Why did I want to study Poland?
“Well…partially because it was a portal to Russia. But not the official study of Russia. It was a portal to the study of Russia I wanted to conduct. One of my dreams was to be a Presidential foreign policy advisor…” says Lacey.
“That’s quite some dream. You must have been really smart.” says Michael.
“Well. It’s a haunted house. One of Europe’s most haunted houses.”
“Why aren’t you being like Jack?!” asks Lem (feigning) exasperation in a faux-gay act he wrongly employed his “whole life.”
“Jack wrote brilliant, wildly insightful, award-winning books about European history.” Michael says.
“He was knighted by the King of Ireland in 1952.” says Lacey. “Two years before my great-grand-uncle on my abusive-paternal side! Jack won!”
“That isn’t real, Lacey.” says Lem.
“Of course it is. Didn’t you actually sleep with the King of Ireland while Jack was in the White House to prevent the 1961 Crisis of Cork? As yet another favor for “your family?” Did you take His Majesty to your special-sex-room at the White House where Jack tortured your heterosexual asshole – photographed for posterity’s sake with your rapist grinning over it – or did you suck the King’s cock in Ireland? …Or no, no, I’m sorry, was it The Cork Crisis? (Joe Sr. finds this funny.) Maybe that was the true love-story of your tragic life? You weren’t gay or bisexual…or pansexual…but you fell in love for just one night with a flaming red-haired man wearing a literal crown…in the South-of-Ireland? …Should I listen to hours of that story too? Only to find out that probably no one living believes me and you don’t truly care about me?”
“I think you should! I want to hear about the narrowly avoided Crisis of Cork too.” Hemingway fondly reflects.
“The Saint-Jean-de-Luz of Ireland!” says Harold. “That’s soo sexy, Lem.”
“Jack wasn’t a novelist or a historian.” says Zelda.
“Yes he sure as hell was!!!” yells a random ghost as she passes by the conversation, although she has no idea who she’s yelling at, only what’s being said. She feels embarrassed and cries after someone tells her. …Then suddenly she smiles and walks away.
She was a conservative woman. She feels very bad for Lacey. Because she actually understands. She hopes Lem does too.
“Stop antagonizing her Lem. She’s never going to be like Jack. And you’ll only hurt her more. She really doesn’t understand. Jack would have understood. But this was never Jack. This is Lacey.” says Harold.
“He can’t easily wrap his mind around it.” observes Scott. “He can’t see his glaring hypocrisy.”
“Why?” asks Lacey. “Why doesn’t he understand how hurtful it is that he keeps thinking I’m up to the same evil Jack was? I’m entirely myself. I’m not your former rapist. Or lover. Or rapist… ? I’m me. And if he was your rapist why do you still compare me to him? You’re either unintentionally implying I’m a rapist too…or that I’m as dense as he was…or what? You’re implying that you had some kind of emotionally consensual non-heterosexual relationship? …Or what? That you’re still really confused? Because it’s a horribly, massively insulting thing to keep doing to me regardless. Whether you mean to or not. I’m not a man. I’ve never been a man. I’m not bisexual. I’m not a lesbian. …And if Jack was gay…that’s what we really have in common. We both have been attracted to men. But I wouldn’t have been such a gross coward, regardless.”
“She really wouldn’t have.” says someone’s mommy. *smile*
“Why do you get enough to understand to ask why but not understand why I’m angry?!” asks Lem.
“That’s a very good question.” says Lacey. “I don’t know. It’s just my allotment of awareness. I can try to figure some things out without people honestly explaining themselves but it’s like running into a brick wall. I’m not easily intuitive in that way. At least not anymore, if I ever was.”
“Maybe it’s because we’re secret Jews!” says John Ritter.
“You certainly weren’t raised Jewish.”
And that’s the thing. Was he Jewish? Was John Ritter Jewish? If he wasn’t Lem probably wasn’t gay…
Faye Emerson laughs. And she insists Lacey stop writing for a while.
Lacey doesn’t have a positive history with Faye. She only partially listens.
“Why do you make me him!?” Lacey’s asks Lem confrontationally.
“I wasn’t in love with him.”
“Oh yes you were!” says Lacey. “It’s historical fact! Don’t cha know?!”
“You have basically no accent.” says Lem squeamishly.
“Not like your hot ex-boyfriend?”
“Go on you bitch. Hit him! I know you want to!!!” a demon preparing to inspire someone living warms-up first in Purgatory. “They’ll love that one!” they say before darting off to go inspire someone with “their own thoughts.”
Lacey feels deeply misunderstood and hurt for a moment before Jesus commands the demon to fess-up.
“No! She’s a witch going to Hell!” another demon prepares to tell a Christian, preferably a priest. If they can find an available one.
“Well?” asks Lacey.
“I’m still mad you slept with someone else. That’s all. I can’t get over it.” Lem says.
“We’ve talked about that for months. I’ve wept trying to tell you what happened. What in the world don’t you understand?” Lacey says.
“I did it out of emotional self-protection. I thought you were only experimenting with heterosexuality from the grave at first. And then I thought it wasn’t what was best.” Lacey says.
Zelda dances for Lem as he sits in a church pew. She’s pretending to be Lacey. Lem doesn’t look up and assumes it’s Lacey and smiles.
“You silly twat!” she says bending down to get on his level.
He looks up and realizes it’s not Lacey.
“The thing is…I was straight. And I never lost my virginity.” says Lem. “It was all heretical posturing, otherwise.”
“And that’s never what most people will think of you. With your comments about nuns and sex… You sound so…worldly in those matters. Lem, it’s absurd to expect me not to be affected by the overwhelming legacy of deceit you left behind for me to parse through. Your heretical attempts at what? True love? And I’ve said this over and over again. God Himself has explained too.” Lacey says.
“I just can’t believe you really loved me. And I pushed you away. It’s…baffling to me.” He thinks. “I respect how honest you are. I’m sorry. I hadn’t planned for this when I anticipated the afterlife.”
“You have to think of it as a heterosexual relationship, Lem.” says Harold.
*An overhearer giggles*
“You still sound like you’re comparing her to Jack.” a recent overdose ghost comments.
“I can’t be the man. I just can’t. And I can’t be less hurt either.” says Lacey.
“Well…I refuse to give it up.” says Lem… Or said Lem until he heard a heroin overdose confront him. “I’m making a total fool of myself. You can’t believe I was straight even though you hear at least occasionally with clarity that I was. You just can’t. And yes, I do sound like I’m comparing you to Jack. …But he really was heartless. It’s engrained in my mind that there are two kinds of people. Those who…are helpless…and those who are cruel.”
“And I’m the only one of us who has any valid argument against the two of you being together forever?” says Michael.
“To a certain degree. Yes.” says Harold.
“That’s the thing. If this is real…God might be letting Lacey experience some real part of Purgatory usually reserved for those more physically dead.” says Louis or a demon pretending to be him.
“So if he finds someone better for him than you are, you’re stuck with me.” says Lem.
Jack smiles. Lacey sees him smile. But Lem does not see it because he doesn’t want to. And…really…isn’t that all of it summarized neatly?