Fatal Headwind
talking as the drum continued its menacing beat. People arriving for a hamburger didn’t know what to do. No one was preventing them from entering, but the sight of the aggressive crowd was enough to turn most people away.
    Backup arrived, and Sergeant Hannula climbed out of one of the patrol cars.
    “Take down everybody’s names, but no arrests if they stay calm,” he said. Then he took out a megaphone and urged the protesters to disband. I headed off, relieved that things seemed peaceful and that I didn’t have to get involved. I was already at the service station when the sound of shattering glass made me turn back. Someone had thrown a rock through the window of the restaurant.
    Until then most of the protesters had seemed like they might be eventually willing to leave. But when the police grabbed the girl who had thrown the rock, the crowd came alive. They started screaming objections and swinging their signs at the officers. A green-haired boy started dragging Yliaho and Rasilainen off the girl, which prompted Akkila to grab him by the neck. There were four times as many protesters as police. I had to go back. I cursed under my breath as I ran. As Akkila violently dragged the green-haired boy away, the kid bit him in the arm. Akkila kicked the boy straight in the stomach, and he collapsed to the asphalt. That was when I connected the green hair to Jiri Merivaara. To my relief he was still able to get up off the ground. He lunged at Akkila again, but the handcuffs were already out. Jiri tried to grab them, but there was no hope against a taller opponent trained in martial arts.
    Two officers continued taking the names of the peaceful protesters. I hung my badge around my neck and joined the party, allowing one of the officers to join the fray. Rasilainen and Yliaho had managed to get the rock-thrower into a van, and now it was time to get the others loaded up. Jiri was dragged to the next van despite struggling with all his might and screaming that Akkila was a fascist thug. The rest of the crowd members gave their names and addresses and then slipped away, the drummer still defiantly drumming. The youngest protesters were maybe thirteen, and they looked tiny and harmless next to the brawny police officers.
    “Effing kids,” Hannula said with a sigh as he climbed into the same van Jiri was in. “Four arrests, and we’re just lucky none of the restaurant patrons was hit by that glass. Do you need a ride?”
    “No, thanks. I’ve got my bike.”
    Halfway home I caught up to Antti and Iida and reported what had kept me.
    “Ah, so it was a jackboots-and-billy-clubs day, was it?” said Antti, who was clearly on the protesters’ side.
    “Throwing that rock was really stupid! Glass flew everywhere. Just think if someone Iida’s size had been sitting under it!”
    “No, things like that don’t help the cause,” Antti admitted. We tried to imagine how the media was going to react, and by that evening all of the television channels had indeed interviewed the shift manager and one of the protesters. Neither said anything revolutionary. Their worldviews were so far removed from each other that it was pointless for the reporters to try to help them reconcile. Of course the restaurant demanded compensation for the broken window and loss of business.
    And I wasn’t done with the McDonald’s incident either. On Monday a message was waiting on my desk, saying that Jiri Merivaara had filed a complaint against Officer Akkila for excessive use of force. Which meant it was now my unit’s problem.


    “There aren’t going to be any charges filed against Officer Akkila,” I told Jiri Merivaara. Anne Merivaara was present at the interview to support her son. I almost didn’t recognize her when she walked in the room. The fragile, tanned woman I had met on Rödskär had disappeared, and instead there was a businesswoman in a stern gray suit with expensive gold-rimmed glasses and a no-nonsense gaze to match.
    “And why

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