Earrings

Last night Desmond Guinness started talking to Lacey. He told her to go shopping at her Irish jeweler. She feels obligated to buy earrings from them now… He seems concerned about her.

“Do you even like Guinness?” asks a reader.

“No. But he seems very nice.” says Lacey.

“So he’s concerned about you?” a perfume hater asks Lacey.

“Yes. And then today I was admonished by an English actress to be more careful who I talk to.” says Lacey.

“Actually we both were.” says Lem Billings.

Silence.

“No, Lacey isn’t in an open relationship with Lem. …She couldn’t have stood to be in one with me either.” says Michael.

“Do you and Desmond feel a sort of…kinship?” a perfume hater asks.

“Yes.” says Desmond. “Look, if her father is Tommy Banks…we certainly have shared connections. It’s like we came from the same farming community. Long ago.” he says.

A worker from an Irish distillery in the early 1900’s nods his head. He finds their friendship uplifting in Purgatory.

Silence.

“It’s funny. You don’t get it. But it just makes sense to me. A little drink is comforting. Not too much. Just a little. …And they shouldn’t have stolen that right. It was wrong.” he says.

“Oh, Prohibition!” says a perfume hater. “Mmm. I agree. I can’t imagine what it would be like if they took away my vintage perfumes.” she says.

“Interesting that you see it as a right.” observes a woman reading the blog to the distillery worker.

But how did Lacey start talking to Desmond?

“You should collect earrings.” says Harold Loeb to Lacey.

“I need to buy Après L’Ondee and Jicky this year. But…I’m certainly winding down on collecting perfume. Perhaps you’re right.” says Lacey.

“It’s a lot safer.” says Scott.

Harold looks at her and smiles.

“Are Desmond and Scott friends?” asks the English actress of Lacey.

Lem smiles at Lacey. Michael looks worried.

“Yes!” says Lacey to the English actress.

“You wouldn’t have expected that?!” asks a Satanist of Lacey.

“It’s just so…storybook-like. I love the thought. But…it’s so pretty it shocks me.” says Lacey.

“I know what you mean.” says Tommy Banks to Lacey, reassuringly.

“We know who hates you and why.” says the distillery worker to Lacey.

“It isn’t me or my family. Or anyone I’d love or know.” says Desmond to Lacey. He cries.

“And if it’s me…I can’t imagine we have any problems. Or should.” says a dead Queen to Lacey.

“I love you and your family.” says Lacey.

*shocked 21st Century looks*

“No, it’s not her supposed open relationship with Michael again. Lacey is straight. Remember? She truly loves them.” says Desmond.

“Why did your Banks family ever leave England?!” asks a perfume hater.

“I don’t know. I’ve seen images of them in powdered wigs in Massachusetts. …Selling things? Maybe they thought they could make a lot of money in the mercantile business? …But I wonder if they were actually very loyal to the crown.” says Lacey.

“We’re wondering how elite they were.” says a perfume hater.

“Fairly elite. I’d bet they were friends with George and Martha Washington? Or could have been. They might have been the business elite of England?” asks Lacey. “Like…not titled but very established and reasonably wealthy.”

“And old Dutch New York.” says Louis. “In a way Lacey and I are a lot alike, should this be true.”

“And it’s not like genetics matter. Right?!??” says a Bill Gates mockingly of idiocy.

“They sound upper class but grounded and defiant of evil.” says a perfume hater in the recesses of their mind.

“If I’m illegitimate I feel very much like I belong to them.” says Lacey.

Desmond nods his head in understanding.

“Lacey, what if you really are illegitimate?” asks the Loudest Perfume Hater.

“Like, it’s not just a story?” asks Lacey.

“Yes.” says another perfume hater.

“Hmm. Then that’s wonderful. And cosy.” says Lacey.

“Yes!” says Desmond. “It’s a great ending to her story. In one regard.”

“Why did Joe let you wander off?” asks an Englishwoman humorously.

“What do you mean? Like…she’s…an elderly woman with Alzheimer’s? And he just let her wander off into the Illuminati? Metaphorically speaking.” says a perfume hater.

“Yes. In a sense.” says a Satanist.

“It’s not as if she’s really got actual Alzheimer’s. Do you understand?” asks a Bill Gates.

