“Yes, yes... I understand, Mr. Stevens. I’ll take care of it right away.” Ms. Parkson sighed as she hung up the phone.
Pulling herself out of bed, she grabbed her blue robe and wrapped it around her frail body. She usually enjoyed the authority that came with her job as a landlord, but not when tenants woke her up at midnight. The young man in apartment 3B was making a racket again, probably from a late night party. She was usually skeptical about leasing rooms to young people for that very reason, but he seemed so polite and quiet when he applied. If he couldn’t learn to respect his neighbors then he would have to hit the road.
Ms. Parkson could hear the music from down the hallway. Sure enough, it was coming from the man in 3B. She pounded on the door for a full minute before he answered.
“Hi, Ms. P,” said the tall youngster when he saw her. He pushed his long blonde locks out of his eyes. “Have you been here a while? I didn’t hear you knocking.”
“Well I’m not surprised with all that noise!” She was too old to let some handsome young man woo her with his charm. “Don’t you know it’s after quiet hours? You’re waking up the whole building with your stereo and your loud party, and I have to hear all the complaints!”
“Gee Ms. P, I’m sorry. But it’s not a stereo and no one is here except me. I was just practicing with my guitar.” He held up his guitar for her to see.
Ms. Parkson peeked around the door. Sure enough, no one else was in the room. “That music was coming from you? It sounded pretty good. Kind of like a young Elvis.”
The young man sighed. “I wish. Elvis is my hero, but I’ll never be as good as him.”
“Well you can’t give up that easily,” she told him. “You never know what can happen.”
He shook his head. “No, it’s already too late. When Elvis was 22, he had been on the Ed Sullivan show three times. I’m 24, and I haven’t been on the Ed Sullivan show once.”
“Of course not,” she told him. “Ed Sullivan’s show ended in the early 70s. He died over thirty years ago.”
“What?” The young man’s eyes grew wide with shock. Ms. Parkson thought he might cry. To confirm her suspicion, he sniffled a little and buried his head in his arm.
“Oh come on now,” she said, reaching up to pat him on the back. “There’s no need for that. You’ve got a sweet voice and gift for that guitar. If getting on the Ed Sullivan show is your dream, then don’t you let anyone or anything get in your way. You just keep on practicing until you’re perfect, and let the world decide.”
It took some time to cheer him up, but Ms. Parkson thought she did a good job. She returned to her own room and crawled back into her bed as the sound of his guitar filled the building. When her phone rang again, she pulled the plug.
Those inconsiderate neighbors weren’t going to squash that young man’s talent. She was the landlord and if she wanted them to put a cork in it then they had better do so. This kid was going places, and Ed Sullivan had no idea what was coming his way.