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8th April 1994

pink alarm clock - a short story about Kurt Cobain

Another little thing I wrote at Writers’ Group this week. This time we were given the (potentially morbid) theme of suicide. We had half an hour to write, and this is what I did – the end is a bit rushed and silly though!

Leanne’s day started as it usually did. Her alarm beeped annoyingly at seven a.m. and she ignored it for as long as possible. Eventually she rolled out of bed and dressed for college as quickly as she could – this suited the look she was going for perfectly anyway – unbrushed hair; ripped jeans; a cut up t-shirt and most importantly of all, her well worn Doc Marten’s. She just had time to apply the eyeliner before running out to catch the bus.

She played Smells Like Teen Spirit on her walkman, mouthing along with the words as she often did, while watching the same people she saw everyday, doing the same part of their routine. The old lady with the red hat walking her poodle by the green; the milkman stopped outside 12 Higham Lane where he takes his time to chat to the lady with the long blonde hair who stands in her doorway in her nightie; the woman in the power suit getting into her convertible Mazda and the people she knew from school walking along the High Street. Everything was perfectly normal.

Registration was normal. Mrs Young told her to neaten herself up a bit and Stephen walked in late stinking of smoke. It wasn’t until lunch time that Leanne’s world seemed to crash to a halt. She went to the quad to meet up with friends who didn’t take her classes, and there was Mandy sobbing her heart out while Sarah feebly attempted to comfort her at the same time as painting her nails.

‘Mandy, what is it?’

She looked up, gasping for breath, make-up streaked all down her face. ‘Oh my god Leanne, it’s just…so…so…’ Mandy blew her nose and tried to regain control of her speech. ‘It’s just so fucking awful.’ Mandy fell into Leanne’s arms and collapsed into loud dramatic sobs again.

‘What is it? What’s happened?’

Mandy mumbled into her shoulder something entirely incomprehensible. Leanne looked at Sarah for help.

‘That guy from that band you like has gone and shot himself in the head.’

‘What?’ Leanne asked, starting to panic. ‘What guy? What band?’ But she feared she already knew the answer. Her stomach suddenly felt tight and constricted and her face felt hot.

‘In Nirvana,’ replied Sarah, ‘Kurt whatsit…Kurt Cobain.’

‘Kurt Cobain,’ Leanne whispered. ‘No, I don’t believe it.’

Mandy pulled away and pointed her face. ‘Do I look like I’m fucking having a laugh?’

Leanne sat on the low wall and reached in her bag for the walkman. ‘I won’t believe it till I’ve heard it for myself.’ She found Radio One and waited impatiently through two rubbish techno songs, tears threatening just behind her eyes until Newsbeat. It was the first and only story of the day. Kurt Cobain had been found dead in the flat above the garage of his Seattle home, with a gunshot to his head.

She listened in horror. The tears fell silently at first and then she freely cried with Mandy, hugging each other for the rest of the lunch hour.

‘Oh for god’s sake,’ said Sarah. ‘It wasn’t like you knew him. You never even met him.’

‘We fucking knew him,’ sobbed Leanne angrily. ‘We were soul-mates.’ She looked at Mandy and took a deep breath. ‘I don’t know if I can go on without him.’

Short stories and Poems, Writing,
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