Jumped In

Patrick Flores-Scott

Henry Holt / Christy Ottaviano Books

nir·va·na n def: an ultimate experience of some pleasurable emotion such as harmony or joy
Nir·va·na n def: a legendary kick-ass rock-and-roll band from my hometown of Aberdeen, Washington
My buddies from Aberdeen, out on the Washington coast. It’s where I used to live before I was “temporarily” moved away. And it’s where Rupe and Dave and I used to dream of becoming the next Nirvana.
The next hard-rocking, ass-kicking, world-famous band from Aberdeen.
A movie rolls in my brain. I’m watching us fish for cutthroat trout from the muddy banks of the Wishkah River. I see Rupert smiling at me with his big ol’ buckteeth, his long, rust-red hair flowing in the wind as he baits his hook with a massive, wriggling night crawler. Dave zips back and forth along the bank, a blur of Coke-bottle glasses, dirty blond buzz cut and turbocharged ADHD, pointing and shouting, “Cast here! Cast here, guys!”
We’re just little seventh graders fishing and having a good time, but all we can do is argue about Nirvana.
We argue about what Nirvana would be like now if Kurt Cobain hadn’t decided to leave this world.
I argue that “Scoff” is a way better song than “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” which is awesome, but there’s no way it rocks as hard as “Scoff” does.
And Rupe and Dave argue over who should play what when we start our own band.
We wipe the mud and worm and fish muck off our hands and rock-paper-scissors it for who’s gonna be Kurt and who’s gonna be bassist Krist Novoselic, the two original members of Aberdeen’s Nirvana before they added drummer Dave Grohl and became Seattle’s Nirvana.
We take our Nirvana Tour of Aberdeen and walk in the shadows of our idols, sneaking into Aberdeen High School, strutting the halls like we don’t give a shit, peeing in the weeds on the banks of the Wishkah, smoking stolen cigarettes beneath the pier at night.
Stalking their ghosts.
Because those guys had something we want.
And we’re not gonna stop until we find it.
We hang out at the abandoned old house where Kurt and Krist and a parade of drummers used to rehearse before their band had a name. Dave carves our initials into the peeling white shingles, and we stuff our faces with fat blackberries plucked from the tangle of vines taking over the yard. Sprawled out on the front porch, Rupe writes list after list of possible band names while I scrawl lyrics in my blue spiral notebook and imagine my voice belting those songs out over thumping drums and bass.
We dream of making Aberdeen rock again.
Making the country rock again.
Making the world rock again.
On summer nights, my mom stuffs us full of her incredible barbecue chicken and homemade mac and cheese and s’mores. Lying in the tall grass, under the ancient cedar tree, we press Play on the boom box and lose ourselves in “Scoff,” “Paper Cuts,” “Swap Meet.” We leave our troubles behind, shredding air guitars, pounding imaginary snare drums and tom-toms as we sing like rock stars and float way up to the clouds—then higher and higher, and far, far away, to a whole ’nother world of head-banging nirvana.
That was then.

Copyright © 2013 by Patrick Flores-Scott