Valentine’s Day

Lacey is overwhelmed.

“Perhaps you should try.” suggests a Dame. As in, maybe Lacey should try to give Lem a chance. As in, maybe her attempts to talk to ghosts have worked.

Of course, Lacey doesn’t conjure them. They talk to her the way they may have talked to Zelda Fitzgerald. Except Zelda was schizophrenic? Or no?

“Did the Illuminati harass Zelda?” asks the Dame. Lacey wonders too.

“Why would they have harassed Zelda?” asks Lacey.

Another Patricia looks askance. Then she rolls her eyes in disdain.

“I suppose she seemed like a dissident and everyone was jealous of her beauty and freedom and how much Scott loved her.” says Lacey. “Or what? They were jealous of Scott?”

“Maybe they thought he was problematic?” suggests Louis.

“As in, his genius was a huge chip on the old elite’s shoulder.” wonders Lacey.

“If they exist, perhaps.” says Louis.

“And I’m the opposite.” says Lacey. “It’s like being haunted by Michael or Louis or Harold in female form…or worse yet Lem.” says Lacey. “Because if Lem is like me…and he made a wild mistake and decided erroneously that he was gay for only logical, innocent reasons…and pretended and convinced people of homosexuality for the most part…then it means so much. It means we can dupe people. It means people can get very confused about scary things. It means a truly straight man can almost convincingly act gay. …It means that love exists for me.”

“I love how they let me be madly in love with you.” says Michael. “I don’t think they realize how subversive that is.”

“Why? Because you’re dead?” asks Scott.

And at that vortex of Michael Rockefeller and F. Scott Fitzgerald sitting at across from each other at a fire in Africa and in St. Paul, MN at the same moment…time grieves the fall of man. It weeps.

“It’s all spun around.” says Zelda.

“Mourning Sound” by Grizzly Bear plays.

“Were you actually a heterosexual?” an English actor asks Lem via Lacey.

“I was.” he says mournfully.

“Your attempt to act gay is something I genuinely relate to.” says Lacey. “That’s something I can see myself doing.”

Scottie weeps.

“Why would you do that?!” scoffs Harold Loeb at Lacey.

“Because I would have found some moral reason to. Some deep…sad…principle.” says Lacey. “I’m that…unusual and opaque.”

“You also have stellar so-called gaydar.” says JFK to Lacey.

“You knew Lem seemed straight the moment you saw him as a teenager.” says Zelda. “You’d never have fallen for his act.”

Harold looks contemplative.

“Should it be an act.” says Zelda kindly. “Have been, rather.”

“Am I moving to England someday?” Lacey asks Louis.

“We’ll see.” says Paul.

“I think I’d be less scared to die in England than almost anywhere else.” says Lacey.

“You could die at my grave.” says Lem, romantically.

“Just die of a stroke in my 80’s and collapse on your grave?” says Lacey.

“A stroke?” asks Scott.

“I’m sentimental.” says Lacey. “If my father was born in 1894 a stroke seems like the traditional choice.” She thinks. “Or a sudden heart attack.”

Scott laughs.

“Like father like daughter!” says a ghost, jokingly.

Michael Rockefeller sings the lyrics.

Louis smiles.

“I think you should fall down the stairs while suffering from pneumonia…after suffering a sudden heart attack and stroke that renders you unconscious first. Of course, your kids will have to bury you partially in Minnesota and partially in Morocco. Carry the rest of your ashes to Lem’s grave and sprinkle just your feet over his grave. Then carry the rat of you around the graveyard singing a German children’s song in honor of Michael. And then…fly back to Minnesota and sprinkle your head around North Oaks.” says Louis.

“I think they should sprinkle her head in the ocean and over the Asmats from a helicopter.” says Michael.

“I want the rest of her.” says Lem with a smirk.

“And that’s why I win!” says Louis.

“Why?” asks Michael.

“Because you two would agree to that.” says Louis. “I would never agree to that kind of cheat.”

“I was joking.” says Lem.

“I’m not even interested in sharing her.” says Harold.

“Well, I get her head. Regardless.” says Michael laughing. Lacey laughs too.

“Why do you get her head?” asks Zelda.

“Because God feels sorry for me.” says Michael.

Lacey laughs.

“What would you do with my head?” asks Lacey, seriously.

“I’d stare at it.” he says thoughtfully.

“I still think you’re just trying to grasp that I’m sick over your love for anyone but me.” says Lem to Lacey.

“It’s so bizarre. You’re right.” says Lacey.

Zelda smiles.

“You can’t imagine anyone being that possessive or heartbroken over you.” he says to Lacey.

“True.” says Lacey.

“At all?!?” asks a perfume hater.

“No, I mean…I get the dramatic idea. It’s quite novel. But…I don’t get it.” says Lacey. “It’s just me.” She thinks. “My ex was never jealous. And every man I’ve ever dated has been quick to get over me eventually.” She thinks. “Men get over me.” She thinks. “Always.”

“You’re a very genuinely loving person. But you’re right. You never break hearts.” says Scott to Lacey.

“No. I’m careful not to.” says Lacey.

“You think men get over you.” scoffs a hater.

“Yes. I help them. They just don’t know it.” says Lacey.

“That’s so insidious.” says a perfume hater.

“It’s maybe controlling at its worst. But at its best…it’s compassionate.” says Lacey.

