The door to my classroom flew open and my boss came running in with a frantic look on her face. In a nervous sounding voice, she said, “There’s a man waiting for you, you must go with him right now.”
I looked at the clock and saw there was about ten minutes left, so I started to leave without taking my books (another teacher would use this room for the next lesson). “Bring your things,” she said as she pointed to them.
Well that can’t be good.
Who is this guy that I have to go with? Have I broken some law? I wonder if the last words anyone will ever hear from me are, “Well, I guess we’ll finish class a little early today,” to a group of confused looking students.
It’s important to the story to know that I started finding notes at my door yesterday. They were small pieces of paper full of typed Hungarian words and some other things scribbled on to them. The handwritten parts were so bad that I couldn’t even make out the letters (or were they numerals?), so it wasn’t much use for me to try and translate.
One of them was there when I got home from school, and I was going to bring it in this morning and ask about it. The second was left during my after school nap. A nap that was interrupted by someone buzzing my door bell.
I didn’t answer the door bell for good reason, I thought it was the phone. There are little phones that people can call each apartment from the front door, and they seem to be malfunctioning. My neighbors had their heads out their door a few days ago and wanted to know if I had rang theirs. I hadn’t, but I heard it ring again as soon as I came inside my apartment. It was mysterious because I’d just come in the front door and there was no one there to ring it.
Unless it was a very crafty serial killer or secret admirer.
I later realized that my door bell, not my phone, had been ringing. I found another one of the notes , and I was no more successful in reading it. The notes went right next to my coat so I didn’t forget them when I left this morning. They were received with a confused look, and I was told someone would try to figure out what they were for.
Which brings me back to the man coming to get me. After getting me from the classroom, my colleague said “the man has to take you to the gas chamber”.
What! I’m not going to the gas chamber!
Then I realized my tired brain had heard incorrectly, she actually said “the man has to look at your gas meter”. This seemed much less severe. I have to write down the meters every week (two are inside), so why wouldn’t the gas company want to occasionally check if I’m telling the truth?
I walked back to my apartment with the man while we had a conversation where neither one of us could understand the other. Then, he took a picture of my gas meter and that was that. To my knowledge, he wasn’t a serial killer or a secret admirer.
This ending isn’t exciting unless you think about the mysterious ringing of the phone by an invisible person. Who caused that? A serial killer or a secret admirer?
Hungarian word of the day:
It means, quite surprisingly, “gas”. The man repeatedly pointed this out to me on a form as we walked back to the apartment. “Gauze, gauze,” it sounded like. Perhaps he narrowly escaped the serial killer and needed to dress a wound.