"I saw the King!" I exclaimed breathlessly to Uncle Spud."He was in a big black limousine in St. George when I was there last week. I knew it was him. I'd recognize those sideburns and that frozen-lipped, Novocain-like sneer anywhere."
"Surely you are mistaken," Uncle Spud smiled. "Elvis's condition has been stable since he died of a drug overdose in 1977."
"Oh no, It was him all right," I insisted. "He was all decked out in rhinestones with his collar turned up in the back like someone had just taken him down from a coat hook."
"It must have been an impostor," Uncle Spud smiled knowingly, "there are thousands of them out there."
"It was an impostor," I said with a big smile. "But it was the real Elvis too. I got a chance to talk to the guy and he told me the whole story."
"Do tell," Uncle Spud smiled as he thumbed through an old issue of Rolling Stone magazine and sipped a state-approved, diet Dr. Pepper.
Elvis lives in Hurricun now and works as an Elvis impersonator."
"It's Hurricane," Uncle Spud corrected.
"Not in Southern Utah," I smiled. "I've been down there, and they call the place Hurricun. They only spell it Hurricane."
"Whatever," Uncle Spud snorted. "Hurricun, crick, harse, and warshed.Those southern Utah folks have a language all their own. Comes with being isolated and talking to turtles and armadillos for so many years, I guess."
"Anyway," I said, eager to get back to my story. "Elvis said that he got tired of all the glitz and hassle. Every time he went out people would mob him for his autograph and tear his clothes off. He couldn't pass the time at Pizza Hut, amble through Albertson's, or wander through Wal-Mart without being accosted. He said it got to be a real drag. He had to wear his makeup, dark glasses, clean underwear, pompadour wig, and sexy sneer, all the time. What he really wanted was to be more like you and me. You know, sort of low-key, laid-back, and slothful."
"He said he wanted to be able to eat a gooey chilly dog with his fingers, drink root beer from a can, wear a 'Save the Whales' T-shirt with his belly hanging out, not shave for a week if he didn't feel like it, and be able to scratch in public without seeing a picture of it in the National Enquirer."
"I can relate to that," Uncle Spud smiled. "I've experienced most of those things."
"Well, Elvis couldn't do any of those things," I said. "And so he did what any red-blooded, red-necked, hillbilly boy would do under similar circumstances. He simply ran away and ended up living under an assumed name in Hurricun, Utah. He told me all about it."
"Why in the world would he go to Hurricun?" Uncle Spud asked.
"Hurricun is perfect," I smiled. "Hurricun is a tourist town full of strangers. He'd be spotted right away in a place like Carbonville where the locals already know who is strange in town."
"So what happened to all his money, big cars, airplanes, show girls, and southern mansion?" Uncle Spud asked.
"He gave it all up for a service station job, a rented room and a satellite TV dish," I said. "Sometimes people have to drown in money to discover what is really important to them, and it's not always money."
"His family was so disappointed that they declared him dead, but they still make a fat living showing off his empty room and blue suede shoes at Graceland." I said.
"Elvis works at the Turtle Town Texaco in Toquerville during the day and does Elvis impersonations at night at various civic and tourist events around St. George and Mesquite. Some folks say he sounds a lot like Elvis, and if he were to lose about 40 pounds and dye his gray hair a little darker, he might even look like him a little bit too."
"Amazing story," Uncle Spud smiled. "Makes me wonder what ever happened to Tiny Tim. There's this guy downtown who works atÃ¯Â¿Â½ "
"Forget it!" I said. "Let's go to town and buy some more diet Dr. I got from Elvis, the impersonator."
"Suits me," he said, "but you'll have to buy. Money isn't important to me. I gave up all my money and a lucrative career as a John Wayne impersonator for a rocking chair and a rented room here in beautiful downtown Price."
"Don't tell me," I said. "You must be just like Elvis?"
"Just a hunka, hunka, burnin' love," Uncle Spud giggled, "Ask any of the girls at the senior citizens center."