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Sample Saturday: “It Happened in Memphis and Other Stories”

Hi, everyone.  Today’s sample is from one of the short tales in my current work-in-progress.  The story from which this snippet is taken is entitled “The Devil’s Music.”  I’m sure you can figure out, from the photo, who the narrator is.  As always, the final product may look a little different than the current draft. Enjoy!

elvis teenagerElvis Presley as a teenager.  Photographer unknown.

My mama bought my guitar down to the hardware store in the town where I lived as a little kid. I wanted a rifle, but Mama wanted me to have a bicycle. Still, that guitar that Floyd Bobo sold my mama was the thing that changed my life more than any rifle or bike would have done. Brother Frank Smith, our preacher man, and my uncle Vester taught me how to play a few chords. And boy, that Brother Frank could play. He’d get the whole little church to singin’ along with them songs. “Just a Little Talk With Jesus,” “Blessed Jesus, Take My Hand,“ “I Shall Not Be Moved,” all them old songs.

See, that’s where my music really comes from. It weren’t no different from church. Way I saw it, Saturday night was when you sang a song about your baby … and Sunday you sang the same kind of song about Jesus.

Anyway, them shows when I was a young man, I’d go out there so scared my knees was knockin’. But I wore them loose pants like Brother Frank wore, and the material would get to movin’ a particular way … and suddenly them girls would cut loose a-screamin’ every time my legs shook. I started doin’ it on purpose pretty soon, just to see what would happen. And don’t you know, they commenced to screamin’ every time.

I never ceased to be surprised by it. I’d look at myself in the mirror and still see that skinny blonde boy from Tupelo, who had pimples on his face and wore oversized denim overalls. I didn’t wear no denim again from the minute I made some money. Them girls, though, they seemed to think I was the next comin’ of Jesus himself the way they’d carry on.

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