Jack Talks With Lacey

“Thanks, Jack.” says Lacey.

He smiles.

“And really that should be all you need to read. But I know that, instead, you’ll all decide she’s Lem reincarnated now.” says Joe Jr..

“The thing is…Lacey’s family is one of the largest oil producing family’s in the US. Certainly the largest in their state.” says Michael.

Silence.

“Possibly the largest in the Midwest?” wonders Lacey.

“Not that means much. Considering.” says Michael’s brother.

“Your face isn’t just round and pudgy with nice cheekbones. You have a almost perfect nose. Better than what a plastic surgeon could provide. You have gorgeous skin. You have exquisite eyes. Your chin line is soft. But not weak… You have a feminine face. Not round but feminine.” says Louis. “And the rest of your body matches.” He thinks. “I was born before 1910 and you’re my personal idea of physical perfection in every way.”

“The thing is…if dead men can care for and appreciate you better than living men, do you think God will just let that slide?” asks a dead Millennial.

“Lacey, here’s my only piece of constructive advice: You can’t present yourself as a middle-class woman to people with exceptions of an occasional indulgence and then expect them to not assume that as true.” says a dead, dear, fatherly man. “You present yourself as middle-class. It’s subtle but true.”

“But I do that for good reasons.” says Lacey. “And you know what they are.”

“Yes! But then you’ll have upper-middle-class men pursue you who think they’re being impressive when they’re making a fool of themselves.”

Silence.

“You get no thrill out of it. And it’s ugly for you to watch.” he continues.

“But I love being that way.” says Lacey.

Silence.

“What do you think I should do?! Wear designer clothes all of the time and perfect make-up and have entrance requirements to my life?” she asks.

“Yes.” he says sharply.

“You think I should only wear designer clothes, never leave the house without looking like a rich, refined version of Tammy Faye Baker, and then do a background check on every man who asks for my phone number?” she persists.

He thinks.

“No! It’s more about an attitude.” he says. He thinks. “Those ways of projecting yourself are sort of absurd. It’s more that you don’t project yourself honestly.”

“That like my possible father in the 1920’s…I hide material things from the law?” asks Lacey.

“Yes.”

“You do it for sane, moral reasons. Probably. And some might argue your father did too, should he be your father.” says Jack.

“But not everyone has been to private parties on Lake Minnetonka in their childhood at summer estates owned by the old-money, medical elite.” says the man.

Lacey thinks.

“Just because you grew-up in a retirement home, essentially, doesn’t mean you aren’t who they hate.” says Jack. “Lacey, they hate you.”

Athalia looks at Lacey kindly. Empathetically.

Elliott sighs.

“Okay. So, they hate me?” asks Lacey, dazed.

“Yes. They’re not just haters.” says Jack.

“Why do they hate me!?” asks Lacey.

“Because you dress in the same manner I did? And have a slightly similar background?” asks Lem.

“Yes! We’re not the evil rich.” says Lacey.

“No! We have millions. Not billions.” he says. “Our money isn’t loud, but it has a patina. Mine a little richer than yours.”

“You’re both vintage but pristine monogrammed Louis Vuitton handbags. Except Lem’s patina is superb and you have a genuine patina but it’s newer and lighter.” says Athalia.

Silence.

“But that’s just your social class. Not who you both are as individuals. But yes, you both are classic Louis Vuitton. Not a Birkin. Not a Goyard. Not a Launer. Possibly Mark Cross…but more Louis Vuitton.” says Athalia Ponsell.

“So why does that make them hate me? I’m not an unapproachable Birkin.” says Lacey.

Silence.

“You can buy me and Lem online, metaphorically speaking.” says Lacey.

“Me and Lem?!” says Athalia.

A living gay man rolls his eyes. “Athalia! She doesn’t get it.”

“Athalia reminds me a lot of Taylor Swift, by the way.” says Lacey.

“Maybe they are alike.” says Joe Jr..

“But of course, she isn’t Athalia reincarnated.” clarifies Lacey.

“No.” says Joe with a sigh.

Athalia thinks. She becomes disturbed. Looks at Lacey. Wants to cry, empathetically.

