Shake Me Down

“Why wasn’t my lordly superiority forgivable?” asks Lacey of Joe. “Why wasn’t it something you could ignore?” She looks at him quizzically. “Because if you can’t love me…as perfect as you are…then who ever could?”

Lem weeps.

“You’re not supposed to be wondering that now!” says Lem holding himself accountable.

“Because you’re for real that much better than me?” asks a perfume collector, hatefully, indignantly.

“Yes.” says Lacey patiently. “In terms of objective hierarchies.”

“Truth.” she admits.

Silence.

“Isn’t that funny?” Lacey asks the hater.

The hater tries not to laugh. “Okay. Yeah, it’s funny.” she admits.

“It’s horrific. It’s not that being better doesn’t matter. It does. But only in terms of logistics…in a sense.” says Lacey.

“Yeah, you’re right.” she says crying.

“Logistics matter.” says Joe. “But only in so far as they-“

“Only in so far as they bring about good. Good as in God.” says Lacey.

“And it’s not good for a human to be alone.” says Michael.

Lem cries.

“You rocked logistics! Didn’t you ol’ boy!” says a gay man filled with righteous rage, to Lem.

“I don’t get a free pass for being dumb. It’s true.” he says.

“Oh, so you’re a conservative now?” asks another gay man.

“Yes. Actually, I am. I don’t think you should get a free pass any more than I did. But I wasn’t as dumb as you. I was far dumber.” he says.

“So are you saying you think homosexuality is stupid? Or are you saying you think you were just stupid…in general?” the first gay man asks.

“I was. I was…trash. By choice. Not by reason, or sanity, or goodness.” He shakes his head in disgust. “But by choice. I made the stupid choice to be gay. And for me it was a choice. If it wasn’t or isn’t a choice for you then don’t preach to me about your experience thinking I’ll have a clue what you’re…meaning. …I’m sorry it’s so hard to believe.” Lem says.

“If this isn’t Lem…then I’m sorry. That’s who he seems to be.” says Lacey.

“Why did you chose to be gay?!” yells the first gay man.

“I’ve explained, I’m sorry I wasn’t clearer. Lacey can’t comprehend it either.” He cries.

The first gay man closes his eyes and thinks. “No, I think I kind of understand. Your story isn’t one we contemplate often.” He thinks. “No, because if this is Lem-“ He laughs. “He may be telling the truth.” He covers his mouth in shock. “We assume everyone is typical.”

“And some people can be atypical and have atypical problems. Like atypical schizophrenia, which is what excellent er doctors worried I had in Seattle when I went in one day thinking I’d lost my bloody mind.” says Lacey. “Years ago now. In 2017. But I don’t. According to genuine experts in psychiatry. And etc. Like, good experts according to science. According to both standards of Liberal and Republican and etc. minds. I’m…simply not schizophrenic atypical or otherwise.”

“According to what we know about life and death.” says Michael. “But…they couldn’t diagnose her.” He thinks. “I think Lem would have assumed he was schizophrenic and told them he needed medication.” He thinks. “He would have tried to figure how he was sick either way. Lacey is…brutally defiant.”

“Okay. I don’t think I’m sick. Whether I am or not.” says the first gay man trailing off.

The gay man laughs.

“I’m not gay anymore, either way.” says Lem. “And I wasn’t then either, I’m sorry.” He thinks. “I just realized I should be clearer. By then I meant when I was alive.” He thinks. “And by alive I mean, from 1916 to 1981.”

“Who the fuck was your dad!?” asks Linda on behalf of a hater.

“That wasn’t necessarily me.” says a perfume collector.

“Which perfume collector?” asks Lacey.

“That was a perfume collector.” says Linda. “There is someone who will think that, most likely.”

“Linda now you sound demonic. And you shouldn’t have sworn.“ says Lacey.

She may have found that funny. “What if I talk to God?”

“And He told you someone was thinking that reading this post somewhere in time and space?” asks Lacey.

“Yes.”

“Hmm.” Lacey thinks.

