My Buddy Chad
When my purely fictional editor came to me with the chance to conduct a fake interview with Chad Kroeger — Nickelback frontman, noted pants-around-your-feet enthusiast and unapologetic photo-op horn-thrower – I jumped at it like a chicken on a dough dish. It was all set. We were to meet at a location within two square kilometers of my then-current position as determined by his record company in concert with a GPS and a microchip tracking device which had been implanted at the base of my neck 48 hours hence. I would receive a call on my fake cellphone telling me where to go.
I pick up.
Mr. Williams? says the digitally obscured voice on the other end.
Please proceed directly to the American Eagle at the Pleasantview Mall. Mr. Kroeger will be browsing the sale rack. In the men’s section.
So off I tear, practicing my ‘proper dude’ behaviour on the way. Remember: ‘chicks’ not ‘women’, ‘fag’ not ‘individual whose sexual preference, perceived or actual, threatens my prevailing sense of self.’ What was I so worried about? How hard could it be to get along with, arguably, one of the coolest dudes on the face of the earth? Shit man, just keep it light, I told myself. Talk about how much you love the Light variants of Bud and Coors or how hard you laugh at the doggedly lazy, overextended-to-the-point-of-exhaustion, PCRH (pop culture referencing humour) of Seth MacFarlane. If neither of those work, just ramble on for an uncomfortably long period of time about how much you appreciate a borderline underage ‘chick’ who shows a lot of cleavage.
‘Big, bouncing jailbait boobies are awesome. The way they look under the stress lines of a tight t-shirt. The way they swing to and fro, the way those pesky little nipples protrude at the most inappropriate of times.’
It was all Chad Kroeger could talk about the first five minutes of our acquaintance and he was downright poetic.
‘Dude,’ he said, flipping from one pair of clearance-priced pre-stressed jeans to the next, ‘you know why I wanted to meet here? Shit man, take a look around — but be subtle. Sure, sure. Take it all in. There you go — yeah, you know what I’m talking about: tits and ass, son. T and A. And I know they’re not playing it up because they haven’t even noticed me yet. Right now they’re probably just thinking I’m just some trailer trash wannabe Chad Kroeger, and you know what? That’s just what I want. This way, I can check them out when their shirts sag open when they’re busy picking up the clothes I knock down — like this.’
He drops a pair of jeans, quickly scans for detection, then moves to the full-priced jeans wall with the agility of a cat, motioning me along behind him with a spastic hand of nicotine-stained fingers.
‘Honestly dude, I’d take this sort of tail over your average stripper any day of the week and twice on Wednesday — know what I mean?’
He laughs the hyperactive trill of an over-sugared eight-year-old, feigning interest in the premium pre-holed denims hanging prostate in front of his leering lips, licking fiendishly and snorting through his nose like a butane addict.
He’s crazy, this Chad Kroeger — crazy for the poon-tang.
‘Shit man,’ he says, ‘I’m just crazy for the poon-tang. Ya know?’
I do, and nod agreement in my best ‘dude’ nod of assent.
‘Fuckin’ A, son! Fuckin’ A. That’s what it’s all about. You know that line ‘I love your pants around your feet’? Man, that shit is autobiographical! You know, about me. I really do love chicks’ pants around their feet. That wasn’t just a line, eh. You know why? Cause when they’re around their feet, they’re not between me and the poon-tang. Am I right or am I right? Fuckin’ A, son!’
He drops another pair of jeans then slides to his right, doing a spin move that would make one think ‘Karl Malone who?’ to bring himself in line with the non-pants clearance rack. This guy has got serious moves on the low post of passive sexual harassment and he’s his own John Stockton. He thrusts his pelvis against the garish pastel uniformity of the knit garments, knocking several to the floor, leans back and shakes his mane with the proficiency of a fifth-year MacDonald’s fry cook before straightening up to let out a beastly bellow.
He might have just blown his cover, but he keeps at it, stutter-stepping towards the out-of-season clearance rack.
‘You’ve got to switch between the new shit and the sale stuff, man. Gets them moving through the aisles, plus it seems more, as the French say – naturale, to spread it around randomly. I’ve got it down to a science.’
The sales associates are starting to whisper among themselves, giggling and pointing in our direction.
I’m a bit star-struck — unexpectedly so, as I’ve let Kroeger control the interview to this point. Hell, I haven’t even asked a question, so this technically isn’t even an interview. So far, I’m just an accomplice to a voyeuristic pervert with a fetish for teenage flesh. We may need a change of venue, so I strike:
‘Uh, Mr. Kroeger, I think they may be on to us.’
He looks up, alarmed.
