"Lazlo, The Clockmaker" A 6 page short story inspired by Salvador Dali's painting 'Persistance of Memory' written for my final project in my college Creative Writing class.

Essay by SterlingNicoUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, December 2005

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Scientist dubbed it "The Clocca Phenomenon." They don't understand it. All the brightest minds seem to agree upon is that it's a completely random thing. One second a clock it's bolted to the wall, and then without any rhyme or reason it just starts to drip. Seconds later, its metabolism turns to jelly and it just slides right down the wall and makes a mess all over the carpet.

Most people found the "The Clocca Phenomenon" to be a minor annoyance. Most would just put a bucket underneath their clocks to catch the residue as it dripped. When it was all said and done, they'd throw the clock remains out the window and go on about their day miffed at the fact that they need to go out and spend there hard earned money to replace their now-unreadable timepiece.

There were two men, however, that felt completely different towards "The Clocca Phenomenon," Lazlo and Jeremiah.

To the both of them, every time a clock melted, it wasn't an annoyance, it was an opportunity. An opportunity to bury themselves in their work and dedicate themselves to making a product that was even more beautiful and complex than the last. Due to their dedication towards their craft, both men became successful Clock-Makers in there own right. Lazlo set up shop in Connifer. Jeremiah set up shop in Windy Mills. Between the two of them, they held a monopoly on the Clock-Making industry in the Southern Regions.

Yes, all was fine and dandy for the two Clock-Makers until late one night, Lazlo received a phone call.

"Lazlo's Clock-And-Watch-Emporium, how can I help you?" answered Lazlo.

"Lazlo! We are coming for you" said an unfamiliar raspy voice.

Lazlo responded with the first thing that came into his mind.

"Ok, bring cash, we don't accept credit cards"

"Do not mock me! For I am the one who will destroy your way of living!" proclaimed the mysterious voice.

Lazlo hardly even considered this a threat and responded in the most nonchalant fashion anyone could. "Oh really? That sure sucks. Well, bye-bye now."

Lazlo hung up the phone without a care and the odd conversation quickly left Lazlo's mind. Without realizing it, he was soon back to work grinding away in his workshop making more clocks when all of a sudden, the phone rang again.

"Lazlo's Clock-And-Watch-Emporium, how can I help you?" answered Lazlo.

"Lazlo! He was just here! The ClockStopper!" said a frantic voice.

"Who is this?" queried Lazlo.

"What? Oh come on man, it's me Jeremiah!" said the voice.

"Oh hey Jeremiah! How's your wife doing?" said Lazlo, oblivious to Jeremiah's discontent.

"There's no time for chit chat! You've got to get out of there now!"

"Um. Why?" wondered Lazlo.

"The ClockStopper! He just hit up my shop and stole my address book, he's on his way to your place now!"

"The ClockStopper? You mean that crazy religious zealot who thinks Clock-Makers really know how to stop the Clocca Phenomenon?"

"Yes! Him! He just was in my shop! Don't you remember the call you took just a few minutes before mine?"

Lazlo thought for a second and soon the memory of the previous phone call came swirling back into his brain.

"Oh yea. I remember that call... hey how did you know about that?!" asked Lazlo

"He called you from my shop as I hid in the back room!" responded Jeremiah.

"Ahhh, Well what was he doing there?"

Jeremiah remained silent on the phone for a few seconds.

"Well?" asked Lazlo again still waiting for an answer.

"He wants to put you out of business! I heard while I was hiding in the back, he wants to smash your shop up!"

"I'm not letting him come in here and smash up my place!" responded Lazlo.

"I don't think he's going to listen to reason, he's on his way there right now, and you've got to run! Get out of there!" pleaded Jeremiah

"Oh ok, thanks Jeremiah, you're a good friend, I'll call you when this all blows over" Lazlo said calmly and nonchalantly as he hung up the phone.

Lazlo stood up and looked around his shop. He beamed with pride at each clock that lined the wall, tick-tocking away ever so peacefully. For a moment he took Jeremiah's words into consideration. Should he run and hide and let The ClockStopper destroy what took him years and years to build?

"I'm getting to old for this shit," Lazlo scowled under his breath to no one in particular as he made his final decision "No ClockStopper is gonna run me out of town."

Lazlo picked up a small workman's hammer used to tap on the tiny little gears that made up several of his lovely creations. He swung it in the air mimicking himself assaulting an invisible assailant.

"Not without a fight!" he muttered to himself.

Lazlo thought for a few moments. He knew he had to make The ClockStopper think the place was empty so that he wouldn't be expecting him on the inside. He ran over to his workbench and scattered his tools about to make it look as if he had gotten up quickly and fled. He locked the front door and then turned the lights out in his shop. Lazlo then ran into the corner of the room and hid behind the large Grandfather Clock that he had built just a week ago. Although Lazlo was a skinny man, he felt quite constricted between the wall and the tall clock, but it was a small price to pay. It was the best hiding spot that also allowed him to look out into the showroom of his shop. All he had to do now was to wait.

After several minutes of silence, Lazlo spied a portly silhouette of a man tip toeing past the window towards the door of his shop.

"Ah ha! That's got to be him!" Lazlo thought to himself.