“Well, maybe Lem and Lacey are a pair! Or maybe Michael just really likes monogram Louis Vuitton.” says Coco.

“I sort of like it too.” says Louis.

“The point is that they hate your price.” says Coco to Lacey. Metaphorically.

“But it’s not that expensive.” says Lacey.

“It’s not.” says a Gen X woman. “But to them it is.”

Lem and Lacey look at each other nervously.

“What exactly are you two up to?!” asks Jack.

“I’ve been wanting to ask that myself.” laughs FDR.

“It’s like you two are trying to be rebellious.” says a dead fashion designer thoughtfully. “But you have no idea what you’re rebelling against.” He thinks. “You’re both romantic people. Kind. Enduring. But you both seem to think you’re challenging some evil authority that either doesn’t exist or is you.”

FDR laughs.

“I don’t think either of them really see themselves as much. They both still live in log cabins in their minds. Eat potatoes too much. Sit around and collect dust. Cry.” says Eleanor.

“She means literal Puritan log cabins.” clarifies Athalia. “And no, not that they have low self-esteem. They just are happily meek.”

“But that’s not in 2022.” says a Gen Z member.

Lem and Lacey look at him.

“How. The. Hell. Do you two not get it?!” asks a moderate black man from Texas.

“What are we trying to get?!” asks Lem.

“You’re both scary.” says a white upper-middle-class man.

“We don’t know how to even mock you two!” says a Gen Z queer woman.

“Mock us to even the score, so to speak?” asks Lacey.

“Yes!” says a white upper-middle-class American woman. “Like, who are you two even?!”

“They’re the true overlords.” says a middle-aged Native American woman. “It’s not just about money.”

“And they both know that. And they don’t care! They don’t care that they’re rich but not billionaires! They don’t care! Noo. Because they beat the system!” says the man from before.

The Native-American woman laughs. “Pray do tell how they beat the system?”

“They knew it was a racket. They figured that out in childhood. And then in flagrant disregard for normalcy they both decided to coast through life in defiance.” says the man.

“Would they have seen England as a racket?” asks a Brit.

“No.” says Lacey.

A Catholic priest laughs.

“What do you think they owe you?!” asks a living, egalitarian man.

“An apology!” says a white, Protestant, upper-middle-class man.

“Is that Michael Moore laughing?” asks Zelda.

“Is that Michael Moore shaking his head and almost crying?” asks Scott.

“I like my Louis Vuitton monogram Alma.” says an elite living woman.

“You got the mini one or the PM?” asks a black, elite living woman.

“The regular sized one.” she replies.

She sighs. Almost cries.

“The thing is…I’m very wealthy.” she says to Lacey. Kindly. “And you two are fun! Not costly, true, but good fun. And that’s the problem. Do you get it?”

Lacey shakes her head no.

“We own you. Not like servants or slaves. Not necessarily even like equals in regard to patina and pedigree.” says the black American woman. “In some spiritual way you two may have some authority over us.” She thinks. The other woman sighs and nods. “But, we own you. You belong to us. And therefore, you’re going to be seen as part of our entourage. Whether you accept that or not.”

“I suppose Michael could liberate you or both of you from that.” says the other woman. “But how much can he liberate himself?! Do you see what I mean?”

“Yes! That’s why we’re in rebellion.” says Lem.

“But you two aren’t in rebellion against the British?” asks a Brit.

They shake their heads no in unison.

Jacks cracks up laughing.

“Hey! That’s okay!” says the woman with the monogram Louis Vuitton.

“Are you two still conflicted about leaving the British?” asks the Native American woman.

“Yes!” says Lem. “If you’d asked me that while I was alive, I’d have laughed. But…in a way, yes. Sadly.”

“Really?! But you found our discussion about the potential superiority of the Magna Carta absurd and insulting.” says Lacey in protest.

“No. Not really.” says Lem. “Or I’ve changed my mind.”

“But do you two understand what we mean?” asks the elite noire woman.

“That we’re obnoxious?” asks Lacey.

“Yes!” says the other woman. “In a way you two own us.”

