Devotion, by Mitchell Grabois

1.

The female Elvis impersonator gets on the plane, her body a wooden crate that barely fits in the aisle. By the time she finds her seat she’s fuming so hard, she sympathizes with the most recent maniac with an automatic weapon. She calms herself with vodka tonics. Her wife gently strokes her arm. After the third vodka, Elvis is muttering: What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. Her muttering is as persistent as Jack Nicholson’s typing in The Shining: All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.

Other Elvis impersonators await her on Vegas stages. She clutches the latest issue of Elvis Impersonator. There are a half-dozen acts she wants to see on this trip. She will sit in her seat, anonymous to them. They won’t know that she is one of them unless she walks up after the show and introduces herself. But she won’t do it. She knows what their response will be: a bored look. They don’t have her dedication, her devotion. To them, it’s become just a job. They’ve been worn down by life. They don’t have Elvis in them the way she does in her blocky, powerful body. She always feels let down by their shows, like a compulsive porn viewer who never gets off. She’s been impersonating Elvis since she was a little girl, long before she understood her lesbianism. Her wife is tired of seeing Elvis impersonators, but understands that it is her partner’s passion and passion must be respected.

 

2.

I want to return to Italy, eat octopus in a little bistro in the Cinque Terre, hike high into the hills the next morning, sit on a rock and look down on the seaside villages, mere blurs of color to my tired eyes. The last time I was there with my wife, the trail between the villages was slick with recent rain. She slipped at the top of a wooden staircase and bounced down the steps on her ample derriere.

I rushed to her sitting at the bottom. She said: Would you like to see that again?

That was before age caught up with us and made pratfalls less humorous, then not humorous at all.

 

***

Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois has had over a thousand of his poems and fictions appear in literary magazines in the U.S. and abroad. He has been nominated for numerous prizes. His novel, Two-Headed Dog, based on his work as a clinical psychologist in a state hospital, is available for Kindle and Nook, or as a print edition. To see more of his work, google Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois. He lives in Denver.

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