Chapter 45: The Riddle

Author: Alex Keaton
Date: 6th October 1998

Rex was not a subtle man. "Where the fuck have you been, Trudee?" he blurted out.

"Relaxing around here, mostly," she said. "I needed some recovery time after that incident on the Gold Coast."

"But I thought you were . . . " Rex was dumbfounded. "Aren't you one of the good guys? I thought Erica had tried to rescue you!"

"Oh Rex, "she laughed. "I've been a drug runner for the Laakksonens ever since my exchange days. Do you think I could afford all these fabulous clothes on a Cosmo editor's salary?"

"They don't look that fabulous to me," said a voice from the doorway.

"Erica!"

Dressed in a skin-tight outfit rather reminiscent of Emma Peel in The Avengers, Erica burst into the room. To put it bluntly, she was packing heat, with a pair of assault rifles pointed at the assembled gathering.

"Erica!" smiled Trudee, despite herself. "I had no idea you looked so good in rubber."

"There's a hell of a lot you don't know about me, you deceitful cow," Erica replied smoothly. "Unfortunately, I know everything about you."

"What do you mean, Erica?" said Rex. He was boning up at the sight of his most recent fling, but there wre some things he had to know first. "Have you actually sorted out this whole crazy mess?"

"Look, it's pretty simple really. Patrick met up with Anttilanien and van Slooten to research Australian Psycho. All criminals want to be immortalised, even if it's in a novel. They figured they'd let the book be published with a few name changes, and keep Patrick out of his mind on drugs just to be on the safe side.

"However, because Patrick kept putting me in the bloody novel as part of his sick sexual fantasies, Anttilanien assumed that I also knew something , especially when that jealous bitch Mikka found out I was friends with him. Of course, Anti was working with all the Laakksonen family the whole time to set up weird drug deals, but I didn't know that. First they got Trudee to sack me, but then they determined to do something a little more drastic.

"They decided to try and scare me off by getting Lauri to pretend to be the dead Flikka. Lauri was trained in meditation and could feign death for long periods, even in a freezer. He'd learnt that skill in Lapland. He was also a burnt-out hippie, which is why he got the details wrong with the Petit Miam and the mobile phone. No wonder the family never mentioned him, they were too ashamed.

"Anyway, they hoped I'd freak out when I found the body. The goat's head was a nice added touch, but of course I didn't have a clue what was actually going on. So I started investigating some more, which was the exact opposite of what they wanted.

"They all got scared and assumed I knew more than I did. So they had Trudee fake the note saying the goat's head was a royal jelly stunt, but they didn't realise that Patrick would turn into such a liability so quickly. Even after they'd killed him, they weren't sure how much I really knew. They tried lesbian seduction, but that didn't work either. Once I talked to Curtis Armstrong and he revealed that the Slaöøüväääd most likely didn't exist, they had to kill him too.

"I tried to rescue Trudee, dumbly assuming she was innocent. I raced off to see my Uncle Len with her, but of course Trudee warned them on her mobile and everything was taken care of before I even got there.

"It took me a while to realise that all those incidents on the Gold Coast were carefully planned. Flikka had used his knowledge of movie-making to set up a series of elaborate stunts. They didn't want to kill me, they just wanted to scare the shit out of me, and then get Flikka to seduce me and check how much I really knew while I was in shock. It worked like a charm -- at first." Erica's voice grew a little wistful as she remembered the nights of hot Nordic passion. She recalled herself and continued.

"What made things more complicated was that in the meantime Flikka had really stolen the Eye of the Tigress from Anttilanien, and he didn't know if I knew about that, or if he could use me to get it back from Flikka. But what I didn't know was that by then, Flikka was already dead."

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