Trafika Europe 2 - Polish Nocturne

men’s skin too. Santa must need makeup remover, at the very least. I flirted back; it reinforced my identity as a man. Was Merja sharp enough to see behind disguises? Perhaps she sensed that I wasn’t an ordinary Santa Claus, but rather keeping an eye out for thieves. By Saturday evening I was so beat I decided to stop at a bar. I changed clothes in the secret room as usual. Security Chief Bruun had assured me no one knew of its existence besides the store management and him, not even the house detectives. It wasn’t even marked on the building’s official floor plan. I checked the security camera to make sure no one would see me leaving the secret room. I circled the parking garage so it looked as if I’d come by car and then I entered the elevator. I was myself again, a tall blond woman who looked like a white version of Grace Jones. My jeans and black suede jacket offered little protection from the wind that blasted in from the Mannerheimintie Street doors. I darted across the street to the Hotel Marski bar and ordered a tequila. That would get my blood flowing. There was old-time jazz playing, soothing as a bubble bath after listening to endless Christmas carols. I pretended to read the free newspaper while I played with my phone. I was used to sitting alone in bars and chasing away any unwelcome company. A familiar-looking man was seated beside the window. He had an athletic build, and black hair cut very short and spiked with gel. The thick-rimmed glasses confused me for


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