“So he let Lacey wander around spiritually? And people were jealous and quickly jumped to self-soothing assumptions her whole life. And in the perfume community they thought men were in love with her and hoped against hope that she was stupider than seemed logically possible.” says a perfume hater.

“Were men in love with you?!” asks a perfume hater.

“The Loudest Perfume Hater was obsessed with me.” Lacey laughs after Desmond laughs. “I had one unmarried bisexual man with a crush on me. And of course there were scores of random male possible scam artists. And men who were looking for prostitutes. That last one was an entirely unwarranted insult, obviously. …Maybe one of two men I didn’t know about found me appealing as more than a friend? But they never said anything to that end and neither did I. …It was just fun to post things.” says Lacey.

“Why were you so quiet?” asks a perfume hater.

“I was so friendly.” says Lacey. “What do you mean?”

“But like, not in a nice way. In a cheerful and polite way.” says the female perfume hater.

“That’s just my personality. And maybe if I’m illegitimate it’s genetic. I’m really a very loving person. But I’m not loud or aggressive or informal.” says Lacey.

“And that’s who she actually is. Do you all understand that?!” asks Desmond, growing angry.

“I thought you were paranoid.” says The Loudest Perfume Hater, snobbishly.

“I think you are often paranoid?” asks Lacey. “I doubt I was paranoid.”

“We were paranoid too.” say a few other perfume haters.

“And you weren’t intimidated by my wealth?” asks another perfume hater of Lacey.

“Why were you all so paranoid? And…golly…what-I grew-up around wealthy, upper-middle class people. I don’t think you understand the Midwest. …And…you seemed likely to snub me. And judge me. Very harshly. I didn’t trust you. At all. But I wished you well. In a way you could say I was intimidated, but not…fundamentally.” says Lacey. “I actually snubbed you accidentally probably. I’m sorry. I wasn’t aware of my tendency to do that back then.”

“Okay, how did you snub her?” asks another perfume hater.

“It’s not pretty.” says Audrey Hepburn.

“What clothes did you wear? What makeup did you wear? What perfume did you wear? Where did you live? What’s your net worth? Where are your kids going to school? What church do you go to? Why? What do you read? What do you eat? Why? And most importantly: Who were your parents?” asks a German reading her blog. “That’s why.” He laughs. “You have to be very careful with people like Lacey.”

“Is that me?!” asks Lord Thirsten Snotgrass.

Scott laughs.

“No.” says Lacey.

“I’m not a snob.” says Lord Snotgrass.

“Not even slightly?” Lacey asks him kindly.

I did go to a very elite school. And I’m very educated and smart. But…I reference your family for clout. Like you wear Louis Vuitton. I reference your family. I don’t own Louis Vuitton.” he says.

“Are you questioning her father’s empire?” asks an Englishwoman of Lord Snotgrass.

“Did they own the bootlegging trade?” he asks.

“He was worth over a $100 million net in today’s terms, so to speak.” says Al Capone lighting a cigarette. “And he came from old money. But no, he did not have billions or own Louis Vuitton. He did have an enormous amount of power though.”

“We had billions, in today’s terms. In material things that mattered.” says Louis. He rolls his eyes.

“And we were the Rockefeller’s.” says Michael.

“And she’s extremely straight, beautiful, kind and smart.” says The Loudest Perfume Hater rolling her eyes. “It’s not so mysterious.”

“Geez. $100 million isn’t very much.” says Lord Snotgrass.

“Well…he was old money. Really old, possibly. And…he likely valued power and privacy more than money.” says Lacey.

“Yeah, I don’t know. $100 million is a lot.” says a Bill Gates.

“It’s not billions. But it’s certainly…somewhat substantial.” says a Greta.

“It’s a nice, cosy amount of money.” says Lacey.

“How much would you have inherited?” asks a dead man from Boston.

“$2 or $3 million in the 1930’s or 40’s. To start.” says another dead man.

“To live off of?” asks Lacey.

“Yes. And you’d have inherited more later. Things would have had to be much more stable. And they would have been.” says a dead man.

A dead woman nods in agreement.

“Why did you snub me?” asks the pencil skirt wearing perfume hater.

