As I was walking from lunch, my phone rang just as I was about to enter the building.
"Hey, what's up?"
It was my buddy, R., in town on a one-day business trip from Helsinki.
"I'm getting my haircut at 1:30," he said. "I've got to catch the train back to the airport at 4:30. How's about it?"
So he stopped by the office with a co-worker at about 3:00 and I said that we should get the hell out of there. We meandered on over toward Stureplan, popping in at the bar of the Lydmar Hotel but leaving because a band was doing a soundcheck. We eventually settled in at Sturehof, R. and his co-worker taking beers, me with a coca-cola on account of I've been sick for the past three days and my stomach is a bit tetchy.
R. wanted to pay for the coca-cola, but I gave him a 20-kronor note, telling him it was for the Hilda fund.
"I have to tell you guys," R. said. "Remember how I bought a guitar in February and then I had lessons in March? Well, my guitar broke and I brought it in and they gave me a new one. So then I spent the summer playing the one song that I know, "Proud Mary" and Jessica, the most patient girlfriend in the world, telling me maybe it would be a good idea to learn one more song, just one more. But then when we got back from two weeks in the States, we walked into the kitchen and the guitar was leaning against the wall and the part that holds the strings was completely broken off again. Well, I finally brought it back because I got it in Stockholm and I go into the store and this guy Stevie is standing there talking about how he was on tour and his guitar got all smashed up. 'Can I help you, man?' the guy behind the counter said to me. And I showed him the guitar. 'Aw - what should we do, Stevie?' the guy said. Stevie said to give me another new guitar, no questions asked, and I didn't even have a receipt."
R. was triumphant.
"I love those kind of places with a guy named Stevie and where they trust you enough that they don't even ask for a receipt!"
The Swedish word for the day is konto. It means account.
- by Francis S.