Shine A Light

(Adult content below)

Lacey was seduced by Lem while she edited her first novel over a year ago. She was seduced by Lem. But that’s not what she thinks. And she occasionally has to be reminded of that by Lem.

“I seduced you.” Lem says to her. As in, she thinks she too into him and worries she’s only embarrassing herself.

Michael seduced her.

So did Louis.

Scott feels bad for Lacey. He worries she feels dumb and embarrassed.

“I don’t think you’re dumb.” he says to her.

“I know! I know you don’t.” says Lacey lovingly to Scott.

And Lem made her crazy about him too. Truly crazy about him though. He even often underestimates his power over her perceptions.

Empty Camps by Cemeteries plays.

“Isn’t that cheating? Aren’t you that champion of equality who attacked Michael the other night?” asks a Gen Xer of Lem.

“Yes! I am. But…I didn’t think this part through well, obviously. I…do have an enormous amount of control over her. But…it’s nice. It’s not as if she can’t hurt me. Or surprise me. I’m just…a man and…it’s actually kind of romantic to have that much control over her.” says Lem.

“But don’t you feel lonely?” asks Lacey.

Lem smiles. “Why do you ask?”

“Because I care.” says Lacey.

“Funny you’d ask.” He laughs. “Do you actually care?”

“Yes! Very much so.” says Lacey.

“No!” he says.

“And that is actual heterosexual adult sex. Not pedophilia. Not perversion. Don’t think about her real vulnerability to him too much, it’ll scare you.” says F. Scott Fitzgerald to those of age alive.

“Why are most heterosexual adults obsessed with so-called ‘equality’ and then then hilariously and yet obviously Hell-bound pedophiles are the ones still looking for vulnerabilities?! It’s vile. Pedophilia is obviously wrong, but they seem to understand that love can’t be just an endless, brutal, egotistical competition between equals. Of course, they’re messed-up too, even more so. But…it’s sad for just that reason. …Why are seemingly otherwise healthy adults so…hateful towards each other in love?” asks Lacey.

“Maybe they enjoy being more androgynous equals than old-school lovers?” ponders a Boomer.

“Then how are they lovers?” asks an adult gay man.

“So…you and Lacey think gay men are more like old-school lovers than today’s heterosexual adults?” asks the female (obviously adult) Boomer.

“Maybe.” says another gay man.

“The thing is…heterosexuality today has been polluted by toxic feminism and massive amounts of Boomer-male-confusion. Gay men and lesbian women don’t worry obsessively about so-called gender inequality in romantic relationships. So…they are able to focus on their actual feelings. And they’re able to focus on what the other person feels as well in an unguarded healthy way. There’s no underlying tension from the now decades long gender war. …Sex And The City is lovely at times but it’s also about a group of women firmly entrenched in Manhattan. Just like Eminem is the male side’s bullets and bombs.”

Without Me by Eminem.

“I never fully identified with either side. I’m a cis woman. I’m straight. But Eminem is far more persuasive in his actual…qualms and objections.” says Lacey. “I’m an obnoxiously clear Charlotte but I’m not Charlotte when it comes to sex and my deepest feelings. But I’m not a Miranda or a Carrie or a Samantha either. They’re all (archaic slang) fresh and shallow so often. Interesting characters certainly, but…where’s their clinical depression?”

“You’re also a Miranda. But then also you’re supposed to be a secret lesbian.” laughs an actress.

“Yes! Her so-called feistiness. And I planned to be a lawyer. …But…no, I never felt comfortable letting myself enjoy that character.” says Lacey. “I knew it was dangerous. I knew I’d be betrayed.”

“And they all secretly hated men.” says Lem.

“And I do not hate men.” says Lacey. “And I believe in honor.”

“But the freedom…certainly that’s a good thing.” says a Boomer.

“As long as it’s genuinely loving. And that societal safety net often feels tenuous.” says Lacey.

“This is why we hate you.” says a Boomer to Lacey.

Quiet Crowd by Patrick Watson plays.

“You call us out on our egotistical Boomer bullshit.” says a male Boomer to Lacey.

“Yes! She does.” says Lem.

“All that, ‘we own sex’ and ‘we own morality and intellect” bullshit.” says Lacey. “Maybe progressive bullshit is bullshit.” She thinks. “Maybe saying the word bullshit is actually unnecessarily abrasive, even if it’s accurate and necessary at times.”

“So thinking Bobby at 14 tricked Lem into using heroin because he was mentally superior to Lem, a Harvard and Princeton educated man in the late 1960’s…was maybe a little grossly immature and arrogant. And then believing Lem let Bobby use heroin and even encouraged it while genuinely loving him was…also…arrogant and naive.” says a male Boomer. The Boomer laughs. “Also, thinking we are vastly more intelligent and aware than all other generations…”

“Stick to the original point!” says Lacey.

“I don’t like it.” he says.

“Then I’ll say it.” says Lacey.

