Atlantan Legacy XVIII – Elvis, The Denver Variety

by Squeakypeep

Disclaimer: Not Mine. No profit.

Acknowledgements: Mog’s Universe - Thank you.

Warning: OFC

After a rush of stories I have slowed down somewhat – you may have noticed! I have been carrying an injury (100+wpm has become a one handed 5wpm) so writing is now very slow and tedious and incredibly frustrating - I can’t get it down fast enough and keep losing the flow. Hopefully I will be able to get some of the stories out of my head before I escape for the annual Middle East Summer Mass Exodus (it’s already 45 degrees with 95% humidity – GET ME OUTTA HERE!).

Denver Academy for the Exceptionally Gifted
‘Mr Standish?’

Ezra turned as his name was called. The hallway was crowded with numerous parents and their uniformed offspring, seemingly milling around aimlessly. Charles Sinclair, Head of the Academy, was approaching at speed, cutting a swathe through the throng with his impressive bulk.

The Agent greeted the principal cordially. They had seen quite a lot of each other since the Southerner’s mischievous daughter had started attending the school some months earlier and both Standish and Tanner’s cell phone numbers were now programmed into the man’s phone on speed dial keys. He could also recite the numbers of any of the rest of the Seven without the aid of an address book.

Larabee had his undying admiration - and sympathy.

‘Mr Sinclair.’ Ezra held out his free hand and shook the one extended by the portly teacher. Rorie was clutching his left hand in both of hers and swinging her feet off the floor. She returned his questioning look with a shrug.

‘Don’t look at me Daddy. I’ve been a really good girl today.’

Elegant eyebrows rose slightly over twinkling green eyes and his lips twitched with humor as he nodded acceptance of her innocence, this time. She knew better than to try to mislead her incredibly astute parent and invariably confessed to her misdemeanors, given time and the proper incentive.

‘No. No trouble today.’ Sinclair smiled down at the miniature blonde troublemaker. She was fast becoming one of his favourite short people, despite the incredible propensity for practical jokes and smart remarks.

At least she was funny with it.

‘I just wanted to speak to you about the upcoming school show. Rorie has a major part and I was wondering if we could enlist your assistance with costumes. I understand you are a master of dressing up?’

Ezra chuckled as Rorie began whistling tunelessly and glancing about the busy hallway with feigned nonchalance. Much to her father’s disgust, Vin had been teaching her to whistle but she hadn’t mastered it yet. Blowing noisily would be a more accurate description.

‘Has she indeed? In that case, I may be induced to make my considerable skills available for such an auspicious occasion. It’s the twenty-first? What does the programme entail?’

‘Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat. We need costumes for all the major players. If you could design them, our drama department will have them made up and then we will need your assistance on the night to get all the kids into costume before the performance.’

The Undercover Agent’s eyes narrowed in speculation. ‘I understand from the official notice that there is a limited allocation of tickets…’

Sinclair nodded. ‘Each student is allowed four guests. These events are always over subscribed, partly due to the great interest in kids with talent.’ He eyed the suave ATF Agent. ‘As Costume Director you would have a free seat so Rorie still has her allocated four…’

‘I would doubtlessly need assistance to dress all those children on the night. Perhaps two extra chairs should be earmarked for the costume department.’ He waited with an expectant half smile, knowing the Principal was on his wavelength.

Sinclair grinned, having anticipated the man to bargain for seven seats. He’d met the ‘Uncles’ and knew none of the formidable group would be excluded. He had already made appropriate arrangements. Rorie would have her own raucous support section in the audience.

‘Done.’ The two shook hands and Sinclair handed Ezra the folder containing a list of the characters and an outline of what each would require in the way of costuming for the show.

Standish/Tanner Household
Late Wednesday Night
Poker Night

‘The Pharaoh?’

‘Indeed. Rorie is to be the King of Egypt.’

‘Is it a speaking part?’

‘Singing. I seem to recall that the whole show is sung.’ Josiah leaned back in his chair and it creaked ominously at the treatment. He ignored his host’s pained look.

Chris grinned. ‘I went to see that in the theatre with Sarah once. It’s quite good. I think Buck can help Rorie rehearse for her part.’

Buck looked intrigued as Ezra nodded and laughed. ‘Why me?’

‘Brother if you heard the song you’d know.’ Josiah was smiling.

‘Ez bought a CD an’ I agree. Buck’s the man fer the job.’ Vin placed his cards face down on the table and rose to change the music.

Since the arrival of the Southerner’s small daughter, it had become customary for the Wednesday night poker game to be held in the Standish house since it was easier than arranging babysitting. Not that babysitting was a problem, as Terri was available to mind the child, but the five who didn’t live on the premises had discovered that if they arrived early enough they would get to spend some time with their favourite munchkin before bedtime. Not an opportunity willingly passed up.

Vin sat back down at the table and pointed the remote handset at the music system, forwarding to the correct track.

