In 1994 Kurt Cobain faked his own suicide. 22 years later he’s come back to “get” Dave Grohl.
This is the 8th and final part of an ongoing serial fiction. Part 1 can be found here.
It probably shouldn’t have surprised me how low Dave Grohl would go, but it does.
Seeing the bearded, middle-aged man devolve into a quivering mass of tears, self-loathing and regret in the presence of what he thought was Kurt Cobain’s ghost is kind of. . . well, it’s fucked up. The dude is a mess!
The lights come back on. Sonny comes running into the room. Dave doesn’t even try to hide his tear-streaked face from us.
“Kurt was here man! He came back to give me a message. Just ask this dude,” Dave says nodding in my direction.
“Dude, what’s he talking about?” Sonny asks me.
“He’s not kidding. Kurt was here,” I say.
“That, that doesn’t make any sense!”
“Since when does seeing a fucking ghost make sense?” Dave shouts.
Chastened, Sonny looks down at the floor.
Kurt and I had – thankfully – discussed what my reaction should be. We decided I would play it straight. Well, as straight as you can when you are lying about seeing a ghost. I think I’m doing a pretty good job.
“Kurt was really there, wasn’t he, dude? He was standing right fucking there! I mean. . . You heard everything he said, didn’t you?” Dave asks.
A quick aside – this is a serial fan fiction piece – yup Kurt Cobain fan fiction. I’m proud of it and think it’s a fun, admittedly silly idea. If you are at all into the idea please start at the beginning (or not).
If that’s not of interest there are several other pieces concerning Nirvana on this blog. Perhaps you’d be interested in reading a personal account of the mindset surrounding heroin addiction and suicide. Or perhaps my personal take on Buzz Osbourne’s comments about the Montage of Heck movie titled “Kurt Cobain Was Not a Retard Fucker” or better yet, how about my piece on Dave Grohl titled “You know who really sucks? Dave Grohl, That’s who!”
“Yeah,” I can’t help chuckling, even though I promised myself I wouldn’t, “you mean, all that shit about your music sucking and the fact that you should retire and apologize to Nickelback? All that stuff?” I’m being a dick reminding him of what Kurt said in front of Sonny, but seeing Dave act like such a prick about the toilet overflowing earlier has provoked my vindictive streak.
“Yeah,” Dave says. From the look on his face it’s pretty clear he hadn’t thought the question through.
“You aren’t actually gonna go through with all that stuff, are you?” I ask.
“I don’t know, man!” Dave practically yelps. “Hey Sonny, can you give. . .”
“Jonas,” I say.
“Thanks, dude. Can you give Jonas and I, a minute alone here?”
“You aren’t scared the ghost is gonna come back?” Sonny asks. “Like maybe I should be here to protect you or something?”
“Get the fuck out of here!” Dave shouts.
Again, it’s remarkable how unhinged Dave is. His public persona is so relaxed and ‘cool dude-like’ to discover how erratic his true personality is, is a shock. Sonny sheepishly backs out of the room.
“I’ll be right out here, if you need me,” Sonny says.
“Can you believe what just happened, dude?” Dave says, looking at me imploringly.
“Yeah, I wouldn’t have believed it myself if I hadn’t, well, you know, if I hadn’t been here.”
“What should I do?”
I scoff, “Dude! How the fuck should I know?”
“I mean? I’ve never seen a ghost before.”
“Yeah. . . Yeah no, me neither,” I say and fight back a smile.
“Do you think my music sucks?” He looks at me like my answer is somehow going to matter.
“What does that have to do with anything? Who cares what I think!”
“Well, you are a music critic!” Suddenly this conversation is feeling like I’m talking to my stoned college roommate between bong hits. Dave Grohl has sold millions of records, but somehow he’s still looking to me – someone he met all of 30 minutes ago – to prop up his ego. It’s too weird.
“I can’t answer that, man! My teenage rock idol just appeared AS A FUCKING GHOST and told you your band sucks. I have no fucking idea what to say.”
He looks down at the floor. “Yeah,” and then a second later, “fucking Kurt Cobain, man, the fucker can’t even fucking stay dead, man.” Dave looks up at me, “He could be a real prick when he was alive too, man. Believe me.”
It takes all my willpower not to crack up laughing. “I can only imagine,” I say. This conversation is too erratic; I decide I need to get the fuck out of here. Dave Grohl is a freaking nightmare. “So, do you think you can manage this interview? Or should we just reschedule it?” I venture by way of making my exit, hoping he’ll say no to spending any more time together.
