Chicken A La King

An Elvis Impersonator meets a farm girl from Iowa and takes on a fast
food conglomerate in order to save a few chickens. Ali is a farm girl
from Iowa who meets Scott, an Elvis impersonator from Las Vegas. They
fall in love.....Sam Fullbein is known as the King Of Wings, a rich
chicken mogul who will do everything to protect his secret recipe. His
wife Mindy is a wealthy bored socialite, always in trouble with the
paparazzi....Mona Meredith is a sexy superstar devoted to saving
chickens from the evil fast food conglomerate....Scott and Ali take a
trip across the country only to be followed by a private investigator
as they battle against the evil fast food empire only to save a few
chickens from their fate and discover each other.



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4. Chicken A La King

Ali was getting dressed for work. Her life suddenly seemed so empty without Scott. She put on her black mini-skirt, the tight aqua top, and her black pumps. The pumps were the worst offenders for doing rounds at the casino. Why wouldn’t they let them wear comfortable shoes?

She walked the ten blocks to the hotel. It was another scorcher today, almost 95 degrees outside. She was sweating and vaguely aware of someone walking behind her.

“Hi ya Blondie.... Slow down”.

She kept on walking at a quick pace, her long legs working harder.

“Don’t you want to talk with me?” the voice persisted.

She turned around sharply. A young guy with a mop of red hair was doing the harassing.

“No!! Leave me alone”.

“Bitch!”.

She reached the hotel felt relieved as the cool air engulfed her. The carpet was thick under her feet and she walked into the casino. Scott was nowhere in sight. Why wasn’t he there? Maybe he was somewhere else tonight. She felt depressed.

Tony Fratelli looked at his watch. There was Cookie coming in five minutes late. He’d have to point this out to her. He didn’t want her getting into any bad habits.

“Cookie, come here a minute.”

“Yes?”

“You start here at 5:00 and it is now 5:07.”

“Sorry”.

“Just don’t get into bad habits. It makes me nuts.”

“Okay, sorry.”

“You alright Cookie?”

“Yes”.

“I need you to smile out there, look happy and I want you to do the roulette tables tonight and the craps tables too. Think you can do it?”

“Yes”.

“Good, now get to work and put on a happy face.”

Ali picked up her tray and started to make her rounds. Chet weighed heavy on her mind and she felt bad for kicking him out. Now Scott had deserted her too. She was alone, again. The gamblers were tipping exceptionally well and she had $400.00 in tips. It was turning out to be a decent night tonight.

She thought of her parents back at the farm and how hard her father worked to make money. She wished she could see them again soon but there was no time to go home yet, she would have to wait.

Her shift ended at 12:00 and she stopped promptly. Tony Fratelli was watching her like a hawk.

“How’d you do tonight, Cookie?”

“Really good.”

“See, I told ya so...Why don’t you sit down and have a drink with me?”

“I better go home, I’m tired.”

“Sure thing Cookie...Maybe some other time.”

Ali strolled out of the casino and walked by the lounge. Scott was there with his band, finishing up his show and signing some autographs. She stopped and watched him for a while. He was engulfed with fans of all ages.

“I loved your show. You are fantastic!” said an adoring fan.

“Thank you very much darling”.

“Can I have your autograph?”.

“What’s your name sweetheart?”

“Vanessa.”

“Okay, Vanessa.... Here you go darling.”

“Can I have a kiss?”

“Lay your best one on me honey”.

She gives him a long kiss and hugs him tightly.

“You are so handsome, I love you Elvis”.

“Thank you.”

Ali walked up behind Scott and tapped him on the back.

“Can I have your autograph?”

Scott turned around and smiled.

“Hey, it’s you!” He smiled and hugged her.

“I didn’t see you before, I thought you were gone.”

“I was late tonight”.

“Me too.”

“I’ve been thinking about you.”

“Me too.”

“I’ve missed you.”

“Me too.”

“I’m sorry.”

“Yeah, I’m sorry too.”

He kissed her and she kissed him back passionately. She melted into him and the world slipped away, all the noise, lights, and people until there was only him holding her in his arms. There was applause from the band members.

“Hey, get a room.” they yelled

“Mind your own business”, said Scott smiling from ear to ear.

“Want to get out of here?”

“Yeah”.

They went outside to the parking lot where the motorhome was parked.

“Here she is...I bought it to take the show on the road....Come on inside and have a look.”

The interior was out of the seventies with pink velvet sofas and built in cabinetry. There was a small kitchen all done in black granite with glossy black cabinets, two bedrooms, a bathroom, dining area and living area.

“This is so beautiful, “ said Ali awed by the motorcoach.

“Do you like it?”

“Oh gosh yes.”

“I was going to surprise you Sunday morning but I guess I was the one who was surprised.”

“Oh Scott, it’s not like that....Chet is just a friend.”

“I know, I know, I know....”Come here darlin’......

He lead her into the master bedroom which had a leopardskin spread on it with plush satin pillows.

“Lay down lady”, he purred

She lay down on the plush bed, her hair wild and sexy. He lay down on top of her and stared kissing her her neck.

“I think we could spend alot of time in here.”

“Yes.”

He made love to her for hours and they lay together in the darkened room. This was the first time she had seen him without his Elvis costume.

“You’re beautiful Ali”

“You are too. I could stay here forever, just like this.”

“Me too”.......

“You know, this is the first time I’ve seen you without your costume on....”

“What do you think of the real me, au natural?”

“I like it!”

He poured her a glass of wine and they relaxed awhile. He turned on the TV with the remote.

Sam Fullbein opened the front page of the New York Times. There was a featured article on chicken ranches in the US and a picture of a worker strangling a chicken at his ranch. He dialed the phone angrily.

“Manuel?

“Yes Boss.”

“I thought I warned you about reporters nosing around the ranch”.

“Boss, I am so sorry, so sorry...I went to town that night for a few hours and some of the handlers had a party. They got drunk and thats when that reporter took the picture. I am very sorry boss.

“I see. Is that how you run the ranch?”

“No boss, this never happens!”

“Well now, it did happen, didn’t it?”

“Yes boss”.

“Now, I know you’re good people Son, that’s why I have you there. These, these accidents, well, they happen, sometimes they happen to good people like you and me......I need you to watch for strangers, suspicious people, anybody who comes nosing around....Don’t let this happen again”.

“Sorry Mr Sam. I won’t”.

“You have my permission to shoot tresspassers”.

Sam hung up the phone. This was really bad news. Just as his new ad campaign was kicking off and now this unfortunate incident. The activists would be screaming now and so would the animal control board. Dammit!! Why did these thing happen to him?”

The drive from Paris to St Tropez was breathtakingly beautiful. They drove through Normandy and saw old castles and chateaux. As they drove into St Tropez Mediterrean style villas dotted the hilly lanscape. The sea was a bright blue and the mega yachts were lined up in the harbour for the summer season.

They pulled into the villa owned by Madame Natasha. It was a quaint two story mansion with ivy covering most of the stuccoed walls. Cynthia and Mindy got out of the car, stretching.

“What a charming place.”

“Looks lovely.”

“Lets unpack and hit the town. ” said Mindy

“Aldo, the bags please.”

