January 08, 2008

Happy Birthday, Elvis!

Happy Birthday, Elvis!
The sign above was in our movie theatre's window in Lawton, Oklahoma when I was a kid. A friend worked there as a ticket taker, and she got it for me. I treasured it for years, and it's got a permanent home in my scrapbook.
As a tribute to Elvis, I'm posting a short story from my Free Pecan Pie and Other Chick Stories book. The story has been posted all over the Internet, and was even read once on an Irish radio station (with my permission):
Elvis Has Left the Building–And Is Living In My Computer
by Janelle Meraz Hooper
Elvis is still alive. I know it. I have proof. And I don’t mean the kind of proof where some guy who’s had too much beer stops at a local filling station and sees Elvis filling up his Eldorado with regular gas. What a joke. Everyone knows that Elvis uses super.
And I don’t mean like that guy outside of the basketball arena waving a sign that says, “Elvis parks here.” Everyone knows that Elvis is way too cool for basketball.
No, I’m talking about tangible down to earth evidence that the King of Rock n’ Roll is alive and well—and living in my computer.
Yep. That’s what I said. Right here in my outdated computer that I call Ole Trigger because it doesn’t have enough guts to boot up all of my fancy printers and scanners on the same day, much less at the same time.
Whenever I want to do anything more complicated than word-processing, I have to delete the non-color printer and drivers, load the color printer, print, and let Ole Trigger rest for a day or so. Then I can load the color scanner, do my scanning, delete the color printer and scanner from my hard drive, re-load the black and white printer and its drivers, and let Trigger rest again for a couple of days until it feels up to fetching my E-mails. Sometimes, if my preacher cousin sends me a long message, it just gets all tuckered out and has to be rebooted. I keep a special pair of cowboy boots next to my PC just for this purpose.
As far as I can tell, Elvis moved into my computer a few days before the Fourth of July. That’s when I sent a color poster of The King to my editor, who’s an Elvis fan, wishing her Happy Fourth! It was a photo that showed Elvis in all his glory: gold metallic suit, slick pompadour hair, and white buck shoes.
Of course he had that special look of his on his face, like he’d just jammed a guitar pick up his nose and was wondering if he wanted to get it out or just leave it there because it felt good. It was pure, vintage Elvis, and I blew it up full size before I sent it to her via e-mail. I should have known something had gone wrong when she said she never got it—that was because he never left.
He took up 486 bits or bytes or whatever that stuff is called, but he was kind of cool, so I didn’t delete him right away as I should have. A few days later, I began to find strange messages on my computer when I brought up my screen in the morning. Messages like, “Warning! Your memory system is running dangerously low. Norton antivirus system may not be working correctly.” Oh, happy 99! Oh, Melissa!
I went into Trigger’s guts and started deleting everything that wouldn’t make me stop breathing if I didn’t have it. I even deleted—augh!—Elvis, but the messages kept coming: “Warning, warning! Danger! Danger!”
The next time I used my graphics software, I noticed that Elvis was still on the menu. I deleted him. He came back. I deleted him again. He came back again. By that time, his lips were starting to move, and his suit was beginning to shimmer. I don’t know why he doesn’t leave, except that maybe he’s finally found someplace to hide out where people have to leave him alone—sort of like having that hotel he sings about all to himself.
For myself, I’ve given up and just deleted Norton. I know when I’m beat. Sometimes, in the middle of the night, I wake up and hear the lonesome sound of Elvis humming and strumming a guitar in my computer.
Sure beats anything I ever heard from Norton.

Read more about my Free Pecan Pie and Other Chick Stories book and others on my main website:


While you're there, check out the sample chapters on my new novel, Custer and His Naked Ladies...

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