Instead, Dave just looks bewildered.
I remind him why I’m here, “You know, the interview? About Pinkerton? We can totally reschedule, you know, on account of Kurt Cobain’s ghost showing up and all. I can’t think of a more valid excuse, really.”
“Oh yeah, yeah, yeah. Let’s reschedule,” Dave says, snapping into it. “Hey, um, you weren’t planning on telling anyone about this, were you?”
“Honestly, I have no idea. Nothing like this has ever happened to me.”
“Totally, right!?” Dave laughs with an uncomfortable smile. I can’t help but stare at his horsey fucking teeth. Dave is physically between me and the door, so I move to go around him.
“Umm, wait, wait a sec. I um, I don’t know how to say this,” he says, shifting his position slightly to block my exit. He kind of flexes his biceps too in a weirdly macho gesture that I think I’m supposed to find intimidating, “but, I’d be super grateful if you didn’t tell anyone about what we’ve seen here today.”
“Aw, I don’t know about that, man. I mean, Kurt fucking Cobain just came back from the dead to speak to you, and uh, and I was here to witness it… So, um, I’m not exactly sure how you can expect me to keep quiet about something like that, you know?”
Dave looks perplexed so I throw him a bone and add, “Kurt Cobain’s ghost is kind of a big deal. But then nobody’s gonna believe me anyway.”
“Yeah, totally right! It was a fucking ghost! Nobody is gonna believe that shit!”
“Yeah, so no worries, right?” I say, moving to go the other way around him. He moves to block me again. I feel my blood rise.
“I’ll make it worth your while, dude,” he blurts out. “If you can keep quiet. . . till I, till I figure out what my next move is, you know?”
“Oh yeah?” I say, “How worth my while?” This conversation is gold. Thank the Christ it’s all being recorded. Dave Grohl is now trying to bribe me to keep quiet about Kurt Cobain’s ghost telling him his music sucks.
Dave smiles thinking he has my number. “How about, I don’t know, let’s say $50k?
I purse my lips and give him the biggest raspberry I can manage.
His smile disappears, “A hundred?”
“How about? Instead of money you promise to quit making music… like the ghost said?” I say.
With this Dave physically deflates.
That Dave had an impending “announcement” hit the Internet sooner and in a bigger way than I think any of us imagined. You’d think that a guy who was retiring against his will, and under threat from a ghost, would want to save himself some embarrassment and do it in a smaller way. But by the following Wednesday, pretty much all the social media sites and news outlets were running the story that Dave was making a “big announcement” that evening. It was by far the biggest headline of the day.
That night Kurt, Martin, John and I sat in Kurt’s living room on the edge of our collective seats, laughing like we were mean spirited schoolgirls anticipating their rival cheerleading squad’s immanent demise. It’s been a long time since I’ve felt the pull of peer pressure, but the 4 of us together were cultivating each others’ worst instincts.
“The look on his face was fucking priceless,” Kurt cackles.
“When the lights first went up and I saw you standing there, I thought honestly, I thought he was gonna wet his pants,” I say, realizing simultaneously what a dick I sound like!
“The thing was though,” Kurt continues, “it was like I was confirming what he was already thinking, you know? Like he was already insecure about his shit. I almost felt sorry for him.”
The four of us go quiet contemplating the thought that we had gone too far. That we piled on for no good reason – clearly the guy had issues before Kurt ever showed up (as a ghost) – but then, would any of us be man enough to put a stop to it? I doubted it. Besides, the damage had already been done. It looks as if Dave Grohl is about to announce his retirement to the world.
John pulls up the live stream of the press conference on Kurt’s computer and angles the monitor so we can see it. A few seconds later a downtrodden Dave Grohl marches out in front of the flashbulbs and sits center stage, right in front of a cluster of broadcast mics. I feel for the guy.
“Hello everyone, thanks for coming out tonight. I’ve got an announcement to make and it’s important that I get the word out in a big way. It’s good you’re all here, because, well hell, let’s cut to the chase, you won’t be seeing me around anymore. Effective immediately, tonight, I’m retiring.”
There’s a collective gasp from the press people and a chorus of talk, people asking “What?” and “Why?” from all around.
Dave proceeds to confess his sins, reciting almost verbatim the script Kurt had suggested at his house a week previously.
