Past contributor, Stephanie Hart published a collection of memoir and short stories earlier this year. Mirror Mirror, collects vignettes that explore Hart’s life in ways real and imagined. It is available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble in print and digital formats. Fiction editor, Janice Eidus, recently interviewed Hart. The exchange follows: [...]
I met Elvis for the first time in the deli across the street from the elevated line on White Plains Road and Pelham Parkway in the Bronx. Elvis was the only customer besides me. He was sitting at the next table. I could tell it was him right away, even though he was dressed up as a Hasidic Jew. He was wearing a yarmulke on top of his head, and a lopsided, shiny black wig with long peyes on the sides that drooped past his chin, a fake-looking beard to his collarbone, and a shapeless black coat, which didn’t hide his paunch, even sitting down. His skin was as white as flour, and his eyes looked glazed, as though he spent far too much time indoors.
“I’ll have that soup there, with the round balls floatin’ in it,” he said to the elderly waiter. He pointed at a large vat of matzoh ball soup. Elvis’ Yiddish accent was so bad he might as well have held up a sign saying, “Hey, it’s me, Elvis Presley, the Hillbilly Hassid, and I ain’t dead at all!” But the waiter, who was wearing a huge hearing aid, just nodded, not appearing to notice anything unusual about his customer.
Sipping my coffee, I stared surreptitiously at Elvis, amazed that he was alive and pretending to be a Hasidic Jew on Pelham Parkway. Unlike all those Elvis-obsessed women who made annual pilgrimages to Graceland and who’d voted on the Elvis Postage Stamp, I’d never particularly had a thing for Elvis. Elvis just wasn’t my type. He was too goody-goody for me. Even back when I was a little girl and I’d watched him swiveling his hips on “The Ed Sullivan Show,” I could tell that, underneath, he was just an All American Kid.