The front foyer had a marble table in it and the floors were limestone with inlaid wood in them. French country antiques were scattered throughout and the decor was warm and inviting with white and blue fabrics on the furniture.

Both women had their own rooms and Mindy put her suitcase on her bed. She hung up her dresses and folded her T-shirts in a large carved armoire. Her bed was a lovely four poster bed with a quaint white spread on it.

Cynthia poked her head in.

‘Ready?”

“Yes, I’ll be down in two minutes”.

The evenings in St Tropez were filled with people walking past the yachts lined up in the harbour. Shops and restaurants were open and people browsed and ate until the wee hours of the morning. Cynthia and Mindy walked, looking at all the attractive couples dressed in the latest Italian fashions. A mime painted in silver did some pantomimes for an audience to some techno music.

“Want an ice cream?”

“Yes!”

The ice ream parlour was small and crowded. The young girl behind the counter gave them generous scoops and they continued walking in the plaza.

“Look, there’s a market.”

They wandered over to a small outdoor market with local vedors set up. There were fresh fruits, vegetables, fresh fish and handicrafts on display.

“We’ll come back and shop tommorrow”.

“Yes, we will.”

“Should we be getting back soon?”

“Yes, I’m tired.”

They got back to the villa and turned the lights on. It was a peaceful, quiet place. Mindy decided to call Sam and tell him all the news.

“Honey? Its me....” She said quietly on the phone.

“Mindy!”

“I’m having a fabulous time darling, Paris was wonderful and we’re in St Tropez now. Tommorrow we are going to the beach”.

“Enjoy darling.”

“Do you miss me?”

“Of course.”

“Good, I miss you too”.

Sam didn’t tell her about the chicken incident in the papers, no need to get her upset.

“Keep your clothes on at the beach....” He warned her sternly.

“Oh Sam! Don’t be silly!!”

“Bye dear”.

“Bye.”

Of course she was going to keep her clothes on at the beach! What a ridiculous thing to say!

Ali and Scott lay back in bed under the sheets.

“Wow”, said Ali

“Wow yourself”.

Scott reached for the remote and flicked the TV on. He surfed through the chanels until Jay Leno came on.

“I like this guy, he’s funny....Cracks me up everytime....”

The show had Julia Roberts on talking about a movie she just finished and then Jay announced the next guest.

“And tonight we have the lovely and very talented Mona Meredith with us.”

There was a big round of applause and Mona came out wearing a white dress with two long slits on the sides showing off her long shapely legs. Jay Leno wasted no time cutting her up.

“So I hear you’re into chickens now.”

“Yes, they are wonderful.”

“I used to be a chicken in one of my past lives......”

She laughs.

“Cluck, cluck, cluck....”

She laughs again and then looks serious.

“No, actually, it’s very serious whats happening out there. Chickens are being abused and it must stop.”

“Man has been eating chicken for a long time now”.

“I know but the way they are being killed is barbaric.”

“Is there any humane way to kill a chicken?”

“No.”

“Well, alright...Enough about chickens, what about this divorce you’re going through? Is there any humane way to get divorced?”

She laughs.

“No.”

“And there you are, ladies and gentlemen, there is no humane way to kill a chicken and there is no humane way to dump a husband.”

She laughs again.

Ali turned to Scott.

“I saw the guy she’s talking about on the news, that Uncle Sam the Chicken man.”

“Yeah! I saw that dude too!! He’s a nut job!”

“They said in the papers that his farm is up in Arkansas.”

“Yeah, lots of farms in that country up there.”

“I wish we could save a chicken”.

“You do?”

“Yeah.”

“Well, we might just do that sweet thing.”

He held her tight in his arms.

Manuel Vargas was busy picking up eggs with Rosalita at his side carrying a basket.

“I’m in trouble now, the boss is watching me Rosalita.”

“The newspaper?”

“Yes.”

“What are we going to do?”

“Keep your eyes open at all times. If any strangers come to the ranch get me immediately.”

“I will”.

“Trust no one Rosalita.”

She gathered up the eggs and carried them out of the Big house. The chickens were about four weeks old, two more weeks and it would be time for the next crop of birds.

Rosalita went inside and put the eggs into a large refridgerator. She hated to think of Maunel being in trouble. He might lose his job and where would they go? They were so settled here.

She thought of the Boss Sam and his wife Mindy. They were so rich but had so many problems. She loved the simple life here on the ranch. She began cooking supper, roasted chicken and potatoes and an apple pie. An all American supper for her Mexican husband.

Sam was dressing for the evning in his master dressing area. The closet was totally customized in bird’s eye maple and his suits and shirts hung in perfect neat rows. He finished putting on his tuxedo and shiny patent shoes. In a small bag he tucked away a fake beard and an eyepatch to be applied later on in the evening. He dabbed on a little cologne, Eau De Costa, the newest scent by Montrachet of Paris.

His driver opend the limosine door for him.

“Good evening Mr Fullbein”.

“Hello Fred.”

“Where to sir?”

“The Club.”

“Yes sir.”

The Egret Club was just a few blocks away on 57th street. It was in a lovely Art deco building, constructed in the 1930’s. They arrived at the club and Sam emerged from the limosine. A doorman in full uniform held the door open for him and he stepped inside.

The Egret Club had red carpeting on the floor and dark wood panelling on the walls. The furniture was masculine and austere, with armchairs and lounges throughout the space. Sam proceeded to the billiard room.

David waited in an overstuffed lounge chair. He was anxious to talk to Sam because no progress was being made with the merger.This seemed like a good place to discuss business, maybe he would drum some sense into him.

The two men shook hands.

“Hello Sam.”

“Good to see you David.”

A waiter took their drink order. David looked Sam straight in the eye.

“To get to the point, I must say that we are very disappointed that you choosen not to jump aboard.”

“I haven’t made the final decision yet.”

“We are making you a very generous offer Sam.”

“Yes, yes indeed. I am very tempted.”

“What would it take to change your mind?”

Drinks were placed in front of them. David lifted his drink.

“To China.”

“To America.” Sam said slyly.

They took a sip of their drinks.

“You are one stubborn goat.”

“Didn’t get where I am today by not having backbone.”

“You see, we want to take Uncle Sams and change the public conception of fast food chicken. We want to call it Healthy Chicken.”

“Healthy Chicken?”

“Yes, it’s our marketing concept of the future of fast food. Healthy. Todays consumer wants healthy.”

“I see....So it wouldn’t be called Uncle Sam’s anymore....”

“No, I’m afraid not.....But we would still be using the secret recipe.”

Sam was quiet. All his years of hard work would be washed away. The daily drama of running his empire would diminish and all he would have would be a mountain of money to show for it. The world would forget about him.

“i’ll think about it David.”

“Good....I hope we can come to an agreement soon.”

They stood up to leave.

“I’ll give you a call.”

“Goodnight.”

Sam sat in the back of the limo.

“St. Regis Fred.”

“Yes sir.” Sam opened the small bag and took out the beard and the eyepatch. He applied the beard with some adhesive tape and studied the job in a mirror. It looked passable. Then he put on the eyepatch. What a transformation! He studied his image in the mirror....He hoped that no one would recognize him.

