Krist would never have considered such an act, had the measures not been so drastic and called for. He went against all fibre of his being, all of his morals and principles and opened Kurt’s cupboard. On the top shelf, three jumpers – all too big and all with holes in, covered a box. Inside the box, many items, which were just so very Kurt, dotted the inside, but there, at the bottom, was Kurt’s most recent journal.
Krist had never read Kurt’s journals and had never really intended to, but all of the issues, all of the problems and now, suicide attempts, it seemed, called for him to find out. He had to know. He had to find out what was causing Kurt to act so erratically.
The journal itself had been scrawled on, with pictures, scribblings, words, and letters, drawings – that was just the front cover. Opening the journal carefully, Krist thumbed through to the most recent entries – Kurt’s latest ones.
He didn’t care for the other stuff; it wasn’t his purpose to pry unconditionally into Kurt’s writings. He felt bad for doing so, he felt guilty and almost disgusted with himself for what he was doing, but he had to see if there was anything going on that Kurt wasn’t telling them.
He sat down on Kurt’s bed – all items had been cleared and taken away by the paramedics when they had come to aid Kurt. Once again, Kurt had been carried away on a stretcher and one again; Kurt had been taken to hospital for treatment. The month wasn’t even up – one more time and surely, Kurt would be sectioned.
Krist scanned over the pages, trying not to digest too much information, but he stopped when on one side of the page, there was a drawing – an obscure, deranged picture of a figure of what looked to be like an old man, hunched over, gnarled and weak. Krist even smiled a little as the image was drawn in true Kurt fashion – the old man was holding his penis and ejaculating over a picture.
On closer inspection and, with the writing that went alongside the image, on the page opposite, Krist pieced everything together, as he read:
“My bones are crushed beneath the weight of your betrayal. You have lied and you have become nothing more to me than myself, which is nothing. Nothing is worthless and purulent. I am self-contained and I am selfish. Worthless, selfish, nothingness – all because of you. What is time to you? What is time? Discretion of what you can be bothered to provide, or a renaissance of what you can be bothered to access? Whatever. Your blood is in your ears. You can’t hear me. Pleasure yourself over the family photos and think about how talented you are. Think about what you have provided for the ones you love – you provide semen to make more family, to abandon them and cover yourself in pretence adoration for the ones you say you love. Your sticky semen is in my face, in my mouth and in my hair. You’re abusing me and them. But not yourself. Not you. Never you. You’re too good for that. You’re too good for them, yourself and me. You’re better because you’re best. You’re best because you’re better and I hate you. I want to cut out my heart and give it back to you because it’s little use to me. Its worth, in my body, is as much use as the name for “father” on your lips. So I am heartless and you and worthless and I selfish and I dumb and I am gay and you are ashamed and I am ashamed of your shame but I am not gay or ashamed of myself. And I don’t ejaculate over the values of a family - because I never had one.
Krist closed the journal quickly. He remembered Kurt making a call – making a call to ask about the Panic Disorder. To ask about any attacks he may have had in the past, if it was genetic, if he had been diagnosed before. No one had asked anything about it, Kurt must’ve lied and told them he was fine because things had not gone well when he made the call.
Dave had mentioned before, about a letter arriving for Kurt, but Kurt had refused to open it – it had sat there for a week before it disappeared. Dave never questioned it, but could tell from the handwriting, that it was something personal to Kurt. It wasn’t business or anything to do with the band. It wasn’t anything to do with anyone else but Kurt.
Krist went to Kurt’s nightstand and opened the drawer, nestled beneath an empty cigarette carton, a lighter, a chewed pen and some candy wrappers, the letter had been shoved to the back, still unopened. Krist took it out, looked at the handwriting and knew it was from Kurt’s father. He recognised the writing instantly. He opened the letter and read it carefully.
