19. "Masked Ball"

"Have I ever really killed anybody, even in a war? Not that I know of. Maybe I have forgotten. I await the police."

- Kurt Vonnegut, "Embarrassment"

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by Edward Lacie

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Episode Nineteen

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Always ending, always beginning. I forget where I was going with all that, but it feels good having explained it that way.

What I mean is, I've taken a break of a week since watching the previous episode of "Twin Peaks" and writing in here. In that week, nothing's changed with regard to Baysans. I still keep him locked in a basement while I am trying to figure out how to make him a more famous poet so I can make some money selling my explications of his work.

James on a motorcycle! Growl! David Duchovney is in his first presentation of guest stars. Growl?

The Major disappeared in the woods about the same time Cooper had a glimpse of the White Lodge. I've been to the White Lodge and can say that's why I don't eat.

The stereo begins playing without my turning it on. Ghost!

"There's a powerful force that exists in these woods," Cooper is telling Truman. And it's true.

Baysans is not talking. Ever since Jim Post tried to kill him, he's not been friendly to me.

Gordon Cole (David Lynch) is calling Cooper from Bend, Oregon. I'm in Seattle. I've been to Bend, not to mention the Oregon Vortex near there. That could be an episode of its own.

"Time to face the music," Cooper says. (I won't say I'm lighting a bowl.)

And so my mission, again (or always, it seems) is to find a "proper" job and/or finances to make holding Baysans (no pun intended) no longer attractive. And his death is becoming more and more an appealing option.

An unexpected pressure has just been added. I feel like the gang plank I've been walking for too long has run out.

I watch "Twin Peaks" awhile, and the White Lodge is mentioned. I stare into space, and the Black Lodge is mentioned for the first time.

"There you will meet your own shadow self," Hawk instructs.

My disappointment is sufficient enough that I no longer remember why I began this. The poetry of Greg Baysans is feeble and derivative, uninformed, uninspired. Poetry itself is an impotent hope, a vapid dream, more damaging than a nicotine addiction.

"Coop." An unfamiliar voice.

"Dennis?" It's David Duchovney in drag (not [meant to be] too convincing).

"Denise." "She" is staying at the Big Northern, Ben's hotel, the place Cooper has been staying all along. Audrey lives there, of course.

It's important not to bring the present into the allegory; it can't be stopped. "Twin Peaks" can be stopped. Paused.

Jim Post coughs in his sleep.

I've thought of a way to threaten Jim not to evict me: I'll blackmail him, threaten I'll turn him in as the killer of Poet X last spring, the hit and run driver down in Portland!

But I hate to fabricate such a plot; so many lies to keep track of. All plans change, and nothing turns out the way it's first planned to, meant to, propelled to, impelled. Even a breath can't be a plan.

I'm back to explaining reasons to love life when the reasons to hate it - poverty and need and hopelessness - are slapping me in the face, boxing my ears, taking food out of my mouth and throwing it on the floor.

I'm tempted to kill Baysans today. Get it over with. It's for the best, my best. 

Here's the irony to end ironies: Baysans agrees that if he were dead there would be more monetary value to his work and to mine. He's all but volunteered to die. I don't know what to think about that. I guess it makes the inevitable easier.

"No action is an action," Dr. Phil says as I retype this. I did nothing. I've not yet killed Baysans as I write this. 

(That's obviously a line from the second or third draft of this narrative.)

(Freeze frame on Ben's crazed face and eyes. I go to get water, unable to afford to drink soda. I haven't eaten all day which is fine and acceptable behavior here in the White Lodge.)

(At this point the hacker had inserted a list of the various animal nicknames attached to Rimbaud throughout his life, including "killer of dogs". The insertion was removed before its significance was realized. It is one of several insertions I wish could have been retrieved. - ewl)

"I don't work for you anymore," Chris Mulkey's character says to Ben. "Life has changed. I want you to listen to me. You're a mess."

I take it personally; I am a mass of indecision. I'll never regret killing Poet X, but kidnapping Baysans has been nothing but more headache rather than less. Today. Today.

Windham Earl issues his challenge to Cooper in my initial notes here. I don't have many details, bad notes.

I realize that the theme of my writing project has changed from the topic of work to the subject of authorship.

Josie has to maid for Katherine. Katherine yells, "Speak!"

I've always felt like Josie in this part - a maid made to answer to a sister-in-law I don't even like after having once lived in comfort and luxury along with my very real worthiness and work, running a mill after my husband's death.

Now I must wear an apron and smile. Now, girls, if you don't mind, I'd like to hear that some French.

I think I'm half insane, Ma. 
Look what they've done to my brain. 

Ils ont changé ma chanson¹ Ma. 
Ils ont changé ma chanson. 
C'est le seul chose je peux fais 
Est-ce-que n'est pas bonne, Ma? 
Ils ont changé ma chanson.
Look what they've done to my song, Ma. 
Look what they've done to my song. 
Well, they've tied it up in a plastic bag 
Then turned it upside down. 

Look what they've done to my song 

The last poem of his to appear in the JWR before his resignation as editor is "Burning," a three-part poem of a more confessional nature than Baysans usually wrote at the time. "Burning" is entrenched in the tornado of AIDS that ended the 1980s: the narrator's lover has recently been diagnosed as well as the narrator's best friend, "Chris."

Baysans's best friend since high school, Dean S. (b. Sept. 4, 1958), died of illness brought on by AIDS in Minneapolis, MN, in 1991.

(As I rewrite, I get ahead of myself here and want to mention how much I wanted to ask Baysans about the topic of returning to writing after taking a break. But I don't know how to phrase what I want to know.)

It is nearly time to feed Baysans his daily meal and have my own dinner as well. Jim Post got groceries again and gave me a dirty look when I asked if there was enough to give Baysans an extra meal on Sunday. I won't ask again.

Baysans started to write a journal in 1977, intending to document his sexual partners.³ In the years between beginning to write and his first sexual experience with another man, the writing began to take the shape of poetry.

In the poetry was a persona, someone pretending to be good.³

End of episode. I hope to take a break of a few days before watching the next.

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