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Fraudulent Fertilisation

Episode 38

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

Silence down the line...

“Dad, are you there?”

Roberto was astonished, dumbstruck.

“I can’t believe it,” he thought, “That damn woman again...” He tried to give an appearance of tranquillity in his reaction, “Love, let’s see, read me the letter please. Wait while I get a pen...”

His daughter read to him.

“It was posted in Mar del Plata two days ago. The text is as follows:

I am writing to you in representation of Ms Juana Artigas, fulfilling her express instructions, to inform you:

a) That you have had a relationship with my client, which began several years ago and was taken up again recently.

b) That as a consequence of the aforementioned relationship, my client finds herself pregnant by approximately seven months.

c) My mandator assures me that you refuse to acknowledge paternity.

d) Based on the above, I inform you as follows:

1) I notify you that within five days of receiving this letter you should make a declaration about the situation, conclusively clarifying your planned conduct. Specifically, you should clarify whether or not you accept your paternity.

2) I also notify you in name of my client that you should contribute to the provision of financial assistance which is necessary to attend the pregnancy, as well as to adequately cover the costs of the birth, given that my mandator has no health insurance to cover these items.

3) Finally, and in advance, I also urge you to acknowledge your paternity, inscribing it in the Provincial Register of Persons and therefore fulfil all the duties of family assistance derived from your position as father.

e) Should your answer be negative, or in the case of failure to respond, I shall be obliged to proceed by legal means, demanding acknowledgment of filiation and requesting the realisation of biological tests to prove it. This is the final warning.

Yours faithfully,

Doctor Sebastián Allegri.

Roberto finished copying, unable to avoid a slight tremble in his hands; this meant his writing was scarcely legible. He mumbled a goodbye to his daughter that reflected his troubled state.

“Julieta, don’t worry, this is a fabrication, a tall story. It’s OK, I’ll be back soon, I’ll tell you when. I’ve got time to answer, don’t think about it any more. It can’t harm me, bye... Look after yourself, please.”

Worried, she only managed to say, “Bye, dad, please tell me if anything happens, don’t forget... I love you very much and I’m waiting for you.”

And the line went dead. Everything was surprising, Roberto didn’t understand anything, he couldn’t find an explanation. He started to study every possibility.

“It seems ludicrous,” he thought, “although my instinct tells me there must be some truth in it, Juanita wouldn’t take stupid risks. She visited me, she tried to seem on intimate terms, several people made jokes about it, I remember it well. Once she ruffled up her clothes, as if she’d been embracing me. What’s that bitch up to? Good job I didn’t go to bed with her! If I had done, I’d be up the creek now. Has she gone mad? That must be it; otherwise there’s no explanation for her attitude. I must keep calm; at worst, it’ll just be another scandal. At my time of life, that doesn’t worry me, I don’t care what people say.”

Calmer now, he went back to the table where Alicia was waiting for him, worried. She had seen him become nervous, his hand trembling as he noted down what his daughter was dictating to him. Something strange was happening and she sensed it was something bad.

Roberto sat down with a stern and pensive expression, gave a long sigh and said to Alicia, “Unfortunately a problem has come up, it’s surprising, I would never have imagined it! You won’t believe it...”

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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