But First…

William F. Buckley Jr. steps onto the stage. He walks up to Lacey.

“Louis loves you.” he says to Lacey.

They sit and stare into an empty audience. Looking off into the silence. Another ghost suddenly makes a chair seat fly upwards to be silly.

“It’s important to not die too soon!” says Lacey.

“Death is a funny thing.” Mr. Buckley says.

“It’s not real!” says Lacey sarcastically. “At least that’s what the cool-kids of science say.”

“They say it isn’t real?” he asks. Appalled at her ignorance.

“Yes.”

“When?” he asks.

“In 1154.” says Lacey.

“Oh! After the fall of the Roman Empire and the life of Christ. But before we began to shake our asses to appease the Rockefellers.” says Mr. Buckley.

“Yup.”

He stifles rage. He breathes. He smiles.

“Lacey, you have no idea how-“

Dick Cavett quickly runs on stage in between William F. Buckley Jr. and Lacey. He smiles at Lacey, warmly.

“Why are you interrupting our fight? If we even are fighting.” says Lacey.

“Because I wanted to cause chaos and uncertainty.” says Dick Cavett.

“Oh! I love it.” says Lacey.

William F. Buckley Jr. smiles.

“What was it you were about to say?” asks Dick Cavett of Mr. Buckley.

“It’s just that I worked incredibly hard to build an impression in the minds of Americans. To further the aspirations of my ego and further a larger cause as well. And for the life of me, I can’t fathom why Lacey doesn’t have more respect for that.”

“Why I don’t find your accomplishments more impressive?” asks Lacey.

Michael smiles.

“Men would be a lot better off if they opened their eyes in regard to you, Lacey. There’s nothing inherently wrong with finding you attractive. But they’ll never be me. And they’ll never be a dead Rockefeller.” says Mr. Buckley.

“Or me.” says Lem.

“Lem was handsome! I agree!” says Mr. Buckley.

“You’re right.” says Lacey.

“He was more than just a lot of buff masculinity!” says Paul Newman about Lem, enraged.

“I know.” says a dead William F. Buckley Jr. piously. Morosely, even.

“Anyway, no. If I still exist in Purgatory, or Heaven…then God…could allow me to manifest. If He wished.” says Michael. “Right?”

“No? Why no?” asks Lacey.

“Because. You.” says Michael.

William F. Buckley raises his eyebrows.

“I’m not finding this funny either, Lacey.” says Dick Cavett.

“It’s gobbly-gook.” says Lacey, sarcastically. “Right?”

“Gobbledygook.” corrects Michael.

They all look at each other.

“You’re saying that it’s not gobbledygook?” asks Lacey.

“Lots of uncool things aren’t the gobbledygook they’re made out to be today. You included. And yet…who would you want?” asks Michael.

“No one seems to care about anyone but themselves these days.” says Lacey.

“There are some good people.” says Lem.

“Not who find me attractive, for the most part.” says Lacey. “There are exceptions, but too often they’re nice to a point and then it’s a show.”

“Do you think they find you attractive?” asks Dick Cavett.

“No. I think they find me physically arousing. And maybe I meet the requirements of their ego. But I’m entirely interchangeable with a lesser woman within their range of acceptability.” says Lacey.

“So you’re not special to them?” asks Mr. Buckley.

“If my real father was born in 1894…he’d never admit to having any other kids. Ever. Unless they were scrutinized thoroughly. Most sane fathers are like that. Because they’re children matter to them. …And unless you can love someone that much…they’re nobody to you, except maybe as a friend.” says Lacey.

William Buckley nods his head in agreement.

“They have no idea who your father was.” he says.

“What does it matter?” asks Lacey. “I’m not in possession of a $20 million house that someone might think is worth $60 million.”

“Or $100 million!!” gasps William.

“Say, that’s okay though. Maybe I’ll have a nicer house in Heaven.” says Lacey.

“There is no God. There is no Heaven. There is no Hell. There is no me. There is no you. There is no anything.” says Mr. Buckley sarcastically.

“Gee. You’re sure well edumacated.” says Lacey.

“Edumucated?” asks Dick.

“Yes, like a warrior. Like an African warrior.” says Lacey.

James Baldwin laughs. “In Heaven I’m a piece of shit. Or actually, on Earth directionally speaking. I’m a piece of festering shit. Sipping lead. Scratching myself. Aching of fever. In Heaven.” he says.

“Show me! Show me! Tell me! Show me!” says Lacey.

“Show you how much I stink?” asks James Baldwin.

“Yes! I want to see proof!” she replies.

“Go find a homeless black man in Minnesota and smell him.”

“Just smell him?”

“Yes. Don’t offer him any help. Heaven is already manifest! There is nothing better than this. There are no evil empires. There is no Hell. My masser say so!” says Mr. Baldwin.

“Oh! My slutty mind is orgasming at your genius, Jimmy!” says Lacey.

“You best be careful!” says Mr. Baldwin.

“Why is that?!” asks Lacey.

“My masser is gonna be mad!”

“But I’m a bubble head! Not a man!”

“And of course, this is very funny. It’s clear you’re both joking.” says Dick Cavett.

“Don’t keep confusing me!!” she shrieks. “You’re all ghosts!”

“And ghosties don’t done be real!” says James.

“What? They’re not real? Then how do I exist in Heaven?” asks Dick Cavett.

“Don’t call it Heaven! I went to Johns Hopkins for my masters. And I know for a fact that it isn’t real!” says a man in his 30’s.

“Oh! Sorry!” says Lacey.

“Sorry!! Master I is sorry. I is sorry!” says James.

Silence.

“I done be quiet now.” he says. “I done gonna be real quiet masser! You is right! There’s no warrant for Hell.”

“No warrant, masser!” says Lacey.

A dead white police officer from Indiana arrives.

“You two thieves are hopeless!” he says.

“What did we steal?” asks Lacey. “What did we steal, masser?”

“My happiness!” he says. “My peace of mind! My state of mind!”

“Lacey, you’re like a Mercedes!” says James Baldwin.

“Vroom, vroom!” says Lacey.

“Could you ever have bought a Mercedes?” Mr. Buckley asks the police officer.

“No. But that’s because I saved my money.” he says.

“Should I keep calling you masser?” asks Lacey.

The police officer looks at her aghast. Extremely confused.

“You is the masser in Heaven. And we done be good!” says Lacey to explain.

“Actually God is God.” clarifies an angel.

“No, he’s not! He’s not. You done is!” says Lacey to the massur masses, sarcastically.

“Say, if I wanted to turn you into an actual Mercedes I could then! Right?!” clarifies the police officer.

“I’d rather she be left human. Thanks.” says Michael.

“Thank you, Michael, for your clarity of conscience.” says a woman listening.

James Baldwin sighs. “If only we weren’t demons. If only there was Heaven. If only these infallible Jesus-experts with the self-perceived authority of God Himself could agree.”