Understanding Schubert

Lem and Lacey are deeply in love. But Michael made an agreement in July with Lacey to spend eternity together if he’s a ghost in God’s loving hands…should nothing else be better for either of them.

Michael made an agreement with God. If he’s a ghost.

With God.

But Lacey loves Lem. Does Michael love Lacey more? Winning is when everyone is happiest.

And that’s why that dream last night was so important to Lacey. She couldn’t stop herself from loving Lem, dearly.

“I’d have to tell her to stop with the authority of Heaven.” says Michael.

“And if God knew that was best I would.” says Lacey.

“Well, you’ll have to stop being in love with one of us. Eventually.” says Louis.

Camille Saint-Saëns plays. Introduction And Rondo Capriccioso, For Violin and Orchestra in A Minor, Op. 28.

“I don’t think you understood them.” says Michael to Lacey. Because he’s dead.

“What’s the misunderstanding?” she asks.

“That they can’t buy a $2 million house. 

“Yes. They can’t.” says Lacey struggling.

He laughs.

“But I mean, they can’t.”

“Right.” She lowers her voice. “They can’t.” she says sadly like it’s a secret she too has to keep.

“It’s a dream to them.” he says.

Silence.

“Lacey…” He gets into her face. “Lacey, it’s not a dream to you.”

“I think of it that way.” she says. She thinks of it as a dream.

“But you know-“. He laughs. “Lacey, it’s not.”

“I think of it that way though.”

“Why?”

“Because I don’t have it right now. And I couldn’t buy one right now. And life is unpredictable.” she says.

“But you know you’ll either be able to or almost be able to sooner than later.” he says.

“But that’s an expensive house.” says Lacey. “At least it can be.”

“And it’s still a dream to you?” he asks.

“Yes. I wouldn’t want anything more unless I married you while you were alive.” she says. “In a visible form to the naked eye, so to speak.”

“So what’s a dream to you is what’s within reach that’s nice. Essentially.”

“Yes. And if there’s something better, I’d leave that to God. He’s the inventor.” says Lacey.

“And that’s good.” he says smiling. “But they don’t see it that way. To them a pretty apartment isn’t good enough.”

“Because they are of a lower class? Or they just don’t understand what’s pretty?” asks Lacey.

“You’re partially thinking like a Scandinavian.” he says. “Keep it quality, modest, warm, welcoming and pretty.”

“And I know we aren’t that immune to poverty here, unfortunately.” she says. “But, I’ve seen some of the places where these people live and their places look nice.”

“Nice enough to make you feel like they’re greedy. And unthankful.”

“I’d be satisfied with what they have if it’s clean, and I felt loved and hopeful.”

“And that’s why their narcissism was intolerable.” he says.

“True. But you can buy the $2 million house.”

“Eventually. We’ll see.”

“You’d have been happy married to me. Regardless. If I loved you.” says Lem.

“Yes!” says Lacey.

“No, it’s not like wining Monopoly.” Michael says. “I know that’s what you’re imagining they’re all trying to experience.”

“How is it not like wining Monopoly?” she asks.

“Why wouldn’t you have cared if you’d married Lem?” asks Michael.

“Because I love him.” she says apologetically. “And whatever we’d have had would have been enough if we’d been safe, healthy, and etc.”

“And you were taught not to be materialistic. Or selfish. Ever.” says Michael. “You were raised by Charismatic-reformed hippies. From wealthy families by some people’s standards. White. Protestant. Difficult. Stuffy at times, unintentionally. And fiercely independent. They taught you to be loved and love. Even if they didn’t actually love you.”

“And I worry…because of the subtle privilege in that description that I’m missing something. And I should have been so much more compassionate. But every time I try to dissect it…I can’t figure it out.”

Silence.

“It shouldn’t be that hard to find love.” says Lacey.

“Hey, Lacey, call me by your name!” says Michael.

“No, I’m going to call you by my name.” says Lem Billings to a woman he would have happily fucked at 18.

“That’s too young! Lem I’m a woman! Not a skinny, precious-precocious 17 year old boy. …And you’re supposed to be gay! That’s love now. Not heterosexuality. Thanks to you, lover.” she says.

“I’m not sure I would have slept with you at 17.” says Michael. “But I would have been tempted to.”

“No, you’re right. It’s dumb, Lacey. People are…absurd.” says Lem.

“Oh no! You’re an herbophiliac!” says Lacey to Lem.

“You were born in 1983.” he says.

“And I’ve never been to Italy like you and Jack!” she gasps.

“I’m not attracted to teenagers.” he says.

“I know.”

“I know. That’s why it’s so offensive now.” he says. “Because they can’t stand that you exist. Now.”

Michael smiles.

“I’m crashing their party. If I’m illegitimate.” says Lacey.

“And it’s funny. You’d think a woman who would have slept with one of us…at 18…would have a taste for evil. And real perversion. Right? That’s their explanation. But you would have been a young woman and not a girl. And it’s just who you are. …And there’s nothing that they can pin on you other than being too old, ironically, to fit in with them.”

“But 18 year old women got married!” says Lacey.

“They did. Because they were women. And you like normal, healthy men.” says Lem.

“I never dated an older man.” she says to two dead men.

Lem laughs.

“No! She’s not Jack reincarnated. You’re just that conceited at times.” says Michael to some supposed gay activists.

“Or more like-“

Silence.

“Yes! Why a 17 year old boy? Isn’t that sexist, if we’re supposed to take their love seriously.” she says.

“Well, Lacey you still have to have a penis to qualify as a human in Hollywood.” says Michael.

“Merchant Ivory did allow for some genuine heterosexual romance.” says Lacey.

Silence.

“But they were sort of British.” she adds.

Silence.

