Ladies and gentleman, Elvis has left the building. Thank you and goodnight

By Adrian Roman 


As the lights are turned down, Gary and Don make their way onstage for the last set of the night. They start with a rousing Elvis groove, Hail Elvis, it morphs into “That’s Alright Momma”. They churn out seven more songs climaxing with “Burning Love”. The crowd goes crazy. As the song ends, Gary says, “Thank you, thank you very much” in his best Elvis voice.

Gary, older, by two years, is a lady’s man who loves to party in the clubs and beer halls. He grew up singing the music of Elvis Presley. With his dark complexion and brooding eyes, he looks a lot like Elvis did in his early 20’s. After memorizing all the ‘King’s’ songs, he watched the movies, and copied all his idol’s mannerisms. He started performing at karaoke bars where friends applauded his impersonation.  

Gary will sometimes refer to his younger brother as James Burton, Elvis’s lead guitarist. Though more introverted, Don slings a mean Telecaster. They are a talented combination, energetic and well liked, especially by the female audience.

Though now in their early 30’s, neither of them has gotten married. Both work at odd jobs, and still looking for a calling in life. 

Gary bought an Elvis jumpsuit to complete his Elvis transformation. He had chosen an outfit with a Native design, one of the King’s favorites. It’s well known that Elvis was part Indian and had a suit made to celebrate that Native heritage. From across a room, Gary looks so much like Elvis it’s scary. 

The audience is on their feet, cheering and clapping. Lou Ann’s crowd will not let the Taylor brothers leave the stage until they sing more songs. Gary follows with Blue Suede Shoes, Heartbreak Hotel and half a dozen other songs, closing appropriately with Can’t Help Falling in Love With You. ‘Can’t-get-enough’ fans shout for more. It’s a breakthrough performance for Gary. The confident siblings are ready for Dallas.

After a few drinks with the band members and fans, the brothers say goodbye and make their way to the exit Gary still wearing the white jumpsuit. As Gary walks through the door and into the parking lot, Don renders his favorite impression: “Ladies and gentleman, Elvis has left the building.” Both laugh as they head for their car.

Gary looks at his younger brother and says with a big grin, “Yeah, and Elvis is leaving alone, with his loaded little brother.”

“Am I cramping your style, big brother? I saw how that little blonde was hanging all over you!”

“Right, and if you weren’t plastered, I’d tell you, ‘See you later alligator’.”

“Hey, I’m ok! I can make it home! Just point me in the right direction!” says Don. 

“No way! Give me the keys. I’m driving home.” They laugh, get into the car, and drive off in the direction of Boswell.


Deputies watch the brothers from an unmarked patrol car, across the street from Lou Ann’s. They watch as the Taylor brothers get into their car and begin to drive away. Ray Cross eases the patrol car into the traffic and follows. After turning east on State Hwy 70 to Boswell, the tribal patrol car follows even closer behind. 

This makes Gary nervous. He’s had one too many drinks himself, and the Choctaw Nation patrol car on his tail adds pressure. 

“Don, wake up. We got problems. We have a Nation patrol car on our tail. He’s been following us for the last fifteen miles.”

Don jumps to attention and makes sure his seatbelt is fastened. “What the hell do them assholes want with us?” 

Gary is sensing the anger in Don’s voice. “I don’t know. Now look, if they stop us, you be cool and don’t be a smartass.”

The two-lane highway to Boswell has no lights, except for what a full moon provides. It’s cold outside, and the heavy breathing from the brothers is beginning to fog up the windows. The fogged windows are making it difficult for Gary to see. He’s having trouble keeping the car in the center of his lane. He turns on the heater fan to knock off some of the moisture that is condensing on the windshield. With the fan on high, the road becomes a little clearer.  Gary steadies himself and begins to feel relieved.

In the blink of an eye, a possum crossing the highway stares into the headlights. Gary jerks the car to his left swerving across the centerline to avoid hitting the fat little animal. He quickly regains control and eases the car back into his lane. He’s sweating a little, because he knows what’s coming. The red lights are now flashing in the rearview mirror.’

“Damn!” shouts Gary. He begins to slow the car down and eases to the edge of the highway. There is no shoulder and the car is leaning at an extreme angle to the right. 

“I hope them assholes are not Indians, ‘cause I’m gonna’ kick their asses,” yells Don.

