The missing items were all small in size. They would have
been easy to conceal in clothes or under a bag’s false bot-
tom. But how had the alarms been deactivated and the
locked cases opened? These were the questions that had
turned the security chief’s suspicions toward the staff.
I started with routine work, running the data on any new
hires in the past several months and checking the security
camera tapes. I had worked earlier as a store detective at a
shopping center in Vantaa. The kleptomaniacs and candy
snatchers didn’t interest me, but since I was a foot soldier
in the security field, I had done everything they paid me for.
One of the compulsive thieves I’d caught, an R&D director
for a big corporation, had tried to bribe me not to report his
crime, swearing it was a sickness. I’d refused; he didn’t offer
After the foundation, it was time to pull on Santa’s boots.
My grandfather had made them; he had been the village
shoemaker. My late Uncle Jari had added roughness to the
The leather boots with their upturned tips gave a Finnish
stamp to the corny Coca-Cola Santa’s red garb, and they
made it easy for Bruun to distinguish me from the store’s
other Santas, of which there were five, working in two
shifts. I didn’t envy them: to listen to spoiled brats’