“ALSO KNOWN AS” soundtrack
7. Django Reinhardt, “Please Be Kind”
There was something about sitting with Angelo in Paley Park in the cold that didn’t make me want hot chocolate or coffee or tea. In fact, there was only one food I was craving.
“Could I have some ice cream?” I asked.
Five minutes later, I was spooning up chocolate ice cream with the flat little wooden paddle spoon that always felt like it was about to give me a splinter in my lip. “So,” Angelo started again. “You say that you’re fine, but you’re eating ice cream on one of the coldest days of the year.”
I sighed and sat back in my uncomfortable chair. The waterfall was loud, I realized, almost too loud. “Did you get me here for a reason?” I asked him. “Because it’s sort of deafening. Like, so maybe no one could overhear us if we were talkinga bout important things?”
Angelo merely smiled. “One could assume that, yes.”
“Should one assume that?”
“Let me put it this way.” Angelo leaned forward and folded his hands in his lap before making direct eye contact with me. “If one should have something that he or she would like to say, this would be an excellent time to do just that. But I make no demands. I just offer an ear.”
And of course I burst into tears.
“ALSO KNOWN AS” soundtrack
6. The Sounds, “Goodnight Freddy”
“I won’t tell anyone,” I promised Jesse. “Here, pinky swear.”
He turned his head to look at me. “Pinky swear?” he said. “What are you, six years old?”
“It’s a time-honored oath!” I countered. “Pinkies out, c’mon.”
He rolled his eyes but did so anyway. His skin was a little cool. Does this count as holding hands with a boy? I suddenly thought. Oh my God, I’m holding hands with a boy. A cute boy. It’s not like he’s someone’s cousin who’s supposed to be a pity date.
“Are you always this goofy?” he asked me, still laughing.
“I—I don’t know,” I answered. I didn’t know. I had never hung out with other teenagers before. I hadn’t even had a friend my own age since the third grade. “I guess I can be kinda goofy. Maybe it’s one of my hidden talents.”
“One of? What other hidden talents do you have?”
“Well, I can’t tell you or they wouldn’t be”—I lowered my voice dramatically—”hidden. But I have a few skills.”
And suddenly I realized that Jesse and I were really close together. More specifically, our mouths were really closer together.
“Oh,” I said. “Um, hi.”
“Hi,” he whispered back.
And then he kissed me.
“ALSO KNOWN AS” soundtrack
5. Kasabian, “Club Foot”
I could feel the party pulsing under my feet as I prowled the huge walk-in closet. I was pretty sure that the closet was the size of our temporary loft in Soho and easily twice the size of our house in Reykjavík. Surely big enough for a safe, right?
I started shoving clothes aside, moving shoes and feeling the walls, checking the edges of the carpet to see fi it would pull up and reveal a floor safe. Nothing.
My heart started to pound in time with the music.
“Shit, shit, shit,” I whispered to myself as I felt the wall behind a tie rack. Jesse already knew I was at the party. What if he was wondering where I was? Time was always of the essence, but especially when people were looking for you.
ALSO KNOWN AS soundtrack
4. Danger Mouse & Daniele Luppi, “Two Against One (feat. Jack White)”
“Look,” I said to my mom on the phone. “I can do this. I can do this better than anyone because I am a spy, okay? I am a great spy and…and something is licking me.”
There was a definite wetness on my calf and I glanced down to see a huge, shaggy golden retriever pushing his nose against my leg, then giving me a big doggie grin. I had seen this dog somewhere before, and I looked from the dog to his leash to his very cute owner.
Oh, no, I suddenly realized, my heartbeat flying into overdrive. Oh no, oh no, oh no.
“So,” Jesse Oliver said, “what’s this about being a great spy?”
“Maggie?” my mother chirped on the other line. “What exactly is licking you?”
“Bye,” I said, then pressed the END button as fast as possible. Jesse was still standing there; his dog was lying down, still giving me the doggie smile. “Um, do you always eavesdrop?” I asked. “It’s rude.”
He shrugged. “Do you always talk on your phone while surrounded by strangers?”
Why did he have to be so fast with a retort? I tried to think even faster. “I’m not telling you what I do.”
He raised an eyebrow. “Is that because you’re…” He leaned in for greater emphasis, and why, oh why, did he have to have such nice, soft-looking skin? “…a spy?”
“I was talking,” I said huffily, “about a Halloween costume. Yes. A Halloween costume. That will be the best one ever. Yes.” I had no idea what I was saying. Halloween was still a month away.
But that was then, this was now, and I had to get in the game.
“Also Known As” Soundtrack
3. Charles Trenet, “Que Reste-T’il De Nos Amour”
“Any cool assignments lately?” I asked Angelo.
“Oh, here and there,” he said, maddeningly vague. “I enjoy a bit of retirement now and then.”
“Pfft,” I scoffed at him. “Retirement? This from the man whose idea of fun is outrunning diamond smugglers in Bostwana?”
He frowned. “Your parents weren’t supposed to tell you about that.”
“They didn’t. I overheard.”
Angelo raised a disapproving eyebrow at me and sighed. “That’s very uncouth, Maggie.”
“Seriously, Angelo. Why don’t you go work for the Collective in London? You’d be good at it. You’re all mysterious and calm.”
