Years ago an overweight, unmarried, aging southern woman in the perfume community went around making snide comments. To the beautiful woman she said that their photos were all faked and she could tell by their crinkly necks that they were secretly ugly or old looking. …In some cases the Vaseline filters were outrageous…but in other cases they were not. To me she ascribed the word pretentious.

I loathe being called a liar. I’m not pretentious. And it’s been aggravating to me ever since, which given her tendency to go around looking for fights back then might be seen by her as an accomplishment. But…making me truly angry is actually a huge mistake. I don’t just get over things when they really affect me in that way. I’m a paradox in the sense that I rarely get angry and I get over even the worst things with a rare amount of grace, but when I’m made truly angry…it’s long lasting and likely brutal somewhere in time eventually unless God Himself intercedes.

“That’s stupid!” The Loudest Perfume Hater laughs through her nose.

“Why? You don’t really know me.” says Lacey.

“I’ll strike first.” says The Loudest Perfume Hater.

“Not when we’re dead.” says Lacey. “And unless you die first and go into Hell or God’s protection I’ll find some way to straighten out your crooked mind.” says Lacey. “And you’ll regret your vast idiocy and self-deluded choice to always willingly misunderstand when it’s egoistically convenient.”

“She’s not kidding.” says Lem.

“Lem’s kidding though. He’s actually not really always nice.” says Louis.

“The thing is…why, why did she assume or think I was pretending?” asks Lacey. “I don’t think I was showy. If anything I was understated.” She thinks. “I’m far prettier and more good looking than her. Far more intelligent and wildly better bred. She was was always street trash compared to me.” She thinks. “She always will be.” Lacey thinks. “And no, she always had it in her head I was a queer Sagittarius.” *Lacey rolls her eyes* “I’m sorry, I’m not anything but heterosexual and no, I highly doubt I’m the person she thought I was at all in that way.” *Lacey fumes* “Stop humoring yourselves. You’re wrong.” *Lacey fumes*

“I think she was trying to make you angry to turn you on, because she thought it was cute and she’s queer.” says Lem.

“Well, it wasn’t cute.” says Lacey. “And it certainly didn’t make me attracted to her.”

“You can’t find women attractive.” says Lem.

“True. But this was repellent nonetheless.” says Lacey. “My former step-mother-in-law from Tennessee is the only other adult in my adult life to so stupidly attack me. And she had the same theme of accusing me of being fake.” Lacey thinks. “My mother who raised me came from an old family that had a plantation for over 100 years in Tennessee. I almost wonder if it’s a curse.”

Lem thinks.

“So you really just want to correct her errors in perception?!” asks a perfume collector of Lacey.

“I’m still stunned to this day. So many people had and have such shocking errors in regard to a great many things. …It’s sick. And while an apology would be nice, it’s not something I’d demand ever. I just can’t handle their childish adherence to fallacy.” says Lacey. “It’s one thing to say you’re an atheist. It’s another thing to intellectually demand that everyone be an atheist as if it’s concrete, certain fact that there’s no God.” Lacey thinks. “If you’re who I think you are, your arrogance drove me crazy when it came to that issue.” Lacey thinks. “But yes, it’s the bizarre defiance of logic that irritated me. It wasn’t just an interpretation issue.”

“Well…you spent so much.” says the Loudest Perfume Hater.

“Why couldn’t that have just been what I had available?” asks Lacey coolly.

“Because who has that much available?!” asks the Loudest Perfume Hater.

“Me!!! I did!!!” says Lacey restrained but seething.

“How much money did your dad steal from poor people selling snake oil out of his wagon?” asks a man in Lacey’s former step-mother-in-law’s family.

“That’s a joke or are you serious?” asks Lacey, confused.

“I’m serious!!” he says in a southern accent.

“Never! He made money through his inheritance.” says Lacey.

“Then why didn’t you go to a prep school?” asks Lacey’s former-step-mother-in-law.

“I went to a private kindergarten and hated it. …And my public school was actually relatively posh.” says Lacey.