‘Shit dude, we gotta run. It may be all fun and games now, but this shit can get ugly. Let’s go! And call me Chad.’
He grabs me by the arm and we make haste towards the door, leaving a trail of downed merchandise and slack-jawed idiots in our wake. Chad’s mood seems to have taken a turn for the worse, though, as he puts the hood up on his garish Ed Hardy hoodie and burrows deep into the pockets of his stylist-approved leather jacket, hunching his shoulders and clearing his throat repeatedly.
“Fuck man, I need a huff.”
“You mean a puff?”
“Nah dude, huff. Gas or, as the French say, l’essence. It’s the essence alright — the essence of my fucking life force, son! Come on, this way. And fucking hurry.”
We turn down a corridor leading into the administrative bowels of the mall, passing beneath a sign emblazoned with bathroom symbols and past a security guard, to whom Chad gives a knowing wink. Stopping in front of the family washroom, Chad takes a furtive glance up the hall to make sure the coast is clear, then in we slip. He locks the door, regains his bearings, opens his jacket, pulls down the table normally used for the changing of diapers and produces a swollen, red hot water bottle from beneath his arm pit. Ingenious, this Chad Kroeger.
“Grab that garbage can.”
“Put it on the table.”
At this point he’s in full control, this Chad Kroeger, but I need an interview. My non-paying, imaginary job depends on it, but he’s busy pouring the contents of his hot water bottle into the waste basket. Gas fumes fill the room. His grin is back.
‘Aw yeah, that’s what it’s all about right there. Unleaded. Premium. Shit yeah! And you know, old school huffers are always going on about the good old days, leaded gas and all that horseshit, but you know what? Don’t believe it. I’ve tried both and there’s no difference at all. Both get you fucked the fuck up, son!’
He licks his lips, shakes his head then runs a quick lap around the room, almost knocking me over. Then he leans over the waste basket, pulling the edges of his hood down to form a crude seal and breathes deep, his back and shoulders heaving with exertion, pleasure, or both. After five or six pulls, he lifts his head and stumbles backward, slamming into the cinder block wall in a splash of leather and testosterone against institutional white. His eyes are glazed, the grin of the easily amused and freshly lobotomized splashed across his face.
‘Doooood… awwwwyah. Dooood…’
He slumps to the floor and starts giggling, gradually working his way into hysterics. Now is the time! I strike:
‘So Chad, where do you find inspiration for your words?’
‘…Dooood… Aye-ah find id in, uh, plaisches. Like uh… like uh.. in a gaz stayshun. Ride-uh?’
‘Right. Gas station. Got it. And how do you feel about critics who say you’re a misogynist?’
‘Mizzz… odge… in itso… that, uh, riiiice, uh?’
His gas-addled brain does not know the difference between a hater of women and an Italian rice dish. They’re not even remotely similar, really.
‘No, that’s risotto. A misogynist hates women. Do you hate women, Chad?’
‘No, uh, way…. man! I fuggin loves them. Or… I loves to fugg them, I mean. Fuggin A, sun!’
He laughs hysterically at this, triggering a coughing fit, gasping for breath, flailing his legs around like a demented puppet and slapping the industrial tile floor like your drunk uncle telling an off-colour joke at the family reunion. Chad struggles to his feet, straightens his jacket up and brushes off his jeans, regaining some semblance of normality before again leaning against the changing table, hovering over the waste basket, staring intently into its depths like a sex tourist through a coin-operated sex telescope.
‘I mean, really though. I love chicks. Ya know? And it burns my ass when these fucking assholes talk shit like that about me. Listen, I love chicks. I’ve gone out of my way to learn the names of almost every one I’ve banged over the past three weeks. This is the new Chad, son! I don’t write those ballads to get laid. Do you think I’d need to? Come on! I write them because that’s how I feel about stuff. You know? Like how I feel about, like, kids and family shit like that. Shit that matters.’
With this he leans into the waste basket again and draws heavily, sucking those fumes deep into the black, tar flecked recesses of his lungs. Then, a knock at the door. Chad looks up, fighting the blissful urge of crumbling oblivion, legs shaking, hands clawing at the changing table.
‘Dude’ he whispers, “what the fuck?”
‘I don’t know man, I don’t know who –
‘SECURITY! OPEN UP!’
‘Aw shit dude! Or as the French say, merde!‘
Chad’s eyes are wild, he stumbles back from the table, produces a lighter from his jacket and… whoosh. Everything goes black.
I wake up in a field with second degree burns and the taste of gasoline in my mouth, feeling as though I’ve been violated somehow. But it was all worth it. Aw yeah, dude. It was alll worth it!
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Tags: Chad Kroeger, gas huffing, interview, Nickelback