Lloyd Majestic

Leah Holbrook Sackett

Lloyd Majestic drove with the windows down after a rain, listening to the lush flying hiss of water squeezed between the rubber tread of his whitewall tires and the pavement. He loved the flump feeling of the weight of his custom onyx black '57 Chevy 210 pressing over so many seams on the highway. It was an unusually warm Monday morning in October, a week after his father's death when Lloyd headed back to work as a Wrinkle Chaser for Brown Shoe. He felt like a king cruising along in his inheritance. Lloyd had left early for work so he could enjoy his commute and get an empty spot at the front of the lot.

This way, everyone could see his car, and he could see his car, from the window on the second-floor office of his pencil dick boss. Lloyd wouldn't be able to see the car otherwise because he would be deep in the interior of the shoe factory wrinkle chasing. He was the Lead Wrinkle Chaser; it was not a glorious job. He pressed the creases out of leather shoes as part of the production process.

Lloyd stepped from his custom onyx black '57 Chevy 210 strutting in his black Winklepicker boots, skinny jeans, and trench coat. Lloyd Majestic overdressed. His flair for fashion helped him to face the day. Stuck in the stifling factory with his tools Lloyd found this meticulous job suited him, as he was particular and detailed in all things.

Lloyd made a leisurely approach to Mr. Cragganmore's office. Today, Mr. Cragganmore would be impressed.

Lloyd poked his head in on Mr. Cragganmore while giving a quick rap on the door and entered.

“I'm back, sir,” Lloyd said.

“Oh, good to see you,” Mr. Cragganmore said as he rose from his chair. He crossed the room as Lloyd further entered the office. Mr. Cragganmore gave a firm handshake and squeezed his right bicep. “I am sorry for your loss.”

“What? Oh, yes, that,” Lloyd said. “Speaking of which, I want to show you something out your window.”

But when they got to the window, he realized a silver SUV blocked the view of his Chevy 210.

“Well, maybe at lunchtime. It sounds nice,” Mr. Cragganmore said.

Nice? Lloyd thought. What was wrong with this man?

On the factory floor, Lloyd welcomed all coworkers with a smug smile. He knew they would soon be envious of his Chevy 210. There was not much room to talk with the din of the conveyor belt. But he knew his coworkers would soon be wowed at lunch. He had moved along at a quick pace and pressed more wrinkles than usual. Even with his toes pinched inside his own Winklepickers, it was a good morning. And he hoped it to be an even better lunch. He thought about taking his baby for a spin at lunch, but he wanted to wait out the SUV owner and snag the better spot. He ate his brown bag lunch in his car. His usual bologna and mayo on white bread, a bag of Doritos (the little bags that he bought in bulk), and a Coke were his lunch. He licked each finger clean after the Doritos, but still, an orange tinge remained at the fingertips.

Lloyd was getting anxious to show his car off when he glanced at the suitcase in the rearview mirror. He'd forgotten he put it in the backseat when leaving his father's house. It wasn't useful luggage; it was a Pitchman's suitcase. It was old. Lloyd slid it out from the backseat and put it back by the trunk. He wanted to have room to give people rides. At the trunk, Lloyd decided to take a peek inside the suitcase. It had belonged to his great grandfather. A man that spent most of his life peddling on the road; he was scarce in the family photo albums. Lloyd released the accordion legs. The suitcase was now perched at the waist level. He slid his left hand along the latch and opened it. A stale, rubbery smell wafted from it when it popped open. Inside were relics of a time gone by—A Fuller lint brush; two Brighton Wide Web Garters; Adjusto-lite, a lamp on a clamp; Pompeian massage cream; a box of six Dunlop golf balls; a Planter's Red Pennant salted peanut bag; six Dr. West's toothbrushes; two bottles of Palmolive shaving cream; a box of Bassick casters; Spur ties (three bow ties); four Bulldog suspenders for men, a Westclox alarm clock, and a box marked B. Gubelin Lucerne. Inside was a gold Audemars Piguet white-faced pocket watch. Upon closer look, Lloyd realized it was a jump hour watch. There was a window with the hour displayed and another window showing the minutes. Every sixty minutes, the new hour would jump to the next digit. Lloyd pinched the watch from its case and held it to his ear. It was ticking, by God. After winding, the WestClox alarm clock also began a plodding tick tock. Lloyd set the alarm for 1p.m. to see if it would sound.

