Diane, 2:40 AM. The Milford wedding lurches onward in the Banquet Hall, but I must admit I am mighty glad to be back in the sanctity of Room 315 – where only the faintest echoes of accordion music can reach me. I enjoy a good party as much as the next agent, Diane, but when Mr. Milford enthusiastically took to the floor with Deputy Andy – well, that was my cue to leave. They performed the Lindy Hop while Milford's young bride snored under the nearby buffet spread.
Suspension or not, I conducted myself according to Bureau regulations tonight, Diane. Imbibed nothing stronger than two hot cups of joe, a tad more bitter than the Great Northern's usual offering but enjoyable all the same. Yet, I find myself strangely sentimental. Albert is fond of saying that sentimentality is “emotional promiscuity.” A quote he cribbed from Norman Mailer, I believe. But, Diane, Albert is an untenable human being with the emotional IQ of a fruit fly. And Norman Mailer believes the CIA murdered Marilyn Monroe. I think that about says it all.
Diane, a prudent man would train his thoughts on the most imminent of threats facing him at a time like this: my potential imprisonment, Windom Earle, and – of course – the encroaching corruption of the American Dream. At the very least, a prudent man would try to catch 40 winks. So, Diane, I must confess I'm not particularly prudent this evening. I find my thoughts occupied with Agent Bryson instead.
You remember Dennis Bryson, Diane. DEA, only a year into the job when we first met. Assisted in the apprehension and arrest of Devereaux C. Gib. A deranged man, murdered four citizens of the fine city of Oakland, California. Drugged them with a highly potent hallucinogen, offered them weapons, and watched them end their lives just to escape from the horrific images flooding their own minds. Real nasty piece of work.
Well, Diane, you already know that Agent Bryson is assigned to investigate the recent allegations against me. What you do not know is that Agent Bryson is no longer Dennis, Diane. He is Denise. I... Holy smokes, Diane, I would be lying if I said that Denise didn't raise certain curious feelings within me. He is a striking woman. Strong features, tall build – not unlike a young Julia Childs in France. A penchant for autumn colors. And the kind of thick, full hair in which a small woodland creature might seek to burrow.
Most interestingly, Diane, I find that Denise contains all of Dennis' ambition but has a welcome sense of calm. Something that Dennis always lacked. Mind like a steel trap, nerves like a circus high wire. Dennis was anxious. Ill at ease. Uneasy in his own skin. Still, in Oakland, he and I – well, Diane, we achieved peak inter-agency cohesion and cooperation. For four straight days, we holed up in the back room of Herbert's Surprise! Sunrise Breakfast Cafe – make note, Diane, that's Surprise! with an exclamation point. Only place on the block with a clear view of the abandoned sewing shop where each of the bodies was found. Babette's Bobbins, it was called. Motto was “Sewing Machines - Available Here.” Succinct. Not too catchy, though, probably would have sounded better with more of that alliteration. Wonder if that's why they went under.
There wasn't a better man alive to be share a small, damp room that smelled constantly of omelet with than Dennis Bryson, Diane. I had my concerns when we first met, if you recall. He was tightly wound – nothing horrible, you understand, but tense nonetheless. He was also a snappy dresser. Expensive suits, designer labels. Still is a snappy dresser, by the way, though his sartorial choices lean more towards florals these days.
I thought he might not be able to handle the challenges of the stakeout. Having to hang his dry-clean only merino wool-silk blend on the hash brown fryer. And having to shower in the kitchen with the Avis LKAV4061LS9 - that's L K A V four zero six one L S niner, there, Diane -- Lustrous Industrial Steel Pre-Rinse Removable Spray Kitchen Faucet with Multi-Function Spray Head. On the steep side at $299.89 including shipping and handling, but well worth the really powerful sense of clean you get as a result. Had two installed in my bathroom just this year, in fact. Handy for cleaning up after large dinner parties, too.
Diane, Dennis was a trooper about it all. It's true he developed a nervous tic or two, watching Herbert serve up those fried potatoes just inches from his best double-breasteds. But he also offered me a week's worth of wisdom, keen investigatory insight, and friendship. Compensation for a good week's work that's worth more than cash in hand. Although perhaps not if you're looking to buy the Avis LKAV4061LS9 Lustrous Industrial Steel Pre-Rinse Removable Spray Kitchen Faucet with Multi-Function Spray Head.
