The iPhone on the desk rang. It was in a private dentist’s office in the Pasarét District of Budapest. The dentist, a still youthful looking man in his 50s, reached for it. It had been quiet in the room for a time. He had not exchanged any words with his assistant. She was leafing through glossy magazines while he whiled away the time browsing the internet. Business had diminished in the past month with hardly any calls on his desk phone.The old scumbag has been acquitted, his brother András screamed without saying hello.Dani held the cellphone far from his ear but he was afraid that his assistant might hear it so he brought it closer and went out into the empty waiting room.The TV was on at András’ place, he could hear the voices in the background. His brother often watched TV in the morning, he devoured news as if it were his job. Ever since he had stopped regularly giving concerts he hardly ever practiced, although he would still write compositions on commission. Dani knew what he was talking about; they had often discussed the trial which had been going on for weeks. It was always András who brought up the topic while Dani tried to mollify him.But only for lack of evidence, Dani tried to calm him down. He had already seen the reports on a news site.It’s a good thing that they don’t try to deny that there were deportations.That can also happen, Dani remarked but as soon as he said it he regretted it.This judgment will only make them bolder, András fumed. It’s true that he served as the head of the gendarmerie in the ghetto. It’s true that his signature is on the official documents but “in the absence of witnesses who can be subpoenaed, it cannot be proved beyond a reasonable doubt that he committed the actions of which he is accused,” he quoted the judgment sarcastically. It boggles the mind! The name is identical, the time and place of service is identical, but as there are no surviving eyewitnesses it is impossible to prove that there was no mistaken identity. That’s the lame reasoning that the defense used. This guy was in charge of sending Jews to the ghetto and to the transports, fuck it! And you cannot prove he was responsible? Cannot prove that he beat people up?He claims that they got him mixed up with someone else.Can you believe what this bastard is saying? He said that there were “abuses,” that’s what he said “abuses,” and that he opposed them, and that he upheld the fucking law! András was venting angrily into the phone. Not a word about having regretted it … that he was aware of what was going on. He hasn’t regretted a thing and knew full well what was going on. An animal!Dani sighed. He felt the lead weight of fatigue and futility as at many other times during his disputes with András. He was powerless in the face of his brother’s assertiveness and his arguments. He was numbed by the energy emanating from the phone and, this time, he was himself in despair because of the trial’s outcome.He was not completely satisfied when the ex-gendarme was indicted; he was inclined to agree with those who argued that bringing a 90-year-old man to court might not have the desired effect. What is more it could backfire. When Dani looked at the photographs of the old man leaving the courthouse clutching his old-fashioned plastic shoulder bag, he could not feel only antipathy toward him. What is left in people’s minds is not what crime he participated in, they would not have been able to associate him with the haughty uniformed officer of the gendarmerie he had been. The sight of the confused old man with his shaking head would make them feel sorry for him and they would want to dismiss the case. To top it off, during the interviews, the codger consistently denied having been personally involved in cruelties, that anyone died or even suffered any bodily harm at his hands during processing. He even had the gall to use the word “humane” regarding his actions.But then what can you do with him? He’s an old man, he blurted, but as soon as he said it he knew that that was not what he meant. It was as if he had accepted a role that was handed to him in a ready-made form where he, resignedly, would let his feelings take shape.Old man? András retorted, a murderer! Of course it’s useless talking to you. Goodbye then! He switched off the phone.Dani stood there in the waiting room, confused. He was left alone with his doubts and felt even worse because there were no patients scheduled for the morning. During this recession, whoever could, put off dental procedures. His latest job, of a bridge and crown, was finished yesterday. He did not need to worry much since for decades he had always had work. He did not live extravagantly, his only luxury was an older home where he lived in an upscale neighborhood on Mandula Street. However, the idea of having nothing to do, even if for only a few days, filled him with impatience and despondency. It was Friday. He convinced his assistant to leave early, he did not feel like spending the whole day with her, just the two of them. On the other hand he did not feel like going home to an empty house and so he stayed.For a moment he was overcome by guilt; he felt that he had messed up something but even of that he was not sure. He often felt pangs of conscience regarding his parents, András, sometimes András’ wife, Ági, his own ex-wife and the women who succeeded her. As his parents were no longer alive it was impossible for him to placate them again, something that he had done often during their disputes even when the parents were not completely right. He had not been able stop himself from thinking: What if they were to die leaving me with a guilty conscience. This fear had paralyzed him, which is why, now, he would not hurt anyone’s feelings on purpose even though he still hurt them inadvertently. He had not been able to talk to his wife either when he wanted to leave her. One day he simply did not return home, slept in the office, wrote her a letter that they could not go on and should get a divorce, and waited for his wife, who worked for him as a technician, to move over to their previous apartment which had been rented, and only then moved home. Fortunately his wife never liked the house on Mandula Street, preferring the bustle of city life. He even felt guilty about this gesture that would otherwise be regarded as considerate. Ever since then he could not stay by anyone’s side for a long time.He was always bothered by a guilty conscience, only the specific reason for it kept changing. He did suspect that he could not always have been the one in the wrong, for example the times when his brother slammed down the phone and did not apologize the next time they talked. András had been the leader of a very popular band for more than 30 years; he had achieved all the success that one could want and was on the brink of having an international career, but had not made any effort to pursue it. Dani knew that, because of his quick temper, either he or one of his band members would slam the door and they would then either make up or not, but András always had the last word. When he turned 60 he was of the opinion that he had had enough stress and it would be ridiculous to keep prancing on the stage. The rest of the band knew that they would still get together, but they also knew that they would have to wait for András to phone. They knew him, they trusted and accepted him the way he was.What