them under the store price, the profit would be
considerable. But who would recognize the value of a 500-
euro night cream? It made more sense to steal things with a
market ready and waiting.
Mike Virtue, founder and director of the Queens Security
Academy, had repeated that the greatest security threats
often come from within organizations, from their trusted
employees. The cosmetologist named Merja was one I
resolved to watch. Santa could pretend to be interested in
her. Flirting with women didn’t bother me, I’d done it
before, both dressed as a man and as myself. Not likely I’d
manage to break Merja’s heart.
The Stockmann Department Store contained nine floors of
dreams. It was a downtown Helsinki institution. Next I
headed down to the basement-level entertainment and
The gender distribution of customers here was different
than one level up: teenage boys playing hooky were at the
game displays while middle-aged men focused on the
phones. Santa Claus did not interest them. Real men don’t
believe in fairy tales.
I picked out the junkie instantly. The man’s age was hard to
guess, could have been anywhere from twenty to forty. His
nondescript brown hair hung to his shoulders and a black
ski cap was pulled down to his eyebrows. He had last