“Damn good!” He said to himself.

The limosine door opened and Sam emerged in his disguise. He nodded at the driver who looked at him in surprise. Mr Fullbein was always full of surprises. An odd duck, that was for sure.

The St Regis was a grand old hotel with wonderful architecture and oplulent interiors. Sam strolled through the lobby to the reception taking place. He stood at the entry to the room and for a moment all eyes were on him. He nodded, hoping no one would recognize him.

Sam spotted Mona Meredith across the room. Her long blonde hair was piled high on top of her head. She was wearing a tight shocking pink dress that hugged her curves and was laughing with a group of people that surrounded her. He made his way through the crowd to her side, edging between bystanders and bodyguards.

“Excuse me, may I have the pleasure of meeting the loveliest woman in the room?”

Mona turned to look at him.

“Yes?”

He took her hand and kissed it.

“Hello, I am Edwardo De Rossi, the ambassador to the Humane Society representing the islands of Turks and Caicos. It is a pleasure, Madame to meet you.”

“Pleased to meet you Mr. De Rossi”.

“I have admired your telvision show very much.”

“Thank you.”

“I am a great animal lover also.”

“Oh yes?”

“Yes, absolutely. It is my mission to save God’s creatures, not matter how big or how small.”

“Thats’ wonderful.”

She was smiling at him and he gazed into her blues eyes. What a wonderful creature she was, too bad she hated him, he thought.

“Would you care for a dance?”

“Yes, I would like that.”

He took her hand and lead her to the dance floor. They danced slowly. How wonderful it was to hold her in his arms. She was an angel on earth, he was a mere mortal and she a goddess. She was even more beautiful in person than on TV and magazines.

“I have a ranch in the islands...It is a wonderful place with horses and many animals...” he crooned in her ear.

“Sounds wonderful.”

Yes, it is. Maybe one day you could see it.”

“Sounds like a brilliant idea Mr De Rossi.”

A tall, burly man came over to them and tapped him on the shoulder.

“Ah, excuse me but Ms Meredith has some photos to take.”

“Of course.”

They stopped dancing and she was lead a way by her entourage. He had been so close...so close to his fantasy woman. It had been a heavenly five minutes.

Sam left the reception in an elated mood. The disguise had worked and he had made contact. Now he would make a plan to meet her once again.

 

Mindy and Cynthia lay on chaise lounges at the Voille Rouge Beach. It was a private beach, known mostly for it’s nude sunbathers and celebrity seekers. Today the beach was teaming with starlets and playboys, all trying to outdo each other by being more outrageous than the next.

Mindy applied some sunscreen lotion on her arms.

“I wonder how Sam is doing.”

“I’m sure he is fine. He’s a big boy.”

“I’m a little worried about him,,,,I had a strange dream last night that he cheated on me.”

“Oh really?”

“Yes.”

“Who with?”

“Some blonde”.

“Sam doesn’t even like blondes...He’s alway told you that he favors brunettes.”

“Thats true...”

“Don’t worry about it, Sam is not cheating on you Mindy!”

Ah Sam. She felt sorry for him for working so hard. But that was what he loved. He didn’t know how to relax and have a good time. She did though and that was all that mattered.

Mindy looked around. The beach was filled with beaufitul women from all over the world. They were all topless except for her and Cynthia. It was obvious that they were from America.

“Cynthia...Look around....”

“What? Who’s here?”

“It’s us.”

“Us?”

“Everyone has their tops off. Should we take ours off too?”

Cynthia looked around. No one seemd to care.

“Why not?”

They slowly undid their bikini tops. Mindy felt slightly uncomfortable exposing her breasts but Cynthia didn’t seem to mind one bit.

“Oh, thats much better.”

Mindy was a bit embarassed and self conscious at first, but she slowly adpated to being half nude. When in France, do as the French do. A handsome playboy type approached them.

“Bonjour ladies, je suis Jean Pierre.”

“Hi ya Jean Pierre.”

“It is lovely to see such beauty here.”

He smiled at them both flashing his white teeth in the sun agains his tanned skin.

“Thank you very much.”

“Would you ladies care for a drink from the bar.?”

“Yes please, two wine sprtizers please.”

“I will be back soon.”

Cynthis nudged Mindy.

“I think he likes you.

“Please!”

Jean Pierre returned with the wine spritzers.

“Where are you from?”

“New York”

“Ah yes, New York...A wonderful place.”

“Have you been.?”

“Yes, I buy jewellery there for my business......

He eyed the large diamond around Mindys neck.

“I like your stone. it is a very good quality.” 
‘Thank you.”

“Are you staying in town?”

“Yes, we have a villa here.”

“Oh perfect.....I love America....It is so productive there. I think you Americans are very ambitious people, not like the French...the French are well, we are lazy....We like to enjoy life, we enjoy our food and our wine and making love....”

Cynthia and Mindy looked at each other.

“Well, it was a pleasure meeting you. I hope we will meet again soon...”

He walked away and turned around and waved to them.

“Did you get a load of him?”

“Yeah, French men, alway looking for place to park their dicks.”

“Want to go for a walk?”

“Alright.”

They got up and walked down the beach. Beyond them was a dune and behind it lay a horde of photgraphers. They snapped away as Mindy and Cynthia walked along the beach topless.

Scott commandeered the motorhome around the corner of Las Vegas Blvd. He and Ali were out for a ride today. He had all kinds of plans in his head for expanding the show and reaching new audiences, plus he loved showing off the motorhome.

“So I’ve been thinking about taking the show on the road for two weeks.”

“Oh yeah?”

“Yeah. Want to come along?”

“Yes!”

“Good, I’ll take care of Fratelli for you, don’t worry, it won’t be a problem.”

“Oh Scott, it’ll be so great to be on the road with you!”

“I have some dates lined up in New Mexico and Texas........And I thought maybe we’d stop in Iowa. 
”Really?”

“Yeah, how about that?”

“I’d love for my parents to meet you!.”

“Alright then, it’s a date.”

“I’m so excited!”

“Think you can handle sleeping in the cabin?”

“Yes.”

They stopped at a light and looked across the street. There was some kind of demonstration going on.

“What’s over there?”

“I don’t know...Oh, it’s Uncle Sams. Looks like some people are protesting.”

“Let’s go and see!”

He swung the motorhome around and pulled into the restaurant parking lot. There was a mob there and they crowded around the coach. They started chanting.

“Elvis! Elvis! Elvis!”

Scott opened the door and they yelled inside.

“Come out! Come out! Come out!”

He got out of the motorhome and they screamed, mobbing him. A woman waved a sign that says chicken wings = murder.

“Please help us out.” she begged.

“What do you want me to do?”

“Can you sing a song for us?”

“Surley Ma’am....”

Scot climbed in the coach and got a microphone set up. He turned the speakers on full blast and went outside. The crowd cheered.

He talked into the mic.

“Hello guys and gals, I know some of you are here today because you are mad. Mad that Uncle Sam The Chicken Man has done those chickens wrong. But don’t be mad anymore, be happy that things are going to get better for these animals soon. This is a little song I wrote called Chicken House Rock”. He started to sing......

