Wasted Acres

Wasted Acres by Grizzly Bears plays.

(Adult Content Below

Last night Lacey fell asleep quickly, exhausted. Then she woke up in the middle of the night, fitful and ready to cry.

And…Michael was there. She attempted to talk to Lem but something kept stopping her. And Michael can’t be diminished…

“They keep holding me back. But I’ll figure it out. I shouldn’t have assumed what I did months ago. That was the dumbest mistake I’ve made in a long time.” says Lem.

“Assumed what?!” asks Louis.

“That Lacey was selfish when she was actually just…feeling deeply unloved by me.” says Lem.

Mourning Sound plays.

So last night Michael and Lacey possibly made-out.

“She could have slept with him, but she declined to try to give me a chance.” says Lem.

“Lem! Why did you let them make-out?!?” asks a Perfume Hater.

Scenes of them making-out in an office at the Met. In 1961.

Losing All Sense plays.

“Michael is Lacey’s catcher in the rye.” dreamily says a woman recently dead who would have looked-up to them. At the museum. She literally resembles Peppermint Patty.

And Lem ordered a sandwich on rye bread just a few blocks away. And that was as close as he could get.

A Meghan feels empathy for Lem. She wonders if she can pray for him like a Catholic…

“Why?” asks an Englishwoman.

“I empathize with his mistakes.” says a Meghan.

“First being too open-minded and then being too what?” asks an Englishman.

“He needs to be able to be himself. I don’t see him doing that.” she says.

“Hmm. That’s likely true. But why?” asks Lacey.

Ghosts of Things To Come plays.

“Who keeps holding him back?” she asks.

“Demons. Those empathetic with Jack. Those who hate Lacey.” Lem says.

“Why did you let them do that to you?!” asks an Alain, angry.

He looks sad. “I misunderstood.” he says between tears.

Colorblind plays.

“You thought she was me?!” asks Jack mockingly of Lem.

Lem’s breathing quickens. He looks panicked.

“That’s what she used to worry I was doing. And I kept denying it. Because it implied we had a real relationship.” Lem says to Jack. “And we did not. That part of my heart-“. Then he stops and hangs his head down. He hides his face in his hands, elbows rested on a kitchen counter.

Michael plays with her kids. A youthful, innocent version of star wars.

Neighbors plays.

“That part of your heart?” asks Jack. “Go on.”

“It was never engaged!” says Lem angrily. Fuming.

Jack scoffs. “You thought you were gay, Lem. You acted out being gay.”

Lem takes a deep breath. “But my emotions never got that deep with you. Or my real sexuality.” He pauses. “Yours did, didn’t they?”

Jack cries. “Yes, and you should be more mindful of I affected you with my depth. You may have been psychologically raped by me too.”

“I thought I was gay. In your defense. But do you deserve any defense? Somewhat.” says Lem.

“Lem! Why are you talking this intimately with me?!” asks Jack.

“Because you can’t hurt me. Like she does.” says Lem.

Jack furrows his brow. He stares at Lem.

In awe of England Jack braces himself.

Sky Took Hold plays.

“Sky took hold, indeed.” says Joe Jr. like a ghost haunting his own dead brother. A super ghost. A ghost among ghosts.

The song plays.

“It’s my Hamlet moment, you bitch!” Joe says to his younger brother.

The song plays on.

“Why did you ruin it for me? Nobody knows who I am. Or who I could have been.” he says. “They think I’m a fake and a liar. Who’d only have gotten himself all shot-up.”

Jack breaths. Thinks.

“Remember Rocky? ‘Some people don’t get over things so quickly, Jasmine.’” says Bobby jokingly to Jack.

“I didn’t think you’d gotten to me that much.” says Lem to Jack out of the blue.

Jack looks over at him. Breathes demonstratively.

Four Cypresses plays.

“I think she’s right. I don’t understand her reasoning with other men and subconsciously keep thinking she’s you. That she has hidden feelings she won’t discus’s honestly or that she’s just being cruel.” says Lem.

“Do you miss the man who made those sounds?” asks Jack of Lem.

“The sounds of sexual ecstasy you made when I sucked your dick?” asks Lem, crying.

“Yes. I got off in your mouth every time, you piece of shit.” says Jack. “Hard to recover after being sodomized for decades and in the public imagination into the present.” He grins. “Wasn’t it your choice, lover?”

