Through The Gates

“The with fake people imitating me and people more blue blooded than I am, is that it isn’t real. They’re fake. And that’s…so dangerous. I’m not like those people. And I’m tired of being misunderstood and ripped apart psychologically as a result. Being mocked for just being myself and saying sentences or walking. Moving. …By the kind of people who also seek to imitate me. And the problem is…they don’t know what they’re doing.” says Lacey.

“What are they doing?” asks Michael.

“They’re either going to 1. obliterate the past and misread and misrepresent the old elite. Or 2. destroy themselves. Or 3. they’ll do both.” says Lacey.

“It’s not safe to live in a fantasyland. Especially when you don’t need to.” says Michael.

“No, and that’s why I wonder. Do they need to?” asks Lacey.

“So…you despise the life choices of like…a lifestyle guru who isn’t really old-money but buys old-money aesthetic things and acts superior?” asks the loudest perfume hater. “And the insult I paid you was to accuse you of being those people.”

“Yes.” says Lacey. “How am I fake?” She thinks. “My second-cousins who donate to the opera and opera and vote in the electoral college aren’t aesthetically like me. I’m…more traditional old-money aesthetic. But…you’d be intimidated by them. And they’d think you were trash.” says Lacey. “They’d make you feel like dying.”

“Why?” asks a self-important bourgeois faux-old-money elite.

“Because they aren’t as nice as me. I give a rip. Some of those people care, but not the way I do.” says Lacey.

“Lacey! Let it go!” says a black man who stereotypically grew-up in the hood.

She shakes her head. Sighs.

He looks grim.

“Are you afraid for them?” someone asks slowly.

And Lacey sits in her vintage long ranch mink that only cost her $500.00 a few years ago…to comfort herself like wrapping herself in a cocoon…she thinks.

“That’s a cheap mink.” a hater says.

“Yes. But it’s still ranch mink. And it’s delightful, and cozy.” says Lacey.

“I’m confused by them.” says Lacey.

“Like why they want to be you?” asks an imitator.

“Yes! Why not invent contemporary things that aren’t hideous?” asks Lacey. “The traditional past is lovely. But it’s not the future or we have no real future.” Lacey thinks. “What happened to our creative abilities?! And don’t point out cheap, shitty trends that look like rotting flesh in ten years. They are the reason people want to look old-money. Right?”

“So you just want us to build our own identity that’s sustainable and nurturing?” asks someone. “And authentic.”

“What about like…California style architecture from the 2000’s?”asks a well-off Jewish man. “Some of that is fresh and chill.”

“Yes! But then why aren’t they excited by that?” asks Lacey.

The loudest perfume hater thinks. “I think they want to snub us.”

“And us, frankly.” says the well-off Jewish man. “And you’re just like, ‘Stop stealing my identity to attack nice people!’” He can tell that’s true. “Lacey, it’ll stop. But when it does…then what?”

“We’ll be right back!” says Michael warmly.

“I’d always be suspicious of you. Even if you were born into Lem’s family and raised by them.” says an imitator.

“Why?” asks Lacey.

“Because you have sex!” she seethes from behind clenched teeth.

Lee sighs. “What?”

“Yeah! It’s like…she’s not doing what we do. They’re being…crazy and loud.” she says.

“And straight?” asks a lesbian.

“Yes! Eww!” a gay man says.

“And it’s disturbing to think that these stuffy, hyper-gender people had passionate, real straight sex?” asks the lesbian.

“Yes.” says a woman.

“Are we too stuck in the matrix?” asks another woman.

“The post 60’s matrix?” asks Lacey. “Yes.”

“The post 60’s matrix?” asks an imitator.

“The conservatives lost the argument in the 1960’s when JFK was shot.” says Lacey. “They’d been clinging to power by the skin of their teeth though since the early 1900’s.” She thinks. “And while we still exist…we are rarely ever heard from anymore.”

“Was Queen Elizabeth II like you?” asks someone.

“In her political leanings?” asks Lacey.

“Yes!” says the loudest perfume hater frankly.

“If she was that was a good thing, in my opinion.” says Lacey.

“Who-What were they?” asks a Jewish man. “What did-Why did the Kennedy assassination signal a loss?”