“So your father gave you a few hundred thousand and you spent what? $50,000.00 on perfume? …That’s like buying one Rolex.” says another perfume hater to Lacey.

“Exactly!” says Lacey.

“Loudest Perfume Hater, is it possible that you’re just a hick? And your frame of reference is shoddy? Maybe you ruined the perfume community by not realizing that.” says the other perfume hater to the Loudest Perfume Hater.

“Who are you?!” asks the Loudest Perfume Hater.


“What does it matter? Why can’t realize you made a serious error in your dogged adherence to your bad judgments?” asks Lacey of the Loudest Perfume Hater.

“You never made yourself look skinny in your photos?” asks The Loudest Perfume Hater.

“My jeans fit weird in one photo because I’d been losing weight after my first pregnancy. And then once I looked fatter than I was. I corrected those photos. …But no. My unphotogenic issues don’t account for your obsessive idiocy in regard to me. …I weighed 142 lbs. when you first followed me in 2015 or so and then 118 lbs. eventually in Seattle and then 162 lbs. after my second pregnancy.” Lacey thinks. “I’m a fragile person physically in some ways and toward the end of pregnancies I gain weight.” She thinks. “I always lose weight slowly afterward.”

“You would have rather had your kids in your early 20’s?” asks a reader.

“Yes! Very much so.” Lacey says. “But that’s not what respectable Millennials were told to do.”

“You really tried to be nice.” says a perfume hater to Lacey.

“Yes! And…while I have your ear, I want to point out again how important nuance is. There is absolute truth.” says Lacey. “F. Scott Fitzgerald’s family’s row house in Saint Paul was very elegant. It’s just that they rented it and compared to the castle-like homes on his block further down the street it seemed poor.” She thinks. “Saint Paul was very wealthy. …And in New York his house was truly stunning. Very spacious. It’s just that again, it was relatively insignificant compared to the historic wealth embodied by the houses nearby.” says Lacey.

“Why does it matter?” asks a perfume hater.

“Because a $900,000.00 row house that looks like this inside

…isn’t trash.” says Lacey. “It’s a very beautiful home.” Lacey thinks. “And this house they lived in worth $4 or 5 million

…isn’t nothing either.” says Lacey.

“But in comparison to the castle-like houses nearby those houses are large or enough…but…not so middle class.” says a perfume hater.

“In comparison. But really only in comparison.” says Lacey. “Good perspective is essential to enjoying life.”

“I’m sure plenty of old money types live in houses like those.” says a dead woman.

“True.” says Lem.

“Was Scott secretly trying to seem old money?” asks a reader.

Lacey laughs. “Humble, quiet old money?” she wonders. “The thing is…he was a great nephew of Francis Scott Key. On his father’s side he was more old money than he may have realized. As bizarre as that sounds.” She thinks. “He’d reference them and even claim to be the grandson of Francis Scott Key to sound impressive at parties I think? But…somehow I don’t think he truly realized who he actually was in that way.”

“Why not?” asks a perfume hater.

“Because it’s old southern blue blood post Civil War. And they weren’t really rich anymore I don’t think. He once described his father’s family line as ‘tired.’ …And…it was just the Star Spangled Banner. Not the The Declaration of Independence.” She thinks. “It sounds cool but then when it’s yours and your Scott…it seems blasé and ordinary.” Lacey thinks. “I relate. I could make being a great many things seem at least temporarily blasé and ordinary too.”

“How so?” asks Harold.

“Because I’m totally disenchanted by living Earth.” says Lacey. “All the suffering. All the bullshit. All the evil. It’s just absolute shit without God.” Lacey thinks. “I’d bet Scott felt the same way.”

“And yet he kept wanting more.” says a perfume hater.

“Because he secretly hated it all.” says Lacey. “Not the beauty, not the innocence, not the four loves. He hated evil.” She thinks. “Not the moon. Not darkness. Or fireflies. Not stars. Not Zelda. …Actual evil.”

“What is evil?” asks a Charismatic.

“Evil is pedophilia. Evil is cruelty. Evil is…hiding Heaven from a starving soul.” says Lacey.