September by Sparky Deathcap plays.
(Adult content below)
Everything is about honor for Lacey.
Everything is about honor for Michael.
Everything is about honor for Queen Elizabeth II.
“And I hope ever is about honor for me.” says Louis Hill Jr..
“Do you understand honor, Lem.” Lacey asks.
The Asmats chant the lyrics.
The music plays.
“It’s not a game, Lem.” says Lacey.
A Sparrow Alighted Upon Our Shoulder plays.
“I know you.” says Lem to Lacey. “And that’s not changing!”
“No, you don’t want me!” says Lacey.
“Lem, you’ve found Zelda’s twin.” says an intellectual. He laughs. “Listen, sweetheart: If you’re not gay and possibly never were that’s exciting! But as uncanny as her intelligence is, and as much as she loves you…she’s not…easy. And this one isn’t queer. And she loves you passionately. And possibly only has depression…which sounds great but what sort of mind is required to balance out that much-“
“Love. Sex. Passion?“ asks Lem, growing insulted.
“No, honor.” says Michael.
“Math just bores you?” asks a Boomer of Lacey.
“It’s depressing. Math would have ruined my life.” says Lacey. “I would have died years ago if I did well at math.”
“Well, amen!” says Zelda herself, smiling. She knows she sounds like a character version of her actual self in saying that.
“No, I’m not letting go. Even if our marriage devolves into us just lusting after each other and hooking-up regularly like absolute fools.” says Lem. “I’m not Joe. Lacey…I’m not Joe!! …I’m not!”
“No, she’s not Jack.” says Bobby seriously but with concern.
“Actual Christian Catholics are terrified about the real nature of our existence. Aren’t they? Because they suspect so much danger.” says Summertime Sadness.
September starts again.
“It’s just what I’ve said, Lem. You could easily be a Tennessee Williams gay man who secretly hates me. Your words not mine?” says Lacey.
“I just made love to you and…yet you doubt it. Does it matter how good the sex was for me?” asks Lem.
“You could be holding back.” says Lacey.
“You mean, holding back a part of my soul to save to give to just Jack?” says Lem.
“Yes! That’s what they say about you. And that’s what you said too?” says Lacey.
“I ruined it. You believed I exist. You believed I loved you…or you almost did.” says Lem to Lacey.
“You’re so harsh and cruel and blind now.” says Lacey to Lem.
“You’d never do that to me?” he asks.
“No. Not in this context.” says Lacey.
Woody Allen laughs…somewhere. No, not for perverted reasons.
“I am trying to speak.” says Lem.
“I’m not some horny toad woman, Lem.” says Lacey. And of course, she isn’t.
“I know!” says Lem.
“But you talk to me like I am. I’ve tried to explain so much. Doesn’t that matter?” Lacey asks Lem.
“The trick is my honor. Huh? You-“ starts Lem.
On cue, as per usual when the topic becomes too on point or important, something is roused by demons to harass Lacey or interrupt her.
“So the point is my honor?” asks Lem.
“Yes.” says Lacey.
“And you doubted me.” says Lem.
“I imagined you playing in the snow with Jack. Happy and healthy and nothing like how I make you feel.” says Lacey. “In the blissfully pristine beauty nature provided all those years ago.”
Harold grows irate.
“I’m not an ASSHOLE, Lemmers!!” says Michael. “She needs you. …Men may or may not. And her utter dependence on me would never scare or burden me. I’m not bothered by it. I’m not like them. It doesn’t disturb me to have a woman depend on me. How about you, pumpkin!!?”
“Oh! No! Wanting to be taken care of as a woman is wrong according to my former step-mother-in-law, Jill. She thinks women should work and prove themselves before settling down and being housewives. It’s the elite atheist way!! Survival of the Fittest, butch-bitch-feminist style! Lem…selling baby wipes?!? Would you have made Jack sell baby wipes before you paid for his medical expenses?” Lacey asks. “Is that the way they do things in Sewickley?”
Lem smiles. “Like…a woman has to chop wood too? And carry rocks while pregnant? And milk ten cows before lunch? And never buy new Chanel or wear too much makeup?”
“All my mother ever did was get taken care of.” says Jack Kennedy. “Same with Jackie.”
“But you never really loved them. And that’s not what I want anyway.” says Lacey.
Michael smiles. He leans against the doorframe.
“Don’t mind the Boomers. They just don’t understand.” says Michael.
“Hey! I’m not that dumb!” says Lem.
“What of it then?” asks Michael of Lem.
“It’s not church as usual.” says Lem sarcastically. “I’m not like those Sewickley people.”
