Time for a relaxing night and weekend.
“Do you think they shot Jack as overkill?” asks Margaret.
“Yes.” says Lacey tentatively.
“I can see why you’d think that.” says Tennessee Williams.
“He was in terrible shape but he’d already lived through so much already.“ says a suspect (in Lacey’s mind).
“Did he really rape Lem…because he was frustrated and in love…and homosexual and desperately closeted…and evil…and a drug addict…and-“ She laughs. “Poor Lem thought he was gay?!”
“Yes.” says a maid.
“And…why didn’t you just go?” Lacey asks of Lem who looks ashamed.
“I didn’t think I could.”
“Didn’t your legs work?” Lacey asks, unimpressed by his explanation.
“You convinced an adult mother to leave a bad marriage. At age 20. But…you had hope. I was already half ready to be dead.” he replies.
“But didn’t you care that he was ruining his presidency by you being there?!”
“I didn’t think I mattered that much.”
“You didn’t think anyone was watching you, from your past?” asks Lacey.
“From my illustrious childhood in the upper-class?” he asks, sarcastically.
“Yes.” says Lacey
He laughs as he would have then. Then he sobers. “You’re right.”
“You know what’s funny?! She really is right. …They must have hated seeing you getting raped and treated like a sex slave. And yet why did they write that book about you if this is true?” asks a perfume hater. “It must have felt like vicarious humiliation. …Did the author of the book know? Or was he a pawn?”
“What’s your theory?” asks another hater.
“Just that…it’s symbolic. And it seems like a rallying cry to the old-money, upper-class who care. Like, ‘Look! They’re going too far again.’” she responds.
“What the heck did they do?!” asks a Liberal Republican, who wonders.
The perfume hater shakes her head thinking, “Like…maybe it’s symbolic for a reason. Maybe there really are some criminals in the Democratic Party and it was getting to be too evil for some rich men to stand.”
Her husband laughs.
“I’m on far left, politically, by the way.” she says quickly with a huge smile.
“Well, would Jack have died?” asks Lacey.
“Of course, they would have had to know Lem was straight now, secretly, too.” says another hater.
“I’m sure they know.” says the perfume hater.
“Then why don’t they say so?!” asks the hater with bourgeois self-righteousness.
“How do you know they don’t and haven’t? In their own quiet way. Maybe it’s too much information to let out too clearly. Maybe his family is embarrassed by why he was so psychologically disturbed. Maybe…they’re afraid for their lives. Because they don’t want to be victim blamed.”
Aghast and still self-righteous, “I think he’s likely just gay.”
The woman falls apart and cries. “Well okay!” She thinks. “I-I just can’t imagine them killing Jack because he was gay and-“ she pauses. “Why did Lem-“. She pauses again. “They look so happy!”
“It’s so complicated. Isn’t it?” says the perfume hater kindly.
“I don’t like you!” the hater says in response.
“Yeah, probably not.” responds the perfume hater.
“So! Why did they bother shooting Jack!?” asks Lacey.
“He might have lived another ten to twenty years.” says Jackie.
“I doubt it.” says Lacey. “I bet he’d have had a heart attack within five to ten.”
“True, but let’s say you’re on to something, so to speak. Maybe they just hated him that passionately.” says a politician.
…”Lacey, were you laughing at me?!” a loud perfume hater asks, suddenly.
“No. And yes.” says Lacey. She smiles, pleasantly.
“Why to both?”
“You…were…so unaware at times. We all are, in different ways, but you could be humorously so. You…are kind of a diva.” says Lacey. “But no in the sense that that’s all.”
“So you thought my antics were humorous?”
“But that’s all?”
“Yes.” Lacey looks confused. Then concerned.
“You came across as so…noblesse oblige to me.” she says fuming.
“Like I saw you as a charity case?”
“Yes! Perfect way to describe it!” She thinks. “Except, you didn’t do it in a mean way.”
“No, of course not.”
She seethes. Almost unable to talk. “Why did you do it at all?”