was wrong with what he said? Dani pondered. All he said was that there was nothing they could do with an old man. It is true that he did not say what he was thinking because whatever that was, was a muddle, and, in fact, he did not think or feel anything coherently.He was stuck in the evening traffic on Pasaréti Road. He was staring at himself in the rearview mirror. He was trying to figure out for how long he would still have a chance with the women 20, 25 years his junior he was attracted to, given his graying curly black hair and boyish features. That is when András phoned him to inquire impatiently when he would be home.When Dani got home András was leaning against the fence beside his flaming red Lexus SUV. Dani drove an elegant but subdued black Audi A4 because he did not like to stand out. He remembered that his father, a gynecologist, often said that one should never flaunt one’s wealth: There are enough people in this country who are envious of the well-to-do.Is there something wrong? Dani anxiously asked his brother, who shook his head.You gave me an idea.What kind of idea?We don’t need to wait for someone else to do something. We will have to do it.But what? Should we organize a demonstration?András moved his head back and forth slowly and enigmatically.Let’s go inside, he motioned to the house.This is not how Dani had imagined his evening, not with his brother. He wanted to drop in on a reception following a movie premiere to which he had been invited by a friend. It would be attended by young actresses, divorced lady journalists, acquaintances of acquaintances. Some of them were his patients and others were former lovers, and some were both. These were the type of venues and situations where he preferred to get to know people; where he would not have to start from scratch, where there was some common ground, a friend in common that could break the ice. He would not stick it out with a new girlfriend more than a few months or at most half a year and since the relationship was not based on burning passion, the breakup would not be all that painful; it would only leave some bitterness behind. His parents had lived together for more than 50 years. They resented the fact that after having had a successful escape from an earlier marriage, Dani did not, by the age of 40 or 50, settle with a nice, suitable woman; but he did not want to have a child who would relive the uneventful grayness of his own childhood. He did not want to experience anxieties relating to children, fear of traveling, worries that would embitter moments of prosperity; he did not want to be reminded of his own parents’ suspicious and withdrawn personalities. At most a few months, that is how long the novelty lasts. That is how long it takes to discover together the city they know so well, to plan trips, to see new movies and plays, to have dinners, to go to bed a few times a week, to go somewhere for one or two weekends, after which they come to the realization that there is no future and the whole thing is becoming an effort; the familiar problems arise. Dani tried to be understanding but it was his very sensitivity that made him suffer from the monotony of human life: the business of having a family, the divorces, the problems at work, the relationships that become dull and routine. He only had a short-term antidote for all that, even though he knew the initial excitement at the beginning of a relationship was only a local anesthetic.He always envied András who, in spite of being a big virile fellow with opportunities from being a popular musician, was able to stay with his wife and children. Perhaps it was exactly the constant challenges during his 25 years of marriage that helped him stay with Ági, even if he cheated on her on occasion, although he was never found out, and, in spite of fights which occurred like clockwork, they got along well. In addition it seemed that András was exempt from experiencing the melancholy that he so often felt.What’s your idea? Dani asked in the kitchen. It was not typical of András to drop in on him like that. He was hoping that they would finish off the conversation fast, András would leave, and he would make it to the reception on time.I’ve had it up to here, András said as he sat down on one of the high stools at the central island in the American-style kitchen.Because of the sentencing? Dani asked. As soon as he said it, he sensed that with his question he had automatically provoked an argument without intending it, without having an opinion that reflected some deeper sentiment. Most of the time his position was based on what he had heard or read somewhere.András kept nodding.What is it they always say? This is a country where there are no consequences. And it’s getting worse. Do you know what a not-guilty sentence implies? A prosecution that moves slowly and reluctantly? It’s all right to kill Jews, you will not be punished. If you’re a politician you can steal and cheat. You don’t need to break the law, you can simply rewrite the law. And that even goes for history. One day we’ll learn that Horthy was also a victim who had to leave because he came to the defense of the Jews. No wonder this whole country is like this. They are always blaming someone else and considering themselves victims. And of course they make foreigners responsible for their own woes.Miserable country. They’ve had their share of suffering, that’s why they cannot face their responsibilities, Dani interjected.He was hearing himself again as if from the outside. András had exploded and he was again trying to mollify him. His own voice sounded foreign to him. As if, as a knee-jerk reaction, he was trying to smooth out his brother’s arguments and damp down his passions. Earlier on when they were children Dani was always the good boy, the one who would obey, who wanted to console their parents, who was sweet with their guests and would perform when asked. András was not interested in expectations. Dani both envied him and looked down on him.And today, András raged on, everything is rotting away. They are trying to hide the crisis with nationalistic slogans. And by exonerating Nazis. Do you ever go into the villages? Because I do. Empty highways, bankrupt companies, unemployed people, hopelessness, hatred. Squalor everywhere. What does it matter if we hand out a few hundred thousand forints for this or that purpose. The number of charity concerts I have given in the past year … Do you think it was worth anything? You may help a few dozen or a few hundred people but that doesn’t stop others from starving, they either croak or keep on spouting hatred. Politics is all about power and dough. And then we have this rotten Nazi. He went silent.This time Dani managed to restrain himself, did not interrupt or take the edge off what András said. András was looking at him with a stern face.If justice fails, we will have to take its place.But how? Dani asked without any special emotion. But looking at András’ face he became frightened. Don’t do anything crazy.Chill out, András smiled sarcastically, and he reached over the table to take Dani’s hand, who was surprised. He was not used to such an intimate gesture from his brother.I don’t want to bump him off, I just want to administer justice.But how? Dani asked and swallowed hard. For a moment he was overcome by some strange excitement; this time he did not feel the urge to resist.I