“But you don’t understand. She’d die for you.” says Harold.
And at that Lem falls into tears.
“And you’ve never honored that enough.” says Harold. “Never!”
Lem looks grave.
“I don’t care if she dies!!! I don’t give one shit! …She needs to work! And she needs to do what I think. And she needs to be quiet and respect me. And she needs to realize that her death is cheap to me. I could have found 25 women better than her for my step-son-in-law in five hours. I have ways!” says a Jill.
“Did your husband want to bang her?” asks Jack Kennedy. “My mom tried to like her but my dad liked her far too much.”
“Lem liked her far too much too.” says Bobby.
“My dad, as lurid as the stories about him are, sees her entirely as a daughter.” says Michael. “It’s been very helpful psychologically. As you might imagine.”
“She was never going to steal your gold.” Jack says to a Jill.
“Or silver.” says Lem.
“Probably not the pewter either.” says Jackie O..
“Her family has oil. Fine! I’m rich too!” says a Jill.
“But not by birth.” says Jack. “How did you prove yourself?! You seem like white trash that married well to me. And it’s insulting you ever thought you were anything like Lacey or that she was anything like you. …Or Mark’s mom. …You’re cruel.”
“We weren’t white trash. But we did have a farm. And it wasn’t…” a Jill starts.
“It wasn’t what?!?” asks a Trump.
“It wasn’t…uppity.” says a Jill.
“Oh! You mean it wasn’t tens of thousands of acres? And you didn’t have knighted authors in your kin?! Nor members of the Electoral College?!? …Do you even know what the Electoral College is?!” asks JFK Jr..
“No. I don’t.” says a Jill.
“But she’s cheap to you?!?” rages Louis. “You couldn’t have replaced her.”
“She’s cheap!” says a Jill, pouting.
“How?!?” asks Lem.
“Umm! We get it! The perfume community was obliterated by her. Because…we’re smarter than her too, Jill.” says a perfume hater.
“How was it obliterated?” asks Louis.
“We don’t have fun like we used to. It’s been taken over by mega accounts and…nobody has as much fun anymore. It’s…cold and unintellectual.“ says the perfume hater.
“So I’m still a magical blond goddess?!?!” says a Jill grinning in her spirit. “Of darkness!!” She rocks out like a 1980’s nerd. But not like Michael…
“How are you a magical blond goddess?” Jack Kennedy asks a Jill.
“Because she’s a demon of destruction.” says a Jill.
“And you conquer her?” asks Jack.
“Yeah! With my laser eyes!” says a Jill seriously in her spirit.
“Well, I’m not cheap dear, nor destructive.” says Lacey to a Jill.
“You’re like a house-cat!” says a Jill making a reference to Mad Men.
“No. I’m not a pussy.” says Lacey.
“Nor a hired-hand.” says Lem’s mom.
“Would you have ever posed naked?” asks Judith Exner of Lacey.
“No. Why would you want anyone to see that in that way? It’s dangerous and destructive.” says Lacey.
“Oh! Oh! I would. I would!!!” says a Jill.
“Because it’s cool!!” says Lem, sarcastically.
“Yes! It is!” says a Jill. “Men love that kind of thing! And it’s liberating!”
“No, it’s not. Unless you’re just a whore advertising or you look like shit naked.” says Lacey.
“But it’s my body.” says a Jill.
“But why does anyone want to see it?!?” asks Lacey.
“I’m beautiful!” she says.
“So you’re trying to seduce me?” asks Lacey. “Or you just obnoxiously assume I’ll agree?! Because you aren’t objectively that beautiful.”
“I am!” she says crying.
“No! You must certainly are not!” says Lacey.
“Who are you to say that?!?” says a Jill.
“I have a brain and eyes. And that’s all anyone would need. You silly, conceited, buffoon!” says Lacey.
“Fine! I am! So what?!?” says a Jill.
“So did you think that through?! Or did you just burst into my life like a rabid dog?!” says Lacey. “I’m not cheap. …My marriage didn’t work out but I’m not cheap.”
“It’s okay! She should have just died! We have a bottom line!!!” says a living relative of a Jill. “It’s war!!” he says in his spirit.
“No human is cheap.” says Michael Rockefeller coolly.
“Exactly!” says Lacey. “So…my life and happiness got in the way of your bottom line? What war is your family fighting, Jill?”
“Mark was my-Mark… What war? …The war of sex!” she says trying to imitate Lacey. “No, you’re crazy.”
“No, really? The war of sex?” Lacey asks calmly.
“That’s a joke you retard!” says a Jill.
“Really?” asks Lacey.
