Louis

It’s hard to fool Louis and Michael in regard to Lacey. They both can dominate her soul. Dominate in the way a heterosexual woman might want a man to dominate her. In the way women of the older generations of women actually appreciated not being in charge in romantic relationships. It was romantic to them if the man was good.

Sure…they could “sleep around” and “cause problems” but…why? Why?

*Lem is confused*

The thing is…Lacey isn’t Brett Ashley. She’s less “cool” than that. She’s nearly Victorian…

“She’s a bitch!” says a hater.

… …

“Well then good women are all bitches in 2022?” says J.P. Kennedy.

*”Shake it!“*

*Hemingway is genuinely embarrassed*

*Harold Loeb is increasingly angry*

“That’s right! You deal with glorifying that in literature! You deal with it!” says Carlos the perfume expert with righteous anger to Hemingway.

Apparently Lem can’t get over it.

What can’t Lem get over?

…Lacey fell in love with another dead man after Lem thought he had captured her. …But that’s just the thing. In 2022 sex means nothing by definition to most adult people. It’s like shaking hands. It’s not to be engaged in with children but otherwise nobody cares. It’s a thing to do. It’s bland and sad…and increasingly questionable. Like going swimming with open wounds in a heavily polluted river.

Gen Z isn’t leaping to “fuck”…because it’s…kinda cheugy.

It’s cheugy to hook-up?! *pearl clutch* Yes. Because it is… It always was. …Even Lacey’s father knew that…years ago.

“Sex isn’t meaningless. I’ve been saying that for years. And people hate me for a reason, Lem. Get a fucking clue!” says Lacey. “You sold out to a serial philander first and his nephew second. You sold out! …You’re possibly mindless when it comes to sex. And your only saving grace was being born in 1916 or you’d have hated me and shot-up too much heroin or fentanyl before graduating from high school. You’re…not trustworthy in that way to me. At least not by default. Why the fuck would I be faithful to a ghost who never made his intentions clear and left it open to interpretation? Who sucked some jackass bitch’s cock because a dipshit religious pervert fooled him? …I’m in a battle Lem. And I’m an “old-school” woman. I’m fighting daily. And your spoiled, useless friends who advised you to be suspicious of me should get slapped and sent off a fucking cliff.” *Lacey smiles* “And yet…I’m still legitimately a lady. A sweet, elegant, demure, prim lady. And it’s effeminating to be cast as a whore, or a slut or a genuine bitch.”

*Michael smiles and Louis isn’t surprised and Harold is Jewish and furious and Lem…Lem is embarrassed*

“Lem is embarrassed.” says his kind (literal, unquestionable by birth) father.

“Maybe he wasn’t gay.” says Jack seriously.

“Did Harold Loeb threaten him or Red Fay?” asks Lacey.

“Red Fay.” responds Michael.

“That’s pathetic.” says Lacey.

“I think they’re both afraid of being thrown off a cliff.” says Jackie. (Both meaning Red Fay and Jack)

“Why weren’t they already?” asks Lacey.

“Because I thought-I thought we-“ says Joe Jr.

“And Lem believed you instead of himself.” offers Louis sadly.

“I get why you’re angry.” says Joe Sr. to Lacey.

Aside to Joe Jr., “No, it was over when Pat Wilson entered the room.” says Carlos. “Look, Lacey is English. Or at least that’s her persona or her value system or something.” *he laugh* “It means a lot to her.”

“And Pat Wilson was English enough to count?” Joe asks for clarification.

“Yes. In a manner of speaking. I think you seem like you belong to Edith and Pat Wilson to Lacey now. No backsies.” *Carlos lsughs*

“It’s over dude.” says another perfume collector.

“That’s awful! She never even met me in person!” says Joe.

“She didn’t need to.” says Carlos.

“What is this then?!” asks Lem.

“Look. I’m sure you’re a nice guy. But you can’t two-time an English woman in that way. Or something like that. Okay?” Carlos says laughing.

“I wasn’t-“ protests Joe.

“That’s just simply not true.” says Carlos.

“Joe, she kind of gets it. She’s not a simpleton.” says Harold.

“But we’re dead!” he says one more before leaving indignantly.

“Okay. I’m getting it.” says Lem. “You thought I was a loser. That’s what Peter uses to describe it. The word loser. A real crass, backward, cool, partially ugly-inside loser who could be so much more but is too foolish and in love with Jack to try. You thought I’d use or hurt or betray you eventually anyway most likely or already was…”.