It was 1982, and the life in Romania started to deteriorate considerably. People were less and less afraid to tell stories about friends, neighbors or family; the general feeling was that secret police were after people that might organize something against the ruling regime and ignore those that expressed their dissatisfaction with their life. And for sure they knew, informants were everywhere, but those expressing their feelings openly were too many.
I was working as an engineer specialized in electronic devices for energy plants, and the story that follows was told to us by one of my colleagues, Tichindrel, that in free translation might mean (at least in our group)“the rookie” since he was new to our group.
The narrative was about a musician, and all happened sometime in mid seventies when Tichindrel was in high school. He had a neighbour that retired as a musician; all his life he worked for a symphony orchestra, I do not remember what instrument he played. The musician liked to be surrounded by young people, and played chess with Tichindrel and his friends, telling them interesting stories about his time when he was an active member of that symphony orchestra.
He filled-in his retirement time writing a symphony. When he finished, he was convinced it was a masterpiece; well, Tichindrel could not validate that, he never heard it, but the musician was convinced this was the case.
The musician tried to find a promoter but did not work well at all, nobody wanted even to look to his symphony. His feeling was that all was politically motivated, or no one believed that someone into the sixties could write for the first time in his life a good symphony.
So, the musician tried to find a promoter somewhere in the western world. Tichindrel, the story narrator, did not know what methods the musician used to achieve this, but for sure the authorities were not pleased. Those times any contact with the outside world was tightly supervised and one needed special approvals to communicate with the West.
One day Tichindrel was invited to police department. He was invited in an office with a small window protected with iron bars, and that means no one could escape through that window, just saying, in case someone could have such a nasty idea. Also from that room there was an access to a small washroom, same type of window. In the room it was a table with two chairs; and on the table there was some paper and a pen.
A man, dressed in civilian clothes, showed up and asked Tichindrel to write down all he knew about the musician; then the man left.
Tichindrel wrote exactly as it was; the musician played chess with him and his friends and told them stories about his life as a musician in the symphony orchestra.
The man came two hours latter. He read the paper. “You forget to write that he often mentioned that the country does not have good rulers and a change is needed. The musician was an agitator.”
“But he did not say that,” protested Tichindrel.
“For sure he did.”
“I do not remember him ever saying that.”
“Well, I give you some time to think.” And the man left.
The man came back about two hours latter and the dialogue repeated almost identically. Then the man left, leaving behind a sandwich. He did not show again that day, Tichindrel spent the night in that police room. I will mention here that the regime fine-tuned to perfection methods to control the population, everybody felt guilty for something they did not commit. So, Tichindrel was scared to death. Next day he wrote on paper everything the man dictated to him, and signed.
Two of Tichindrel's friends were invited to the police for the same purpose and signed what they were asked to. One of his friends signed after one night in a police room and the other one after two nights.
Few days latter the musician disappeared for two weeks. When he came back he had bruises on his face... he was beaten. When the three boys approached, he turned his head, whistling a song. The musician never spoke to the boys again.