Coney Island Babies: A ‘Hidden Track’ From Lynn Crosbie’s Novel About the Reincarnation of Kurt Cobain, ‘Where Did You Sleep Last Night’

Two Mormon nuns let us into the back of their station wagon where we coaxed the most limber of our veins to rise and admit the sweet point of the needle.

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Jun 9 2015, 8:28pm

Toronto-based poet, novelist, and PhD Lynn Crosbie's latest work is a mind-bending account of a young woman's co-dependent romance with a dude who is Kurt Cobain, incarnate. Steeped in junkie culture and shot through with self-aware elements of fan fiction, Where Did You Sleep Last Night has been getting great reviews. (And since it's intended as fiction, Buzz Osborne should have no qualms with it.)

Earlier this year, Crosbie talked to Noisey about the evolution of the story itself, and now the author has shared an exclusive extra chapter with VICE.

At approximately a third of the way through the novel (page 123) Where Did You Sleep Last Night, Evelyn and Celine are in New York: his band Bleach is playing SNL, and they have just performed at the Roseland. The couple are bingeing on smack, and joyful, having just reunited after another of their hideous fights. (NB: "He" is always Celine, who is Kurt Cobain.)

After the italics is the hidden track, a little story that doesn't appear in the book.

...

We walked around slowly, smashed into each other, waded through stores and streets and sometimes people called out to us or asked us questions.

Or we stopped them.

"Where can we get syringes? Our cat has diabetes," "Can we sit in your car for a minute?" and "Where's Brooklyn?"

Two Mormon nuns let us into the back of their station wagon where we coaxed the most limber of our veins to rise and admit the sweet point of the needle.

Sister Smith asked if we wanted to take her picture with Sister Mapplethorpe, and we said no.

"If you never cover one of my songs," he said, and embarrassed, I said, "I'm out of film," as we walked through chiffon-textured water towards the subway.

But a bunch of strangers shot us on the subway, as I slithered onto his lap and shredded his neck with my new, razor-sharp incisors; as he moaned and vomited an arc of milk onto the black window behind us.

We realized we were at Coney Island after an hour or longer of rattling back and forth, and went straight to the freak show, holding nude hotdog buns from Nate's.

The fat man, a fussbudget who kept plucking at his errant flesh, asked me to make his cheap sari look "more glam," and I pulled out sparkles and a glue gun from my purse as he talked earnestly to the bearded lady about getting work as a lumberjack.

On this perfect day, we used clam shells to make a sand motel, and, after rolling our pants to our knees, waded into the pale jade sea, smiling as frightened flukes leaped around us in shimmies of emerald.

"Are you going to stay?" he asked, more than once, and I always said yes, I cried "YES" when he broke six plates and won me an armful of broken, bleating baby dolls.

And I sang to him, in the affirmative, when he got on his knees behind a striped popcorn tent and lifted my skirt; I filled the sky with my assent right before he clutched my shoulders and filled my mouth with the taste of Fruit-Loops and tart mayonnaise.

The carnie barring us into the Cyclone asked if I liked his ink—the greenish babe on his arm looked eerily like me, or "like your titties," and he smacked him so hard, his teeth sprayed the metal car.

We moved upward slowly.

I leaned against him and with each click forward, I flashed on having betrayed him.

On what we had already done, on what we had lost, on the relentless nausea.

As we gathered speed, I looked at him, my face drained of everything but fear and he said "It doesn't matter."

"Because it gets so much worse," he says as the sky pierces the sea with a spike and, retracting, pulls back its water; pulls back its fish and stones and weeds and shells and strange, porous wands then shoots it all back.

We are taking the turns in a wet, jet sky without making a sound.

Our arms are sleek with blood and fast around each other's necks as we kiss each other for the last time, for what feels like the last time, the fall is that steep; what we have left undone, so dangerous and repeating.

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