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a moment before I realized that he was the Stockmann

store detective who had been in the electronics department

when I’d confronted the junkie. On the job, the guy didn’t

wear glasses and dressed in bargain-basement jeans that

bagged at the knees and butt and a sweatshirt with tattered

sleeves. Finer ladies averted their eyes from him. The man’s

civilian clothes were more stylish, and I noticed that the

young women sitting at the table next to him were trying

their best to attract his attention. He wore no wedding

band, but I knew from experience how easy that was to


I shifted my position at the bar counter just enough to be

able to watch the women’s attention-drawing rituals

without turning. The man did not appear interested in

them. He was nice-looking in a safe, ordinary way, and men

like that did not turn me on. I didn’t look for bums, either,

and had zero interest in wasting time on whiners, for I was

not the sympathetic sort.

To the pair’s disappointment, the store detective folded the

paper, in which he had already finished the crossword, and

rose. He had to pass me on his way to the men’s room. He

smelled of musk and lemon, a pleasant scent. I noticed it

again when he walked past me to the bar and ordered an-

other Christmas ale. He sat at the bar to drink it. Since he

had evidently not come to the bar in search of female

company, I stayed silent. I ordered another tequila.