INLAND EMPIRE (2006) was written and directed by David Lynch. This story may be read as a companion piece to Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me, by Blake Butler, also published in this journal.
12/08/09 | Film

Inland Empire

by Matthew Savoca

David Lynch asks Laura Dern what time it is. Laura Dern asks Ben Harper what time it is. Ben Harper asks Nina Simone. Nina Simone is dead. I am dead. I am watching all of this on the television. Nina Simone asks me what time it is. I ask Blake Butler. “Blake Butler, what time is it?” He doesn’t answer me. He is dead.

Blake Butler died in the Atlanta tornado of ‘08. He was sitting in his room watching his new Gold Box Set Twin Peaks on his new silver Mac Book Pro. Blake Butler has wireless internet on his new Mac Book Pro. Blake Butler drinks coffee at his computer. David Lynch has his own coffee line. Fair trade organic coffee. “It’s all about the beans,” David Lynch says, “and he’s full of beans.” Blake Butler sits on the uncarpeted floor of his room drinking a David Lynch Signature Brand cup of coffee and looking at his computer. There is no roof on his room anymore. The tornado ripped it off. Blake Butler watched it happen. He was looking at his computer. There were loud noises and swirling noises. The roof came off Blake Butler’s room. He sat there staring at the sky. Rain fell on his head. He laughed. A drop of rain fell in his eye. He laughed. On the screen of his Mac Book Pro, Jack Nance said, “There was a fish in the percolator.” Blake Butler laughed. His attention was drawn back to the screen. There is a bottomless pot of coffee hidden somewhere under his bed. He goes back to the pot for a second cup. He returns to the computer screen. Sheriff Truman and Special Agent Dale Cooper are sitting on a couch. Blake Butler’s telephone rings. Blake Butler answers. The person on the phone says, “What time is it?” The person is me. Blake Butler looks at his watch. His watch says 9:45. A roof beam comes through Blake Butler’s window and hits Blake Butler in the head.

There is broken glass on Blake Butler’s floor. There is blood pouring out of his head onto his floor. Blake Butler is dead. His brain is unraveling out of his ear and coiling back up on the floor. On the phone I am saying, “Blake Butler can you hear me?” “Blake Butler can you hear me?” Blake Butler can you hear me?

Blake Butler lays on the floor for a long time. The firemen find him that way when they climb in through the window. They are looking at him. He stands up. The firemen are amazed. They clap and cheer. He walks out of his room and down the hallway. The hallway is dark and he is looking at the numbers on the doors. He opens one of the doors and walks through. I am sitting on the bed watching everything on TV. I turn around and look at Blake Butler. I am on the TV now. Blake Butler is watching me on the TV and in real life. He is watching himself on the TV. I say, “Blake Butler, what time is it?” We embrace.