Denise doesn't appear to have those tics anymore, Diane. She is one cool customer. Boy oh boy.
Anyway, Diane, Babette's Bobbins was quiet round the clock. Dead quiet. In retrospect, too much so. The old adage about the calm and the storm comes to mind. Dennis and I passed the time exchanging information and ideas. First day, Dennis taught me to identify sub-classes of common West Coast street-grade narcotics using the senses of sight and sound alone. Second day, I demonstrated for him several varieties of Tibetan deep-relaxation techniques. Third day, Diane, we discussed birds.
The fourth day. Diane, on the fourth day, we learned why our surveillance was turning up a heaping serving of exactly nothing. Turns out the local authorities had inadvertently tipped Gib off about our presence. Chief Cole issued us an order to force some activity in the case in a last ditch effort, to try to flush Gib out. At least that was our presumption, Diane, as Gordon's exact words to me were “ENGAGE THE NATIVES IN A GAME FROM THE OLD COUNTRY, COOP.”
That night, Agent Bryson and I attempted to gain entry to the repair shop through a side window. Gib ambushed us. Gordon's plan certainly succeeded in getting his attention. Shots were fired on both sides. Gib retreated into the shop. He was cornered nearby and ultimately apprehended the next day by Agent Bryson and a team of police the next day. Convicted in a court of law the next year. Final sentence was 20-to-life.
Diane, before leaving the Milford bash tonight I asked Audrey Horne to loan me a second miniature tape recorder. I admit I found it off-putting when she retrieved it not from her father's office as I had expected, but from behind the headboard of my bed here in Room 315. Audrey's recorder is a Samsung SRD7728 B -- a little 5 incher with voice-activated VOX recording capabilities. Sound quality is a little shaky and it shows signs of having been fully immersed in liquor at some point, but it does have the added amenity of a belt clip. Smart touch for the active businessman who prefers to operate hands-free.
Diane, I asked Audrey for this recorder because I have a second confession to share with you tonight. I did not give you all of the tapes from that trip. The final tape, the tape including the events of the fourth night of my stakeout with Agent Bryson, is here – in my personal possession. Now, Diane, I did not withhold the tape for the reason you may suspect. The tapes does not hold any evidence of passionate inappropriate private relations between myself and Agent Bryson. Although my affection for Dennis Bryson was strong, my desire to comply with the Bureau ban on intraoffice romantic fraternization was stronger.
It strikes me tonight, Diane, that perhaps that would not have been the case had Denise appeared in Dennis's place. That *hair*, Diane...
I kept the final tape from Oakland, Diane, because I believed, in the wrong hands, it would call into question Agent Bryson's fitness as an agent. Reveal he suffered weakness at the time it was least acceptable.
You see, Diane, when Gib retreated into Babette's Bobbins after exchanging fire with Dennis and myself, he took a hostage. Me, Diane. Knocked me clean unconscious with an object I later identified as an antique Singer treadle sewing machine foot pedal. Heavy bugger, nearly left a permanent waffle pattern across the upper right quadrant of my skull. Drug my limp body into the shop, tied me up, injected me, and left me there to die.
Now, Diane, there's obviously no need for bitten nails and clutched pearls at this juncture. Gib made a valiant, but ultimately unsuccessful, effort to usher me into Great Beyond. Before his drug cocktail was able to do it's worst, I was located by an local police officer and rushed for medical treatment. But, Diane, the things I saw while under its influence... let's just say, I wouldn't wish them on Norman Mailer.
I didn't learn what Dennis did in the midst of all this commotion for months afterwards, Diane. Worst possibility was that he did nothing, crippled into inaction by a sudden onset of extreme anxiety. I simply didn't know. And I didn't want anyone to find out and subject him to unfairly harsh judgment, if that was the case. As it turns out, it was not. And I want you to bear witness to that tonight, Diane.
Now, it may take me a moment to locate the appropriate section. This fast-forward button is as wonky as a mad camel.