“The warden threw a party in the county jail, The prison band was there and they began to wail, the band was jumpin and the joint began to swing, you should’ve heard those knocked out chicken sing, Let’s rock, everybody, lets rock, Everybody in old cell block Was dancin to the chickenhouse rock.”

The crowd applauded loudly and yelled and whistled. A news crew arrived on the scene and came over to interview Scott.

“Why are you here today Elvis?”asked the reporter.

“I’m here today because there is an injustice going on and we’re not staying quiet about it anymore. We want our voices to be heard.”

“What change will your song bring about?”

“ I hope the chicken people out there will listen to this....Clean up your act fellas. Give these poor birds a chance.”

“Thank you Elvis....And thats me Paul Soto, from Uncle Sams Chicken in Las Vegas, Nevada.”

Sam turned on the 6:00 news. It had been a long day and he was tired. A small dinner tray was set up in front of the TV for him and Marsha the maid had prepared a lovely veal marsala for him. The news started.

“Good evening...Now for the news.....Fighting errupted today in the middle East, there were six American casualties and two American soldiers were taken hostage.”

Sam continued eating.....More news items were broadcasted.

“And this just in....Activists in Nevada staged a protest today at Uncle Sam’s Chicken. They protesting the alleged animal abuse charges against Sam Fullbein, the owner and founder of the restaurants. On hand today was an Elvis impersonator from Las Vegas.”

Sam couldn’t beleive it!! This was insane! All this bad press was destroying him. He had to put a stop to it immediately. He picked up the phone.

“Get me Nelson Heinz please.”

Nelson was his private investigator, one of the best in the business.

“Nelson?...Its me, Sam....I’ve got some business I want you to care of.....Seems some Elvis clown in Las Vegas is saying bad things to the press about me. He’s started a demonstartion outside one of my stores! I want an end to him. Find him!”

“Yes, Ill get on it immediately.”

Nelson Heinz was 42, a retired police officer and private investigator to a wealthy clientele. Personal security was good these days and business was booming. He had a good sense of people and carried a Glock at all times. He was ready to use it if necessary.

He reviewed the newsreel again and printed stills of the Elvis guy and zeroed in on the picture off the screen. There looked like a motorhome in the background and he was almost able to make out the license plate number.

Nelson would board a plane for Las Vegas tonight to start his search. It wouldn’t be easy, Vegas was a big town and there were alot of entertainers there....But how many had a motorhome like that one? That was likely the key to finding this guy.

He landed in Vegas and rented a car. His first stop was Bally Resort. He walked into the lounge. There was an Elvis impersonator there doing his show and he waited until the show was over. He went and talked to him.

“Excuse me....”

“Yes?”

“I’m a private investigator and I’m looking for this guy...Do you know him?”

The Elvis guy studied the picture.

“No, sorry. Don’t recognize him.”

“Sorry to bother you.”

Nelson put the photo back in the envelope. The Elvis guy spoke.

“Hey, you might want to try Caesars Palace, there’s a review there tonight.”

“Thanks, I’ll give it a shot.”

Nelson made his way over to Caesar’s Palace. The night was warm and balmy and he unbuttoned his shirt a few buttons. It was exciting to be back in Vegas, he hadn’t been here since a divorce case in 1991.

He arrived at Caesars and walked into the lounge. The show was in full swing and the Elvis guys was onstage. It could be him, one never knew for sure. He ordered a club soda and waited. When the show was over he walked up and tapped him on the shoulder.

“Excuse me.”

“Yes Matey?”

“Hello, my name is Nelson Heinz...I’m a private investigator....Is this you by any chance?”

He showed him the picture.

“Hell no Matey. I wouldn’t sport sideburns as long as that....”

He looked at the picture a little closer.

“As a matter of fact, I do recognize this lad, I shared a pint with him in the bar the other morning...He was havin’ some women problems as I recall.....”

“Oh yeah?”

“Yes, Matey....seems his old lady had a husband lurking about or some rubbish.”

“You don’t recall his name do you by chance?”

“It was...er....Raymond! That’s it.....Scott Raymond.”

“Thanks very much good sir.”

“Not a problem Matey, not a problem at all....”

Nelson headed back to the car where he would run a computer check on the name and see if an adress followed. He entered the information into the computer and pulled up a Scott Raymond at 19 Fullmont Street. He swung the car around and headed off to the south side of town.

He drove slowly past the house. The lights were on and somebody was home. The motorhome was in the driveway. Bingo! This was the place! He copied the license plate number down and called Sam.

“Sam? Nelson here....I have your man.”

“Keep your eyes on him.”

“I will.....You want me to talk to him?”

“Not yet....Let’s watch him for awhile and see what he does.”

“Yes sir.”

Click! Nelson sat and watched the house from across the street. It looked like it would be a long night.

It was morning and Scott awoke to a buzzing alarm clock. Today was a busy day, he had a bass player, drummer, keyboard player and guitarist to organize for the trip. They would all be travelling in a bus behind the motorhome. He called them TCB after Elvis’s crew Taking Care Of Business. They were all fantastic players and would be a big hit.

He got his costumes ready, they were all drycleaned and hanging on a rack. He had a whole collection of custom jewellery to take, some of which he would give away on occasion a la Elvis style to adoring fans.

Across town Ali packed for the trip. She didn’t have many clothes for the showbiz life. With her tips from waitressing she had saved some money ad might buy a few things to wear in public, maybe Scott could help her pick something out.

Ali was excited about going on the road. She had never been to New Mexico or Texas so it was all a great new adventure. She packed some underwear, a bra, some T-shirts and some sandals. The rest would have to be bought along the away.

It was the last stretch of the girls vacation and Mindy and Cynthia were now in Sardinia, Italy. Sardinia was marrooned between italy and North Africa. It was a lovely town off the sea and they were staying in a rustic house just off the ocean.

Mindy was getting dressed to go to a party at a nearby villa. She chose a white crocheted dress with a scooping neckline that hugged her slim waist and showed off her tanned legs. She brushed her long brown hair until it gleamed and put on a beauitiful diamond choker that Sam had given her.

Cynthia appeared in an orange minidress and high heeled sandals.

“Ready to party?”

“Ready.” Mindy said

“I’ll drive....”

“No, I’ll do the driving tonight, I know you are going to get toasted there.”

They headed off in the white convertible BMW up the rocky mountainside. The villa they were going to was owned by a race car driver and it would be a wild party tonight. Mindy followed the curving road and Cynthia lit up a joint. They both smoked it and giggled.

“Slow down.”

“Don’t worry....”

“Think we’ll see any movie stars at this party?”

“I’ve heard the Franko really knows how to throw a bash.”

“Can’t wait to see his place...he’s a hottie.”

“I wonder how Sam is doing now?”

“Who cares?”

They laughed and drove up to a stone mansion with large wooden gates in front. Cars filled the driveway and a valet parked the car for them.

“Come on!”

Mindy and Cynthia stood in the doorway of the mansion. The ceilings were high with large wooden beams and the walls were stuccoed over. Some large tapestries hung on the walls. Franko came over to greet them.

“Ah! Beautiful Ragettzas!

He gave them each two kisses on thie cheeks.

“Please, come and have a glass of wine.”

