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               I SAW ELVIS IN A MARTIAN 7-11 By Alex Anderson



    I'd been sleeping pretty well for the last few days, so it
couldn't be lack of sleep.
    Nor could it be stress because, at the time, I wasn't under
    And it definitely couldn't be my eyes because I'd just had my
corneas done. (And if it was them they have a three year warranty
and boy is Bausch and Lomb gonna hear from me!)
    There was only one possible explaination for what I was
seeing. Well, in hindsight I realize there are about half a dozen,
including hallucination and mental illness, but only the one I was
considering at the time.
    It was real.
    It was Him.
    He was alive.
    What do you mean 'Which Elvis?'. The Elvis you moron. Elvis
Presley. The King.
    The true absurdity of that notion didn't sink in until much
later. I didn't think about the fact that a) Elvis is dead b) Elvis
is Dead and c) Elvis is DEAD.
    He has been for a long time. Since more than a hundred years
before I was born and on another planet to boot.
    Yes ''That Elvis''. Do you want to hear this or are you gonna
keep interrupting?
    Let me back up a bit and tell you what I was doing in Dust
City's only 7-11 in the first place.

    My girlfriend Sasha and I were on our way back to my place
after a late vid when I was struck by an insatiable craving for
Oreo cookies.
    I explained this to Sasha, who semmed less than impressed.
    ''Don't you have an insatiable craving for me?'' she asked in
a half coy, half offended way. I don't want to give you the
impression that she's nympho or something. We only get to see each
other once or twice a week and she'd already suggested a quick stop
by my place before I took her home as she still lived with her
parents at the time.
    Old enough! And mind your own God-damned biz. I'm not here to
tell you about my lovelife. Shall I continue or what?
    The thought of spending some quality time with Shannon on my
aircushion mattress would normally have made me forget all about
Oreo cookies.
    But not tonight.
    Tonight I couldn't get the those little disks of heaven out of
my mind. (Especially the ones with double filling. I just love the
way the icing oozes out the back of the cookie when you bite down
on them, but nevermind that now.)
    Mars' Dust City is not a big place, though someday it will be,
and boasted only this one 7-11. Seven-Eleven is the pioneer of
convenience stores, there being at least one 7-11 franchise on each
of Earth's colonies. Mars had a total of four; Nuevo Republica, the
Martian capital, had the other three plus a McDonald's.  
    It seemed that over-priced double-stuff Oreo cookies were
popular everywhere.
    Over-priced Oreo cookies, Twinkies and a litre bottle of new
Nova Taste Diet Coke. That was what He had cradled in His arms.
    I bet you're wondering how I recognized him. Well, I've always
been a bit of a retro case. I'm even a card carrying member of the
Society for Creative Anachronism. I like truely classic music, vid
and even some of the fashions. Remind me to tell you about the time
in university when I dressed up as Elmer Fudd for my Modern History
    Anyway, I'm not a particularly big fan of 20th century music,
but I do like some of it, especially early Rock'n'Roll. As a matter
of fact I did a project on it in middle-ed.
    I've heard most of His songs, at one time or another. I even
have a few old digital recordings. They're good songs, though
nothing to rave about. They have a simplicity that you can't find
in modern stuff. I've seen dozens of vids and flats of Elvis, some
from early in his career and some from later, the fried chicken
    It was the thin, youthful Elvis that stood before me in Dust
City's only 7-11 that day.
    His broad shouldered frame was clad in a form fitting, one
piece suit made from a black shiny synthetic material I couldn't
identify. He wore a pair of calf high pilot's boots, and his jet
hair, apart from a few long wisps that refused to behave and hung
down over his forehead, was slicked back as modern fashion
    I didn't realize that I was staring at him. Nor did I notice
the frowns I was getting from an elderly lady standing behind Him
in line. It is the height of ill manners in Martian society to
stare at a person without being invited to do so.
    Boy was this a question for the Incorporeal Theorists. I'd
never paid their philosophical mumbo-jumbo much attention, but I
had a feeling I would be talking to one real soon.
    He reached the counter and put his items on the scratched,
plastic surface.
    ''Will that be all sir?'' asked the speckle faced kid at the
    ''Yes,'' He said. One word, just one syllable, but any doubt
that this was Elvis was banished from my mind. That deep, rich,
velvet voice could belong to no other human being than He.  
    The kid bagged His purchases and gave Him His change.
    ''Thankyou,'' He said. ''Thankyou very much.''
    Then He was walking to the exit. Walking right past me,
seeming not to notice my unabashed gawking.
    The door slid open and He was gone.
    Snapping out of the daze I was in I looked around at the other
customers. Some shot me disapproving glances, but none appeared
fazed by the presence of the King. Indeed no one seemed even to
realize who He was.
    Except me.
    I turned and raced after Him. I had some questions that I
desperately had to ask.
    Was he really Elvis?
    And if he was....what? If he was a man who'd lived and died
more than a century before I was born what would I ask him?
    Heard any good tunes lately?
    I think not.
    And what if it wasn't Elvis? What if it was just some guy who
looks and sounds and walks like Elvis? Then I'll look like a
complete fool.
    But it didn't matter, I already looked like a complete fool.
I just had to talk to him.
    The door whooshed open before me and I leapt out onto the
sidewalk, my head spinning left and right.
    He was gone.
    I shouldn't have been surprised considering the circumstances.
He couldn't have exited the 7-11 more than 30 seconds ahead of me,
certainly not enough time to have gone more than a few meters. I
looked around, but somehow I knew I wouldn't see Him.
    There were a couple of kids sitting on the walk eating Oreo
cookies and Twinkies. I walked over to them.
    ''Where'd the guy who just came out of the store go?'' I
demanded anxiously.
    The kids looked up at me. They looked to be about eight or
nine years old. One had freckles and light hair, the other black
hair that hung down over his face.
    ''What guy?'' asked the dark haired kid.
    I suspected I knew the answer to the next question already but
I asked anyway. ''Didn't you see a guy come out of the store just
    He was gone. I'd reacted too slowly and I'd lost him. I
couldn't help but feel that I'd blown the biggest opportunity of my
life, though opportunity for what I had no idea.
    I looked around again in dying hope.
    Sasha was staring at me from the huv; giving me a disparaging
look. It's not rude for your significant other to stare at you.
    ''What took you so long?'' she asked. ''And where are the
    ''I saw Elvis,'' I said, bewildered.
    ''Huh?'' She looked at me like I'd lost my mind, which maybe
I had.
    Maybe now I was going to start seeing dead people all the
time. I wondered who would be next? Was it restricted to musicians
or would I see other people? Politicians, vid stars, psychotic
    The only thing I was sure of was that I couldn't tell anyone
else. I had this overwhelming fear that I wouldn't see any more
dead people if I told. anyone else.
    ''Nevermind.'' I turned and re-entered the store.

Alex Anderson     Don't open your eyes, you won't like what you see
Freelance writer  The devils of truth steal the souls of the free
(613) 745-8097    Don't open your eyes, take it from me
                 The blind have been blessed with security.....nin

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