creative writing / music

When Larry was Elvis


From the Greg Taylor Chronicles…

In 1982, there were not a lot of rock clubs in Amarillo Texas, but there was a couple. I had the dubious honor of being a DJ at Hot Rods. I was the DJ and sometimes worked as a doorman too. It didn’t matter that I still needed to be six months older to work there, I was a gainfully employed member of Amarillo Texas nightlife. That was where I met Larry.

Larry was a bouncer at the club. The first night, I noticed him right off. He was wearing his hair like Elvis. When I talked to him, he talked like Elvis. He had the same mannerisms. I had asked the bartender, and he had shrugged it off, “Everybody knows about the Elvis thing,” he said. Larry stayed busy at Hot Rods as there was quite a bit of trouble when the cowboys came in with their 10 gallon hats and tried to beat up the “hippy” guys who wore their hair long. Every now and then one of the cowboys would come in and the next thing you know, he would be screaming at one of the long hairs, “I’m gonna kick you, you Lil Ole Hippy!” That’s when Larry would spring into action, tossing them into the street. “I hadda hadda put ’em out,” he would tell me.

One day Larry asked me over for a beer. We listened to, what else, Elvis records. I thought now would be the perfect time to address the issue.

“Larry, why do you like Elvis so much?” I asked.

“Uh, well cause he’s my brother, you know.”

“Um, brother?” I asked.

“Yeah, he’s muh brotha,” Larry said.

I shook my head. I suppose he was referring to Elvis’ twin who was stillborn.

“But Larry,” I said, pausing for a moment…. “You weren’t born until 1958!”

Larry looked up from his peanut butter banana sandwich and he just shook his head, one greasy curl falling perfectly over one eye.  His sideburns were perfect.

“Ok then, Larry.” I gave up. He was Elvis, alright, but a lot bigger and with muscles. I would just have to play along, but I refused to actually call him Elvis, I always called him Larry.  

One night, in true Amarillo form, we had two guys who got in a fight inside. This time it was two rockers, and they weren’t fighting over hair, music or with rednecks.

They were fighting over a girl. Larry had been really sulky that day, and wouldn’t talk much to anyone. He rushed over to manage the fight, and he hit one of the guys square in the face with his big fist. I didn’t see it, but later went outside to smoke when I walked over to talk to some patrons. One girl was truly upset.

“What happened?” I asked.

“It’s Larry,” said one girl. “He really messed up that kid’s face.”

“Wow,” I said, shaking my head. Could it be that Larry had finally snapped?

My DJ career didn’t last much longer, and I discovered that not only did Lubbock Texas look good in the rear view mirror, but also that the Amarillo sign looked really good in that same mirror.


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