Elvis Presley Mutters to Himself After a Giggling Fit Onstage in Las Vegas, 1969 (John Waddy Bullion)

Fourteen years right down the drain. Fourteen years just shot right there. Fourteen years gone in the blink of an eye. Fourteen years is just a drop in a bucket. Fourteen years is an eternity. Fourteen years old but she looks twenty-five. Fourteen years old but she’s still playing with teddy bears. Fourteen years old but it’s okay because her momma threw herself at us too. Fourteen years ago we got good at spotting the ones wearing falsies. Fourteen years ago they tore the clothes right off us backstage at the Gator Bowl. Fourteen years ago we used to stop the bus at every firecracker stand. Fourteen years ago we were still carrying unlit cigarettes around in our mouths. Fourteen years ago we paid them fifty cents apiece just to stand there and scream. Fourteen years ago was the last time they saw advance sales like this. Fourteen years ago Cary Grant was trying to keep from fumbling that blonde off of that Italian rooftop and now here he is, just a-setting there in the front row, gaping right up at us. Fourteen years ago all this was nothing but desert. 

Fourteen years from now who knows what’ll be here. Fourteen years from now who knows if we’ll still be around. Fourteen years from now who knows if there’ll still be enough hair on our heads to slather up with three kinds of oil. Fourteen years from now maybe we’ll be able to squeeze into those mohair jackets again. Fourteen years from now maybe we’ll find us a Caddy the same shade of pink as the one we drove down Beale that summer. Fourteen years from now maybe we’ll open up our briefcases and dump out all those dirty socks and pill bottles. Fourteen years from now maybe we’ll behave ourselves at the Beverly Wilshire. Fourteen years from now maybe our fan club president will stroll right up to us in the lobby and introduce herself as “Prez-lee”. Fourteen years from now maybe we’ll start to correct her pronunciation before we think the better of it. Fourteen years from now maybe we’ll just smile and tell her what she really needs to hear: that she’s the spitting image of her momma. 


John Waddy Bullion’s writing has appeared in BULL, HAD, Maudlin House, Rejection Letters, and Identity Theory, among other fine places. He lives in Fort Worth, Texas, with his family. Follow him on Twitter @jonwaddy.


image: MM Kaufman of folk artist Howard Finster’s “Elvis.”