“Lemmers the Lover.” says Lacey.

Jack laughs. “It is a convenient alliteration.”

“Did you do that intentionally or did it just…fall into your…lap?” asks Lacey of Jack.

Jack looks at Lacey coolly.

“I could have killed you. I am a man. And you would have been a woman and are.” says Jack to Lacey. “I could have strangled you in your sleep.”

“Or pushed me down the stairs. Or raped me. The options for a desperate, horny prick with an essentially useless dick are endless.” says Lacey.

He stares at Lacey.

“At least you shoved your Lem-penis up Jackie’s wet vag and made two kids. Nice of you fit that into your schedule you scumbag.” says Lacey. “Too bad two of your kids chose to be dead instead of having to be near your living carcass.” She sighs. “Or what? Watch their Irish-failure father get shot on live television? …Don’t try me. You craphole.” says Lacey.

“Lacey you don’t sound like yourself. A bit rough? Why isn’t Lem protecting you?” asks Jack. “Did I ruin him? Does he think-“

“No!” says Meghan.

Concerning the UFO sighting near Highland, Illinois plays.

“Jack, stop.” says Meghan.

Aghast, “Why?!” Jack asks.

Jack cries.

“Because I say so.” says Meghan.

Jack looks crestfallen. Elliott Roosevelt’s sister stands in front of Jack. The one who’s husband almost actually jumped…

“You you think you’re so clever.” she says.

“What did you poison Lem’s brain with? It’s almost like you lobotomized him.” says Eleanor to Jack.

Elliott snaps his fingers around Lem’s head. Lem is unresponsive, almost like he can’t hear it.

“He poisoned his brain with he-man butt sex orgasms and hot-man shit like that.” says Lacey, flippantly.

Eleanor laughs.

“Well…we should leave then, Lacey.” she says to Lacey.

“We should.” says Lacey, picked-up and carried out of the door by Harold Loeb.

Lem, like a magnet stands up and leaves with the Roosevelts, silently. Mindlessly. It’s almost as if he hasn’t noticed anything since he started analyzing himself in relation to his experience with Jack. He’s wearing a set of expensive headphones provided by Michael.

“He should have heard my fingers. That wasn’t a joke, actually.” clarifies Elliott.

Everyone leaves, except for Elliott’s sister and Jack. And Lacey hovering in the land of the living, watching.

“Why is this allowed?! …As a Protestant charismatic I’m so lost.” Lacey says to God.

“Nooo!” yells Jack in horror.

Elliott’s sister laughs. “You didn’t think you would be lost forever?”

Jack is getting married. If it’s Purgatory. To a clone of Lem. A lifelike robot. A simulation.

“Why not? This one will be gay.” says Elliott with Lacey.

“I’m not gay! I’m straight.” says Jack.

“But what about us?” asks gay-Lem.

Jack looks uncomfortably at gay-Lem.

“I’m straight.” he says self-righteously to gay-Lem.

“Jack, let’s not right now.” says gay-Lem.

Jack rolls his eyes. “Why are you in such a mood today?”

“A mood??!” scoffs Lem.

Jack sighs. “Lem, Lem, I’m-I think you need to reevaluate your position.”

Lem scoffs. Tilts his head. Rolls his eyes. “You are such a loser!”

Jack looks upset. “This isn’t funny.”

“That’s why you’re laughing?” asks gay-Lem.

“I’m not laughing.” says Jack.

Meanwhile Lem…actual, real Lem sits with the Roosevelts listening to music in their car. In the backseat. He dozes off.

And Jack…is forced to admit he just loved being able to intimately bully someone and chase a man who would never truly love him. He just loved being in an imaginary, ice-cold relationship. One where nothing was real. One where nothing was accepted and nothing was open and nothing was as it is. …He thrived on that distance and deception. He craved it in fact.

“And what you secretly wanted was this. For someone to stand-up to you.” says Lacey behind him. “Point out how wrong you were.”

He turns around. “True. Someone to love me.”

“They did love you. It’s me who isn’t loved.” says Lacey.

“But not really.” Jack says. “If they can’t handle me they don’t deserve you.”

“I know.” says Lacey. “But then what?”

He looks at her like he’s her brother. Her evil twin.

“We aren’t twins.” says Lacey. “We’re very different.”

“I know. But they don’t know that!” he says laughing.