“Nuance and one’s heart intent are important. And some things are obvious.” says Lem.

“Lacey what if you’re not illegitimate and I’m you’re 5th cousin thrice removed.” asks Lem.

“That’s still incest!” says a bourgeois hater.

“What if I was in love with a 14 year old nephew of Jack’s?” asks Lem.

“Oh! We wondered if that’s what happened, big boy! Tell us all about it!” says a bourgeois, progressive fan.

“Hey! Gee! That’s adorable! Tell us all about it, Lem! How fascinating. Say! Let’s make a film about it. How sexy!” a bourgeois Hollywood producer adds, gleefully.

“That makes no sense.” says Lacey.

“Shh! You’re a pretty woman.” says the Hollywood producer, nicely.

“She’s not that pretty!” says a less pretty bourgeois woman.

“I’m not attracted to men. But most importantly to boys. Or nephews.” says Lem. “Or nieces.”

“I’m going to pretend I don’t speak English or I didn’t read that!” say the bourgeois.

“But how does that help you?” asks Lacey.

“It doesn’t.” admits the Hollywood producer.

“Women are more vulnerable. But too young is gross. An 18 year old woman and a 23 year old man could easily fall in love. As adults.” says Lacey. “But a 14 year old boy is a boy. He’ll be a man hopefully by age 21. By 16 he could be a man. But that’s too young to have to grow-up.”

She yawns.

“I don’t understand what I got wrong.” she says.

“They allow for lies. Love stories that couldn’t exist. And it’s desperation to be recognized. But it’s not wise.” says Lem.

“You don’t babble mindlessly with oozing conceit enough.” says Michael sarcastically.

“I’m too self-confident! I look like I don’t need anyone!” says Lacey.

“But you don’t have a dick or sleep with women like you have one anyway.” Michael protests, sarcastically.

“Oh! Got your worldview. Tracking!” says a Brit. Randomly.

“I hope you truly get it.” says Lacey.

“I do.” he says.

“Don’t be facetious.” she says.

“No, I think I do.” he says.

“Thank you.” she says.

Silence.

“Honestly, I’m not trying to destroy the Democratic Party in my dreams.” says Lacey.

“Then maybe they need to stop lying.” says someone.

“What’s wrong with a $2 million house?” asks a Democrat.

“If it’s in good shape, nothing.” says Lacey.

“I think you just…don’t understand what they want. They want the idea of a $2 million house. Not just any $2 million house either. Their dream house for $2 million. Maybe more.” the Democrat explains.

“Is it about security? Or a sense of accomplishment?” asks Lacey.

“Not necessarily.” says the Democrat.

“What is it?”

Silence.

“Love, sex, excitement?” asks Lacey.

“Identity.” says the Democrat.

“So that’s why they need old-money, attractive Lem to love Jack and they’d tolerate Bobby Jr..” says Lacey. “They still need the Kennedy’s to get in subconsciously.”

“What about Kick and Joe?” asks a Brit.

“Nobody in that crowd understands who those people even are anymore. If you read the most biography of Joe Jr. it’s evident.” says Lacey.

“So did it work with Kick or not?” asks the Brit.

“Not really. It should have. It fundamentally should have. But her family was opposed to the marriage. And it’s more like she was absorbed into the history of Great Britain than anything else, sadly.” Lacey thinks. “At least, that’s my opinion.”

“What about Joe?” asks the Brit.

“He almost was absorbed into British History too.” observes Lacey. “He was a Kennedy. But he died to save London.” She thinks. “Having made love to a Australian who once married into the British Aristocracy.”

Silence.

“So that leaves Lem.” says someone.

“Well, Jackie has been argued to be a fraud somehow, if I’m not mistaken. Somewhat old-money but more new than old. Not French enough. Or something like that. Too much like Jack to redeem him socially either way.” says Lacey.

Silence.

“And Ethel isn’t old-money enough either. They were Dutch but maybe not the right kind of Dutch to work either.”

Silence.

“Joan…I don’t know enough about. But I’d be surprised if she was old-money enough. She wasn’t clearly depicted that way in public perception, regardless.”

Silence.

“So that leaves Joan.” says Michael getting tired.

“That leaves Lem.” corrects Lacey.

“Oh yes.” he says. “To make the $2 million house good enough, regardless. Because if they can get the Kennedy’s in then they’ll subconsciously feel like they all get in.”

“That’s the theory.” says Lacey.

“And Lem is better now too, because he’s a secret. So maybe they have hidden oil too. Huh?!”says Michael.

“It wasn’t hidden. It was too deep.” says Lacey.

Silence.

“Or it’s how it was in the rocks.” he says.

“That sounds more accurate. Because they used to get oil floating to the surface in the creek they swam in.” says Lacey.

“That’s why some of your family bought into the source, so to speak.” he says.

“Yes. They couldn’t figure out how to get at it. But they knew it was there.” she says.

“Did they ever think they’d be able to get at it?”

Lacey looks at him.

“Right. I know.”

“It’s so unlikely, but it intrigues me.”

He smiles.

“Oh well. Joe III is old-money now.” says Lem.

“Enough. It seems. Right?” observes Lacey.

“But they don’t like him enough.” says Michael.

“He’s not understanding of their $2 million house passion either, I bet.” says Lacey.

Silence.

“You know I wish they’d just explain what it is they want without copying other people. $2 million house concept included.”

“You’re conceited, Lacey!” shouts Michael in imitation of the haters.

“How? Oh right! Because. You know, they’re just covering-up for lies. But if they’re human I’d love to know why they can’t accept their lot and enjoy what they can. Maybe it’s easier when you can almost float away. Or maybe not. But…I wish I knew what a $2 million house really meant to them. To me it’s a beautiful home. And if it isn’t not drowning…or being conquered…then what is it?”