“I mean…I guess…it is? I guess it’s…a war.” says a Jill.
“Nah! It’s the war of work!!!” says a Jill’s relative. “Money!! It makes the world go round. It’s at the core of everything. Nothing is like money.”
“More than love or life itself?” asks Lacey of this man.
“Yes! You’re how old and you don’t know that?! It’s all there is.” be says seriously.
“Like, currency?” asks Lacey.
“Jill married a Jew! A nice Jew. With lots of money. Jews have money.” says a Jill’s relative. “She’s…done well.”
“So she spread her legs for a rich Jew and got a Hebrew pot of gold?” asks Joe Jr..
“Yup! She did fine!” a Jill’s relative says. “We don’t like all that Hebrew stuff. But…I’m not complaining. Men like that don’t grow on trees.”
“She was a gold-digger at heart but a smart one?!” asks Lacey.
“Sure, you could say that. Yeah. But you gotta be smart. You can’t let people see you’re lying.” says a Jill’s relative. “Money!!!”
“She told me they weren’t in love.” says Lacey.
“You don’t need love. Love is for fools. All you need is money. Lots of money. Winning matters. Not us. Not life. Not love. MONEY!!” he concludes.
“Jack do you think that?” asks an intellectual.
“No. I’m not that stupid. But I understand…” says JFK. “I understand that man’s mind-set.”
“Do you?” asks Michael of Lacey.
“No. It’s dysfunctional, corrosive bullshit.” says Lacey. “But that doesn’t make me heartless, Lem. Does it?” She thinks. “If it does I’ll just go let Michael tire of me for eternity. Because I guess that’s all I deserve? Not forgiveness.”
“You made a problem for me to forgive so you could forgive me.” says Lem to Lacey.
“There are white trash people with insight. I’m one of them.” says a man from a literal trailer in the Ozarks. He just explained that to Lem.
“Yes. Possibly.” says Lacey.
Lacey’s swallowing difficulty isn’t something broken most likely. But it could have been caused by the fall.
The doctor reminds her weirdly of Louis. He was Asian. She had a dream about an Asian man last night. Coincidence? It’s unclear.
She wore Frédéric Malle’s A Portrait Of A Lady today. They all seemed far more aware of her than usual. She’s preferred English Pear & Freesia. Maybe she’s better off wearing Portrait Of A Lady.
Lem told her it wasn’t possible to be with anyone but him.
“I’ve already talked to God about it. It’s been decided.” says Lem. Michel and Louis have concerns…but worship God. So does Lacey.
“Would God let you decide to do that if you don’t love me enough?” Lacey asks Lem.
“No! No, that’s impossible. If I’m a ghost it’s impossible. You’ve been taken over for eternity unless God or Michael or Louis object too highly in the right way, as designated by God.” says Lem.
“That fall…could have killed me?” Lacey asks Lem.
“Yes!” says Lem.
“How?” asks Lacey.
“If you’d hit the stairs just a bit more to the left, and if the radiator had hit your temples.” says Lem. “Possibly. Or if you’d fallen higher up the stairs. Possibly.”
“Lacey do you get a good read on whether or not Lem was gay?” asks the Illuminati. They seem serious.
“I’m torn between a strong intuition and what you’ve told me combined with my tendency to be brutally objective.” says Lacey.
“Lem, this is my concern.” says Louis.
A Sparrow Alighted Upon Our Shoulder plays.
Michael and Lacey cry.
“You better love her more than me. Or else.” says Michael to Lem.
“I do!” says Lem, seemingly.
“Lem isn’t going to backsies.” says Louis.
“It doesn’t matter if I was gay or not. I love Lacey. …Truth is…she would have been my exception. She really is that beautiful and I’m…incapable of resisting her. If she’d been sad…and longed for me too much to ignore…I couldn’t have resisted her. But it’s love. Not just attraction. …And truth is…if I don’t love her enough…I’ll lose her in less than a second to Michael.” says Lem. “He’s my probation officer.”
“So am I.” says Louis.
“Lem, were you gay?” asks The Loudest Perfume Hater.
The Dumbledores by Alexandre Desplat plays.
“What if China is keeping her alive?” asks a conspiracy theorist.
“I doubt it. But even if they are…that’s what’s just.” says Lacey. “My kids still need me.”
“You don’t really think the Illuminati is talking to you. Do you?” asks a female ghost in the future of Lacey.
“I’m never convinced. In any direction.” says Lacey.
The ghost slights the Illuminati or “the Illuminati” by laughing at them. “They did not think this through, should they exist. If they’re demons and ghosts pranking you or an actual Illuminati…leaving you in limbo was…unfortunate for them.”
