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Fraudulent Fertilisation

Episode 9

Ricardo Ludovico Gulminelli
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Álvez voluntarily played down Juanita’s confession. He tried to make light of it, saying:

“Darling, let’s not get caught up in details, let’s not be so emotional. This guy is healthy, intelligent, not bad looking. Your child is going to be rolling in cash, what more could you ask for? We would be united, we would work together, sharing our secret. It would be lovely, don’t you think?”

“Explain, Esteban. I told you Roberto wouldn’t let me get anywhere near him, that he hates me; nevertheless you keep on insisting that he’ll get me pregnant. I don’t understand why you’re so sure, please clarify.”

“It’s easy, girl, it won’t be necessary for you to go to bed with him. Although the ideal thing would be for you to do it, even just the once. Relax, I’ve studied everything, I know Burán won’t go to bed with just any woman, don’t worry, he might succumb, you’ll see...”

“Yes? How?”

“Very simple, my dear. Artificial insemination.”

The answer paralysed Juanita, who was not expecting it, although it sounded convenient because it would avoid having to have sexual contact with Burán.

“But how will you do it?” she said.

“I’ll tell you everything, only you will know. I’ll fertilize you artificially with Burán’s semen; then we’ll tell him, threatening to claim filial rights, especially maintenance, unless he indemnifies you. It’s not complicated, is it? If he kicks up a big fuss, I’ll inform him that I can inseminate several more women, I’ll have enough sperm.”

“In that case, I’d claim against him in representation of my child?”

“Yes, our prey has got more than enough money, he ought not to be selfish...”

“Is it true that you’ll inject other women with his sperm?”

“In principle, Juani, no: I think it’s best for us to concentrate our energies on you, involving other people in this would make the claim seem less serious, it would reduce our credibility. On the other hand, this way it would be irreproachable, he won’t have any way out. What do you think?”

“You make it seem so simple,” she said, “I don’t see how you’ll make him fall for it, you acknowledge that he’s not easy to seduce, that he’s averse to me, so...?”

“Don’t upset yourself about that, I know he’s a strange guy, that he doesn’t go to bed with anyone just like that. Is he afraid of catching syphilis or AIDS? The truth is that I find this subject disconcerting. For these circumstances I’ve ruled out that he’ll have relations with you, I think it will be almost impossible. I plan to use another woman to ‘harvest’ Burán’s semen.”

“I’m afraid, dear, that it’ll be difficult to trick him.”

“That’s what you think, Juani! I’m going to use an irresistible bait, her name’s Alicia, you ought to meet her. She’d drive anybody mad...”

Juanita looked at him, making a reproachful gesture.

“I see, I don’t understand why you need me in that case, why don’t you go into partnership with the famous Alicia? I bet you’ve already taken her to bed.”

“I could have done, she had no way out, but I gave priority to business matters. There’s too much at stake. If everything works out OK, our lives will change completely, think about that. Remember, my love, that out of the six or seven million dollars Burán has got, we could end up with one. Can you imagine what we could do with that much dough? I assure you that our victim won’t have an escape route, he’ll have to cough up. Alicia Sandrelli is ‘trapped’, she has no choice: if she doesn’t go to bed with Burán, I won’t do an abortion on her three month pregnant thirteen year-old little sister, can you imagine? I’ve got her in my hands, she has no way out; just in case I made her sign a compromising letter, in case she’s thinking of betraying me... I’ve already told her that if anything strange happens to her, I’ll show it to her father who’s had three heart attacks and wouldn’t be able to cope with another.”

“You’re terrible, I wouldn’t like to be in her shoes.”

“Don’t exaggerate, it’s not such a big deal. After all, she’ll only have to go to bed with him once, it’s not such a great sacrifice. Don’t you agree? She’ll tell Burán to use a condom to avoid pregnancy, obviously he won’t be able to refuse. The rest is enormously simple: keep the semen and hand it over to me. I’ll put it in the freezer and I’ll have millionaire sperm in my power. What do you think?”

“Very impressive, Esteban. Are you sure we won’t end up in jail?”

“Why, Juani? How could our manoeuvre ever be proven? I’ve got everything meticulously calculated: you go and see Burán under whatever pretence, you’ll say it’s for business or charity reasons, whatever. We’ll create the appearance that there’s a love affair going on between you. It would be ideal if you could go to bed with Burán, even if it was only once. If you were to manage it, he himself would think that his paternity is natural. On the contrary, if he knows it’s impossible for him to be the father, he’ll resist furiously.”

“I’ll have to play-act constantly...”

