This man did not show me the smiling familiar face of a legend. I was there to record and report. To convey an impression of this 'phenomena' to the people that paid for my services.
To report without prejudice. To assess without judgment.
The rumormongers were having a field day. Those rushing to add fuel to the fast burning fire were trampling each other in the rush to tear him down. The sales my piece would generate for their multi-national late editions their only consideration
According to our "sources." his moods had darkened of late. The predominant thought appeared to be drug usage. Waiting for the sudden spasm of temper to erupt caused discomfort amongst his loyal followers, apparently. This was not the man they had come so far to see.
His minders grew tense, and watchful. Attempting to keep private the scathing acidic outbursts was almost impossible. This man’s entire life was open to assessment. The souls that gathered daily and grew in number as his fame spread, sat riveted, shocked by his changed demeanor.
The loyal, the loving, the whole, and the damaged sat--waiting out the tempest.
Stunned into temporary silence. Waiting for what? Perhaps that in and of itself was the problem.
Surely, they placed too high a price on the alleged meaning of his words. Was he not after all, just a man of flesh and blood? Blood that would stain the ground as red as their own if spilled.
A human with needs, feelings, anger, and frustrations of his own.
When had he become so exalted? By who’s order? Had he ever asked to wear the crown they had bestowed upon him? When had he actually spoken those words? Had he uttered even once a plea for elevation to a realm above human?
No. Not once. My research found no such entreaty. I looked long and well. Were his words that potent? Perhaps, for many, they were. Why?
He had not chosen the words. They were written by someone else. He merely made the words come alive. Simple words, uttered well to be sure. That was an undeniable truth. Yet they were surely never intended as the prophecy of a miracle in waiting.
Had his followers elevated him to become more than he had ever wanted or needed to be?
When had they in their need for a voice, decided that his and his alone would be the one to enrich their lives?
How had they chosen?
Were his looks so vastly superior to their own that he was automatically relegated legendary status? No. Although in the spirit of fairness I concede, he was a strikingly handsome man.
Undoubtedly, he possessed a certain charismatic something. Indefinable, perhaps?
Yet surely not so outside the range of normal to be elevated high above an adoring throng.
Was it perhaps his aura? Did it outshine all that were near to it, rendering them invisible?
I was perplexed. It was not in my nature to remain uncertain. I would seek and find an answer, one both logical and reasoned.
Perhaps it was in the manner of his stance. Did gazing upon him render the sighted sightless merely by virtue of being in his blinding presence?
What then? If not by deed, manner, or appearance, then how were they drawn?
Why--why did they come? Why did they sit in cold rain, at times for days, waiting … simply to buy permission to caste their eyes upon him. To listen to him for merely an hour, perhaps two. To take back with them a simple memory, a place, and time that joined them in the aura of his charismatic presence.
I had never witnessed such an event.
My employers deemed it time that I did.
I was not one of the followers.
I had not come with the expectation of a life altering revelation.
I was there merely to observe and report. My employers would later read over my words, and decide if I had been fair and concise in my observations.
I waited. I talked to many of the followers, hearing the repetition of words spoken with awe. “He is the king,” said some. “There is no-one like him,” said others. “His presence is riveting.” And on it went. I was prepared to hate him on sight, merely because others tried to force me to love him unseen.
I sat with the privileged, close to the elevated platform. They waited in an ever-festering gash of excitement, tense, expectant.
I sat. I waited. I decided, with difficulty, not to harshly pre-judge what was coming.
The arena grew dark.
The noise grew deafening.
The excitement surged in waves around me. The sounds of “Also Zach Zarastrutha” grew and dominated the night. Then, sudden complete darkness. The followers grew hushed, almost reverent.
The spotlight caught him in its cruel light. He glowed. The spectators roared.
Then they fell into a breath-holding mass. Trembling, aware, and impatient for a beginning.
The gladiator stood, he spread his cape, stretched out like eagles-wings.
He smiled. He strutted. He snarled.
Standing motionless at last, he held the willing captives silent with his gaze. He was in absolute control.
For a space of two hours I stood. I forced myself to breath.
What is this? I asked of myself but once. I lost my ability to reason. This stranger held me in his arms, and covered my soul in honeyed vocal layers. Then without my consent, he jolted my libido, sending tremors of undiluted longing along pathways unvisited. He ignited a flame within me. The flame still burns.
I will never forget the night I became unified with the other followers of the man we made a king.
I would forever after be unable to write a balanced expression of the phenomena that was him.
I had in the space of two hours become one of the worshipper's at a shrine he had never asked to be built.
For me; he has never left the building.
This is a fictional piece ... I challenged myself to write the entire short without referring to him by name. It's not fictional when I say that 'for me, he has never left the building.
In memory of Elvis Aaron Presley. August 1977...