The Joke

“I can’t imagine smiling at my wedding to anyone except Michael.” said Lacey this morning.

Did someone or something try to play the piano during the night? She thought she heard their piano and it scared her and she prayed. But this morning she’s wondering if it was Harold Loeb. That’s exactly the kind of thing he might do. For whatever reason his ghost, if he’s a ghost, is very able to physically manifest and move things. Kind of like Joe Jr. for whatever reason. Actually, Elliott is very good at moving doors and knocking things off tables and etc. too.

…Do those men just understand the science of being dead? Literally. Do they just understand the mechanics of being a ghost better than some other ghosts? She wonders…

“Yes.” answers someone.

“There is a science to it, so to speak.” says Lacey’s grandfather.

“Good luck getting them to ever tell you!” says Lacey’s Great Uncle H. B..

And on that note it’s worth noting that someone asked Lacey about her actual wedding to her ex-husband.

“I smiled because-“ she trailed off, thinking it through.

“Because it’s a wedding!” says an empathetic black woman ghost listening. Lacey can almost audibly hear her actual voice.

And yes. That woman was right. She smiled because it was a wedding. It was her wedding but perhaps that was consciously lost on Lacey… It seemed fun. Like something she was enjoying observing with her best friend. Not like it was her wedding.

Her father seemingly erupts into sobs. About his daughter’s lost life.

And foolishly Joe…the second (?)…laughs at the man. His younger brother, in wisdom garnered from observing his mother’s side of the family over the years, does not.

Suddenly, “Say, who said it was ok for them to name him Joe?”

“Is it Joe the third? Joe the second? What is it?”

“It’s second.”

“II.”

“Did Lem give his approval for that name? What with his expertise on the overall family saga?” asks Humphrey Bogart.

“Yes.” answers someone possibly incorrectly or not.

Lem seems embarrassed.

“Was that really a smart thing to do? Naming him after Joe Jr.? Or no?”

“Who was he named after?”

“I doubt it. No. No, it wasn’t a good idea. No I don’t think Joe Jr. would have liked that.” said Lacey.

His ghost agrees with her.

“Why would you have smiled at a wedding to Michael Rockefeller and no one else?” asks Lem’s ghost.

“It’s the money!!!” says Louis Hill Jr. sarcastically.

Lacey smiles. “No. It’s not the name or the money. Or the name of the money. He’s just made me happy. And the wedding would feel like it was actually a celebration about me. Like I was a part of it.”

“And not just all about his feelings?” asks Joe Jr..

“It’s worse than that.” says Lacey.

“That’s what I thought.” says Joe, sincerely.

And so slowly Lem moves out of his many delusions.

“Didn’t he die ages ago?!” asks William Frawley. It’s implied that that’s not the point. That’s not how God organized time.

James Agee laughs.