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It wasn’t an Elvis song.

She thought it was, for many years, was utterly convinced of it, but it wasn’t an Elvis song.

When he died, she tried every Elvis song she knew, but the safe remained obstinately shut.

Not an obvious one, then, she thought. Not a famous hit, maybe a B-side or something he recorded for an album. She tried all of them, every one, and still nothing happened.

Perhaps he’d been clever, she thought. Perhaps it was backwards. She tried every song again – and do you know how long it takes to play every song Elvis ever recorded?

Still, nothing. She was convinced it was Elvis, though. He had always said so; the key to the safe was something by his favourite singer. She tracked down obscure live recordings, and played them to the safe. Nothing.

She tried recorded interviews, out of desparation, and nothing happened.

Eventually, old and grey, she gave up. She pushed it into a corner, put a table cloth over it, and used it as a corner table.

It stayed there for years, and she died and their daughter inherited the house. One day, sorting through old papers, she found some sheet music, old and faded, written long ago.

She recognised the handwriting as her mother’s. She had been a musician, when she was young, had written a few songs that she used to perform at parties and little local concerts. There, at the bottom of the sheet, was her name.

She held the paper up to the light, and hummed the first few bars.

There was a click. In the corner, the safe swung open.

© Kari Fay

(Author’s Note: A little odd, this one. I was struggling for an idea, and the phrase “It wasn’t an Elvis song” came into my head. The rest grew from there.)

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