cannot go through with it without you, András said, still holding his brother’s hand. He did not let it go as he sketched out his plan in a few sentences. He seemed to sense that Dani needed the grip on his hand, words alone would not achieve the result.Dani did not give an unequivocal answer but through his acquaintances he managed to find the movies András had asked for and could not find on the internet: Shoah by Lanzmann, Night and Fog by Alain Resnais, documentary footage done by the Americans and British after the liberation of Dachau, Bergen-Belsen and other concentration camps, as well as the films of the Eichmann trial. András reeled through them, deleted the beginning and closing credits and kept editing the material until it formed one 12-hour-long loop which would start again without pause. Two weeks later, one weekday evening, he proudly pushed the DVD into the player in the living room in the house on Mandula Street.Dani watched the film with a grave face as it played on the plasma TV built into a bookcase. An excavator was pushing the corpses toward the mass grave after they had been exhumed for inspection. The emaciated naked corpses were piled together and tumbled into the mass grave with tangled limbs.With his hand on his mouth he watched silently the distraught look on the faces of the former guards and Nazi officers, stripped of the uniforms and epaulettes, being pushed and shoved by the Allies and forced to watch the corpses in order to confront them with what they had done.He was not familiar with all of the movies, for example he had never seen the footage from Dachau. A buddy of his had dug them up from the archives of the Film Institute. It was the first time that he had watched these clips together with his brother. The impact was different when he watched such documentaries on TV or on the internet by himself. András was scanning it by fast-forwarding and stopping it here and there at either silent images or during monologues that conveyed the self-deception of the defense witnesses at the time. Dani did not say a word, he did not protest that he had had enough, while András, with clenched teeth, again watched the footage which he has seen so many times over the years but because of some compulsion wished to see over and over again. He had never talked about this to anyone, not even to Ági.Father’s niece Mari and granny’s siblings are somewhere among them, he said quietly.Be quiet, Dani ordered and András went silent obediently. They kept watching the images as if they both had sensed that something had changed between them. They had talked very little about their relatives with their parents. After a few tentative questions they only got incomprehensible fragments about the family history, and the two of them never discussed the topic between them. They kept watching the film. After a few minutes it was again András who spoke.Well, have you made up your mind? Are you willing to help?Dani was silent, then he looked at András and asked quietly as if someone could overhear them.How do you want to do it?András stopped the movie and told him his plan. He did not talk for a long time but was waiting for Dani to interrupt at the beginning to protest, but his brother remained silent. It seemed that he, too, felt that they needed to do something. He was only weighing the alternatives. He was completely tied up in his thoughts.András was surprised by this reaction. He even became uncertain for a moment as if he had taken pity on him for his anxiety. When he finished he wanted to give Dani time to think it over, not to answer right away whether he would be willing to help.Let’s go down to the basement and look around, Dani said and stood up. He got out the key from a chest of drawers, one he had not used for a long time. They went down to the basement through the garage. The place was musty and lit by only one bulb. Before András’ new house was ready this is where he had had an insulated sound studio installed. It was more than 10 years ago when the lamps and all the technical equipment had been removed. The basement had remained empty and unused.It will take me a few days to fix it up. You don’t need to help. In the meantime you can get prepared. If you cannot do it, I will understand, András said. This time his voice was not overpowering and irresistible; it seemed he did not want to force Dani to do something for which he was not suited.Let’s do it! Dani declared. He did not even look at his brother.Are you sure of this?I’m sure.Give it one more thought, András suggested as if worried for his brother, and they did not talk about it anymore.The next evening Dani called him to say that he had thought it over and that he was willing. András dropped by, got the keys so that he could have access to the cellar, and in the morning two days later he started the work.András could come and go with the tradespeople whenever he pleased. Dani had spent the next day in the office where he did two extractions, a few plaque removals, a filling and a root canal, his usual work load these days. He went to the movies with a slim, blond actress whom he met through a buddy from the film industry. So far he had not managed to get Hédi to bed. He made a dinner date with her for the next day.They went to Café Kör, he had grilled goose liver with baked apple and the actress had a Caesar salad. During dinner he was overcome by a strange sensation that he was only there as a ruse to make an alibi for himself. It felt as if his whole life was an alibi. He had no idea if András was still at his place, what he told the tradesmen, what he said at home, if he said anything at all. Maybe Ági was used to his parallel life and so she would not inquire when he was away in the evening.When one afternoon András called to inform him that he was finished, he closed up the office with feverish excitement, which was a surprising new feeling to him. At home he parked in the garage, closed the door with his remote, and rushed down into the basement.By the light of the bulb attached to the ceiling he saw a narrow camp bed, a camp table and an armchair. Across from it, built into the wall, there was a plasma TV behind plexiglass, in the corner there was a portable toilet discretely surrounded by a curtain. András gestured for him to sit down in the armchair. When he sat down, as if activated by his body’s weight, the first image of the movie flashed up on the screen, the one they had watched together. Emaciated men staggered off toward the camera with frightened and accusatory looks, then skeletal women were helped out from one of the barracks, their nakedness covered by blankets.Dani turned back to look at András as if asking for help.Try to turn it off, András said dryly.Dani looked for the remote but could not find it anywhere. He got up and went over to the TV screen but because of the plexiglass he could not touch it. He turned back. András smiled smugly.When it gets to the end it restarts automatically. We don’t need to do anything with it anymore except to check it from time to time.The whole room is visible via a web camera, you can even see it using your phone. We will have to take care of the food and the toilet. I just hope we’ll manage to grab him, he sighed.When?When you’re ready for it.András turned the TV off using a device he had in his pocket.I asked a few media friends and journalists what they know about him. He