“No you won’t! You can’t! …You don’t actually care! …It’s…too far above you. Or actually, you’re just heartless. You gross old cow.” says the male Boomer to Lacey.

“I’m not a gross old cow.” says Lacey. “Cows aren’t gross anyway.” She thinks. “Lem said that the Kennedy’s would be over once he died. …If he loved Bobby Jr. so much and thought so highly of that generation why did he say that? That’s a huge insult to them. It’s almost like disowning them from their parents and other family his age.”

“Wasn’t that shortly before Lem died? You’ve heard the theory that Bobby Jr. killed Lem?” asks another Boomer.

“So you’re suggesting it’s all a lie? And Bobby actually only pretends that they were close?” says Lacey. “When in reality he killed Lem to shut him up about Jack’s homosexuality? Or the way Jack raped him? Or what? They secretly just genuinely couldn’t stand each other?”

“Or Ethel secretly hated Lem.” says the other male Boomer.

“Lacey, what do you think happened?” asks the original male Boomer. “Don’t interpret Lem. Or listen to anyone else’s opinion.”

“I’m assuming you’re not implying anything insulting about my usual opinions with that. Because I’m assuming you’re not stupid. …That being clear…I don’t entirely know what to think. But if I had to come to some conclusion I think Lem loved those kids. But…he also didn’t. I wouldn’t be surprised if he believed in a brutal survival of the fittest at that point. And he thought that if a 14 was trying to get him to use heroin he could let that kid die. I think he possibly thought those kids were all potentially complete assholes, possibly not worth a damn as adults in the future. I think he possibly resented the Kennedy’s and those playful jokes about drugs he supposedly shared with the young Boomers were…subterfuge. He isn’t a clown around me ever, with the exception of when he’s very angry and hiding it. …I think in a way…he might have even been trying to actively kill those kids. Or a few of them. But that’s a horrid thought.” says Lacey.

“Why would he want to kill those kids?” asks Rocky.

“Did he see the Kennedy’s as being like hidden terrorists?” says Lacey. “Maybe not David. Maybe not JFK’s kids. But the rest of them?”

“If Jack actually raped him…and then Ethel pushed Bobby Jr. on Lem after Bobby Sr.’s death and Bobby Jr. flirted as a teenager with Lem while people planted stories about Lem supposedly being in love with Bobby Jr.? And…Lem saw their other corruption? And Lem secretly felt that they were awful people…who he’d gotten roped and trapped into having to pretend to love…and then he played dumb when Bobby tried to get him into heroin?!? While Bobby also got his siblings addicted?!? …Yeah. I could see that.” says a living lesbian. “He played dumb to let them die. Possibly thinking they’d be better off dead considering the deaths of women like Marilyn and the girls who drowned with Ted…and the girl who was paralyzed by Joe? Yeah…and the way Bobby Jr. supposedly used women right in front of Lem.”

“I think Lem might have been thinking he didn’t matter. And he could ruin his reputation to let spoiled, heartless, irresponsible kids die before becoming more dangerous adults.” says an actress.

“I never watched Bobby Jr. have sex.” says Lem.

“But you knew?” says the lesbian.

“He brought them around. And they’d go off together. But I shouldn’t have let them… Truthfully, I may have thought those women were likely scum too.” says Lem. “I’d no longer handle it that way now.”

“You thought we were scum?!?” asks a man on behalf of the kids in that family.

“I felt taken advantage of.” says Lem.

Michael arrives.

“I didn’t like a lot of people in your family.” Lem says to them.

“That’s not the way you represented it in the media.” says the translator to Lem.

“Be careful talking to me.” says Lem as a warning. “I know where the bodies were buried. …You all intimidated the hell out of me. And your family wouldn’t let me go. I was controlled and bullied. …They say your aunts were so nice. So…accepting. …The truth is I felt condescension from them constantly. They were so superior. I was lowly and nothing in their eyes? …And I felt like the fool-on-tap at every party. The hired family clown. …You kids were bratty little assholes. I didn’t hate you kids. But I didn’t love you either. …YOU CAN’T EXPECT YOUR MAMMY TO BE YOUR MOMMY YOU STUPID LITTLE FUCKERS!” Lem loses his temper. “I was being used…and you were a little shit. Why you had and have delusional beliefs otherwise…if you do…is sad.”

“Sometimes mammy’s actually loved the kids on plantations though, Lem.” says Lacey. “Like…actual black slaves.”

Lem thinks.

Lem thinks.

“I’m not a mommy. And I didn’t father those kids.” says Lem.

“So they’ll come after my kids now. Why didn’t you just kill them if you’re so tough?” asks Lacey. “Or find a way to kill the whole…fucking…family?”

Jump Around by House of Pain plays.

“They aren’t…the HILL family.” says Lacey. “Close your mouth Ethel.” Then she looks at Wobbly. “Shake that ugly ass, Shawty.”

An old Boston mayor claps his hands. Laughs.

