Blueberries

Lacey fell for a man in his mid 20’s. Then she became fascinated by a man in his 50’s. *sigh* Neither were a good match, seemingly.

The first was only mildly interested in her, if at all.

The second was interested but was a terrible match personality-wise.

At first both seemed promising. But then slowly the more they talked or as time went on it became increasingly obvious that there were problems. Lack of interest or lack of commonality.

Lack of commonality? Yes. The older man was…very intelligent but unable to either express empathy when Lacey needed it most or lacked a true grasp of her inner being.

“Is that because Lacey is Jack Kennedy reincarnated?!” asks Mr. Buckley humorously.

“Actually, he’d probably have understood me better if I was.” says Lacey.

“Oh yes! Far better!” he responds.

Quiet.

“That man had no idea who you were or are. At all. He just saw a pretty face and let his mind and heart wander.”

“I think I looked like his type.” says Lacey.

“You aren’t his type.” says Lem. “Not really.”

“Physically, otherwise or both?” asks Lacey.

“All of thee above.” says Lem.

“Really?!” asks Lacey.

“Your beauty would have felt…too gourmet to him after a while.” says Lem.

“Gourmet. That’s a very evocative word.” says Lacey.

“She’s right. It sounds snobby.” says Mr. Buckley to Lem.

Lem laughs. “Some men really do genuinely prefer a good pizza to the best of France.”

“And I’m not pizza?” clarifies Lacey.

Mr. Buckley laughs.

“No. You could be a hearty stew with ale in a pub but you’re not pizza.” says Joe Jr..

“But pizza is a very tasty snack. What do I offer in regard to snacks?” Lacey asks.

Joe laughs.

“French beef stew is a terrible snack.” says Lacey.

Louis laughs now.

“Gourmet gummy worms, licorice, and all other sorts of classic, strictly made, candy.” says Louis.

The men nod in agreement.

“And the best cheese and crackers.” Louis nods as he says it.

“Tons of brilliant wine. Champagne.” says Mr. Buckley. “Truly great Champagne.”

“Fruit!” says Joe Jr.. “Fresh fruit.”

“Kiwi slices that aren’t offensive.” says Lem.

“And…ice cream.” says Mr. Buckley.

“But nothing gooey and warm?” asks Lacey. “Nothing as satisfying or happy or soothing as pizza?”

“Not pizza.” says Mr. Buckley.

“What then?” asks Lacey.

Silence.

“I had no idea how attached to pizza 21st Century culture has become.” says Mr. Buckley. He erupts in laughter.

“I think you’re gooey and satisfying like pizza but you’re pizza. You’re a more pizza-like version of soupe de l’oignon.” says Michael. “You’re not inaccessible.”

A woman laughs.

“What?” asks Michael.

“It’s just that we’re dead.” says Mr. Buckley.

“And someday she will be too.” says Lem.

“Yes, Lem. How exciting. But in the meantime she’s alive.” says Louis, slightly upset.

“I wouldn’t want pizza on certain occasions though.” says Joe Jr..

Michael laughs.

“What?” asks Joe.

Michael sighs. “Are you thinking of when you fought?”

Joe glares while smiling at Michael. “Of course!”

Michael sighs. “Actually, I can’t imagine wanting pizza in the jungle either.”

“Anyhow. It’s time for you to find out who you belong to, Lacey.” says Harold Loeb.

“We’ve decided on Jack.” says David in poor taste as a joke he instantly regrets telling.

“She thinks of me as her brother or something like it. It’s like suggesting she’s on her way to eternal Hell. Not funny!” says Jack.

“Anyway, we’ve decided on Lem.” says David McCullough.

“Except, it’s like a road and if he swerves off to the side too far he’ll be better off turning and loving some other woman.” says Michael.

Silence.

“I ruined my life.” says Lem.

“And I’m prepared. Because then it’s just you and me.” says Michael. “For eternity.

Silence.

“I’m trying to accept reality. But it’s excruciating.” says Lem.

“But she wasn’t there.” says Mr. Buckley.

“And men really aren’t better than women.” says Louis.

“Are men pizza?” asks Lacey.