Angelo shifted a little. “I don’t know, my dear. We shall see what happens. Now, darling, I have to be going, but don’t worry, I’ll be around as you need me.” He stood up and straightened his suit jacket. “And you are going to be a lovely student. Just remember what we say—it’s all make-believe.”
“Make them believe,” I replied. Angelo had been drilling that into my head for years.
He offered me his arm. “Walk an old man out?”
I rolled my eyes but took his arm anyway. “Back to the world of assumed identities and dark secrets,” I said as we passed through the Gramercy Park gates.
“Just like everyone else,” Angelo replied, then kissed the top of my head. “Tell your wonderful parents hello.” And just like that, he slipped his arm from mine and went around the corner, disappearing once again.
“Also Known As” Soundtrack
2. The Kills, “What New York Used to Be”
Roux grinned. “Well, it’s about time someone cool showed up at this school.” She nodded at the seat across from her. “I’m Roux.”
“Roo?” I said. “As in Kang—?”
“If you say Kanga, I will throw this apple at your head.” She just set it down, though. “It’s R-O-U-X. My mom had a brief fling with the French language when I was born.”
“Maggie,” I replied, wishing my mother had had an affair with the French language, too. Next to Roux, Maggie sounded like some wide-hipped farmhand who thought the Moulin Rouge was a new type of makeup. “It’s my first day.”
Roux widened her eyes dramatically. “No!”
“I’m as thrilled as you are,” I replied.
The easiest way to talk to someone new is to say what you think they want you to say. It was even easier when that’s what you would have said anyway. Roux was making this a piece of cake.
Within fifteen minutes, I learned that she was left-handed, hated school, and wore her uniform inside out after fighting a three-month battle with the school board. “I’m still wearing it,” she pointed out. “I just like to toy with their heads.” Then she glanced up and down at my plain uniform. “What are you going to do about this unfortunate situation?”
“Also Known As” Soundtrack
1. La Roux, “In For the Kill (Skream’s Let’s Get Ravey Remix)”
The second rule of being a spy? Be beige. I know in the movies, spies always have this really cool look, like Angelina Jolie. I’m sorry, but Angelina Jolie would be the worst spy in the world. Who wouldn’t remember looking at someone like Angelina Jolie? My mom always gets really upset whenever we watch movies about espionage. “This is so unrealistic!” she always yells. “Why would you dye your hair pink if you’re trying to stay undercover? Why is she using a drill to open that safe? All that noise and time!” (My dad and I sometimes joke that the unofficial third rule of being a spy is: “Never mention ‘Austin Powers’ to Mom.” She doesn’t know about that joke, but we think it’s hilarious.)
But she’s right about the drill. You just can’t use it any old time you want, not when the clock’s ticking and your arm’s tired and there’s building security ambling around just one floor below you. A lot of safes, at least ones that I’ve seen, have cobalt shields, and let me tell you, trying to drill through that is the most boring thing in the world and it takes FOREVER. I’m sixteen—I don’t have that kind of time! And if you miss and hit the wrong spot, then you can trigger a bunch of extra locks, which means that you are never, ever going to open up that safe. I’ll spare you the technical details, but trust me when I tell you that it’s bad, very bad. You will not be getting the Safecracker of the Year Award if that happens.
So no drills. Or explosives. Or sledgehammers. Sledgehammers are not beige, to say the least.
-Maggie, Also Known As
City and Colour, “Sleeping Sickness”
“Now it’s like the night is taking sides…”
Ahhh, it’s finally autumn: October days, the first (and probably last) thunderstorm of the season, honeycrisp apples, and sensitive singer-songwriters with acoustic guitars.
Ellie Goulding, “My Blood”
“With all the blood I lost with you / It drowns the love I thought knew…”
Show of hands: who here had no idea that Ellie Goulding was going to produce a perfect autumn album?
Scissor Sisters, “Let’s Have a Kiki”*
“And though the sun is rising, few may choose to leave / So shade that lid and we’ll all bid adieu to your ennui…”
This has become my morning soundtrack. And my afternoon soundtrack. And possibly my nighttime soundtrack. And I think I need a friend named Pickles. That’s all.
*Explicit language, ahoy!
The Beatles, “She Came In Through the Bathroom Window”
“Sunday’s on the phone to Monday, Tuesday’s on the phone to me…”
Inspired by Paul McCartney’s 70th birthday and this video of D’Angelo & The Roots covering this song. Happy birthday, Paul! Your Edible Arrangement is on its way!
Q-Tip vs. Michael Jackson, “Breathe & Stop vs. Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough”
“Millennium on your mind / Are you runnin’ out of time?”
Dance Party Friday! This song makes me want to go roller skating so bad. You don’t even understand.
(also, tiny bit of language ahoy)
Françoise Hardy, “Le Temps de L’Amour”
“On se dit qu’ a vingt ans on est le roi du monde…”
I saw “Moonrise Kingdom” two weeks ago and naturally, I’m now obsessed with moving my (nonexistent) children to Maine and making them listen to Leonard Bernstein and yeye music while they reenact the building of Noah’s Ark and wear cute animal outfits.
What could possibly go wrong?