Belief

Mary Pickford laughs.

Lacey doubts.

“Why do you think Tom could be your father?” asks a perfume hater.

“Because I look like him. And my father may have told me he was my father. And it makes a lot of forensic sense. And my father worked for him before, during and after I was born.” she responds.

The woman rereads the last paragraph. She looks at Lacey and almost laughs.

“But that’s all rubbish for the blog. Right?” asks a middle-aged man.

“No. Of course not.” says Lacey.

“So your mom-Your mom is dead or alive?” asks a hater.

“I don’t know. The woman who likely is my mom if I’m illegitimate was a stewardess in the 1980’s. And my father knew her but lost touch with her after a while.” says Lacey.

“Oh my God! Why am I supposed to read your blog? Why do I care?” the female hater asks in response.

“I don’t know. That’s a question you should ask yourself.” says Lacey.

“I’m a big deal! And-I’m a really big deal!” she says, shaking.

“Wait! Wait! Did your father who raised you tell you you were adopted?” asks the middle-aged man.

“He might have. I had a memory of that but I told a counselor and she tried to convince me I was imagining things.” She looks at him. “I also have a vague memory of meeting my mom, possibly, and her painting my nails and then falling apart in tears.”

“That sounds real.” says the woman.

“Does it?!” asks the man. “But counselors wouldn’t try to talk someone out of a real memory.”

“Why not?” she asks.

“Actually they might. Not that it would work forever.” says a gay man.

The man looks at Lacey. In shock. Then he blinks. He thinks. He rolls his eyes at himself.

“Am I being followed by the CIA?” he asks.

“See, that’s what I’m worried about.” says the woman.

“Does it matter?” asks Lacey.

He laughs. “They’re not likely to find a lot about me that’s all that interesting.”

“They may have been fascinated by you already for all you know.” She shrugs, totally and entirely indifferent. Indifferent not to his pain but indifferent to what it means. Not what his pain means.

“I’m a big deal!” says his female companion with a crazed expression plastered on her face.

And that…that makes Lacey feel uneasy.

“Why is that creepy?” asks a ghost from the 1600’s.

“Because it doesn’t make sense. Any of it.” says Lacey.

“Do you think you’re a big deal?” asks Louis of Lacey.

“If I’d been born earlier and married Joe. Then I suppose.” she says.

He nods.

The hateful woman hyperventilates slightly. “I bet your mom was a prostitute?”

“No. No. She was extremely beautiful. But she was my father’s long-term lover. They had a long-term, consensual, normal, non-creepy albeit sad and tragic love.” Lacey laughs a bit. “If I’m illegitimate.”

“So you dad was like a rockstar except he wasn’t. And your mom was his hot young wife in a way.” she scoffs.

The middle-aged man laughs uncomfortably.

“Isn’t that accurate?” she asks him, grinning. Fawning.

“It is in a way. Umm.” He takes a breath. Blinks. “But honey, her father wasn’t a rockstar. He was like Al Capone and Joe Kennedy Sr. and maybe a blue blood combined.”

“You’re such an amazing man!” she says, sincerely.

“Why is he an amazing man?” asks Lacey.

She looks at Lacey. “Because you know he exists?”

“I know you exist too.”

She smiles. Laughs.

“My father ran a pizza shop that made the best pizza in all of Los Angeles. And in 1972 he made a pizza for Rock Hudson. And Rock Hudson said it was the best pizza he’d ever tasted in his entire life. And in 1976 Rock Hudson asked my father for his recipe for $2 million and my father refused. And Rock Hudson bought eight pizzas every month until he died.” She lifts up a signed photo of Rock Hudson from her bag. “And now I make cookies and sell them on Etsy.” She pulls out a cookie from her bag. “It’s painted with glitter. I love glitter.” She smiles. “I’m a creative soul. Just like you. I’m carrying on my family’s legacy just like you and your knighted Great Granduncle. My father was verbally knighted by Rock Hudson. As a food maker. I’m food making royalty. See! I’m a very, very, very big deal. I’m food making old-money.” She blinks. “Actually, I’m probably a bigger deal than you. And my face is more symmetrical too.” She blinks. “And my father is the knight. So socially I’m a far bigger deal than you.”

“Yeah! You’re soo elegant and sexy too!” says the middle-aged man. On cue.

“So you’re like the Queen of England and Drew Barrymore and me combined?!” asks Lacey.

“I’m better than you!” she says.

“Aren’t you all those people combined?” asks Lacey.

She thinks. “No. I’m just a narcissist. But my dad is that cool.”

“Fair enough. I hope your dad loves you? And isn’t that the point?”

“That my dad loves me and yours doesn’t?”

“Yes.”

“And his much happier my life has been?”

“Yes. You’re pathetic. And it’s obvious he’s a gossip and a liar.”

“You think he’s trash?”

“He’s acted that way. Hasn’t he? Does he want to get killed? And you? What’s your problem?”

Her mouth drops open.

“No.”

“Look, you’re both middle-class to upper-middle-class, fairly accomplished people. And you do seemingly have a cool dad. And you’re both better looking than average. But that’s it.” She thinks. “He’s fairly unusually intelligent too.”

“You rejected him.”

“She did! But it’s for deep reasons. Not whatever idiocy he’s concocted to feel superior.” says Elliott.

“Umm. Who is?” asks a man.

“A man I almost dated.” says Lacey.