“I’m brutally disappointed with Lem.” says Lacey.

“I still have hope for him.” says Jack.

“Really?!” asks Lacey. “Jack, you covered that one beautifully.” says Lacey.

“Thank you.” says Jack.

“But we can’t let people go Hell. That’s the problem.” says Lacey.

“I know. I played that too much.” he says. “I think I just wanted to get at the truth of it.”

“Truly, you have hope for him?!” asks Lacey.

“I never had that kind of intimacy with him.” says Jack.

“But what difference does that even make after what he allowed himself with you and people’s perception?” asks Lacey.

“Yeah. I see what you mean.” says Jack. He sighs. He thinks. “I have faith in the Americans.”

“I don’t hate the Irish. I love them.” says Lacey.

“My brother should have loved you forever. I’m sorry he fouled that up.” says Jack.

“He is the Irish to me.” says Lacey. “Although now I also think of Desmond and Scott.”

“And Lem?” says Jack. “That’s the thing…I don’t know him. Not really.

“Do you think he could have secretly ruined everything with everyone but Michael?” asks Lacey. “Even Joe?”

Jack looks startled, slightly. “Like, he secretly hates me? And loves you. And…”

“Jack, is Michael better for me?” asks Lacey. “Or Louis.” She thinks. “Or even Harold Loeb?!”

Jack cries. Pouts.

“I don’t want to say.” he says.

“No!!! Tell me!” demands Lacey.

He bites into bacon. Looks grim.

“You want a real analysis?!” he asks.

“Of course I do.” says Lacey.

He sighs. “I needed you alive in 1962.” he says. He cries, bitterly.

“But I wasn’t born yet.” says Lacey.

He nods. “And Joe was dead.”

“They can’t all be that incompetent?” asks Lacey.

“Almost.” he says. “You deserve far better.”

“In Michael’s defense he was young. And in Lem’s defense he was…what?” asks Lacey.

“He was…making a total demon of himself. …What a fool! What a damn fool.” scoffs Jack. “He shouldn’t have been that easy to hijack. A Lem isn’t made for what he did…but he did it very convincingly and…boom.” He finishes his bacon. “There goes your life. Crash!”

“It was too easy.” says Lacey, feeling betrayed.

“It was a pleasure ride into Hell.” says Jack. “There were very few hurdles.”

“Right? Hatred in this case is useless.” says Lacey. “As a defense.”

“He did love you.” says Jack. “As a teenager. He almost died over you.”

“I figured.” says Lacey. “But it was rendered useless.”

“I was effective. So was that damn priest, or whoever abused him so brutally.” says Jack.

“Boom! Crash! Bang!” says Jack laughing.

Two sit on a floor of a dead shopping mall. Feet dangling over the edge. Dead, it’s safe to sit that way.

Tainted Love by Milky Chance plays.

“I was hoping he’d hold-up better.” says Lacey.

“Does it seem impossible?” asks Jack.

“Yes.” says Lacey.

“Maybe it is?” he wonders.

“You tried your hardest?” asks Lacey.

“After he fell for it? …Yes. I did!” he says.

“I’m sad he fell for it.” says Lacey. “I don’t like what it says about American society.”

“Michael is like the Great Wall of China.” says JFK.

He thinks.

“And you’re like the ocean.” says Jack. “In Christ. You’re secretly horrifying.”

Lux Aeterna by Clint Mansell plays.

“But I’m just a woman. And I want to be loved as such.” says Lacey.

“Then maybe Michael is an alien.” jokes Jack.

“And what about Lem? Is he a plane?” asks Lacey.

Jack takes a deep breath. Closes his eyes.

Road To Chicago by Thomas Newman plays. *wink and cough* from a ghostly conductor.

“Fathers we barely see…are mysterious.” says Jack to Lacey. “But they shape us anyway.” He thinks. “You don’t doubt him. Why?”

“Because if he’s my father I know how impossible he is to crack.” says Lacey.

“My father wasn’t even that impossible.” he smiles. “I know. Getting into his mind was likely a fools errand.” He laughs. “Funny obsession with getting into your mind now.”

“And yet…I have to be outwitted to be loved.” I says Lacey.

“Lem might be smarter than I thought.” says Jack. “And dumber.” He thinks. “And you’re worried Michael is brittle?”

“Yes. And golly, I love Lem.” says Lacey.

