They should have named it “Heartbreak Hotel.”
“Oh, my gawd! It’s George Strait.”
“Where? Where? Oooh, oooh, oooh! I swear, Mabel, I’m so excited I’m gonna pee my pants.”
Clayton Jessup, III was about to enter his suite at the Blue Suede Suites when he heard the high-pitched squeals of the two blue-haired ladies in matching neon pink, “Elvis Lives” sweat shirts.
He glanced over his shoulder to see who was generating so much excitement and saw no one. Uh-oh! In an instant, he realized that they thought he was the George person . . . probably some Memphis celebrity. Even worse, they were pep-stepping briskly toward him with huge smiles plastered across their expectant faces, and autograph books drawn to the ready.
“Open the damn door,” he snarled at the wizened old bellhop, whose kidney-spotted hands were fumbling with the key.
“I’m tryin’, I’m tryin’. You don’t wanna get caught by any of these country music fanatics. Last week over on Beale Street, they tore off every bit of a construction worker’s clothes for souvenirs, right down to his skivvies, just ’cause they thought he was Kenny Chesney.”
“Who the hell is Kenny Chesney?”
“You’re kidding, right?” the bellhop said, casting him a sideways once-over of disbelief.
Clay grabbed the key out of the bellhop’s hand and inserted it himself. Just before the women were ready to pounce, gushing, “Oooh, George. Yoo hoo!”, the door swung open and they escaped. Leaning against the closed door, he exhaled with a loud whoosh of relief.
He heard one of the women say, “Mabel, I don’t think that was George. He wasn’t wearing a cowboy hat, and George never goes anywhere without his trademark cowboy hat.”
“Maybe you’re right, Mildred,” Mabel said.
“Besides, he was too skinny to be George. He looked more like that Richard Gere. A younger version of Richard, I mean.”
Richard Gere? Me? Mildred needs a new set of bifocals.
“Richard Gere,” Mabel swooned. “Hmmm. Is it possible . . . ? Nah. That guy was taller and leaner than Richard Gere. Besides, Richard Gere is more likely to be off in Tibet with the Dolly Lay-ma, not in Memphis.”
“At least we saw Elvis’s ghost at Graceland today.”
Their voices were fading now; so Clay knew they were walking away.
Dropping his briefcase to the floor, he opened his closed eyes . . . and almost had a heart attack. “Holy shit! What is this?” he asked the bellhop.
“The Roustabout Suite,” the bellhop said proudly, shifting from foot to foot with excitement. The dingbat looked absolutely ridiculous in his old-fashioned, red, bellhop outfit, complete with a pillbox hat. “It’s the best one in The Blue Suede Suites, next to the Viva Las Vegas and the Blue Hawaii suites, of course. Families with children love it.”
“I do not have children,” Clay gritted out.
“Aaahh, that’s too bad. Some folks think the spirit of Elvis lives in this hotel. Seen ’em myself a time or two. Maybe if you pray to the Elvis spirit, he’ll intercede with the Good Lord to rev up your sperm count. Or if the problem is with the little lady, you could . . . uh, why is your face turnin’ purple?”
“I do not have children. I am not married. Mind your own damn business.”
“Oops!” the bellhop said, ducking his head sheepishly. “Sometimes I talk a mite too much, but I’m a firm believer in Southern hospitality. Yep. Better to be friendly and take a chance than . . .” The fool blathered on endlessly without a care for whether Clay was listening or not. Really, he should be home in a rocking chair, instead of parading around a hotel like an organ grinder’s monkey. Another “to do” item to add to his itinerary: check hotel’s retirement policy.
Clay turned his back on the rambling old man . . . and groaned inwardly as he recognized that his view from this angle wasn’t any better. The Roustabout Suite. Hell!
The split-level suite had a miniature merry-go-round in the sitting room. As the carousel horses circled, a pipe organ blasted out carnival music. A candy cotton machine was set up in one corner, and the blasted thing actually worked, if the sickly sweet odor was any indication. Candy apples lay on the bar counter beside a slurpee dispenser in the small kitchenette. The walls were papered with movie posters from the Elvis movie “Roustabout,” and the bed was an enlarged version of a tunnel-of-love car. On the bedside table sat a clown lamp and a clock in the form of a Ferris wheel. Up and down went the clown’s blinking eyes. Round and round went the clock’s illuminated dial. Mixed in with this eclectic collection were quality pieces of furniture, no doubt from the original hotel furnishings.
If Clay didn’t have a headache already, this room would surely give him the mother of all migraines. “You can’t seriously think I’d stay in this . . . this three-ring circus.”
Click Follow to receive emails when this author adds content on Bublish