He’s chill. So is Lacey.

“What in Heaven are you mad about?” he asks Lacey.

Lacey plays along?

“The lies.” starts Lacey. She’s being serious. “They’re heartbreaking.” She thinks. “And I can’t believe those young Kennedy women died. That’s the opposite of what I imagine God wanted.” She thinks. “And that sweet little boy too.”

“You think if they were sacrifices that I’m a murderer.” says Wobbly.

“Why do you keep surviving?” asks Lacey. She thinks. “Sometimes it’s survival of the fittest for humans and sometimes it’s survival of the fittest for what? The birds?”

“Go on?” he asks seductively.

Annoyed, “It’s simple. You seemingly try to prevent humans from going too far with nature but what if nature wants you dead?” Lacey feels the need to explain. “Like…nature wants dumb humans who will kill off other humans to speed up our extinction?”

“Then why am I alive?” he asks.

“Yeah. Maybe you’re evil. …Or…nature is using you. Or both.” says Lacey.

“Nature is using me?” he asks.

“Yeah, like…if you’re evil. And sacrificing the nicest Kennedys? Because they get in the way of nature’s plan to kill us off.” says Lacey.

He thinks. “You seriously think I’m capable of sacrificing my nieces?”

“I think you might be secretly criminally insane. It runs in your mother’s family. Doesn’t it? As much as I like them, actually. …You’ve tried to kill me? And what? You’ll try ti kill my kids next Thursday? When I’m feeling safe? …You always seem like you’re full of shit.” She thinks. “Look, you’re too short. When I thought you were good-looking I didn’t realize how short you are.” She laughs and smiles. “If you’re not evil I don’t wish you any harm. But I don’t trust you, Wobbly. Do you understand that?”

“What if he did kill Lem?” asks a demon.

“Then it’s likely he’s criminally mentally -ill.” says Lacey.

“You blame us for Saoirse’s death.” says a spiritual translator to Lacey.

“Yes. She-“ starts Lacey. Then Lacey thinks. “Well…even if she’s happier in Heaven…it’s still a genuine tragedy that she died.” She thinks more. “People aren’t supposed to go before it’s their time. …That’s NOT supposed to happen.”

“I don’t know why I’m alive, if I’m not that evil.” says Wobbly.

“Maybe you’re just evil enough. Or you close your eyes, really tight. Or both.” says Lacey.

“What do you mean by closing your eyes really tight?” asks a Wobbly.

“Maybe some people survive by ignoring things. To an astronomical degree, practically.” says Lacey. “Of course they don’t ignore everything, just the things that could kill them if they let them affect them.” She thinks. “And if you’re en league with evil then you can shut your eyes even more easily in a fallen world ruled by evil at home.”

“But doesn’t Wobbly uncover evil?” asks a Wobbly.

“Does he? Or just select kinds of evil? Possibly evil that threatens him and his interests?” asks Lacey.

“Like who?” asks a Wobbly.

“Bill Gates?” asks Lacey. “Is Bill Gates secretly en league with Putin?” She thinks. “Or maybe Bill Gates plays all sides?”

“I thought Lem loved me.” says a translator for Wobbly.

“Yeah. …I don’t know. He’s dead.” says Lacey. “But…if it is Lem…I don’t think he did.” she says kindly, but brutally. “I don’t think he hated you. But…the sense I get is that he didn’t truly protect you. And then I ask why…and what I sense from him is that he didn’t care.”

“Even if Wobbly has tried to kill you….you still care. Don’t you?” asks a translator for Ethel.

“In genuine self-defense if Wobbly tried to rape me I might play dumb and actually let him steer himself towards death. But…no, I’d still care.” says Lacey.

“Do you think he is that evil?” asks a child sex slave in the Illuminati.

“It’s unclear. You have to pray to the God of the actual Holy Bible and not let anyone tell you He’s evil.” says Lacey.

“What if Wobbly has had to rely on Democrats who take money from child slavery?” asks a hater of Lacey.

“My goodness! Where are you taking that moral conundrum?” asks Lacey. “Are you defending child sex slavery?”

“Not necessarily. I…just…think he’s not necessarily had a choice.” the female hater says.

Not necessarily?!??” Lacey responds. “Did you mean to donate atom bombs from Democrats to me or was that an accident?”

“You personally?” she asks condescendingly.

“Yes! Dozens.” says Michael Rockefeller.

Lem laughs.

“You guys are out of control!” jokes Summertime Sadness about the dead British Empire.

“Really. Those kids shouldn’t be being hurt.” says Michael. “And we’re innocent! DON’T try to even consider otherwise as it’s a lie. Unless you want the entire Democratic Party destroyed. Should they actually be guilty.”

“No, if it’s we we don’t have enough control.” says Lacey.

“Permanently!” says Lacey cheerfully.

“But…what if…Wobbly had to rely on Democrats?” asks the hater more politely.