“Contacting me about your recent ‘episode’ is not something I want to hear about. You only ever contact me with bad news. Why can’t you tell me how things are going for once? Why does everything have to be so negative? Why are you always creating drama and attention? As always: My Son, The Entertainer. My Son: The Attention Seeker. I can’t stand to be around you. I didn’t want to deal with this, Kurt. You made it this way, not me. I gave you so many chances, but you didn’t want me to be happy. You went out of your way to make me unhappy. I did my best for you. I did what I could… you are so talented, so creative, you have such a sensitive heart, but you are too destructive for your own good. I am ashamed to know you, to know the acts you do. Having sex with men is wrong, Kurt. You shouldn’t live with another man. I used to think you and Krist were together. Or do you all just sleep together? And now Dave. You don’t live with men, Kurt. Men don’t live with men. I’m so ashamed. I so fucking ashamed. You’re a fag, Kurt… my own son, a fucking fag. How proud I must feel. You don’t have Panic Disorder, Kurt, you have Attention Seeking Disorder. I bet you love it when you’re on stage in front of all those people – all adoring you, all giving you attention. I bet you think about which ones you’ll be fucking that night, too. Men or woman, it’s disgusting. Men sleep with woman. Not men. You disgust me. I saw the news – I saw that interview where you collapsed. I read the papers and listened to the radio. I wouldn’t be surprised if you had aids or something. You’re going to die, Kurt. You’re going to get HIV and die. And then I will be happy. I will be happy when you’re gone, Kurt, because right now, I’m so ashamed, I wish you were dead. I wish you dead, Kurt. I wish you dead.”
The last line of the letter, had Kurt’s father’s initials, and Krist was seething by the end of it. He knew Kurt and his father had issues – he knew Kurt and both his parents had issues, even stepparents, but he never realised it was to such an extent – and of such homophobia. He felt disgusted with Kurt’s father. He balled up the letter and threw it to the floor.
He put Kurt’s journal back in its place and left the room as he had found it. Dave was lying on the sofa, which had become his bed since he had moved in with Kurt. “I need to go out… I might not be back until tomorrow. We’ll go and see Kurt tomorrow.” Krist said, pulling on his jacket.
Dave sat up, the blanket he had surrounded himself in dropped slightly. “Where are you going?” he asked, his voice tired and thin.
Krist didn’t answer. “Just… get some rest, okay? Oh, and since I’ll be gone, don’t forget to feed Kurt’s turtles tonight. The food is in the kitchen. He always feeds them in the evenings… I’m sure you know that, but he always made me promise, that if anything happened to him, I’d look after them. You don’t mind, do you?”
Dave shook his head, but hardly responded – he didn’t have the energy. Whatever Krist needed to do, didn’t involve him and at that moment, he didn’t really care. He couldn’t shift the image of Kurt lying on his bed, surrounded by all those things, out of his head.
Krist left shortly after and Dave was once again alone. The only noise was Kurt’s turtles moving around in the their tank. Dave watched them for a little while before slowly moving off the sofa, wrapping the blanket around his shoulders, he trailed slowly around the tiny apartment. He planned on getting a beer from the kitchen but stopped at Kurt’s bedroom – the door was open, Kurt’s bed was unmade, the blind was half down and at an odd angle and it made Dave smile slightly.
He walked into Kurt’s room – clippings and magazine cuttings were dotted over the walls. A doll’s head was hanging from ceiling by the far wall and a half melted plastic action man figure was stuffed into the table-lamp light-shade. On the floor, there was a half eaten plate of macaroni cheese and a carton of milkshake. Beside that were a plectrum and a pack of guitar strings and an ashtray and some lyrics that Kurt had been working on, only the day before.
Dave felt his throat ball up and he frowned at himself as his eyes laced with tears. “Fucksake, Grohl, he isn’t dead,” he thought to himself. “Pull yourself together.” But he couldn’t. Dave couldn’t shift the sight of Kurt looking that that – being like that. So down and depressed and upset and everything else, to the point he wanted to kill himself. He couldn’t understand why. He didn’t know why Kurt felt the way he did and although it was obvious Krist knew something, no one had bothered to inform Dave.
