frame. A thin bellboy in green stood before the wooden doors, hands clasped behind his back. “ Gru? Gott,” said the bellboy.

He nodded a reply, then went inside.

The narrow entry was lined in marble-to the left, an alcove with elevator and stairs; to the right, a reception desk, where a woman read a book. She smiled at him as he passed.

His instincts kept him shuffling ahead, beyond the desk. Which was strange. A reasonable course of action would be to approach the desk clerk and ask the simple questions: Do you recognize me? and What is my name? But, as with the phone number still in his pocket, he could not bring himself to do what was reasonable.

Through double doors he found an empty sitting room, where a regal patterned carpet stretched beneath a domed glass ceiling. In a portrait above the cold fireplace, Queen Elisabeth looked as if nothing could amuse her. He settled on one of the padded chairs arranged around polished coffee tables and flipped absently through a copy of the day’s Kurier.

He could wait here for hours-but for what? Perhaps nothing. He read that a German writer named Pohl had just died; the Americans had begun broadcasting on Radio Free Asia; and in the back, a concerned reader had written in to protest U.S. President Lyndon Johnson’s escalation of war in Vietnam.

But none of these could compare to his mystery. He folded the newspaper as the double doors opened, and the bellboy walked up to him. His loose blond hair hung low over his bright blue eyes, and his smile seemed completely insincere. “Can I help you, sir?”

“I just wanted to get my key.”

The boy winked. “Let me take care of that for you.”

“I appreciate it.”

He followed the bellboy back into the lobby and watched him approach the desk. “ Drei-zwei-eins.”

The woman set her book aside and reached back to the wall of slots. She handed over a key on a weighted ring and an envelope.

The bellboy gave him both items, saying of the envelope, “This was left for you last night.”

“By whom?”

The bellboy looked back at the desk clerk. She said, “I wasn’t here last night.”

The bellboy shrugged. “Would you like me to accompany you, sir?”

“No, thank you.”

“ Gru? Gott,” said the bellboy.

He took the elevator up three floors without opening the envelope. His patience was a surprise. The natural impulse was to rip it open, but instead he slipped it into his jacket pocket and walked down the hallway to the door marked 321.

The room was large and clean but lived-in. He crossed the carpeted floor to an empty suitcase in the corner and found that the wardrobe was filled with clothes. Inside the envelope was a wallet-old, the leather well worn- with money, schillings and koronas (these pink and pale-blue bills began a trickle of associations), and a faded photograph of mountains he knew were the Carpathians.

There was no other identification in the wallet, but details were beginning to come to him. This room was familiar, and this-

He crouched beside the wardrobe and reached beneath. His fingers found it quickly, and he was soon peeling off the tape that attached a maroon passport to the underside of the wardrobe. He opened the passport and found a photograph of himself with his three moles. Above a name.


Even now, with the evidence in front of him, his name was strange, three words that could not quite fit in his mouth. He was forty-nine years old. His country-he was an Easterner, and that felt right. But not comfortable. He stepped over and locked his door.

A passport, a wallet, and a phone number, which he took out of his pocket and read again. Dijana FrankoviC. He lifted the phone.

It rang seven times before he hung up, and with each muted buzz another fragment came to him:

A party in a large, smoky apartment, full of people.

Him with a drink in his hand, asking a short, wrinkled man, Have you seen Bertrand? The man shakes his head and walks away.

A crowd of young people cross-legged on the living room floor around a long-haired man strumming an acoustic guitar. Everyone singing in unison: Love, love me do. You know I love you…

A drunk woman with striking brown eyes edged in green, and black hair pulled behind her ear. Bertrand? she says. / tell him go to hell. Da. He is boring.

Awkward dancing-him with the brown-eyed one, who whispers into his ear. Brano Sev, I am in the-

Again with her, but the air is fresh, her arm linked with his as they make their way down the sidewalk. “ Zbrka,” she tells him, is Serbian word what mean… confusion. Da. What is confusion of too many thing.

Then blackness, but her voice: You want I should read your future?

He cradled the receiver and closed his eyes, trying without success to dredge up more.

In the shower he examined himself. There was no more blood but a remarkable number of scars. A long white thread etched down his right thigh, and there were two punctures above his left breast. Drying himself in front of the mirror, he found more marks on his back and a knot of white tissue on his shoulder. He wondered how he could have earned these.

Then the telephone rang.

“Herr Sev?” said a woman’s voice.


“This is the front desk. A gentleman is coming up to speak with you.”


“I don’t know. But I felt you should know… he told me you had left town, and he was here to collect your things.”

Brano Sev was suddenly aware of his nudity. “My things?”

“Yes, sir. I told him you were in your room, and he seemed very surprised.”

“Thank you.”

He dressed quickly, slipping his wallet and passport into his pockets. He was buttoning his shirt when the rap on the door came.


A hesitant, deep voice, but not German. It was his own Slavic tongue. “It’s me, Brano. Let me in.”


A pause. “You’re not going to pull that code-word crap with me, are you? It’s me, Lochert. Now open up.”

Brano unlocked the door and stepped back. “Come in.”

He was faced with a tall blond man with a thin, halfhearted mustache above pursed lips. “Well?” said Lochert. “You want to hit me or something?”

“Should I?”

That seemed to relieve the visitor, and he closed the door. “Look, Brano, I don’t know what happened last night. I guess we were attacked. But at least Gavrilo’s dead.”

“Who’s Gavrilo?”

“What are you getting at, Brano?”

“Just tell me who Gavrilo is.”

Lochert blinked a few times. “ GAVRILO is the code name for Bertrand Richter.”

Brano reached into his pocket and handed over the library card. Lochert examined it.

“Yeah? And?”

“Why is Bertrand Richter dead?”

Lochert rubbed the edge of the card with a thumb. “What’s going on, Brano?”

“I don’t remember.”

“What do you mean you don’t remember?”

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