National Anthem

Lacey loves the art of Lana Del Rey.

“Fuck you!!! Fuck…you!!!” Lacey yells at the top of her lungs at Lem from Louis’ convertible as he slows it down to drive past him and Jack turned into 16 year olds.

“I told her to do it.” Lem explains.

Bernie smiles.

“He was brilliant.” says a Ruth.

“But now you have to live with it.” Bernie says to him.

“I need someone to hold me.” Jack says to Lem. “Give me a standing ovation. Now!”

“It’s his birthday, Lem! Isn’t it your job to now his dick for eternity?!“ asks Lacey calmly. “Like…byotch…” She imitates a gay man. “That’s your job. …Work it hoe!!!”

“You should. We’re all going now. It’s just you, Jack and the vibe.” Bernie says to Lem.

“I’ll find out what happens of course…but I wash my hands of it.” says Lacey.

“And you have to listen to this song. Over and over and over until it ends.” says Bernie.

“You’re my National anthem.” Jack says to him.

“It’s about you and Michael as sung by Jack to me. Thinking it’s about him.” Lem says.

“But Lana sings it.” says Lacey.

Then they leave.

“Am I being sarcastic?” Lacey asks Louis.

“Yes.” he says.

“I love her art.” says Lacey. She listens, “And yet I’m not.”

“It’s not the Star Spangled Banner. Nor a song about the reality of immigration.” says F. Scott Fitzgerald. “It’s about the American Dream.”

“In the late 20th Century and 21st.” says Zelda.

“Mid to late?” Lacey says to her.

“Correct.” she says.

The group walks away from a mansion with Lem and Jack locked up together inside.

National Anthem

“Money is the anthem of success
So before we go out, what’s your address?

I’m your national anthem
God, you’re so handsome
Take me to the Hamptons, Bugatti Veyron
He loves to romance ’em, reckless abandon
Holding me for ransom, upper echelon

He says to be cool but, I don’t know how yet
Wind in my hair, hand on the back of my neck
I said, “Can we party later on?”
He said, “Yes, yes, yes”

Tell me I’m your national anthem
(Booyah, baby, bow, down, making me so wow now)
Tell me I’m your national anthem
(Sugar, sugar, how now? Take your body downtown)
Red, white, blue is in the sky
Summer’s in the air and baby, heaven’s in your eyes
I’m your national anthem

Money is the reason we exist
Everybody knows it, it’s a fact (kiss, kiss)

I sing the national anthem while I’m standin’
Over your body, hold you like a python
And you can’t keep your hands off me, or your pants on
See what you’ve done to me, King of Chevron

He said to be cool but, I’m already coolest
I said to get real, “Don’t you know who you’re dealing with?”
“Um, do you think you’ll buy me lots of diamonds?”

Tell me I’m your national anthem
(Booyah, baby, bow, down, making me so wow now)
Tell me I’m your national anthem
(Sugar, sugar, how now? Take your body downtown)
Red, white, blue is in the sky
Summer’s in the air and baby, heaven’s in your eyes
I’m your national anthem

It’s a love story for the new age, for the sixth page
We’re on a quick, sick rampage
Winin’ and dinin’, drinkin’ and drivin’
Excessive buyin’, overdose and dyin’
On our drugs, and our love, and our dreams, and our rage
Blurrin’ the lines between real and the fake
Dark and lonely, I need somebody to hold me
He will do very well, I can tell, I can tell
Keep me safe in his bell tower hotel

Money is the anthem of success
So put on mascara and your party dress

I’m your national anthem, boy, put your hands up
Give me a standin’ ovation
Boy, you have landed, babe, in the land of
Sweetness and danger, Queen of Saigon

Tell me I’m your national anthem
(Booyah, baby, bow, down, making me so wow now)
Tell me I’m your national anthem
(Sugar, sugar, how now? Take your body downtown)
Red, white, blue is in the sky
Summer’s in the air and baby, heaven’s in your eyes
I’m your national anthem

Money is the anthem, God, you’re so handsome
Money is the anthem of success
Money is the anthem, God, you’re so handsome
Money is the anthem of success
Money is the anthem, God, you’re so handsome
Money is the anthem of success
Money is the anthem, God, you’re so handsome
Money is the anthem of success”

“What’s going on?!” Kick asks desperately.

“You can’t watch!” says an angel.

“But I can hear the song.” says Kick.

“So what!” says the angel.

She pouts and seethes.

“You’ll have to wait, and not perversely control it all.” says Michael quickly before they leave her to God.

“Nobody loved England as much as you. Right?” Lacey says inquisitively to Kick.