Dave sat there, in the middle of the floor, his blanket around his shoulders, weeping. Sobbing hard and trying to get control of his breathing. Trying to get some control – of anything. He wanted to go and see Kurt, to tell him he was sorry for letting him down and not looking after him. He wanted to just give him a hug and let him know he was there, but he couldn’t and he was stuck here, in Kurt’s room, Kurt’s apartment, surrounded by all of Kurt’s things. Everything but Kurt.
Kurt’s vision was blurred. Somewhere in his mind, he was aware of where he was and what was going on. The rest of him was distorted. His stomach felt horrible, chained, clamped, and inflamed. He felt like he was going to vomit. His head felt dizzy, unsteady and clouded and his chest was tight. He coughed, spluttered and coughed some more. He realised then, as vomit splurged from his mouth, that he was having his stomach pumped.
After a while, he was left alone, the buzz of machines, people and other sounds, seemed to drift away and he felt like he could sleep. But when he closed his eyes, the room felt like it was spinning. His head still felt like it was clouded – blocked and covered, masked or deformed. He couldn’t really make sense of anything.
He laid there, trying to recall simple things – he recalled his name, his date of birth, where he lived, the name of his band, the names of his band-mates… he started to grow increasingly alarmed when he couldn’t remember Krist’s second name and he thought hard for almost two minutes before his recollection. It frightened him to realise his mind was so dulled to the point of not being able to remember simple things, but his mind was also tired and he really couldn’t keep himself awake, no matter how much mental stimulation he tried to provide, he couldn’t keep awake and fell into a dark, dreamless sleep.
The drive to Kurt’s dad’s house would take Krist most of the evening, but he didn’t care. He didn’t care how long it took him to get there because he wanted to sort a few issues out. Krist was rarely argumentative or angry. He wouldn’t ever start a fight and would only try to talk his way out of one. He was really a gentle giant, as some magazines claimed.
But not when Kurt was involved. He knew Kurt well enough to know what should and shouldn’t be said and now everything made sense. Of course, Dave was getting to know him, too – to understand all of Kurt’s moods, quirks and mannerisms.
Dave had been with them for just over a year and had adapted and been accepted almost right away. But Krist knew more about Kurt’s personal battles – some of which, Kurt wasn’t quite ready to discuss with Dave just yet.
Krist felt guilty about leaving Dave on his own, but he knew Dave would cope. Dave was stronger than he gave himself credit for. Krist had to do this, but he had to do it by himself.
Dave bundled some of Kurt’s clothes in a bag and left the apartment. He had to see him. He couldn’t stay there on his own, surrounded by Kurt’s things and Kurt couldn’t be alone in that place – he knew Kurt hated those places; he needed someone to be there. He caught a cab and made his way to the Chemical Dependency Centre.
All the items he had bought were checked – some disposable razors were removed and also a can of deodorant.
Dave rolled his eyes. “He’s not going to cut himself and get high -”
The woman did not look impressed. “He might not. Other people in here may be receiving treatment for such issues,” she reminded him.
Dave decided to keep quiet and followed her as she un-coded the door and let him through. They got to the room Kurt was staying in and she looked at Dave.
“You can only stay for thirty minutes. His treatment programme has been finalized and he will need to start it this evening,” she explained.
Dave nodded, suddenly looking very child-like. He pulled back his hair nervously as she opened the door and he went inside, following her but feeling small relief when he saw Kurt.
“Kurt, Dave is here. He’s bought you some things. He’s come to see you for a little while. It’s okay if you don’t feel like talking right now, but Dave just wanted to see you. He wanted to see how you were doing.”
Dave couldn’t help but notice how patronising her tone was. It was like she was talking to a five-year-old child. Dave also noticed that Kurt’s arms had new inflictions – ones that hadn’t been there before.
