Stopover at the Majestic.

A time traveler with his magic walking stick that, among other things, makes him invisible on demand and also serves as a teleportation device, travels back to 1965 to visit the Majestic Hotel in Lake Charles, LA. Just before it’s torn down. Unbeknownst to him, however, he’s not the only one who made the trek.

i

Dressed in a three piece, white linen suit with straw hat, the Visitor was no stranger to style. His cane, or walking stick as it is sometimes referred, is black with an ornate, brass top as if to resemble the crown on an office building. A green button is displayed in its center.

He slowly gazes around the elaborate lobby as if he’s expecting someone; either that, or he’s casing the joint for future opportunity of financial gain. Somehow, I rather doubt that.

There seems to be electricity in the air today as if all those gathered here anticipate some grand event. No doubt many a grand event has been held in this majestic old hotel. Yet this day seems different.

He stops a nearby guest and inquires, “I say, pardon me, but what’s all the excitement around the lobby today?” The reply is anything but cordial. “Excitement? What excitement?” exclaims the guest.

“Don’t you know?” asks the guest. “Why the Majestic is being torn down. After all these years the grand ole dame is being reduced to shambles and rubble,” he says. “Damn shame if ya ask me!” he sniffs.

The Visitor sits there, expressionless for the most part. He studies the lobby and its inhabitants. It’s not like they are a vengeful mob about to attack. It’s more like they anticipate the destruction without knowing when.

The Visitor senses this and begins to move about, first, though giving his cane a friendly glance.

Slowly, deliberately he begins to meander throughout the lobby, gradually making his way toward the front door and eventually onto the lobby porch or as it’s more commonly referred, the South Porch.

The Visitor stops and simply stands there, weighing in on the sights in the street before him as well as the few men seated in the many rocking chairs along the porch. It’s a mild Summer day and not nearly as warm as would normally be the case in Southwest Louisiana.

The Majestic Hotel was quite the luminary in its day, having hosted Harry Houdini, the Barrymores, General and Mrs. Eisenhower and Jackie and John Kennedy. It had its own power plant and water system, as well as ceiling fans in every room. It had a popular restaurant and was alleged to have hosted every president from Theodore Roosevelt to JFK, though not necessarily when they were president. Yet despite all this, it was deemed “obsolete” in 1965 and was demolished for parking.

The Visitor gazes down at his cane and wonders to himself, “Hmmmmm . . .”

“Damn shame about the pending destruction of the Majestic, doncha think, Mr. , uh . . .,” queries the porch stranger as he approaches the Visitor. “Can’t you do anything about it?,” he asks, assuming the Visitor is in management with the hotel.

“Sir, I’m just a guest, like you. I don’t know what to tell you. Oh, the name is Curtis, Mr. Curtis,” replied the Visitor. “But I will say I tend to agree with you in that it is a shame about the hotel’s destruction. It’s especially true if they aren’t planning to build another fine hotel in its place.,” said Curtis.

Our Visitor knew and thought to himself that, according to the Space-Time Continuum, the destruction of the hotel could not be changed. It will go as planned here in 1965. Curtis can’t change that nor does he want to do so, even though he does think it’s a mistake.

Perhaps it’s time to return to a period when the hotel was at its roaring best, he wonders, the Twenties.

Gradually making his way back into the lobby, our Visitor ventures down a hallway leading, eventually, to a row of guest rooms. After he makes sure he is alone in the hall, he quietly but directly speaks into the crown of his Walking Stick, “Majestic Hotel, Lake Charles, Louisiana, Lobby Bar, circa 1925.”

He presses the green button atop its face and . . . he’s gone!

ii

There’s a buzz of celebration coming from up the hallway. The Visitor makes his way toward the noise and soon comes upon the hotel’s lobby where festivities are in full swing, or should we say “full Flapper.”

1920’s Great Gatsby Crowd via Motion Picture Association

The twenties are indeed in full swing in the lobby as the Visitor has traveled back in time to the era of the Flapper, the Roaring Twenties. Unfazed, he makes his way through the crowded noise to the Lobby Bar to ponder what kind of liquid refreshment in which he should imbibe.

Actors Valentino, Hart, Fairbanks 1925 via Vintage Dancer

Since this was during the era of Prohibition, the booze still flowed somehow, and the revelers were very much appreciative. It didn’t take long before a few revelers began to encircle the Visitor for small talk and an occasional comment about what he thought of the Kingfish and his chances in running for governor of Louisiana.