“Should I have just ignored your poverty or other issues? I tried that.”
“Yeah. I ignored so many differences. Always.”
“So you patronized me?!”
“What else would you suggest?!”
“I’m embarrassed by my poverty.”
“I know. That’s why I ignored it.”
Another perfume hater steps in. “Yours right. I’m not sure there is a good way to respond.”
“Well, I can’t fix the broken society. Sorry. But I tried to ignore it to be genuinely friendly.”
“Stop!” you’re embarrassing yourself says another hater to the so-called, loudest hater.
“How?!” fumes the loudest hater.
“You’re not prepared to talk about class so why are you making it an issue?”
“Because I was embarrassed!!!” she yells.
“Embarrassed by what?!” asks another hater.
“By how crappy everything looked in comparison!”
“But what was I supposed to do about that?” asks Lacey.
The loudest hater blinks. “Not be so nice.”
“Isn’t that sad though?!” asks Lacey.
“It is. But for whatever reason that’s what would have made her feel less insecure.” says the very liberal hater.
Lacey sighs in exasperation.
“Lots to think about.” says Lacey. “I’m sorry I embarrassed you by being too friendly.“ She says to the loudest hater.
“Actually, I was too friendly.” says the loudest hater.
Lacey smiles. “I shouldn’t have patronized it.”
She thinks. “Are you always this nice?”
“This isn’t that nice. I’m just being polite and lacking any intention to harm you.” says Lacey. “I’m being nice, but not that nice.”
The perfume community looks uncomfortable suddenly.
“So you’re just that naturally sweet and mellow?” asks the super Liberal hater.
“It’s not just mellow. She’s well-bred.” says Louis.
“Well, yeah, but don’t upper-class people get their claws out?!” asks the loudest hater.
“Not for no reason. That’s sick.” says Lacey.
“What in Heaven’s name are you expecting her to do or say?!” asks Louis.
“Oh my gosh! You’re just over it?!” asks the loudest perfume hater.
“Over what?!” asks Lacey, increasingly confused. Anxious.
The loudest hater covers he mouth in shock.
“You’re supposed to be angry!” yells an Asian hater, as if cueing in lines.
“Why?” asks Lacey. “I was in the wrong.”
“You really are that obtuse?!” asks another hater.
“Obtuse about what?” asks Lacey.
“Okay, pumpkins. Bitch has no idea what you’re talking about. Try harder to be clear with your emotions. It’s kind she’s writing about you. Remember that.” says someone observing.
“She was…too nice. It got dumb. She’s sorry. What else do y’all want?!” asks another observer. “Be real.”
“You has no idea how weird it was for you to be in the community.” says the loudest hater.
“Why though? Because I wasn’t black? I’m confused. Why?!” asks Lacey.
“I think they all just felt embarrassed. It’s one thing to be seeing oud. But you can get over that. It’s weird to see so much…”. He trails off.
“I wanted you to be a spoiled, fake upper-class, immature, over-spender.” says the loudest hater. “But you’re actually kind of like a sweet little old lady in a young woman’s body.” She laughs.
“She has good taste!” says a man in the community.
“Yes! But she’s-“
“She’s scary.” says someone.
“How would you have responded to a little old lady?” asks the super Liberal hater.
She grows incredibly silent. “‘I’m not a slut! Seriously! I’m not!’” She pauses. “That’s the first thing I would have said to her.”
“Seriously?!” scoffs another hater.
The loudest hater looks at her like she’s insane.
“I’m conservative too.” she says competitively.
“That’s not really the same thing though.” says Lacey.
The loudest hater laughs, but tries not to.
“True.” she admits. “Why don’t you like newer styles?!”
“I just don’t like them. It’s not that complicated in that way.” says Lacey. “Although that is complicated in its own way too psychologically, I suppose.”
“True.” says a different hater.
“Are you even conservative?” asks the hater who is conservative.
“Well…let’s think about that in context.” says Lem Billings as a ghost.