Garbage

“I was never told I was garbage. I was just thrown outside in the cold.” says Lacey.

“Why do you care?!” Michael asks her. “You should love your elite pedophilic abusers like Jesus.”

“Turn the other cheek until they literally rip my head off?” asks Lacey. She laughs. “Is he hateful and evil or was that an accident?”

“It was perverse advice. But today it’s more effective than it was ten years ago because people are so dumb and hateful.” says Lem.

“We don’t see into people’s hearts.” says Michael.

“Do people understand anything anymore?!” asks Lacey. “What he said defied common sense. Is he evil or ignorant and immature?”

They just finished hearing a TikToker discuss turning the other cheek like Jesus.

“It was offensive.” says a Putin.

“I bet you’re loving to your kids though!” says the charismatic to Lacey.

“Yes! I’m incredibly patient. Why?” she asks.

“Even when they break things?” he says.

“Yes! Of course.” says Lacey.

“Then why didn’t you get the message?” he asks.

“Because raising kids is vastly different than dealing with peers or authorities.” she says.

“Kids require patience.” says a Putin with a fond smile.

The charismatic thinks. Somewhere in time and space. He thinks.

“Do I seem like a kid to you?” he asks Lacey.

“You seem like a 20-something.” says Lacey. “A 20-something male Millennial is often very certain of things he later is far less certain of, in my experience.”

“Why?” asks a female Millennial.

“Because life isn’t what you think it is. Not anymore.” says Lacey. “A lot of what you believe rests on relatively unquestioned American imperial dominance, believe it or not.” She thinks. “Your unbridled optimism is not…wrong per se…but…I suspect you’re far more sheltered than you realize.” She thinks. “I’m not evil just for disagreeing with you.” She thinks. “And if you’re smart by the time you’re my age you’ll either be a workhorse who’s tired and given-up one way or another or…you’ll be seething.” She thinks. “I was always ironically accused of being both too opinionated and too happy during most of my 20’s by Millennials like you. …They hate me now and find me deplorably successful. Overly privileged. Overly pretty. Overly everything. …Because they got joy out of finding dumb ways to be superior to me and everyone and everything that threatened their egos. And when life bested them mercilessly in their late 20’s early 30’s they fell apart.”

“You think I’m a shallow prick.” says the charismatic to Lacey.

“I’d not use such crude terms about you. You seem…egotistical and stuck on yourself. But also very hardworking and ambitious. …But…it’s your seeming stubborn refusal to take the views of others as even potentially equal to yours that concerns me.” says Lacey. “And if you read this blog you seem to have assumed the worst of me.” She thinks. “I’m not like the girls who slept around and broke your heart.”

A woman reading the blog rolls her eyes at Lacey.

“Is that actually Putin?” the charismatic asks.

“Am I actually Michael Rockefeller’s ghost?” asks Michael.

Lem laughs.

“That’s not a bad response.” says Lacey. “Listen, I know you don’t necessarily understand but it’s not easy to know what’s best at times when it comes to relationships romantically after ending a marriage.” She thinks. “I was a virgin until I was 26.” She thinks. “I didn’t even kiss anyone until I was 24. That’s probably so-called superior to you, age-wise. Right?” She thinks. “I was extremely conscientious and prayerful about love. Very sincerely so.” She thinks. “I took my faith very, very seriously.” She thinks. “And…that’s my history. That’s my character. My ex-husband would have been my only if he hadn’t shamed me into not being a virgin.” She thinks. “He’d been with 28 women.” She thinks. “He’s not bisexual. He doesn’t truly cheat. He’s just…the former cold-as-ice-when-he-wants-to-be-player some men pretend to be.” She thinks. “He’s what people thought JFK was in reality. This psychologically complex, irresistible, charming, secretly kind but immensely unconquerable man.” She thinks. “And he’s a great friend. A very loyal person once he cares. He never gives-up.” She thinks. “But…that’s my history. And now…I’m so confused.” She thinks. “I’m not an egotistical person, I don’t think. But…I was so set on being in God’s will. And doing things correctly. And now…people like you who have no understanding of my confusion perplex me. Because I get your hurt and criticism. I do. But…I can’t get it figured out in my head, as of yet.”