Freak by Sub Urban is sang by Joe Jr.. He and Lacey were once soulmates. According to God? Not Joe Sr.?

“Why didn’t you just submit to a man?” asks a Christian Fundamentalist.

“There was no one back then to submit to. Who do you suggest I submit to now?” asks Lacey.

“What if she was keeping me alive?!?” asks a Saoirse.

“Should she submit to me? What if I slept with Vanny?” asks Joe Jr.. “What if I threw her down the stairs?”

“She should submit to her ex-husband? …Well…no.” the Fundamentalist says.

“He’s Jewish.” says Lacey. “Not by faith or motherhood but by paternal genetics.”

The Christian Fundamentalist laughs, embarrassed.

“Her kids are mine though, if my reasons for letting those Kennedy kids have heroin are good enough for God and she’s not Michael’s or Lou’s.” says Lem.

“Did Lacey realize we were real?” asks a real woman in the Illuminati if it exists.

“No!” yells Mr. Blue. He rolls his eyes.

“She still doesn’t truly know.” says Joe Jr..

“Every day is an adventure. …But regardless, I’m almost completely certain God exists.” says Lacey seriously.

“Well, your cousin likely shot himself in the head because of the Illuminati should it exist.” says Wobbly. “Right?”

A young man who looks like Lacey’s cousin jogs by her house in the snow.

“That’s the sense I get.” says Lacey.

“No her cousin wasn’t me but we are alike in some ways.” says JFK.

“The Illuminati did what to him?” asks a witch in the Illuminati.

“You brainwashed him subconsciously into thinking he should kill himself?” wonders Lacey. “Was he a sacrifice or what?”

He jogs. He also wonders.

“Yeah, I’m confused too.” says Louis.

“It’s still unclear?” asks an Illuminati member.

“Satan is not that powerful and we can’t read your hearts.” says Louis. “Maybe God doesn’t reveal everything.” He thinks. “Can you bother to explain?”

“Maybe the Fitzgeralds are sacrificed too often too?” asks Scott.

“I think they go after the innocent because they think Satan will accept that sacrifice.” says Lacey. “Or whatever god they worship.”

“Yeah, that’s probably why.” says someone.

“Okay…but what about science?” asks Lacey.

“My question too.” says Louis.

“Like…killing too many good genes causes extinction.” says Lacey.

“There are no objectively good genes.” says an American Democrat.

“Are you trying to defend ugly people?” asks Lacey.

“There are no ugly people.” says the American Democrat. “Everyone is beautiful.”

“How long have you all been building this case?” asks Lacey.

“Over a hundred years.” says a ghost.

“All those honorable wars.” says Lacey.

“Well…there’s no turning back now?” asks a Democrat.

“We exist.” says Lem.

The snow falls more.

“Lacey, was your cousin a Charismatic?” asks The Loudest Perfume Hater through a translator.

“Yes.” says Lacey.

“So he accidentally channeled the Illuminati?” asks Louis.

“It might be partially what happened to me.” says Lacey. “They attack anyone vulnerable but…I bet they usually are more concerned about their own safety.”

“Then why don’t they just sacrifice themselves?” asks Louis. “Isn’t that naive enough for their standards?”

“Because it’s about innocence not stupidity.” says Lacey. “And they’re sure innocence and intelligence and integrity are of God?”

A Catholic laughs. “Well…it has to be an acceptable sacrifice.”

“Why would a deity accepting human sacrifice want a good person?” asks Lacey.

“Because it’s more fit.” says a Satanist.

“And an evil human reminds them of their own weakness compared to Jesus?” asks Lacey.

“No, because evil people go to Hell?” asks a Satanist

“Because Satan is evil. And cool.” says a Satanist rolling his eyes.

“What if evil is stupid?” asks Lacey. “Even if it takes years…it’s never going to work. We’re trapped in God’s universe.”

“No! We aren’t! There’s still time!” says an atheist.

“For what? For me to be going again?” asks Lacey.

“You’re already too young!” says a Satanist to Lacey.

“True.” says Lacey. “But I can’t die yet!”

“Yeah, you think Satanism is worth shit.” says the Satanist to Lacey.

“It’s more intelligent than some things…but no. I worry I’m a Christian for the wrong reasons.” says Lace

“I empathize.” says the Sa

“So do I.” says J. D. Rockefeller.

Quiet Crowd by Patrick Watson plays.

“Do you feel irredeemable?” asks a perfume hater of Lacey.

“My can tell my kids are. And I know they need me to exist. And I believe all humans fundamentally are. But…I’m not that evil.” Lacey says. “And I get angry at God for letting the world exist. And I worry we aren’t on good terms. I worry He can’t handle my rage. Don’t tell me you relate. It’s embarrassing. And no, I’m not a narcissist.”

“Do you hate God?” asks Summertime Sadness.

“No! I just am angry. Isn’t that awful?” says Lacey.

“Why?” asks Summertime Sadness.

