Virtanen was the most dramatic thing that happened in the
store the first week of my gig. The Christmas crush grew
worse each day and the sugary carols I heard dozens of
times a shift hurt my ears. I tried to stay far from the guards
as well as from the other Santas, because the child
customers mustn’t see two redcoats at the same time.
Might lose their belief altogether. My own I had lost at the
age of five when I had seen my uncle, who’d raised me,
leave to be the sports club’s Santa Claus. I had confronted
him and he confessed that Santa Claus was make-believe.
Uncle Jari said everyone needed miracles. But you couldn’t
expect miracles on the slush-covered streets of early
I did not place my hopes in anything but my own efforts. I
had lost enough loved ones not to rely on anyone but
myself, but to achieve my wishes I might disguise myself as
anyone, even Santa Claus.
Merja of the cosmetics department told me that the thefts
from her shelves had stopped. She sounded relieved.
“Must be Santa’s miracle-working powers,” she smiled, and
then told me that some of the products were good for