“No! Steak.” says Michael. “Or maybe sometimes pizza…”

Silence.

“What would we be? Just to make sure we have this all figured out correctly.” requests Michael at his father’s suggestion.

“Start with me.” says Louis.

“Louis is the perfect Champagne served chilled with oysters from the Pacific of the 1800’s and impeccably ripe lemon wedges. An authentic Italian pasta dish made in the 1920’s by a genius. Any sort of dessert. But only the best.” says Lacey. “Warm gingerbread and fresh, cold milk.”

Silence.

Jerome laughs.

“Joe is exquisite New England Clam Chowder. Lobster. A gin and tonic made in 1930’s Berlin. Mint chocolate chip ice cream. Espresso. Peanut butter. Oreos and milk. Diner scrambled eggs with hot sauce and a side of bacon. Tomatoes. Fresh squeezed orange juice. Sparkling water.”

Quiet.

“Elliott is a four course meal made by a quality, experienced, gifted chef. At a table. With family and fronds. Where you don’t have to think. And you can just sit and be confused and feel safe, pondering.”

Sighs.

“Lem is…air.” says Lacey.

“I know. Doesn’t mean he can’t offer something better.” says Mr. Buckley.

Michael and Harold grow concerned.

“What about me?!” asks Michael.

“I’m dirt. I offer you dirt.” says Lem.

“But that’s not who you are.” says Lacey.

“I’m?” asks Michael.

“You’re…fresh fish. Baked. Breaded. Lemon. Scallop potatoes. Peas with bacon? A mountain spring in the 1800’s for water. Authentic French bread. Snails. Oysters. Key Lime Pie. Pecan pie? Lasagna. Mexican…” Lacey looks stunned and trails off for a moment. “Pizza. Hot dogs and iced soda. Popcorn…”. She thinks.

“And you’re so satisfying all I need to offer is dirt.” says Lem.

“That’s not how it works, and you know that.” says Lacey. “Every adult gets hungry.”

“Well, I can guarantee you I’m a good Eggs Benedict.” says Lem. “With Earl Grey, fresh squeezed grapefruit juice, and an eclair with espresso later.”

Silence.

“That’s not funny.” says Lacey, confused.

“But there’s always a ginger cookie with milk and ice skating. Or Mexican and Netflix and chill. Or possibly slightly burnt peas and pork chops with the Roosevelts.” says Louis. He laughs.

“Young” by Vacations plays.

“That’s not good enough.” says Lacey.

“No, it’s not. And I’m telling you it’s Lem.” says Elliott. “And Michael, potentially.”

And that’s when Lacey realized she was talking to the dead.

Documentary

In 2008 I saw David McCullough lecture at my college. I was impressed by his obvious innate brilliance.

Lacey sits with Lem.

“So you’re going to let David McCullough and God and Tom and Thelma decide who you should consider as your steady?” asks Lem of Lacey.

“Yes. And Reta. And Carole. And a few others, if they’re interested.” says Lacey.

“Oh! They’re very interested.” says Rocky.

“You’re terrified. Understandably. But you trust David McCullough to talk with all of us and sort it out with God?” asks Louis, smiling.

“Yes.” says Lacey.

“We don’t get along.” says Joe Jr. about him and David McCullough.

“Really?” asks Lacey, surprised.

“Yes. He may be the reason we started talking.” says Lem to Lacey.

“Oh! Why didn’t you talk to me own your own?!” asks Lacey.

Lem cries. Bites his lip.

“I was too ashamed of my disgusting life.” says Lem.

David McCullough nods.

“It’ll be great fun!” says Elliott Roosevelt half jokingly.

“I still like him for you.” says David McCullough.

“Sorry!” says Elliott.

Mr. McCullough laughs.

“I’ll offer my assistance too, when appropriate.” adds Nora.

“But! We get a lot of say.” says Tom.

Lem looks worried. Then he smiles. Mr. McCullough looks grave. Grace Kelly laughs.

“I’ll take up for Lem a little if necessary.” says her father. “I feel like I too could be that dim.”

“Really?!” asks Grace.

“You have no idea just how foolish I was at times in my youth.” says George.