“I won’t be taking any questions, but suffice it to say this decision was prompted by an incredible event that occurred last week.” Dave begins crying, tears streaming down his cheeks. “An event that reminded me of the fact that I’ve strayed from the path of righteousness. Music, punk music, the music I love is about transcending barriers, it’s about overcoming the obstacles that stand between us as humans. And I, Dave Grohl, I have perverted that ideal. I ruined the most honest and inclusive motivation and I’ve turned it into… into vanity, of the glorification of self! Of ego! I became obsessed with the fame! The idolatry! The love of all things ME! ME! ME! And that was wrong! It was wrong and I’m sorry!”
Dave stands and tears at his “Abba” t-shirt, tearing at the neck and stretching it so we can see his little potbelly peaking out from under his shirt. Here on the couch, Kurt and I look at one another uncomfortably and shift in our seats.
“I’m sorry, Kurt!” Dave screams, “Forgive me, America! I repent! Repent, I tell you! Goodbye! I will no longer curse you with my presence!”
As he turns to leave, he seems to remember something. He turns back toward the cameras, grabs the bottom of the folding table he was sitting at – the same table upon which the mics are set up – and he flips the entire thing over! Anything on the table, microphones, reporters’ laptops, notebooks and pencils go flying! The people, the reporters closest to him, scramble to get away. Dave is in a possessed rage! He’s a shirtless, raving maniac with tears streaming down his cheeks!
“Forgive me, Nickelback! I should have never said those things! Nickelback Rocks! Fuck Yeah! Go Nickelback! Forgive me, world! I’m not worthy of you! I repent! AAAaarrrghhh!”
Two wary policemen emerge from the back of the room, although the audio has been cut-off from the broadcast it’s clear from the cops’ body language they are trying to calm Dave down. After a couple of moments however, their posture changes. One of the police dudes un-holsters his taser gun.
“He’s got a fucking taser!” I say. “They are gonna fucking tase Dave Grohl!”
“Don’t tase me bro!” Kurt howls, laughing.
The four of us are rapt, sitting on the edge of our seats as is, I assume, a large portion of the worldwide television and Internet viewing public. Sure enough, a few more cops emerge in order to back up their comrades. Still it’s pretty clear, Dave isn’t calming down. It’s like watching a real-life car accident happen in slow motion. You don’t want to watch but you can’t turn away either. I put my hands in front of my face and look through my fingers as the cop with the taser pulls the trigger. As he does so, two other policemen tackle him from behind. Dave goes down onto the ground and his body vibrates in visible reaction to the electric current that must be running though him. After 10 seconds or more of agonizing epileptic shivering, Dave’s body tenses up and then finally goes limp. It’s a relief to see the fight go out of him.
“Jesus Christ,” Kurt says. “I was not expecting that.”
Dave stays unconscious as one of the cops flips him over onto his belly and another puts handcuffs on him. Despite the inactivity on the screen, we keep watching, not talking, aghast at what we’ve just witnessed. The cops talk amongst themselves for a minute or so, and then eventually they hoist Dave to his feet and lead the very groggy, handcuffed and pained man away from the scene.
“Well congratulations gentlemen,” Martin announces. “I believe we have succeeded in doing away with the scourge known as David Grohl.”
“Yeah, to a job well done, fellows,” John says.
The room falls silent again. I don’t know about them, but personally I’m feeling a little queasy about my role in Dave’s downfall. I mean the Foo Fighters music sucks and all, but I have to wonder if the guy truly deserved to be driven insane like that.
“And now, shall we proceed to phase 2?” Martin asks, “And by that I mean, your re-introduction to the world stage, Mr. Cobain.”
“About that,” Kurt says. “You know, I’ve been thinking,”
“—uh oh. That’s never a good sign,” John says.
“Quiet, John,” Kurt says, annoyed. “I’ve been thinking that maybe I can do more good in the world this way, you know, dead, than I ever could alive.”
“Really?” I wonder aloud.
Kurt stands up, excited. “Yeah man. How freaked out do you think Justin Beiber would be, if I, you know, if I just showed up at his house one night? Or how about Donald Trump? Or wait! I know, fucking Paul McCartney? How good would that be? I could appear to Paul McCartney and tell him John Lennon sent me! I’ll tell him all sorts of stupid shit, shit like ‘John says you need to start eating meat and that he should join the cast of Zumanity!?’ Shit like that!”
“Zumanity?” Martin asks.
“Yeah, you know that Cirque du Soleil show? The one with the contortionists? In Vegas?” Kurt says. “Imagine Paul McCartney in Vegas. How stupid would that be? Or convince him to be a pitchman for, I don’t know, Taco Bell or something? You know, just get in his head!”
“That would be pretty fucking stupid,” I have to admit. Martin, understandably, looks utterly perplexed.