“So I take it you want the truth?” asks an angel of Lacey.

“Are you from Heaven or Hell?” she demands.

“Heaven.” says the angel.

“Of course! Nothing else matters.” says Lacey.

“But people can’t forced into thinking things.” says a dead Catholic priest.

“This song is profound.” says The Charismatic about National Anthem.

“I almost think it’s filled with the truth of the Holy Spirit.” says Lacey. “God knows adult people have sex. He created it.” She thinks. “Satan is the one who ruined sex. Not God.” She thinks more. “Consensual sex, of course.” She rolls her eyes that she’d have to clarify that.

“Yeah, that should be obvious. But it’s not.” says a Messiah College professor.

“Which do you prefer? God Save The King or The Star Spangled Banner?” Scott asks her.

God Save The King.” says Lacey after reading. “I respect The Star Spangled Banner but I’m just that mad about Lem.” says Lacey. “I’m just that disillusioned with this entire shit show now.”

“You hate the entire country now because of Jack Kennedy?” asks a gay man.

“What? Is their some law you know of that says I can’t logically feel that way?” asks Lacey.

“But you don’t hate England. Or Catholicism?” asks a dead woman with a Cockney accent. She looks at Lacey and then giggles with her.

“No. England is so much more. And Jack isn’t Max. Or Frank. Or Fred. He’s Jack.” says Lacey. “But I’m either a Seay or a Banks.”

She thinks.

“And Catholicism is also so much more than just Jack Kennedy.” says Lacey.

A dead man from Boston looks at Lacey. “So is Boston.” he says. He smiles.

He looks at her. Is he a Banks or a Founding Father?

“Are you from Boston?” she asks.

“Yes!” he says.

“If you’re not Ben Franklin, I don’t agree. Are you suggesting I own Boston not Jack?” Lacey asks.

He nods. “Either way. It’s yours.”

“I want the whole state.” says Lacey. “And Maryland, New Hampshire and New York too.” She thinks. “Actually…I want the entire East Coast.”

Lem joins her. He’s breathless.

“Sure.” says the man to Lacey.

“I could ask for most of the US but I’m being nice.” says Lacey.

“Red, white and blue.” thinks a Millennial woman. “It’s the Union Jack.”

“I’ll have fun.” Lacey says about Massachusetts. “Possibly not. Possibly? I doubt it. Ask Jesus in Heaven. …Why are they the same colors?” She thinks. “That bothers me.”

Michael grins. He stands next to Lem.

“First: That statute is shit. I hope it’s known as Jack raping or fucking Lem wearing a pearl bracelet.” says Lacey. “It’s pornography.” She thinks. “It’s crap paid for by its victims.”

“What will kids think of it?” asks Michael.

“That it’s a sad joke. That it’s the most hilariously embarrassing piece of shit ever created. Or arguably one of them.” says Lacey. “Hopefully forever.”

“Does it have anything to do with black history?” asks James Baldwin.

“Yes! It’s about slavery. It’s also a statue depicting racism in post slavery America.” says Lacey. “Especially hidden racism.”

“More later.“ says Bernie Madoff.


“He killed him as much as one can. Through strangulation. Yes.” says a reader from the afterlife about Lem and Jack.

“Not for being gay. Maybe for being a narcissist.” says a gay man. “A malignant narcissist.”

“How gay would Jack have seemed?” asks a gay man of Lacey.

“Extremely gay.” says Lacey.

“So…he’s like a psychopath the way he stole Lem. Like…Elizabeth Taylor but if she’d somehow brainwashed Michael Jackson into believing he was an actual unicorn.”

“But see…he has us fooled too.” says another Gen X man.

“Mm…Lem has a straight dude walk and posture below the belt. Which is weird. But…not weird if you consider that you can’t actually make yourself an orientation. And…he may have been faking it. …I can actually see how Jack seems possibly queer.” says a Gen Z man.

“How?!” Lacey asks.

“His smile. He looks gay. Not like…open your eyes wide and make a pouty face with your lips like Lem to look gay. …More like…I’m smiling because like…’I can’t not smile around Lemmers. Oh my gosh, you guys!’” says a gay Gen Z member.

They all think.

“What really pisses you off the most?” asks the gay Gen Z man of Lacey.

“That Lem let Jack get away with so much. …Snd dedicated his whole life. …Without knowing what happens after death. But now…he can’t even get it almost at all with me.” says Lacey. “And then I’m supposed to believe that Jack didn’t just actually ruin it? Or what? That Lem loves me?! …That’s a bit much.”