Tighten Up by The Black Keys plays.
“I’m a Millennial. This my jam!” the female ghost says. She resembles a young Natalie Portman.
The song plays.
Lacey feels sleepy.
“You guys, whoever you are, are destabilizing the markets. What’s more you’re destabilizing the country. You’re…untying strings we need tied.” says the future dead Natalie Portman lookalike. “Do you understand? Does that make sense to you?!”
“Lem!!! Hey, Lem!! Were…you…gay?!?” asks The Loudest Perfume Hater.
Pirates Of The Caribbean: At World’s End, by Hans Zimmer plays.
The light next to Lacey flickers. Twice.
“I was straight.” Lem says.
“Why didn’t you fall in love with Jackie?!” asks an intellectual of Lem.
The song plays. Then Shift by Grizzly Bear plays.
“I was…smitten by her. But she was Jack’s girl. And…she wasn’t my type.” says Lem.
“Lem what is your type?!” asks Jack.
Lem takes a deep breath in. “Just close your eyes and imagine a brown-eyed white woman who Harold Loeb might be drawn to. Not like Brett Ashley.
Like…an emerald cut emerald. Columbian. Art Deco setting. Platinum. …Louis emerges. And then you see Harold Loeb and F. Scott Fitzgerald themselves. Hemingway. …A dead Queen. And you smell Emeraude or is it Shalimar? Chanel No. 22? And see light playing on shadows of a museum wall. A man who looks miserable. Thomas Banks. …What are they all staring at?”
“What Lem?” asks that Natalie lookalike.
Within And Without by Washed Out plays.
“A death.” says Harold Loeb.
“It’s already obvious. She’s curvy but it’s gone out genetically…for the most part. Not like Marilyn. Not like Audrey. Not like Grace. No…it’s…curvy Art Deco. Green and lush and free and…sublimely elegant.” says Lem. “I suppose that’s the problem. She isn’t easy to find. And I sorta got over the romantic rat race quickly. …Even though it’s reported that I dated men, I didn’t date that many of them.” says Lem. “I was…very unhappy.”
“Why not Marilyn Monroe?” asks the intellectual of Lem.
“I found her attractive.” says Lem. He becomes serious. “But it’s not…not so much so that I would have cheated on Lacey. How about that? …She was attractive, obviously.” He thinks. “Lacey is…the 1920’s ideal. Perfectly. …And Harold and Louis know that. Her body is Harold’s absolute ideal… But…it’s mine too. Maybe I liked that look too.”
“Why?” asks the intellectual.
Zombie by The Cranberries plays.
Then Lem…sits in St. Joe’s Hospital. He watches Lacey. He follows her around downtown Saint Paul, Minnesota. She walked quickly. …She’s changed. Fast New York City pace…but now she creeps about.
Michael follows Lem.
Through the skyways.
Gilded Lily (Sped Up) plays.
Lacey really did walk very quickly.
Lem steps forward in time and picks Lacey up. Not in fatherly way. But not crassly, either.
“A person likes what they like. Within reason. And I suppose I like her look…because I just do. And it’s nice to feel so manly and powerful…but just the right amount.” says Lem.
“No, I’m not.” says Scott. He’s not attacking Lem.
Louis dances with his last wife. It’s rubbed in Lacey’s face that his wife could look beautiful. It’s rubbed in Lacey’s face that Louis danced with her lovingly, adoringly alive.
Lem fails miserably to be reassuring enough.
“I should wear an emerald.” says Lacey.
“Forget all that rubbish.” he says as he rubs his left eye. “It’s just you and I if Lem dies.” Michael says to Lacey humorously.
After Dark by Mr. Kitty plays.
“Lem will come around and prove himself. I hope. In the meantime, let’s listen.” says Michael to Lacey.
They listen to After Dark.
“I see you, you see me.” says Lacey.
“It’s a song mocking resting in Christ.” says Michael. “Like an upside down cross.”
And at that a ghost practically manifests in Lacey’s room. She can almost see it.
Can You Hear Them Sing by Cemeteries plays.
Michael sits next to her. The light in the room almost changes, like the air itself is one giant LED light being turned on. He almost manifests. She almost loses her ability to breath.
Lem arrives. Laughs.
“I’m in love with her. And I’ll say it, you coward! I’ll say: Marilyn is bloody fucking shit in my eyes compared to Lacey. Jackie is worse. She’s vile. …Now what?” asks Michael. “Lem…her feelings matter.”
Michael plays with the room. Making a wall look wobbly. Then it returns to normal.
