The following Tuesday, I finished work at the same time as Uncle Vernie so we were going to head home together. I thought I’d take a chance at finding Elvis at the studio since Miss Marion hadn’t been sure about the time.
“Hey, can we pass by the studio over here?”
“But you don’t have your guitar with you.”
“Not to record. Just wanna ask a question.”
“Oh, OK. I’ll wait for you outside and have a smoke.”
I walked in and Miss Marion, who was watering her plants, turned when she heard the door. She placed the water can on her desk and came toward me.
“Hi there,” she said.
“Hello, Miss Marion. You remember me?”
“Yes, I do. But sorry, the studio isn’t available right now. I wish you would’ve called so you wouldn’t waste a trip over here.”
“Oh, no, I’m not ready to record yet. Remember, I said I might stop by …”
“Oh, yes. Well, you’re in luck. Elvis is here.”
“That’s great. I would like to say hey if I’m not interrupting.”
“I’m sure that would be fine. We’re still waiting on another musician. I’ll go get him for you.” She walked to the door and then looked back at me. “Sorry, your name again?”
“Yes, that’s right.”
“Well, actually…tell him it’s Junior from Wonder Bread. He’ll know.”
“Whatever you say.” She smiled and walked into the studio area. I stepped closer to the window and saw Elvis from behind and three other men standing around. He turned around when Marion came close to him, and I saw him laugh after she told him I was there. I walked toward the door to meet him.
“Junior, what a surprise!” Elvis shook my hand and patted me on the back.
“Glad I caught you here. I’ve been listening to you on the radio. I’m excited for you.”
“Thanks. That’s right; we saw each other before all this craziness.”
“I bet you’re very busy these days, getting famous and all.”
Elvis blushed. “Oh, I’m just having a good time.”
“You’re a good singer. Me and my folks went to see your first concert back in July.”
“That’s real nice of you to say. So, what’d you think of the show?”
“I thought you were great. But older folks were shocked to see you and your pants go wild.”
“Boy, Junior, I was so nervous.” He wiped his forehead as if in relief that the nerve-racking first performance was over. “I couldn’t even stand on my own two feet. I tell ya, my insides were shakin’… like… like a leaf on a tree.”
“Leaf on a tree, huh? Hadn’t heard that before. Maybe you should write a song and use that line.”
“Not a bad idea. But I’ll make it about a girl and not my nerves.”
“Well, keep up your shakin’ because the chicks sure loved it.”
“Maybe I should take some dance lessons,” he said this as if he was actually considering it. “You know, so I’m not all shook up every time I’m on stage.”
This guy sure had a wild energy, even off the stage; he just couldn’t keep still. He kept on switching his footing and adjusting his shirt.
Elvis signaled to the window leading to the studio. “We’re gonna be working on a few songs tonight. You’ll hear them on the radio soon, I hope.”
“I’m sure I will.”
“Don’t know what they are yet, but these cats are professionals and I’m awfully lucky to be working with them.” He passed his fingers through his slicked back hair. Then he wiped his hand on his black baggy pants. “Boy, my hair’s got a mind of its own. I have to start buying the good stuff.”
“That’s why I keep mine short, otherwise it’ll be …”
We both laughed.
“Exactly. Maybe I’ll start growing sideburns instead,” I teased.
“Copy cat,” said Elvis as he gave me a fake punch on my shoulder. “Still playing guitar?”
“Yep. I actually got a new one, a semi-acoustic.”
“That’s great! Keep it up. Stick to your dream, you know.”
Miss Marion came back into the office and finished tending to her plants.
“Well, I don’t want to interrupt your work. I just wanted to say hey.”
“That’s all right, Junior.” Elvis stood next to me and put his left arm over my shoulder. “Hey, Miss Marion, what do you think? Cousins or brothers?”
“I’d say brothers.”