“I’m sorry. It’s just how I was raised.” says Lacey.

Michael laughs.

“Do you understand why? Or does she need to punch you in your nose?” asks Michael.

“No! I don’t understand why.” says the pencil skirt wearing perfume hater.

“Here’s the thing: How much are you worth net? After putting all your kids through good private schools from preschool to undergrad?” asks Lacey. “How much of your house do you actually own?” She thinks. “Has Anthropologie been glamorous to you? …Do you swoon over Goyer? …Those are disdainful things in my family I was raised in. …And…yet…you were very lordly in how you approached me.” Lacey thinks. “You were so condescending? Right?” Lacey thinks. “Or did I just imagine that?” She thinks. “That’s what I got tired of. You and others like you being so lordly. In ten years I’ll likely be worth more than you. And…I actually wasn’t even thinking about that sort of thing, so to speak. But…the patronizing attitude towards me got old.” Lacey thinks even more. “It’s just…live by the sword, die by the sword.” Lacey thinks. “And…after being attacked too much I just got tired of it. But…maybe I also didn’t realize how much I judged you initially.”

“And how much we sensed that?” asks another perfume hater.

“Yes.” says Lacey.

“What did you all sense?!” asks Desmond.

“Her disdain.” says a woman in the perfume community. “She’s not a hateful person. But she obviously is hiding her real opinions to be polite.”

“I’m not insulting your family’s meager millions.” laughs Lord Thirsten Snotgrass out of the blue. “I just am defiant by nature myself.”

“You know there is a difference between two and a hundred though.” says a Bill Gates. “Especially if it could have been a hundred legally and a gubernatorial win in the family as well.”

“That’s true.” says Lacey.

Lem smiles reassuringly at Lacey.

“You’re not a hateful person. Right?” asks a perfume hater of Lacey.

“No! No!” says Lacey. “I’m a Christian. But I’m not hateful.” She thinks. “I might offend you but I certainly don’t mean anyone in harm. Quite the opposite.”

“What did I do to snub you?” asks the pencil skirt wearing perfume hater. “Actually though, it was my attitude. Wasn’t it? It was everyone’s tone.”

“I can still sense your…feeling of innate superiority.” says Lacey.

Louis laughs.

“What do you think we’re worth net?” she asks Lacey.

“After paying for your services?” asks Lacey.

She looks at Lacey. “Why does that have to count with you?” she asks incredulously.

“Because you are alive.” says Lacey.

“$200,000.00.” says a man.

“Then if that’s true why are you so…patronizing?” asks Lacey. “Because you seem to have some genuine sense that you’re better than a lot of people.”

“A lot of people do nowadays.” says The Loudest Perfume Hater.

“You’re right. And it’s so confusing. Especially when they demand money they don’t have in any way for themselves and not their kids. As adults.” says Lacey. “What right do they think they have to my money?” She thinks. “Seriously. Who the hell do these pedophilic, asinine, hateful people think they are?!”

Mr. Lutin laughs.

“You see them as coddled, drug addicted, bourgeois, violent peasants? With no real sense of almost anything? Who just want to sit around, get high, get fat, use people and then think about nothing and produce nothing of any use or value to anyone. Including themselves.” says a perfume hater to Lacey.

“That’s what they tragically come across as.” says Lacey.

“They’re not Hyacinth Bucket’s family anymore. They’re the true lizards.” says the perfume hater. “The snakes biting children and killing them in their sleep. Totally not worth a damn to society.”

“That’s what they come across as. And I worry for their souls. Truly.” says Lacey.

“Do I seem just mere steps from them socially?” asks the pencil skirt wearing perfume hater.

“Yes. You do. But due to Americanism you don’t know that. And that’s what used to be hopeful and beautiful about our country. But…it’s almost toxic now.” says Lacey.

Joe Kennedy Sr. nods in agreement. “She’s right. My life attested to that mercy.” He thinks.

“Except she didn’t go to Boston Latin or Harvard. And she isn’t as smart or hood looking or sexually gifted as you.” says another perfume hater to Joe Sr..

He looks slightly scandalized in response.

“Oh, I’m sorry.” she responds in a familiar tone.

He grows more irritated.

“Do you know Joe?” Desmond asks the perfume community.