...iane, 3:04 AM, September 3rd. Herbert's Surprise! Sunrise Breakfast Cafe. There is a water stain on the linoleum ceiling above me that appears to be growing larger with each passing hour. At 11:00 PM, it resembled a kidney. At midnight, a hot air balloon. At 1:00 AM, a portrait of my mother began to emerge. By 2:00 AM, she was waving at me. Now, she appears to be passionately embracing a garden gnome. I do not know what significance, if any, this may have to the current investigation. Directly before beginning this recording, I awoke Agent Bryson to discuss the possibility that our perpetrator resembles an amorous garden gnome. He seemed intrigued, which I find gratifying. Good night, Diane. I hope your attempts to sleep are more successful than my own...
Almost there, Diane, hold on.
...ryson reports no activity at Babette's Bobbins over the past four hours. Meanwhile, Diane, I find the heavy layer of grease hanging in the air here, while nauseating to ingest, has greatly improved the tonal clarity of my Tibetan singing bowl...
...ough not technically a shower head, you understand Diane, the Lustrous Industrial offers a consistency of water pressure and pinpoint water stream accuracy that simply cannot be reproduced by a commercial private residential fixtu...
...ert's Surprise Exclamation Point Sunrise Cafe again, where I consumed one cup of coffee, a plain hamburger, and a plate of onion rings. Decent. No pie, only dessert option was three day old rice pudding. Aged rice pudding, Diane – sounds like the kind of thing Charles Dickens would serve to fictional starving orpha...
Ah, here we are, Diane. My final entry.
Diane, I can't be sure but I think it's September 4th. Time unknown. Diane, I am aware my daily finger dexterity exercises – the “Fingertip Press,” the “Knuckle Cracker,” and the “Queen's Wave” – have made me an object of ridicule among my fellow agents at the Bureau. If this tape reaches you, I want you to alert them to the fact that it was my single-minded devotion to maintaining optimal finger joint lubrication which allowed me to record what may be my final words to you. My kidnapper failed to search me before tossing me here unconscious, Diane – and though he did tie my hands, I was able to hit the record button with my left index with just a little maneuvering.
Diane, I believe I have been drugged. How else to explain the presence of my organs dangling outside my body, ripe for the picking by the swarming rodents... Di... Diane! Oh my god. Swarming rodents...
We'll skip the rest of that in deference to your desire to keep down any consumables you might have recently eaten. And there you have it, Diane. Next thing I knew, I awoke -- thankfully bodily intact -- in the hospital. Thought that was the entirety of the events transpiring that night. You understand my concern, Diane. Dennis appeared to have abandoned me, a fellow officer, to the whims of the criminal element. A grave offense, though understandable, I thought. Until recently, when I hauled out the tape in preparation for Dennis's – or so I believed – arrival. I fell asleep while replaying it. And awoke to hear the following:
...op. Coop! Coop, shit. Damn it, snap out of it. COOP. Christ. Where is that... Di... Diane? I hope you can hear me. Diane, it's Dennis Bryson. Pleasure to meet, I've heard glowing things about you. Please excuse the interruption.
I have to be fast. Coop, we're in trouble. YOU'RE in trouble. Gib thinks he caught me in the arm with a bullet. In reality, he caught my mid-tone Ralph Lauren navy pinstripe in the arm. Before you say anything, it's alright – I think you were right the West Coast calls for a lighter color palette, anyway, though I know you secretly believe that classic black is really the only color truly never out of style.
The force of the bullet was enough to knock me to the ground. He grabbed you, I couldn't stop him. I'm sorry. I saw him hit you with something, Dale. I saw it and I heard it. And I never want to hear anything like that again, if you don't mind. I saw him head out the side door and came in to find you. But Coop -- I think he's coming back. COOP. Damn it, can you hear me at all? Coop, I have to go. We need back-up and I won't make it out of here to get back-up carrying your dead-wei... carrying you, let's just leave it at that.
I'll get help to you. I hope to God you wake up before he gets back in here. If you do, come to Bureau headquarters. If you don't, be strong. Think about coffee served with a side of pie. In Tibet. And, Diane, you take care of him while I'm gone. Coop, we'll meet again one day under better circumstances.
Dennis rescued me. And now Denise is here in Twin Peaks attempting to repeat history. So that's what I'm calling these days with Denise, Diane. Better circumstances.