“When did he -”
She smiled. “Just before we bought him in. We took away his lighter. I suppose he had one in his pocket, as they removed the other one from the scene at the time.”
“So he just burned himself?”
She nodded, but looked to Kurt who remained emotionless, staring right up to the ceiling.
“Yes. He was very disorientated and confused, though. I think it was -”
She paused, as Kurt finally looked over at her, his stare icy and cold. He narrowed his eyes.
“I knew exactly what I was doing. Not everyone in here has lost their mind. I burned myself because I wanted to. I did it and I knew I was doing it and it had nothing to do with confusion.”
Trained to not retaliate or antagonize, she simply left, reminding Dave he only had half an hour and she closed the door firmly behind her.
“That sort of stuff is going to keep you in here,” Dave mentioned, softly, sitting down beside Kurt.
Kurt looked at him slightly, but then looked away, glancing at his own scolded arm. They were only slithers of burns – pink and fresh and new, not like the cigarette burns that were round and dark and faded.
“I did it for the response,” he admitted, eventually. “I did it because they were treating me like I was stupid, so I thought I’d act stupid for them.”
Dave sat back and smiled a little. “Still haven’t lost your sense of humour, then?” He asked.
Kurt turned to him now, his eyes seemed clouded, like he was deep in thought, but at the same time, he looked young and fragile and in some ways, child-like.
“I need to get out of here, Dave,” He said, softly. “I’m not going to get better in here.”
Dave sat upright – Krist had told him about Kurt’s previous times, when he needed similar help. He had bolted then, too.
“Kurt… you have… you’ve got an issue, Kurt. You’re burning yourself on purpose – regardless of if you did it for a reaction from them or not. And then there’s the drugs. This is the second time you’ve used cocaine, Kurt… and you’re injecting it, and the fucking heroin… speedballing, Kurt, you can’t leave.”
It was almost like Dave was saying these statements to himself, more so than anything. And as he was saying them, he avoided looking at Kurt – the accusing glare was too much and it made him very uncomfortable.
“Dave, please. Just get Krist. I don’t expect you… to… understand. Dave, I wasn’t supposed to come here, was I? I was just meant to be at the hospital, getting my stomach pumped or whatever. Dave, I seriously, cannot stay here. I really need to get out – I’ll get help, Dave, just not this way.”
Kurt’s voice seemed desperate, tainted with exhaustion, thin and tired. But the apparent need and pleading was prominent
“I can’t get Krist. He’s not here. He won’t be back until tomorrow. He had to go somewhere – he wouldn’t tell me where. He just left and said he would be back later. We were both supposed to see you tomorrow. I wasn’t meant to come here tonight, but I had to… to come and tell you… to, to come and see you and -” Dave stopped, his voice was getting high and shrill and he hated how it did that to him. He felt unconfident with himself at the best of times, but his voice, he decided was one of his biggest letdowns.
“I’m just so fucking sorry, Kurt.” He finished, not allowing himself to say anything else – not wanting to.
Kurt swallowed as he rested his head back on the pillow. He knew Dave wasn’t about to get him out. He hoped that Krist would. The door opened and the woman came back to escort Dave out.
“We’ll be back tomorrow, Kurt. I promise.” Dave said softly, as he got up. “And we’ll talk more about things tomorrow, okay?”
Kurt nodded and watched him leave, considering how fast he would have to move in order to get out. The windows were safe-locked, the doors were all coded. He was stuck here – at least until tomorrow, until Krist came.
By the early hours, Krist had arrived. He pulled up outside the small house – no lights were on but the front yard looked a mess. He remembered how messy things had been when Kurt had visited back here and thought it was disgusting that children had to be raised in such a state.
Carefully closing the car door, Krist walked, half in shadow, half in moon-light up to the door. He knew where they kept the keys – in stereotypical fashion, they were under the front door mat.