They settled into the party of beautiful people. There was food spread out and it was a mix of Phoenician, Carthagininan and Spanish, some wild boar, lamb and spit roasted pig with myrtle, couscous and nougat. There was excellent bread and salty, pungent cheese. Mindy was enjoying herself when a tall dark haired man approached her. He shook her hand lightly.

“Hello, my name is Carlos.”

“Mindy.”

“Nice to meet you.....”

There was electricity in the air between them. she could smell the faint musk of his cologne and his breath smelled like red wine. He touched her hand ever so slightly. Franko came over to see them.

“Ah, Carlos....I see you have met my American friend....”

“Yes, how delightful...”

“Mindy, Carlos is from the famed De Portia family, they manufacture automobiles here in Sardinia....”

“Oh really....”

“Yes, my family has been making cars for fifty years. It is a tradition.”

Franko looked at Mindy.

“Mindy is in the restaurant business in America.”

“My husband is.....”

“Restaurants? Oh, we love to eat here in Italy...”

“It’s a little different than in America.”

Carlos took her hand in his.

“Why don’t we go for a walk on the terrace?”

“Yes, I would like that.”

They walked out on the terrace which had huge terra cotta planters with orange trees in them. The sky was starting to change from dusk to night and it was a hue of purple and blue.

“It is so calm here, I like it very much.”

“Yes, it is.” she replied.

“Do you like Italy?”

“Yes, it is my first time here.”

“So, you are married?” He asked

“Yes...”

“Are you married?” She asked

“No, I am just, what you say in America...A playboy.”

He looked around at the people inside the party.

“Would you like to come for a drive with me? I would like to show you Sardinia.”

“Sure.”

“Come.”

He led her to his car, a red Ferrari and opened the door for her. They sped off, cascading down the mountainside. Her hair blew around her face.

“You look lovely when you smile.”

“Thanks.”

“Your husband is a lucky man.”

“I guess he is.”

“I wish I was him.” 
Mindy was silent.

They reached the top of the mountain and they got out of the car. It was breathtakingly beautiful and tiny lights were coming in  from the city below. Carlos reached around her waist.

“You are very beautiful...Can I kiss you?”

“Yes.”

He kissed her softly and his tongue played in her mouth. They stayed and enjoyed the view for awhile.

“Come, we had better get back to the party.”

They got in the car and he sped off, twisting and turning around the mountainside. He sped up just before a hairpin curve and didn’t see the car coming straight towards them. The cars crashed......Glass flew everywhere and the sound of schreeching metal echoed in her ears. Mindy blacked out and a sea of blackness enveloped her.

The headline read, “Heir to Di Portia Fortune Dead.” There was a large picture of Mindy walking topless on the beach in St Tropez with a brief description of the American married woman that was with him when he died.

Carlos’ coffin was placed beside his cousin, Roberto Turelli, who died from stomach cancer a few months before. Outside the iron gate of the chapel lay a single floral tribute, two ears of corn tied with a red and blue ribbon with a card bearing the words, “For Carlos”. A minute’s silence was observed that morning at the car factory as a sign of mourning.

Sam had received the call the night before. He was flying to Italy that morning to be with her. From what he understood from the doctors she was in stable condition and would live. But she might not be Mrs Fullbein much longer.

He was furious, this was the last straw. This was the ultimate betrayal and he wondered if she had ever loved him or just married him for his money. It was over for him, She had not lived up to her deal of five years, therefore she would not be entitled to any money. She was out. He would see to that from his lawyers.

Scott turned the key in the ignition. They were on their way. They left behind all the signs and lights from the city and drove out into the desert. Miles and miles of road lay ahead of them.

Nelson followed the motorhome and the bus out of the city, keeping his distance. He was driving a black Ford Bronco which he had just filled with gas.

Scott looked over at Ali enjoying the scenery.

“Good to get away, isn’t it?”

“Yes....”

“We’re on our adventure.”

“Yes, I can hardly wait to show you Iowa.”

“So, you lived there all your life?”

“Yes I did.”

“So how long did you know Chet?”

“Oh, forget about that!”

“No, just curious.”

“Ten years. I met him when I was fifteen. We went to school together.”

“Oh, high school sweethearts huh?”

“Yeah, I guess.”

“He seemed like a nice guy...I mean, he came here to get you. He must have really loved you. Did you love him too?”

“Well, I was in love with him, but then I sort of outgrew him but stayed with him anyway because in Iowa it’s like that. You can’t just go jumping around from man to man.”

“I see.”

“How about you? How come you never got remarried?”

“Me? Married? Well, I meet plenty of women. Just never found the right one for me.”

“I’ll bet you meet lots of women.”

“No, sweetie, not like that.”

“Then like what?”

“I mean, I meet women all the time, at my shows, I have fans but they’re not special, like you, you know what I’m saying?”

“Yes, I guess so.”

“What I’m trying to say is, I don’t fall in love with anybody....Not until I met you.”

Ali was quiet and stared out the window. So he was telling her he was in love with her already. Wow. They drove in silence for awhile. Scott opened a package of gum.

“Want some?”

 “Okay, thanks.” She took a stick from his hands and unwrapped the gum.

“So what were you like when you were a kid?”

“Me?”

“Yeah.”

“Oh, I was shy. I used to play by myself. I loved animals and we always had animals on the farm, rabbits, chickens, cats and dogs...Then I turned into a teenager and that was the turning point for me.

“Why? Because you discovered boys?”

“No, I discovered books.”

“Books?’

“Yes, I learned about the world from books.”

“Oh.......Thats cool.”

“That’s why I came to Las Vegas, because I read about it in books and it seemed do different from where I was from.”

“It’s different alright but Vegas ain’t no book darlin’......Ready to be my co-pilot?”

“Yeah.”

“Get out the map.” Sam arrived at the St Michele Hospital in Sardinia. There was a media circus outside and he slipped past the reporters and photographers. He had no flowers, no card and no candy for Mindy. Just a hurting heart that it had come to this.

Mindy lay back in the hospital bed dressed in a pink satin robe. Her hair was brushed back from her face and she looked weak and pale. Sam entered the room and came to her side.

“Darling.”

“Sam.”

She cried, tears streaming down her cheeks. Her stroked her hand.

“I’m so sorry.....”

“Ssh, it’s alright. Don’t talk.”

“Oh Sam.”

He looked at her and felt sorry for her. She had been such a good girl in the beginning and she had given him alot of passion. The sex between them had been incredible for him.... He did love her but couldn’t bear her acts anymore, her spirit was too strong for him.

“I must say darling that I am very disappointed in you. I have given this whole ordeal some thought and I think it best that we part. I cannot take care of you anymore.”

“Oh Sam! No....No, no, no....”

“Yes, it must be so.”

“I’m sorry.” she managed to whisper

“”I am sorry too. Since we have not been married for five years, as you know, there will be no money from this marriage.”

Her face fell and her hands started to shake.

 

“Sam, you can’t do this to me.”

“I’m sorry my dear, but look what you have done to me. You have made a fool of our marriage.”

“Sam, it was an accident!”

“You have had one too many accidents my darling.”

“You must rethink this.....You must!”

