The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

December 20, 2010

Chapter 13: As the Small Town Turns


CNHI

— By Cynthia Boris

Guest writer

Maggie was sitting in the hospital waiting room, sipping her coffee and idling watching Entertainment Tonight on TV. Her mind drifted back to happier times when she and the kids were putting fresh sheets on the mattress, the Christmas turkey was cooking in the oven, their dog Sugar was barking at the baby strollers going by the house. Slowly, though, Maggie came out of her reverie and she began to listen to the news reporter on TV.

“This just in: Tomorrow, we have a live interview with the youngest little Elvis impersonator ever. Winner of this year’s Elvis Worldwide Impersonator Contest in Branson. That’s right, a little guy named RJ Roddenheimer is this year’s winner!”

Maggie’s coffee cup hit the floor. There on TV was the Rock, holding Roxy on his left shoulder, a check and a trophy in his right hand, and the biggest smile ever on Rock’s pockmarked face, reveling in his 15 minutes of fame. All Maggie could hear was “thank you, thank you very much” as she ran down the hallway toward Raquel’s room.

Watching the same show across town was no other than Bobby Tom. “Holy cow, what’s going on here?”

Not sure who to call first, he decided on Buck. Bobby Tom had only been discharged a few hours earlier from the Veteran’s Hospital, and he had a feeling his Mom was once again not telling him something that she thought might upset him.

Grabbing a jacket on the way out the door, Bobby Tom yelled “Be back after while. Got to go find Buck.”

Fifteen minutes later, Bobby Tom was talking to Buck, standing by the helicopter landing pad downhill from the Wellness Center where he was waiting on Sheriff Blinky to pick him up. Bobby Tom told Buck about seeing Rock and Roxy on TV at the Stardust Theatre.

“Do me a favor, Bobby Tom. Stay here and keep an eye on Raquel for me. She’s in room 302 across the street. I don’t know how much more she can take.”

Bobby Tom nodded, but he couldn’t help saying “Who’s going be keeping an eye on you?”

“Don’t be worrying about me. If you want to be worrying about somebody, you can worry about Mr. Rock ‘n Roller. Roxy better not have a hair out of place when Sheriff Blinky and I find her.”

Just then, a helicopter began lowering to the ground. After knocking out a few details with the pilot, Buck was off to Branson. Bobby Tom headed on over to Raquel’s room.

In the meantime, Rock a-k-a Elvis was beginning to enjoy his time in the spotlight. The first place winner automatically got a gig in Vegas. He imagined when he performed there, drawers would be flying to the stage from everywhere. Looking down, he saw one lady standing on tiptoes to hand him her business card, claiming to be Las Vegas’ No. 1 talent agency.

Looking sideways, Rock began to notice a couple of Branson’s finest working their way through the crowds towards the middle of the stage. Quickly, Rock began edging towards the back door with little Roxy still perched on his shoulders. It wouldn’t take long for the cops to figure out that Elvis had left the building.