As usual, it had been raining, and dark, inky puddles lined the drive – the smell of rain was fresh and cool. He unlocked the door, aware that Kurt’s half-siblings would be in the house, it wasn’t his intention to scare them.
He laughed at himself slightly. He was a seven-foot giant of a man, letting himself into someone’s house, in the middle of the night and worried about scaring some kids. Part of him couldn’t believe what he was doing. The other part was intent.
He moved silently up the stairs – it had been a number of years since he had been here, but nothing had changed. He walked past what would have been Kurt’s old room and reached the end of the hall. Kurt’s father’s room was next – the door was slightly ajar, silently, Krist pushed it, stepping as quietly as he could, to the bed.
The curtains were still open, the sash-windows parted to allow air to ventilate the room, which provided eyesight to see which side Kurt’s father was sleeping on. As quietly as he could, Krist leaned over, holding his breath, feeling his heart race and his stomach fill with butterflies. He almost stopped himself, wanting to turn and run and leave and just pretend it never happened. But he quickly reminded himself of the reason he was there and banished all thoughts of anxiousness.
He placed his hand over Kurt’s father’s mouth, pulling him carefully – his father jolted awake.
“I need you to come with me, Don.” Krist said, very, very quietly. Don was moving around, kicking out and Krist was worried it would wake his wife. “Don’t move. Do as I say, Don… and you won’t get hurt.”
Krist couldn’t believe what he was saying. It was so clichéd and like he was in some kind of film. It was easy to move Don – he and Kurt had similar builds and Don was only slightly taller and had gained small weight from last time Krist had seen him.
Don kicked out again, but he was out of the bedroom now, Krist had a tight hold of him, he still had his hand clamped over his mouth and was pulling him down the stairs – it wasn’t violent, just forceful, but Don must’ve sensed this, because he stopped reacting so much, slowed his movements, as he realised who was holding him.
They went outside, to Krist’s van, and Don suddenly recognised Krist. He kicked around a final time, before Krist shoved him in and locked the door. He made his way to the driver’s side and got in, closing the door behind him.
“You better have a fucking good reason for this!” Don shouted, his breathing heavy, his chest rising and falling.
“I do.” Krist replied, simply.
Don was angry – his temper was wild at the best of times. Krist had only fuelled the fire that sat in him. It was similar to Kurt’s temper, but Don had the advantage of more weight – a slightly fuller build, however their features were still very similar.
“Just shut up. I don’t want to hear what you have to say,” Krist said, turning to him, suddenly producing a shotgun from the compartment. Don immediately stilled, was quiet, he didn’t say a word.
Krist sighed and lent back a little. “I read a pretty nasty letter… “ he started. “One you wrote to Kurt. It’s just, Kurt’s a good friend of mine and I’m worried about him. He’s really not well. See, we found him, last night… well, yesterday now, and he was in a bad way.” Krist said. Don was watching him carefully
“He took a cocktail of drugs… overdosed on his medication and burned himself. Now, I couldn’t understand why at first,” Krist continued, looking at Don for a few seconds.
“But then I saw the letter,” he deliberately decided not to mention that the letter hadn’t even been opened. He wanted Don to feel entirely responsible.
“He’s a good friend to me,” Krist said, playing the gun between his hands. “And now, he’s at the hospital, really sick and ill… and we have tour-dates coming up and an album to produce and not only that. We have to get Kurt into recovery.”
Don was silent. He watched the gun with similar expression to Kurt and Krist recalled how Kurt had hated the fact they looked so similar now he was older. They weren’t entirely the same, but there were times when Kurt would make an expression, sit in a certain way or give off a certain look, that completely reflected his genes.
Krist turned to Don now. “And this is all your fault. You fucked him up so bad. You fucked with his head and you fucked with him. You said you wished him dead, so he tried to kill himself… how would you truly feel if he did? What would you tell his brothers and sisters? What would you tell Wendy?”