“But Lacey, a dumb, slutty, ugly-bitch blond who steals your husband deserves the empathy and freedom. Not you. You’re too elite.” says an American black woman.

“Why?” asks Lacey.

She laughs. “Excuse me.” she says calming herself. “Because she’s mentally-“ she calms herself. “Because she’s mentally challenged compared to you.”

“So like…it’s like the idea of Affirmative Action at its absolute worst in the eyes of its critics?” asks Lacey.

“Yes.” she says.

“But that argument against Affirmative Action works for a reason.” says Lacey.

“Yeah…” she says.

“So why…don’t people see that with this? Because this is that. For sure.” says Lacey. “No question.”

The woman smiles. “Hey! I didn’t make the rule. It’s just the way they see it.”

“Who?!” asks Lacey.

“Most people.” she says. “Nowadays anyway.”

“So…foolish women are automatically exonerated and therefore closeted, toxic gay men who use covert violence against confused, tender hearted men…are vindicated as well?” asks Lacey.

“Mmmhmm. Because Lem was gay. And you’re racist! And homophobic!” says a furious white lesbian to Lacey. She aims to sound morally superior and snobby.

“Are you being serious or joking?” Lacey asks her.

She looks at Lacey thoughtfully. “You’re a monster.” she says deadpan to Lacey.

“Answer my question. Are you joking or serious?” asks Lacey.

The black woman starts laughing.

“Is she being serious or joking?” Lacey asks the black woman.

“Serious.” she says before running off.

“No. I’m not.” says Lacey calmly to the white lesbian woman. “Did Jack send you? Or Hell itself?” Lacey asks.

“Yeah, I’m not gay.” says Lem. “You can claim I’m not Lem. You can claim I’m not gay anymore. …Or you can start to believe that I likely never was gay.”

Kick cries.

“I don’t hate you.” Lacey says to Kick.

The lesbian glares at Lacey.

Kick is almost impossible to hear.

“He doesn’t like me.” Jack says to a group of friends casually about Lem. Kick is included.

“He did like you.” Lacey says.

Jack rolls his eyes.

“He isn’t Michael anyway.” says Lacey.

“So what?!” says Jack, with an attitude. He pouts.

Kick cries harder.

“I’m not retarded.” says Jack.

“No. You do not have a medical issue of that nature and never did.” says Lacey. “Why do you keep choosing evil?”

“I’m choosing you.” Lem says to Lacey. As if he’s in a rose ceremony made for television.

She looks at him as if he’s losing her. Quickly. “That’s not funny.” she says.

“Could you sleep with someone else right now?” he asks.

“Yes. This is vile.” says Lacey.

Chemtrails Over The Country Club plays.

He looks at the scene. Chemtrails over an actual country club. At night. In the summer.

“Who are you?” Lacey asks him.

Gasoline by Halsey plays. Michael suddenly looms in the distance. As does Louis. …Harold emerges.

“I love National Anthem.” says Scott.

Diet Mountain Dew plays.

Harold Loeb puts on heart-shaped sunglasses. Suddenly they’re all in 1920’s Manhattan.

“I’m sorry.” Lem says to Lacey. He looks shocked.

“What’s so shocking?” she asks.

“You’re free.” he says. He thinks. “Michael doesn’t control you. Because…he does t need to. You couldn’t live without him through a whole life.” He cries. Wipes his eyes. Wipes his nose. “Or me. You couldn’t live without me.” He stares into the distance in shock. “Or Lou. Or Hal? …You need us. Not to rescue you…so you can stab us in the back.” He shakes his head. “Just to live at all.”

“To be happy. …And with kids, it’s debatable. I fight for my kids.” says Lacey.

“But it enables you to be free. You don’t have to be controlled. You aren’t in rebellion.” he says. “You love us.”

“Should I not?” Lacey asks.

“No.” says Louis. He throws her a loving but sexual glance.

Lem thinks. “No! Don’t change.” he says.

He squints. “You’re just so much prettier than me.”

Rules plays.

“Michael is the man you thought Joe was.” says Lem. “Isn’t he?”

“Yes.” she says.

“Why did you sleep with Joe? Or Harold? Or Louis?” he asks.

“Because I thought it might be best.” says Lacey. “I think.”

Say Something plays.

“You already have given up on me.” says Lem.

“Not entirely.” says Lacey.

“And you’d never expect me to care.” he says.

“And then she leaves forever.” says Harold.

“She’ll always care about you. As a friend.” says Scott.

Hey There Delilah plays. “Do you relate to this song? Really?” asks a hater of Lacey.

