NORTH BEND, Wash. – “Don’t do it if you have someplace to go tonight.”
That’s what Kyle Twede, owner of Twede’s Cafe – known to Twin Peaks fans as The Double R Diner – told me when I asked him on Saturday to explain his Fire Walk Hot Wings Challenge.
The task? Eat six wings, in ascending order of spiciness, the first one 47 times hotter than Tabasco; the last one a four million on the Scoville scale – or roughly twice the potency of law-enforcement grade pepper spray.
The prize? A Fire Walk T-shirt, free wings and ice cream – and your name on the Wall of Flame in the back of the restaurant, where Twede stores all of his Twin Peaks clippings and memorabilia.
That, and a wicked case of indigestion.
On Saturday night, as you loyal readers know, I had a little costume contest to attend. So I waited until yesterday to take the challenge.
And I, with two of my new Peakster buddies, rocked it.
Sure, the tears were streaming down the sides of our faces. And yes, Kyle made us wait an agonizing time between wings, letting the hot fire linger on our palates and flame out of our ears and noses.
He even made us sign a waiver promising not to sue him for injury or hold him accountable for our deaths.
I was the first to scarf down wing No. 6, to a round of applause, but my buddies were soon to follow, and we basked in the adulation, drinking milk and spooning ice cream into our mouths.
And so, for future generations of Peaks Fest attendees, let it be said, let it be written, let it be scrawled on a wall:
MATT MARRONE ^^ 8/5/12
XAVI CORTAL 8/5/12
ANGELA CORTAL 8/5/12
After the goodbye picnic, featuring a tour of some last-minute film sites, some more cherry pie (final weekend tally: 4 slices), a Tibetan rock-throwing contest – and a host of questions from Festival goers about how I and the fish and percolator ladies were shot at in the woods the night before – a few carfuls of us headed to Twede’s for the wings. Then Hannah and I broke off to check in at the Salish Lodge (ie. The Great Northern), where we had fancy dinner arrangements and Hannah spent the next several hours ordering lavender pillows and paying spa attendants to draw her baths.
With that, the Festival was officially over, though we partied unofficially all night, before heading back to the hotel to rest up for our flight home today.
Yesterday was a blast – the wings challenge being the highlight – but of course it was a bit bittersweet as we spent much of the day saying goodbye to a host of new friends, starting with Peggy and Herschel, owners of the Roaring River Bed and Breakfast, whom we wrote words of effusive praise about in their log book. We’ll long be telling Peakers and other travelers to stay at their place – just not in their Rock and Rose room.
As for the Fest?
It was nothing short of a rousing success. A few forgettable moments completely washed away by numerous transcendent ones.
The organizers were great. The fans were great. The Twin Peaks alums were great.
Will we be back next year?
Who’s to say.
But right about now, I’d be hard-pressed to imagine a single thing better to do.
Hannah (I Have Opinions, Too!) Castillo’s take: Twin Peaks fandom has reminded me of how special a shared passion among diverse people can be. After one last hug to Peggy and Herschel, and one last amazing breakfast, I found myself sitting in the middle of a river, feet lazily dangling off a rock, sun beating upon my skin, experiencing nature and having yet another wonderful conversation with one of my new Twin Peaks friends. Seeing Matt’s enormous feat of eating the chicken wings was an inspiration, and my butlered bath was fabulous, but nothing beats the incandescent pleasure of making the most incredible new friends. I may not love Twin Peaks as a show, but I can say that I do love Twin Peaks fans, from the bottom of my heart.
Matt Marrone tweeted all weekend long under the hash tag #tpfest12. You can follow him @thebigm.