“Don’t they say that men say hyperbole when they’re secretly attracted to a woman?” asks Lacey of Michael.
“Yes!” Then he laughs and shakes his head no. “I’m not lying. Why can’t I say it? Marilyn is happy with Arthur seemingly and everyone loves her body. Including Lem?!? And Jackie gets plenty of admiration too. Lem was smitten?!? …And that woman from the future is the ghost of a woman who was your romantic rival. You knew that! …No! To me they’re shit. …Why do they care?!?” He seethes. “I guaranteed you eternity in July. Don’t ever forget that offer.”
“Honestly?!?” Lacey says to Michael.
He looks at her.
“What even am I?” she asks Michael. “I know I’m a human woman. I know who I am in my spirit. But what am I?!”
Lem edges in.
“You’re my wife!” he says to Lacey.
“That’s not saying much.” says Lacey.
Lem laughs. Takes a drink of his sparkling water. “Yeah, okay. I know what you mean. …I didn’t love Jackie romantically. I didn’t. I…found her vaguely attractive. I found other women attractive too. Marilyn was more my type. But…I didn’t find her that attractive. Not really. …What you don’t want to hear is horrible news for you and the people and forces who are trying to hurt you will be enraged, you suspect.” says Lem.
“You didn’t find those women that attractive at all.” says a man named Cosby to Lem. “I’m not a fool. I know a man can be rare for good and for evil in his mind. And it’s not…as rare as people nowadays think. …Of course, we need to be sure in saying that that we don’t confuse people susceptible to being confused. I’m not condoning evil. And I’m not saying everyone is a alien or anything else. …People need to be wise.” He thinks. “And someday I’ll find out a whole lot more…”
Out of My League by Fitz and The Tantrums plays.
“I requested this song.” says Michael. It’s implied it’s for Lacey.
“You’re the sort of girl who would leave Elliott upset…still hoping…Joe Jr. upset and still hoping…but find me even with my imperfections staggering.” says Michael. “And I know it’s not because I’m rich. Or was. It’s my soul. …Lacey you’re incredibly deep.”
“Nope! I’m rooting for Lem!” says a Cosby.
It Is Not Meant To Be by Tame Impala plays.
“I want to say and I need you listen: I didn’t find them that attractive. They left me almost entirely cold. It’s part of the reason I was under the impression I was gay.” starts Lem to Lacey. “I love you but that’s not…my usual. I wasn’t demi sexual…but…mostly you sexual.” He laughs. “I truly wasn’t in love with Jack. And I thought I was gay… But really, I just…was never fascinated by anyone. And you might think, ‘How is that possible?’ But Lacey I’m a ghost…and so is Michael. So is Louis. You’re life resembles mine. Except I didn’t have you there. And you…are right. Unlike you, I was loved. …I wasn’t in love though. And that was hellish. …So, I clung to whatever I had. But I didn’t have any of that sort of love. I had…my eventual death. ….It’s terrifying to think that I could love just you and no one else. Because it seems irrational and you worry it’s cheating. …But what if it’s true?” he says sitting on the sofa.
“What about your family?! …And yes, it’s terrifying to think you’ve only loved me. I just worry for you.” says Lacey.
“Lacey, you’re furious for my family.” says Lem. He sighs.
“Why did you abandon them?!?” Lacey asks. “Didn’t they love you?!?”
“They reminded me of my worst childhood memories. The things I was trying to repress. And I knew they loved me or I knew they didn’t. You can’t hear that clearly enough to write on your blog. But, I loved them. A lot. …And…secretly my loyalty rested with them. Just like you’re loyal to a few families now. But more so…of course. And someday you’ll love our family more than anyone. …But I was also embarrassed to be around them at times because I was always feeling like such a creepy man, thinking I was gay. Like…it was molestation, but I thought it was homosexuality because I was old enough to be becoming attracted to people.”
Olga by King Oliver And His Orchestra plays.
“I’m still upset, I’m sorry.” says Lacey.
“I know.” says Lem.
“Or…you’ll find out you’re a dead Rockefeller and you’ll find out why you’re hated.” says Michael.
“But I’m not-“ Lacey says to Michael.
“I was hated. I was innocent.” He shrugs. “I’m sorry.”
“And I’m starting to see your struggle.” Lem says to Lacey. “Michael might need you too.” he says with quiet sadness. “And poor Louis.”
“I miss Queen Elizabeth.” says Lacey.
Lem cries. “She was from what you know one of the best humans you’ve ever met.”
“It’s only a mystery how I knew her.” says Lacey. “If I even did.”