Chapter 12: Hunting High And Low

Author: Mallory Keaton
Date: 19th August 1997

"Erica - I don't know what the fuck you've got yourself into but I nearly lost my toupee when I read about Patrick on the autocue! This is so fucking great!"

Forget Kylie. He could get Mimi Macpherson now. Now that would be a video

"It's not great. Patrick was a sensitive guy, out of his depth and I got him killed," she snapped. "How did they make the Finnish mafia connection?"

"Mark, the reporter, just told me a copper said, off the record, that your little friend was off his head on horse at the time. Not that there's anything wrong with that. Plus they traced a call to this Finnish heavy under surveillance, Ant something, on his mobile last night."

"Patrick! I can't believe it. It was just doing research. He was so straight!"

"Babe, they're always the ones."

Erica realised she needed to get a copy of Australian Psycho and find out how the Slavd were involved with Flikka and Patrick: two people who had nothing in common, except her.

She made Rex search the news database for more information about the Slavd, while she put in a quick call to Dannii at Price Attack. It was her lucky day -- the store had been closed for a week after a minor explosion had occurred. Someone must have put a heater too close to the HardStuf Firm Hold hair spray display, Dannii said. Erica's next shift started at 3:00pm that day.

"No can do hon," sighed Rex, now starting to feel exhausted after his night with Erica and then taping the show. Still, he liked going on after a root. It gave him a youthful glow.

"Can't find anything on that mob or any Finnish crime outfit. Only a lot of cute stories about reindeers. Unless I'm doing it wrong that is."

Erica sighed. Patrick would have found it by now. Unless he wasn't whacked out of his brains that is.

"Wait and I'll grab Mark," Rex said, not wanting to feel impotent, or something like that. "He knows how to work this shit."

Rex returned with the details of a Dr Curtis Armstrong, a world-renowned Finnologist in the Department of Scandinavian Studies at Sydney University. As it was still only 5:30am, Erica decided to email Dr Armstrong.

"Rex, uh, darling, would you mind if I stayed here and used your computer?"

"OK babe. Gotta catch some shut eye anyway. Beauty sleep, y'know."

"Mmmm. Do you have a password?"

"B-I-G-D-I-C-K, all in caps."

Five hours later, Erica awoke from where she had fallen asleep on Rex's Cadillac-shaped sofa and saw there was a message had arrived.

SUBJECT: RE: Nine News Finnish research inquiry
In response to your inquiry, I need to ask you some questions. Where did you hear of the Slavd? Apart from the fact that no word has such a low consonant-to-vowel ratio, even in Finnish, it doesn't exist. The crime rate in Finland is extremely low for a developed nation. There is no known mafia, only petty crime gangs. Finland's not *exactly* the Sweden of ABBA, to use a popular culture frame of reference, but it's not the Denmark of Miss Smilla either. Secondly, does this have anything to do with the drug-related killing in today's paper? If so, I can help you more but I need to discuss it in person. My number is 95643364
Curtis Armstrong

Someone, somewhere was lying. Maybe Patrick knew the answer, but while dead men don't lie, they're not very talkative either. His notebook was blown up, but surely he had worked on the manuscript on his computer at work. She just had to be the first to find it.