did it to hurt him, no question about that. For Béla I was a whore.
He went as far as saying it to my face. Whore? All right, whore I'll give
you. So I went to his buddy Philippe Baum's lab at the university and
I knew Philippe's kink, the rest was easy. I had heard Philippe's story
a hundred times, if I heard it once. I heard Béla tell it, I heard
Philippe tell it to Béla, I heard faculty wives giggle about it.
Philippe could only have sex if danger was involved. His entire sex life
unfolded in his lab, where with doors unlocked he would have women perform
acts on him minutes before the arrival of the students. That was it. I
don't know how he got this way, I have my ideas on the subject, but to
tell the truth I don't give a damn. For me Philippe was but a tool to
give Béla his comeuppance. And did it ever work! Just as Philippe
started panting in the throes of his pleasure, the door opened and in
walked Béla with the dean's wife just as I knew they would. Béla
rushed at us, pulled me up by my shoulders, my teeth almost did to poor
Philippe what men fear most, and then and there Béla hit me across
my right cheek with a ferocity I had never suspected in him. I hated him
that moment, I loved him at the same time. The dean's wife walked over
and tried to comfort me, while shooing my husband away. That was it. We
split up and I saw him one more time, he behaved the way I should have
realized he would behave, but I always underestimate the meanness of men.
That is why I am still rotting in this God-awful city at the edge of Transylvania,
while my ex-husband and his buddy are sipping lemonade in some Tel-Aviv
café or other. There is no justice. There never was."
"If you ask me, Klári is a whore. I should have stayed away
from her. I still can't understand how she got me to marry her. She bedded
every blade of grass in town. My dean, she fucked my fucking dean, of
all people! It must be that foul Transylvanian town, Arad, heavy, pretentious,
dirty. The Hungarians let it rot right there on the shores of the muddy
Maros. The Romanians, when they got it back after the Second World War,
decided to make it into the one thing it was never meant to be, a cultural
center. They created a university there. But then you try and find
a Romanian who knows any chemistry and is willing to leave Bucharest to
teach Hungarians in Arad. So they staffed the place with people in trouble,
political trouble. The professor had been in the Iron Guard during the
war and he was best relegated to some inconspicuous position. He was a
first rate chemist and a decent guy where I was concerned. Maybe he learned
something from his past, maybe he got chastened, or maybe he was just
playacting, but I would be less than honest, were I to complain on his
account. With me he was a gentleman. And who would be his assistants,
but two Jews from Lugos, my buddy Philippe Baum and I.
"There was nothing to do in Fifties
Arad. Go to the Russian movies, the one about Stakhanov exceeding his
norm, or Michurin deflowering his flowers, or Popov inventing his radio?
Read the newspapers and learn about the cow that gave more milk or the
bull that got her with calf? Listen to the radio? No, all you could do
was work and fuck. I worked with Philippe on a new family of polymers
with possible industrial applications and this kept us busy during the
day. After work I ran home and mounted Klári right there in the
kitchen. She would protest, but if you ask me, she loved it.
"As to Philippe, I guess I should have
paid more attention to his numerous recitations of woe. He did get a rough
deal, no doubt about that. I guess it all started with that ill-fated
engagement to Eva Vincze, the year the war ended, before the communist
takeover. I was there, all of Lugos Jewry was invited at the Vincze villa
on the bank of the Temes. They made a mighty handsome couple. Philippe
had the good looks of a Jewish Gary Cooper and he had brains too. The
guests had started indulging in the delicious buffet laid out by the bride's
family and the French champagne purchased in Temesvár, some forty
miles away. The toasts were about to start. The rabbi wanted the couple
to step on the podium specially erected for the occasion. For a while
the tall groom stood on it by himself, somewhat ill at ease, while the
rabbi bid him to be patient 'You know women, they're always late, there's
nothing to be done about it' and he was partially right. There was
nothing, absolutely nothing to be done about it. The bride had
disappeared. They looked for her in the living quarters, in bathrooms,
on the street, everywhere. Guests were nervously giggling at first, then
they relaxed and started laughing. In the end the rabbi asked Philippe
to step down from the podium. The Jewish Gary Cooper did so and clumsily
tripped falling on his face like a Jewish Cary Grant. Big waves of roaring
laughter now washed over the assembled guests as a dazed Philippe limped
out of the room. Eva Vincze had eloped with Andris Weisz, with that jerk.
