THE TYHOON FIRM
The beginning of the novel:
The flowing roof of Utrecht Central station looked from a distance like the dropped shell of a huge animal. Illuminated by a cool northern light streams of people marched trough the concourse. One of them was Alex Stanovsky, a dark blond young man with serious green eyes and high cheekbones dressed in a light gray wool suit. He looked quite out of step: he ran around like a headless chicken. Did he supposed to be at platform 6 or 5? 7 or 8? Suddenly he knew. Like an arrow he ran quickly to the escalator leading to platform 12. His way however, was barred by a group of people. They looked stoically ahead. His attempts to pass them were fruitless. They ignored him. He clutched one of them, a balding middle-aged man in a blue bomber jacket. He looked at Alex in surprise.
"Don't worry man, it's just a train," he said. However, through the tumult Alex did not hear what he said. He only saw his moving lips. When he tried to come forward, he was pushed back without mercy. Alex swallowed his annoyance: it would take a few moments before he finally arrived down on the platform. Unfortunately, when he looked into the distance his fears seemed to come true: he saw his train leaving at full speed. As he stepped onto the platform, he heaved a deep sigh and in dismay, he hung his head. But when he looked up he saw to his surprise the train standing right in front of him. Alex blinked a few times. The train was still there. Hearing the sound of the starting signal he didn't wonder anymore and jumped inside. The doors closed and the journey began. "What an old-fashioned train," he thought, looking around. "And what a jaded interior." He walked through a narrow aisle with at his right coupés of which some were blinded. Now he began to doubt: this couldn't be the wrong train? When he looked ahead, he saw a small man with short gray hair walking towards him. He was wearing a kind of uniform, but he didn’t look like a conductor. His jacket was of a Mao-style cut. When he was close they stood still, facing each other.
"You look confused, boy," the man remarked, 'is there something wrong? "
"I’m fine, Alex replied. "I was just wondering whether this is the train to Rotterdam."
"This is the right train. Don't worry, "said the man who took him with interest.
"Thank goodness," Alex said. "I'm quite a non-starter, you know."
"Follow me," commanded the man. He turned around and ran out to him.