“Why is he reading your blog if he’s so over you and your so-called nonsense?” asks Elliott.

“I think you’re right. I think he’s still offended.” says Lacey.

“Funny. He doesn’t get it.” says Elliott.

“Should I explain?” asks a perfume hater.

The woman nods.

“These are real men. They’re men. They’re just no longer visible to most of us.” she says.

He looks nervous. The woman is in shock.

“Why do you think I’m in shock?” he asks.

“Why are you?” Lacey asks.

“You’re talking to ghosts!” he says.

Lacey smiles. “Possibly.”

He thinks. “Wait. You’ve slept with Lem?”

“She’s slept with me too!” says Elliott.

He realizes her dilemma. “She didn’t want to lie to me.”

“Right.” says Elliott.

“Hmm. So she was actually afraid of what though?” asks a totally chill Catholic Millennial.

“She was afraid of growing disenchanted and being tempted to cheat with one of us.” says Louis.

“Why was she disenchanted?” he asks. “What did I do?”

“I don’t think she was looking for a companion.” says a French woman. “And these men are probably exactly right. Better for her than you. But that’s just it. You can do better too.”

“Better for me?”

“Yes. Exactly!”

“So it’s almost like she’s already dead but probably in a way only God can see?”

“You’ll have to ask God that someday.” says an angel.

“She must have thought I was pretty close to perfect.” he muses.

“Close enough to talk with for a while.”

“But just not enough to hold a candle to men who could have been your happy, life-long partner. Had you been born earlier.”

“Yes. If they were alive I’d not be at all available.” she says. “And etc., of course.”

“Do you experience them as if they are alive?” he asks.

“Close.”

His mouth drops open.

“Look, it’s like this: we appear. And she fell in love. And if she’s being manipulated by demons against her will God might be intervening. In His love and mercy. And allowing us to talk with her too. Or it’s the actual Illuminati. Or both.” says Louis.

“You sounded like her, just now.” he says.

“So she’s not channeling you?!”

“Not necessarily.” says Louis. “No.”

“Do you take care of her?!” he protests.

“Both yes and no.” says Elliott.

“So I suppose you won’t tell me what she’s like in bed?” asks the man.

“Who are you asking?” asks Louis.

“Lem!” he responds.

“I’m in love with her.” he responds.

He laughs. Then he wonders. Then he cries.

“She didn’t think I was in love with her. Did she?” he asks.

“No.” says Lem.

“Not really.” says Louis.

“Well, I’m sorry. That might be slightly true. Or-“ Lem corrects himself.

“No. It’s more that you seemed…infatuated, for lack of a better word. But she was waiting for proof that you loved her and the proof just wasn’t there.” says Elliott.

“I bet you were infatuated at first too?” he asks Elliott.

Elliott glares at him.

“You dog!” he scoffs.

Elliott closes his eyes. Collects himself. Clears his throat. Blows air out of his o shaped mouth. Almost whistles. Then he laughs.

“That’s real funny!” he says sarcastically.

“Well, I’m not sure what to say.” Elliott shrugs.

The man almost cries. “I’m not over her yet.”

“I’m still actively trying to sleep with her and I’m not sure God condones that. But she’s saying no. Because she cares.” says Elliott.

“Do you have to trust that God won’t send you to Hell?!” asks a Catholic.

“If there’s Purgatory, sort of and sort of not.”

“So you can’t lie?!” asks the Catholic.

“Yes, it seems so?” says Lacey.

A woman wants to find Eve and torture her.

“So is it like sleeping with a living man?” asks the man.

“Almost.”

“So…you…”

“Answer me this! Could you find a living man inferior in bed by comparison?”

A Millennial laughs.

“Most definitely.” says Lacey.

“How so?”

“Because I can feel them physically.” she says.

“How?!” asks an intellectual.

“I don’t know. But it’s not wildly different than when I was married.” she says, bluntly.

A genuinely fascinated intellectual Boomer wonders. “So, is it like when you lightly touch something but don’t fully touch it?”

“Extremely similar.” says Michael.

“So it’s like they’re literally there, but not enough to fully experience them. But they’re there.” she says.

“I experience them in my spirit almost fully, if not entirely fully. But physically speaking it’s like being separated by an extremely thin veil spiritually.” says Lacey.

“So you can almost totally touch them?!”

“Yes.”

Lem teasingly shoves Lacey and her arm shakes. Slightly. Literally.

“So basically, it seemed wrong to talk to me if I didn’t blow them out of the water, so to speak? Because you might already be taken?” the man asks Lacey.

“Mostly. If God is allowing it what does that mean? I don’t want to be dishonorable.” says Lacey.

He nods.

“So you can dance and they move you across the floor?” asks a Christian priest.

“It’s like being pushed by a strong wind, but there’s no wind.” she says.

“And you’re sure it’s not demonic?” asks a former witch.

“That’s what I fight for constantly.” says Lacey.

“So basically, you’re like a muffin just sitting on a table in a coffee shop, abandoned. And it was excruciating to watch. And so God decided to let someone take it.” says a woman.

“I’ll say it! Dead men are getting laid! More than some losers who are alive.” says a living billionaire.

“But if there’s Purgatory, doesn’t that seem hopeful?” asks Elliott.

“I want love.”

Elliott laughs, pleasantly. Smiles.

“So do I.” says Lacey fervently. Prayerfully.