Mark was a Last. He stretched the upper shoe portion over the foot form. This step was called a Last. He stopped by Lloyd on his way back from lunch.

“Sweet ride! When did you get this?” Mark asked.

“It was my father's. He left it to me.”

“I'm sorry to hear about that, but you did get a sweet ride,” Mark said.

“Climb in. Let me take you for a spin around the corner,” Lloyd said.

Just then, the alarm clock sounded. Lunch was over.

“Shit, is it 1p.m.?” Mark asked. “I gotta run. Maybe later.”

Lloyd reluctantly packed up and headed back into work. The rest of the day moved slower. He hadn't had a good chance to show off his car. At 2p.m. Lloyd made his way up to Mr. Cragganmore’s office. It was empty. He went inside, and he could see his car. The silver SUV was gone. Lloyd pulled the timepiece from his pocket, 2:05p.m. He'd wait a little bit, just until Mr. Cragganmore returned and got a good look at his car. Lloyd took a seat in the office that faced the window. He sat upright to gain a view of his car. The sunshine was streaming in the window. Dust motes danced in the beams. It was warm. He toyed with the jump watch in his pants pocket and grew drowsy. His fingers slid over the crown. Lloyd opened his eyes. He couldn't believe how long a lunch Mr. Cragganmore was taking. Then he realized the silver SUV must be Mr. Cragganmore's. He dashed out to the parking lot despite the pinching Winklepickers. He moved his beautiful car into the first slot and sighed. There was a sign for employee of the month staring back at him through the windshield.

“Shit,” he said and put the car in gear to move it back. Mr. Cragganmore got the office, the sweet parking spot, and apparently an extremely long lunch hour. Mr. Cragganmore, with his bald spot and khaki pants, was beginning to stick in Lloyd's craw. He decided to wait so he would be sure of an opportunity to show off his car. He got warm, so he got out of the car and leaned against the trunk while he waited. He looked at the jump watch. It read 1p.m. “Is this thing broken?” He rubbed his thumb back over the crown. It was noon. People filled the parking lot going for lunch. The silver SUV was next to him. He rolled his thumb forward again. It was 1p.m. Mark was coming to greet him.

“Sweet ride! When did you get this?” Mark asked.

“It was my father's. I told you.”

“I'm sorry to hear about that, but you did get a sweet ride,” Mark said.

“Climb in,” Lloyd said, dumbfounded. A few moments later, the alarm clock in the trunk of the car went off.

“Shit, is it 1p.m.?” Mark asked. “I gotta run. Maybe later.”

Lloyd pocketed the watch and strolled to Cragganmore's office. He was there.

“Are you headed out to lunch?” Lloyd asked.

“Why, you're right. I should take a break for lunch,” Mr. Cragganmore said.

“I think I'm parked next to you. Let me show you a little something,” Lloyd said.

The pair walked to the parking lot discussing shoes along the way. When they got there, Mr. Cragganmore was obviously impressed. He shone all the praise on Lloyd's car that Lloyd was hoping for that morning. Placated, Lloyd returned to the factory floor. He was distracted from his work. The watch was heavy in his pants pocket. He wondered what all he could do with this power of an hour. He clocked out and drove across the state to the racetrack. There he watched a horse race, rolled back an hour, and placed a bet. He did this for hours. Marking winners and betting on races. It became monotonous. Lloyd took his winnings and went to a Sonic. There he rolled the watch backward and forward until he identified Jenny, the waitress on rollerblades, who was single and collected hermit crabs. He waited until she got off work and then let the evening play out without any more hourly interruptions. Time was at Lloyd's disposal. He wielded the power of the gods. This newfound freedom and power lasted for three months. By this time, he was lonely and missed the shoe factory. He returned, as he saw it, like the prodigal son. But here time had moved on, and a new Wrinkle Chaser had replaced him. Going back or forward, an hour would do him no good. And his beloved car was not enough to win him ongoing affections.

