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“I know enough. Now I want to hear the rest.”

“There’s not much to tell. I’ve known VP since we were

kids, even before his mother remarried and had Paula. VP

was always in trouble and I couldn’t do anything about it.

Paula . . . It was too bad we ended up in bed together,

sometimes that just happens. We had fuckin’ bad luck, she

got pregnant. She wanted to keep the kid and Merja, her

mother, was excited too. We agreed to raise it together

even though we weren’t in love.”

Petri had fastened his gaze on the floor and was blinking

away tears. “But Paula had postpartum depression. VP, the

goddamn idiot, gave her speed to help. And it did. Merja

and I tried to get her to stop, but what can you do when

someone’s hooked? Paula fell into debt to Jansson’s gang.

She saw what they did to Veli-Pekka and she couldn’t take

the fear. She killed herself. But you don’t skip out on a debt

to Jansson. He knew Paula had left a kid. He sent Veli-

Pekka to pay a visit to Merja: if she didn’t pay off Paula’s

debt, he’d take the kid and sell her to the highest buyer.

The world has plenty of markets for cute four-year-olds.”

“Why didn’t you go to the police?”

“He said that Petriikka would die instantly if we went.

That he had eyes everywhere.”