“I’m just realizing that you likely could side with the politics of grandparents who were born in the 1860’s or 1870’s.” says the imitator laughing.

“I think it might have been a bet. If they could get away with it…without anyone going to trial…they lost. If the American people held someone responsible or it was impossible to shoot him…then…the legacy of Teddy Roosevelt continued.” says Lacey.

“Woah, woah, woah.” The imitator freaks out. “So…they didn’t want to kill Jack?”

“It’s possible that they did. But…they were divided on whether or not it was possible.” says Lacey. “And if it was possible then-“

“Hope and honor had been lost.” says the loudest perfume hater. She nods her head in understanding.

“Then out duty the old guard and in with the new!” says Lacey. “The corrupt. The streamlined. The jet set. The drugs. The…supposed cultural revolutions.” she says.

“Because…the old…stodgy, long, exhausting way of doing things was…too what?” the imitator asks suspiciously. Suspicious that Lacey is lying.

“Too…Christian. Too…British. Too…French, actually too though. Too European, surprisingly. Actually too anything deep. Any culture outside of the US. Too…dull, complicated, emotionally exhausting, moral…” says Lacey.

“Because they didn’t think global warming was…a thing?” asks the well-off Jewish man.

“They possibly weren’t cognitively capable of grasping it.” says Lacey. “If it is a thing.”

“So the idea was to just keep on…polluting. Wasting. Because they saw everything as an inexhaustible resource?” asks a British woman.

“Possibly. Get high. Buy. Etc..” says Lacey.

The British woman laughs.

“No joke. So they myopically destroyed the foundations of the past not for lasting good…but for a quick buck? The Old World ideals for cheap shit? But do you have any idea how much money they made?!” she giggles.

“Trillions and trillions!?” asks Lacey.

The woman looks at Lacey, concerned.

“Well, first of all, how difficult was it to kill a President. That’s so easy. It meant…absolutely nothing.” Lacey looks edging toward exasperation. “It’s just…we were too happy and nice and good to do it before.” She thinks. “Secondly, money?!” she looks worried about this woman’s grasp of reality. “The rich are always with us, dear.” She looks at this woman. “If there are no rich people…we either are dead and in Heaven or massively morally improved humans of the 25th Century maybe.”

“So it’s meaningless?” she asks.

“Life is never meaningless. That’s either the blessing or the curse of being a human.” says Lacey. “But it’s pointless to imagine trillions matter in the grand scheme of history.”

“Are you competing with the Ethiopian Empire? The Tang Dynasty? The British Empire during the reign of Queen Victoria? The Egyptians? The French at Versailles?” asks a ghost.

“I thought you were taking it in the other direction!” says the imitator.

“And going where?” asks Lacey.

“That-That-That umm…”. She shrugs. “Money is bad?”

“Like she’s a fake intellectual? A cheesy, shrew?” asks the loudest perfume hater because she’s come to similar conclusions in the past.

“Oh honey. You would think that. Wouldn’t you?” says the woman wearing expensive chinchilla to the two haters.

“Yes. What does she mean?” asks the loudest perfume hater.

“That money is great! But it’s not the end.” she says.

Lacey nods a yes.

“Then what is the end?” asks the loudest perfume hater.

“Love. God. Why don’t you ask her?”

“So is it a means to the end?” the imitator asks the woman in the chinchilla who has left the conversation, unbeknownst to her.

“She left!” says the well-off Jewish man loudly.

“I’d bet it’s a way to create-“. The loudest perfume hater struggles to finish the sentence.

“That’s the whole sentence.” says the imitator to the loudest perfume hater.

“Do you take cues from her or people like her?” asks the loudest perfume hater.

“You’re an idiot.” the imitator says to the loudest perfume hater.

The loudest perfume hater almost cries.

“You’re an idiot!!” she repeats.

“Mkay. Why do you think that?!” asks the loudest perfume hater.

The imitator looks appalled. She nods her head. “I get why they lost power. If that’s not Lacey’s imagination.” She glares at the loudest perfume hater.

The loudest perfume hater seems diminished slightly. Distraught. Taken aback.