has a pretty fixed daily routine. Every morning he goes shopping with his fucking plastic shopping bag. He goes by himself. He is in good condition. He only stopped his trips during the investigation and the trial when the press was full of stories about him. Since then he went back to his schedule. It looks as if he is trying to demonstrate that he has nothing to fear.Tomorrow? Dani asked. He wanted to show decisiveness.I wouldn’t have thought … András looked at his brother confusedly as he stepped up to him with their faces almost touching.What? Dani asked him.That you are such a go-getter.Me neither, Dani answered and laughed nervously.András pulled Dani’s head until their foreheads touched. That is, when they were teenagers playing soccer, how he used to hug him when Dani scored. Dani was swift and lanky, but not tough enough. If his brother was willing to take him along to the soccer pitch to play with the older boys, he kept striving as much as he could. Just as he always wanted to live up to his parents’ expectations, he did not want András to be ashamed of him either.Before they left in the morning András smeared some mud on the license plate, just enough to make the numbers and letters illegible. Dani helped him rinse his hand with the garden hose.What do you need the camera for? he asked when he noticed the movie camera in the back window of the car.In case there is trouble we will say we only wanted to do an interview with him, András shrugged.Who would buy that? Why would a well-known rock musician want to interview someone?Because he is too old for the job and is bored … Or because he sees money in it. We are working on a documentary to be sold abroad. The case is scandalous enough to be of some interest, don’t you think?András’ explanation did not reassure him completely but he started the car. They were slowly making their way across the Margit Bridge when András spoke again. We’ll stop in front of his building. As soon as he steps outside we greet him in a friendly way, put our arms in his and propel him into the car. Put these on, and he handed him a pair of sunglasses and a baseball cap. András put one on too.If he is not alone or if there are too many people around we’ll split.Dani did not even ask how András knew the address. With one hand he was fiddling with the cap and sunglasses and with the other held the wheel. His palm was sweaty. He tried to control his increasing excitement but as he glanced at himself in the mirror he suddenly felt like laughing: It feels like some sort of parody of a caper movie; two guys close to pensionable age have a go at kidnapping. He felt fear but also anger at being obliged to carry out a despicable job.If you don’t want to do it, just say so, András spoke up suddenly while they were going along the boulevard, we can turn back anytime.Dani glanced at him and shook his head. He did not feel the way he usually would: Now he says what he thinks and does what he wants to do, even if afraid. When at the corner of Tompa Street, András pointed at a building, Dani slowed down. He had to roll forward a bit and stop to enable András to see the building’s entrance in the side mirror.They were watching in silence. András ate a bun and drank a Diet Coke. Because of his blood pressure and his elevated blood sugar he had to pay attention to what he ate, but he was not strict about his diet. Dani did not want anything; he would not have been able to swallow a bite. András looked at his watch several times and kept fidgeting, looking back and forth. Dani was surprised that his brother also was nervous. He felt as if his whole life had been a preparation for this task. At this moment he was not worried about the possible punishment, his major concern was that something might happen to the old man during the action.He’s here, András called out after a half hour, but he did not move. He leaned closer to the mirror.Let’s go, Dani turned around and opened the door.No, András grabbed his arm.But why? Dani looked around impatiently.Just watch, András squeezed his arm. The erect old man in his raincoat and checkered beret with a CBA shopping bag passed by their car.But that’s him, why don’t we grab him?Take off your cap. It’s too conspicuous, András barked at him and pointed at the rearview mirror.Dani did not understand anything but within a few moments he also saw the policeman and policewoman as they reached their car. The old man, in the meantime, slowly moved on. He wore brown shoes with his gray trousers. He walked at an even pace, almost striding. Dani was picturing a dashing officer with a riding crop in his hand, of 70 years ago.Shit! That was hairy. I was sweating blood, András moved his head back and forth as the two police officers turned the corner out of sight. Yet he has a nice quiet old age. Perhaps the trial and the reportage took something out of him, but not too much. After all he is innocent … I wouldn’t be surprised if the cops are keeping an eye out for him. His pent up anger passed to his brother.How will we be able to snatch him? he raised his voice impatiently.Chill out, András looked at him. We won’t do anything rash. He was a free man for months during the trial, we didn’t take him seriously either. How often did we discuss the case? We were convinced he would end up in the slammer. But he will come by this route again tomorrow.And what will I tell my patients and my assistant? Where do I spend my mornings?Would you not say that this is more important than a sore tooth?Dani started the car angrily. It was again his usual self in action. He pressed on the accelerator, the powerful engine revved and the tires squealed. As they sped by the old guy he looked at them. They could both see the disapproval in his eyes.The next morning they parked at the same spot and watched with their caps pulled down over their eyes. Dani was tenser than the day before. He watched the mirror and was ready to pounce. They had arrived earlier than before and they had by then been sitting in the car for almost an hour. The air was still crisp and would only warm up by the afternoon. Dani was cold and had a backache. He wanted to get out to move around a bit but András would not let him, he made him start the engine and turn on the heat.Chill out! The last thing we need is that someone gets a good look at your face. As soon as he steps through the door I’ll let you know. If there is no one around we will go through with it.But what if something interrupts us each time?As I said, chill out. Just because there are a few people around we won’t lose our cool. After all we are only taking the old guy for an interview.What if he fell ill? Dani asked.Then we’ll come back tomorrow.What if he has a visitor? A gendarme or Arrow Cross buddy of his might drop in for a coffee? Are we going to grab the two of them then?Stop fretting, András grumbled. Let’s go through the drill instead.I will get out with you, I will go to the back and when you link your arm in his, I will open the door. If he resists, I push his head down as you seat him in the car.OK, relax. András reached into his jacket pocket but did not take anything out and kept his hand there.What’s up?What do you mean?What have you got in your pocket?Sweets, and he took out a package of Manner wafers. Stop fretting, I told you!I’m not fretting, I just wanted to know.I don’t have a gun if that’s what you’re thinking.You shouldn’t