2.1 Red Herring
“Jaco!” called the counter girl as he appeared at the narrow entrance by the nook of the building standing on Szentháromság tér facing the Holy Trinity Square. She called in his first name, “A telex from Mr Jair Sivils!”
Jaco crossed the granite floor to the partitioned and wood-polished counter to receive the telex message from Sasa. It read:
DATE: OCT 7, 1964
PAY USD7700 TO ALEXEY ASAP
Jaco, a thin guy wearing a saffron yellow jacket and ecru pants, with a Mediterranean tan and black hair, carrying a hunter green leather bag that looked more or less like a photographer’s shoulder bag and a brown scarf around his neck, moved slowly towards the steps on the right side of the counter. He touched a foot on the steps and turned to go. Jaco walked out of the entrance to the square and waved his hand to catch a taxi.
It was Wednesday morning and he decided then and there to go out and pay the money to Alexey at Hotel Nemzeti on the other side of the Danube. He did just that and even obtained a stamped receipt from Alexey.
Meanwhile, his date, a call girl from town lay fast asleep in the bed at Nyolc Hotel. This was a modest hotel located in Castle District in the Holy Trinity Square, right in front of the magnificent Matthias Church, where Jaco stayed frequently for the last three years. It was a small room with an oversized king’s bed, few furniture pieces, laid with a dark green carpet. Dark green drapes drawn on to sides and sheer curtains drawn to close the window panels. She lay on the thick mattress under a comforter, greyish green in colour.
A man climbed the rooftop of this three-storey hotel from a drainpipe that came down to a two feet alley between the next building facing Országház utca. He ran to the other side of the hotel facing the backyard with the roof elevation under an additional floor or the attic floor. There were four rows of windows on this side. He tied a rope to the gutter and climbed down to the second floor to reach the pivot windows of Room 21. On the mount, on the wall, a bullnose stool gave an easy stepping and to undo the window fastener lock with a knife. He carried a pry bar and both of his hands in black leather gloves.
Hajnal couldn’t hear a noise and the guy did not see her buried under the thick duvet. She felt the cool air pushed in through the open window. He advanced slowly towards the door beside the bed. That instant, there came a knock on the door. She woke up to find a man standing beside the bed.
“Jaco!” the man muttered and grabbed the duvet while raising the pry bar in his other hand. Hajnal jumped up on her feet on top of the thick mattress standing stark naked. It was not him. It was a short girl with thick black hair that came down to the waist. There came the knock again and the girl screamed, “JACO! JACO!” She screamed on top of her voice.
He wielded the pry bar and she tried to dodge it holding her balance on the springy mattress moving back and forth posing against the wall by the headboard, legs apart. He noticed a lofty bell dangling between her legs. The knock received even louder.
“Jaco!” she shrieked trying to alert the guy at the door assuming it was him.
“Fogd be!” he growled exposing a gold tooth and then swore in a Slavic tongue. He moved towards the door and Hajnal grabbed the duvet to cover her body.
Another guy came in, “Ki az?”
They approached from both sides of the bed to grab the girl. Brusquely, she dropped the duvet and dived between them landing on the floor. Hajnal was up on her feet and dashed for the door. Swung open but the second guy leaped and grabbed her by the ankles. Hajnal fell half out half in on the corridor. He dragged her into the room. The guy called Vanco slammed the pry bar in the minute she turned her face around and caught it in her right fist. Vanco pulled hard and the girl rose suspended on it. He struggled to get it free. The second guy kicked her in the back and she dropped her trunk on the bed while down on her knees. Vanco stumbled on top of her and delivered an elbow in the jaw, the bar came free from her hand. He swung it high and she coiled crossing her arms over her head, eyes closed and buried in her thick black hair but the blow terminated there. “Kurva!”
Miloš, the second guy, grasped her wrists seized from behind. “Get me something to tie her up!” he voiced in Magyar.
Vanco looked around at the window to grab the curtain but in a flick, he caught her clothes on the chair. He grabbed a blue bra and bound her wrists. They pulled the girl to the chair and tied her legs with her white pants. Vanco even stuck her blue nylon panties into her mouth. Then tossed her black T-shirt on her face and threw her overcoat on her body. They were almost exhausted and cold filling in the room.
Meanwhile, Jaco in the backseat of a taxi glanced out and caught the Parliament House, Országház, on the east of the Danube and Matthias Church looming over the rooftops on the opposite bank as the car rolled west over the Chain Bridge, Széchenyi Lánchíd, opened lately after repairs and during that time traffic was allowed.
Miloš pulled his head out of the door and looked up and down the corridor. “Siess!” he closed the door and locked.
Those intruders executed a hurried search. Not much to overturn besides a few drawers and a two-door wardrobe cupboard. A heavy safe stood at the bottom but it could not be moved or opened. They could not even lift one corner of the heavy mattress. They tried to move the safe and gave up. Miloš pulled down a blue suitcase left on the top of the cupboard and dumped its contents on the bed and searched. Hajnal could see nothing.