Jack nods, sadly. Understandingly.

“Michael won’t let me near him, so to speak. He’s clean.” he says.

Softcore by The Neighbourhood plays.

Lem listens. Secretly. Elliott is assisting him?

“I wonder if we’re too harsh?” Lacey asks Jack as they dance spontaneously.

“But you, at least, want true love.” says Jack.

“Yes. But is it fair what we put them through?” asks Lacey.

“I hate him.” says Jack. He pauses. “I’m complicated.”

“Why?” asks Lacey, pausing from dancing too.

“You’re perfect. Really.” He cries. “And…I can’t stand the thought of that fool hurting you.”

Lacey is silenced.

“You were good. Genuinely good. And still try to be.” says Jack. “I appreciate it.”

“And you can’t stand someone taking me for granted?” shrugs Lacey.

“He has to outdo me. Why do I still know you better?! That’s offensive!” says Jack.

“Michael?” asks Lacey.

“Yeah?” shrugs hert Jack.

“Louis?” asks Lacey.

“I like Louis. But he’s so…attached to his wife.” sighs Jack.

“I love Lem.” says Lacey.

Jack scoffs. “They don’t understand.”

“That we aren’t serious but we’re serious?” asks Lacey.

Radio by Lana Del Rey plays.

“Lacey, we both met death early. It walked up to us and waved. And when that happens it puts you in a different mindset. It all seems so dumb. And it is. You can’t figure out why Lem doesn’t get it yet.” says Jack.

“I can’t stand it.” says Lacey.

“I know.” he says.

The song plays.

“You’d not have let me push you around.” says Jack.

“What’s the point?” asks Lacey.

Gasoline plays.

“They did shoot me.” says Jack happily.

“God loves us.” says Lacey.

“It was real.” says Jack, reassuringly.

“Really?!” asks Lacey rolling her eyes.

“Yes. They aren’t that lowly or dumb.” says Jack. “Or perverse. Or weren’t.”

“They don’t even know anymore though. And shooting is so gruesome…” says Lacey.

“It’s an ugly life in 2023. And yes, but it wasn’t the public.” says Jack. “Just me.”

“Lem is symbolically America?” asks Lacey. “Michael is the past?”

“Yes. And all they can think to do is attack you desperately with demons.” says Jack.

Lacey gets slightly dizzy.

“I do love Lem.” says Lacey.

“Michael can be taller. And more buff. And himself. …Lem matters. But…let them figure that out. If you find yourself with Michael…it might not be your fault. You didn’t mean to marry the ghost of a Rockefeller. …And Lem needs to be corrected by God. I’m sick of being his nanny.” says Jack. Jack sips his hot latté.

“What if Lem is far smarter though?” asks Lacey.

“Then what about you two?!??” asks a Gen X actor of Lacey and Jack.

“Oh! No. That’s impossible.” says Lacey.

Jack laughs. “She’s my friend.”

“Am I?” asks Lacey.

“We find each other…familial. Eventually. We just are.” says Jack. “If we don’t hate each other. It’s close. But like…brother and sister close at most.”

“Whatever. It’s life.” says Lacey.

“It’s not that bad!” he says.

“Because we need each other but not in that way.” says Lacey.

“We could be actual friends. Yes.” says Jack.

“Oh! It’s snowing!” says Lacey.

Right Thurr plays to harass Lacey and Jack. They ignore it. Totally…unimpressed by anything but the beat.

“I can’t see the hills anymore!” he says.

“I can still see the trees though.” says Lacey.

“Well, that’s good for driving.” says Jack.

“I hate driving.” says Lacey.

“Cars are nice for emergencies.” says Jack. “Get off that business, now.”

“And I suppose they’re like guns.” says Lacey.

“Yeah.” he says.

“Eww!” says Lacey.

On The Sea plays.

“Umm. Do you two understand what Lem might have been thinking?” asks a Gen Z former drug addict.

“On some God-only level?” asks Lacey.

“Yes.” says the woman.

“That Lacey and I would fall in love?” asks Jack. He laughs. “We can’t.”

“Thank God!” says Lacey.

“We’d have had a sexless, totally distant marriage. And never married, actually.” says Jack.

“Eww!” says Lacey.

“Hmm. But you two aren’t actually siblings. And I know you found each other attractive momentarily.” says the Gen X woman.

