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“For God’s sake, don’t wave the knife around. I’ll take it off

. . .” I raised my hand toward my beard and trusted myself

to my luck. I had practiced the move many times, and I was

quick enough. Petri’s menacing expression vanished when

he saw the Glock in my hand.

“Scissors beat paper, and guns beat blades. Fine with me to

chat, but I pose the questions. Santa’s not taking wish lists

right now.”

Of course my gun was not loaded, but how would Petri

know that? He evidently hadn’t the slightest idea whose

sack I was bagging prey for.

“Drop the knife. Hands clasped behind your neck. On your

knees. Santa expects respect.”

Slowly Petri obeyed.

I kicked the knife to the side and demanded, “How’d a boy

with clean papers like you and Merja Salo-Virtanen get

mixed up with Jansson’s gang? Who joined first, Paula or


“So you don’t know the whole story?” A glimmer of hope

flickered in Petri’s eyes but dimmed when I held the gun

closer to his temple.