“And Joe cheated you out of happiness?” asks an Irishman of Lacey.

“I think if Purgatory exists he fell apart. It’s so complicated. …But yes. I was in love with him.” says Lacey. “I noticed his family due to his father first, but…I fell in love with him truly for decades. He was my ideal. …Then Scott’s ghost saved my life. And…then eventually I either lost my mind slightly without developing schizophrenia…or the Illuminati accidentally bumped into me online.” She giggles. “Or I bumped into them.”

“Or maybe…should they exist they could have been drawn in by Michael.” says a singer.

“Like…how if he’d lived you may really have married and deeply loved him.” says a Putin.

Lacey sighs.

“Why didn’t they have contingency plans for the emergence of people like you?” asks an Irishwoman. “People like you are bound to exist.”

“Good question!” says Lacey.

“So you felt it was hopeless with me before you felt swayed by Lem?” asks the charismatic.

“Yes! I don’t invite the demonic, that I’m aware of. Lust or otherwise. Not at all! And I’m not antagonist to Christianity either. …I just…am me. Sorry? And…actually I’m used to be labeled uptight.” says Lacey. “The thing is…you barely flirted. And I was smitten but you had the upper hand entirely and that…massive power imbalance irks me too much now. It doesn’t work… In my beauty trajectory I’m kinda lumpy and old at this point…and you’re the one getting all the other points too?” She thinks. “I don’t have anything to gamble that much with emotionally.”

“You worried I was just after your money?” he asks.

“Why would you like me so much?” she asks. “My intelligence level seems to be…no big deal to you? My beauty is there and possibly still superior somewhat…but it’s far from what it was even ten years ago. And apparently you think it invites evil anyway?” She thinks. “It just seemed suspicious. I’m sorry.” She thinks. “I don’t assume the worst. But I can’t gamble.”

“You think you’re-“ he starts.

“No! She is. And I seduced her.” says Michael.

“So did I.” says Lem.

“How?!” he asks.

Michael smiles. “I’m dead. But essentially it was like your glorious gifts from God were delightful to her…but you left her feeling very unsure. And in her sadness and loneliness I was literally there. I was in her room. In her dark living-room, listening to the sound of the crickets with her at night. Hiking with her-“ he says.

“I rubbed her shoulders or kissed her when she was least expecting it.” says Lem. He smiles. “Watch The Ghost And Mrs. Muir.”

“When she closes her eyes she can see us in her head. And she can feel us like we’re alive but without bodies otherwise. She can hear us at times though. Our voices. And we can touch her.” says Elliott. “And really…we have a huge number of advantages outside of our obvious disadvantages.”

“So you can hear their voices?!” asks a Thirsten Snotgrass.

“It sounds like schizophrenia. But…it’s…seemingly not. And if they’re ghosts, yes. As I’ve written before, I heard Elliott’s voice before hearing a recording of it. And the fact that it sounded the same as the recording is proof to me of an afterlife of some sort or something.” says Lacey. “Of course, I hadn’t heard his voice before.”

“Okay, that is weird.” says Lord Thirsten Snotgrass.

“Yes.” Lacey agrees.

“So you felt I overreacted? Or?” asks the charismatic of Lacey.

“I think you misunderstood my character and heart.” says Lacey. “And I’m sorry if I’ve misunderstood yours.”

“What’s Michael like in bed?” asks Lord Thirsten Snotgrass.

“Are you being serious?” asks Lacey.

He laughs. “I’m genuinely curious what it’s like sleeping with dead men.”

“Why Michael?” asks Lacey.

He thinks. “I think it’s him. I don’t think anyone can beat him.” He thinks. “And I’m just concerned. You’re stuck with him for eternity. Possibly.”

“And you think she’s stuck with him. Huh. No, it’s likely me she’s stuck with. You should ask her how bad I am.” says Lem.

