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Elvis and the Blue Christmas Corpse
Peggy Webb
Excerpt


Elvis’ Opinion #1 on Love, Revenge and Santa Paws

With the Mayan misadventure behind us, you’d think my human family (the Valentines) would be settling down to enjoy a cup of Christmas cheer and a good ham bone, preferably dug up from the back yard by yours truly and seasoned with a bit of Mississippi red clay.

But everybody in Mooreville is “Rocking Around the Christmas Tree.” (Not my song, but, hey, I’m a generous, humble dog who appreciates the efforts of other singers - though they pale compared to mine.) The Wildwood Baptist choir (the church of choice for the Valentines) is gearing up for the Christmas cantata, otherwise known as amateur hour. With all that off-key caterwauling, I keep expecting the local choir director to come looking for advice from an expert. That would be yours truly, world-famous King of Rock ‘n’ Roll in a basset hound suit. But, like everybody else in this little northeast corner of the state, they dismiss me as just another handsome face and go on about their silly business. Which means they don’t know G flat from a tasty stick of Pup-Peroni.

Fortunately, I have a human mom who appreciates my many talents - Callie Valentine Jones, owner of the best little beauty shop in town and caretaker to half of Mooreville. Currently that includes my human daddy, Jack Jones, who got caught in a jaguar trap in the jungle and is now happily ensconced in Callie’s bed. But not for the reasons you’re probably thinking. Callie’s taking care of him while he recovers from leg surgery.

Listen, I’m a generous-hearted but portly dog. I want my human daddy to get well quick, but not so fast he has to leave. Callie’s got me on a strict diet, but Jack pays that no more mind than he does when she tell him no (as in no hanky panky). Which she does with some regularity. While he’s here, I get all the forbidden fat—laden snacks I please, plus a goodly number of T-bone steaks. Jack knows who’s in his corner and who’s not. I’m doing all I can to make sure my human parents get together again. For good, this time.

And speaking of broken relationships, Callie’s cousin Lovie still hasn’t forgiven Rocky Malone. She claims he left her to become a kidnapped Moon goddess in a Mayan jungle while he stayed at his dig and searched for old bones. (He’s an archeologist, and I’ll have to say that a man who loves bones as much as he does gets my vote.) Currently she’s out doing the “Jingle Bell Rock” (another song I could have turned to gold, but left in the hands of lesser singers) with another man who’s not fit to stir the soup in her pot. (She’s the owner of Lovie’s Luscious Eats, the best little catering business in the South.)

Then, of course, there’s Ruby Nell, Callie’s mama, who has finally patched up her feud with Charlie (Callie’s uncle and godfather to the entire Valentine family). Ruby Nell has also sent her not-so-true love traveling on a gravel road. That would be Thomas Whitenton, her sometime dance partner and who knows what all. Never one to be “Running Scared,” Ruby Nell is up to her neck with Fayrene in plans for a Christmas Open House at the séance room on the back of Gas, Grits and Guts.

Fayrene finally got the séance room built. Thank the lord and hallelujah, she and her husband Jarvetis Johnson are once again Mooreville’s answer to Lucy and Desi. And the mystical addition to our one and only convenience store didn’t have to be over Jarvetis’ dead body!

So far, the only hitch in Ruby Nell and Fayrene’s plan is that Bobby Huckabee’s psychic eye is on the blink and they’re looking for somebody else who can talk to the dead.

Who needs somebody to talk to the dead when they have a basset hound who used to be the King? Give me a white beard, a little red four-legged suit and a microphone, and I’ll bring down the house. “Santa Paws is Back in Town!”