The King’s Last Game

Longreads

Steven Church | Ultrasonic: Essays | 2014 | 15 minutes (3,655 words)

Imagine this: It’s early in the morning at the Graceland estate, well before dawn on August 16, 1977, just a few hours before the end, and the crickets and cicadas are thrumming in the Memphis heat. The sun is on the rise somewhere in the east, but the light hasn’t yet reached this place. In the distance a small dog barks sharp, rhythmically, and steady. A siren wails and fades. All else is quiet, all except for the strange noise emanating from an outbuilding behind the main house. It’s a cacophonous noise. Unexpected. So you creep up closer. Tiptoeing now like a trespasser, a voyeur into the past. You shouldn’t be here at all. Yet in this lucid dream you press your ear against the locked door and listen, straining to catch the strands of a voice. The

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