Elvis in Oaxaca
Blue blossoms scatter like swallows as we roar through the cut under the swollen boughs. Now the desert....
Nice way to travel, I say.
Yeah, says Ajo. Diamente's a bargain.
Fly, you see nothing, I say.
Great landscape, says Ajo. Too bad the window doesn't open, can't get any good shots. Reflection shit.
If we'd rented a car, I say.
Be hijacked, says Ajo.
Not on this highway, man, I say.
Dunno, says Ajo. I see great stretches of loneliness out here.
Oaxaca, I say. That's where they rob and rape.
Been there, says Ajo. Four years ago, didn't get robbed.
Where'd you stay? I say.
An old monastery, says Ajo. Verrry nice.
Yeah, I say. Guess you can trust a priest.
Lotta UFO sightings in Oaxaca, says Ajo.
See one? I say.
Didn't see any, says Ajo. Shit, sat up all night at the ruins, saw squat.
UFO sightings are a religious phenomena, I say.
Oaxaca is big time religious, says Ajo. Saw Elvis.
You saw Elvis in Oaxaca? I say.
I saw Elvis in Oaxaca, says Ajo. Mex of course, the final phase. Fat and fucked.
What, I say, was he on the street?
At the Camino, says Ajo. He was, like, wearing one of those Mexican suits.
A charro, I say.
Charro, yeah, says Ajo. A cowboy without a horse.
Was he singing? I say.
Hunka Hunka Burnin' Love baby, says Ajo.
Have a band? I say.
One of those programmed keyboards, says Ajo.
Elvis, I say.
One of the many, says Ajo.
From the astral plane, I say.
Didn't you write a novel once called The Kloning of the King? says Ajo.
Maybe, I say. Probably.
Whatever happened to it? says Ajo.
No idea, I say. Rotting in a suitcase somewhere.
Right when he died, says Ajo.
Yeah, I got pissed that night, I say. Then wrote the bastard in three days.
Think I wrote something too, says Ajo.
Everybody did, I say.
But you predicted the cloning phenomena, says Ajo.
Wasn't hard, I say. Elvis had clones before he was dead. My wife's first boyfriend, for example.
Woa...! says Ajo. Is that her problem?
Dan was his name, I say. Couldn't sing, just went through the moves with a record player.
That ain't so bad, says Ajo. My wife's brother thinks he's John Lennon.
Yes, I say, there're a few Lennons around too.
Never been out of Vancouver, says Ajo. Speaks with a Liverpool accent. 45 years old.
Arrange to have him shot, I say.
Shoot myself, says Ajo. Fuckin' owes me big time.
You loan him money? I say.
Had this idea for selling posters on the Internet, says Ajo. Thirty grand, nuthin' to show for it.
Except a Liverpool accent, I say.
Paper boy, says Ajo. 45 and all he can do is sell newspapers.
Think my family is worse, I say.
Don't think so, says Ajo.
Distracted for a few moments as the bus banks around the rim of a big valley. Small brown pueblo in the distance... clusters of bee boxes... red sand and red boulders... buzzards drifting in lazy eights in the cobalt and the ruined mountains stacked like blue pyramids.
The hostess cruises the aisle, handing out sandwiches, cans of pop. Her finger nails are gleaming red.
Fun In Acapulco, I say. Ever seen that?
That might be Elvis' worst movie, says Ajo.
Ursula Andress, I say.
What a waste, says Ajo.
Elvis is a lifeguard, I say.
Bizzarro, says Ajo. Came down to it, he couldn't even save himself.
He jumps off a 140 foot cliff, I say.
Yeah, pool boy drives around in a little red sports car, says Ajo. Sings a buncha dumb songs.
Well Lennon was right about that, I say. Elvis died when he went into the army, Lennon said.
"No Room To Rhumba In A Sports Car", says Ajo. Bet you don't remember that.
Was that a hit? I say.
No, says Ajo. Nuthin' from Fun In Acapulco made the charts.
Wonder why he did it? I say. Make all those flakey movies....
Colonel Tom, says Ajo. Elvis wus his puppet.
Colonel Tom, I say. According to Goldman's bio, Elvis figured Colonel Tom was pretty funny.
Those movies just got worse and worse, says Ajo.
He got passed by, I say. Couldn't compete with the English invasion.
Elvis was a victim of Southern fundamentalism, says Ajo. Gospel got the upper hand.
No way, I say. He was very seedy.
Southern fundamentalism, says Ajo. Think Jimmy Swaggert.
Cousin of Jerry Lee Lewis, I say. Jerry Lee got pissed one night, crashed his caddy into the gates at Graceland. Wanted to fight with Elvis.
Elvis had a black belt y'know, says Ajo.
Yes, I say, but did he earn it?
Probably not, says Ajo. It's all show biz.
Fun In Acapulco, I say. I can't wait. We could stay at that hotel.
Which hotel? says Ajo.
The Acapulco Princess, I say. The one they used for the Elvis movie.
Probably been tore down, says Ajo. I say we stay at the Camino.
Camino's cool, I say. I'm sure it has its own ghosts.
the abyss that meanders everywhere »»»»
© Lawrence Russell
Culture Court 2000