Epistle Presley

By Jon Riccio

Dear Mom,


Swam 20 laps in the Elvis pool today, one for each sighting, my sequins-mimicking complete. Elvis Superior says my hair has girth. And I quote, “Damn Elvis-in-Training (EIT) 2, those sideburns deserve a marquee of their own. We’ll get you a dinner theater yet.”


EIT 3 (ex-Laundromat designer Greg) thinks we should add surplus vowels to our middle names, Presley headstone-style. That would put me at Jaames or Jamees, former rock climbing instructor @ Carnival Cruise herein obligated to a life of apnea and Elvisness, whichever comes first.


Greg’s voice is the suede you eject from a convention of one-testicled shoe salesmen. Online Elvis (Pete who runs our background checks) says Greg was more of a coin emptier than layout king, and I am not about to take branding advice from a locksmith whose only option was mountain fresh.


Kayla, our Priscilla-in-Training (we admit one a year), has the daintiest noggin. Her dimples are like air hockey for the armless. We split a bottle of Beam after the Lisa-Marie auditions, won by the gaffer’s niece. Those words sound foul together, like Cousin Jody after she quit Amway to become Flannigan Chartreuse, the ‘eh?’ in one-eighth of Ken Potomac’s Lil’ Darlins revue.


Kayla’s prenup made enrollment possible. Say screenwriter and she breaks out in hives. Man, it would blow having your fiancé leave you for the chick who collates Lifetime movie scripts.


Chad, my roommate and EIT 4, left his cardiac specialist position for this, and by specialist I mean the guy who fixes blood pressure cuffs in the Tums aisle. Who knew Muzak could feed a family of one? Chad says the world boils down to folks who hail from one-pharmacy towns and those who don’t.


Maybe he’ll hook me up with Miss Teen Prevacid 2005. Those health and wellness types tend to cluster. Take Cybil 1 and EIT 6, two of the veganest impersonators out to oil Memphis since flaxseed and soy. Shit if they’re opening a Pilates studio next to the peanut butter and banana cart.


Ombudsman Elvis took a leave of absence. Something about St. Louis, which was probably code for ‘their Arch museum had an opening,’ or, ‘I met this superhot geologist with copywriting skills through my garnet-of-the-month club…we’re starting a mail-order bride business outside of Branson. Send zinc.’


Yesterday in Graceland class, of which I’m practically hound dogatorian, I realized Elvisness is a bit of destitution, a bit of plunder. Feed them and you break even, something I’d never learn harnessing asses to made-up rock.



That and serendipity is the rhinestone’s power shake. Jesus my hair has mirth.


Aaronly Yours,




Christian Jaames Tendt


P.S. Chad said esophageal in his sleep last night. Some residues persist no matter how hard you embrace the flock.


P.P.S. Grafton has two Drug Marts, right?


Jon Riccio studied viola performance at Oberlin College and the Cleveland Institute of Music. A current MFA student at the University of Arizona, his work has appeared in Bird’s Thumb and Bear River Review.