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Fraudulent Fertilisation

Episode 37

Ricardo Ludovico Gulminelli
Smaller text sizeDefault text sizeBigger text size Add to my bookshelf epub mobi Permalink Ebook MapMar del Plata, Bosque Peralta Ramos

Alicia took her clothes off, down to a two-piece swimsuit, a lovely sky-blue and pink garment. Roberto gazed at her proudly; that girl, with limitations, belonged to him in a way. In that flash of happiness that he was experiencing, he could caress her, possess her, feel himself her owner. He tried to catch every instant, to savour every negligible snippet of that reality. He took his clothes off as well, down to his shorts.

“Do you feel better, dear? The mountain climate is incredible. Just as we’re dying of heat here, in the shade we’d start to feel cold. When the easterly wind starts to blow through the valley of Lake Moquegúe, I can assure you everything will change. In the evening, when we go back, we’ll have to wrap up with woollen socks, a vest, three sweaters and jacket. Here you always have to go out prepared; otherwise you could die of cold. I remember once we went out to fish at two o’clock in the morning, I had to ask the guide who was taking us to stay on land to light a bonfire. I was already having difficulty breathing, paralysed by the cold that reached my very bones. From that day, I’ve always taken precautions. You can’t imagine how much I suffered...”

He was unable to finish the sentence, his rod had suddenly tensed.

“Stop! Stop the motor! I’ve got a bite! It’s beautiful to feel it again.”

Alicia stopped the motor and everything grew silent, nothing else existed in the world apart from that instant, made up of substantial ingredients. The water, with its dreamlike docility, the woods and mountains, doubly visible through reality and its reflection, that ferocious heat that came from the sun, that life that flooded every pore, the affection shared between Roberto and Alicia. Everything was fantastically harmonious, only the sound of the reel turning shook them out of that enchantment; he obviously had something, because the end of the line that was lost in the water fell almost vertically and was noticeably changing position. They were both tense, expectant, wanting to know what it was, to gaze upon the animal fighting for its life. Suddenly, far away, about two hundred feet from the launch, a flash of silver sparkled briefly, disappeared in the water, exploded again several times...

“Look! There it is! It must be a rainbow trout, see how it jumps! At last! It’s good to see it again... Look, dear, can you see it? Here it comes!”

For a few minutes, the fisherman played with his prey, he led it carefully where he wanted and tired it out, letting it move away and then bringing it back.

“It’s getting closer to the boat,” murmured Burán, “when it realizes, it’ll be off again quick as a flash, it’ll flee to the depths.”

Indeed, all of a sudden, the rod curved. Taking several yards of nylon with it, the fish escaped towards the depths.

“There! There it is!” said Roberto, getting to his feet.

They could both see the beautiful animal that was resisting death. From the surface it offered a tragic and magnificent spectacle; finally, exhausted, it surrendered to its captor, who lifted it out of the water with the help of a net. It was a good example, weighing almost nine punds. Burán had been lucky.

Alicia was full of happiness, so many new adventures had excited her. She embraced Roberto, congratulating him.

“Look, sweetheart, this is a rainbow trout, identified by the silvery back and these pink lines. They’re very delicious, they’ve got flexible cartilage-like bones that are easy to remove. Its flesh is not white, but a reddish tone which turns to soft pink when it’s cooked. But the most spectacular species is the Fontinalis. Believe it or not, it hasn’t got scales, but a brownish-grey skin with multi-coloured spots. I tell you it’s a beauty, its flesh is very red, like a beef steak. You’ll have the chance to see one someday.”

They were on the lake until night began to fall. The temperature had descended considerably and they both wanted to be in the most comfortable place; the busy day had tired them both out. They had caught a total of four rainbow trout, a perch and a prized Fontinalis which, although small, had especially pleased Alicia. The return also contained a good dose of magic, because the nuances of the landscape had altered with the onset of evening; the waters reflected the dying rays of the sun, acquiring an indescribable golden tone. It didn’t seem like the same place, the islands that were welcoming earlier on, now stood in the way like enemy obstacles. Nothing was the same any longer, shadows were invading everything, the mountains were slowly disappearing in the growing darkness; the only light that could be seen on the shore was that of the Don Cirilo store, which was like a friendly call in the distance. When they rounded the last island and saw the hotel, they both felt relieved. It was good to return to the comfortable hostel. They rejoiced imagining the hot shower they were going to have and the delicious dinner they would share. They left the boat moored on the precarious dock of the hotel and, carrying two bags they had used to take warm clothes and some food, went inside. Before going in, they stopped to admire the spectacle of the bay as night fell, the mirror was almost muted, but there were still weak reflections resting on the waters, which gave the landscape a gloomy touch. It was enchanting, mysterious and even horrifying. Nature was really formidable; the last secret was there. The great truth, without superfluous complications, lay palpitating in Mother Nature, in her multiform purity. After dinner they once again enjoyed a pleasant chat in the light of the burning firewood,, knowing that behind the misted up glass a shadowy world, the cruel inhospitality of the night, was lying in wait for them. All this made intimacy more attractive. Both Alicia and Roberto wanted to go to bed again, to kiss each other , to travel each other mutually. There was a clear compatibility of skin which increased as they got to know each other.

At midnight, Roberto received a telephone call. It was from his daughter. With a distant voice, in a tone that revealed worry, she said to him, “Hello! Dad? Can you hear me? Hello!”

“Yes! I can hear you! What’s wrong? Has something bad happened? Is there a problem?”

The answer was almost inaudible.

“Dad, something strange has happened, I don’t know... I suppose you’ll know what it’s about. I didn’t want to delay telling you. Don’t worry, we’re all in good health. What happened is that today I received a letter at home. I don’t really understand what’s happening. It’s from a lawyer... He represents a woman who says you got her pregnant. It’s a certain Juana Artigas, do you know her?”

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