be eating those wafers, remember your blood sugar.They fell silent. All of sudden András grabbed Dani’s arm.He’s coming! He fixed his eyes on the rearview mirror and then turned back. Do you see anyone around?No one, Dani said after a look.Are you ready?Ready.Then now! András opened the door and got out all in one move.Dani saw the old guy’s surprise when his bear of a brother opened his arms wide with a feigned smile on his face. Dani opened the back door and, holding him in his arms, András almost lifted the old man who did not have the presence of mind to protest or to scream, which would have been impossible since András had put his hand over his mouth. Pushing his head down András shoved him into the back seat like some rolled up carpet. He needed to get the man’s long legs into the car and then was able to close and lock the door. They looked around, there was a woman approaching at a distance pushing a baby carriage, on the other side an old couple stepped out of a building, but they could not have seen anything. It seemed that the woman with the baby carriage came to a stop but they ignored her. They got into the car from the opposite side. András pulled the old man’s head into his lap in one movement as he got in.Don’t budge, stay calm and then no harm will come to you.Get going, fuck it, he shouted at Dani, who could not resist looking back with curiosity.András threw a blanket over the old man and was adjusting it. The plastic shopping bag with the CBA logo was visible from below the blanket. Dani could see the fright in the old man’s eyes. He could hear him wheezing, gasping for air. He started the engine and pushed down on the accelerator.We are out of our minds! he whispered, we are out of our minds!Take this, András handed a tranquilizer to the old man who was hunched up in the armchair, and take a deep breath. Dani was hanging onto the door frame. He was close to panic. He forced himself to overcome it. Both he and András were wearing ridiculous Halloween masks to hide themselves from the old man.Seeing his brother’s hesitant gestures, András motioned to him to calm down and turned to their captive.If you cooperate, no harm will come to you. All you will need to do is to watch TV. You will keep watching TV until you start to remember and start to talk. We want to hear the truth, everything you denied in the court. All you need to remember is where you served and what exactly you did there.He started the movie with a touch of a button. For a few seconds he watched the arms as they were desperately reaching out from the wired windows of the deportation train cars. Then he spoke again.These film clips were taken two or three days after you sent these train cars on their way. You will see other films, too, to remind you of the days leading up to the departure of the trains … We will keep you here until you tell us everything that you did—until you admit to having lied—until you admit to have beaten young boys to death, tortured women with their clothes stripped off to make them hand over their valuables. We won’t lay a finger on you. We won’t. You will get food and drink. If you need a doctor we will make the necessary arrangements. Once a day we will ask you if you are willing to confess. As soon as you speak and tell us the truth we will take you back to the place where we grabbed you. If you are not willing to confess what you did, you stay here. You will die in front of the images of your victims, András pointed at the TV screen. Something that you would deserve. Do you understand everything? He looked severely at the old man.The latter did not answer. He only hung onto the arm of the chair, his hand was shaking.We’ve got time. We have already waited a long time. András looked at Dani and looked back to the old guy who was moving his mouth as if adjusting his dentures that had got out of place.You don’t deserve it, said András, pointing to a plate of sandwiches, but you will have better food than those you sent to their deaths. What kind of medication do you take? The old man did not answer. If you won’t say, then don’t, you know best.When they were on their way out, the old man spoke up. He listed medications for high blood pressure, heart disease, osteoporosis, prostate problems, and sclerosis of the eye. He also asked for sleeping pills.We won’t get you sleeping pills, András said dryly, the rest you will have today.He signaled to his brother and they left. In the small technical room the controls were separated from what had been a studio by a thick glass wall. They did not turn on the light. They watched the old man in the dark as he looked around, huddled in the armchair. He did not even take off his rain coat.That’s enough for now, András remarked, he might be in shock.He doesn’t seem like it, he is surprisingly calm, a soldier in captivity, that’s how he is behaving.What will happen now?He will search for the remote. He thinks he can stop the film.That’s not what I meant. Are you going to leave me alone with him, Dani whispered.I will come over every day; I will help. All you need to do is to look in on him from time to time, to make sure he is all right and ask him once a day if he is willing to speak. Maybe your more refined style will appeal to him.How long are we going to keep him here?András opened his hands. Until he admits his guilt in front of a camera, then we will upload it to the net and he can go wherever he wants. Then they will not be able to let him stay free.But then they will find out that we … under what kind of conditions that he admitted his guilt. He will rescind it … As for us …There will be such a scandal that this won’t come up. Or if it does we’ll get away with a suspended sentence or a fine.And if he falls ill?If that happens, András took out his cellphone and was looking for something and showed it to Dani. You should call this number. Enter it in your own phone, Dr. Téri, a friend of mine who knows about it.You are crazy … We’ll be found out.Chill out! Why do you think that we are the only ones who have it up to here with this.That afternoon Dani could not concentrate on his work. Before he left for his office, against András’ instructions, he went down three times to see the old guy who was staring at the screen motionlessly. Dani hoped that the movies would have the desired effect and he would talk soon. But he had no idea about what would then follow. András was the risk taker. Dani, on the other hand, alternated between hope that his brother was right, and despair.When he got to his office he needed to take a tranquilizer. He was worried that his hand would slip during drilling or scaling, but he concentrated so hard that he managed to overcome his anxiety. It took him no time to fill the cavity of the scared little boy who came with his mother, he even gave him a plastic soldier. He kept a box of toys in the cupboard: soldiers, cars, marbles and colorful pingpong balls. As he reached into the box, for a second he was reminded of the corpses and the heap of collected clothes, shoes, glasses. He had never thought about such things before.The even teeth of the middle-aged lawyer with a brilliant smile glistened when he finished the whitening. He noticed what a shapely woman she was. All he remembered was that she worked in the film industry but did not recall who recommended him to her. She had short wavy black hair and full lips. His downhearted