09 April 2018

The Porch: Chapter IV - A Piece by Ellis Millsaps


*Ed. Note: The Porch, Da's ongoing serial novella, is starting to become kind of a thing. Folks seem to really be enjoying it. Please do make sure to read the first three chapters before reading Pt. 4. As always, thanks so much for reading. Your Pal - MBM

The Porch: Chapter IV

“Why don’t we write a song?” Bob asks. “I’ll start.”
“Ah, to dance beneath the diamond sky with one hand waving free.”

There’s a dumbfounded silence. Finally Bruce says, “You could have set the bar a little lower, you know.”
“OK, I’ll give it a shot. How about ‘Barefoot girl sitting on the hood of a Dodge drinking warm beer in the soft summer rain.’”

There’s a murmur of approval all around. I’m starting to seriously worry about my turn when Elvis says, “I don’t write no songs, except for that ‘Love Me Tender’ which I admit is a sugary piece of crap, but the Colonel made me do it. Same way he made me join the Army and make all those bad movies.”
This time there’s an embarrassed silence all around. We’re looking at our shoes and picking lint off our shirts.
Then Bruce, who along with Cohen seems to have assumed a leadership role says, “Yeah, but you sing really good.”
“That’s right Yankee songster, I’m a hunka, hunka burning love.”
“You know I wrote a song for you, Elvis. I’d already mailed it when you died on the crapper.”
“Yeah, what was the song?”
“How does it go?”
Bruce obliges by singing a verse.
"Man, that’s a great song. You wrote that for me? I wish you’d gotten it to me sooner. I could’a made you famous. So, you boys are all songwriters?”
“More or less.”
“It seems Mr. Presley doesn’t know anything that’s happened since that fateful day in 1977,” observes Mr. Cohen.
“What year is it now? Elvis asks.
I tell him it’s 2018.
“And Jesus ain’t come back yet?”
“Well, if he has, he hasn’t bothered to tell anybody.”
“Man, I’ve missed a lot. How’s Lisa Marie doing?”
“Pretty woman. Of course, she’s been married four times, I think.”
“Yeah, who to?”
“Well, there’s a couple I’ve never heard of. Then, there’s Nicolas Cage, an actor who does a badass imitation of you, by the way, and there’s Michael Jackson.”
“You mean  she married that little boy from the Jackson Five?”
“Wait a minute, wasn’t he colored? Is that legal?”
“To answer your second question first. Yes, it’s legal. And you’re right, he was, as you say ‘colored,’ but by the time he married your daughter he was white as our friend here, the thin white duke.”

Elvis looks befuddled.
“Should we tell him about gay marriage?”
“What’s that?”
We tell him.
“You gotta be kidding.”

So, readers, as you can see, almost anything can happen in this land of magical realism, and as you can also see I’m working on a Dickensian serial novella. I’d like to make this interactive; if you have any ideas about what might happen next, send them to Marshall, and I might incorporate them.

Da Millsaps - he's actually weirder than he looks
As for me, I’m thinking the porch gang should go on a road trip. I’d like to know what Elvis thinks of Graceland fifty years later. If you’re curious about this, too, send a contribution to “Send The Porch to Graceland,” a GoFundMe that Marshall will set up (*ed. note: as some of you may know, I've been toying w/ the idea of setting up a gofundme for minute now - this will motivate me to do so. Keep an eye out. And God help look after us when we set off to Memphis...). If we don’t raise enough for the trip (Marshall needs to come, too. These guys could need a lot of chaperoning.), your money will be refunded and maybe we’ll take the porch to Shady Dale.

Ellis was an attorney by trade (now recovering) but has worn many hats over the years: father, bus boy, stand-up comedian, novelist, wiffle ball player, rock'n'roll band manager, and at one time wrote a popular and funny column for The Covington News. A Fannin Co. mountain boy originally, Mr. Millsaps now stays at the mill village of Porterdale by way of 20 years in Mansfield. Usually funny and at times irreverent and subversive, he leans left in his political philosophy but can always be counted on for a pretty darn good write-up. The Chronicles are proud to have him involved. You can read his past works at TPC by visiting his Contributing Writer page