In case anyone missed it:
In the festering criminal toilet that is Paris Gare du Nord, I looked at the board for the Eurostar and noted the time. I was in the most savage of moods and not hiding it well. If I went through passport control like this, they’d chuck me in jail. I needed some air.
Stepping out of the glass-covered annex and onto the Rue de Dunkerque, I saw a man break off from a group and amble over. He fell in beside me, matching my pace, while playing with a folded banknote in the palm of a dirty brown hand.
“Taxi? Where you go?” he said.
He looked more con artist than taxi driver. You could be sure he’d not understand the word “meter” whatever language you tried, and he’d be tragically short of change, even for a ten-Euro note. He turned away when I shook my head. A young African with a pointy beard looked at me twice before addressing me in French. I ignored him by staring vacantly across the street at hotels whose windows hadn’t been cleaned since de Gaulle was in charge. Groups of tourists sat on the pavement eating sandwiches around clustered suitcases. One of them was shouting at a tough-looking Chinese woman who’d kicked her as she walked past. If it was accidental, she didn’t look too sorry about it. Two men of Slavic appearance hovered like a pair of crows, one wearing three-stripe tracksuit bottoms and the other filthy denims, speaking in low voices and looking up to no good. More men loitered, assuredly with intent, and one peeled himself away from a wall and approached me. Turning around to avoid him, I nearly collided with a scooter that was moving too fast along the sidewalk, ridden by a pale youth talking on the phone. A row of standing stone figures on the station’s facade watched matters below with swords and shields to hand. I wondered if they ought not step down occasionally and put them to use.
Go and read the rest. Then buy the book. Then leave a review. Or wait for paperback. Or wait for the serial.