“What would you do if I showed you what happened in a PG way in Purgatory or Heaven and God Himself even told you I was always a sexually abused, eventually drug addicted, psychologically troubled, certainly clinically depressed…morbid but entirely heterosexual man?” asks Lem.

“How would you show me?” asks the gay man, still sounding flirtatious.

Lem doesn’t answer.

“He must be in love with that man now!” thinks a gay male hater. Linda Tripp laughs. He being Lem. That man being the first gay man.

“Try honestly answering the question.” says a perfume collector to the first gay man.

“I’d probably struggle.” he says.

“Would you really though?” asks Lacey. “This Heaven or Purgatory we’re talking about.”

“Fine. You’re right. I might be able to grasp it. If it was true.” he says. “I just can’t fathom why a man would willingly waste his whole life like that.”

“Really?” asks Joe Jr. in disbelief. “It’s amazingly easy to waste everything.”

“Listen, I think Lem was bisexual or straight. I think it’s very unlikely he was gay. I’m sorry. I don’t know why you’re all so attached to that possibility on the left? It’s…terrifying to me. Objectively speaking. Why do you see yourselves as never having existed? Because that’s where it looks to end up according to my calculations. Why? Because I don’t think my calculations can be that wrong about…everything.” says Lacey.

“Excuse me, I have to stop myself from laughing. Lacey…” says a perfume collector. “That’s a man you’re talking to. A man who can’t even enjoy fucking a woman. Maybe, in his defense, he can occasionally be friends with them. But I doubt he’s being your friend right now.”

The first gay man looks uncomfortable.

“You know what tipped me off?!” says a bisexual woman. “The fact that my forebears in my little posse…were very suspicious of men like you. And I’m talking about lesbians. I’m talking about queer, cis women.” She smiles.

“They did come from a woman though. If they hadn’t they wouldn’t have been born.” says Lacey. “Or necessarily be human.”

“There are many women who have wasted their lives. In every way.” says a lesbian.

“But they’re women. If they’d been as liberated as men. As strong, and sexy, and brave as men…they’d never be dumb enough to waste their dicks.” says Lacey, sarcastically.

“Lacey they don’t have dicks.” says the lesbian.

“The women? Women don’t have dicks? Dicks as in a penis?” asks Lacey to clarify.

“Righto!” says the lesbian.

“So you’re saying that by virtue of not having a penis they are likely to be inherently different in some profound way we can’t fully understand as of this moment?” asks Lacey.

“Yes! It’s amazing how profoundly different we are.” she says.

“But however will we intellectually all get along and get rich if we’re all so different?” asks Lacey, sarcastically.

“Aren’t all men alike?!” asks the lesbian.

“Aren’t they all essentially nothing?” asks Lacey sarcastically. “Like…do they even exist or are they all a figment of some romantic, straight woman’s laughable imagination?”

“Like you dreamt them up to get off? In your sleep?” asks Zelda.

“Aren’t they a pretty thought though?” says Lacey dreamily.

“No, Lacey. They’re all secretly gay. As in, homosexuals. Or faggots, as I’d call them in my head. And they hate women.” says the first gay man.

“They’re not even bisexual? Sometimes?” asks Lacey.

“Why?! So you can get off you deranged freak!?” says a hateful, male drag queen.

“Oh! Wait! That’s what molestation and rape are for? In your minds? And I use minds liberally. Right?” Lacey asks. “Or does the word right trigger you?”

“What does Hell look like?” asks the first gay man. “Because I have a feeling I’m headed there.”

“So you’ve rejected Christ?” asks Lacey.

They both stare at her.

“No. Not necessarily. He was a man.” says the drag queen.

“He was the Son of God.” says Lacey.

Silence.

“Listen, I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have insulted your minds. But you shouldn’t lie.” says Lacey.

“I’m not a child molestor.” says the drag queen.

“I was hoping you both weren’t that lost to Hell.” says Lacey. “I was just trying to put your crap into its proper context to let you observe it objectively.”

“I don’t think all men are gay.” says the drag queen.

“Oh yes you do!” says Lacey. “Admit it. You both have become convinced, sadly, that all men are gay.”

“Do you think all men are bisexual?” asks the drag queen.

