We looked at one another with anxious expectation. Under my breath I whispered, “How much longer do we have to be here? I’m ready to go!” The hubs quickly began walking back toward crazy Elvis-man and told him, “We’ve really, um, enjoyed our visit, but it’s time for us to be heading toward Oxford. We’ve been on the road all day and we’re getting pretty tired.” This was not the news Elvis-man wanted! He wanted us to stay longer and see every detail of his prized possessions! He told us the longest tour had lasted 12 hours and we could stay as long as we wanted to. All I could think about was how anyone had survived 12 hours in that horror-filled death trap!
Back into the house we were led. I was instructed to pick up a three-ring binder and open it to any page. This 2 inch thick binder was filled to capacity with sheet protector covered, type written pages. He told me to open it and read the page. I began to quickly scan it and felt the now all too familiar punch on my arm indicating I had not correctly understood his directions or read his mind. I was to read it OUT LOUD. O-k-a-y. Here goes… “August 3, 1991…Arsenio Hall Show…Arsenio says that Elvis is…” Our host cut me off before I finished to tell me that he had more notebooks just like that one. I, once again, was rendered speechless. On each page he had written the date, the television network, the name of a TV show, and the content concerning Elvis. This man, clearly OCD, had typed up every single time Elvis Presley’s name had ever been spoken on TV. Who has that much time? And even if you have that much time, WHY would you do that? This truly was a man unlike any other I had ever seen. In a world full of crazies, we had found their leader. He was the most neurotic of them all. Then it was the hubs turn. Of course, all the while the crazy man is asking us if we know anyone in the television, book publishing, movie making, etc. industries. That we could go into business together and market all of his findings and collections and we’d be “millionaires”. My hubby was instructed to pick up a scrapbook-type notebook. Inside was the horror of horrors. There, pasted into the scrapbook, was page upon page of Elvis’s name—cut out as a whole name, individual letters pasted together from newspapers and magazines. It was like looking at a real-life ransom note and we were the ones who’d been kidnapped. The hubs did all he could to compliment the crazy man and encourage him to lead us back to the multi-locked door. A disappointed look again came upon his face. He said he took pictures of all of his “guests” and he wanted ours. He posed us in front of a velvet Elvis painting and snapped a photo. There it was. The last photo before dying. That was the one the news channels would flash onto the screen after they found our decomposing bodies in the Mississippi backwoods. At least we were smiling—after all, we knew where we were going!
After the photo was snapped, we were led through a curtain into a makeshift hallway. It was lined with hundreds upon thousands of snapshots. Were these the others? Were these the ones who made it out or the ones who didn’t? Were we to be the next on the wall? It was more than we could take. We both became insistent that we had to leave. “Oh, but I didn’t get to tell you about the flowers from Elvis’s grave!”, he said. You know, at that point, if someone had told me I would have to crawl to Oxford on my hands and knees to get out, I’d be telling you about my scars right now. We again insisted that it was time to go and, reluctantly, we were led back to the front door. Freedom was in sight!
We were asked to sign the guest book and told the tour was, “$5 each, but if you’re not 100% satisfied, I’ll give you your money back!”. Are you kidding me?! I’ll pay you gladly if it means you unlock that door. The hubby handed over the money and like magic, the man unlocked the doors. After over an hour of his non-stop Elvis babble, we had finally been released! We stepped out the door into the twilight of a Mississippi sunset. Without speaking, we walked hand-in-hand back to the car. I punched Oxford, Mississippi, into the GPS and he cranked the car. For a full 1.5 miles, there was no sound—no radio, no talking, nothing. Barely a whisper, I heard the words “I thought we were going to die in there.” escape from my beloved’s mouth. With a sigh of relief, all I could say was, “I did too, honey. I did too.”
Looking back, it’s a really funny story. One that causes plenty of “Unh uhs!” and “No he didn’ts”. It’s definitely one for the record books. We’ve been asked if we’d do it again if we ever went back to Mississippi. I’ll let you figure that one out!