“Because there’s nothing to redeem!! What ever will your love-God do now?” asks Lacey.

“You still have a sinful nature though?” asks a Fundamentalist.

“You mean, I’m stupid?!? Yeah, every once in a while I have to ask God to forgive me.” says Lacey. “But unless I’m profoundly evil, and if that defies all Godly human logic, which is logic, it’s unlikely…there’s not much I do wrong.”

“You’re not stupid though? Not really!” says Summertime Sadness.

“No, I can be.” says Lacey.

“So you think you need God?” asks Summertime Sadness.

“Yes! But what if God is English?” asks a ghost.

“My idea of what it means to be English?” asks Lacey.

“Yes!” says Pat Wilson.

“Then I suppose He’ll understand my impudence. My concern.” says Lacey. “He’s not an idiot.” She thinks. “I’d rather not go to Hell. But that’s His choice. I’ll take my honest results.”

“Do you think He’d send you to Hell?” asks a perfume hater.

“Everyone hates me so much. And always have. I’m molested and bullied. Lem is supposedly gay. Jack can do whatever he wants. Joe sleeps with Pat Wilson behind my back. …The Illuminati attacks me. I get thrown down the stairs by an entity…and that’s when I start to think God has a sense of humor.” says Lacey.

“Why?” asks an Englishwoman.

“Because it’s not clearly labeled Hell here. It’s seemingly just Earth. And…atheism scares me more than Hell. God is so perfect Hell makes sense. Atheism is what’s awful. …Because it’s one thing to be a rational person…and it’s quite another to actually face the idea that I’ll never be happy for eternity.” She thinks. “I’d be happy in Hell despite Hell simply because it’d prove God exists, which could be a problem for Him. But…I fell down the stairs. And lights flicker. And weird things happen to me. And it’s delightful.”

Some witches relate. And at that Lacey’s door moves a bit on its own.

“Do you think you’re going to Hell?” asks a perfume hater.

“I hope not. I beg not to almost daily maybe, in Christ’s name. But…it does anger me that God doesn’t see why witches might innocently do what they do. So many child sex slaves become witches. …Does God understand that? Where’s His accountability to Himself?!?” asks Lacey. “Or is that not the right way to phrase that?!? What’s perfect for my stupid brain to say perfectly?!?”

“What if God is English?” asks an English witch.

“Can I be honest? Oh, I suppose He already knows? …Then why am I going to Hell? He shouldn’t be angry. Right?” asks Lacey calmly.

“You don’t think the English would send you to Hell but you think everyone else would?” asks an actress.

“Not in the past.” says Lacey. “I have no idea why. I wish I did. But my gut sense is that they’d understand my confusion and possibly decide I’m just…overreacting.” She thinks. “Maybe make me sit and repent somehow.”

“For doing what?” asks Lem.

“That’s troubling. There’s not much I haven’t asked for forgiveness for.” says Lacey. “Possibly nothing.”

“You don’t submit to my dick.” says Summertime Sadness in his spirit to Lacey. He’s being serious.

“How would I submit to your penis?” asks Lacey of Summertime Sadness seriously.

“Because…I am heavy metal.” he says in his spirit?

Alien Blues by Vundabar plays.

“But we never dated. You kind of don’t even seem that interested.” says Lacey.

“Yeah. But then every time you pay attention to me I get noticeably excited like…answering all your questions in my lives, and your messages. And inviting you to my lives after you tell me you find me attractive. …Hey, maybe I’ve noticed you!” he says.

“Stuff like that. True. …But you get lots of attention. And…you seem to not like me.” says Lacey.

“Like, dislike you as a person?” he asks.

“Yes? Right?” asks Lacey.

“Hmm.” He thinks.

“See! Right there. That’s not a good response.” says Lacey. “I mean it’s a fine response if you don’t like me. But it’s not an affirmative response if you do.”

He thinks. “Yeah, I see what you’re saying.”

“So you dislike me as a person?” asks Lacey.

He smiles. Thinks.

“Exactly!” she says.

“Would you ever kill yourself I said I didn’t?” he says.

“No! Absolutely not. Are you hoping I would?” Lacey asks half amused.

The demons that attack and use him silence him. He stumbles.

“Why would you get so sad over Lem then?” he asks instead of responding.

“Because I felt his supposed ghost really and truly might love me.” says Lacey. “He had brought me so much hope. I’ve never been that hopeful about you. Although you did hurt me. But…it was…mild, comparatively.”

“You know God loves you, right?” he asks Lacey.

“Oh shut-up you vile spirit!” Lacey says to the demon she feels is attacking her through him. “That’s shitty timing. You hate me, Summertume Sadness, don’t you? You ego-maniacal sociopath?”

“I’m not an ego-maniacal sociopath.” says Summertime Sadness.

“Then why are you in possession of Christ’s love like food? And you’re rationing it out to me to torment me? Or you’re trying to insult my intelligence?” asks Lacey.