Lloyd needed a better audience for his car. He needed a bigger venue for his gambling. He filled the tank of the Chevy 210 and made his way out to Vegas. He set up camp in the Bellagio in a Fountain View King room. Lloyd took a nap before heading to the tables. His plan was to hit the Blackjack tables with the company of his jump watch. He arrived on the casino floor at 11:00 p.m. He stalked the players for an hour and then rolled back time. Now, he sat in on a game. At the end of an hour, he pocketed the chips and rolled the hour back. It was 11:00p.m. He started playing the table with a bigger hand. With the jump watch, it was easy to lose track of real-time. Lloyd was getting hungry. He took the blonde on his arm for a steak dinner via room service.

Lloyd was satiated. Time was back in motion. The blonde left sometime in the morning. Had he paid her? It didn't matter. It was time to win more money, and maybe take the car for a little drive. He arrived downstairs. The crowd was thicker than last night. This might make it harder to get a seat at the blackjack tables. But he had time. Eventually, Lloyd made his way into a tight spot at the table. He stayed there for what would have been hours. His left thumb began to feel worn. It was time for a break. Two men suddenly embraced him as he exited the casino on his way to the Chevy 210.

“Where are you going, friend?” the taller man in a black suit said. The other man was silent with a firmer grip.

“I'm just getting some air,” Lloyd said.

“Well, I think you need to take a little detour first,” said the tall man.

The two men escorted him to a Salone suite. There he met an obese man in a three-piece suit.

“It is a pleasure to meet you, Mr. Lloyd Majestic.

“How do you know my name?” Lloyd said with a tremor in his voice.

“I tend to notice unusual events in my casino,” he said. “And you are an unusual event.”

“I don't understand,” Lloyd said.

“My CCTV records you winning for hours of footage, but according to the time and date stamp, it is always 11 o'clock. How are you messing with my security tapes?”

“This is your casino?” Lloyd said.

“Not strictly speaking. I provide security to this hotel. So, you see how your tricks are making me look bad. And remember, I ask the questions,” he said.

If Lloyd could just get his hand free, he could roll back time and dodge this whole situation.

“Do you have an answer for me, Mr. Lloyd Majestic?” he asked.

Lloyd was silent. He could not explain.

“Mr. Majestic, if that's your name, are you some sort of magician?” he asked.

“No,” Lloyd said.

“No, that's not your name, or no, you are not a magician?”

“It's my name. I'm not a magician,” Lloyd said.

“A rather grandiose name. I've never come across it before,” he said.

“I changed it when I was 18. A sort of rebellion,” Lloyd said.

“Oh, a screw the dear-old Dad type of thing?” he asked.

“Partially,” Lloyd said. His mouth was getting dry.

“Partially. So what is your real name, Mr. Majestic? I must know the name of the man I'm doing business with,” he said.

“Pecksniff,” he said under his breath.

“What?” he said with a chuckle.

Lloyd did not repeat. The men loosened their grip.

“Ok, Mr. Majestic. We'll honor your name change,” he said. “Make sure he understands that he is no longer welcome at this casino.”

The two men nodded to their boss. They roughed Lloyd up, punching him in the stomach, never a mark on the face. When Lloyd fell to the ground and was repeatedly kicked, the jump watch slid out of his pocket. It came to rest at the obese man's feet. He stepped on the clock. There was a sickening crack sound. Lloyd reached for the watch. He was thrown from the room. Lloyd stumbled toward the elevator. He held the watch to his ear. No sound. He staggered into the elevator. He pushed the button for his floor. He rubbed his fingers over the cracked face. He rolled back the hour. There was no movement. No sound. It was broken. He'd never be able to take advantage of time again. As the doors opened on the lobby, the two men in black joined him in the elevator.

“Where are you going, friend?” the taller man in the black suit said. The other man was silent again with a firmer grip.

“I'm just getting some air,” Lloyd said.

“Well, I think you need to take a little detour first,” said the tall man.


About the Author

Leah Holbrook Sackett is an adjunct lecturer in the English department at the University of Missouri - St. Louis. This is also where she earned her M.F.A. Leah's short stories explore journeys toward autonomy and the boundaries placed on the individual by society, family, and self. She has published short stories in various journals, including Connotation Press, Blacktop Passages, Halfway Down the Stairs, The Writing Disorder, Crack the Spine Literary Magazine, and more. Learn about her published fiction at LeahHolbrookSackett.com.