Chapter 20 – The Contract
Tales of a Teenage Spy - The Life and Times of Gábor Rimner
Then there was the contract. Very shortly before I left Khartoum, it must have been some time late May, or June, I was at Carol's flat, and she said we needed some photos. So we went out to the balcony where there was plenty of light and a whitewashed wall for a background, an ideal setting.
She made me stand there, and took three photographs. It was like when you get into prison, and you have to show both sides of your ugly mug. These photos would be in my files, she said.
Back inside, she produced a, well, let's call it a contract, and made me read it.
Now Carol hadn't mentioned anything about this before, and there were several parts that I didn't agree with.
Still, somehow, inside I was eager to sign it! I mean, I was excited. By this time, I was absolutely sure I was going to be the Hungarian James Bond. It had become a personal obsession. I was going to save Hungary, save the world! I was going to destroy communism! I was that fired up.
So I knew I was going to sign it in the end, yet still I held back, because I just disagreed with certain parts on principle.
For example, it stated that I could never, ever talk about it, to anybody, anytime, anywhere. Nothing. I had to treat the whole thing as if it had not happened. I wasn't very happy about that, because I felt that I was taking on such obligations which were not my own decision.
And that made me frustrated. Another thing was they actually mentioned a salary in the contract. Not an amount of money, but a salary.
I said, I'm sorry, but I'm not doing this for money, so I'd like to omit that part. To which Carol replied that if there was no sum of money mentioned it would be an invalid contract.
Since I knew this was true, we modified it. Originally, the US was to give me $100 per month for the job (which, in truth, would have been a very nice extra bonus in Hungary in those days). I rejected that, but in order to make it all legal, I suggested we make it a $100 one-off payment.
Carol said she'd never heard of such a stupid thing before, but agreed, and we pulled out the word monthly from the contract. Still, I felt that somehow if I signed a contract where it is obvious that it was a job done for money, then the whole thing became like regular work. My mission would somehow would lose its … purity.
It would turn out this thinking was somehow prescient.
But Carol was perplexed: “It's impossible that you don't want something in exchange for this!” she declared. Well, this was true to a point: what I wanted was support from the US in case of real danger.
So I told her I wanted to be sure that if I ever felt it necessary to flee Hungary for the States, then they would immediately help me, along with getting a US passport, and make it possible for me to settle there.
Well, I got a promise from her, but only verbally. I wanted to have it written in the contract, but she said that was “impossible”.
At this point, I have some advice for anyone reading this who sees his or her future in intelligence in a foreign, hostile land: if you have an issue like mine here, don't budge.
Get it in writing, because that omission would come back to bite me later.