Lazlo heard the keyhole on the front door begin to click as he saw the doorknob jiggling left and right. Lazlo knew enough about gears and tumblers to know that the man behind the door was trying to pick the lock and within moments a loud click was heard signifying that the ClockStopper had successfully negotiated the locking mechanism on Lazlo's front door.

Lazlo's tried to remain calm but the sweat on his brow built up in anticipation, he knew that in just a few seconds it would be time for action. The door slowly creaked open and the portly man stepped inside. He turned on his flashlight and Lazlo could see that the portly man was dressed completely in black and that he hid his face under a Mardi Gras mask.

Lazlo kept his eye on the portly man as he tip-toed around the shop. No doubt he wanted to examine each piece of merchandise so he could relish the carnage he was about to undertake all that much more.

"Yea, go ahead and smash away buddy, all I need is a good shot." thought Lazlo, but after several more moments, the portly man hadn't smashed one clock at all, nor had he made any indication that he was here to rob the shop. No, he was here to find something.

Lazlo was certain to keep an eye on the portly ClockStopper as he searched every nook and cranny of Lazlo's shop until finally, the he let out a sigh and turned around to leave. Lazlo found it somewhat odd that he was giving up without even smashing one thing at all until he spied a silver glint from under his adversaries belt buckle.

"No..." Lazlo thought to himself. "He's not here to smash up my clocks... that's an assassins knife! He's here to kill me!"

Lazlo gulped. His stomach sank and his courage left him. If there was one thing Lazlo held dearer than his clocks, it was his life. Defending his shop from some ruffian and getting beat down in the process was one thing, but actually facing off against a trained assassin who's out to kill you was another.

"Oh man, why didn't I listen to Jeremiah, I should have ran!" Lazlo thought to himself as panic began to sink in. "Ok, ok, ok, I need a new plan. Alright, thinks Lazlo think... he hasn't found me here behind this clock yet, so if I just stand here and don't make a sound, he'll leave. Yea, that sounds like a good idea."

Just as soon as Lazlo thought up his new plan, he felt a drop on his forehead.

"Oh no..." Lazlo thought as he looked up.

The grandfather clock that he was standing behind began to drip.

"Oh no... oh no... not now! Why now!!"

Lazlo's stomach sank even further and within just a few seconds the entire grandfather clock melted right down to the floor exposing his hiding place with an incredibly loud SPLOOSH!

The ClockStopper, surprised by the noise turned around and aimed his flashlight right into the corner where a shocked Lazlo stood in fear. He quickly pulled the assassins knife from his belt holster and took a fighting stance.

"Ok, it's now or never" Lazlo thought.

"With the power of Mjolnir! I strike at thee!" Lazlo shouted with all his might as he hurled his small clock hammer straight at the ClockStopper's head.

The portly Clockstopper cried out in pain and Lazlo knew that now was his time too react. He mustered up every ounce of strength in his body and swung his arm as hard as he ever could. It made contact with the portly man's jaw knocking him straight to the floor and onto his back out cold.

Lazlo then ran to the door of his shop, opened it and screamed at the top of his lungs.

"Assassin! Assassin! In my shop!!! Someone call the police!!!"

Several lights came on in the houses surrounding the shop and Lazlo somehow knew that they all were calling the police; after all, it's not every night that someone screamed out for help in the middle of the night.

The portly man groaned as and he slowly started to regain consciousness. He tried to sit up, but by now, Lazlo's adrenaline was running so high that he wasn't scared in the least.

"Oh no you don't tubby!" Lazlo tauntingly said as he strutted back over to the portly man's body "You're not going anyone!"

Lazlo grabbed a pair of clock fasteners off his work bench and slapped them around the portly man's wrist using them as makeshift handcuffs.

"Oh the police should be here any minute now, but in the mean time, lets just see who the man behind the mask is!" Lazlo grabbed the Mardi Gras mask and yanked it off the portly man's head to reveal a familiar face.

"Old Man Jeremiah from Windy Mills?!" Lazlo said in shock.

"That's right Lazlo. Damn you," scowled Jeremiah.

"You're the ClockStopper?!" Lazlo asked uncertainly.

"What do you think Lazlo? Think I dress like this for fun?

"But? Why?" asked Lazlo.

"So I could assure that I'd stay in business!" proclaimed Jeremiah, "No one would want to compete with me when a crazed killer is runner loose!"

"But, no one has been competing with you Jeremiah, we are the only two Clock-Makers in the Southern Region" sputtered Lazlo.

"Exactly, and with you out of the way, I'd be the sole Clock-Maker in the Southern Region! I wouldn't have to share any business with an old codger like you!" screamed Jeremiah.

The sound of police cars came screeching to a halt right outside Lazlo's shop and within seconds the Connifer City SWAT Team had burst through the doors and hauled Jeremiah away.

Lazlo's run in with the ClockStopper soon leaked out to all the major publications and Lazlo became an instant celebrity. With all the good press, Lazlo's already successful business skyrocketed. He was awarded the Purple Heart at the International Clock-Makers Convention and soon he found that he had so much business that he had to open up a second store; he chose to open it up in Windy Mills, right across the street from Jeremiah's old shop.