The Rotterdam gentleman who went to Amsterdam to end the life of Peter R. de Vries was stopped at the Leidschendam exit on the way back, together with his Polish driver. I find that remarkable, because the attack took place a few hundred meters from my house and I am stuck for hours on the Prinsengracht in a traffic jam behind one of the many parcel farmers, who have to ring the doorbell of at least seventeen neighbors before they can leave their parcel. In short: the Pole and the rapper were lucky that they were not caught much earlier.
I understand from his neighbors from Maurik that the Pole barely speaks Dutch. How would that have gone between the driver and the rapper in that silver-colored car on the way to their delicate job? What were they talking about? What did the men ask each other? Do you have children? What are your hobbies? Any holiday plans? Who will win tonight? Italy or Spain? Didn’t they consider going back for a second? Not thought of their wives? Their children? Their parents?
Or was that pathetic for the murder broker? Nice job. You don’t put that on a sign in your garden. I also don’t think such a man has a website with rates. Murder Broker! So there are people who will one day become that. Or is it you all of a sudden? Who do you learn it from? When do you tell your parents that you are finally socially successful? Dad, I’m a murder broker!
Back to Tuesday: I made fun of a photo of a kind of school trip at my French holiday address. Lex and Max in Germany. They descended a flight of stairs with ministers Sigrid, Hugo and Ank in their wake. The latter had put on a cheerful hat. I wondered how many fasten-your-seatbelt jokes were made to Kaag before departure. Last week I forgot to tell her that Italians also hate wearing seat belts and that in Naples you can buy T-shirts with the seat belt already printed on. Naples, the wonderful city where the mafia has been in charge for years and where you can be knocked over for good in a busy street because you know too much or have talked too much. Then you should sleep.
I was still looking at the plane stairs photo and wondered if the neat company knew then that they would have a fork in the evening with Sylvie Meis, who had been invited to the official state banquet. Why? To give the evening some cachet? Understood later that Syl’s dress was too exposed. Yes, that can be a serious problem on those nights.
Actually, I was on my way to the sports page in the newspaper to prepare myself well for the semifinal of that evening. I felt like it. Especially in the national anthem of the Italians. When they roar that from the soles of their kicks you already know they are going to win.
Then the phone rang. And my wife’s. We heard panic. Peter. shot. Long Leidsedwarsstraat. Then I quickly disappeared into the jungle of the internet. Twitter, news sites, NOS Journaal. And I got a call. Did I know him? Yes, but just like everyone else. We were not far apart in the arena. And when I was on a talk show, he happened to be there too. Because he’s been on TV twice every night for years. And he was once at my performance in Carré. Then we spoke afterwards. But is that knowing?
What do I think of Peter? I find him odd. Emphasis on ‘own’ and ‘nice’. And in my eyes he is brave. Maybe overconfident. I kept thinking: this is going to end badly. You could read that in the first reaction of his son, who wrote that their worst nightmare has become reality.
Who will play in the final on Sunday? I don’t care at all. I just whisper softly: “Hop Peter!”
A version of this article also appeared in NRC Handelsblad on 10 July 2021
A version of this article also appeared in NRC on the morning of July 10, 2021