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The phone was Nokia’s granny model. It wouldn’t have

brought more than twenty euros on the street and the

screen was cracked. I brushed the scroll key and a photo

appeared. The gravestone was dark gray with an image of a

swan flying away and a simple bit of text: Paula Johanna

Salo, 1985–2012. “What business does Santa Claus have with

my phone?”

The man’s voice had a stronger ring now.

“How else can Santa figure out who’s been naughty and

nice? May I see your ID?”

“You don’t have any right, you’re not the police—”

“I can get the cops here in a flash if you want them. I’m

guessing you’re an old buddy of theirs.”

The man wiped the sweat from his brow and claimed that

he’d left his wallet and papers at home. I asked him if he

wanted me to pat him down right there in front of everyone

or in the back room. He tried to whine something about me

not having the authority, but I grabbed hold of his broken-

off finger with a grip that a bit tighter would have

dislocated the remaining stump. The junkie was right: I did