“But we can’t control you.” says Lem.

FDR cracks up laughing.

“You two were so busy rebelling you forgot your duties.” says Elliott. “Or you both were so brutally hurt you both gave-up trying to change or control anything.”

“True.” says Lem.

“Well…your defiance is admirable. But I think you both need to rethink your views on social class. Not structurally. Not hermeneutically. But morally.” says Eleanor.

“You’re both drunken warriors. Drunk due to deep pain. But then see it that way. You’re not the townspeople, no matter how silly you feel.” says the man from earlier. “And it is a comedy. It’s true!! But you both have sharp, lethal swords.”

“That’s a challenge to her.” says Joe.

“Is it?” asks the man as Lem puts him in a chokehold comically.

“But they challenge the authenticity of my pedigree constantly. And they often diminish me by trying to compare me to other bags.” says Lacey.

The man nods his head. “Or they claim you’re in worse condition than you are.” He nods. “In a way that’s theft. On their part.” He thinks. “But they don’t care. They’re out for blood. And secretly they revel in that attempt to attack your version of the elite.”

Silence.

“They’re secretly just attacking a rich person who cares. Who’s abused. Who’s neglected. Who’s experienced great loss.” he says. “It’s fun to try to play dumb because you play dumb. They hate you for being rich.” he says. “Whether they consciously realize it at first or not. They can smell it eventually.”

“I grew-up thinking I was one of them.” says Lacey.

Lacey sees a crowd of Native American warriors run past her.

“We’ll send them back to England this year.” one laughs with a British accent.

Lem smiles.

“And then we’ll go back too!” says Lem, apologetically.

“You can stay here sometimes.” says a Native woman.

“Oh good! That’s what they told me too!” says James Baldwin.

“It’s a nice place to visit.” says Carolyn. “In our way.”

A Native man nods in understanding.

“We still own a lot.” says Michael. “That’s part of the agreement. But we’ll explain later.”

“I do need to pray and rethink things.” says Lacey. “It’s just heartbreaking,”

“There’s no way to even things just by giving out free samples of expensive rare vintage perfumes!” says a perfume hater. “You may have meant well, but it didn’t bridge the gap.”

“And you could be so condescending.” says another hater. Well, so-called hater. “Listen, if your family is really that upper-class I get your lack of regard for La Petite Robe Noire and niche. It smells like cheap sex to you. Or what? Hairspray?” he says. “But we like it. And simply acknowledging that politely is still too much to take.”

“But then what do want? For me to lie?!” asks Lacey.

His wife shakes her head no.

“No, just…be aware of how it comes across.” he says.

“She’s not going to understand what that means!!” protests a gay perfume collector.

“Why?!” the other male perfume nerd asks.

“It’s a weird thing. As a woman social situations like that can be so confusing.”

“Just awareness. Just honest awareness.” says a black male perfume nerd.

“Of what though?!” asks the last woman.

The woman laughs.

She breathes deeply. Rolls her eyes.

“Of her superiority.” begrudgingly admits a very vocal hater. “Not in the eyes of God. But hierarchically in a fallen world.”

Another hater laughs. “Oh yeah! My dad went to Harvard!” she says mockingly. “Sweetie, nobody usually says that.”

“I just couldn’t take her ignorance of my lack as a compliment!” yells a perfume hater.

“It probably was one though. Right?” asks another hater, sarcastically.

“No! You don’t get it. She really doesn’t understand.” says an opera buff in the perfume community. “To her a 40 million Dollar house is entirely out of her hands. Not necessarily a 20 million Dollar house. Although, that’s only if she stays married or remarries someone like Lem.” She thinks of how to explain. “She theoretically could have maybe married better. Hierarchically speaking.”

“Was the fight in perfume community also about street smarts?!“ asks a loud hater.

Silence.

“Because if you guys-“

“I did try to one-up her. But she couldn’t afford to buy a $250 bottle of Chanel?!” a hater asks.

The loud hater scoffs. “Why couldn’t she?”

Silence.

“See…that’s where you guys are dumb. Okay?! You don’t get budgeting.” says the loud hater.