Gary turns to Don, grabs his shirt just under his chin, shakes him a little and says, “Don, you just keep your big mouth shut and let me do the talking. You pop off and you’re just going to make it worse. Hell, we’ve been in jail before. One more night in that shithole jail in Boswell isn’t going to kill us. So you just mind your p’s and q’s and let me do the talking.” 

Deputy Ray Cross opens his door, steps out, and begins approaching the Taylors’ car on the driver’s side. Deputy Irwin does the same on the passenger side. With a flashlight in his left hand and his right hand on his service weapon, Cross eases up to the driver door. Gary retrieves his driver’s license and insurance card. As he turns his head to his left and rolls down the car window, Gary is hit in the face with a light beam. Deputy Irwin’s flashlight in search of weapons, penetrating through the rear passenger window, floods the interior.

“Put both of your hands on the dash, driver!” commands Deputy Cross.

“You do the same thing, passenger,” shouts Deputy Irwin. 

“Well, well, look what we have here deputy! We done caught Elvis the Pelvis!” smirks Deputy Ray Cross.

“Hot damn, I knew he was still alive!” shouts Deputy Irwin, getting in on the act. 

“You a long way from home, Elvis! Memphis is due east about 450 miles,” jokes Deputy Cross.

Agitated, Don begins to get pissed off. 

“Passenger, you just keep fucking still, and keep them hands on the dash!” shouts Deputy Irwin. 

“You got a driver’s license, Elvis?” asks Deputy Cross.

“Yes, sir,” answers Gary very loudly, “Right here,” as he hands the license through the window. 

“Well you’re not Elvis after all! Says here you’re Gary W. Taylor. What are you doing wearing that Elvis get up?”

“Come on, officer. I’m a singer and I was doing a show at Lou Ann’s tonight. I saw you in the parking lot when we came out,” says Gary.

“Don’t be a smart ass, Indian! I smell liquor! Both of you get out of the car!” snarls Deputy Cross.

First Gary, then Don exit the car under observant eyes. They are prodded to place their hands on top of the car, and spread their legs to be searched.  A few passing cars incredibly witness a costumed Elvis about to be searched.

As Deputy Irwin pats Don down, he grabs his crouch area very violently. Don whirls around and screams at Deputy Irwin, “You filthy rotten pig!” Just as the words escape his mouth, Irwin slams the flashlight toward the side of his head. Don jerks back and the blow catches him on the shoulder. He lunges at the officer, and they struggle. 

Deputy Cross, with his left hand on the back of Gary’s neck, presses him against the top of the car, shouts, “Don’t fucking move Elvis or I’ll blow your head off!” 

Turned in the direction of the scuffle, Gary is restrained by the threat. He sees Don wrestle an edge, fear in the Deputy’s eyes, the flash at the muzzle, all before the exploding gunshot shatters a deadly silence in the night. The bullet pierces Don’s chest, just below his heart, catapulting him backwards. He falls into the ditch on his back several feet from Gary.

The ditch is covered with several inches of rain from the night before. Water and mud splatter in all directions. Deputy Irwin takes a couple of steps closer to Don, as if ready to fire his weapon again.

Don clutches his chest, looks at the deputy, and in a faint voice says, “You sorry piece of white trash! The new tribe will take care of you and your sorry Chief. I hope both of you rot in hell!” 

Don looks in the direction of his brother and reaches out with his left hand. Their eyes meet momentarily, and then Don closes his eyes. Gary knows he is gone. In a split second, a violent rage comes over him; he jerks free of Deputy Cross’s hold.

“Chief Tall Bear is coming!” screams Gary.

He bolts in the direction of Deputy Irwin to render justice in honor of his fallen brother. He doesn’t see the flash; for a split second he feels the 45-caliber slug rip into his back. Gone before he hits the ground, Gary falls into the ditch, his head below his feet in the water from last night’s rain. Traffic is stopping in both directions; a few get out of their cars; one has a camera.

Red, white, and blue lights flash on the patrol car. Don lies on his back, Gary on his stomach as their young souls escape. Two deputies, and guns in hand, stand over them. By morning, this chilling image will be telecast worldwide. Indian Country and social media mourn the loss of two more Indians at the hands of ‘white’ law enforcement officers….

‘Deputy Ray Cross and Irwin are the epitome of racist law enforcement in this country. American Indian, Africa American and people of color must deal with the types of authority figures and in many cases pay the ultimate price. This is nothing more than white entitlement mixed with white supremacy idea spawn by the motherland Great Britten. None of this hate and ugliness existed in the Americas until 1492.’ Adrian Roman, Choctaw

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