“But you’re supposed to understand that we’ve ended that now. For eternity. We are friends. We declare that permanently.” says Jack. “Hopefully friends, she hopes.”

“So there’s nothing to be threatened by?” asks the Gen X woman.

“No. Eww.” says Lacey seriously. She smiles.

Michael nods. Smiles.

“No. Their relationship in that way is the least of my concerns.” says Michael.

“I messed-up. I seriously messed-up. Not like Joe. …But I need your patience for a moment.” Lem says to Lacey.

“Lacey is extremely beautiful and sexy. Possibly in a Grace Kelly way. …But would that have confirmed people’s suspicions that Jack was gay if Lacey hadn’t been his sister? Or Lem’s wife.” says the Native American woman.

“Possibly. Although I’ve been jealous. And foul. And excruciatingly hurtful.” says Lem.

“He might have been bisexual.” says the Gen X woman.

“Jack!? Because I wasn’t! I was actually straight. You don’t have to believe me. I acted gay.” says Lem.

“Is that what confuses you?” asks Red Fay of Lacey.

“Yes. He acted? I can imagine it. But it’s confusing because most people aren’t that complicated.” says Lacey.

“I wasn’t jealous for Jack. I think there was a misunderstanding. Ask Lacey.” says Lem.

“People accused me of being possessive of a female friendship.” says Lacey.

“But she wasn’t. She was merely doing her friend’s bidding.” says Jack. “She was being used actually, and didn’t realize it.”

Losing All Sense by Grizzly Bear plays.

“Her friend wanted to get rid of an unwanted person.” says Jack. “If Lem I says he wasn’t gay or bi or possessive…please stop arguing that that’s impossible. Lacey doubts it enough already. Don’t ruin your own lives insisting you know me and Lem better than she does.”

“I think I was secretly opinionated. Politically.” says Lem. “And it looked like romantic jealousy.”

“So this has gotten ugly because you got jealous for Lacey?” asks the Native American woman of Lacey.

“Yes. And you all made it so much worse.” says Lem.

The trees get noticeably less visible. It’s pleasing.

“So…you’re not like her ex boyfriends and husband?” asks Joe Jr..

“I’m not.” says Michael.

“Yeah, but this is evil. I deserve a shot. And I’m sick of being shouted over.” he says.

“What do you mean by that?” a Gen X woman asks Lem.

“She’s mine!!” says Lem. “It doesn’t matter. None of this matters. Just her feelings matter. And Michael knows that.” He thinks. “I should, but I didn’t. Her feelings are often grounded in nothing but reason and love.”

“Then where is?” asks the Gen X woman.

“Hiding in Joe’s arms. On a desert island.” says Lem sarcastically.

“Lem did act gay. How?” asks a hater.

Der Freischütz, Overture To The Opera by Carl Maria von Weber plays.

“Here’s your problem.” starts Lem. “Think of it as an opera.” He’s speaking to everyone alive here.

“Imagine an aristocratic family in the late 1800’s or early 1900’s. In Europe. …An English, sweet young woman. Maybe played by Helena Bonham Carter marries into this aristocratic family. …And this family is nice enough to her. Except the son she marries has an affair with a slightly older, more worldly and imposing woman. We’ll call the woman Pat Wilson.” He smiles. “So, out of loneliness and desperation she starts looking around for some sort of lifeboat emotionally. And all she can find after at least months if not years of searching is me. The supposedly gay ‘friend’ of the younger brother. And one night out of boredom, deep sadness, silliness and drunken curiosity she decides to try to literally sleep with me. And why is that silly? …Because she can’t decide if she’s pretty or attractive or anything of that sort. And so half the fun is this morbid, selfless humor in almost scientifically experimenting to see what will happen. If she combines all these psychological elements together. …Merchant-Ivory Helena Bonham Carter.”

“That’s stupid as heck!” yells a hater.

“How? He’s supposedly gay and I’m supposedly ugly and stupid. It’s hilarious.” says Lacey.

They grow quiet.

“Then imagine me making love to her, if you must. The PG version of maybe a hint.” says Lem. “And it shocks her but she’s in love with me.” He thinks. “I’ve made love to her. How do you explain that without it being a lie?”

Hate Or Love It by 50 Cent plays.

“And she gets lied to. And gets confused. And hurts me. And it’s so expected. …But she doesn’t see beyond that as much as she normally would. And…I get bitter. And then her ex sleeps with a woman who wants her dead…and so she’s left to my mercy when she almost dies in front of me.” he says.

