Elvis is alive and he lives in Belfast
by Letty Butler
I missed my connection and had time to kill, so I took to the streets.
Wheelie-bag in tow, I passed the city hall, the opera house, the toucan-strewn pubs where it’s always a lovely day for a Guinness. I turned a corner and there, outside Vodafone, was Elvis.
He was forty-ish and thinner than I imagined, his trademark jumpsuit baggy at the knees, toes tapping the pavement – almost artfully out of sync. Transfixed, I watched him shuffling about, erotic as porridge.
I got my phone out like all the rest and captured some comedy gold for the gram.
As I turned, I saw a white-haired woman standing a little way off. She was wearing gloves and a duffel coat, prim as a pin. Her lioness eyes prowled the crowd and made contact with mine. She started to clap, strong and steady. Each one a muffled word of warning:
I looked away, suddenly ashamed.
On the way to the station I trod in some dogshit and was glad because I knew I deserved it. I wiped my shoe on a bald patch of grass and thought about Elvis.
I pictured nights spent perfecting dance moves, set lists and quiffs, or trawling eBay for aviators; imagined his Mammy’s pep talk while he mopped up egg with a piece of bread, and swallowed a sugary mouthful of tea; the butterflies in his stomach on the bus ride into town; the shocking thrill as he stepped onto the concrete stage and lived his dream, right there, in that sudden glare of rare autumnal sun.
All hail The King.