"During our student days in Bucharest,
Philippe, equipped with Ola Gummi brand condoms was a regular at
the brothel on the Chaussée. That was the full extent of his love
life, not a single date, not one kiss. There were girls aplenty and they
loved Philippe, but he had no interest in them, none whatsoever. That
Vincze girl sure did a number on him.
"In Arad Klári and I managed
to get a small walkup in an old apartment building from Austro-Hungarian
days. As a bachelor, all that Philippe could manage was a room in the
apartment of Katalin Szombathelyi a married woman with a three year old
son, whose husband was in a labor camp for political reasons.
"Strapped for money, Katalin Szombathelyi
offered Philippe room and board, she was a fine cook. Slowly Philippe
took over as man of the house. They dined together, then put the little
boy to bed and the long provincial winter evenings were spent by the tall
green tile stove chatting, anyway at first. Katalin, a striking woman,
a Hungarian Ingrid Bergman, put the Jewish Gary Cooper at ease and for
the first time since the Lugos elopement he started talking about his
utter devastation at the hands of his fiancée. No one had eloped
at the Szombathelyi engagement or at the wedding which followed it, but
a by no means lesser devastation was just as intensely visited on that
married couple. Jancsi Szombathelyi, the groom, was a loudmouth and a
womanizer. The latter devastated his wife, the former landed him in labor
"Before long Philippe started making
love to Katalin Szombathelyi. For the first time in his life the Jewish
Gary Cooper was in love. They used to come over to our place and they
looked happy, truly happy. But looks can be deceiving. The woman could
not well divorce her husband while he was laboring in a camp, but Ingrid
promised Gary she'd ask for a divorce from her Paul Henreid as soon as
he came home.
"The Paul Henreids of the world always
manage to survive and return, that's how they are typecast. Jancsi Szombathelyi
was building the canal which was to connect the Danube before it forms
its delta to the Black Sea. The fete was to be achieved by slave labor.
They dug and dug the tract of the canal, but when time came to let the
water in, the communists chickened out. The engineers were unanimous,
you let the water in and with all due respect to Marx, Engels, Lenin and
Stalin, all of Dobrogea, a good ten percent of the country would be flooded.
Now they could blame that on some imperialist conspiracy, but at least
those in power would know the truth and they could use it against each
other in their Byzantine games. They opted for abandoning the project
and sent the slaves home.
"Back in Arad, Jancsi Szombathelyi
correctly assessed the situation: while he was away someone had been sleeping
in his bed. That much he had expected. No one would cast Ingrid Bergman
as the Holy Virgin. What irked Jancsi Szombathelyi was not the fact that
in his absence a man had been fucking his wife, but the equally true fact
that a handsome Jew had been at it. Jancsi demanded that his rival leave
the apartment immediately, or else he vowed to 'kill the bastard'. A tearful
Katalin appeared in Philippe's room and suddenly demoted him from Jewish
Gary Cooper to Jewish Humphrey Bogart. She sent him packing with no more
than a 'We'll always have Arad.' What do Humphrey Bogarts do when their
Ingrid Bergmans stay with their Paul Henreids? They go to their Claude
Rains. Middle in the night Philippe showed up at my place. I sat up with
him through the night. It wasn't 'the beginning of a beautiful friendship',
Philippe and I were buddies since our Lugos childhood days. Moreover,
a small detail, not important as yet, but with serious consequences yet
to come, I was a married man, main difference between Claude Rains and
me. Anyway, I talked and talked to Philippe the whole night. He wanted
to kill himself, go to the lab and swallow cyanide. I talked him out of
it and the result? Henceforth he could only have sex if danger was involved,
if a sudden and possibly violent termination of the act appeared imminent.
Much good did it do me, but I do not hold Philippe a grudge, had it not
been him, Klári would have come up with someone else, she had no
problems in this respect. I got what I had coming for marrying that whore.
There is no justice. There never was."
"My best friend Béla Kelemen saved my life. I was about to
end it all over what? Over a broad for laughing out loud. Now I know better,
all I want is my cock sucked, no questions asked. For years it took an
element of danger to get me going, but that has ended with that horrible
business with Klári, some bitch, she staged that whole situation
to drive a wedge between Béla and me. Fortunately he came to see
reason and here in Israel we are still friends and still work together
and now the field has been leveled, we're both unmarried. I have no trouble
getting women, I bring them home, bed them, have them suck me off a couple
of times and then I go to sleep. The ideal woman, as far as I am concerned
is the one who is gone by the time I wake up. If she steels a sock or
some money, I don't care, I have nothing of value in the house, just as
long as I don't have to deal with the bitch when I get up. My friend Béla
isn't all that different, come to think. After he caught Klári
in my lab he threw her out of his place, he did the right thing if you
ask me. But of course she showed up a month later begging him to take
her back. He said sure, all is fine and forgotten, took her in and fucked
the daylights out of her. Next morning the movers showed up to take his
furniture to a new place, he had to get out of this apartment, it reminded
him of so many things he now wanted to forget. Klári thought this
was an excellent idea.
