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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

electronics department.

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