“You’re bad in bed, Lem?” asks a Catholic.

“Ask her.” says Lem.

“That’s not what she’s written on her blog.” says the charismatic.

“I think you’re stuck with Michael. What’s he like?” asks Thirsten.

The charismatic sighs.

“Elliott is a genius at being in love.” says Lacey. “How about that?”

Lord Thirsten Snotgrass looks at Lacey thoughtfully (in his spirit??).

“What about Lem?” asks the charismatic.

“None of the men I’ve been in love with are awkward men. …Ask Lem.” says Lacey.

He laughs. “What does awkward mean?”

“Awkward means a great number of unpleasant things romantically speaking.” says Lacey.

“Do you think I’d be awkward?” asks the charismatic.

“I don’t know. I doubt it. But…I don’t know.” says Lacey. “What do you think awkward is?”

“As you mean it?” he asks.

“Yes.” she responds.

“Like…bad at kissing.” he says. He shrugs.

She thinks. “You know that’s funny. …The best kissers are often complex? In my limited experience? …I had a young man kiss me once very coldly…but then he suddenly was brilliant at it.” says Lacey.

“Hmm. I wonder why?” he posits.

“I don’t know. We just kissed. …Maybe…he was holding back but then felt like expressing himself? I don’t kn-“ starts Lacey.

“Why don’t you know? You’re the prosecution?” asks Harold Loeb of the charismatic.

“You don’t like me?” asks the charismatic, smugly.

“Do you even know who I am?” asks Harold.

“No.” he admits.

“Why did you assume you did?” asks Harold.

“Was that Lem who held back?” asks Thirsten.

“No. That was a living young man I dated before marrying my ex.” says Lacey.

“Who are you?” asks the charismatic of Harold.

“Do you read Hemingway? Or have you heard of the Guggenheim’s?” asks Harold.

The charismatic thinks.

Lord Thirsten Snotgrass thinks.

“You’re a Guggenheim?” asks the charismatic.

“My mother was.” says Harold.

Silence.

“Why doesn’t it occur to you who she’s writing about?!” asks Harold. “Just stop and think for a second about the men you’re going on about.” He thinks. “These are not so-called ordinary men.”

“So you’re suggesting you’re not easy to resist?” asks the charismatic.

“No. And then think about the fact that should she be illegitimate…she actually might have married us. Or one of us. Like…for real.” says Lem. “And then think about the fact that Joe Jr. is who she rejected.”

“And her amazing resilience.” says Michael.

“So you’re basically saying that if a woman had a birth father ten years my senior who accidentally brought her into this world in…2040. …And I died and met her after I died…she’d be unlikely to experience me the same way she’s experienced Louis?” asks Thirsten.

“You’re really being coy. Why?” asks the charismatic of Lacey.

“I’m being appropriate.” says Lacey.

“So…you’re being humorous otherwise?” he asks.

“Of course!” says Lacey. “Reality is often very funny.”

“Yes! Can you make a woman orgasm now?” asks Harold Loeb of Lord Thirsten Snotgrass.

“You can’t be being serious?!” says the charismatic to Harold Loeb.

Scott and Lacey laugh. So does Zelda.

“Well, can you?!” Hemingway asks Lord Snotgrass.

“Oh! I bet I can!” says the charismatic in a silly voice.

“Can you? Really? Why do you guess that?” asks Hemingway.

“No, not easily.” says Lord Snotgrass.

“Then why would you suddenly be good at it in Purgatory?” asks Lacey.

The charismatic laughs, uncomfortably. “I’m not saying I’ve slept around.”

“Why do you assume so much confidence then? Or are you secretly insecure?” asks Lacey.

“I’m not insecure. I’m just inexperienced.” says Lord Snotgrass.

“That’s hard to believe.” says Lacey.

“No, I am.” he says matter-of-factly. “I wasn’t a jerk. And I married young.”

“Am I the only one who thinks I’d be good at it?” asks the charismatic.

“You might be good at attracting women. Doesn’t mean you’re good in bed.” says Joe Jr..