“No. She’s thinks we’re all far more diverse than that.” says the first gay man.

“Why wouldn’t we be?” asks Lacey.

“Well, I agree.” says the drag queen.

The gay man looks disturbed.

“Why in the world do you need all men to be gay?” asks Lacey of the first gay man.

“What’s my angle?!” he asks mockingly.

“Yes. What is your problem?” she wonders.

“I think a fella just likes to think that there isn’t a man alive too pretty or too smart or too straight to fall in love with him.” he admits.

“Or dead?” asks Lacey.

Elliott laughs.

“What about Elliott Roosevelt? Could you make him fall in love with you?” asks Lacey.

“I could humiliate and rape him.” he says matter-of-factly. “With help. And so maybe if he’s in Heaven that’s not possible.”

“True. But could you make him fall in love with you?” she asks.

“You don’t think he was secretly gay or bisexual?” he asks with confidence that he was.

“I really doubt it.” says Lacey.

Silence.

“What about Michael Rockefeller or Jack Kennedy? Instead of Elliott Roosevelt.” says Lacey.

The drag queen laughs.

“I want Elliott Roosevelt.” he says.

“But what if Elliott Roosevelt isn’t attracted to men?” asks Lacey.

“Not even in Heaven?” he asks. “He was handsome!”

“Yes. Not even in Heaven.”

“You’re right. That is weird how attached I get to the idea.” he admits.

“I think it ruins so much for you. You get too focused on the possession of it as opposed to being truly connected?” observes Lacey.

“So you think I was trying to possess Elliott Roosevelt or beat you?” he asks.

“Beat me. But then possess Elliott. And possibly become obsessed with that.” says Lacey. “Because you have so much to prove.”

“I’m not a rapist or child molester either.” he says.

“But it’s rape to insist on someone else’s sexual orientation for your own gratification. Or it’s assisting rape if it’s for someone else’s gratification.” says Lacey.

“And you’ve not gone too far. And believing Lem was gay wasn’t rape up to a point. But with you, it’s perhaps gone much too far. Within the context of these sort of conversations, for example.” he says. “On my part. Not your part.” He thinks. “As in, I’m the one being a rapist.”

“Yes. It’s also rape to keep insisting I’m not straight. And you may have come much too close to raping Elliott, in a sense.” says Lacey.

“You’re right. And that’s not pedantic. It’s sophisticated. And scary.” he admits.

“It calls into question what this is.” says Lacey.

“So I’d have to claim I’m a figment of your imagination.” he says.

“Yes.”

“But what if I’m not?” he asks.

Silence.

“No, not all men are gay.” he says. “And no, you could be what you say you are. Lem might be a ghost who talks to you. And I could be a dead man, a demon, or a living man.”

“Why do you think Lem is gay?” asks Lacey.

“For all the reasons you’ve heard or read. And decided aren’t proof at all.” he says.

“So there’s nothing?” she asks.

“No, I have no real proof. As in, proof that would convince you. As in, anything you don’t already know.” he says.

“So my perspective and possible additional information from him…aren’t enough to convince you?” she asks.

“No, there’s nothing you could share that would convince me. Isn’t that something?”

“Because you’re attached to the idea for not entirely rational reasons. And I worry it’s not even entirely insecurity or hatred.” She pauses. “Right?”

“Yes! It just feels like it’s right. And the fact that you’re the one with the opposing facts makes the facts harder to accept.”

“Why is so difficult to hear the truth from me?”

“Why do you think it would have been nice to have been born in Heaven?” he asks.

“The thing is, I wasn’t.” says Lacey.

“True. Well…you’re what we’ve been taught to hate. Your parents probably hated you too.”

“True. They did feel I was too old-fashioned, uptight, fancy and assertive.” She twirls her money around with her great granduncle’s title in her head like a baton. “But I still have their name. And there’s nothing you can do about that.”

He refuses to be so trashy and bourgeois as to call them farmers.

Elliot licks the top of his head with a giant tongue. Like a monstrous cow. Somehow.

“I’m not attracted to you. I just thought that was funny.” he explains.

“Your parents really didn’t like you?” the first gay man asks.

