I entered a fan fiction contest. Well, it wasn’t called a fan fiction writing contest, but it was for fans of Twin Peaks. The fan site Welcome to Twin Peaks hosted. The idea was to write a backstory for a minor character.
I didn’t make it to the final round, so I’m going to post my entry here. I went for a very minor character because that’s how I interpreted the instructions. I thought of someone generally unimportant. I see other contestants thought important but without a backstory. But in a vast story like Twin Peaks, who’s minor?
And what if you’d read Mark Frost’s Twin Peaks books? You’d know several minor characters do have backstories, and as Mark Frost was the judge for the contest, I didn’t want to risk contradicting his own storytelling.
Also, I wanted to stay away from characters I thought would be popular choices. Who to choose?
Well, I narrowed my choices down to the original series simply because that’s how I met the town of Twin Peaks and that I’ve watched over and over again. Why not then just choose someone from the pilot? The more options I could eliminate, the better because I’m as indecisive as Twin Peaks is weird.
Then I knew who I wanted to write about–the teacher who hears the news that Laura Palmer is dead. After all, I’m a teacher and I’ve a kid in high school. Margaret Honeycutt was in only the pilot and, it turns out, in the film, Fire Walk with Me.
And I didn’t write a backstory as much as an interview. What would Ms. Honeycutt have to say about her former student? She’d have met Laura’s parents and she’d have heard who the killer was. Surely, she’d be haunted.
An Interview with Margaret Honeycutt
On the anniversary of her death, I dream all my students have changed into Laura Palmer. They wait for me to lecture them about the importance of homework and assure them I’m available to answer their questions. Curtains of blond hair fall everywhere onto a black and white, ever shifting floor.
“Don’t hesitate to ask me for help,” I say.
And my classroom of Laura Palmers scream. Their screaming echoes everywhere I go until I venture down to the Roadhouse and silence the screaming with wine and strangers. I close my eyes, soaking in the music. Laura’s silent until the next year, the next February, when the trees creak in the winter wind. I think the trees know what happened. I think they remember too.
The kids say I’m nice but boring. My parents said the same thing. But I came to Twin Peaks happy to live my nice, boring life. I was going to help young people and be a good citizen, like any teacher should. Girls like Laura seemed destined to make ripples in the world. Why should I tell you about my own high school days in a town much like Twin Peaks? I wasn’t a golden girl or a golden girl’s friend. My parents revealed no hidden dramas. No monsters lurked in our rooms in the dark or otherwise.
I grew up believing monsters were in books or in the news. Monsters didn’t sit across from me on parent/teacher night. I welcomed Mr. Palmer into my classroom and invited him to sit at his daughter’s desk. He sat there and looked me straight in the eye. Mrs. Palmer hovered, her hands moving about as if she’d just fumbled her cigarette.
“Your daughter’s a delight,” I said. Back then I still assumed I’d end the school year with every student I started with. I always had. Why would that year be any different?
“Yes, she is,” Mr. Palmer replied, grinning.
“You must be so proud of her.”
“Very proud,” he said.
He’s in the dream too. He’s in the hallway where I run to escape the screaming. He grabs my hand and spins me around as if we might dance. But I’ve never been a dancer. I’ve never been a golden girl. I’m just someone who listens to her scream.
Hello, my name is Margaret Honeycutt and I’m a teacher at Twin Peaks High. Welcome to my classroom. Please don’t sit in that desk. Its Laura’s.
Thank you for reading!
My novel, The Blue Jar is for sale here.
My art on things like coffee mugs and notebooks is here.
And original art and crafts are on Etsy.