Wells Tower’s piece October’s GQ: “The Elvis Impersonator, the Karate Instructor, a Fridge full of Severed Heads and the Plot 2 Kill the President…”
1. Spend a week or two in Tupelo, Mississippi, and you begin to wonder if the air down here perhaps contains an element that causes dreams to ignite and burn hotter and stranger than elsewhere in the world.
2. Theirs is a story of human dismemberment and righteous causes, of martial arts and murder intrigues, sexual perversity, political conviction, and resentments dearly held.
3. Within hours, every newspaper and TV network in the land is reporting, with varying shades of mirthful surprise, that the president’s life has been menaced by an Elvis impersonator, ex-janitor, and “Prince super-fan.”
4. What ended Kevin’s run of good fortune and plunged him into the world of conspiracy chasing was something he saw one night while cleaning out a clogged blood sump in the hospital morgue.
5. “Dutch-key,” “Doosh-key,” “Douchey,” “Dorskey,” and “Dusky” is how they say his name in Tupelo. Those in the know say “Dusky” is correct. Local people describe Everett Dutschke as a “Mystery man,” “a snappy dresser,” “a genius,” “an idiot,” “a crusader,” “a flirt,” “a wacko,” “smart,” “a psycho,” “a pervert,” “arrogant,” “kind of hot looking,” “hairy,” “a liar,” “nice,” “a troublemaker,” and “a douche.”
6. We managed to reach Dutschke for a telephone interview at the jail where he is being held, despite his feeling that talking to the press would “make my attorneys punch me in the face.”
7. The song seems to presage a suite of disturbing events in the life of Everett Dutschke, events unrelated to ricin, events that the courts in Tupelo are still sorting out.
8. “I can absolutely make love to a bull moose on the steps of the Lee County courthouse and garner more than 5 percent of the vote.” – Rep. Steve Holland, (D-Miss.)
9. And in a show of true hospitality and professional transparency, Rep. Holland invited me down to the funeral home one morning in early summer to help him put a nightgown on a corpse.
10. “And ka-ching-ka-ching-ka-ching. Forty years I been doing this. It’s fucked! I mean, the [funeral] services are incredible. I love the services, but all this merchandising-pagan-ass-crazy-certified-lunatic-damn bullshit — it’s so fucked. God Bless America!” – Rep. Steve Holland.
11. These last fastidiousnesses attended to, we hoist the body into a rose-colored casket. As we tighten the lid in place, I assure Holland that I will let it be known that no choice cuts were set aside for sale on the black market.
12. We carry her into the brightness of the day, and after loading the pretty pink casket, Rep. Steve Holland drives off in the hearse.
13. He is no longer the local lunatic who won’t shut up about the body parts.
14. It’s good enough that a grown man feels not the least bit awkward being serenaded by another man in a parking lot in Mississippi with midnight coming on.