Elvis and the Phoenix heat

In 1990, the good people of the European Union voted It’s Now or Never,  by Elvis as the greatest rock n’ roll song ever. Ain’t that something? Elvis Presley, ladies and gentlemen. The time is 2:30 AM.

The dj’s voice carries over the sound of the mixer as it beats my dough. Fifty pounds of mix makes fifty dozen doughnuts. It’s Monday, so I’ll only do this twice tonight, making a hundred dozen doughnuts total, plus another thirty dozen cakes and old fashioneds. I look across the table and up the wall to where the radio hangs from a nail. It is 2:35 now, and according to the thermometer, it’s 110 degrees in the kitchen. I put my cigarette on the edge of my work surface, and walk out to the sales counter. The store is bright, and empty. The AC is on out here, and I stand in the cool, thinking about an entire continent taking time to vote for Best Song. What must it be like there, I wondered?

I remember the dough, now idling in the mixer, I remember my cigarette on the table; I worry briefly about neglecting them both, and then I sink back into my own mind, and think about the dj, and what he said. His manner is direct, intimate, and his voice is reassuring. In my mind, he knows what he has to say, so he says it. I am not so sure of my voice. I think about those Europeans and their vote. I think that I love Now or Never because it has been given certainty. It’s not only a song, or even a hit, it’s the best, the best song of its kind in the world.

Tony the janitor swings by with his broom, his eyes are glazed and he passes without seeing me. It’s okay, sometimes he talks, and then it’s nice. Tony’s fun. He’s the only crew member who visits me in the bakery. But sometimes he parties too much, and then he’s apt not to see anyone, or to fight with someone he doesn’t see, or like one time, when he just stopped in his tracks and stood for hours, with both his hands on the broom, and both his eyes staring ahead.

After I clock out in the morning, I come back and make two sandwiches for me and Bruce. I stuff them with enough meat for two meals each, and I buy a watermelon. With free deli meat and a two dollar melon, Bruce and I can eat until I work again on Wednesday. Kris thanks me for my work, and reminds me about flipping the salad bar, which I had forgotten to do.

I pick up two long butts from the ashtray outside the doors as I leave the store. I walk to the street, and get in my car; starting the engine and rolling down the windows before I light one of the smokes I nabbed.

Good morning, and happy Tuesday, Phoenix. The low last night was a solid 100 degrees. It’s 7:00AM, and it’s already 105 in the Valley of the Sun.

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