Silence. Waiting for the train at Brussels Airport is a rather eerie affair at 11pm. The platforms are all empty except for an impatient looking balding man in a suit on platform four, a family with a hyperactive kid beside him and me on platform two. Suddenly I hear someone shouting – “Yee-Haw!”
I turn and find a young man stepping off the escalator. He is young, probably in his mid-twenties, and is dressed casually in jeans and a sweatshirt. His hair is short and is almost stubble and he sports a huge luminous ear-ring which I try not to stare at. He walks up to me,
“Yo, man, is this where the train is at?”
I think he’s American.
“Yes. It will be,” I pause, “if you’re going to Brussels.”
He stops and looks at me. “I am in Brussels, man. I just landed here.”
I look at the clock above his head and note that I have another 10 minutes before the train arrives. It’s going to be a long ten minutes, I think.
“Where are you going?” Perhaps I shouldn’t ask. Perhaps I should ignore him.
“Man, I’m trying to find some shops. I need booze, man, you know, because I ain’t doing nothing in the airport tonight.” He waves his hand and something jingles. I think the gold caps I can see on his teeth are loose.
“Shops? For booze?”
“Yeah, the good stuff, you know? You know where I can find that?”
“Where, man, coz no one told me, like, this is a shop and you can buy the stuff for real from it.”
“There are good shops in the city.”
“You sure I can find booze in shops here, man?”
“Absolutely. Right next to the station.”
“Which station, man?”
I pause, then, “The train station.”
“Dude, would I, like, lie to you?”
He considers this for a minute, “No, man, you’re like the man, man.”
I nod. The train arrives. I’m tempted to tell him that Brussels is spelt B-R-U-G-E-S.