Unwilling to contain herself Lacey interrupts, “See, what you’re saying makes no sense. She doesn’t know me. She got the idea to imitate people like me. Not me. She didn’t know me. She’s imitating other people who are like me. And then she found me and found me fascinating because I’m possibly so authentic and yet different with that old-money vibe.”

A few haters look aghast realizing that what Lacey is saying makes sense and that a lot of what they’ve been saying over the years is actually very stupid and crazy.

“Stop using aghast so much. It’s getting irritating!” says a man to Lacey.

“Okay…so now what?” asks another man of the haters.

“Do you imitate old-money or are you just old-money?” asks a hater of Lacey.

“Psychologically speaking that’s very confusing in my case.” says Lacey. “It’s…very confusing.”

“But you weren’t raised by your birth father!” protests a woman. Then she recalls genetics and feels stupid.

“I don’t understand.” says the loudest perfume hater.

“Do you want an explanation or did you just feel that you should say that?” asks Lacey.

“I wanna know why you act like an old-money collector!” says hater who claims his son is worth at least $40 million. He may or may not be. Lacey can’t quite untangle it well enough to figure it out.

“What’s an old-money collector?” asks the imitator.

“A person who collects the old-money aesthetic.” he clarifies.

“That’s a nonsense question. Try harder.” says Lacey. “And that’s not a dare. That’s an insult to your intelligence if you have to be a nasty bitch about life to feel less unworthy to breath.”

“Her father was worth a lot, dahling! And don’t forget the oil.” says the loudest perfume hater. “Be good!”

“Do you…imitate it or collect it or what?!” he tries again.

“Sorry I swore. …I literally want to go back in time.” says Lacey. “It feels like normal life. Whereas life today feels like a lonely Hellscape.”

“Hellscape?” he asks.

“Yes.”

“So it’s not so much a desire to imitate old money necessarily as much as to try to enjoy being alive?” he asks. He laughs, perhaps narcissistically, perhaps empathetically. It’s unpleasantly unclear.

“That’s about right.” says Lacey.

“And you almost have died a few times but God just decided against it or you did or both of you did?” he asks.

“True!” says Lacey.

“So you imitate the old money aesthetic because…it’s…the best of the past, in a way.” says that loudest perfume hater. “And you were raised to wear the best by your family who raised you. That being said, it’s not like…your favorite look so much as the past.”

“Were you raised to wear the best? By your family? Like, the best, whatever that might be?” the man asks. With the wealthy son, supposedly.

“Yes!” says Lacey. “And what that is varies. It’s contextual. But yes.”

“So it might be the best you can afford or it might be the warmest or most modest or most elegant?” he wonders.

“Yes. It’s contextual.” says Lacey.

“Why do you question our pedigree?” he asks.

“Because you’re so spiteful, arrogant, petty and pushy.” says Lacey. “So insecure and/or weak in how you come across to me.” She thinks. “I have family that might easily be more important than you and your family. Doesn’t that matter? Who in the world signed your special papers? …When did your family come to America? Where were they before? Who are your famous ancestors? Where’s your title?” She thinks. “Have books been written about your family? What have they done? Were they ever worth over $100 million in today’s money or no? And what’s your IQ? How handsome are you? Are you a flop in bed? A deviant? Or are you good? How big is your dick if that sort of thing matters to you? …How dare you? On what authority?”

“I agree.” says Harold. “I agree with Lacey, to be clear.”

“I’d agree but I’m too busy being snobby and suspicious.” says Louis sarcastically.

“But Lacey isn’t being snobby and suspicious?” the man asks.

“No.”

“Sorry. But you don’t make sense either. You seem to understand my pain but it never goes beyond that?” she asks the man.

“You really… Do you like the aesthetic of when you could have been First Lady?” he asks, theoretically speaking.

“I do! But…I also like the 1920s…and the Edwardian Era.” says Lacey.

“If you could dress in any style and not get mocked for it which era would it be?”

“The late Victorian Era. Early Edwardian.” says Lacey.

“Everyday?” asks someone.

“Yes! I’d feel much more comfortable dressed that way.” says Lacey.

“But you’d feel at ease wearing clothes that are nice from the 1950’s?” the imitator asks.

“Yes! Not as at ease. But more at ease.” says Lacey.