“Not really. If I’m genetically capable of being born in 1918…then I don’t entirely blame them. I mean, it’s pathetic. And possibly evil. But…the Boomers were horrible to their parents in their opinion of them.” says Lacey.

“And I’m sorry for whatever I contributed to the formation of those opinions.” says Lem.

“I think I contributed more!“ says Louis. Sarcastically.

“Are you at a seance?” asks a new hater.

Like this?

I’m at a house next to the Mississippi River, near Lake Pepin, behind a cave. You have to drive through a cave to the other side. And then you enter a special land occupied by both aliens and the Illuminati. It’s a place of easy access for aliens and the so-called “other side.” When I walk through the doors of this house I’m shoved into a cape and mask. Like in the movies. And the great robot Mark Zuckerberg greets us in his native robot tongue.

“Zip Zip Zap!” he says. “Zany Zop!”

There are thousands of us. But he has a loud robot voice. He uses an “indoor voice” to blend in in public.

Then the robots from space appear. And we find out how it feels to be an inferior species. It’s humbling. And for those in the gang who have let their billions go to their head, so to speak, it’s a helpful reminder of what it must feel like to be intimidated.

“It is okay! My people are not here to make trouble. Zip Zod Zin.” Mark says.

And as the wind blows our polyester blend garments up into the air…and we wish we’d had that last cup of coffee in the car on the way or in the plane. Because we feel so tired compared to the robots. We humble ourselves.

And then the music starts and I go off to the gazebo. And usually that’s where Louis meets me.

“Hey!” he says.

“Hey!” I say.

“You know, back in 1968. In the winter of 1968. It snowed.” He sits up. “A lot.”

“Did it?”

“Yes. And I got cold. But we had snow blowers back then. Thankfully. Did your parents have a snow blower?”

“I grew-up in an apartment in the suburbs.”

“That’s right. Geez. What was that like?” he says.

Silence.

“I bet your whole apartment was the size of my bedroom.” says Michael.

Lacey analyzes.

“Do you mean my apartment building or my family’s apartment?” asks Lacey.

Michael sighs. Embarrassed.

“I don’t know.” he stares into her eyes.

“They didn’t own a snow blower.” says Louis.

“She’s not going to have that conspiracy. She’s not like us. Don’t, Lou.” says Mike.

“What’s the word on the street?!” asks Lacey. Maybe these nice boys will be her friends if she tries to relate more.

“Mark’s got a herd of snow blowers he’s keeping hidden in South America. With help from the Nazis still there from WWII.” says Michael.

“Is the word on the street that they’re dead or alive Nazis?” asks Lacey.

“Alive.” says Louis.

“The only way to stop him is to make love to one of us. The sex magic will halt the snow blowers.” says Michael.

“I have a few questions. Why do the snow blowers pose a threat? Secondly, who do I belong to?” she responds.

“You mean, who does God think you belong to?” asks Louis.

“Yes.”

“Oh! Geez. Maybe Lem should be here to chime in on this.” says Louis.

“Well, if I’m married to him for eternity then I should probably sleep with him to stop the madness.” says Lacey.

“It’s not madness. It’s a beautiful plot to run the world using snow. He plans to build an impenetrable fortress of snow around Switzerland. And then take over the world.” says Mike.

“Wow!” says Lacey.

“That’s what I said. Maybe we’re a lot alike and you should be with me.” says Michael Rockefeller.

“I grew-up in a tiny place. In Minnesota.” says Lacey.

“I grew-up in Minnesota too.” says Louis.

Silence.

“Lem had sex with men.” said Louis.

“So is that a trump card?” Michael asks.

“Shh!” says Mark. “There’s no plot. I’m just a fun-loving robot. Now be nice.”

“Darn! I forget how good his hearing is.” says Michael.

“I don’t practice witchcraft anyway.” says Lacey.

“Then how do you see us!?” asks Louis.

“I don’t know. I’ll have to analyze it. I forgot you were both dead.” says Lacey.

“Are dead.” says Lem.

“Welp. I gotta run!” says Lacey. And she drives away. It’s time for bed.

No. I’m not at a seance. I’m at home. On my blog.