Elvis and the Lightbulbs

One of Elvis’ favorite past times was to sit in his backyard at Graceland and shoot light bulbs floating in the olympic sized swimming pool. Some of his large handgun collection was laid out next to him; long barrelled Colt 45 revolver like in the old wild west, 38 snub nose police special, 357 and a 44 magnum, a silver plated 45 automatic with pearl inlaid handle grip that was an exact reproduction of General Patton’s famous side arm, also a 9 millimeter Berreta and a Walther PPK like James Bond. One of his favorites was a 22 magnum snub nose with the accompanying photo of Elvis and President Nixon in the oval office where Elvis asked for and eventually received a special agent’s badge made especially for him. The gun was given to him by J.Edgar Hoover at the behest of President Nixon after Elvis notified the President that the King of Rock n Roll also wanted to be a Gman. Elvis would recline in his custom made chaise lounge that was made while filming one of his movies out in Hollywood; the one where he was standing around singing in a cabana pool lounge scene with a lot of smiling, wholesome girls posing around a Hollywood pool, all of them wearing one piece bathing suits. Back at Graceland, he would recline on this lounger, with a banana and peanut butter toasted sandwich next to him and squeeze off rounds, watching the light bulbs explode with a satisfying “pop!” He would eventually get really loaded on Delaudid combined with whatever else his Memphis doctor would have delivered to him in the ubiquitous brown paper grocery bags full of prescription samples that arrived like clockwork every Wednesday night after the drug store closed. His drug intake would increase and the King would start to slump down lower and lower in his lounge chair. The more loaded he got, the arc of trajectory of the bullets would get flatter, almost parallel to the surface of the water. The shots would get lower and lower and some would ricochet off the water and fly across the backyard of Graceland. They would imbed themselves in the trees, or bury themselves in the manicured lawn that went on forever. The members of the Memphis Mafia and house staff knew better than to be around that part of the grounds. Rarely, some rounds even hit the back wall that protected Graceland from the hordes of fans that came on a daily basis to get a glimpse of the most famous entertainer in the world. The City of Memphis was in the process of improving the roads around the King’s mansion because of the influx of so many fans wanting to get a glimpse of the King. They had bulldozed that road and left a pile of dirt to be trucked away later. A fan managed to drive his car up onto the pile of dirt to get a glimpse over the high wall. He was standing on the roof of his Edsel when one of Elvis’ rounds bounced off the water, gained some altitude, cleared the wall and hit this guy’s car, “Thunk!” Right where the roof joins the rear side panel just behind the back window, about four inches below the fan’s cowboy boot as he stood on his roof. The lime green Edsel paint job was chipped off, showing the grey undercoating and a neat hole about the size of a bass player’s right thumb. He got so excited, he jumped down off the roof of his car, drove it around the front of Graceland to tell his wife and started bragging to the hundreds of people from all over the world looking through the fence, that Elvis was shooting at him. He showed them the slug hole from the 357. His wife got perturbed. They had driven all the way from Murphreesboro and didn’t take kindly to getting shot at, even if it was by the King. She spoke to the guard in the little guard house at the closed gate adorned with musical notes at the entrance to Graceland. She kept asking for the sheriff. The guard called the sheriff’s office but couldn’t reach him. The sheriff was where he usually was at that time of day; sipping the traditional hospitality drink of Graceland, a mint julep, sitting right next to Elvis, by the pool. TheĀ  guard called up to the house. The Memphis Mafia came down and give the fan a new El Dorado Cadillac and some free tickets to shut him up. It was a private affair around Elvis’ pool at Graceland and they wanted to keep it that way. Sometimes the sheriff and the Memphis Chief of Police both would hang out with Elvis and have a mint julep while the King target practiced on the light bulbs floating in his swimming pool. But they were not allowed to shoot at the light bulbs themselves. If anyone was a better shot than Elvis, he didn’t want to know about it.

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