“We don’t know him either.” says Batgirl III.

Joe Sr. laughs.

“I’m not a snob. Please.” says Joe Sr.. “But I see where I think you’re going with that?”

“So we should now give out stupid-subsidies?” says Lacey. “That’s not necessarily helpful.”

“But then what?” asks a perfume hater.

“What does Vladimir Putin think?” asks The Charismatic.

“He thinks we’re all fools.” says Lord Thirsten Snotgrass.

“Right.” says a black man sarcastically.

“Well, what do you think he thinks then?” asks Thirsten.

The black man laughs. “I think he’s having a jolly good time.”

“Doing what?” asks the pencil skirt perfume hater.

The black man laughs. “I dunno. Getting laid. Being powerful. Being loved. Being strong. You don’t see it? …He’s not a normal person.” He thinks. “And yet, in a way he is.”

“How much was your family worth in the 1400’s in Africa?” Lord Thirsten Snotgrass asks the black man.

“You wanna know how much my family was worth?” asks the pencil skirt perfume hater.

“I don’t know. Maybe…$4 million. In today’s money.” he says.

Lord Thirsten Snotgrass almost hyperventilates.

“Umm…my family…was worth $200,000.00 or so?” asks the pencil skirt perfume hater.

Lord Thirsten Snotgrass considers the implications.

“I get the sense you had a lot of kids. Why did you have so many kids?!” he asks the pencil skirt perfume hater.

“I think that’s wonderful though.” says Lacey.

The Loudest Perfume Hater laughs.

“Why is that funny?” asks Thirsten.

“Because she’s trying to get Lacey’s approval whether she acknowledges it or not. We all were. So are you? How do you not get that?!” The Loudest Perfume Hater responds.

“Do you think I want that black man’s approval?” he asks.

She thinks. She grows quiet. “That’s intriguing. So you’re suggesting that racism came from class anxieties that were what? Genetic?” asks The Loudest Perfume Hater.

“Yes. What do you think?” he asks.

She laughs. “I’m like Joe. I’m good at impersonating people too. …Yeah. I mean, I don’t know. Sure. Why would that be such a big deal today though?”

“Because she’s listening to the Illuminati. And Mr. Blue is massively insecure. And so are his friends.” says Desmond.

“And I’m not and neither is Lacey.” says Louis. “And we just don’t get it.”

Ray Craft nods his head humbly in comprehension.

Feeling threatened Mr. Blue grows restless.

“You’re not me.” says J. P. Kennedy to Mr. Blue. He’s being very serious.

JFK looks squeamish.

“I have a tendency to think that people like Mr. Blue are my friends. My very, very best friends forever.” he says.

His daughter-in-law laughs.

“Not Lem?” asks a perfume hater.

“Lem was my friend. But I wanted comfort and security. And those men provided an intellectual safety blanket. …I felt they liked me.” he says.

“And that boosted your ego?” asks Lacey.

“Yes! My ego.” he says.

“Well…now what?!” asks Louis.

“Evil isn’t the same thing as stupidity.” says a perfume hater.

“But doing evil is stupid.” says Desmond to clarify.

“Correct.” says the perfume hater.

“So it was just my seeming arrogance that triggered your snub. But would you have snubbed me otherwise?” asks the pencil skirt perfume hater.

“Yup. Yup.” says Jack on Lacey’s behalf. “But I’m sure she’ll analyze it. To be sure. Isn’t she nice?” he asks. “Are you that kind? No? Then why so much hate for this? My brother should have warned her. But he didn’t. And like me she admires those who can write. …Not out of lack on her part, but out of studiousness. Or maybe maturity. What about you?”

“What do you read?!” Jackie Kennedy Onassis asks the pencil skirt perfume hater.

“Time magazine.” says the pencil skirt perfume hater’s friend.

“You do very well keeping up with everything considering that that’s what you read?” says Lacey to the pencil skirt perfume hater.

“True!” says Sir Winston Churchill in agreement with Lacey. He laughs.

“Time isn’t that bad.” says the pencil skirt perfume hater.

“Oh but it is. Every once and a while it’s good. But it’s often so crude. If you want a real sense of things The Economist used to be good. Or honestly, The New York Times? Sometimes the Washington Post, or the Wall Street Journal. It’s important to get a variety of sources and hope you find the line of truth in the lies sometimes.” says Lacey.