mood suppressed any attraction. He carried on with his work with a dull head and routine gestures. It felt good to have something to do as a distraction.A few weeks earlier he did an implant for one of his patients, who came back for a checkup. The cellphone rang.I just wanted to let you know that I am at your place, András growled. Everything is fine. I added the medication to the others in a separate bag. It shows on each bottle how many to take. I can drop by again in the evening.Dani felt warm gratitude. They were not hostile brothers but they were not particularly close. They had inherited from their parents a certain reluctance to express their feelings. While they sensed that their father and mother would do anything for them, the boys never experienced unconditional love. They had to earn it through their achievements. The parents never felt real joy over the brothers’ successes but rather felt these accomplishments were due compensation for the energy expended on the boys’ behalf. The brothers only found joy in work. That is why András kept composing even though he no longer gave concerts. The whole family used to get together ritually every two weeks for dinner on Sunday; there was something rigid in these meetings although they knew that in case of trouble they could count on each other. What is more, they were best at expressing their feelings for each other when there was trouble. The few relatives they had, lived abroad. The brothers didn’t see each other often; András used to travel because of his concerts and Dani was busy working or his time was taken up by the perpetual complications in his private life. When in quick succession they buried their father and their mother, they did not continue with these dinners at András’ place. Neither of them felt that they could reenact the family get-togethers and did not even try. Dani’s desire to have children was satisfied by babysitting his nephew and niece, taking them to movies and seeing them together at the family dinners. From the time those two were studying abroad, their relationship was reduced to the occasional email exchange. If he ever met András it was never in his home but was in a restaurant or café so that Ági did not notice that the two of them were together more often recently.András’ call reassured him: His élan returned. He looked up the phone number of the shapely lawyer and entered it in his cellphone. It had just occurred to him that since his marriage he did not have a steady relationship with a “suitable” woman, as her mother used to call them. Just because a woman has the same background why would that make her suitable? Somehow he was never attracted to women with dark hair but now he felt that Hédi was somehow artificial, almost plastic, and he had the idea that the lawyer would be worth a try. As he noted she did not wear a ring and there was something in her behavior and her handshake suggesting that she was open to a date.The implant was a success, the jawbone did not reject the titanium, the tooth was solid. The patient left satisfied. Dani set off for home in a rush.His first trip was to the basement. The old man was lying on his back on the bed, staring at the ceiling while the TV was on at a low volume.Dani went to the kitchen and defrosted some beef goulash with pasta and carried it down on a tray along with the evening medication. He said apologetically that starting next day he would be serving his food the traditional way: warm dishes at noon and sandwiches in the evening.You will pay a price for this, the old man spoke up when the meal was served.Dani was shocked but the tone sobered him up. The codger did not protest, was not outraged that there had been a mistake, did not apologize for what he had done, did not curse them, instead he threatened them with the self-assurance of power.At that moment Dani was certain that the man had done everything that he had been accused of.He Skyped András in the evening, told him what had happened. His brother calmed him down. Dani was debating whether to call Judit, the lawyer. He did not know what to do about Hédi, with whom he was now having an affair. She was enthusiastic in bed and gave him insights into movies and plays that they saw, he also liked her biting political commentary, yet their conversations often dried up. He had the feeling the girl would soon leave him for a younger guy or someone who could advance her career, although she liked to be taken to exhibitions and dinners by Dani. It is not only Hédi’s fault, if it can be called a fault, if they were not a good match. It was like that with all the women before her. Apart from the age difference of 20 or 25 years, what made the relationships difficult was that he could not confide in the women, could not share details of his family, the daily events, the ordinary details. He liked to lie across on the bed and did not mind not having anyone beside him at night except at dawn, when he woke up, when it would have felt good to cuddle up to another body.That evening he took a sleeping pill before going to bed. Before he took it he was worried that the old man might become ill in the night. Right before going to bed he checked up on him one more time through the glass in the basement. The old man was lying on the bed, turned to the wall with a pillow on his ears. On the TV screen emaciated men were staggering; one of them, holding a can of condensed milk, was trying to smile. He had only had a few teeth left by the time his Lager had been liberated.The weeks were passing by and the old man did not talk. András showed up asking in vain whether he was willing to confess the truth (the role suited him more and thus he did not push Dani to have a go at it), the old man was stubbornly silent like someone who trusted that he would be tracked down and liberated.The papers had had a short item about the disappearance of the old man who had recently been charged with manslaughter and crimes against humanity, but had been acquitted for lack of evidence. The TV news channels grabbed the story and inquired with his family, rehashing the events of the recent trial. An investigation ensued while all sorts of media rumors made the rounds: Under the influence of the disturbing experiences the ex-gendarme went into hiding, he was checked into a mental institution, his family hid him from the importuning of the press. The family speculated about kidnappings and revenge because of the outcome of the trial. It was only the paper of the extreme right that gave any credit to these rumors and set a price on the heads of the kidnappers. They offered a reward for those who could give information concerning the whereabouts of the “poor old man falsely accused in spite of his innocence.” In the absence of leads the police made no progress.András followed the developments with excitement. Dani heard about the TV reports from him but followed the internet news on his own. He kept taking tranquillizers and was most disturbed by the price on their heads. He fed the old guy and apportioned out his medications and although it was repugnant to him, he did his laundry and gave him some new underwear and shirts. András insisted that he should be kept under similar conditions as in a prison: He should not be any better or worse off. Since they had captured the old man and he and Dani had intensive daily encounters, the two siblings argued less. Dani