As the music began to fill the room, Buck began to smile. He quickly started to laugh and the others joined in. ‘Elvis?’ He spluttered. ‘Elvis is the king of Egypt?’ Ezra nodded.

‘I think he’d be pleased with the comparison.’

‘Rorie gets to be ELVIS?’ He sounded incredulous.

Ezra produced a brown manila folder from a side table littered with early readers and colored pencils. He opened the file and pulled out a sheet of paper, which he passed over to Wilmington. Buck had just taken a swig of beer and promptly choked.

‘Tha… That’s her costume?’ He glanced up at the undercover agent who nodded. ‘Oh, she is gonna look great!’ He passed it to Josiah who looked it over and chuckled before passing it on.

‘Ez is designin’ all the costumes. I’m gonna help dress the kids on the night an’ one o’ ya has ta be the other assistant.’ At the horrified looks he clarified. ‘Either that or someone doesn’t git ta go. We gotta earn the extra seats.’

‘I can do that.’ JD was quick to volunteer.

‘Actually Mr Dunne, I was hoping you would video the show. Perhaps Mr Jackson would assist in dressing the children?’

‘Sure.’ Nathan agreed without protest. ‘We still get to watch though right?’

‘Of course.’

‘So you want me to coach her?’

‘We thought you could teach her the infamous pelvic gyrations, Mr Wilmington, if you have the time?’

‘Sure. I can do Elvis.’ Buck rose to his feet and performed a quick series of hip thrusts. Nathan snorted his beer and Chris choked on a pretzel. ‘Thank you, thank you very much!’

The Southerner frowned at the suggestive movements. ‘Just remember she’s only four Mr Wilmington.’


Ezra, Vin and Nathan shuffled into their seats, climbing over their colleagues to get to their places.

As the lights dimmed JD flicked the switch on his video camera and began to record the show. Rorie did not appear on stage until immediately after the interval. The reaction of the audience was instantaneous.

They laughed.

The very small King of Egypt was decked out as an Egyptian, as depicted in the hieroglyphics, in the usual white tunic and straight shoulder length black wig. Her eyes were also heavily outlined in black, with a line curving slightly upward away from the outside corner.

In every way she was classically Pharaohnic.

With a few exceptions.

Her tunic was covered in rhinestones and sequins, ala Elvis’s white jump suit, and her black wig held a ludicrously enormous pompadour on the top. But it was not the costume that made the audience chuckle.

Buck had taken his coaching position seriously.

Little Rorie Standish had the Elvis patented pelvic swivel and grind down to a fine art. She was a perfect mini parody and thus very, very funny. She lowered her voice and thickened her Southern accent as she sang about cows and bread.

Buck smiled, proud as any parent, and accepted the knowing looks from Josiah and Chris in the darkened auditorium.

JD attempted to stifle his laughter and keep the camera steady.

Josiah glanced at Vin and was surprised to see an expression of concentration cross his face as he watched his niece perform. He witnessed the sharpshooter and undercover agent exchange concerned looks across a chortling Nathan seated between them.

Wondering what the two were worrying about, he concentrated on Rorie, examining her facial expression under the harsh glare of the spotlight.

She looked dismayed.

As the Pharaoh exited, stage right, he nudged Vin in the ribs and raised his brows questioningly. The Texan shook his head and shrugged.

Ezra spent the rest of the show wondering what was wrong. He had to stifle the urge to go backstage to find and comfort his child. He had no idea what the problem was.

After the show Team 7 loitered around the hallway, waiting while Ezra went off to collect Rorie from the teachers. Other audience members gave the formidable looking group a wide berth as they waited for their children to reappear.

Backstage, the Southerner exchanged a few polite words with the Principal and then strode over to where his daughter, blonde again, was fighting to get into her jeans. As he approached he could hear her muttering under her breath.

‘Hello Honeybee. How is my favorite mini celebrity?’

Rorie glanced up at her father and scowled before switching her concentration back to her clothes. The denim seemed to sense her mood and put up a fight to stay off the little body. Ezra sighed. She was mad as a hornet in a jar and just as approachable.

‘Can I assist you?’

Muttering in temper and huffing out her bangs, Rorie tugged on the recalcitrant clothing again and nearly toppled over backwards.

‘Stop.’ The green-eyed agent knelt before the angry child, taking the inside out jeans and deftly turning the legs out the right way, before zipping her into her pants. Once that was accomplished she stood perfectly still, head hanging.

Watching the bent head, Ezra settled back, still kneeling, resting his butt on his shoes. He caught hold of the trembling chin with one hand and raised her face until he could see her eyes. They gazed at each other for a moment in silence.

‘Do you want to tell me what the problem is?’

Bruised looking green eyes peeked from beneath the too-long bangs. She huffed again. ‘Everybody laughed Daddy.’

He considered that. ‘And?’

