“Just what I said. I don’t remember a thing. I woke up in the Volksgarten this morning and I don’t know how I got there. I’m not even sure who I am.”

Lochert cleared his throat and pursed his lips again. He sat on the bed. “Amnesia?”

“Yes. Amnesia.”

“You don’t remember me?”

“I’m sorry.”

“Amazing.” Lochert stood again. “Incredible!” He walked to the door, then back, tapping Bertrand Richter’s library card against his thigh. “Okay, right. Don’t worry about anything, Brano. Where’s your phone?” Before he could answer, Lochert had found it and was dialing. He covered the mouthpiece with a hand and said to Brano, “Pack.”

Brano stared at him.

“ Pack. You’re flying out of here.” Lochert uncovered the mouthpiece. “Yeah, it’s me. I’ve found him. No, but you won’t believe the condition.” He waved a hand at Brano and said to him, “Come on.”

Brano emptied out the wardrobe as Lochert spoke.

“Exactly… Two o’clock, TisAir. Right. The main terminal.” Then he hung up. “The ticket’s being reserved. All you have to do is pay for it.”

Brano stopped packing. “Where am I going?”

“You’re going home, Brano. Where you belong.”

They took care of the bill together, the flaxen desk clerk watching carefully. “A receipt, please,” said Lochert, and she made one out under his name, Josef Lochert. The bellboy opened the front door and nodded courteously when Brano handed him a tip.

When they got into a white Mercedes parked farther down Weihburg-Gasse, Brano noticed the plates. “Diplomatic car?”

Lochert started the engine. “Useful. I can speed if I want.”

Brano watched the city slide by as they made their way along the Ringstrasse past enormous Habsburg monoliths. They didn’t speak for a while, until Brano asked, “Did I kill him?”



Lochert stared at the road a moment, then shrugged. “Yeah, of course you did.”


“Because, Brano, he was a traitor. Don’t become moral on me, now. That man got what was coming to him.”

“But how was he a traitor?”

“He was selling us out to the Austrians. We used the code GAVRILO because we didn’t know who he was. Is that clear enough?”

“Who’s we?”

Lochert tapped the wheel and looked over at him. “You really don’t remember a thing, do you?”

He shook his head.

“Both of us work for the Ministry for State Security, on Yalta Boulevard.”

“The Ministry for…” Tourists jogged across the road in front of them. “I’m a spy?”

Josef Lochert laughed a loud, punchy laugh. “Listen to you! Major Brano Oleksy Sev asking me if he’s a spy!”

“What about Dijana Frankovic?”

He licked his lips. “She’s nobody, okay? A whore. And trouble. Forget about her. And stop with the questions. You’ll get all your answers soon enough.”

Lochert dropped him off at the Flughafen Wien departures door and handed his bag over from the backseat. Brano placed it on the curb. “You said it’s reserved?”

“Yeah,” said Lochert from inside the car. “Hand over your passport at the TisAir desk. It’s the two o’clock flight.”


“Have a good trip, Brano,” he said. “Now close the door.”

Brano watched the Mercedes drive away.

The airport was cool, with a vast marble floor leading to a row of airline desks. He waited behind a businessman arguing with the young woman standing under the TISA AERO-TRANSPORT sign, until the man, frustrated, walked off. The woman smiled at Brano.

“May I help you?”

“I have a reservation.” He handed over his passport. “The two o’clock flight.”

The woman examined a list on the desk. “I’m afraid there’s no reservation for you, Herr Sev.”

“But my friend made the call.”

She read over the list again. “No, there’s not one here, but it doesn’t matter. There’s a free seat.”

He paid for the ticket, handed over his bag, and asked for the bathroom. “Just past the lounge,” she said, pointing.

He lit a cigarette as he passed tired-looking travelers sitting with their bags, some reading newspapers, others books. Beside the bathrooms was a line of pay phones, and he considered trying Dijana Frankovic’s number again. Much later, he would wonder if calling again would have changed anything that followed. But there’s never any way to know these things.

He washed sweat from his forehead and stared at himself again in the mirror. He was becoming used to this round, flat-cheekboned face and could even spot his ethnicity-Polish features. From the northern part of his country, perhaps. But that was all the mirror told him.

At the urinal, he felt dizzy again, the spot on the back of his head aching. A large man in a suit took the urinal next to him, then looked over.

“You all right?”

“I’m fine. Just a little dizziness.”

This Austrian, Brano noticed, didn’t unzip his fly. “You’re Brano Sev, right?”

“I-” He zipped himself up. “Do I know you?”

“No, Brano,” said the Austrian. He reached into his jacket pocket but didn’t take his hand back out. “Why don’t you come with me?”

The dizziness was intensifying. “Where?”

“We’ll have a little talk.”

“I have a plane to catch.”

As the Austrian stepped closer, his hand withdrew, holding a small pistol. “Forget about the plane, Brano.”

Brano’s head cleared. He leaned forward, as if to be sick.

“Hey, are you-” said the Austrian, crouching, but didn’t finish because Brano swung his head back up into the man’s nose, at the same time thrusting a fist into the man’s stomach. The Austrian stumbled back, a hand on his bloody nose, the other trying to keep hold of the pistol. Brano kneed him in the groin and twisted the gun hand until he had the pistol. He stepped back.

The Austrian stared at him, covering his nose and his groin.

“How many more?” said Brano.

“Jesus, Brano. I wasn’t trying to kill you.”

“How many more?”

The Austrian leaned against the sinks, then looked in the mirror. His eyes dripped and his nose bled. “Just one. He’s watching the front exit.”

“How long before he comes inside?”

“Ten, fifteen minutes. Look at this goddamned nose!”

“And you. You know who I am?”

“I wouldn’t be any good if I didn’t know who you were. The new Kristina Urban, the Vienna rezident.”

“Who do you work for?”

The Austrian was becoming impatient. “Who do you think I work for?”

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