“You’re not who Mr. Blue thought you were.” says the pencil skirt perfume hater to Lacey.

“No. It’s hurtful. And it’s been hurtful since his misunderstanding happened years ago.” says Lacey.

Silence.

“Joe…is Lacey secretly more elite than Pat Wilson?” asks a woman. “Your insecurities aren’t helpful.”

“Yes.” he says.

“Is that why you decided to abandon me?” Lacey asks him.

“If I did, then yes.” says Joe. “And don’t listen to the 21st Century elite posers who don’t know a breathing shit about your family, and barely understand English to begin with.”

“So…my new money and what? My mother’s crass background makes me weak?” asks the poser suddenly determined to prove Pat Wilson’s superiority over the entire lineage of Lacey.

“They need to feel superior to Lacey. If they don’t they will be toast. And the truth is…that’s not necessarily bad if they’re not headed to Heaven. A warning might be good. Right?” asks Lem.

“We are Bernie Madoff. In a way. True.” says one of them. “But…it’s a lot to process. Isn’t it?”

“Yes! But her mind isn’t your mind. And you can’t expect her to react the way you want. She’s not the comforting stereotype you need her to be. You’ll have to be scared for a while. Sorry.” says Lem. “The Queen terrified you all too. So did Philip. And it’s not very becoming.”

“Oh well.” says Lacey.

Desmond laughs. “Welp, sorry. We’re all off. Prayers be with you. Truly.”

“When did pencil skirts go out of style for the the true bourgeois elite?” asks the pencil skirt perfume hater.

“That’s not Desmond!!! He didn’t sound like that!” says someone. “He was a man of the people.”

“Like Marty Crane on Fraiser?” asks Lacey. “Oh well.”

Lacey thinks. “2013 or so?” She thinks more. “I don’t care. But I’m also not necessarily trying to be cool.” She thinks more. “They’re sort of a classic but they were also popular due to J. Crew and Mad Men. Right?”

“What do you wear?” asks the pencil skirt perfume hater.

“Nonsense. Just a bunch of nonsense.” says Lacey. “Other than my coat, my bags and my jewelry.”

She laughs derisively. “What coat?”

“It’s an American made coat made by a company started by family friends.” says Lacey.

“And her mink!” says Louis.

A group of perfume haters laugh derisively until they realize it’s not a joke.

“Did you really pay just $500 for that coat?!” asks a perfume hater of Lacey.

“What the fuck is she supposed to say to that?! Yes! And I bet most of her coats cost that much.” says an elite poser. “Is that an insult or a form of hatred?”

“It’s like a $10,000.00 mink coat new. Why can’t she buy a new coat worth that much?” asks the perfume hater.

“Why can’t you?” asks the elite poser.

“Oh come on.” she says as if they’re old pals. “You know what I mean.”

He thinks. “I wonder though. Can you buy one $500 mink coat you’ll barely ever wear?”

“This is bullshit! And bullying! You don’t like Lacey! And I can afford to buy 30 of those things!” says Mr. Blue.

“Like the $40,000.00 she threw in the ocean.” says the elite poser. “I dare you to buy a Rolex, throw it in the ocean and then truly not care.”

“Can you imagine throwing that much in the ocean?” asks the perfume hater, still trying to be pals.

“No. I can’t. Maybe my kids or grandkids might. What about you?” they ask.

“I’m too rational. Ask Louis. Or Harold Loeb. Or Michael. It’s not about old money.” she insists.

“I could easily have done worse!” says Michael.

“Me too.” says Harold.

“Me too!” says Scott.

“Me too.” says Louis. “You don’t understand.”

“I did it.” says Zelda.

“But you didn’t own The Vanderbilt fortune!” protests Lacey.

“No. We weren’t very wealthy. And we certainly weren’t old money. We were farmers like our old pal Mike. A regular gun-slinging, tough, oil man. A cowboy. Worth ten cents.” says Zelda.

Ray laughs.

“I could be a poor cowboy. If that’s romantic.” says Lem to Lacey.

“Like a kind hired hand.” says Lacey thoughtfully. Lem laughs.