Part X – friends in high places

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“We’ll be entering Rotterdam harbor in 15 minutes” a lady in navy blue personnel costume told Barron as she gave him a pink sheet, “be sure to fill in the custom form”. Barron threw it away as soon as she was gone. He went on deck to admire the Rotterdam view: beneath the clear blue sky, the bustling activity of the harbor, with ships and containers and cranes everywhere, and in the distance more than a few skyscrapers, which were nothing compared to New York, but impressed Barron nonetheless.

He felt a tap on his shoulder. It was Colin.

‘Not bad huh?’ Colin said. ‘you’re looking at the biggest port in Europe.’
– ‘It’s nice.’
‘It is. Know what else is nice?’
– ‘What?’
‘I got you a ride. I won’t spoil who it is, but he can be trusted. Should take you all the way to Hungary. I hear you have some friends in high places over there. You might even be able to catch a plane in Budapest, if you’d want to.’
– ‘That’s pretty amazing. Thank you.’
Colin grinned. ‘My pleasure. The only thing better than serving the God-Emperor is serving the son of the God-Emperor.’
Barron looked down and laughed.
Colin’s face went serious. ‘Considering your profile, I’m sure they’ll have a picture of you at customs. You’ll need to exit Rotterdam harbor the same way you entered Ipswich harbor. Lucky for you, at one point there were so many illegal immigrants creating so many alternative routes, it was impossible, not to say disallowed, to stop them all. I’ll show you. Also, once you’re out, head for the New York hotel, near the Euromast, across the bridge. Look for a man holding up a sign saying ‘Godfrey Elwick’. That’s your ride.’

After the ship ported Colin once again led Barron through a maze of industrial activity. This time the hole in the fence was quite creatively hidden between two old containers, both of which were pushed together one either side of the fence. From the outside it seemed like they were closed off, but after Colin opened one of the container doors it was revealed that both ends of the containers had a man-size hole welded in between them. Barron stepped through, thanked Colin, and felt grateful for having entered the Netherlands in one piece.

He crossed the Erasmus bridge, remembering one of the few things his dad had to say about the Dutch: ‘they’re good at building things with water.’ Looking at the giant white harp-like bridge, Barron was inclined to agree. At the New York hotel he saw a man in chauffeur’s uniform holding a sign up with on it in black marker letters: GODFREY ELWICK. Barron went to the man and shook his hands. ‘A pleasure to meet you sir’, the man said in fairly fluent English. ‘My boss is waiting in the car. Please follow me.’

They crossed the road towards a black BMW with tinted windows. The chauffeur opened the back door. Classical music and a faint smell of lavender came out of the car. Hesitantly Barron looked in. Immediately, a hand was extended.

‘Welcome, Barron Trump. Considering the circumstances I am nonetheless glad to meet you.’ Barron followed the hand upwards and saw that it belonged to no one but the prime minister of the Netherlands, Thierry Baudet.

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