paid more attention and reacted to the news more actively and measuredly. András came daily and tried to talk to the old man. Sometimes he would lose his patience and raise his voice but he never laid a finger on him.Dani needed a few weeks to get used to having someone else in his house. Hédi wanted to come over to his place rather than always meet in her rented apartment. After a while he could not put it off any longer. They had not been together for almost a week, he had never had such a long gap between love-making sessions. On one occasion Hédi even teased him about his age; that hurt him. One evening when she was not on stage they met earlier. They walked in the city, she wore a provocatively attractive miniskirt, black sleeveless sweater and high heels. They passed a shop with military paraphernalia. Dani came to a halt, he stared at the merchandise displayed on a rack by the door. There were a Russian soldier’s winter hat with earflaps, khaki caps worn by American infantrymen, marine berets and leather helmets with earflaps, hanging on hooks, but Dani pinched the visor of a flat SS service cap. Hédi stepped closer and looked at him in shock.Would you put on one of those?Are you nuts? Dani looked at her with his face red.I thought that you were …, she stopped the sentence midway.What is it you thought?That you … that your family was …And you? Dani whispered, would you wear one of those? What he really wanted to ask was what her family was like but images were racing through his mind: the SS cap, the film clips, the old man in the basement.And Hédi’s family? What sort are they? What did they do during the war? He never before had given this any thought. He became aggressive due to the uncertainty and insecurity that had enveloped his feelings. In some strange way he desired her.Well, would you put one on? He provoked her.The muffled words and the excitement made Hédi swallow hard. She seemed to sense what the man was thinking.Why, would you want me to? Hédi whispered.She was open, curious, and as far as Dani knew, she used her affairs and sex to rebel against her narrow-minded family that forbade her to go into the theater. Even before Dani came on the scene she had had a few lovers who would have put her parents in a tizzy, so she once told him when she was tipsy. But that was the only time she mentioned that topic, and Dani did not mind that they did not talk about their families.He reached into his pocket and with a quick motion paid for the cap and asked the bulky salesman, who he thought was a Nazi because of his shaven head, to wrap the cap in paper and put it into a plastic bag. The bag showed the logo of the store, two crossed machine guns and a helmet; as soon as they left the store he crushed it under his arm.Hédi put her arm in his and whispered in his ear: If you want I can put it on and you can tie me up and do with me whatever you want.He was flooded by hot sensations, he would have loved to grab her right there but then he again thought about what her grandparents might have done during the war. Desire and anger struggled in him even when they got home. He checked on the old man in the basement who was sleeping on the camp bed.When he returned upstairs Hédi was standing in her miniskirt and high heels with her long blond hair tucked into the military cap. The nipples of her tiny breasts were erect from her excitement and the coolness of the spring night. She undid her skirt and let it drop and was standing in her panties. Dani got aroused by the sight.Hédi reached over to his belt, unbuckled it, and pulled it out from the belt loops, folded it into two and snapped it. She made a severe face, handed the belt to Dani, turned around obediently and clasped her hands behind her back.They took turns wearing the SS cap, Hédi was willing to go along with the role-playing. She was not against a degree of masochism, submitted to Dani’s whims, she identified with the part, whatever it was.He didn’t talk, András said standing behind the console. They were looking at the old man who had turned the armchair around and was facing away from the TV. He would sit in this position with his hands over his ears or would lie on the bed with a pillow muffling the sound. It had been going on like this for weeks.It’s pathetic, he added. He didn’t touch the book either; it was a waste getting it for him.On the camp table there was the double volume, The Politics of Genocide: Holocaust in Hungary by Randolph L. Braham, untouched.What are we going to do with him? Dani asked anxiously.András shrugged his shoulders impatiently and pushed a file in front of his brother that he had been holding in his hands. As Dani leafed through it he saw articles cut out from newspapers or printed out from the net.What is this? he asked.The documentation on him. Also the news about the recent awards; they have decorated Nazis to win over voters. I’m sick of it.And what do you want to do?Leave.Where to?András shrugged his shoulders.To Israel and if I find a job, to the States. They might have some college where I could teach.Do you want to emigrate at the age of 60? Here at least you are somebody.Even at 60, one can have self-esteem.Dani felt heat come over him but stayed quiet. It was András who spoke up, he lowered his voice like someone ashamed.Ági and I have already talked it over. We will leave for a trial period. She was about to close down her record shop in any case. That is probably the most profitable thing to do under the circumstances.How long would you leave for? Dani asked, forcing himself to stay calm.One semester for the time being; a few months, András swallowed hard, I know it is shitty of me to leave you alone with him, motioning to the old guy, I have fucking had enough, I don’t care if he will confess, I don’t care what will happen to this country, whatever it is, it deserves it. If they let Nazis march freely on the streets, if they let them speak up in the parliament without consequences and what’s more even decorate some of them, let them do it but without me. At least we have a place to go. He stopped talking.If you like, he said after a silence, we can take him back. We didn’t succeed but at least we tried.Going to the office, meeting András, feeding, washing, and dressing the old guy, a few routine and futile questions, in the evening a date with Hédi, theater, movies, dinners, sex twice a week, occasionally sleeping over. That is how Dani’s next weeks were spent. He got home earlier than before because András grew more impatient and cranky. They got closer to each other in the last while. Sometimes András waited for his brother to get back from his office and they would munch on a hot snack as in the old days.They sat across from each other by the island in the kitchen and sipped beer. András was worried how Ági would manage and acclimatize to new surroundings. It bothered him that Dani was uncertain and wanted to wait longer, did not want to let go of the old man in case he still might talk.He snapped, you won’t be able to manage with him on your own! If needed Dr. Téri can help you with medical issues but won’t help transporting the guy if you get panicky. Let’s take him back! To hell with the whole thing, I don’t want to leave you with him.No, Dani pressed his lips together, I will see it through.But you must see by now that it doesn’t work! András raised his voice. He doesn’t watch the film, or