4
min

All Shook Up

Image of ClodaghO

ClodaghO

114 readings

19

Date: 22nd of October 2026
Location: Graceland, Memphis, Tennessee
To: John Denning, Co-ordinator of the Elvis Presley 50th Anniversary Celebrations
Status: Urgent. Top Secret.
John,
We’ve made a breakthrough and you need to get here straight away. You’ll see from the attached encrypted document how important this is - should the story prove to be true. Open it when you are alone.
As you know, the Trust finally gave us permission to use our new Ultrasonic detector (or “that fine-tooth comb thingamajig”, as the director likes to call it). I take full responsibility for the destruction of the floor boards that followed - stay with me, read on before you fire me. You remember those cleverly hidden rooms deep inside the Graceland building? They were empty when we found them; we just assumed they provided a very private place for Elvis when he needed it. Our recent search, however, revealed an under-floor cubbyhole that contained a number of documents wrapped in a jumpsuit. They appear to date from the early to mid 1970s. We have yet to sift through all of them, but I am forwarding this particular one as a matter of urgency. The contents appear to be a written memoir which, if true, will change our vision of Elvis’ story. We urgently need to discuss the contents and verify them. Get back to me as soon as you have read this!
Helen.

Attachment: The Graceland Papers; document 1;
I first saw the King back in ’55 and loved him on sight. We had just bought a TV and we gathered around to finally see the man. We’d been listening to him on the radio show from the Louisiana Hayride every Friday night for the last year. The songs that man sung, the way he moved, everything about him was so fresh and new - I just wanted to be him.
Me and Tommy had a band going – small timee, but we weren’t bad, though I say it myself. Once I had heard that magical voice, though, all I wanted to do was play Elvis songs. I copied his moves, wore tight trousers. When I dyed and quiffed my hair, Tommy (along with my entire family) finally broke. “What in tarnation do you think you’re doing Carl? You can’t be Elvis.” I knew that I could. We started mixing in a little Elvis magic into our shows in Dallas, Shreveport, Texarkana - wherever we played. After a couple of successful shows, Tommy reluctantly agreed that it just might work.
Of course, when Elvis came to do live shows at Texarkana, me and Tommy went to see him. One night, Elvis was involved in a fender-bender on his way to the show and Jimmy Lefan, the promoter, called on us to fill in until Elvis arrived. I was half way through belting out “It’s Alright Mama” when a huge cheer went up as Elvis walked on behind me, grinning. Someone from the crowd shouted “Aaww Elvis, let the boy sing” – and he did. I don’t rightly recall how I kept going, but I did, though the sweat was pouring out of me. Elvis came right up to me and shook my hand there on the stage. I thought I had died and gone to heaven.
After that he would chat to us when he came to do the Texarkana shows; sometimes we strummed a few chords together and sang his latest numbers. Of course, he outgrew us and Texarkana. It was hard for us to make a living in the music business at that time. Tommy went back to his uncle’s automobile repair shop and I made do working in the hardware store and picking up a gig here and there. My “when I played with Elvis” story, got me plenty of free whiskeys at the bars I played in. As the King’s fame grew though, fewer and fewer people believed it.
1958 brought sadness into both our lives, my parents died suddenly and Elvis was stricken with grief over the death of his mother. One hard-drinking long night, I wrote him a letter, telling him how sorry I was for his loss and how connected I felt we were. Sometime after, to my surprise, I received a reply – a rambling note about his grief and how he would never forget a friend. I treasured that letter, but reread it so many times in a drunken haze that it fell apart. My memories from those years are blurred and, probably, not worth remembering too good anyhow. Elvis was at the top of the heap, I was at the bottom of a bottle.
Our connection didn’t break though. Like the King, I thought I had found happiness with a woman named Priscilla in 1967, but my marriage was even shorter-lived than his. My break from the bottle only lasted three years and my wife left me and my whiskey collection in ’71. On an impulse, I wrote to Elvis, updating him on my current woes. The following week, as I staggered out of a bar, two men picked me up in a Rolls Royce Phantom V and I found myself going to Graceland.
I was bundled into the large house on a dark night, still half-wasted. Elvis welcomed me in a room which, I later realised, was hidden from the rest of the household. He said, “How would you like to be me, Carl?” I said, “That’s what I want most in the world.” His face had this look on it that was so sad I thought I had answered wrong.
The next few months were the strangest in my life. I lived in a suite of rooms deep inside Graceland. Looking back, I realise I was a prisoner, but it was a comfortable self-contained jail, and I had Elvis visiting me every few days. The way he talked, it seemed like he was a prisoner himself. He tried to explain, “There are too many people that depend on me. I'm too obligated. I'm in too far to get out.” I didn’t understand, at first.
We sang together and he showed me how to copy his movements – not just dance like him, but walk and talk too. I dressed in his clothes, though they were a bit tighter on me. He didn’t approve of drink, so I was on the dry all the while, but I managed. One day he came in and paced the room, too agitated to stand still. Eventually he came to a stop and said “Priscilla has left me, it’s time for you to see the world as me. This is your moment Carl. From now on you are the King.”
I finally understood. Elvis ignored my protests, my pleading that I wasn’t ready for this. He said, “I never expected to be anybody important. The image is one thing and the human being is another. It's very hard to live up to an image, put it that way. But you, Carl, you’ve been preparing for this all your life. It’s what you want.” He said he was heading for Vegas. It would be easy to hide in plain sight among the Elvis impersonators there. “I might just enter one of those competitions”, he joked.
I know the King’s downfall is marked from that day. Once out in the world, with wealth I had never dreamed of, I took my opportunities. Drugs, food, sex and Rock n Roll; I lived the life. I’m sorry that I tarnished his reputation; I’ve tried to tell this story as honestly as I can. I will hide these words in my secret rooms and let the world find them after I have passed away. I am the ultimate forgotten man, but no one should forget the King.

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Image of BRC
BRC · ago
Clever, pithy, original, and very well written. I love it. Well done Clodagh. More please
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Image of ClodaghO
ClodaghO · ago
Thank you so much. Your comments are motivating me to go for it, cheers!
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Image of Danie Botha
Danie Botha · ago
Clodagho,
What a fascinating twist you gave your story!

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Image of ClodaghO
ClodaghO · ago
Thanks Danie.
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Image of melogan
melogan · ago
Love the concept and arc here. Maybe this guy could have been the the twin brother? ADD CONSPIRACY?!
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Image of ClodaghO
ClodaghO · ago
Thanks, I love your idea. I might have to do a re-write!
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Image of Keith Simmonds
Keith Simmonds · ago
First of all, Clodagho, I am blown away by your very humorous CV,
and then fascinated by the originality of this thought-provoking and
awe-inspiring story on Elvis! What imagination and what great writing
skills! This work will remain with me! Thanks for sharing it! I take pleasure
in awarding you full marks and also invite you to read "The Awakening"!

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Image of ClodaghO
ClodaghO · ago
Thanks Keith. I had fun writing it. I can see my productivity going down a reading rabbit hole on this site...off I go to "The Awakening"
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Image of Keith Simmonds
Keith Simmonds · ago
Good morning, ClodaghO, I did not see you on the "Awakening". Would like to have your comments! See you later!
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Image of GITA
GITA · ago
Love the concept that there are hidden cubbies deep within Graceland and new material about Elvis' life. Very clever. You get my vote. I hope you'll give a look at my story, The Curve.
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Image of ClodaghO
ClodaghO · ago
Thanks, GITA. I love this whole Story Dispenser Machine Concept.
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Image of GITA
GITA · ago
Yes! I hope you will take a look at mine, too.
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