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Fraudulent Fertilisation

Episode 10

Ricardo Ludovico Gulminelli
Smaller text sizeDefault text sizeBigger text size Add to my bookshelf epub mobi Permalink Ebook MapMar del Plata, Bosque Peralta Ramos
Friday 28 April 1989, 21:00

In the city, the opening of the Iquique Restaurant had been announced with great fanfare. It belonged to an old friend of Roberto Burán. Álvez had wangled two invitations. He had got them through a client who owed him ‘favours’, and whose husband was accountant to the owner of the business. The gynaecologist stipulated that Alicia should be accompanied: he preferred her to attend with someone she trusted, who was unaware of the conspiracy against Burán. He wanted to avoid the suspicions that would be raised by Alicia attending alone. It was fundamental that this person should not cause problems and, above all, should not obstruct the desired ‘contact’. For this reason, the girl attended with Guillermo Guiri, her thirty year-old second cousin, with whom she had spent practically her whole childhood. She had told Guillermo everything that was going on, paying no attention to Álvez’s mandate on this point. She needed to get it off her chest, to offload the enormous tension she was under; that’s why she decided to confide in her cousin, teeling him about the terrible situation she was living through. At first Guillermo had become furious, he wanted to give the gynaecologist the bloody good kicking he deserved, but later he understood that they were at his mercy. He loved Mabel very much, her future was at stake and the solution had to be found immediately. He didn’t have the resources to tackle the problem, it was impossible for him to get that much money. Nobody could lend it to him, all his friends were poor. He was so wound up that he drafted extreme solutions. He thought about robbery, he knew a beautiful house in a residential area, the owners had gone on holiday. When he mentioned it to Alicia, she reacted hysterically.

“What are you saying?” she said to him with tears in her eyes, “Shut up, will you! Damn and blast the moment I told you what was going on! Get lost! Now! Leave me alone!”

Faced with such a disproportionate answer, Guillermo was stunned.

“All right, Alicia, calm down... I’ll do whatever you want, don’t be like that, you’re nerves are all on edge, I’m sorry, I didn’t want to upset you.”

The change seemed to soothe her. Breathing deeply, with the freedom of speech that she only allowed herself with him, she continued.

“Right, listen to me carefully and don’t be an idiot! I don’t want to hear any more about you committing burglaries to get money. Is that clear? If anything like that happened, I wouldn’t accept a single peso. Understood? Yes or no?”

“Yes!” said Guillermo, lowering his head.

“Right, now listen to me: there’s no way I’m prepared to dirty myself any more than necessary in this grubby matter. I’m going to sleep with this man, Burán, conscious of the filthy thing I’m doing. I’m not going to play the martyr or the poor little tortured girl: I’m just a woman who’d do anything for her sister. If they classify me as a whore or degenerate in the future, tough luck, I’ll take the risk. A fuck’s not going to kill me, sooner or later I hope to be able to forget it; after all, there are people who put up with much more painful memories. Besides, let’s be honest, I don’t have any other way out, so why should I torment myself? I only ask of you one thing. Don’t make it any more difficult for me, I don’t want a saviour. What I need is a helping hand, not Robin Hood. If you don’t obey me, and I’m being serious now, clear off. Right now! Get it into your thick skull, the fundamental thing here is to solve Mabel’s drama as soon as possible! Is that understood?”

“Yes,” said Guillermo.

“In that case don’t cause any more bother,” she answered, “I’ve got to get the damn sperm from this guy, I wish I had it already, then I could make that filthy doctor fulfil his part of the bargain...”

Alicia was satisfied that she had been so energetic: she couldn’t allow Guillermo to steal to help Mabel. After this stern conversation, he insisted no more. He simply obeyed his cousin. He would act as accomplice, accompanying her in the meeting with the millionaire prey.

There were lots of people at the inauguration party, mainly professionals and business people. The place was comfortable, although not very big. Intelligent and delicate decoration created a placid, pleasant climate. The round tables (there were big ones and small ones) allowed the diners to be close to each other, making dialogue easy. The subdued, warm light came from candlesticks holding a single candle which gave the restaurant an intimate, romantic touch.

Alicia realised that she would have to sharpen up her wits to mix with Burán; he mustn’t suspect anything. From a photo that Álvez had given her, she recognised him almost immediately; he was in a corner having a conversation with two people. He was speaking animatedly. She noticed that he and his interlocutors were very close, because from time to time they exchanged embraces and slapped each other on the back. She liked the scene, which showed a tender facet of her future victim, although on the other hand it gave her an incentive to feel guilty. She still had her doubts, the version Álvez had supplied her with was a bit far-fetched. Was it true? She couldn’t allow herself the luxury of finding out...

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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