“I made this my theme song: In Da Club.” says Joe Jr..

“You sure did, dawg.” says Lacey.

“And so I save her life.” says Lem. “And for a short while I have her. But then it’s back to being attacked. And she gets it in her mind that I’m incapable of loving her. Incapable of loving her as much as her brother-in-law, soon to be former brother-in-law.” He thinks. “And then Elliott insists I tell her my personal history. Because he was in love with her too. And it sounds insane.” says Lem. “It’s far easier to believe I was bisexual.”

Let Me Blow Your Mind plays.

“And then Joe Jr. decides he’s madly in love with Lacey and won’t leave her alone.” says Lem. “And he starts acting profoundly wounded and deeply hurt and depressed. And over time her logic fails and she becomes his victim.” He seethes. “And I get-I’m livid.”

“But I’m convinced he doesn’t care that much. Or it’s a temporary anger.” says Lacey. “Or that he’s secretly madly in love with Jack.”

“You don’t get Lacey.” Jack laughs.

A&W plays, ironically. Grimly.

“She’s never done cartwheels. She can’t.” says Louis. “Her neck is too straight.”

“Not that it looks bad.” says Joe Sr..

“And that’s when Joe Sr. makes his move on her.” says Lem. “Because he’s always been bitter. And he sees an opportunity.”

“And I refuse to believe it.” says Joe Jr..

“So I fight Joe Sr. off. But he still hopes to be with her and believes he mistakenly let anyone but him have her. …But then she grows weary of the whole family. And I have to explain that I’m not one of them. And convince her I’m not evil.” He sighs. “And all while I’m passionately hurt and jealous.”

“And Joe Sr. and Jr. both believe they’re being psychologically held hostage somehow and need to escape and go get her.” asks a Boomer.

“Basically.” says Joe Sr..

Heartless by Kanye West plays.

“And she gets very ill. Falls for another man who seems so much more sane and safe. And the Queen dies. And she weeps. And so Michael is released around that time.” says Louis.

“And I love her. And am en league with Lem.” says Michael. “Imagine an English aristocrat coming to intervene on behalf of her very worried family.” He laughs. “And my job is to rescue both Lacey and Lem in a way.”

“And?” asks a woman.

“I’ve done it.” says Michael.

“I just have to deal with my own mistakes and sin and convince Lacey I love her.” says Lem.

“But of course, I know it’s all bullshit.” says Michael. “In her case. It’s truly bullshit.”

Chemtrails Over The Country Club plays.

“I know she’s just confused. And scared.” says Michael. “It’s very hard to convince Lem of that. He thinks he’s right.”

“And that’s why the accident happened!” grins Louis sarcastically.

Dark Red plays.

“Because she isn’t Jack. But I know that! I just can’t believe it didn’t mean that she loved me less.” says Lem.

“But I can’t love someone who’s already taken.” says Lacey. “That’s possibly evil.”

“You thought I wasn’t loved.” says Lem.

“Of course.” says Lacey.

“See. It’s all bullshit.” scoffs Michael in a rage.

“I thought Joe and Lacey had something.” says Lem.

“How repulsive!” says Lacey.

Help Yourself plays at Michael’s request.

Lem calms himself. “Okay.” Then he laughs. “Repulsive?!”

“Yes.” says Lacey, genuinely hurt and irate.

“I suppose I am one of the characters.” says Lem. “You hate them?”

“No.” Lacey smiles.

“And that’s why I can’t let go.” says Joe Jr..

“And I find that obnoxious and childish.” says Lacey. “But I wish him well.”

“She’s given both the Joes the guillotine. And she can’t figure out why they’re still alive.” says Louis.

“So she can’t figure out-So she would have-So…” thinks Lem. He looks shocked. He realizes the way she sees things. It’s very different than Jackie. Matter-of-fact they make each other look hilarious, unintentionally until you realize their pain and/or evil.

“You have no use for the lies she used to feel comfort. Like, Jack would come around someday if she just tried hard enough. You lost interest and have no feelings left almost at all.” He thinks. “Why then? On what bloody premise?!”

