TWIN PEAKS: FIRE WALK WITH ME (1992), a David Lynch film, is a prequel—and may be read as a prologue and epilogue—to the television series Twin Peaks (1990-91).
12/08/09 | Film

Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me

by Blake Butler

David Lynch is eating breakfast in bed. He is eating Oreos by twisting the top off of each cookie and scraping the white icing out of the center with his finger. He transfers the icing to the headboard of the bed where it sticks and globs together. It is mushed in corners, smeared on wood. He plans to eat the icing later, all at once, so he can fill his entire mouth.

David Lynch is tired. The blood in his legs is getting old. When he closes his eyes, he sees trees on fire. He does not want to have to think.

Some of the icing is coming loose and falling between the headboard and the mattress or getting gummed into the sheets. David Lynch is concentrating on the crackle of the cookie, the crunch against his tongue.

When he fits the whole husk of a full black cookie edge-up against the roof of his mouth, he can remember things he didn’t know that he remembered. He remembers a girl with a firm handshake. He remembers saw teeth against glass.

Beside him in the bed I am sleeping with my mouth open. I am wearing a blonde bouffant wig, lipstick and rouge. I have been sleeping a long time. I flip and wriggle and tug the sheets off of David Lynch’s legs. He has on dark blue socks with garters. He has something unintelligible scribbled on his right knee.

Above the bed is a chandelier.

The chandelier is affixed to the ceiling, and in the ceiling there is a crack. By following the crack with one’s eye, one can see that it perfectly bisects the bedroom. The crack is ended only by the wall, as if suggesting that it continues elsewhere.

David Lynch crunches the Oreos with his mouth open. He smacks his lips and tongue against his palate. The sound does not stir my sleeping. There is gauze stuffed in my ears. The gauze is bloody, gunked with black.

I am talking in my sleep, though not quite loud enough to be understood.

Finished with one row of Oreos, David Lynch stands up over the bed and begins to do deep knee bends. Each time he stands fully, he bumps his head against the chandelier. Each time the chandelier stirs, the crack in the ceiling tickles open a little further. Plaster dust rains into the bed sheets. It intermingles with the cookie crumbs. David Lynch begins to sing. He sings: At last, my love has come along, my lonely days are over, and life is like a song. His voice is strong and enthusiastic. His brow is furrowed. He is excited. He exercises more vigorously, while continuing to disturb the lighting fixture. A small wound develops in his hair. Blood runs down his forehead; the same color as my blood. It drips down his face onto his nightclothes—blue silk boxers, a wife-beater, a dead corsage. It drips on the mattress. It drips on me.

Though still asleep, I begin to sing along. I sing in harmony, taking the higher key.

The ceiling begins to crackle.

David Lynch is sweating. His fists are clenched. He deep-knee bends so hard it shakes the bed. The frame begins to groan. It sounds briefly like a woman. The bedroom door comes open.

A white horse enters. It comes in only far enough to show its head. It stands in the doorframe looking. It reveals its gums and whinnies. It shakes its hair. The hair has bugs.

The horse moves slightly further into the room revealing a small man on the horse’s back. He is riding without a saddle, facing backwards, face concealed. He has on a cowboy hat and bright spurs and a long scar on his neck. He spits on the carpet. He lights a cigar and puts the match out on his tongue. He begins to sing. He takes the lower harmony with our sing-song. His voice is beautiful, like a woman’s. It makes the whole room seem to quiver.

The main crack in the ceiling has now split into several other minor cracks. It has spread over the whole room. The feet of chairs and sofa and coffee tables can be seen poking through the plaster. The chandelier is hanging lower, with its wires gone loose. The lighting flickers. It hisses, pops. The glass arms of the fixture rest against David Lynch’s back, making him stoop.

David Lynch puts a piece of sugar-free peppermint gum in his singing mouth.

I am asleep. I am dreaming of summer. I am in a swimming pool up to my neck. I sip from a glass of iced tea and shave my mustache with a straight razor, both hands full. There are several children in the pool kicking. They kick so hard it’s like the pool’s a boil.

I have an Oreo in my mouth, soft and runny, sucked wet with saliva and great need.

The room is raining dust now. The bed is covered under. The pile slowly builds until I am also covered under.

The horse’s eyes are bright blue.

David Lynch continues deep knee bending. He shakes and grins and groans. He chews the gum so rough his teeth go loose and begin to fall out of his mouth. With each loss he begins to shake a little harder, spasms, until he can’t control his arms. He can’t control his eyes or fingers. The ceiling has sunk down several feet. He stoops further and continues shaking. Blood is running from his lips and nose. It pours out of him like a faucet. The sweat beads in his hair.

The ceiling is so low now in the doorframe that the horse has to lie down. It rolls onto its side with the cowboy still position on its back. It crushes the cowboy’s right leg. The bones break loudly, popping, spraying dust. The cowboy doesn’t scream. He has already smoked the cigar down to a stump. He continues to smoke until he burns his fingers. His lips. His tongue. He and the horse gently wriggle on the floor.

The dust is pouring in so fast now that soon the horse and cowboy are also buried. David Lynch is up to his waist. He is still singing the same song. Under the dust, you can still hear both muffled harmonies. The chandelier is ripping holes in his back. The dust is piling higher. The ceiling is still sinking.

He blows a bubble with the sugar-free gum. Inside the bubble there is blood. Inside the bubble there are bits of Oreo cookie. There are teeth. There is the song.

David Lynch blows more air into the bubble. The pink bubble grows and grows and does not pop. He blows the bubble bigger. He blows until there is no room left to blow. The bulbs in the chandelier glow faintly through the pink film until they are crushed and sputter out.

In the darkness, there is a voice. It is the horse, speaking in horse tongue. The language is transmitted in subtitles, small white text on pure black: Oh, at last, the stars above are blue. My heart was wrapped up in clover, the night I looked at you. I found a dream that I can speak to. A dream that I can call my own. I found a thrill to press my cheek to, a thrill that I have never known.