At the Visualize God In Grits Cafť, you work the lunch counter. You watch men
coming and going, all day long. Some are nice. Others flirt. A few of them give
you the creeps. Older now, you know better than to get involved. Besides, what
would Billy say?
There was a time when you didnít know who Elvis was. Mama changed all that. You
must have been seven years old when she took you to see him in concert. Mama
said the two of you had come along too late to see Jesus in person, but you were
right on schedule for Elvis.
On her deathbed, Mama confessed something. She said that when Daddy climbed atop
her on Saturday nights. She would close her eyes and imagine it was Elvis
instead. Those were almost her last words, as if she was sharing the secret of
Seeing Elvis changed you. What your mother said when her death rattle was tuning
up changed you too.
Tonight, when the sun goes down, youíll be back here again, sitting on your
lonely side of the bed. Youíll look at Billy and Elvis. Youíll turn Billyís
photograph face down for the night. Good night sweet Billy, wherever you are,
That will leave you and Elvis alone together. And you wonít feel the slightest
tinge of shame when you reach for Elvis and hold him close. Itís one of those
lonesome kinds of nights, youíll tell him. You know, when the darkness sneak
inside and puts its arms around you? You know Elvis will give the darkness it
marching papers. He knows all about it.
You will try to stay awake, hoping that Billy is coming home. If he does come
home, this is how you picture it. It will be at dusk. Him coming up the road,
the sun all fiery red through the trees. Lost people need to get home before
dark. At night itís too hard for them to find their way, especially after so
But your eyes will close on their own in their weary way. You know that,
wherever Billy is, heís probably rubbing shoulders with the darkness that Elvis
sent packing. And before you place Elvis back on the bedside table, you will
kiss him like you would Jesus if he ever came back. Some say itís just a matter
Peace, Love, And Rock n' Roll
Buy at AllPosters.com
the first to review this story - click here.