“You are not wrong to think it’s stupid that we’re trying to intimidate you.” says the man.

And at that Lacey, on Michael’s orders has to ignore him. Even if he’s being nice. It’s getting too annoying to some dead listeners.

The loudest perfume hater laughs. Hysterically.

“You called me an idiot.” the loudest perfume hater says. “If you shouldn’t have said that in that tone you shouldn’t have.”

“You know, in Heaven it all works out for the glory of God. Right?” a Catholic hater says to Lacey.

“Yes! And the truth prevails.” says Lacey.

“There is a difference between some people’s billions and other people’s billions. And there is a difference between a billion made in oil and a billion made in art.” says a saint. “Useful art, so to speak.”

“Useful art?!” asks a man.

“What we read.” says Lem.

“Oil and gold versus television and marble.” the man says.

“Technology is important.” says the saint.

“You all really were…epic.” says the man.

“They had God.” says the lady in chinchilla. “Today we have fear.”

“That was profound.” the man says.

“Well, anyway, I’m going to go sleep. In my less than impressive home. In the Midwest.z. With an unknown amount net worth. And ponder what to buy tomorrow.” says Lacey.

“Which is what?” asks the imitator.

“Floris Violet, a fire opal or an old Alma to have restored. Or Jicky or Après L’Ondee.” says Lacey.

“You live in a tiny cape cod! Oh how cute!” says the woman supposedly old-money and worth $40 million at least.

“Your house is worth less than my in-law’s primary house and my cousin’s estate and I find that weird. Not impressive.” says Lacey. “Given your attitude.”

“If you were obvious old-money worth $40 million would you buy my home?” she asks.

“No!! I’d be hiding in Europe.” says Lacey. “I’d be hiding somewhere. Storing away most of my money in safe places.”

“You wouldn’t be open?” she says.

“No. I wouldn’t have my farming background. Or my father’s possible background necessarily either. …So I’d be hiding.” says Lacey.

“Or if you’re not illegitimate your mother’s family history in the Civil War and American Revolution.” says a southerner.

“Did your family fight in either the Civil War or the American Revolution as recorded historical fact?” asks Lacey. “Or didn’t we have a clue who they were back then?”

“Well! We might have an ancestor who fought in the American Revolution.” says her mother-in-law.

Might?! Why don’t you know? Is it a joke you your majesty?” Lacey says. “How do I pay you enough to talk? Or are you mute?”

“Were your family indentured servants to rich white people or no? You had one cow? And house in Plymouth, Massachusetts?” asks a black woman.

“And your southern family were rich?” she asks Lacey.

“They were likely well-off by the early 1700’s.” says Lacey. “And your family is what? Wealthier than my birth father’s family? Wealthier than my mother who raised me’s family? How wealthy?”

“They made their money if they did at all in the 1800’s.” says the man.

“Oh okay! Thanks!” says Zelda sarcastically.

“I don’t want to hear anything more from dead impressive people I can’t compete with! I’m a big boy now! And I make money! And that’s that! …Now go away! I’m not interested in anything that is nice or kind. …I’m smart! And smart boys don’t act nice when they want to be impressive to fat old men with beards and crazy ladies.” the man.

“Crazy ladies like Zelda?” asks Lacey.

“And creepy old men with beards.” he says.

“I’m going to pray for you. And all of us.” says Lacey.

“I’d prefer if you didn’t!” he snaps.

“I’m going to have to anyway. But don’t worry I’ll pray nice things.” says Lacey.

“How about the violet perfume?” suggests an Englishwoman to Lacey.

“I just want to get that handbag over with.” says Lacey.

“But you worry that perfume will disappear?” he asks.

“Yes!” says Lacey.

“And why do you need the perfume?” asks a politician.

“To not get too far from the past.” says Lacey.

“I think it will be there if you’re supposed to have it.” says an Englishman.

“What does Michael suggest?” asks an Irishwoman.

“A fire opal. Because they’re passionate.” says Lacey.

“Will you use all of the current supply of English Violet you own?” asks the politician.

“Not likely.” says Lacey.

“I’d leave a little bit left for your kids to remember you by and use the rest.” he says.

—-