Trafika Europe 2 - Polish Nocturne
It was a bitter-cold December evening. The wind whipped sleet into my face as I crossed Mannerheimintie Street. The lights changed and I barely managed to whisk a half-blind old woman safely out of the way of an approaching streetcar. The conductor rang the warning bells and the old woman thanked me effusively in Swedish. She called me “young man.” Stockmann Department Store was festively lit, as always in the weeks before Christmas. The employee entrance was on the Mannerheimintie side. A man was waiting for me at the elevators. He was about four inches shorter than me. His Boss suit fit elegantly. The frames of his glasses were the latest thing, straight out of Vogue.
“Miss New York?” he asked. On the phone he had insisted we use no names.
I nodded. The man summoned the elevator and took me to the basement level.
“The employee lounge is on the eighth floor, but there’s a secret conference room down here where we’ll be left alone.” He opened a four-inch-thick steel door. Behind it was an interior reminiscent of a Töölö drawing room in the center of old Helsinki: a deep cushiony sofa, two classic Le
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