The Pearl River Excursion (Part 5)

For the next forty-five minutes, the committee sat in wonder and listened to Ewan retell every detail of his brush with Elvis Presley. There were so many questions, so many possibilities. It was Gene who finally suggested what many were thinking. 

“You know,” he said, “New Orleans is only about a six-hour drive. We could leave tonight and be there by morning.” 

Harry stood up and motioned with his hands. “Now, hold on,” he said, pacing back and forth. “We should just… I mean, there’s no rush. Elvis isn’t going anywhere.” 

Committee members giggled at the mention of their idol’s name.  

“Let’s just think about it a minute,” continued Harry. “This is a big deal. We should really consider…” 

Everyone leaned forward. A huge smile crept over Harry’s face. 

“Oh, why not?” he said. “Let’s go see Elvis.” 

A loud voice from the side of the room spoiled the committee’s cheers and applause. Everyone turned to Ishani, who was sitting next to the coffee machine, looking at her phone. 

“What did you say?” asked Harry. 

Ishani looked up at them and said calmly, “He has a Twitter account.” 

“What?” said Brendon. 

“Elvis—Aaron McAllister—he has a Twitter account.” 

For a moment silence filled the timber hall. 

“So?” said Jerry. 

Ishani looked down at her phone and cleared her throat. “Killing babies in the womb is nobody’s right,” she read. 

Everyone stared at her. 

She read from her phone screen again, “A man in a dress wants to give children puberty-blocking drugs, and we’re supposed to pretend this is sane?” 

The committee members looked at each other in confusion. 

“All right,” said Ishani, “how about this one? This is a reply. Politicians are all crooks. At least Donald Trump stands up to them.” 

“Oh no,” said Ewan. He hung his head and dragged his hand slowly down his face. “That’s not good.” 

“I don’t get it,” said Harry. 

Ishani looked one by one at the committee members. Each looked back at her, clueless. She held up her phone. “His Twitter is full of this stuff.” 

“What do you mean?” asked Phil. 

“What I mean,” said Ishani, “is that Elvis Presley is posting the kind of things that get celebrities cancelled.” 

“Cancelled?” said Jerry. 

“Cancelled,” said Ishani. 

Jerry looked at Harry. Harry shook his head and shrugged. 

Ewan sighed. “It means if people find out what Elvis is saying on Twitter, he will instantly become the most hated man in America.” 

“What?” said Harry. 

“That’s ridiculous,” said Wayne. 

“How could anyone hate Elvis?” said Brendon. 

Ewan shook his head. “I should have checked this when I was tailing him.” 

“Wait,” said Harry. “How do you know that Twitter account even belongs to Elvis? Don’t you have to use a codename or something?”

“The account is linked to his Facebook account,” said Ishani. 

“Elvis is on Facebook?” said Neil. 

Aaron McAllister is on Facebook,” said Ishani. “It’s mostly pictures of him teaching old folks karate.” 

“Okay,” said Jerry, “but no one knows it’s Elvis. What’s the problem?” 

“The problem,” said Ishani, standing up and walking toward the pews, “is that Ewan found him. And if Ewan found him, then sooner or later someone else is likely to find him. Think about it. Elvis Presley alive? That is not going to stay a secret for long. And then his Twitter account will come to light, and everybody will turn on him. And when Elvis is cancelled, guess who else gets cancelled?” She looked at the committee members. 

Vince lowered his head. “Elvis impersonators,” he said, barely above a whisper. 

“That’s right,” said Ishani. 

“But I’m not even on Twitter,” said Wayne. 

Ishani shook her head. “If people hate Elvis, then they aren’t going to want anybody dressing up like Elvis and singing his songs. It will be over.” 


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