“Oh, I have thought a great deal about you. You are the one that should have done the thinking.”

“Please, don’t do this to me.”

“I will take care of you, of course....I have arranged for an undisclosed sum to be presented to you when we return to the United States. From then on you will be free my darling and can do as you wish.”

“I beg you, please...please...give me one more chance. Just one.” Tears rolled down her face and she was sobbing into the pillow. A nurse handed her some Kleenex. Sam looked at her and his heart melted. She was just a womanchild. His face softened. Maybe one more chance, if she really loved him she would behave. Maybe that was why he had flown all this way, because she was truly his wife.

“Alright my love. I will give you one more chance.”

“Thank you, darling, thank you. I am so sorry. I will never embarass you again. I love you Sam.”

“I love you too my dear. I will be back in the morning and we’ll fly back to New York.”

He kissed her on the forehead and left the room without turning back. People can change, thought Sam. Maybe this was the right thing to do. The reporters caught wind of him just as he was entering the waiting car for him. The door slammed shut and a thousand flashbulbs went off.

Manuel woke early, it was six am. Even the chickens were still sleeping he thought. He got out of bed and went downstairs to the kitchen were Rosalita was fixing breakfast.

“Good morning.”

“Good morning.”

“Would you like a cup of coffee?”

“Yes.”

She poured him a cup of coffee. Ah, it tasted good. nice and strong, just as he liked it. Rosalita was in good form today, turning bacon over in the frying pan.

“I’m going to see Mrs. Crenshaw this morning, love.”

“Oh really?”

“Yes, the boss wants us to expand the farm, get more space by using land from other farms.”

“Good luck.”

“Yes, she’s a difficult old lady.”

“If anybody can talk to her it’s you Manuel.”

“I’ll try.”

She put the plate of bacon and eggs in front of him. He started to eat.

“I’m going shopping today with Pedro.”

“Call me.”

“I will.”

He finished eating and got up and gave her a kiss.

“Bye love.”

“Bye Manny.”

Manuel walked to his car and thought how lucky he was to have it all in the world. He loved the farm and his job. He would protect it to the end. He turned the key in the truck and started down the long dirt road over to Mrs Crenshaws’ place.

Mrs Crenshaws’ farm was over one hundred acres. It had been in the family a long time and the old lady would not sell it. Mr Fullbein and given her offers for alot of money to sell, but she held on tight. Manuel knocked on the door. He could hear movement behind the door. The screen door opened a crack and Mrs Crenshaw appeared. She was in her eighties wearing a flowered housedress and glasses.

“What’dya want?” an old voice said crankily

“Mrs Crenshaw?”

“Yeah......” She stood at the door, a cigarette dangling from her lips.

“My name is Manuel, Manuel Vargas....I’m here from the Super Chicken Ranch next door...I would like to talk with you......”

“What is there to talk about?”

“We, uh, my boss, Sam Fullbein would like to propose an idea to you”.

“I’m not interested in ideas. Specialy from that joker, Mr Big Ass!”

She shut the screen door and he stuck his hand in it.

“Please, Mrs Crenshaw.....Let me explain......We have a big ranch, as you know, but we need more land. We would like to lease some land from you to grow more chickens.”

“Hell no, no more chickens on this land. Brings too many damn rodents and flies.”

“We are prepared to offer you thirty thousand dollars a month for your land.”

“What? Thirty what?” her tone was confused,

“Thirty thousand a month, for your land.”

“Oh? And where would I live?”

“You can stay in your home if you wish, or Mr Fullbein will provide you with a house.”

“I don’t know.....”

“I am here merley to propose this to you Mrs Crenshaw.”

“I am not selling my land!!”

“No, we are not buying it from you. Just leasing it, borrowing it for five years.”

“Five years?”

“Yes.”

“Then what happens?”

“Then you have back your land and your house...Or you can sell your land to us at that time.”

“Sell? Who said anything about selling....I ain’t sellin’?”

“Please...Consider our offer. Here’s my telephone number.”

“Alright, I’ll think about it. I don’t like chickens much.”

“Thank you, I will talk to you soon, please give me a call.”

“Bye now.”

She shut the door and Maunuel walked away. He had accomplished something he thought. The boss would be pleased if they got the land. One hundred acres was plenty of room for more houses to be built.

The Southwest sky was a beautiful parade of orange and purple hues. Ali and Scott drove along highway 495 on the road to New Mexico. Scott hummed along to a tune by Johnny Cash on the radio.

“I love country music.” he said

“So do I...he’s a legend. Like Elvis...Tell me more about Elvis.”

“What do you want to know?”

“What he was like.”

“Well now, he was a good man, had a kind heart and a strong spirit. That’s why he reached out to so many hearts.”

“Yeah, he touched alot of people.”

“I think you touch people too Scott.”

“You think? I try.”

“I’ve seen you with fans, the way they reach out to you. Its genuine.”

“I try.”

“Can you sing a song for me, any song?”

“Right here?”

“Yes.....Come on, I’m your audience.”

He began to sing softy.

 

“Take the ribbons from your hair

Shake it loose and let it fall

Lay it soft against your skin

Like the shadows on the wall

Come and lay here by my side

Tell the Earth upon you lied

All I’m takin is your time

Help me make it through the night...”

She reached over and gave him a kiss.

“That was beautiful.”

The city lights from Santa Fe were ahead of them and the boys high beamed them from the bus behind them. The architecture got more indigineous as they neared the town, with adobe houses and buildings everywhere. They pulled into the Inn of The Turquoise Bear. It was an acre of terraced gardens, meandering flagstone paths and soaring ponderosa pines. They got out and stretched.

“Come on, let’s go check it out.” Scott said.

They walked into the lobby and walked up to the reception desk. A young clerk greeted them. He eyed the Elvis costume and raised his eyebrows.

“Hi ya folks, welcome to the Inn Of the Turquoise Bear.”

“Thanks, we’re the Taking Care of Business Band.”

“Oh yes, I have your reservation here......Is this your first time to the Turquoise Bear?”

“Yes.”

“Let me tell you a bit about it.....The Inn was owned by Witter Bynner who was a prominent citizen of Santa Fe. Bynner was a noted essayist, poet and a staunch advocate of human rights. He and Robert Hunt, his partner of thirty years were famous for the parties they hosted here. Some noted guests of the Turquoise Bear included Ansel Adams, Georgia O’Keefe, Robert Frost and Martha Graham. Well, that’s some of the history, you will find out more as you wander through the grounds. You’re staying in the Robert Hunt Suite. Please follow me.”

They followed the clerk up to the second floor and he opened the door to their room. It was spacious with a large fireplace, hardwood floors and a king size bed with beamed columns. It was a peaceful, beautiful space and Ali was glad they had finally arrived.

“Enjoy....Breakfast is at seven am in the dining room.” said the clerk.

Ali sat on the edge of the bed and lay back against the soft pillows.

“I think I’m going to take a nice long hot bath.”

“Alright, I’m going to have a drink with the boys at the bar.”

He gave her a kiss and left her alone in the hotel room. She slowly undressed in front of the long mirror and looked at her reflection in the mirror. She had firm breasts and long legs. She had lost weight recently with all the commotion about Chet and wasn’t too hungry these days. Maybe it was because she was in love.

