Fake

“I’m not trying to channel ghosts.” Lacey says to Lem.

“I know.” he says.

“Why would God allow me to channel Jack?” she asks.

The thought comes to her that…psychics use a part of our brains God accesses to sometimes save our lives. Like, “I felt a strength beyond myself!” says a firefighter lifting a truck off a victim. Or, “I felt like I needed to jump so I jumped.” says someone at war avoiding a bullet.

“How long do you think God has been using Jack to help you?” asks Michael.

“If it’s him, He’s been using Jack to give me advice since I was about 10.” says Lacey. “That’s the first time I sensed his presence, although I didn’t know what it was. It was more like an attitude foreign to myself or a way of seeing the world back then that I knew wasn’t me, but that was fascinating. Like a flavor or a perfume with all its individuality outside of us, but as a perspective.”

“Did you even know who he was?” asks Lem.

“Barely.” says Lacey.

“Does he bother you?” asks Lem, concerned.

“When people keep thinking I’m him reincarnated. Or demons try to tell me I am.” says Lacey.

“I’ve never found you attractive for that reason at all.” says Lem. “Really. But I think people have found you more charming when you’ve accidentally channeled him, so to speak. Especially women.”

“It’s not channeling, strictly speaking.” says Elliott. “It’s more like directional assistance when you’re behind the wheel in a dangerous place at night, and you’re low on gas. But in your head. Not on paper or on a device.”

Elliott and Louis laugh.

So does Sydney Greenstreet.

“Why am I able to do this? I’m really not trying to.” says Lacey.

“It’s terrifying.” says Zelda.

“Do you think it’s you?” asks Scott of Lacey.

“No. But at times I worry it is.” says Lacey. “It feels so odd.”

“And that feels like Hell.” says Jack.

“Yes. Because it feels like I’m being molested in my very soul. Not necessarily by ghosts but by adult humans who want to make me whatever they want me to be for their perverse reasons through perverse spirituality.” says Lacey.

“We’re not that much alike. But I might like you. As a person.” says Jack.

“Yeah. It almost feels like you could be a brother or a cousin or something.” says Lacey to Jack.

“Like you love me unconditionally. But…it’s truly unconditional.” he says.

“I’m not in love with you. But I love you a lot in this…very permanent sort of way.” she says.

“Who would you love more? Lacey or Jack?” bluntly asks Joe Sr. of Lem.

“Well, I’d love Lacey more.” says Louis.

Lem laughs.

“Louis, you were never confused about your sexuality in any way.” says Rose.

Louis shrugs. Smiles.

His brother laughs.

“Someone needed to say it. You have no idea what she’s going through.” says Louis.

“There’s no way to convict her of sin she hasn’t committed.” says Lem. “I don’t want to choose Michael for you.” he says turning to Lacey. “But I’ve let you get hurt unnecessarily and I’ve done very little to protect you.”

“Oh come on. Just say it, Lem. You’re making me want to scream.” says Jackie.

Jack cries. He’s not Lacey, indeed.

Michael laughs, not sadistically but at the absolute absurdity of it all.

“Obviously it’s unsettled.” says Louis.

“Why can’t you guys figure out who I belong to?” asks Lacey lightheartedly, in defiance of evil.

And hearing her stoic good humor Jack starts laughing again.

“It is an absurd situation.” says Lou’s bro.

“Just ask later. We’ll all talk about it a little longer.” says Lou’s last wife, sweetly to Lacey.

“No. If Lem can’t decide right now I’m done with Lem.” Lacey suddenly decides.

Scott freaks out at this.

A while later to Lacey.

“I loved you! But not as much as him.” says Harold.

“He’d have died on the cross for you. Literally. And I don’t say that to be sacrilegious.” says Louis.

“There’s something very sick about blaming the victim when it comes to this sort of thing. But I also am not foolish enough to assume absolute innocence.” says Lacey.

“It’s about social class. You dared to tell them the truth they’ve been lying about since I was elected.” says Jack.

“You know the irony is I used to see your family as that. Liberation. And at times I carried myself with a sort of rebelliousness with your family in mind. Like you gave me permission to see myself as equal to my social superiors. And it seemed like people would feel it. And it gave me authority. So much so sometimes people would comment on it. ‘You have a certain authority about you.’ Or, ‘You could be really intimidating if you wanted to be.’ …And it always baffled me. It felt spiritual, but I couldn’t figure out what it was.” Lacey says.

“And the irony is…you may have already been their social superior.” says Michael.

“It’s me. But I gave too much of myself away while I was alive. And unless God says otherwise it’ll be me. But I betrayed your trust with Jack. And myself first.” says Lem.

“I don’t want to make the same mistake. By talking to ghosts.” says Lacey.

“And yet! And yet! You need me.” says Michael.

Silence.

“So who do I belong to?” asks Lacey.

Elliott bursts out laughing.

“Me.” says Louis in exasperation.

Elliott looks to be considering saying the same thing, louder.

“I’m over it. It’s me. Sorry, Lem. You’ll have to claw her away from me using the force of Heaven!” says Michael.

“Well, that’s better.” says Louis. But does he mean it?

“It doesn’t matter if he means it!” yells Michael.

Lem rolls his eyes. “If I love her more than you, Heaven is already on my side.”

“But she can’t die. Lem, you can’t let her die.” says Michael.

“I know.” he says.

“She really doesn’t understand. They can kill you if God let’s them. It’s the nature of the divide.” says someone.

“They aren’t getting hurt? Are they?” Lacey asks.

Elliott looks pouty and hurt. He’s flirting.

It sobers Lacey.

Jack looks horrified.

“It’s Louis.” says Jack.

“What?!” asks Lacey.

He frowns.

“Just trust God. If that seems wrong, trust it’ll make sense or it’s-“

“Oh no! It’s not. It’s Harold!” yells Scott, comically.

“Let’s go to bed.” says Lem to Lacey’s spirit and soul. “It’s late.”

“NO!” yells Michael.

“Don’t threaten me by threatening her.” says God to Lacey’s audience. All of them

“Lacey, it’s Michael for now.” says Jerome.

“Nope. It’s me.” says Lem.

“It’s no-“ starts Michael.

A demon yells. Lacey’s head hurts. It feels like she’s being scratched. A light flies by her face. She rebukes the demon in Jesus’ name.

“You shouldn’t have to deal with this!” says Lem.

Shadows fly about.

It seems to be Michael. And Lem and God will sort the rest out.

Time for sleep.