20. "The Black Widow"

"Happy, oh, happy those who have no children, or who do not love them! They at least have no fear of being deceived, since their heart is closed to all that surrounds them."

- Vitalie Rimbaud to son Arthur, letter, Oct. 10, 1885

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by Edward Lacie

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Episode Twenty

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Theme music, blah, blah.

"I'm about half-way through with re-watching 'Twin Peaks'," I noted here in the first draft. Wrong. I'm two-thirds of the way through.

Rimbaud, blah, blah.

Leland is dead. Bob has relocated but we don't know to where. Ben is crazy after having been charged with the murder Leland committed. Cooper has only glimpsed the White Lodge in a clearing in the forest.

Son of Sam did not act alone, blah, blah.

Or was it the Black Lodge? It's the clearing where the Major disappeared.

Poverty, blah, blah.

I want time to stand still. Good or bad, I want time to stand still. The depths keep getting deeper. Are the heights likewise getting higher?

Christmas, blah, blah.

The week before Christmas, 2002, the following appeared in Bulletin Board. Background: a week or so before, a contributor had told a story of seeing a mother scold a child in a mall. Further background: "This ain't butterin' no parsnips" is a recurring topic of discussion in BB, misspoken words and phrases from, usually, childhood or inter-family use only (I'd call them "familyisms").

"What is wrong with people? (responsorial) including: This ain't butterin' no parsnips!

"Tuesday e-mail: 

"Reading today's BB, I remembered (after trying for weeks and failing) the 'family-ism' of my best friend's wife's family that I enjoyed. I think I thought it poetic without analyzing why. Today's BB ties it all together: 

"Rather than 'embarrassed,' they would become 'embraced.' The first few times I heard my friend and his wife use the term in conversation in my presence, it would always cause a sort of mental double-take: 'I was so embraced!' 

"The mother described in another anecdote in today's BB could have, sadly, been my mother. I don't know that I've really gotten over the times, 40 years ago now, when I was a child and she would rant in public, usually with the intent of 'teaching' my sister or me or both what we'd done wrong at that place and time which she disapproved of. There was a childish sense that everyone around (and it seemed like millions sometimes) knew they'd like to step in, at least say something, like the anonymous Lady in the Santa Hat, but none could or would and were right not to. It would have done little or no good. Less a shame than an embarrassment; the memory that comes back is of being embarrassed. I think how better it would have been to be 'embraced' instead. 

"I'm now reminded of my recent 'theory of dysfunction,' because the fact that Mom was 'allowed' her tantrums and no one would say anything about it was another of that type of dysfunction. My theory (to quote Ann Elk in an uproarious Monty Python sketch) is as follows ('and what it is, too'): 

"A dysfunctional relationship results when the parties involved (from two to two million [or more, in the case of Mao]) accept as truth something unspoken between them, with the rule that it not be spoken of. Whether the belief is true or not is irrelevant. 

"In the case of The Emperor With No Clothes, the kingdom was dysfunctional because of an untruth. In a job I held for a brief time years ago, the company was dysfunctional because of an untruth ('Supervisor A[nonymous] is God'). (Because I could not join in that dysfunctionality, the group [Supervisor A, to be precise] found a way to expel me.) In dysfunctional relationships I've had in the past, the same has always been true: There was something that both of us knew we couldn't broach because it would 'pop the bubble.' 

"If there is a point, it would have to be what a disruptive force not addressing something is. I'm sure dishonesty leads to dysfunction as well, but it's avoidance that seems to be the common element, the root of dysfunctionality. There's a word you gotta love! 

"And the other point was one to mothers (and fathers, of course, but because of our mixed-up society's view of gender roles, it's most often the mother): Empathize with your children! What you do in their 5-year-old eyes stays in 50-year-old minds. The saying 'Children don't forget' becomes 'Nobody forgets.' You'll always be able to remember your mother; it's up to the mother to decide how to be remembered. 

"Pedantically yours and, as ever, wishing you well, 

"Poet X of PDX" 

(He has posted this to his cumulative BB collection at: http://members.tripod.com/~poetx/prose/dysf.html.)

Had I been able to freeze time before Shannon Dougherty appeared in "Twin Peaks", I could have avoided the many references to those SNL (Saturday Night Live) performers who have since died: Gilda Radner, John Belushi, John Candy, Chris Farley, Phil Hartman, and if, by extension, I could avoid mention of those, I could avoid mention of others still alive today.

"Steven Spielberg's 'Taken'" is over, the last episode having aired.
I can't. Unlike the what can be done to the videocassette, I can't stop time, can't rewind. Only one in the other room dreaming can do this, reliving at least his own life from birth to un-yet-realized death. We die each night. We're born again each morning.

I can avoid my decision for now and when I wake tomorrow, reborn, I'll have learned what to do. Maybe not, too. Maybe tomorrow I'll think that the next day is the day I'll know what to do.

The military think UFOs have taken the Major. The White Lodge is "classified information." I'll bet they say the same thing in North Dakota about Son of Sam.

"Implications so big the Cold War seems like a case of the sniffles," is how the Major describes the information.

I don't want to be dead, but dreaming. The remembered rhythm of writing was nice to have had but the Son of Sam made sure to burn that out of my mind.

"He's a poet," Pete says. Josie returns with an apron on, groveling to Katherine. I've been Josie too long.

If I wrote poetry, I'd write: "His venal sloth. My interest in corpses, mummies made of words instead of gold. Having a vocabulary did this to him. Cut off his tongue!"

Audrey meets her first transvestite, Denise (Dennis?) Fox? 

(First draft notes include a warning about using the pages of the journal for the metaphor ["I must remember to keep my allegory to 'Twin Peaks' which I can shut off or rewind rather than my life or this journal which I'm not supposed to want to shut off or end."].)

"Pictures my father paid for," Audrey says and I'm pulled into the metaphor of ransom money and my own present.

Audrey kisses Cooper and not David Duchovney in drag.

End of episode.

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