“Because all believers should really know Christ loves them or they’re retarded?” he asks.

“Oh wow! You think she’s retarded?” asks Louis.

Summertime Sadness fumes.

“No! It’s not that.” he says. “I don’t think all Christians know God loves them.”

“I think most do. It’s repeated often.” says Lacey. “And it has been for a long time now.”

“Why don’t you answer her question? Why accuse her of thinking Christians are retarded?” asks Michael.

“He’s too busy being right.” says Lem.

“Or no, you think I’m hiding my stupidity? And secretly think God doesn’t love me? But I’m too afraid to admit it because I’m a big jerk who’s conceited and just needs to be put in my place?” asks Lacey. “You are exactly like almost every man alive I’ve ever met and had a crush on. You find it repulsive? Why? Am I your grandma in your subconscious? And if so, how the fuck was I supposed to know that you mean bitch?”

“Lacey…even if you could be my grandmother….I still think you’re pretty.” says Wobbly jokingly.

“I’m only 39!” says Lacey. “Thank-you, Wobbly. No, thank-you, but thank-you. I’m not your grandma of course.” She thinks. “But thank-you, no thank-you.”

“She could also be Lem’s wife.” says Lem.

“So what of it?” asks a Liberal journalist of Summertime Sadness.

“I don’t hate you!” says Summertime Sadness to Lacey.

“I still wonder if you secretly do. But alright?” Lacey says to Summertime Sadness.

“Why am I trying to get you to submit to me?” he wonders.

“Do you think all women should?” asks Lacey.

Nobody by Mitski plays.

“Yes! But…not in this way.” he says.

“Like a wife?” asks Lacey.

“Yeah, probably.” he says sadly.

“Why me? Why am I your wife? Doesn’t that seem psychotic to you?” asks Lacey. “But…I’m sorry you don’t have a wife.”

You’re sorry I don’t have a wife?” he asks.

“I think you need one. For your own good. Being lonely in that way is miserable.” says Lacey.

He laughs. Nods.

“What’s so funny?” asks Lacey.

“You’re miserable.” he says.

“So you don’t hate me but you’re laughing at my profound misery? And you want me to submit to you like I’m your wife?” asks Lacey.

“You’re not getting it!” he says.

“Am I supposed to submit to you as a wife and believe you?” asks Lacey.

“No!! No! I’m not psychotic.” he says.

“How in the world did you frame me in your mind as a wife?” asks Lacey.

“I had a minor crush on you.” he says. He shrugs.

Lemon Glow by Beach House plays.Lacey thinks.

If Lem is a ghost…who loves her…or Louis or Michael…there’s nothing normal about it. She cries. What if Wobbly doesn’t hate her? What if? If Lem let him use at all, and he did, it’s grim regardless. It’s unthinkable, actually. Because why doesn’t Wobbly hate her? …And she wasn’t there to stop anything. Self-defense or not she wasn’t there. And one of the worst things possible happened.

“So…you had a minor crush on me? I’m sorry you didn’t get much happiness from that?” asks Lacey.

He laughs. “I did. I could tell you liked me.”

“That’s good.” says Lacey. “So…how do you feel about it now?”

He grows quiet. Almost cries. “You know what?!? You’re-you’re still confused.”

“How do you feel about it now?” she asks.

“About what?!?” he asks.

“About your feelings? About the experience as a whole?” asks Lacey.

“Fine!” he says.

“Then why were you just almost crying?” asks Lacey.

“I just feel like we have something unresolved between us.” he says.

“Okay. So you had feelings or have them? Or what are you hinting at so passively?” asks Lacey.

“Passively?!?” he asks.

“What?!?” asks Lacey.

He looks embarrassed.

“Okay, I’m being passive.” he says.

“So you still do have feelings?” asks Lacey.

“Yes!” he says smiling.

“And you just lied about it.” says Lacey.

He looks serious.

“That’s disturbing that you felt the need to lie about it.” she says.

He looks stunned. Blinks.

“Well…do you think you’ll do anything about it?” she asks.

“Do you know that God loves you?” he asks Lacey.

Michael Rockefeller and Lacey sit alone in the cool of a hot July night. In their Jeep. In the woods. The headlights turned on into the trees.

In Ear Park by Department of Eagles plays.

The song plays. Michael shifts in the driver’s seat. Rests his weight on the wheel.

“Do I know God loves me?” Lacey asks aloud.

Michael laughs. Leans over, kisses Lacey softly but quickly. Then leans back against his rolled-up window.

“Michael, do I know God loves me?” asks Lacey.

He glares at her. “Don’t talk to him!”

“He’s alive. And I’m trying to help him.” says Lacey.

“Yeah, you do and don’t know. I’m not sure you think anyone can love you. I think I’m the closest to God you can go for now.” says Michael.

“I can manage to feel a tiny bit loved by you.” says Lacey.

“Mmm.” he says nodding his head.

“It’s staggering.” says Lacey.

