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I snorted. It appeared that Stockmann Department Store

Security Chief Henrik Bruun and I spoke the same

language. “You are accustomed to carrying a weapon in

your work and employing direct physical force when

necessary,” he stated. “Precisely the man . . . the person . . .

we need. We are looking for an extra guard for the

Christmas season. I did not wish to say more than that to

the employment authorities. The job is not quite the

normal lying in wait for shoplifters and removing

troublemakers. It’s a question of in-house scrutiny. Thieves

have infiltrated our staff. Your job is to expose them. You

will need a suitable disguise: you will thus become one of

the house Santa Clauses.”


It tickled terribly under my nose. I was accustomed to using

mustache glue to dress as my male alter ego Reiska

Räsänen, but the Santa Claus disguise also involved a beard

down my chest. I glued the eyebrows over my own; they

shaded my bespectacled eyes. I rouged my nose to a

drunkard’s red and added a few moles with makeup. Long

white hair covered my ears. I wore a fat suit under the red

Santa Claus coat, overalls that added about forty pounds

and also hid my meager maidenly curves. It felt strange to

sit, because the suit’s stomach and chest squeezed together

and the thighs bulged to the sides. My walk became more

ponderous and imposing than my usual spring. I stretched