“Some idiotic but truly tragic bullshit.” says Michael smiling. “She’s not idiotic. But she makes a fool of herself to herself. Because she can’t believe she’s so…easily fooled. And she can’t believe…”. He smiles. “It’s not her evil. It’s her incredible independence in the face of violence and neglect.” He smiles. “Her refusal to be complimented.”

“You’re-You were totally objective.” says Lem.

Lacey nods once matter-of-factly.

“But that’s not you!” he says.

“One can’t be one’s self in such times. One must be rational and strong. And moral.” says Lacey.

“Except she was. With what she knew.” says Michael. “It’s the others who weren’t and she then just recalculates. Like a computer.”

“So when does she let down her guard and stop calculating?” asks Lem.

“During sex if you force her to. Or whenever. …If you force her to. Otherwise it’s when she’s unbearably sad. Like last night.” says Michael.

“Because it’s a defense mechanism!” says Summertime Sadness.

“No! Because she’s polite.” says Michael. “Truly. And she has self-respect.”

“That’s my worst fear.” says Lem. “In this situation.”

“That’s why I’m here. That’s why Michael is involved. Remember?”

“Dammit!!” yells Lem if there’s Purgatory. He realizes Lacey could easily think he’s an idiot for thinking she still loves Joe so much. For thinking she was attached beyond her love and her dreams to him at all.

“She’s attached to us. But not much else other than the English and her immediate family.” says Louis. “Scott, Zelda and all of us.”

“Maybe the land.” says Gunhild, sadly.

“And we don’t care. In the best way possible. I decide. If I’m not in Hell.” says Reta. “Hopefully I’m not in Hell. Right?”

“Lem, I don’t think Lacey-I think she-“ said JFK Jr. as he tried to warn Lem that Lacey had totally moved on from his uncle a while ago. But Carolyn cut him off, should they not be in Hell.

“She doesn’t want us involved for our own good.” said Carolyn.

“But he’s going to think she’s evil.” he protested.

“Yes.” said Carolyn, clenching her teeth.

Gilded Lily plays.

And thus…Michael emerged.

Lem sits with Michael in a pub. In 1940’s rural England. It’s cozy.

“So she loves them. Basically unconditionally.” says Lem about Lacey’s love for the Kennedy’s.

Joe Sr. nods. Smiles, sadly.

“But she’s at home with Louis. And Scott. And Hemingway. Or the Rockefeller’s. Or the English.” says Lem says in shock.

“Do you still love me at all?” Lacey wonders sincerely.

Everything In It’s Right Place plays in title. Except it’s The Suburbs (continued) by Arcade Fire that actually plays.

“Yes!!” yells Lem. Then he regrets yelling.

“Well, but-“ she starts and he grows angry. “No! Let me finish. Here’s the thing. You might be attached to them. In your identity. All those years spent out there? I don’t want to be a problem.”

“So you slept with other men purely on principal?! …Actual principal.” says Lem.

“Yes.” says Lacey.

“It’s bullshit. …It’s bullshit.” repeats Michael.

“Can you really love me? I’m so far from being a man. It’s comical.” says Lacey.

“You’re still tough and logical and steady.” says Lem.

“But entirely as a woman.” says Lacey.

“You’re afraid I’ll feel…alone? And scared. Of your weakness.” says Lem. “Is Michael?”

“No. Michael likes my dependence on him. He’s not scared of being smarter than me.” safe Lacey. “It doesn’t turn him off. Louis either. …I’m not really dumb. …I might even be considered genius level in some ways, at least.”

Lem thinks. “You never thought I’d actually love you.” he says.

“Not necessarily.” says Lacey.

“I was warned by a deep sea diver. Who went too far down. But…I thought it was too hopeful.” says Lem.

“How?” asks Lacey.

“It is bullshit!” he says in a rage in his 60’s. To Lacey at 28.

“Fine? Maybe? How?” she asks.

He furrows his brow. “Because you’re in love with me!” he says, sounding hurt.

“But you’re still in love with Jack! Right? Secretly? And…what difference do my feelings make?” Lacey asks.

His mouth drops. “No!! You can’t think that?!”

“See. You’re hurting me.” says Lacey.

Lem calms himself. Then he looks into her eyes.

“You look…guarded.” he says.

“Why wouldn’t I be?” asks Lacey.

“True!” he says. He smiles at her like she’s crazy.

She blinks.

“You know, I don’t think you should sleep with anyone but me.” says Lem.

“That sounds dangerous.” says Lacey.