Don opened his mouth, looking away for a moment. “Wendy and I don’t talk,” he said, softly. “We haven’t for a number of years.”
Krist nodded. “But you’d have to tell her – you’d have to tell Kurt’s own mother that he was dead… that you were the reason behind it… and what about his Grandparents? Or his Aunt and cousins? You might not love Kurt very much, but I know his stepsiblings adore him. As does his Aunt and his Grandparents.”
Krist lent back in the seat – his ease and relaxation unnerved Don and he watched as Krist palmed the gun again, this time holding it, his finger dancing closely on the trigger.
“I didn’t… I didn’t think about it. I just wrote it. I never… I never really meant it. At least, not about him dying. I don’t wish him dead – not really. I was angry. I am angry, but I don’t… I don’t want him to die.” Don admitted, his eyes never leaving the gun.
Krist nodded, but this time smiled a little, still holding the gun poised, he raised it, directed it at Don. “He doesn’t know about this gun,” he said, softly. “I suppose that’s a good thing after what he tried to do to himself last night. Can you imagine? Imagine going in his room and finding that? That wouldn’t be very nice, would it? Finding someone dead in their own room… their brains… splattered all over the nice, new sheets… their face no longer in tact… their - “
Don sat upright. “Alright! I know! Just stop! I don’t want to think about Kurt like that! Stop it! Please, just stop it! I’m sorry – I said I didn’t mean it! Please, just.. please don’t hurt me!”
Krist was shocked for a moment. He couldn’t believe what Don had just said. “Don’t hurt you?” He repeated. “You truly are a selfish bastard aren’t you? You’re not sorry at all! You’re just saying all this shit so you don’t get hurt… you don’t care about Kurt at all.”
The windows of the van had steamed up, and long trickles of water-trails ran down the windows. The low cast of orange light from the street-lamps reflected in the puddles and masked the windscreen in a fire-like glow.
“I do care about him! But I have a family to think about… a wife and kids -”
Krist glared at him. “But not Kurt?” He questioned.
Don looked away. He didn’t need to explain himself – his reaction was all Krist needed to see. He clicked the gun as it reloaded and he aimed it at Don, his finger resting gently on the trigger.
“I wouldn’t mind blood-splat on my window… it needs redecorating…” Krist said, almost manically.
Don was shaking, pleading, begging Krist. He looked like he was going to cry.
The gun was pressed right to Don’s temple now, the man looked like a child, and Krist was suddenly aware that he was enjoying himself a little too much and that thought alone scared him.
“Get out.” He said, suddenly.
Don looked at him, scared, surprised and uncertain. The air between them was dry and fused with the muggy warmth inside.
“W… what?” Don stammered, his heart racing.
“Get. Out.” Krist repeated. “If you don’t… “ Krist’s tone changed again – he sounded reflective. “Because if you don’t, I might end up shooting you.”
Don fumbled around with the lock – his palms sweaty and shaking. He finally grasped the lock and opened the catch, the door flew open and he half fell, half jumped from the van and stumbled back towards the house and then, Krist pulled the trigger.
The bullet smashed into Don’s car window, the glass shattered, Don fell the to ground, shocked, frightened and afraid. A dog barked and a light came on in the house next door.
An alarm suddenly sounded and the light in Don’s house came on. Krist reached over and slammed the van door shut, starting the ignition and revving the engine and then, he put his foot down, reversed and sped off, the puddles spraying water and foam on either side of the van as the wheels spun through the puddle-lined street.
Krist was shaking. He opened the window, allowing the cool air to rush around the van. He could smell the smoke from the barrel of the gun and it mixed with the fresh smell of the outside. He swallowed, trying to grasp his emotions – he couldn’t work out how he had done it, why he had done it or why he had enjoying holding the gun to Don’s head so fucking much.
He sped up some more until he reached the next town and then he pulled over. He had to calm down. He was shaking and close to tears – and, as he came to the realisation of what he had just done, he broke down into a sobbing, shaking mess.