Prison Break

No, this is not a rehash of the American TV show, Prison Break. This is prison break, Hungarian style. Who said my life is not interesting? Um, that would have been me. What was I thinking?

Last night I checked my e-mail after a small dinner party we hosted. There was a cryptic message “I am John Doe’s sister. I need for you to contact me immediately regarding him.” Certainly, his name is not John Doe. Duh! I am saving him from public disgrace, but this story is too interesting not to share.

I e-mailed her back stating we had not heard from her brother for months and I was a bit concerned. He is an American living here in Budapest, but only has been for the last five months.

John Doe was a B and B guest a couple of years ago. He landed in Budapest with some friends who were going to hang out here for a year. After a few weeks of being a roomie, he could not take their fighting, so walked out and landed in our apartment. He paid for a week, but then was getting tight on money, so asked if he could barter his services for things about the apartment. We reluctantly agreed to barter another ten days. John fulfilled his part of the bargain, convinced to barter for more work and another ten days. He completed all of his obligations, but left before his freebie nights were used. We gave him an I.O.U. or in this case a WE.O.U. for twelve more nights to be used whenever we had a vacancy. He disappeared for over a year, without any contact and no responses to my e-mails.

In September 2007, he reappeared out of thin air back to Budapest. Popped in to see us, but only Ron was home. They had coffee. A couple of weeks later, he e-mailed to come over and see us. When he did, he needed a place to stay. He was living with a woman friend, but it was not working out. He came here for three nights, but during that time, met a hostel owner who was closing the place for the winter and agreed to let John stay there in exchange for keeping an eye on the place and doing some work. John left us to go there.

Thanksgiving came and we invited John to dinner. He brought a date. A young man we wanted to card to see if he was of legal age. John is in his mid-forties. This was the last we saw of him, but he did send me a couple of e-mails regarding his adventures with getting a long term Visa to stay in Hungary. That was at the end of November. Nothing after that.

According to his sister, in December, he took a bag of drugs he found at the hostel to the US Embassy claiming it belonged to the workers there. He was arrested and put in jail.

When he was released, he went back to the hostel and broke windows. He was arrested again and put in jail. Upon release, he went to the Marriott hotel; we were already on vacation by this point, so he would not have been able to reach us.

He became disruptive and abusive at the hotel and they called the police. Once again, he was thrown in jail where he has been since December 18th. While in jail, he became combative with the guards, so they put him into solitary confinement for two weeks. His family in the mid-western part of the US hired two attorneys here.

The Embassy official finally convinced John to sign a release of confidentiality statement, so they could keep his family updated. In this release, he also named ME, stating we are the only family he has here in Budapest and he trusts us. Notice the plural pronouns, but only my name had been given. Ron lucked out on this one. My guess had been that he was bordering on bi-polar, but now it seems he has had a psychotic break. He had called his mother to say he was named Ambassador to Hungary by President Obama and was having a private jet sent to pick her up. He told the same story to the embassy people and the guards at the prison.

Life is interesting.