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Back to Helsinginkatu 10: Chapter 17 Back to Helsinginkatu 10: Chapter 17
by Thanos Kalamidas
2010-08-09 07:41:46
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17. Pekka’s satans

Pekka started saying “satana” from the minute he met me outside the police station, continued all the way to the small square nearby and he didn’t stop when we sat down and ordered coffee for both of us, a cinnamon ban for me and a salmon Finnish style sandwich for him.


The Finnish language is equally rich to swears like any other language I have contacted in my life, is just the Finns have a strange attitude towards swearing. Some swears that translated in other languages for example English would sound really bad and provoke a possible violent reaction in Finnish they are used so often so they lose their meaning. The same time others that could pass for kid’s swearing in Finland they take their own gigantic proportion just like this word “satana” which of course means Satan and it can used the same way the English speakers use the word damn or as a really provocative and insulting swear. 

I suppose Pekka used it as damn and he was obviously angry with me in a very …weird way. You know which way I mean, he was and he wasn’t angry with me the same time. When I arrived in the station he was already there waiting for me outside. He was wearing his usual gray flannel trousers, light blue shirt,  a dark blue jacket and his usual ugly tie. This man has definitely talent to pick bad taste ties. And the brightest the colours the more his taste. When I first met him I thought it was some kind of personal joke, now I know that he actually likes them and intentionally buys them. We stood for a couple of minutes in front the station while I was lighting my cigarette and in that brief moment I told him about my small investigation and my meeting with Alexei! His only comment was “lets go for a coffee!” and after that while we were walking a series of satana came out of his mouth.

“You are doing it again!” he said after the small Pakistani man served us our snacks and coffees and we had sat more comfortably. I tried to say something but he stopped me with a move of his hand. “Why did you have to meet this Alexei, can you tell me?” Pekka I wasn’t planning to do so, I met Ivan who knows Alexei and coincidentally he was on his way to meet him! Pekka knows Ivan. “And what’s your big plan?” I tried to explain that I didn’t have any kind of plan and the reason I came here was to tell him some things I had noticed. Pekka didn’t say anything and with big bites he finished his sandwich and his coffee the same time. I could see in his movements that he was thinking. Then he stood, gone to the little Pakistani man, told him something, refilled his cup with more coffee and he returned to the table. “So?”

And I told him everything, I told him about the empty house and I told him about the lights in the street. I told him about the missing furniture and about the people walking around in the small crossroad even late at night. Then I told him about the blood mark on the grass and I asked him if I cold see the photos I was sure the police had taken the night they found Ferah’s body. I told him my thoughts about the crime having happened somewhere else and then put intentionally there – actually that’s something that had been formed while I was talking to him – and I finished telling him that I didn’t think that this was a random murder from a street person. He continued been quiet only now he was looking at me instead of his coffee cup. I decided it was better not to say anything and finish with my ban.

After a bit the little Pakistani man came with another sandwich, more coffee and water. Pekka knows that I never eat much during the day so he hadn’t asked anything for me which was fine and the Pakistani man refilled my cup with more strong and overcooked coffee. Pekka started chewing his second sandwich watching me and I had somehow enough. Listen, I said, I know that you probably have thought about all that but the problem with the police is that you have to follow procedures and patterns in your investigation. I don’t. what’s wrong for me to have a look around and don’t forget that they are foreigners and they might tell me things they would never said to you. The moment I finished my sentence I knew that I hit a sensitive cord in many ways.

Pekka would never admit that I was saying the truth but that didn’t stop the truth. Most foreigners especially the ones coming from tyrannical regimes and corrupted countries have issues with authority and especially police, something totally natural. The police represent s to them everything they fear and hate. The same time my Greek background is giving me a certain flexibility. I’m more accepted from both sides, something like a foreigner of first category. I’m EU alright but I’m not British or German with their usual arrogance, I’m coming from one of the poor countries which the Finns can often identify. “Let me think a bit more about it. But what do you need form me?” he asked more calm now. I just need to check the photos and don’t worry I will tell you anything I plan or do!

Reinsuring Pekka was not so easy as it sounds because twice the last couple of years I had done my own thing which ended up in the police station but the one time with having a broken arm and the second nearly getting into deep trouble with some Romanian gipsies if he hadn’t arrive on time. The first time the whole incident had happened in our neighbourhood and Pekka took over after one point shorting everything out really sorry that he hadn’t acted earlier – perhaps minutes earlier – and save me from the pains of a broken arm. The second time I had pushed things a bit more but in the end everything was fine and the Romanian gypsies had found their way back home without even seen me. “Satana” he said again and he finished his sandwich. Then he got into drinking his second cup of coffee really slowly and looking at me, I was trying to test my smile but my size, my wild hair and the gray beard don’t always help my innocent mask and he knew me just too well to trust me so easily.

“Fine,” he said in the end, “I will go back to my office and I will bring you some photos. But…” and he said this ‘but’ loud to make sure that I heard it making the little Pakistani man jump; “But you will tell me straight away what you think and we will talk together your next step.” The Pakistani man was watching us now not knowing what was going on and afraid that big policeman was angry. I put my best smile, anything you say officer! Pekka shook his head and stood up, “Wait here.” And walked outside quickly. I followed him outside a minute after and stood next to the glass door, time for a cigarette!



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