‘I was the King. You don’t laugh at the King. It wasn’t a funny part.’ She looked up at him again and he winced inwardly at the look of hurt. ‘Why did they laugh at me Daddy?’

The little girl let out a heavy sigh as she was gathered against the broad chest and wrapped in a big enveloping hug. Inhaling deeply she buried her nose in the fine silk of her father’s shirt, her nose twitching at the comforting scent that was uniquely ‘Daddy’.

Aftershave, coffee, soap and… him.

Ezra kissed the top of her head before pulling away and combing his fingers through the messy curls. ‘They weren’t laughing at you, baby. In fact your performance was fantastic and you got exactly the reaction your part demanded. They were complimenting you with their laughter.’ He smiled gently at her as she straightened her shoulders at the praise from the man whose opinion mattered most. ‘Whilst your part was regal, the music was written as a parody of the ‘King’.’

‘What’s a parody?’

‘A musical, literary or other composition that mimics the style of another composer or author in a humorous or satirical way. Something so badly done as to seem an intentional mockery.’

‘You mean like Uncle JD doing an Uncle Chris glare? That’s funny.’

Ezra snorted. ‘You think Mr Dunne intentionally makes fun of Mr Larabee?’

Rorie thought about that. ‘No. That would be kinda like poking a tiger in the butt with a sharp stick, wouldn’t it?’

‘An accurate but crude analogy, honeybee.’

‘So how was it supposed to be funny?’

‘Well, you were the King of Egypt, true, but the music was written in the style of ‘The King’. They mixed the two together to get something amusing. Your portrayal was perfect.’

She beamed at him then frowned in confusion. ‘What King?’

‘Uncle Buck didn’t tell you about ‘The King’ when he was teaching you your moves?’ She shook her head as she slipped her sneakers onto her feet. Ezra wrinkled his nose. That disgraceful footwear could do with a wash. He thought for a moment and then grabbed her hand. ‘Come on. We are going to gather your fans and go for a celebration dinner. I will show you ‘The King’ and you will understand how brilliant you were.’

Hard Rock Café

Munching on her ‘Jimi Tenderstix’ and fries, Rorie sat between Josiah and JD and watched her favorite adults interacting. Everyone but Buck was seated at the table, drinking and joking and annoying Nathan, who’s turn it seemed to be to be butt of the jokes.

Adults were very weird.

Especially her adults.

Losing interest in the banter, most of which went right over her head as usual, she glanced up as Buck appeared behind her chair.

‘Hey Short Stuff.’ Rorie let out a strangled yelp as he unexpectedly lifted her out of her chair. ‘Come see.’ The ladies’ man propped her on his hip and set off across the restaurant floor towards the cluttered wall beside the bar. The others watched for a moment before turning to Ezra. He had managed to corner Buck back at the school and explain the problem and Buck had suggested their current venue for dinner and explanations.

The pair stopped in front of a white sequined jumpsuit in a glass case. Rorie looked at the flashy suit and then at Buck and back again before turning to her Uncle with questioning eyes.

Buck chuckled.

‘Darlin’ this suit was worn by ‘The King’ for one of his concerts. A few years ago, um, well, quite a long time ago to you, there was a musical phenomenon called Elvis Presley. His voice and stage presence was so fantastic that he became famous all over the world. Just about everyone knows ‘The King’. It was his music we danced to at home. Remember?’

Rorie nodded and looked at the suit. They moved to a nearby photograph and Wilmington watched as the realization dawned on the child. A slow smile crept up on the elfin face as she took in the black coiffure and the stance of the man in the picture.

‘Does he dance like us too?’

‘He did. He died a while ago but his reputation and music live on in the hearts of his fans.’ Buck signalled to the barman who nodded and moved to change the video playing on the numerous TV screens hanging from every corner.

Moving back to the group at the table, Buck whispered, ‘Watch.’ He sat in his chair with the child on his knee and focussed on her face. Much as he loved to watch Elvis, he loved to watch this kid more.

Rorie’s mouth dropped open as ‘The King’ performed his famous hip swivel. Halfway through the song her shoulders started to move and by the end she was wiggling along with Elvis as he performed live in Las Vegas. A line of flashy showgirls danced behind him but they were eclipsed by the moves of the man in white.

All around the restaurant, diners mimed along with the lyrics.

‘Do you understand the concept of a ‘Parody’ Aurora?’ Ezra smiled at the grinning child, matching her dimples.

‘Yahuh.’ She nodded vigorously. ‘I think Uncle Buck does it better though.’

Across the table Chris started to laugh as he watched his oldest friend puff up with pride. His eyes met the amused blue of the sharpshooter.

‘That’s ‘cause Uncle Buck spends so much o’ his time practicin’ pelvic thrusts.’

There were groans and chuckles around the table. A rapidly deflated Buck had the grace to look embarrassed.

Rorie looked from face to face, her confusion evident.


They laughed harder.

Rorie shrugged. Grown ups were very weird.

The End

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