Smartly, the Visitor said little and shied away from any political talk; just like religion, one didn’t talk of either in polite society, regardless of whether the society was polite or not.

It was during times like these that the Visitor wondered to himself why he hadn’t come this way, and during this timeline, more often. As a Time Traveler, he had rarely seen or experienced anything like these Roaring Twenties. Though unaware by all others here this evening, they were only a few years shy of a great economic downfall across the country, the Great Depression in 1929.

For all the intelligent and forthright conversation being talked about in the lobby this night, the Visitor was conflicted since he couldn’t say or hint in any way that economic horror would strike in just a few years. The Space-Time Continuum Principle forbid him from doing so, less a major rip in the Timeline occur.

What’s a Time Traveler to do? Nothing, it would appear. Except. Move on! So that’s what he did . . .

iii

It was time to choose a different timeline, so he chose to go back to 1965, but this go-round, he had a different locale in mind. As soon as he got a good distance away from the revelers, he found a nice private alcove just off the lobby where he intoned to his walking stick the following: “Oak Park, 23rd Street, 1965, Lake Charles, LA, Invisible.”

With a press of the green button on his cane, he was gone again. This time he would be the only being who knew he had arrived at the house he grew up in. His invisibility allowed him the freedom to walk around and explore without being noticed, let alone seen.

Despite his invisibility, the Visitor acknowledged to himself odd, meloncholy feelings he had while standing in his old living room. Seeing his parents and, even himself, was like touring the inside of a museum. These weren’t wax figures; they were real human beings. Amazing. Unsettling. Time to go!

This time-hopping teleportation had occurred several times this night alone, at least I think it’s still the same night. It may not be but with time travel, it might not be that big of a deal. One thing, though, that is constant appears to be the Visitor’s mindset. He knows he can’t change or alter anything along the timeline, but he seems to be anxious about the ultimate fate of the Majestic Hotel in 1965.

He hardly lingered in Oak Park and spent but a wee bit of time in London in World War 2 during the German shelling, ‘course no one could blame him! But what of 1965’s time at the Majestic? What could he do about its destruction? He knows it’s strictly forbidden to interfere with Time and yet he grows more anxious as it goes by.

Like an addict pursuing his fix, the Visitor was intent on returning to the Majestic and doing what, I don’t know. So return he did. This time he “reappeared” in a little alcove just off the main lobby. Before he could even reacquaint himself as to his precise location, this voice interrupted the silence by asking politely if not loudly, “I say Guvna, have you a light?”

Ever alert but startled, the Visitor turned and produced a charming little cigarette or cigar lighter, lit it and offered it up to the inquiring voice. “Thank ‘ya, Guvna,” replied the voice. “Are you from around these parts or are you, like me, passing through?” asked the stranger.

“No, like you,” answered the Visitor, “I’m just passing through. I’ve always had an appreciation for fine old hotels and the Majestic certainly fills that bill. I thought while I was in town I’d check her out,” the Visitor asserted.

“It’s a damn shame they’re tearing her down,” commented the stranger, rather flatly.

“Tearing her down?,” intoned the Visitor. “How do you know that?” he asked.

“Oh,” responded the stranger, “I know. I get around,” he said. “Scuttlebutt has it that tear-down will be sometime later this year. And just for a stupid parking lot!” he said shaking his head.

“How do you know that’s why they’re tearing her down?” inquired the Visitor.

“Like I said,” replied the stranger, “I get around.”

At this point, the Visitor was beginning to think his new friend was more than just someone who “got around.” There was something eerily unsettling about him.

As they had been chatting, they had walked a little ways down the corridor, away from the alcove where they first met. As they approached the main lobby, the Visitor blurted out “If they need parking so badly, you’d think they’d investigate modifying the existing structure, adding onto it or something to accommodate the needs rather than tearing down the entire hotel.”

“Guvna, I agree with you,” said the stranger. “I’ve seen developers do that elsewhere, and it’s worked out just fine,” he added.

“Out of curiosity,” inquired the Visitor, “what projects have you seen where this type situation was turned into a success?”

“Oh, several places,” answered the stranger. “Some here and internationally,” he said.

“Could you give me some specifics,?” pressed the Visitor, as if testing the stranger.

“Luv to, Guvna, but I have to be running along just now, I’m afraid,” the stranger rather abruptly if politely said. “Perhaps later, over a cocktail?” replied the stranger.

“That would be fine,” said the Visitor and with that, he turned away, took a few steps and paused. The Visitor briskly turned around to ask the stranger where he wanted to meet later and . . . no stranger. He vanished, as if into thin air.

