“You’re brilliant at times!” my father who raised me said after watching “Road to Perdition” after it came out. I had analyzed the film well, in his estimation.
Looking back it’s hilarious. Regardless…it’s funny.
“Oh Lem. What should we analyze about him today?” asks Michael, sprawling over a chaise melodramatically.
“He misunderstood Jack, I think.” Lacey posits.
“If he was straight. And that’s unclear to you. But if he was you’re right, I think. I agree with you.” Michael says.
“Are you trying to figure out how fatherly you would have been to me today?” asks Lacey of Michael.
He smiles. “I don’t feel that way, at all.” He thinks. “But I worry about how you would have taken my authority. Would it have felt fatherly?”
“My authority wouldn’t have.” says Louis. “If there’d been an age difference.”
“I am…pushy.” says Michael.
“I don’t think you’re pushy. I might have gotten tired.” He smiles in response. “But…I don’t mind being bossed around by someone in actual authority over me.” says Lacey.
“And there’s different kinds of authority. One sort is free and yet…in charge nonetheless. Then there’s a sort that’s coercive and actually bossy and pushy. Manipulation is usually always evil. But caring for someone is not.” says Lacey.
“I just wanted to see if you could tell me that and take over. In my mind.” Michael smiles. “You didn’t.”
That fascinates Lacey.
“The thing is, Lem…Jack was in love with you. As much as that’s possible. You hopefully know more about that than I do. And you kept offering him what? Meaningless touching you secretly hated? Ironically, you told him with your lies, if you were straight, that it was all a hoax. That homosexuality was insanity. Never real. Gross. Weird. …Like humping a bed and calling it a real relationship.
‘I bought my boyfriend at Mattress Factory for $2,000.00. It’s going well so far. He’s a little…stiff. But we’ll find our sweet spot in a year or two.’ *sad sigh* ‘And then it’ll inevitably fall apart. Because it always does. Something spills. He’ll get old. Heck, so will I. And then it’ll be time to take care of me again and just…’ *sigh* ‘Move on.’ *sigh*
Lem…what was the real difference between Jack and a mattress in how you related to him…if it ever was at all consensual? Lem did you give new meaning to a ‘Kennedy Family Mattress?’ You made Jack that…at his best in your eyes. At his best.
Lem…he may have used and raped you, if he did, out of spite. Because he could see that you didn’t really care the way he did. Not really. And it was actually just all nonsense to you… And so he used you and raped you the same way he violated some women. If he was a predator you were just another form of prey. Because you were a guy…and that comforted him…but if you were straight…you still…were essentially meaningless. Just using him. Void of authentic sexual connection. And so being sadistic was his…yummy. His way of assuaging his deep loneliness.” says Lacey. “It doesn’t justify it. No. Of course not. Rape is rape. But he may have had a pitiable logic to it, sadly.”
“He warned you to drop it. But then he changed his mind? Why? Because you persisted sincerely or because he saw a way to exact an evil, fallen sort of justice in a cruel world? And he hated your ‘stupidity’ so so much that he decided to let you fall into your own trap?
He’s Sebastian Flyte. And as much as you acted gay…if Jack actually was gay or bisexual…you were Charles Ryder. You were…awful.
And he was cursed from his perspective. He wasn’t a normal boy… Not like his brothers. It wasn’t going to go away for him. He couldn’t walk into a psychologist’s office and have it explained to him that it wasn’t real like you could. That he’d merely misunderstood human physiology during sexual abuse. That sexual organs react when touched in various ways. And that’s all. Like gravity. No more nightmares. All better!
Because he was destined to fall off a cliff if he jumped over the edge. But you had wings. He would break his neck and if you were straight…you might not.”
“He had no back channel out into happiness and inner peace. You, if you were straight, did. In your sleep. In your dark, silent moments. You could think of a woman. A perfect woman. And…he had what? You.
And who were you?!” Lacey continues. “Who were you really? His best friend or his demon attacking him from the inside out? Saving his life, providing comfort but…only as a bitter illusion? Better rip your head off before you could rip off his.
And there’s narcissism! Tell himself lies. Comforting lies about his innate superiority. His heterosexuality. His virility. His life. And when that didn’t work he had Dad. And drugs. Because he didn’t really have ‘love’ or art or nature or a mommy who held him when he was hurt. Not really. He had his Lemmers!”
“You’re lovable. But be careful, Lem. Because I can relate. It’s easy to miss your mistakes when you have at least partially good intentions and you’re a victim.” Lacey ends.