She thought of Chet and how devastated he must be by her ultimate rejection of him. Now the whole town knew it was finally over between them, that she was an evil woman and had an Elvis impersonator for a boyfriend. She wondered what her parents would think of Scott.

He was worlds away from the men in Iowa. Of course they would laugh at him, laugh at his costumes and his hairdo. They were such meat and potato people. How would they understand the complexities of an artist?

She wondered about Scott and why he was always in his costume. Didn’t he ever take a break and just be a normal person? She would ask him about this later on. First she had the bath running and she checked the temperature. It was just right. She poured in some bubble bath from the hotel and watched it foam up. She sank in and relaxed. It felt good to be off the road.

Ali thought about this new relationship. Scott was a wonderful man. He was easy to talk to and fun to be with. He always had surprises for her and was a challenge. The only thing that bothered her was his constant need for attention. Would it ever be just them? Or did he always need adoration from his fans?

“Baby.”

Scott appeared at the bathroom door. He undid his shirt.

“Maybe I’ll step in there with ya.”

“Come on in, the water’s fine.” She threw some bubbles at him.

She watched him undress and liked what she saw. He had a hairy chest, very muscular legs and big strong arms. He slid into the tub opposite her. She wiped some bubbles on him.

“Man! I am wiped out!”

“Yeah, me too.”

“What do you say we order some food and relax in the room?”

“Sounds good to me.”

“Come here.”

“I can’t!”

“Okay, then I’ll come there.......”

He leaned over and kissed her, her wet body clinging to his.

“Come on, lets go lie down on the bed.”

They stepped out of the tub and dried each other off. He carried her over to the bed and lay her down on the soft pillows.

“You’re my baby girl,” he said, stroking her hair.

“Kiss me you fool.”

He kissed her and they lay making love in the darkness for hours.

Sam and Mindy arrived back in New York at Kennedy airport. Feelings were strained between them and Sam had hardly spoken to her on the long flight from Italy. Mindy was feeling neglected and alone.

The city loomed ahead of them, thousands of sparkling lights as they drove over the George Washington Bridge. Sam sat rigid in his seat, staring out the window. He finally spoke.

“I want you to be my wife again.”

“I am your wife Sam.”

“I want you to honor me Mindy.”

“I will.”

“And obey.”

Mindy was silent.

The limo arrived at the townhouse and the driver opened the door. The dog was there, barking furiously at them in excitement. Mindy looked around at the house. It was all perfect, like a museum. Cold, austere, like Sam. She wished he was warmer, happier, not so grouchy all the time. She looked through a huge stack of mail and noticed a postmark from Colorado. Her youngest brother Jason lived there. She opened the brown, kraft paper envelope with sloppy handwriting on it.

Jason was the black sheep of the family. He had bought a ranch after getting out of rehab for a bad drug habit. He was stubborn and proud and would listen to no one in the family. He now kept a stable of horses out there. She read the letter.

Dear Mindy,

 

Hi from your wonderful brother. I heard about your accident and I am very sorry to hear about what happened. I hope you are okay. I would have called Sam but didn’t want to bother the old coot.

 

Things are alright here. I’ve got two new guys helping me run things and we’re whipping the house into shape. Almost all the renovations are done.

 

I hope you can come out and visit me soon. It would be great to see you.

 

Again, my deepest regrets about what happened. My thought are with you.

 

Your brother,

 

Jason

 

 

She folded the letter and put it into her bag. Her back was aching and she walked slowly up the steps to their bedroom. She couldn’t wait to lay down and rest. She vowed to herself to be good. This was like a message from God, a message too strong to ignore. If she was good she would make it to five years and she would be entitled to five million dollars. She would stay with Sam even if he was a bore. She kicked off her shoes and lay down. She was asleep instantly.

Sam walked downstairs to his secret room. Mindy was upstairs resting and he took the opportunity to catch up on the latest Mona Meredith gossip. He unlocked the door and sat down at his computer. He pulled up the actresses website. There she was, in all her glory. The latest from Hollywood was that she would star in a new film to be filmed in Africa.

Africa! How wonderful and exotic, it was so like her. He imagined her in a leopard skin loincloth swinging on a branch, so free and wild, like the animals she loved and defended so.

Mona Merdith was in Los Angeles in the plush office of Blake Thompson, the head of the film division for Star Pictures. She was signing her latest deal for ten million dollars to star in the remake of The African Queen, this time to be shot in Africa on a tight twenty one day shooting schedule.

Blake pushed the contract in front of her. She poised her pen and signed her name on the dotted line. This would be just the boost her career needed. She had been doing television for years now and wanted a change.

Mona thought about Steve, her ex-husband. He was on tour now with his band. He always succombed to crazy antics while on the road, when he would inevitably get drunk, call her or show up in a helicopter to surprise her. These were the antics that had attracted her in the beginning, and they also were the reason why they had divorced.

He had caused her mental and physical pain and she was exhausted by his constant need for childish attention. Mona stopped thinking of Steve and thought of herself. She was on a strict diet for the new film. She had to lose ten pounds for the new role. This would be easy on her water diet. Her diet was three days of drinking water and then three days of eating leafy greens. It worked every time, the pounds just shed off. She was quite aware of her power in the press and was adamant about protecting animals. She was more than just a pretty face to contend with now in the media. She was an icon.

She finished signing her name.

“Wonderful” Blake said

“I feel like I just signed my life away.”

“You did.” he laughed a long evil laugh.

Star Pictures was a film factory and churned out box office hits. Mona was excited about working with her handsome co-star Chuck Demming, who was a brilliant actor. He had been coached by his mother, a prominent acting coach in Los Angeles. He was six feet, six inches tall with sandy brown hair and a rugged face. He was the new Clark Gable. Together they would take the world by storm.

Manuel looked at his watch. It was two o’clock. Some inspectors from the country were due today, he had alot of work to do before they showed up. There were fences to be painted, food to be rationed and windows to be fixed.

His cellphone rang.

“Manuel?”

“Yes Boss?”

“Did you talk to that woman on the farm?”

“Yes, I did. She doesn’t have an answer yet.”

“I need the space, we need to expand. What did you offer her?”

“Thirty thousand a month, like you said.”

“I see.....Let’s see if she responds.”

“Yes Boss.”

“Anything else happening there?”

“There’s an inspection today. It’s routine, the county does an annual inspection of all agricultural farms every year.”

“Make sure it’s all up to code.”

“Yes Boss.”

Manuel began painting a fence, white paint dripping thickly off his brush. It was going to be a long day. It was hot and he was sweating in the afternoon sun.

Lili and Ritchie were snuggled in the barn. Ricthie stood up and stretched his feathers.

“I think I’ll take a little stroll around the yard.”

“Alright.”

He set of on his stroll, walking past the old tractor and through the massive barn doors. He rounded the corner and came face to face with a big black dog. The dog barked at him. He stood up to him.

“Whatcha want?” said Ritchie

“This is my yard.” The dog said “You belong in the Big House.”

“Mind your own business.”

“Don’t get smart with me chicken boy.”

Ritchie turned around and headed back to the barn, enough of this harrassment.

