It’s the17:15 Intercity Train from Brussels to Amsterdam; I’m wearing a grey pinstripe, Dolce & Gabbana Suit with fishnet tights and $300 cowgirl boots. They’re black, with an ornate, Mexican Day of the Dead-style red rose on the front. The stitching on them is so intricate it’s pornographic.
I’ve got my leather attaché beside me on the orange seat. It was full of drugs when I left from Amsterdam in the morning.
Now it’s full of cash—stacks and stacks of tacky Euros.
My hair is neat and combed. The tightly packed train regards me with shy smiles and pardons. A couple of men try to talk to me, but that’s nothing out of the usual.
The Visine is making my vision blur, but other than that, I feel a breezy sense of accomplishment.
Then, at Leuven, a town of particular, personal interest to me, as I used to live there, the train stopped and a man got on and sat across from me. He was wearing hospital blue pants and a thin black leather jacket that couldn’t have kept him warm. He unzipped it to reveal a flimsy pajama top that failed to cover his handsome, scarred chest. I couldn’t stop staring at how the tufts of brown hair contrasted with the baby pink surgery slash marks.
He was nervous and uptight. He pulled at his hair and held his face in his hands. We got to the outskirts of town, where the Stella Artois brewery takes over the scenery and the train tracks cluster together to intersect and change directions, before separating again a few meters later.
He waited until we came into the clearing and picked up speed. The fact that we had officially left town seemed to fill him with confidence, because at that moment he started talking and wouldn’t shut up.
Of even further interest was that he spoke in English with a London accent. This immediately confirmed another quality about him—with his fine features and good hair, he was some kind of an aristocrat.
He talked about his girlfriend, “a right cunt” who’d taken off with his kids and his money. He talked about his boss who fired him, and his friends who abandoned him, the pub which had sapped his health, and the hospitals that had robbed him. It seemed that his whole life was one, drawn-out tragic event after another.
“But don’t feel bad for me,” he kept repeating, “I’d be Emperor of the universe if not for all the plastic shit in my body.”