“He might not be bad! …I hope he’s very blessed.” says a nun.

“I need to keep quiet about business now, despite my brilliance.” says Joe Jr..

“No, I bet he’s going to be wonderful when he’s married.” says the nun.

“He’ll have to date first.” says Joe.

“What makes you think he’s going to be so awful?!” asks an actress in the Illuminati.

“Because men who get a lot of female attention can get spoiled. …And then they start thinking they don’t need to be loving. And it’s like being a movie-star. …You can easily assume you can just show-up and sign an autograph and be good. No personality. No politeness. No presence. Just an autograph.” says Joe. “Women like Lacey are repulsed by that.” He thinks. “She’d rather be with a bespectacled, old man who, albeit handsome and very intelligent, is aware of her. Who doesn’t just see her as the lucky woman who gets to be with him.” He thinks. “I took that attitude with her from the start. One of absolute dominance egotistically speaking. It was shocking that I even knew she belonged to humanity at all.” He thinks. “I was extremely impressive.” He smiles. “She fully knew that. And…I took it for granted that that’d hold.” He thinks a bit more. “I didn’t think she’d be so wildly besotted by Lem.”

“Or Harold Loeb.” says Lord Thirsten Snotgrass.

“Or you, at first.” says Joe.

Thirsten Snotgrass laughs. “You know, I was handsome in my youth.”

“But she’s deep.” he says. “She doesn’t fall for handsome but shallow men.”

“You think you’re shallow or no?” asks Thirsten.

“You came across as shallow to her eventually, you know. …Whether you are or not. No. She doesn’t realize how deep I am. But…that’s not her fault. Or choice.” he says.

“What’s it like to die?!” asks the charismatic of Joe.

“You’ll find out too someday.” says Joe.

“That’s true.” he says in some slight shock.

“If you’re slightly dead, what’s it like to die?” the charismatic asks Lacey.

“It’s quick. And seamless. And for me it came as a result of a great deal of pain. So…it likely was a good thing. …If I’m talking to ghosts as a result of pain then it was life that was difficult. Thanks to Christ.” says Lacey.

“Why are you following me again?” he asks in anger.

“Why are you suddenly so angry?!” she asks.

“I’m just not-You must know something about how I feel?” he says.

“Not really though.” says Lacey.

He smiles. “Okay. Umm.” He shrugs. “You seem like a prick. Not me.”

“Why?” she asks.

“Okay. Maybe not. …So you’re just that…calm?” he says thoughtfully.

“Yes.” says Lacey.

“Okay. So…you had no idea what was going on.” he says.

“You seemed possibly attracted to me? It felt like we might have something between us? But…those are all possibilities.” says Lacey. “I followed you for your content.”

“Do you hate me?” he asks.

“No. I don’t. …I just find your possible arrogance and conceit humorous. I’m sorry.” she says.

“Why humorous?” he asks.

“Because it’s so…human. It’s so typical. So classic. And it’s funny to watch you accidentally make a fool of yourself, pick yourself back up, look great and then keep plodding on. You have this ironic humility, maybe.” says Lacey.

“You don’t think I’m a prick?”

“Oh, you could easily be a prick. But…you don’t let it defeat you, seemingly.” says Lacey.

He smiles. “I think you loved me. And I just kind of blew you off.”

“Yes. But…it’s my usual experience.” says Lacey. “It’s very confusing to me that you seem to care.”

“Like if I didn’t feel the same way, why do I seem to be bothered by it?” he asks. “By your interest in other men.”

“Right on the nose. Exactly.” says Lacey.

“Nooo…” he says to himself ruefully.

“You can’t really expect me to think you felt the same way? You weren’t receptive in any clear way, really.” she says.

“No, I can see why you’d think that. You don’t play games.” he says.

“No. I’m polite. But I don’t play games.” says Lacey.

Silence.

“Well…until you’re clearer, should you be at all smitten, I think I’m likely to keep falling more in love with ghosts. Not to hurt you. But because I exist. And I need love.” says Lacey.