“No. But isn’t it stunning?” Lacey.

“Why?” asks the Native American woman.

“I might never have been loved that much. And…yet…I can’t love him. I’ve tried.” she says.

“Why?” asks the Native American woman.

“I don’t understand his…mentality. It feels tedious.” says Lacey.

“You’re not a gold digger. You literally…just…be…” says The Loudest Perfume Hater.

Gold Digger plays.

“No. I float.” says Lacey. “And love.”

“Why can’t you love a nice, simple poor man?” asks the Native American woman.

“It just never works. It’s too sad and personal to explain. But it’s not me being evil, I don’t think. It’s just…they get genuinely annoyed or egotistically hurt by me.” says Lacey. She thinks. “They literally never seem to like me.”

“I can have anyone!! Everyone loves me!” says Jack. “You’d love me.” he says to the Native American woman. He smiles. “And one of the few men who can love Lacey is on the record as being my little bitch. My table. My luggage carrier. My gold-digging whore. …Obsessed with me.”

“Fuck!” yells Lem.

Chasing Pavements plays.

And at that Lem reaches over and strangles Jack again. Lem looks embarrassed.

Rumour Has It plays.

Jack finally dies. He’s carried off by angels.

“Next time it’s me has to see.” says Michael.

“What keeps happening?” Lacey wonders.

“Well! Have you heard the rumor that Jack is going to marry a Rockefeller. A rock star too.” says a historian, jokingly.

Hometown Glory plays.

“Oh wow!” says a living rock star.

“Yeah. Michael just…is amazed by Jack’s…war record.” says the historian.

“Oh really? Wow?” says the living gay rock star.

“Yeah. They’re in love.” says the historian.

“Wow!” says Lacey.

“They…just…-I love their story. It’s so…deep.” says the historian.

“What about Kick’s guy?” asks a singer of Jack. “Why not him?”

“Because he’s in love with Lacey.” says Jack.

“Well that doesn’t matter with Lem?!” says the singer.

Jack looks suddenly sad.

“She only has four.” he says crying. “Just out of decency. And-“ He shakes his head. “Oh sure, it was more. But now it’s just four.”

“True.” says the gay musician.

“Why can’t I get it?!” he shrieks being carted off by a famous dead historian.

“Well…some people only have one if they’re fortunate.” says Lacey.

“You’re perfect.” Jack says to her.

“But…everyone is or can be.” Lacey says to him.

He walks off to think.

“I would never cheat on you with him. I wouldn’t have either.” says Lem to Lacey.

“Good. Doesn’t mean I believe it. Doesn’t mean I don’t feel like a fool.” says Lacey.

“Funny how we believe gay men who have been married and conceived multiple children are just gay…and yet we can’t believe this? …Do you think…maybe…it’s just how gay he pretended to be?” asks a gay musician of Lacey.

“It’s that I can’t hear his ‘I love you.’” says Lacey.

“What do you hear?” he asks.

“It’s funny. It hear it. But in my head in a dead place. A place that no longer has anything left.” says Lacey. “But heartache I have to let be for now.”

“Huh. So…in a place in your head where you’re possibly literally dead?” asks a Millennial singer.

“Yes. And in the place I exist…I don’t hear him. And when he tries to tell me…he falls apart into sobs and shaking.” says Lacey.

“Like he literally almost goes into convulsions trying to tell you?” asks a Boomer.

“I have a hard time. I-I can’t believe she could love me.” says Lem.

“And yet you can’t believe I’d sleep with anyone else?” asks Lacey.

He smiles. He sighs. “It feels…wrong.” He blushes.

“Why?” asks Lacey.

“Because I don’t want you to be with them, and yet even when you are…I know you’re really just still with me. Most likely.” He thinks. “And if it’s just you being hurt.” he cries. “I can’t help but feel like…I’m cheating.”

“Cheating what?” asks a gay man.

“She can’t possibly love me!” he says.

“So you keep thinking there’s something wrong with her?” asks the gay man.

“Maybe I’m just imaging her love? Maybe she doesn’t love me. Or is evil?” he says. “Because it’s so…fortunate. And I still struggle with it. Possibly.” He thinks. “Or would.”

“You feel common?” asks the Native American woman.

“She does too.” he says. “It’s just that everyone says we’re not. And is hateful. And…mocks us. And…Michael and Louis and Harold are not the men I thought I’d be up against or such easy friends with.” He thinks.

“Or friends with Philip either?” asks a perfume hater.

“He’s just a good man.” says Lem in admiration. “But I suppose we are friends. Should we be spiritually able to be.”