“There are maybe a handful of men it might be safer to sleep with. Those men are either dead or no where near us or I think really-You’re better off just being with me.“says Lem.

“It sounds terrifying. No offense.” says Lacey.

“It’s safer to be with just me.” he says, trying not to smile.

She looks ready to cry.

“Lacey, I seduced you.” he says.

“No.” she says.

“No, I did. I even talked you into loving me.” he says.

“Just like Jack?” she asks.

“No.” he says. “You can’t-I never had this much power over Jack. In this way.“

“But I’m not-Are you a pedophile?” asks Lacey bluntly.

“No. You’re a woman my parents would have wanted me to marry.” says Lem. “And my brother. All of them. …You’re…never leaving me. Unless God decides otherwise.”

“Doesn’t that repulse you?” asks Lacey, seriously.

“That was spoken before I’d-“ says Lem. He bites his fist.

“You didn’t ever?” asks Lacey.

“No. And you weren’t there.” he says.

“No. I wasn’t. But I’m not that special.” says Lacey.

“You are to me.” he says. “I’m…complicated.”

“So am I.” says Lacey.

“Then why did you sleep with anyone else??” he asks.

“It just made sense.” she says.

“I doubt-It shouldn’t have.” he says.

“Well, I think it probably did. You seemingly weren’t gay either? …And that’s a somewhat odd thing to think about yourself.” says Lacey. “If it isn’t true.”

“No, I shouldn’t have required you sleeping with me to figure out I’m straight. But people can be dumb. There are two men right now heartbroken over you.”

“Oh, my ex boyfriends?” asks Lacey.

“Yes.” he says.

“I-“ she cuts herself off.

He closes his eyes.

“I tried.” she says.

He licks his lips. “That’s too bad. It was a waste. But I suppose it was my mistake.”

“If you really don’t prefer Jack over me.” says Lacey.

“No, but even if you don’t believe me can you please refrain from sleeping with other men?” he asks.

“It happens at the worst moments. It’d be nice if the whole thing was arranged differently. Too bad I can’t warn you.” she says.

“Just-Say! I’ve got an idea.” he says.

“What’s that?” she asks sadly.

“Why don’t I offer you forever? I have but you just didn’t hear me. Or you forgot.” he says.

“I don’t believe you entirely.” she says.

“Well, I’m clearly offering it now. And you’re the only person I’ve ever offered that to.” he says.

“I need to take your offer extremely seriously.” says Lacey.

“Then it’s not an offer.” he says.

She nods her head silently. Turns her face to the television.

“Come here.” he demands.

She turns and looks at him, confused.

“I’m not demanding. It’s not a request. You’re just supposed to do it. It’s that simple.” he says.

“What if?“ she asks.

“Then there are two men who will have you and you’ll likely be with whoever God decides. But that’s impossible unless God decides it.” says Lem.

“I’d like to be properly asked.” says Lacey.

He cries. “I asked you when I first started to make love to you. I’m sorry.”

“Not really though.” protests Lacey.

He laughs. Smiles.

“No, we did. We made that agreement.” he says.

“No.” says Lacey.

“Yes!” he says seriously.

“If you’re a ghost then…maybe. Obviously not otherwise. But don’t humor me.” she says.

“I’m not. I’m not humoring you.” He stares at her. “I promise.”

“Right.” she says in doubt.

“No. It’s-You’re right. Why did I let you sleep with anyone else?!” he asks.

She grows silent.

“Well, forget most of what you’ve heard. Just please refrain from sleeping with other men. Obviously you don’t sleep with anyone else.” says Lem.

“In that regard?” asks Lacey.

“Yes. I don’t want you to. It hurts me!” he says.

“Really?” she asks.

“Yes.” he says to her at 16 when she’s 16. Then as an adult.

“I can’t quite believe it anymore. But I’ll take it seriously.” she says.

He closes his eyes. “Let’s just say we’re married.”

“What about Michael?” asks Lacey.

“We’re married. Let’s go to bed.” he says.

“There’s not much snow.” says Lacey.

“No. But that’s best anyway for driving. You’ll have plenty of snowstorms before death to compare Heaven to.” he says.

“I love Michael.” says Lacey.

“Let’s go to bed.” says Lem.


“He is a grand man. True.” he says. “Now, let’s go to bed.”

She rises from her seat, turns off the television. And they go to bed.