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shaved a month ago. He’d wrapped himself in an oversized

black wool overcoat he’d managed to grab from an Uff

secondhand store or recycling center. His body twitched

and trembled. I knew the symptoms from my Manhattan

landlady’s body language. Mary had used every substance in

existence that could screw with her head. I had saved her

life a couple times, though I wondered why on earth I’d

bothered. I was just postponing the inevitable.

I slipped nearer to the man. The phone display was an open

shelf where the devices were attached at the base with a

metal coil that couldn’t be cut with ordinary scissors. The

druggie was fooling around with the latest Nokia model. I

waited for his next move. Not many addicts were clever

thieves. They’d just pocket anything easy to snatch and

then sell it cheap to pay for their next hit. The professional

leagues were a different story: they calculated the potential

supply and then created a demand for it. At Tallinn’s

Mustamäe Market no one asked where the bargains came


When I approached the junkie I saw that his left little fin-

ger was cut off above the top joint. So the chap hadn’t paid

his debts. I slipped forward slowly, like a cat stalking a

mole. The man kept looking around nervously. Both nearby

salespeople were keeping an eye on him and I also saw one

of the store detectives appear at the back left. Damn. I

would have liked to see the man try to steal.