'Where are we moving?' she asked.
'I am moving, you can stay if they'll
let you, you whore.' That's Béla from Lugos for you, Béla
Lugosi as we used to call him. He resented it, especially after he moved
to Arad which is in Transylvania. "Leave me be with all that
vampire crap" he would protest.
"When I got my papers to go to Israel,
I called my former landlady, I owed her that much I thought. Her husband
that Jew-hating son of a bitch was in Kolozsvár visiting his ailing
mother. She came over to my place. Don't get me wrong, we did not
make love. I wanted her to come with me. She started crying, she still
loved me she claimed, but going to Israel was out of the question. Jancsi
would never allow his son to become a citizen of 'Jew-country' as he called
it and without the boy she would never come either.
'Do you want me to stay?' I asked her. She let go of a bitter bout of
crying, but the upshot was no, she did not want me to stay either.
Then what was all this crying about? Women have a need to be perceived
as self-sacrificing, anyway those that don't have the need to sacrifice
others. In either case sacrifice is central to their existence. Maybe
that is because they give life and then feel they can deny it as well.
Men can be cruel, no doubt, but we mostly predicate our lives on a live-and-let-live
philosophy, none of this human sacrifice business. We may hail from Lugos
and live in Transylvania, but that doesn't make us vampires. We believe
in reason and justice, but if you hail from Lugos and have lived in Transylvania,
you know there is no justice, there never was."
"They took my husband to the Danube Canal and I was left alone to
fend for myself and my little boy. A man moved in and from what he paid
me for room and board we could subsist. He was a handsome fellow, a Jew,
he was circumcised, he became my lover. His fiancée had eloped
with another man and he had become the laughing stock of Lugos, his home
town. I felt for him the way a woman feels for a young boy, very naïve,
very needy, very attached. There was a security, a predictability to living
with him. I liked that. He wanted to marry me, but I had a ready excuse,
I was already married and I couldn't possibly walk out on Jancsi while
he was at the Canal. This all could have lasted for many more years, but
then they sent Jancsi home and it all came to a boil. Jancsi was furious
that I had taken up with a Jew. I told him I would never have married
the guy, but that wasn't enough for my husband. 'What kind of an example
were you setting for our boy, you might as well have had him circumcised.'
He demanded I break up with Philippe. That was the easy part. I shed some
tears, that always works with men, it gives them a sense of achievement.
They either want you to tell them they are making you happy, or to shed
tears if you cannot partake in the happiness they have in store for you.
It makes them feel powerful, I guess.
But now to the ugly part. To 'punish' me,
Jancsi started openly bringing women to the house and making love to them
even within earshot of me and the boy. To the boy he justified it all
as 'your mother is a Jew-lover, for her I have too much skin' and then
he would maliciously burst out in laughter. After Philippe left for Israel,
Jancsi divorced me, kept the boy and turned him against me. I had no visitation
rights and had to watch my son being turned into a thug. That was not
difficult under communism. By then Jancsi, to get his peace, had turned
into a Securitate informer and my son became an outright scumbag, there
is no other word for it. Egged on by his father he brought three Gypsy
boys in front of my window and had them taunt me about my Jewish lover.
I became the laughing stock of the housing project and ended up having
to move away from Arad. I now live in Temesvár. Should I have stayed
with Philippe? Gone with him to Jew-country? Have him stay and protect
me? He couldn't have protected me anyway, and those Gypsy taunts would
have been all the more accurate.
"I am now starting life from scratch,
away from everything I knew and have lived for before. I am not the youngest
anymore. My God, what have I come to?
"I ran into Klári the other
day, she came to Temesvár to see a play. We went to the bank of
the river and sat down in the grass. It was nice seeing someone from my
former life. She tells me Philippe and Béla are still busy with
their polymers at some research institute in Tel-Aviv for a change. Neither
of them got married. We laughed. After they got to know the Hungarian
woman, neither of them could find happiness with those Middle-Eastern
amazons. Then Klári shared with me a fantasy of hers, she wished
the Arabs would invade Israel and drive the Jews into the sea. I nodded,
I have had the same fantasy. But it will never happen. It's not their
destiny and destiny is all there is, all there ever was."