A white truck was pulling up the long driveway to the ranch. Two men were inside with hats on. They got closer, the dust kicked up behind them. Maunel looked up from painting. He put his brush down. They were here. He hoped that the Ranch would meet code. He had cleaned the barn and the yard, but the Big House was too overcrowded with birds.

The men got out of the truck and approached him.

“Howdy.” said a tall man

“Hello. I am Manuel Vargas, I am the ranch manager.”

“We’re here to inspect the place, it won’t take too much of your time.”

“Go ahead...if you need anything please call me.”

The two men went about their business, taking notes and taking pictures with a digital camera. They returned to Manuel.

“Well, I think we’re about done here. We’ll call you and let you know if there’s any violations.”

“Very well.”

“You take care now Mr Vargas....That’s Mexican ain’t it?”

“Yes.” Manuel said quietly.

“Adios.”

The tall man tipped his hat and they got in the truck and drove off.

Scott woke up. He didn’t know what time it was...The blackout curtains were shut tight, blocking out any rays of sun. He got dressed in a black jumpsuit and black boots, careful not to wake Ali and walked to the dining room for breakfast. The band was there. Bruce the drummer came over to him.

“Hey old man.” said Bruce

“Hi Bruce.”

“Ready for the big show tonight?”

“Yeah...”

Scott eyed the buffet.

“I’m starved. What the hell they got here?”

“Pancakes, toast, bacon, eggs, cereal, fruit.”

They filled their plates and the whole band sat down to eat.

“So Scott, how’s it going with your girl?”

“Ah, she’s great.”

“She’s a fox, bet she’s a tiger in the sack.”

“Hey! Watch it!! Cool it man, here she comes.”

Ali came over and took a seat beside Scott.

“Hi guys.”

“Hi!” they said

“Ali, you ready to go and see the town?”

“Ready.”

Two Japanese women came over to the table with their cameras.

“Elvis the King?” One of the ladies asked “Howdy Ma’am, you sure are looking pretty this morning.”

She giggled.

“Oh thank you so much Mr. Elvis. Can I take a picture?”

“Go ahead.”

They posed for a photograph and then the two ladies left. The guys from the band got up to leave.

“We’ll see you guys later.” said Scott.

Ali suddenly got annoyed.

“Why are you dressed up in your costume when the show isn’t until tonight? Can’t you be normal for once?”

“What?” Scott was confused

“I mean, we’re just going to spend the day together, why do you have to be Elvis? Why can’t you just be you?”

Scott got defensive

“Because, Ali, this is who I am. I am Elvis.”

“No Scott, you’re you. Isn’t that good enough sometimes?”

“Well Ali, you just don’t understand. We’re in town to do a show. I have to promote that show at all times. Everybody here in Santa Fe has to know The King is in town.”

“I don’t know.” She said shaking her head.

“Ah, come on sweetie, don’t be so down on it.

“I guess I am just not used to all the attention all the time.”

“I know but listen to me and listen up good. I am only going to say this once. This is who I am and if you can’t accept it then you can leave.”

“Oh really? Is that how it is?”

“Look, Ali, I don’t want you to leave, okay? I just want you to accept me for who I am and appreciate what I am trying to do.”

“Well, sometimes I don’t know who you are.”

“You’ll learn.” He tilted her chin up.

“Ready to go to town?”

“Yeah, I guess so”

Scott and Ali jumped on the motorcycle that Scott was towing behind the motor home and sped off towards town. Nelson Heinz was parked and followed them at a distance. He phoned Sam.

“Nelson here.”

“What’s going on?”

“Not much yet, we’re in New Mexico now, he’s doing a show here. I’m surveilling them like a hawk.”

“Keep your eyes on them.”

“Yes sir.”

Nelson followed the bike into town. Scott and Ali parked on a side street and strolled towards the shops and art galleries.

It was a short flight from LAX to Santa Fe and Mona Meredith checked into the Inn At The Turquiose Bear in disguise. Sante Fe was one of her favorite escapes from Hollywood and she loved to shop in Santa Fe, to collect new artwork and enjoyed the Southwestern cuisine there, She doubted that anyone would recognize her in her black wig and sunglasses.

Mona went out and had dinner alone at a quiet restaurant. The food there was noted for its unique Southwestern taste. It was good being anonymous. Tommorrow she would hit the art galleries, looking for some unique pieces for her vast collection.

Scott and Ali were getting dressed for the show. Scott had on a powder blue jumpsuit with multi-colored stones in the front and white boots with sunglasses and a red scarf around his neck. He looked like Elvis to the max. He was busy applying his makeup in the mirror and reeked of Musk cologne. It was a favorite of the fans.

“Almost ready?”

“Yes.”

He emerged from the bathroom.

“How do I look?” “Like the King Himself, you’re rockin’ babe.”

The Tribute Room was packed with Elvis fans. Busy waitresses served drinks and they waited for the show to begin. The house lights dimmed and the spotlight shone on Elvis. He was magnificient, the King was alive!! The crowd roared and stood on their feet clapping and calling his name. Scott started with Hound Dog. Some women took off their bras and underwear and threw them at the stage. It was a great show. The band was really cooking.

Mona Meredith sneaked in the show through the side entrance. She watched as Elvis turned the crowd on. He was good! He really captured the personality of the man.

The band took a break and the fans rushed at Elvis.

“Can I have an autograph?”

“Where can I buy a CD?”

“Can I have a kiss?”

Mona waited until the line was shorter and then approached Scott.

“Hello.”

“Hello pretty lady.”

“I thought you were really great up there.”

“Thank you very much.”

“i was wondering if you could do me a favor.”

“You name it pretty lady.”

“I’m a big fan of yours and I know you love animals....Could you dedicate the next song to all the abused animals out there.”

“Why surley Ma’am....By the way, what’s your name?”

“Mona.”

“Alright Mona, we’ll see what the band can do for you.”

Mona watched in the corner as Elvis took the stage for the second set.

“Ladies and Gentlemen, we have a special request tonight, Mona would like this next song dedicated to all the abused animals in the world. I hope that the abuse ends and we can all live in peace soon. Mona, this song is for you darlin.” He sang “Don’t Be Cruel.”

 

“You know I can be found

Sitting home all alone

If you can’t come around

At least please telephone

Don’t be cruel to a heart that’s true

 

Baby, if I made you mad

For something I might have said

Please lets forget the past

The future looks bright ahead

Don’t be cruel to a heart thats true

I don’t want no other love

Baby its just you I’m thinkin’ of.”

 

Mona stood on her feet and clapped. She was glad to be in disguise and that she had met Elvis. After the song was over she tapped him on the shoulder.

“That was wonderful....Can I have one of your cards?”

“Surely Ma’am.”

He handed her a glossy card. Nelson Heinz watched the show from a corner of the room in the shadows of the bright lights. He dialed the phone.

“Boss.”

“Yeah, what’s up?”

“He just sang a song and dedicated it to all the abused animals in the world.”

“He didn’t mention me, did he?”

“No sir.”

“Good, keep on this guy. He’ll fuck up sooner or later.”

“Yes sir.”

Nelson watched and waited. Sooner or later something would give, it was only a matter of time.

 

 

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