“What’s staggering?!?” asks Lem suddenly in the back seat.

“How much everything is bad. How much people hate me. It’s…all so staggering.” says Lacey.

In Ear Park plays again.

Lem decides to listen to Michael and Lacey.

“It’s staggering, Michael.” says Lacey.

“No, nobody hates you!” says Michael sarcastically.

“It feels like they do. But I worry they’re rejecting someone who doesn’t even exist.” says Lacey.

“You’re right. They are.” says Lem.

“Michael, who am I? I feel like I’m losing track of realty and it scares me. Not really. But enough to bother me. But maybe not any more than I already had in childhood.” says Lacey.

“Do you still love me?” asks Lem.

“Lem, stop!!” Michael Rockefeller yells, losing his temper. “Do you love her?!?”

“Yes!!” says Lem.

Michael rolls his eyes.

“What do you think, Lem?” asks Lacey.

“Yes.” he says. “But I haven’t trusted that part of myself for a while.”

“Well that part of you is right.” says Lacey.

Lem leans back against the backseat, “What are you doing talking to that young man?!?”

“I’m trying to be genuinely helpful. And I’m curious.” says Lacey. “And I worry I’m losing my mind. I worry you’re an illusion. And when I die I’ll never see you again. …I’m trying to be sane and…most importantly Godly.”

“Then why are you talking to him?!?” asks Lem. Almost manifesting on her bed. Michael watches glaring.

“He doesn’t know how to pursue you.” says Michael.

“Really?!” asks Lacey.

“He’s not like us. He’s not shy. But…he’s not like us.” says Michael.

“Sexually daring Christians?” Lacey asks Michael jokingly.

“Yes, like us.” says Lem.

“Lacey I can’t stand it!!” says Michael. Her phone almost flies out of her hands. She feels his presence so strongly. “I love you!!” She listens. He sinks into her eyes, tenderly. “I could kill you right now, but I won’t. The kids matter through all of the pain for me too.“

“Lem, I’m sorry.” she says.

“I’m sorry Saoirse died.” says Lem to start apologizing somewhere.

“Whatever you contributed to that I hear your apology. …Or are you being cruel?” she asks.

“No, I’m not being cruel.” he says. “It just really bothers you. Especially today!”

“Summertime Sadness did you plan to just get over me then?“ asks Lacey.

“Yeah? I guess?” he says.

“Do you have other prospects?” asks Lacey.

He smiles. “Yes!”

“Good.” says Lacey.

“Hey I do too!” says Lord Thirsten Snotgrass.

“Do you really?” asks Michael.

“Yup!! I do.” he says.

“Where did you meet them?” asks Lacey.

“In a park somewhere.” he says.

“My goodness!” says Lem. “We all hope that wasn’t a joke.”

“What park?” asks Lacey hopefully.

“No, I met her online.” he says.

“So that was a joke about heroin or homosexual activity?” asks Lacey.

“Yes. She’s very pretty.” he says.

“Your boyfriend is pretty? Or you’re becoming a drug addict and you’re being coy about it for the laughs?” asks Lacey.

“Well I certainly got over you!” says Lord Thirsten Snotgrass.

“Through heroin or men? Or is there a woman involved?” asks Lem.

“You know Thirsten…we’ve had actual sex with Lacey. You only talked with her on the phone. …And no sexual conversation was clear. You both merely admitted an attraction and interest. …If we’re ghosts, it’s not that your feelings don’t matter but these are circumstances where you hurt us.” says Michael.

“I was never told about you.” says Lord Thirsten Snotgrass.

“What was she supposed to say? Think about it.” says Lem. “She couldn’t tell you.” He thinks. “Was she supposed to tell you there were other men? She isn’t sure we exist. We’re ghosts.” He laughs. “Or we should be? Or we are?”

Gnossiennes (6), For Piano by Erik Satie plays.

“I want to give her a heart attack at my grave. As proof of my love for her.” says Lem. “In the snow.”

“And I want her to die in Saint Paul. From old age. All of a sudden. Like a lighting bolt hits her out of Heaven.” says Michael.

“I’m hoping for North Oaks.“ says Louis. “In her sleep.”

“Where would you like your…person…to die?” asks Lem of Lord Thirsten Snotgrass.

“In Minnesota next to me.” he says.

“Dead or alive?” asks Lacey.

“Are these the kind of men who pursue you?” asks the perfume community of Lacey.

“Yes! Alive. This is about as good as it’s gotten. Her whole life.” says Lem.

“They’re dry as dirt!” says the perfume hater.

“I’m actually an Oxford graduate and esteemed professor!” says Lord Thirsten Snotgrass. “Alive, by the way.”

“I’m famous on Tik Tok and I have following in the Christian community. I’m kind of a big deal.” says Summertime Sadness.

“So…we’d hate her more if she married one of you. Ironically.” says The Loudest Perfume Hater.

