David Lynch. Nicholas Cage. Laura Dern. Willem Defoe.
Lynch’s characters are a collage of odd and beautiful and cartoonish fun that transcend the usual sense of caricature. The progression of pillow talks between Sailor (Cage) and Lula (Dern) is a collective work of art. “Jingle Dale” is probably my favorite of these pillow talks because the narrative within a narrative presents a socially discomforting humor. A hard humor. Darkly comedic, it is a self-flagellating reader experience.
“And this here’s a story with a lesson about bad ideas….”
Watching “Jingle Dale” is difficult for the viewer because you shouldn’t watch. Tragic lovers in pillow talk, a poor man, mentally ill, putting cockroaches on his anus. It’s all a train wreck, but the dark humor/innocence irony is seductive. Because Lynch crafts this scenario through the lens of Lula’s pillow talk, the viewer has a removed sense of voyeurism that makes the discomforting and tragic figure, “Jingle Dale,” a dirty and secret entertainment, more accessible because of the vehicle by which he’s portrayed. Lula and Sailor share this family secret the way two lovers might share family secrets in a realistic sense, when no one else is listening, which makes it all that more impressive. The surreality and oddity in this scene is more “real” than many “realistic” narratives.
Rae Bryant lives in the Washington D.C. area. Her story collection, The Indefinite State of Imaginary Morals (Patasola Press, NY) releases June 2011. Her short stories have appeared in BLIP Magazine (formerly Mississippi Review), Opium Magazine, PANK, Caper Literary Journal and Foundling Review, among other publications and have been nominated and short-listed for short story and best of web awards. Work forthcoming in Puerto del Sol, Gargoyle Magazine and the PS Books anthology En(Un)Gender Me. She is a VCCA Fellow and a candidate in the M.A. in Writing program at Johns Hopkins University where she is finishing her novel as part of her thesis this spring.