“Yes, you must pretend in public that you’re on intimate terms with Burán; those who are present at your display will be useful to us as witnesses. When you leave his office, for example, you could have your clothes in disarray to awaken suspicion. Does that sound all right? Our little lawyer won’t be able to escape; as if that wasn’t enough, we’ll be able to prove that he really is the father of your child.”

“Are you completely sure, dear?”

“Yes, nowadays there are infallible scientific tests. By comparing genetic data, they can determine a person’s filiation exactly. Don’t think I’m making it up as I go along: I’ve been studying the subject for the last six months, precisely since our victim’s father died. I’m going to destroy that crow, I’m going to get my own back, I’ll enjoy spending his money...”

“Don’t get too big for your boots, Esteban. Be careful, Roberto’s a good lawyer, he won’t give up docilely, he’ll fight like a lion.”

“But he won’t have much of a chance, you’ll see. You’ll be attended to by a capable lawyer in these matters, I’ve already chosen him, Doctor Sebastián Allegri. You won’t tell him the truth even if he suspects it: he should believe he’s defending a seduced woman who really achieved intimacy with Burán. Our relationship should remain hidden, now more than ever, it’s fundamental that it should be that way. In that way I’ll be able to be useful to you as a witness, saying that you came to my practice with Roberto, that he acknowledged that he was the father of your unborn child.”

“I’m frightened of Roberto’s reaction,” she said, “you don’t know him. I don’t think he’ll give in.”

“Look, little girl, I’ve got the legal aspect under control, I consulted a specialist practice in Buenos Aires, giving a false name, of course. I said I was going through a case identical to the one we’re going to generate, I asked them to study all the legal possibilities. You can’t imagine how labyrinthine the matter is, we’ll stir up a hornets’ nest. Relax, I’ve got all the aspects covered, including the penal one. I think the risk is minimal, almost non-existent. And lastly, isn’t it worth running the risk? You have to be brave, Juanita, this is not for the fainthearted or the pusillanimous.”

“Not just brave, Esteban, also intelligent.”

“Do you doubt me?” said Álvez, “Do you think I’m incapable of organising this matter? Relax, I repeat, I’m taking advice, I know the legal aspects and the insemination technique. The only thing I have to do is make sure and find a trustworthy accomplice: you’re the only possibility for me. Besides, I want you to leave poverty behind. I want to share the profits with you.”

“And Alicia? How can you be sure she’s not going to report you? Don’t laugh, it’s not a laughing matter.”

OK, Juani, that could be the only weak point in our plan. But I don’t think we need to worry. Think a bit: she won’t know anything about our intentions, I told her I needed the semen to analyse it, that a dying patient, to satisfy her curiosity, wants to know if her son’s father is Roberto Burán or her late husband. She’ll think she’s not doing harm to anybody, she can’t refuse to take part.”

“I hope she believed you, we women aren’t as stupid as you think.”

“She’ll have to believe it, Juanita, she has no alternative. Even if she knew the truth, what could she do? Do you think she’d confess? Wouldn’t that be tantamount to declaring herself to be our accomplice? Who would believe she did it disinterestedly. As if that wasn’t enough, she’d also have to confess the abortion. That would involve her sister and embitter the old man who’s about to die. It’s too complicated for Alicia, I don’t think it could happen.”

“And after she fulfils her mission, what will she do?” said Juana Artigas.

“She has strict instructions from me to disappear immediately.”

“Aren’t you afraid she won’t take any notice of you?”

“I suppose she’ll obey me: I don’t think this girl’s a gold digger; she looks more like an innocent idealist, conveniently for our plans.”

“Look, Esteban, women behave unpredictably, I hope you’re not making a mistake...”

“Probably nothing will happen, Juanita, in the last instance if she decided to betray me, who would believe her? A woman who went to bed with the alleged victim, what could she be worth as a witness? None, I assure you. You can relax completely, don’t forget that I’ve got the letter as well. We’re in a perfect position, we can demonstrate the old friendship with Burán, that at the moment of conception you were seeing him and, what’s essential, that from the genetic point of view, the baby belongs to him. I repeat, don’t worry. But get ready to fight without making concessions; think that you’ll use all that money for your child’s benefit, and your dear lover’s benefit. Are you with me? Yes?”

Juana Artigas seemed to be in doubt, but then threw herself into his arms saying,

“Take me to your room please, darling...”

Translation: Peter Miller (© 2002)
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Copyright ©Ricardo Ludovico Gulminelli, 1990
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Date of publicationMay 2002
Collection RSSGlobal Fiction
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