“Do they-Do you even love her?!? …At all?!?” asks a perfume hater.

“Don’t commit suicide but don’t assume you’re a fool for wanting to!” Lacey says to suicide cases she hears possibly.

“Umm…I don’t…love her. But…I did really like her. And I don’t step outside of God’s will for me as He reveals it to me.” says Summertime Sadness.

“I love her?” Lord Thirsten Snotgrass laughs. “I think you are…right.”

“So you love her?” asks a perfume hater of Lord Thirsten Snotgrass.

“Yes! He does!!” says The Loudest Perfume Hater seriously.

“I feel a lot.” says Lord Thirsten Snotgrass.

“Like what?!” asks the perfume hater of Lord Thirsten Snotgrass.

“Joy. Hope. Reverence for God. …I worry about climate change. I…cry when children die. I fight for intellectual freedom and integrity. I’m a very smart man.” says Lord Thirsten Snotgrass.

“But you don’t love Lacey and never did.” says the perfume hater.

“What?” asks Lord Thirsten Snotgrass.

“I said, ‘You never loved Lacey?’” says the perfume hater.

“What? I’m not sure what-“ says Lord Thirsten Snotgrass.

“Who’s Lacey?” The Loudest Perfume Hater sand Lord Thirsten Snotgrass.

“Mm. Lacey. Oh yes, that is our topic. Huh. What are we driving at?” he asks.

“Did you ever fuck her?!?” asks a Boomer.

“Did I ever fuck her?!? No. We never even met in person. It was all chatting online and phone conversations.” he responds.

“I can’t believe that!” says The Loudest Perfume Hater.

“That’s all it honestly was. She was a dud. Not dude. She was a waste of time.” says Lord Thirsten Snotgrass.

“So you didn’t love her?!?” asks the perfume hater.

“Did I?!?” he asks.

“I don’t know. You should know. Those are your feelings.” says a perfume hater.

We’ve Got It by Cults plays.

“I do! I love her! Maybe. No, she’s too smart. And sexy. Way too sexy. That’s work. And I’m too old and…I’ve got reasons. I eat toast! …I love sex? No. I’m the sexy one. Good Lord am I sexy. I get told that all that time. …I do…fine. Don’t tell me she’s in love with me?!? …No, I’m better than that. I win troubles. Always!” says Lord Thirsten Snotgrass.

“So you don’t want her in love with you?” asks Summertime Sadness.

“No. Neither do you!” says Lord Thirsten Snotgrass.

“Oh! Right!” says Summertime Sadness.

“Say, why not?” Katharine Hepburn asks them both.

“She’s Joe Kennedy Jr.’s wife. Or no! Lem loves her. Or was it Michael?” asks Lord Thirsten Snotgrass, considering it all.

“They told you that in your head?” asks Katharine Hepburn.

“Who are you?” asks Lord Thirsten Snotgrass.

“Maybe we’ll meet sometime in Heaven. Say, they were telling you this?” asks Katharine.

“Who are you?!??” asks Lord Thirsten Snotgrass.

“Why?!” asks Katharine.

“You sound nice. Like my mom.” says Lord Thirsten Snotgrass.

“I like trucks!” says Summertime Sadness. “And other women.”

“So you’re both over me?” asks Lacey. “And you’re both adults. Remember?”

“No! But we have to be or we’ll get beat-up and killed in our sleep.” says Summertime Sadness. “But it’s all good. I’m a nice man. Very handsome! …Trucks really are still cool!”

“But you’re both adults.” says Lacey. “You’re not children?”

“No. We are adults. But…trucks.” says Summertime Sadness.

“Yeah! Trucks are cool. They go vroom!” says Joe Jr..

“And then sometimes they honk! And make a really loud noise.” says Lord Thirsten Snotgrass joyfully.

A train whistle sounds in Saint Paul and Lacey can hear it. It’s comforting.

“Don’t go vroom!” says Summertime Sadness to Joe Jr..

“Why ever not?” asks Joe.

“It’s not a good day for travel!” says Summertime Sadness.

“Oh! You’ve read about my death?!” asks Joe.

“No. But I worry. I worry about dogs too. And lots of things.” says Summertime Sadness.

“You seem nice!” says Joe.

“I am!! I won’t steal Lacey! Don’t worry!!!” says Summertime Sadness. “She’s like my mom? Fine. I didn’t know.”

“Listen, it’s me and Lacey.” says Michael. “Not Joe. It might be Lem. But don’t worry either way, she’ll be fine without your trucks and such.”

“Yeah, okay.” says Summertime Sadness.

“Lacey and I!” says Lord Thirsten Snotgrass. “No! Lacey and me!”

Lacey hears possible ghostly footsteps. It’s comforting. She rebukes demons. Prays.

“Lem, please don’t let me miss you. Michael you deserve love. Louis…you’re glorious. Joe…you are grand. Harold…be truly happy.” she says as she goes to bed. “Thank you, Scott.”