Sebastian Weinbaum was in Las Vegas. He had just had dedicated his life to God and wasn’t sure what to do next.
He stood in the glaring sun, considering his options. But it was so hot that all he could think about was getting a drink. That didn’t seem very religious though.
Since his car was air-conditioned, he decided to take a drive while he thought and reached in his pocket for his keys. They weren’t there. Then he remembered that he had left his jacket on the back of his chair at the table.
The thought of going back inside after having walked away from the World Series of Poker made him nauseous. He couldn’t do it. Beside they probably wouldn’t even let him back in.
Sebastian sighed and stared down the strip. There was a chapel across the street. The small white church with a stone bell tower could have been nestled on a New England hillside, except for the giant sign proclaiming “Wedding Chapel” and the life-size picture of Elvis with his guitar.
A church appearing in front of him seemed like another sign. Ok, so technically the chapel had been there for fifty years or more, but Sebastian had never noticed it before. That had to be sign.
He crossed the street and went up the steps to the chapel.
As he opened the door, a couple hurried out. She was wearing a pink Las Vegas t-shirt and a wedding veil. The groom was in a Hawaiian print shirt and a pair of shorts that were so long they were almost pants. They didn’t even notice Sebastian as they rushed past and ran down the sidewalk.
Sebastian stood in the cool lobby of the chapel. Elvis was singing Viva Las Vegas quietly in the background.
He had never been in a church before.
His family was Jewish and didn’t even do that very well. They only attended temple on Yom Kippur and Sebastian had never learned any Hebrew.
He certainly liked the feel of this chapel better than temple.
Sebastian was examining the cross on the wall, when Elvis appeared from the sanctuary.
“Welcome to the Graceland Chapel!” Elvis boomed at him.
Sebastian pushed his sunglasses up on his head and held out his hand. “Hello. I’m Sebastian.”
Elvis shook his hand. “It’s very nice to meet you, Sebastian. I’m Elvis.”
Sebastian stared at the man for a moment to see if would offer his real name. But Elvis just stared back.
Finally Sebastian just nodded.
“So where’s your little lady, Sebastian?”
“Your little lady. The bride.”
Sebastian suddenly felt like an idiot for walking into a wedding chapel seeking spiritual advice from Elvis. “Oh, I don’t have a little lady.” He muttered, stuffing his hands in his pockets.
Elvis smiled understandingly. “Well, I’m happy to perform one of those same-sex marriages, but you should know that they aren’t legal in Nevada.”
“No, I’m not gay either. I don’t want to get married.”
Elvis’s demeanor changed in an instant. He lost his southern accent and swagger. He hobbled over to a chair and plopped down unceremoniously.
“Thank God. I don’t think I could stand up for another minute in these damn lifts. Did you know that Elvis was six one? I wish he had been five eleven. It would make my life a helluva lot easier.”
Sebastian stood in the lobby uncomfortably. If asking Elvis about God had felt silly, asking an Elvis impersonator felt downright ridiculous.
Fake Elvis had removed one of his boots and was rubbing his foot. “So can I help you with something or were you just trying to get out of the sun?”
“Oh what the hell,” Sebastian thought. He sat down next to Fake Elvis. “Do you have to be an ordained minister to perform marriage ceremonies?”
Fake Elvis lowered his foot and stretched both legs out, crossing them at the ankles. “You don’t have to be a minister. Some of the new chapels just have their Elvises become Justices of the Peace or get some sort of license online. But I’m the real thing. That’s the way Elvis would have wanted it, I believe.” Fake Elvis crossed himself.
Sebastian felt his confidence returning. God had sent him to this chapel for a reason. Fake Elvis was probably the only real minister on the strip.
Sebastian leaned forward. “I think God just spoke to me,” he whispered.
Reverend Fake Elvis looked at Sebastian over the top of his gaudy sunglasses. “God did what?”
“I was in the player’s restroom across the street and God spoke to me. He told me to leave my wicked ways and dedicate myself to spreading His word.”
Reverend Fake Elvis snorted. “How much have you had to drink today, Sebastian?”
“I’m not drunk!” Sebastian got up and paced around the chapel foyer. “He really spoke to me. I just walked away from the World Series of Poker because He spoke to me!
Reverend Fake Elvis sat up in his chair. “You walked away from the table during the World Series? Nobody does that.”
“I know!” Sebastian yelled at him. “I keep telling you, God spoke to me! Now I don’t know what the hell to do!”
Reverend Fake Elvis limped over to Sebastian in one boot and put his hand on Sebastian’s shoulder. “Is that why you came in here? Because of God?”
Before he realized what was happening, Reverend Fake Elvis was hugging him. “I marry dingbats and drunks all day long. No one has ever asked me for religious guidance before.” Reverend Fake Elvis sounded like he was crying.
Sebastian pulled away gently. “Hey, You’re joining people in holy matrimony. That’s God’s work.” He helped Reverend Fake Elvis back to his chair and sat beside him, patting his knee.
Reverend Fake Elvis smiled at Sebastian. “You’re a kind man. You should start a church or something, since God spoke to you and all.”
And suddenly Sebastian had a plan.