“Ands that’s why I’m not over you!” yells Joe Sr.. “I see the through you!!”

“You never loved me. You fake.” says Lacey.

“I did!” he says indignantly.

“No, I don’t think you really did. I think you just fancied me temporarily.” says Lacey.

“No. That’s not true.” he says.

“No, I think it is true.” says Lacey.

He cries. Lacey looks worried. Then she decides he’s faking it.

“That’s a lie. You don’t care that much. …You lied about Janet.” says Lacey. “Be serious.”

“I cared. I just suck at love.” says Joe Sr..

“Why do you ruin it for yourself?” she asks.

“You don’t have to be nice to me.” he says bitterly.

“You chose to lie.” says Lacey.

He sighs. “I freak out.”

“Because you think people can’t handle the truth?” asks Lacey.

“So they even care?” he asks.

“I care.” says Lacey. “I cared.”

“Right down to the details.” he says.

“It’s all you.” says Lacey.

“You’re right.” he says. “Your mind is hard to replicate.” He cries.

“What do you do?” asks Lacey. “If my father was born in 1894?” She thinks. “Does he just have more children in Heaven?”

“We can’t all have you.” says Michael. “Good question.” He thinks. “But God thinks of everything, of course.”

A Sparrow Alighted Upon Our Shoulder plays.

…”It’s hard to have that kind of hope in this state I’m in.” says Lacey. “As in, I’m glad God created me but I’m sad that life is so wretched for so many.”

“So…did you all just let Joe Jr. have her?! Or did he demand it? Or what?!” asks The Loudest Perfume Hater.

“He demanded it. That’s my answer.” says Zelda.

“I was holding back rage.” says Lem.

Joe Sr. laughs.

Michael sighs.

“Were you going to let him have me?!” Lacey asks Lem directly. She demands honesty.

“No!!!” yells Lem.

Michael refuses to back down. He sees his role as that of husband. Maybe or maybe not eternal soulmate. He believes they’d have made a happy couple.

And Louis just loves. Because Louis sees his role as that of protector. He’s her friend. She trusts him, seemingly. She does… She adores Louis…

“Well, that figures.” says an English actor.

“Does it?” asks a female author.

“But I still win, anyway.” says Lem.

“Michael and Louis are sublime.” says Lacey with concern.

“You’d have been very happy married to Michael.” says Lem thoughtfully.

“Too bad he died.” says Lacey. “Seems like so many of my potentials died.”

Michael laughs.

“But at least he’s still Michael.” says an English actress.

And at that Lacey cries.

“Does he seem comforting even in death?” asks Scott.

“Yes. Somehow I feel he’s the only one who suffered without me. Even though Lem claims otherwise.” says Lacey.

Joe Sr. cries.

“Why Michael?” asks a perfume hater.

“Lem claims he suffered without me. But everyone else today adamantly claims otherwise. And yet Michael…I look at him and I can’t deny that he physically looks like he misses me.” She thinks. “He tried so hard to be good. But he died. Bravely. Lem…looks like he died of a broken heart over Jack.”

“I didn’t. I never loved Jack in that way. I…died a bitter, broken, lost man. I died thinking of you. I died because of you. You killed me.” Lem says to Lacey.

“How did I kill you?” Lacey asks Lem.

He glares at her. “I was thinking of you.”

“You were thinking of a woman?” asks Lacey.

“Yes.” says Lem. “I was thinking of the life I’d lived and the woman I’d never been with.”

“That sounds so hard to believe, Lem.” says Zelda.

Louis rolls his eyes in frustration. “That’s too much to expect her to believe blindly.”

“Far too much!” adds Michael.

“That being said, I’m sorry. Me or someone like me?” asks Lacey. “How sad, regardless.”

Lem looks sad. “You, essentially.”

“Why did that drive you to your death?” asks Lacey.

“Because I knew you weren’t alive. Or I’d missed you if you were. Either way, my life felt pointless.” says Lem.

“But death is so final.” says Lacey.

Michael smiles.

“Death doesn’t feel final for you?!” a perfume hater asks Michael.

“I’m dead. …You’ll see when God takes you beyond your body and the laws of physics. It’s amazing.” says Michael. “But don’t wait until death to worship God. And don’t join us until God sees fit.”

“I don’t think Michael has any problem finding someone to love him, Lacey. But that’s just it. God really does respect how much you both try.” says Lem.

“Yes. And nobody is him. And I’m just me. And I know he loses when I’m not around.” says Lacey.

“Fair concerns.” says Lem. “I have to have you though.”

“Don’t lie.” says Lacey.

“No, it’s true.” says Lem. “How many women would have seen through me so thoroughly?”

“Many.” says Lacey wondering.

“No. I needed you.” says Lem.

“Then why did you ever let me fall in love with anyone but you?” asks Lacey. “I wouldn’t have wanted to.”

“Because I couldn’t stand it.” says Michael.

“No, because I couldn’t.” says Joe Jr..

“You and your father are quite the pair. …But really, did either of you really love me?” asks Lacey.

“Not like me.” says Lem.

“Gosh, that makes you both seem so petty and competitive. As if you felt threatened by Lem? Or who?” asks Lacey. “Michael?”

“It’s a mess. Best go look at silver.” says Harold.

“Lem, I’m sorry. I’m sorry to all of you.” says Lacey.

“When Pat died it did affect a certain power balance, so to speak.” says somrone