Standing there, somewhat stunned, the Visitor thought a moment and wondered to himself, “Is it possible? Is he . . .? Hmmmmm . . .”

iv

Sitting in the Lobby Bar, resplendent in his cool, Southern-looking three-piece, heat resistant white suit, the Visitor was not difficult to spot. He had his suspicions about the stranger but couldn’t prove anything and thought, so what if he’s a fellow Time Traveler? The way he had answered the Visitor’s questions without really answering them had piqued his curiosity.

As if on cue, the stranger appeared and immediately apologized for ducking out so quickly earlier. He also dismissed any explanation as to why or where he went, but immediately began the conversation where they had left off.

The stranger began, slowly but deliberately and in a somewhat hushed tone, “I have to be careful what I say and how I say it because most folks will think I’m crazy after I tell them. But, Mr. Debonair Man in the White Suit, you impress me as someone who’s not really supposed to be here. It’s as if you’re from another Time. Regardless, though, I’ve seen hotels like this one in other places here in the States. They’ve done marvelous jobs in modifying an existing project to accommodate changing needs without tearing down the hotel.

“The Hilton people, for instance, did a wonderful job with their Las Vegas property in 1985. And, in 1999, Sheraton modified their property, The Sheraton Luna, and did a remarkable job,” explained the stranger.

Interrupting him, the Visitor quickly asked, “Wait, you just said 1985 for Las Vegas and 1999 for Sheraton. This is 1965! How in God’s name do you know that or is this some interstellar bullshit? Oh, and the Sheraton Luna? Let me guess; it’s on the Moon!”

“That’s right, sir, it is on the Moon,” calmly related the stranger. “As for the dates, that’s not BS, it’s the truth. My explanation is that it’s a part of my history but for the people in this lobby, it’s their future. Oh, one other thing, my good friend, I’m also a Time Traveler. My suspicion is that you are, too,” stated the stranger.

Before the Visitor could respond, the stranger continued, “As wonderfully redesigned projects that they are, you should stop along your travels and visit the Remington Plaza. It’s on Mars and was completed in 2040. Absolutely freakin’ awesome! And, well, I could go on, but you get the idea. We’ve also done quite a bit of redevelopment work here on Earth, in Miami, Detroit, New Orleans,” said the stranger as if summing up his case.

The Visitor sat there amazed as to what he’d just heard. He honestly didn’t know whether or not to believe the stranger. The one, true way, he thought, was to actually pay these sites a visit, which he planned to do.

“So, why are you here at the Majestic?,” asked the Visitor. “There’s nothing you can do,” he said.

“That’s true,” said the stranger. “But I can still look and revisit how they did things in my past and appreciate them,” he said.

“So,” continued the Visitor, “you’re not trying to violate any Time/Space Continuum Mandate by changing anything locally?” he asked.

“That’s correct,” affirmed the stranger. “Looks like by your question you’ve also confirmed an earlier assumption of you that I had,” he stated. “You’re another Time Traveler, aren’t you?” asked the stranger.

“I am,” the Visitor stated. “I’m on lone from Kirk’s Enterprise in the 23rd Century!,” smirked the Visitor. “Inside joke,” he said.

“Actually, I was on my way to the Twenties when I decided to drop by the Majestic for a night cap,” he deadpanned.

“Speaking of which,” continued the Visitor, “I don’t know about you but I’m ready for another drink!,” he exclaimed.

“This time, I’ll buy,” offered the stranger.

“Hmmm, I don’t suppose they accept Venutia!,” he remarked.

“Problem?,” asked the Visitor.

“Dunno yet,” said the stranger. “You see, I’m from Venus. I left my Mastercard at home. You know what they say, ‘Mastercard, it’s everywhere you want to be.’ Hmmmmm!” mumbled the stranger.

epilogue

Two globe-trotting, time traveling gentlemen discussing the world as we know it and as they see it, while paying homage to one fine old grand dame about to depart this world. Where these men rely on teleportation devices to travel back and forth in time, we possess the same, if not slightly different, and possibly less stylish mechanisms to achieve similar results. We rely on our imagination and the ever-sophisticated computer that we know as the human brain. Whether it’s the Sheraton Luna or the Majestic Hotel, we can only hope that stopovers like this one will continue far into one’s present and great beyond.

Hopefully making a ruckus, one blog post at a time!

Be sure to check out my other blog, Joe’s Journey, for personal insights on life and its detours.

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