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ELVIS DIED AT THE FLORIDA BARBER COLLEGE
At the age of 10, I could not figure out what it was that this Elvis Presley guy had, that the rest of us boys didnít. I mean, he had a head, two arms and two legs, just like the rest of us. Whatever it was he had hidden away must have been pretty darn good, because he had every young girl at the orphanage wrapped around his little finger.
About nine o'clock on Saturday morning, I decided to ask Eugene Corruthers, one of the older boys, what it was that made this Elvis guy so special. He told me that it was Elvis's wavy hair and the way he moved his body.
About half an hour later, all the boys in the orphanage were called to the main dining room. We were told we were going to downtown Jacksonville to get a new pair of Buster Brown shoes and a haircut. That is when I got this big idea, which hit me like a ton of bricks. If the Elvis hair cut was the big secret, then that is what I was going to get.
I talked about it all the way to town; the Elvis hair cut that I was going to get. I told everybody, including the matron from the orphanage who was taking us. I was going to look just like Elvis Presley and I would learn to move around just as he did. One day, I would be rich and famous, just like him.
We arrived at the shoe store and each orphan got a pair of brand new Buster Brown shoes. I was very proud as I walked around the store, because they really, really shined and I never had a new pair of shoes before. I got in line with the rest of the boys and we were told to place our shoes into this special machine. It would allow the sales clerk to see through our shoes to see if they fit correctly. When it was my turn, I stuck my shoes into the slots and looked down through the little eyepieces located on the top of the machine.
"How can that do that?" I yelled when I saw the bones inside my feet.
"It's called a fluoroscope machine," answered the shoe store guy.
"I can see right through my shoes and even through my skin, and it makes the bones in my feet look all green colored," I laughed.
We left the shoe store and headed to the barbershop. I could hardly wait for my new haircut and now that I had my new Buster Brown shoes, I would be very happy to go back to the orphanage and practice being like Elvis.
We finally arrived at the big barbershop where they cut our hair free, since we were orphans. I ran up to one of the barber chairs and climbed up on the board the barber put across the arms to make me sit up higher. I looked at the man and said, "I want an Elvis hair cut. Can you make my hair like Elvis?" I had a great big smile.
"Let's just see what we can do for you, little man," he said.
I was so happy when he started to cut my hair. Just as he began, the matron motioned for him to come over where she was standing. She whispered something in his ear. He shook his head back and forth, as if he was telling her, "No."
She walked over to another man, who was sitting in a small office and said something to him. Then the little man walked over and said something to the barber, who was cutting my hair. The next thing I knew, the barber was telling me they were not allowed to give us orphans Elvis haircuts.
In the large mirror, I saw him put this black comb thing on the end of the clippers. I saw all my hair fall to the floor each time he made a swipe across my head. When he finished shaving my hair, he made me smell real good with this powder stuff. Then he handed me a nickel, told me to go outside to the cracker machine and buy myself a candy bar. I handed him the nickel back and told him I was not hungry.
"I'm so sorry, baby," he said as I climbed out of the chair.
"I am not a baby," I said as I wiped the tears from my eyes.
I sat down on the floor and brushed the hair off my new Buster Brown shoes so they would stay shiny and new. I got up, brushed off my short pants and walked toward the door. The matron was smiling at me with a really funny look on her face.
The man who cut my hair walked over to her and said, "You're just a damn bitch, lady."
She yelled back at him and then she went to the office. The barber-man hit the wall with his hand as hard as he could, then he walked outside. He stood against the brick wall smoking a cigarette. I walked outside and stood beside him. I did not say a word for fear of crying. He looked down, smiled at me and then he patted the top of my baldhead.
With tears running down my cheeks, I looked up at him and asked, "Would you happen to know if Elvis has green bones like me?"
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