The Pearl River Excursion (Part 10)

Back at the club bus, after everyone had enjoyed a rest and eaten the sandwiches Neil had brought, Jerry stood and addressed the group. “Well, that was quite a morning, wasn’t it? That is an experience we will each remember for the rest of our lives. But, as you know, we came here on a mission, and now the difficult part of that mission has come. Aaron McAllister must die. If he is allowed to live, he will destroy Elvis Presley’s reputation, and we will never be able to impersonate him again. We’ll be finished. No one will be able to enjoy Elvis’ music anymore. This has to be done. Now, you should have all brought a gun with you. Good. I’m going to go around now, and we will draw straws to see which of us will kill Aaron McAllister.”

“Wait,” said Harry. He was seated alone at the back of the bus, staring at the microphone he had stolen from Mr. McAllister’s house. “I’m the club president. It’s my responsibility. I’ll do it.”

“Are you sure?” said Jerry.

Harry nodded. “It’s the right thing to do.” He slipped the microphone into his gym bag and stood up. Everyone watched him as he made his way to the front of the bus. He checked his gun and secured it in its holster. “Stick to the plan. Take the bus into town and find a busy restaurant. Make sure people see you. Go in and out in small groups, confuse people as to how many of us are there. That will be my alibi. I’ll call you when it’s done. I’ll meet you at the gas station we stopped at, and we can head home tonight if all goes well.”

Jerry checked his watch. “Do you want to wait a while?”

Harry shook his head. “It’s been two hours. I’m sure he won’t stay away from home too long—you know what Elvis is like.”

The group chuckled and nodded.

“Well,” said Harry, looking around at everyone, “this is it.”

The group wished him good luck, and then drove the bus into town. Harry walked the road back to Aaron McAllister’s house.


At the house, Harry knocked on the front door. After waiting a minute, he turned the doorknob. It was unlocked. He stepped inside and looked around. The place was a mess, just as he and his fellow Elvis impersonators had left it earlier. “Mr. McAllister?” called Harry. No one answered. Harry went from room to room. In the bedroom, he checked beneath the bed to see if Mr. McAllister was hiding there, and found instead an old photo album. He slid it out, sat on the floor beside the bed and spent the next hour mesmerised by the old man’s memories. There were Polaroid pictures of Mr. McAllister teaching karate in the nineteen-eighties, younger and fitter, with a thick beard and a crew cut hairstyle. Judging by the trophies his young students held in one of the photographs, Mr. McAllister must have trained some champions. “Imagine, learning from Elvis,” Harry muttered to himself. He turned the album’s crusty pages. There was Mr. McAllister in 1989, wearing a tuxedo and standing next to a beaming brunette in a white gown. “He must have remarried,” said Harry. There were a few snaps from a holiday to Hawaii, a few from the Grand Canyon, and then a bunch of the happy couple at home. The following album page held no photographs, only a faded order of service program from Mrs. McAllister’s funeral, dated 1994. Harry wiped away a tear. There were a dozen or so more karate photos, one of an unusually large zucchini, a picture of Mr. McAllister singing karaoke at a bar, and a few of him with a pug puppy. Harry slid the karaoke photo from its sleeve and put it in his pocket. He replaced the album beneath the bed and stood up. It was then he noticed another voice in the house.


Harry stepped softly back out through the living room and stopped as he entered the kitchen. There by the refrigerator, with his back turned to him, Aaron McAllister spoke on the phone.

“Uh, I don’t know. I haven’t… I haven’t checked. I just know they’ve ransacked the place… Yes, that’s right. They came here this morning, and—” Mr. McAllister stopped speaking and turned around. He started when he saw Harry watching him. “One of them is still here,” he whispered.

“Who are you talking to?” said Harry, sliding his pistol from its holster.

Mr. McAllister’s voice trembled. “He has a gun. Please hurry.”


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: