north one-two-five

ONE DAY I was in Lapland with Riho and Alar. They were teaching me how to cross country ski. I couldn’t recall how we had all decided to head up there, but there we were. I had a good set of new skis too, just perfect for freestyle. Riho in particular was a strong skier and seemed to know the terrain quite well. “You just don’t have vistas like these down in Estonia,” he said. He was right. There were long, descending slopes that just went on and on, past lines and lines of pines. It was like butter. The freshly fallen snow billowed up like smoke and it only kept snowing. I was happy there but the following day was less happy. That was the day my daughter and I were driving around Kharkiv pulling Ukrainians from the wreckage of ruined buildings. Another Russian missile strike, the bastards. One woman was trapped up on the second floor and we had to pull her free from the rubble. She was a middle-aged singer in a black dress with red curls. She alone had survived. The poor woman had been living indoors since Christmas and hadn’t taken down her decorations, so they were now strewn about in the rubble, the broken pipes and shards of glass and concrete, the plaster and sheetrock, the blinking ornaments. My daughter wanted to keep rescuing people, but I told her that if we kept going like that, someone would need to rescue us or even worse. Besides, the next morning I had to attend a climate change conference in Stockholm. Some denialists were giving a talk at a posh hotel by T-Centralen, but I was surly and disagreeable and interrupted them. The police were called, of course, and I managed to evade them in the kitchen. But the police went in there too, asking to see everybody’s passports. I stole a white coat and pretended to be the sous chef and made it out the back door, but then realized that I had left the cat in the room — North 125 — and had to go back to get her. When I made it back to the room, I saw four officers standing around the door, pounding on it. I didn’t know what to do so I just approached them. “Excuse me,” I said, “but do you happen to be looking for me?” After I was released from jail, I went to get a coffee at a Chinese restaurant. It turned out the owner had assaulted his girlfriend and also done time for it, though he insisted it had all been in self defense, and that she had attacked him first. He was a young kid, maybe 25, with a baby face, and seemed kind enough. It was hard to imagine he had done it, but I decided to leave anyway. I didn’t want to wind up back in the slammer and, anyway, what kind of person drinks coffee at a Chinese restaurant? I went to find another café and rode my bike all the way down the avenue. I saw posters for the elections everywhere, but there was no café open at that hour. I thought about going back to Lapland instead. Maybe there was a good café up there? Some place with warm pastries and cocoa, hot espresso and hot Sámi women? Maybe Riho and Alar were still waiting for me? The skiing had really been wonderful up north and there was no war.

dead sea

THE HEADLINE READ, “McCartney Dies! Ringo Last Living Beatle!” and there was a photo of Mr. Starr giving the peace sign. I folded up the newspaper and tossed it back on the counter at the seaside bar. One of the natural attractions was the wreck of a ship more or less on shore, and you could walk out on its rusty deck and look over the edge into the roar of the sea, if you dared. There were other families on the ship’s deck and I noticed, with some concern, how a child dove off into the water and swam back, safely. Of course, my daughter wanted to swim too, and before I could say no, she went over the edge, into that swirling froth. I thought about diving in after her, but soon after she was back on deck dripping wet. On the way back to the hotel, Lata ambushed me. She had been hiding in the bushes. She told me she wanted a baby, but I said it was an impossibility. “Please, please, please,” she said. “I love you.” I told her it was impossible. “If I have any more children, I’ll just die. And that’s the beginning and end of it.” I felt rotten about the whole thing and went back to the hotel room. It looked over a vast swimming pool, but there was something lifeless about it. “Dead Sea,” I quipped to myself. Where was this, anyway? The Bahamas? The Canaries? All these places looked the same. Later, Ramon came by to pick me up. He cruised up in his convertible and off we went. Latrell was in the back seat. He kept putting his legs on me and I kept pushing them off. He was in a bad mood too — was it McCartney’s demise that had rankled everyone? — but Ramon kept telling us that McCartney had really died back in 1966 in a car accident, and it was only his replacement, William Campbell, who had died. Or maybe he had also died and this was just another replacement? How many McCartneys were there? I felt bad for Ringo. He was the oldest one, and now this? What a rare honor, to be the last of a quartet. I’d had enough of dead ships and dead seas, dead heroes and and dead everything. I needed to find another island, to get away for a while. As soon as we pulled up to the little supermercato, I gave them all the slip.

enough space

I WAS IN ENGLAND or maybe Scotland. Some larger UK city with Georgian architecture, but nothing recognizable. I was looking for a cash machine, but there were none around. There was a café toward the ends of one wing, but nothing else there. Just some city folks drinking lousy coffee and an old man selling Cornish pasties. While I was searching, I encountered a young family with two sons who recognized me. They were fans of my work, and I was happy to sign autographs, but they would not quit pestering me. I lost my temper. We were by the main door and I sprinted across the street to get away, into another gold-bricked mansion. This, as I found out later, was the main building of the regional NHS Trust. I did find an ATM and withdrew some crisp banknotes. They had not yet replaced the queen with the new king. Vesta was there waiting. Vesta’s had a hard time of it. She always does. She is a firestorm woman of uncertain circumstances. We began to leave the center together, and I was surprised when she wanted to do it right there at an intersection. There’s a kind of desperation with her that is so satisfying. Many long for comfort, for security. They want to be held and never let go of, preferably by someone with a good-paying job and of sufficient emotional fortitude. Not Vesta. She’s a monsoon, and that only makes it doubly satisfying. “No, no, no,” I told her, “Everyone will see us! Let’s go back to my place.” At my place, we climbed the stairs and went into a closet. There were people downstairs having some lunch. I could hear them eating, but we felt safe and there was just enough space.

stig’s slingshot

IT WAS A SCATTERED and disjointed scene, as are most parties at the Depps’ house. I use Depps, plural, as due to some tinkering with the space-time continuum, or other freak accident, there are now two of them, and they are both the same Johnny. There is a 40-ish Depp, the one who starred in The Curse of the Black Pearl, and then a much older one, the graying, grandpa Depp, about to star in some future, unpenned installment of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. The older Johnny Depp gives the younger one pointers, but they don’t always see eye to eye. Sometimes the younger one listens, sometimes not. Because they host so many events, these discussions are usually around trivial matters, where to place the beer keg, for example, or what kinds of wine to serve. If you remember correctly, there is a back living room with plush couches, a large, open central area, complete with a kitchen and well-lit by skylights, and then another room beyond that, where the boys and girls like to play billiards and there’s even a juke box with records by the Electric Prunes and Amboy Dukes and “Rumble” by Link Wray. Beyond the billiard-juke box room, there is a smaller space. This is where Depp, Sr. and Depp, Jr. keep the wine. The wine room. There’s whiskey in there too. Cognac. The man (or men) likes to drink. Of course, someone had to bring a python to one of these things. It was the night that Stig was over to host another murder mystery. Stig, as you know, carries a slingshot in his back pocket for protection. One can never be too careful. Considering I was stuck in Johnny Depp’s liquor stash, cornered by this tropical snake, I thought it would be an apt time for him to wield it. But he said no. Not only did he only use the slingshot on special occasions, but he didn’t want to get his suit dirty. Then he told me the snake was my problem. Stig turned off the lights, shut the door, and went back to hosting.

the return of dulcinea

ONE DAY, I stopped into Abbey Road Studios. McCartney was there, as usual. He likes to get in the studio before the rest of his bandmates. He was seated with Linda, and showing her the chords for a song he called, “Don’t Go Chasing Polar Bears.” It seemed odd to me that Linda was still alive and Paul looked so young, and then I realized that it was 1968 all around me. It was also kind of strange that he wouldn’t release that song for another dozen years on McCartney II. The more I looked at Linda though, the more confused I got. Because Linda suddenly looked like my mother, but just as my mother would have looked at that time. What was my mother doing with Paul McCartney in Abbey Road? I left the music studio and went back to my hotel and rode the elevator up to the fourth floor. This turned out to be the same building I had lived in as a freshman in college, Thurston Hall on F Street in Washington, DC. It was just as I had left it, filled with trash and roaming co-eds, like some kind of posh university version of Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome. Dulcinea passed me in the hallway. She looked fine as always, with her straw-coloured hair, but she was chasing a small child, and I could see she was expecting more. “I have twins on the way,” Dulcinea said. She was wearing some kind of creamy Victorian dress, with a corset and full skirt. I felt excited and miserable seeing her all the same. “Well,” I said under my breath, “I hope you are happy now.” I found out later that Dulcinea had been having an affair with her history professor, and that her father had with great haste arrived to the university to shoot him with an old pistol. Dulcinea ran from the whole thing, and nobody knew where she had gone. Probably back to Spain. Later, I recounted the story to some friends at a café. Old Grace Slick herself was there sitting in the corner, listening to my tales of McCartney, Dulcinea, and murderous fathers, and started cackling to herself. “What’s so funny?” I asked the ancient Jefferson Airplane singer. “Life is funny,” she said. “Well, what else do you expect men like me to do,” I said, “when all of you girls are so damn beautiful.”

the wrong boat

THIS STARTED WHEN Erland and I were cycling in Norway. We were traveling around and eventually arrived to the M-Fjörd, which had on one side a long, picturesque view of the sea through rings and rings of old pines. I could even draw you a map of the place if you would ever like to go there. We traveled down a gravel road through the pine forest and arrived at what looked like a botanical garden and museum. It might have belonged to some old philanthropist at some point. The kind of place that had been gifted to the state upon his death. Within this old estate, we encountered a red crow with a broken wing that was sprawled across an ancient sun dial. It could no longer fly but it continued to struggle with its wing. Later, we went into the back building and down a set of wooden steps. This led to a dockside bar. There were a lot of young couples sitting around drinking Guinness or glasses of white wine. The place had a New England feel to it, with platters of fried clams on plates with lemon wedges. Suddenly, the whole bar began to rumble and the man at the bar, a younger fellow with dark hair, informed us that we were no longer at the museum, but were actually on a seagoing vessel bound for the east coast of the Americas. Soon we had left the harbor behind and were out on the open sea, somewhere up in the North Atlantic between Iceland and Norway. Dozens of vessels came through the sea, mostly warships bound for Russia. I was surprised the news had not informed me of this fleet bearing down on Arkhangelsk. There weren’t only American ships. There were Canadian vessels too, and I spotted a few with Scandinavian flags. I went to use the restroom in the boat bar, which was located in a ship’s cabin, and saw on the wall a faded map of Orient Point, Long Island. Was this ship really going to sail all the way to Orient? Erland came into the cabin and said, “You have to get out quick. We’ve been torpedoed. The ship is taking on water!” I looked down and saw that my ankles were already wet and I climbed the steps. We both jumped off into the sea as the boat sank. We were soon rescued by a Swedish vessel passing by, and returned safely to Europe.


IT WAS THANKSGIVING, and the whole family was gathered at a palatial house in the country. It was something like an estate or old manor house, with multiple entrances, stairwells, dining halls, and many floors. The feast was arrayed on long wooden tables, protected with simple white table cloths, and the furniture in general gave one the impression that it had once belonged to a guild of medieval carpenters or perhaps really some Round Table knights. But with all of those platters coming in and out of the kitchens, with all of that racket, with all of the children climbing over and up and on top of everything, I was overcome with panic and went outside. There I lied in the grass, just for a few moments. It was cold, but not so cold that one couldn’t lie in the grass. That’s when I saw her, with her big boughs of red curly hair, cycling away in the distance. I hadn’t thought of Celeste in ages, but she was still cycling around on her white bicycle, running errands, or going places, lurking away on the periphery. Cycling away. I wondered if she had seen me lying in the grass exasperated. I wondered if she ever cared. Her back was to me, and soon her black silhouette disappeared into a hot orange sun. When I went back into the house, most of the feast had already disappeared too. It had all been eaten, and most of the guests had left. There were just hundreds of messy plates and half-drunk glasses of juice and coffee. I was all alone there in the banquet hall. At last, I found a basket full of untouched red plums in the center of a table. Then I took one of the ripe plums and ate it.

with bourdain and my new helsinki friends

BEFORE I MET BOURDAIN, I used to live somewhere else. Where exactly that was is not important to this story. Okay, it was in Estonia. But for various reasons I had to leave that country. That was when I hightailed it across the Gulf of Finland on the Tallink Megastar, and walked down into my new adopted home of Helsinki. That same night I met Bourdain at a burger restaurant on Lönnrotinkatu. I immediately fell in with Bourdain and his crew of Finnish degenerates. Gutter punks. Motorcycle gang rejects. Venture capitalists and angel investors. Tony always rolls with his crew, you see. Even if he hates people, even if he detests them, Bourdain needs to surround himself with a circus. Most of my free nights after that were spent right there in that madcap company, with Bourdain and my new Helsinki friends. 


Obviously, there is a problem with this story. Bourdain is dead, so they say. He hung himself in some provincial French town a few years ago. His last known meal was a Choucroute Garnie dish, which contained sauerkraut, sausages, and roasted ham. They said Bourdain was in low spirits when he took his own life. He hated his celebrity, his fame, and his relationships were struggling, especially one with a younger Italian actress who shall not be named. All of which is very true. However, if you hate everyone in your life and your life itself, there is actually no reason to commit suicide. Bourdain did not need to hang himself to get away from these pressures. He just needed to disappear to a place where nobody cares if you’re alive or dead. Helsinki, the capital of Finland. Bourdain recalled a newspaper story about an accountant named Otto Nieminen, aged 64, who had died at his desk in his office from a heart attack and had been left sitting there for days because nobody could tell if he was alive or dead. Nieminen was in the same position as always. That, Bourdain thought, is where I need to be.


If you have ever read Bourdain’s memoir Kitchen Confidential, you know that when Bourdain was young he worked in Provincetown, the bohemian enclave at the tip of Massachusetts’ Cape Cod. You may also recall that some rival chefs in 1970s Provincetown had affected an 18th century buccaneer swagger, and that Bourdain watched them with elements of terror and awe. This was exactly the new persona Bourdain took on with his new Helsinki friends at the burger restaurant. He even kept a colorful parrot, called Papukaija, or Papu for short, who would sit peacefully on Bourdain’s shoulder while he fed it crumbs of Gruyere cheese from his pocket. Then he would announce, in a pirate captain voice, “Seppo, Pasi, me thinks we should go to the A-Plus Karaoke Bar tonight and set us up with some buxom wenches. And fetch me my rum!”

Bourdain and his Helsinki friends had numerous scrapes with the law. Such as that time that they punched out an R-Kioski cashier because he put too much mustard on the kabanossi. Another cashier who worked at Aleppa was tarred, feathered, and forced to drink Lapin Kulta. All because the karjalanpiirakka or Karelian pies were a little undercooked. The Finnish police came around the burger joint on Lönnrotinkatu that night. I was seated with my favorite chef, a young Finnish woman who wore a t-shirt that read, “count orgasms, not calories.” I was having the double burger when they questioned me, while Bourdain fed Papu some fries with pesto aioli. But when it came down to it, I lied. I felt uncomfortable about Bourdain and his Finnish convenience store ultraviolence antics, but I valued our new-born friendship even more. When you are in with Bourdain’s gang, you’re in. There is no turning back.


This is all just background information, because what I am about to tell you might seem a little unbelievable. You might even be shocked. Even though Bourdain was hiding in plain sight in Helsinki, a cold city where he was free to indulge all of the sinister elements of his dark side, he was still Bourdain, of course, which meant he loved to eat. Often, we would go to Mr. Lee’s Great Wall Kitchen across from the A-Plus Karaoke Bar, enjoying hot bowls of beef or chicken noodles, heavy on the chili. Bourdain swore by the broth, claiming it to be as rich and satisfying as the homemade stuff he had tasted in villages along the Yellow River. Whenever Bourdain tasted the broth, he would start quoting Lao-tzu and rambling on about Wu-Wei. “When your body is not aligned, the inner power will not come. When you are not tranquil within, your mind will not be well ordered.” And so on and so on, etc.

There was a little TV on in the corner of Mr. Lee’s and it showed an image of the surface of the Baltic Sea frothing white as the methane from the Nord Stream pipeline made its way up into the atmosphere. Swedish investigators had concluded that the explosions were caused by sabotage, the report said, but they did not name the perpetrators.

Bourdain watched the news report quietly, spearing out some noodles with a pair of chopsticks. He sucked the noodles down and licked his lips. Then he said to me, in a very quiet voice. “Do you remember a few weeks ago when Pasi and Seppo and I went on that booze cruise to Mariehamn in the Åland Islands with Henna and her girlfriends?” 

“Yes, of course,” I told him. 

“Well,” he said. “The thing is, we didn’t actually go to the Åland Islands.”

“Really? Where did you go?” 

“Actually, we went to Bornholm, that island in Denmark. Then we took a boat out into the Baltic Sea and blew up the Nord Stream pipeline.”


It was just Bourdain, Pasi, and Seppo that carried out the mission, as far as I understand it. They put on their diving gear, synchronized watches, swam down, and laid the explosives. By the time they were detonated, they were back in bed with Henna & Co. at a quaint B&B.

“But why did you synchronize watches?” I asked Bourdain.

“That’s what you do when you blow shit up.”

I stared at the TV, then back at the world-famous undead chef.

“I must admit, I am a little hurt,” I said.

“Hurt? It’s not like you were benefiting from those pipelines.”

“No, no. It’s just. I thought I was one of your new Helsinki friends.”

“That’s why I am telling you this! Do you think I told anyone else?”

“Then how come you didn’t take me along!”

“Have you ever blown up a pipeline before, kid?”


“Well, I have. At least now I have,” Tony said. He pinched his nose. I suppose it all bothered him, just a little bit. The faked death, the escape to Helsinki, and now this, international espionage and acts of terrorism. No matter where he went in this world, Bourdain just couldn’t stay out of trouble. If there was a red button, he pushed it. If there was a hot sausage, he ate it. If there was an explosive, then he dove to the bottom of the sea and nestled it nicely alongside concrete-coated steel pipes. Bourdain reached into his pocket with his gnarled chef’s hands and pulled out a few crumbs of savory Kaltbach. Papu the parrot dipped his head down and Bourdain fed him some of the cheese. Then Papu did something unexpected. He hopped on my shoulder. I could feel his claws and adjusted to the weight of the bird. 

“He’s warming to you. Papu doesn’t just sit on anybody’s shoulders. You have to be in the gang, be one of Tony Bourdain’s Helsinki Wild Ones.”

I said nothing but beamed with pride.

“Here, here, feed him some of the Kaltbach.”

“I thought Papu only ate Gruyere.”

“Papu’s like me. He’ll eat anything.” 

I held my hand up and Papu pecked at the chunks of Kaltbach.

“Tell you what,” said Bourdain. “I’m sorry we didn’t invite you. Next time we blow up a Russian gas pipeline, I’ll make sure you come along. They have other pipelines, you know. We’re planning a Turkish holiday.”

“Okay, okay,” I said. “It’s nothing really.” I smiled at Bourdain then, and he gave me a weird look. Bourdain doesn’t like being smiled at, you know. He hates people, detests them really, and honestly only likes parrots and food and vintage horror movies. And karaoke sometimes.

“Why are you looking at me like that? Are you happy I blew it up?”

“I don’t care about the pipeline, Tony. I’m just happy you’re still alive.”

the game of hockey

AFTER SHE HAD finally purged her life of her husband, Céleste invited me over. I wasn’t surprised they had gone their separate ways, but Céleste had often spoken lovingly of Georges, a man of business, a man of ideas, a man she could depend on. It was a relationship consecrated in a cathedral, celebrated at a manor, formalized with the necessary paperwork.

They also had a child.

Then, just like that, in a matter of eighteen months or so, there had been a crumbling, a dissolution, a reversing of the course. Everything she loved about Georges she now despised. She disliked the way he drove, especially. I wasn’t sure if infidelity was involved. I never dared to ask, but I had my suspicions. If anything, Georges was more married to Pierre on his hockey team than he was to his wife Céleste. As soon as she had banished him from the home, she invited me over to dinner. I went there accordingly. I had no idea what to wear or to expect.

When I arrived at their house, the door was open. I knocked and rang the bell and when no one answered, I went in. I could hear that someone was in the shower downstairs, and then Céleste’s mother came out from the kitchen, holding little Antoine in her arms. She invited me in, and I saw that Georges was very much still in the house, eating dinner together with Pierre. They said they were both going to play ice hockey, and then asked if I’d like to come along.

Naturally, I thought they were plotting to kill me. Georges must have known there was something going on between me and Céleste. Perhaps he had even read our erotically charged letters? Or seen some of the photos she had sent in her more vulnerable, early morning moments? I studied him as he walked toward the rink. He was no doubt regarded as handsome, I thought but at the same time, a rather stale, dry kind of character, the kind who breezes through life into positions of power, even ascends to the presidency, or who collects great wealth, but in person is rather a bore. Such a character is the very epitome of manhood by all metrics, yet lacks anything that would distinguish him as a man. The only thing that defined Georges was his love for hockey. He knew statistics associated with all of the players. He played hockey. He watched hockey. He was hockey. During that solemn walk, I did not dare mention his failed marriage, but the man never mentioned it. Instead he spoke of the game with Pierre, and they recalled with great accuracy different plays from the season. His only lament was a sore shoulder that was taking too much time to heal. I suggested he take some time to recuperate. Georges sneered at me as if I knew nothing and said one word: “Never.”

I left the two players at the rink and walked back to the house for my dinner with Céleste. The evening had just begun and yet had already taken a strange turn. Even the trees down the boulevard looked sinister. In a nearby park, a man tossed some breadcrumbs to some pigeons.

At the house, Céleste was waiting for me. She had put on a red dress, and draped herself in a white shawl. Her blonde hair was pulled back. She held a glass of red wine before her and stared at it in contemplation. I knew she wanted something from me, but did she want it all, and tonight? The grandmother had apparently left, and Antoine was sitting in his high chair.

“Well,” said Céleste. “At least you came.”

Dinner was nice. Afterward, she told me she wanted to show me the cellar. We came down an iron staircase to a series of underground rooms, full of antiques, magazines, and a plush bed in the corner beneath a ground floor window, through which shone some early evening sun. The child held to its mother. When she set him down on the ground, he started to scream.

“Please kiss me now,” said Céleste. I obliged and kissed her. She fumbled with my pants, grasping at my underwear. “Now I want you to make love to me,” she said. “Would you?”

Of course I said yes. “Please do it. Here, like this. Take me from behind.” I complied. Antoine kept sobbing. Then, from outside the window, I could see a shadowy figure approaching us.

“Don’t stop, ” Céleste said. “Whatever you do, do not stop.” “I am not stopping,” I told her. 

The figure put his face to the window and began to speak through it in hurried French. 

It was Georges! He had returned to the house to fetch a hockey stick. That was all he said. Céleste put her face up to the window and began to pelt him with obscenities. I tried to make myself invisible, but this was impossible. How do you make yourself invisible when you are servicing another man’s wife in a messy basement with a screaming child on the floor? I was wrapped up tight, deep inside the lady of the house. There was no way back or out of this thing. “Céleste, please come to your senses,” I heard Georges say through the small window.

“No, I want you to watch,” Céleste responded. “I want you to watch this all, Georges. This is how I feel now. This is exactly how I feel about you, and us, and about the game of hockey.”


IT WAS SUMMER and splendidly hot. The white tower of the town hall looked like one of those old colonial administrative buildings in the Danish West Indies. If you’ve ever heard that old Muddy Waters tune, “Good Morning Little School Girl,” then you have heard this story. But I actually didn’t know she was a school girl, I swear. I thought she looked interesting. In retrospect, the skirt should have tipped me off. It looked like it had been stitched together from old curtains. And then the worn red blouse, the messy blonde hair. She was not one of those bank clerks. She was holding something in her hands too, bearing it in front of her, but whatever it was, I couldn’t see. I decided to follow her but to keep my distance, as if I just happened to be headed in the same direction. If she looked back, I could inspect a hedge, or stroke the little dog of a passerby. Pretend to be a legitimate pedestrian. She walked through the park and then down Hollow Street. At one of the old houses, she paused to chat with a young man who was sipping his coffee in the doorway. She laughed at his joke. Then she came up Trench Street and arrived to the intersection with the main road. It was here that I caught up to her. I felt guilty for following her. I should have just glanced her and let her go. Yet she waited for me there. It was as if she had known I had been following her. We stood there and she looked forward and then turned and cleared her throat, but said nothing. Instead, she showed me what was in her hands. A small container enclosing a honeycomb. “Would you like some of my honey?” the girl asked. She had such a pleasant air, and I said, “Of course, I’ll have some of your honey.” She smiled at me and pulled a dripping hunk from the container and handed it over. She took a separate chunk and slipped it in her mouth. “It is good, isn’t it?” said the girl. A touch of golden honey was on her lips. From the crest of the hill looking down the road, I could see the lake in the distance. I could see the beach and the pines. “It is,” I said. The youth said nothing and we crossed the street. The wind blew and toyed with her sunshine hair. It was that kind of day. Disarming. Innocent. Bluesy. Honeysweet.