if he watches it doesn’t do anything to him. He never picks up the fucking book either. He’s less affected by the film than we are by having locked him up and made him watch it. And you know why, because we have a conscience and he hasn’t. That’s a beast! And you can shoot a beast or keep it in a cage or let it back into the wild, but you cannot tame it.We can’t give it up.Why not come along, too? You could sell the house, you would have a nest egg to start you off. You’re pretty fluent in English, in your field you could make a living there, too.Dani shook his head. I’ve got things to do here.What things? With whom? András reached over the counter and put his hands on Dani’s shoulders. Look around, what is there here? We’ve nothing to do here.Dani touched András’ wrists and squeezed them, Don’t worry. And you shouldn’t feel bad, I will manage somehow.After a few weeks he offered to take his brother and his wife to the airport. András kept begging him to the last day to take back the old guy and join them in a few months, but Dani resisted. He did not think he would stand a chance at starting a new practice at the age of 57. In recent weeks he had become more and more determined. András jokingly warned him not to find yet another former or current Nazi.At the airport, while saying the goodbyes, they left Ági behind for a few minutes. She had it in for her brother-in-law because for months she was convinced that he was covering up some affair of her husband’s. That is why András kept telling her that he spent time with him to get closer to his brother in his old age. She did not believe that it had to do with brotherly sentiments, even when she saw András growing sad whenever the topic of Dani came up.András was truly upset by having to say goodbye to his brother. He worried about Dani; it depressed him to leave him behind. They checked in. Ági quickly kissed her brother-in-law on the cheeks and left to have a coffee. András and Dani stayed alone for a few more minutes. András made Dani repeat all that they had agreed on in case of emergency, including the availability of Dr. Téri who would continue to supply the medication, and with a big sigh, embraced him. Dani could not believe that András got teary-eyed like an old man.That night when he got home the house seemed empty. He had gotten used to having András come over frequently in the last while. András had brought over a pair of indoor shoes, some clothes, a book, and some music sheets which were scattered around the place, and he also brought a guitar that he used to strum absent-mindedly during their conversations. He had not heard him play music for a long time.On his way driving back from the airport he recalled Judit’s wide Middle Eastern face, even teeth and thick black hair. He did not understand why she appeared to him as someone sad, longing to be consoled even though the last time he saw her, she was smiling. He had never thought of other women that way. His throat was constricted from sudden desire. He tried to suppress the feeling by concentrating on something else, but got flushed. It seemed that a sensation that he had repressed for a long time permeated his whole body.When he got home he called Hédi. He was conflicted but determined, this was his way of trying to chase away the pangs of conscience. He promised to go over to her place the next day. He did not want Hédi to come to his place; they both sensed that their relationship had settled into a routine and Dani also knew that Hédi wanted to get married and have a child. It surprised him that she stuck with him in spite of the age difference. In the last few weeks with the impending departure of András and Ági, the relationship had become suffocating for Dani.He was desperately trying to remember the last name of the lawyer and then he realized that he did not put the number under the last name but instead under the letter J, as if they had been old acquaintances. He was in a hurry as if these minutes were somehow crucial to reach her. The idea was so obvious that he did not understand why he had not called her sooner. He did not remember why he was holding back nor what had prevented him from seeking out this type of woman. His attraction to this specific person wiped out his former reservations. His heart was racing as he keyed in her number. It had been ages since he had experienced adolescent bashfulness. He addressed her formally. What if he got it wrong and she has someone? Or she had taken up with someone since the last time he saw her.You have taken your time to call me, Judit said.Dani could tell from her voice that she was available and had expected his phone call. This provocative comment showed that she was self-assured and was someone aware of her own attraction; she did not have to feign surprise. In the way she answered his questions she showed no wariness except perhaps some coyness regarding her own age, which was 48. It pleased her that Dani showed true surprise at her age, because he had guessed that she was younger.While in previous relationships no length of time would be enough to establish an intimate bond, what shocked him was that he felt close to Judit before anything had transpired between them. Even though she talked to him in a friendly fashion Dani’s anxiety did not subside. He was overcome by memories of his adolescence, which was the last time that he had cared so much about how his advances would be received. His usual approach would not work this time. The closeness attracted him but also intimidated him. But Judit’s voice, her unpretentious ways and slightly ironic objectivity conveyed something so disarming that it became evident that even though it was something he feared, it had to happen this way and it also became inevitable that he break off with Hédi.The next day he called Hédi during the day trying to prepare her for the decision he had reached; she was not completely surprised by what he had to say. The only thing that astounded her was that when Dani showed up at her place with her belongings, along with her clothes and makeup, he also brought the SS cap she wore so frequently that she had gotten quite used to it.Dani met up with Judit on a summer evening; after having finished their dinner at Remíz in the coolness under the terrace’s trees, he invited her to his place, still very excited. He did not need to talk her into it, Judit was curious to find out where he lived. She went to his place, stayed overnight and invited him to her place the next day with such ease that all Dani’s misgivings disappeared. When next morning he went down to the basement to feed and wash the old man, he could hardly keep himself from telling Judit all about it.She moved in a few weeks later. Dani had not lived with anyone for a long time but just as that had seemed right for so many years, now it seemed right that she move in. He described his excited state as something like stage fright when he Skyped András in Tel Aviv. He could talk to Judit about it as well, and by sharing his feelings with her he felt relieved.Soon Judit had to meet the old man downstairs. After the initial surprise she took this development in stride. From then on the frozen dinners were replaced by her cooking and were served on a tray with the medications, and often it was she who fed and cleaned the old man. In the basement the infinite loop of the movie kept showing on the plasma TV.