Silence.

“What do you mean?”

“I can afford luxury perfume because I buy it intelligently.” she says. “And I’m not nearly as rich as you.”

Silence.

“I didn’t want to attack you all. Because I feel your pain. But you guys don’t get it.”

“What don’t we get?!” they ask.

“You buying exorbitant amounts of perfume at the expense of owning a nicer house is weird.” says an upper-middle-class woman with an expensive house.

The loud hater laughs.

“See…you have to ask yourself: What is she spending money on if it’s not perfume?”

“She could be a millionaire and just not want to buy a $500 bottle of perfume.” says the opera buff.

“Yeah, but you don’t get it either! She’s bought perfume for that much. And not just taken a photo with it to look exclusive.” says the loud hater.

Silence.

“It was your snobbery of her that set her off.” says the loud hater. “And your receipts don’t match.” She laughs. “You don’t think I know that? I knew right away.”

Another perfume hater laughs.

“Then why did you tolerate it?!” asks one of the other haters.

“Because it’s fun to pretend. I pretend too. I’m bourgeois in my tastes. But I enjoy the beauty I understand.” she says.

“So we seem intellectually shallow to her?” asks the opera buff.

“Don’t ask me! I’m not her! You idiot!” says the loud hater.

“So you don’t like us either?” the opera buff asks.

“No! I just think you aren’t thinking.” she responds.

“That’s true. I had just spent over $20,000.00 just moving.” says Lacey. “And on top of that my ex-husband had decided to buy an antique piano.”

“He bought an antique piano?!! Without asking you.” says a gay perfume hater.

“Yes. On the same day someone offered me vintage Chanel No. 22 parfum for $250.. We had the money. But it would have been irresponsible to buy it.” says Lacey.

“And you didn’t trust them either.” says another hater.S

Silence.

“How much could you guys afford for groceries at that time?” asks the same hater.

“$400 a week.” says Lacey, angrily.

“So you really did have the money. Like, literally. You just thought it was foolish?” asks a black perfume hater. She tries not to laugh.

“It’s called street smarts!” says the loud hater triumphantly. “Y’all don’t have a clue!”

Silence.

“They got off thinking they might be right based on that one interaction and ruined the community.“ the loud hater scoffs. “I knew she’d buy organic over another bottle of anything. Do the math!” says the loud hater.

“I’m just sad! I can’t afford a $20 million Dollar house.” weeps an Illuminati hater. “I’m not worth that much net. And I’m too smart to risk my entire savings like that.”

“I understand.” says Lacey.

“No! You don’t! You and Lem didn’t try. I tried. I really tried. And this was the absolute best I could do.” he says.

Lem laughs.

“We won’t judge you for just barely making it into the Illuminati!” says a Native American woman. “Calm down, precious!”

Silence.

“You’re not Joe Kennedy Sr. though.” she says to him.

“What makes you think I identify with him?” the Illuminati hater asks.

“Just a sense I get!” she says. “You’re not him though. And I think if you think you are that’s why you found Lacey.”

He thinks.

“My delusions of grandeur specifically in regard to him?” he asks.

She nods patiently. “Even subconsciously.”

“So you think he basically got spiritually carried away consuming that self mythology?” asks his wife. “And found Lacey in the process?”

“Okay.” she says closing her eyes to try to explain. “Lacey seems inextricably linked to Joe. And as you walked down that path, metaphorically speaking, you found Lacey. Because that’s her habitat. That’s just her home.”

Silence.

“Yeah! See that’s why you don’t join an occultist organization and expect to avoid problems.” says a Christian.

“You think he overindulged in fantasies of ego?” asks his wife sadly. “How do you avoid self-mythologizing?”

“He needed to be himself. Not you. Not his kids. Not his plaything. Not Joe Kennedy Sr. either.” she says. “Just himself.”

“That wasn’t good enough to be a cool-kid.” says Joe Sr. in agreement.

“But then he finds Lacey who defies convention and challenges his fallacies.” says the living Native woman.

“Because he somehow went too far.” says his wife thoughtfully.

“And we accidentally went too far too!” says Michael.