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Fraudulent Fertilisation

Episode 46

Ricardo Ludovico Gulminelli
Smaller text sizeDefault text sizeBigger text size Add to my bookshelf epub mobi Permalink Ebook MapMar del Plata, Bosque Peralta Ramos
Thursday 28th December 1989, 9:00

“A pleasure to meet you, Doctor Burán. My friend Lizter phoned me and sent me your letter. He speaks very highly of you. I haven’t seen him since the Rosario Congress in 1987, but I always remember him. He’s a good man...”

Juan Carlos Bareilles, prestigious jurist specialising in family law, gave Roberto a friendly reception. He had been specially recommended by Federico. In his neat office on Tucumán Street, there was a delicate balance between opulence and functionality; the furniture was not sumptuous, but it was comfortable and pleasant to look at. The practice was flooded with light, which came in through big windows.

He is a peaceable, reflective and affectionate man who has been in the profession for fifty of his seventy-five years. His hair, straight and white, falls on his large forehead in thinning locks, like a snow-white rain of hair that brings out the brilliance of his luminous black eyes. He is five feet nine tall, but he looks shorter because he is a little stooped; in spite of everything, he looks pleasant and jovial. He is openly affectionate, ingenious in court and firm in his decisions. He maintains a remarkable lucidity and iron-clad health. He behaves spontaneously, resolving everything with absolute freedom of spirit, as only old people and children are able. The stark fight to succeed and tough professional competition are things of the past. As the owner of one of the most important practices in the country, author of numerous books and law publications, he has undoubtedly been successful. In the last stage of his life he has slowed down in his ambitions, emphasising the important things, especially affection. Now he exercises the profession sporadically, selecting cases with great care, attending to only those that manage to motivate him and awaken his interest. He adores spending time with his grandchildren and playing golf with his sons. Work is a diversion for him, another pleasant distraction which gives meaning to his existence. He received Roberto, prepared to ‘play chess’ with his circumstances, with the enthusiastic predisposition which he devotes to tackling a puzzle. They sat down by a window in two comfortable armchairs which, facing each other, invited dialogue.

“Well, Doctor Burán, let’s not beat about the bush. I’ve been reading your letter carefully. It’s very detailed, I think it touches on all the thorny problems of the matter. It’s clear you won’t have communication problems, I can tell that you’re investigating the questions that concern you; before long you’ll be an expert in them.”

“I know that won’t be so, doctor,” said Roberto, “I lack objectivity, there’s nothing worse than being in litigation in your own case. Anyway, my mentality is structured for contract law, made up entirely of economic content. Family law has a less mercantile spirit, impregnated with substantial, intangible ingredients. It emphasises the affectionate, the human, all the elements which serve as the cohesion of the family nucleus, especially the health and well-being of kids.”

“There’s undoubtedly something of that in theory, but not that much. Unfortunately the profit motive also lies behind family conflicts. For example, in your case; do you think they would be demanding that you acknowledge paternity if your patrimony were negligible? Have no doubt, poverty would be your best reassurance. The same thing happens in divorce trials, they usually turn out much more complicated if there are many assets. Husband and wife very often turn into sworn enemies. They destroy everything in a mad desire to defeat each other, which usually conceals the profit motive. I don’t deny that there are emotional factors that have a radical influence, but material factors are preponderant, although they are sometimes disguised or unacknowledged. Even more lamentable are the trials in which the custody of minors is up for discussion. It usually occurs that the father’s interest in having the children increases in proportion to the amount of child maintenance he has to pay. There are also cases of mothers who profit from the monthly payment they receive for their children, handling their funds very badly. The minors are usually victims or instruments of the parents. Let us say that filthy lucre is always present; the family, human sphere par excellence, is no exception. Clashes between heirs, their stark disputes for inheritances, as well as having inspired immortal works, are a day-to-day fact of life. This doesn’t mean I’m an unbeliever, a sceptic with regard to human nature. On the contrary, I believe the universe grows as man develops, I have faith in humanity. Often, life surprises us with heroic attitudes and altruism. That slight drizzle of humanity produces beneficial effects on the soul. It makes us forget the lowliness of some feelings, selfish conduct, the neglect of innocent creatures. In the final analysis, we claim responsibility for our good acts. But we are very covetous little animals...”

“Precisely because of that, Doctor Bareilles... I was thinking that perhaps it would be a good idea for me to sell everything I’ve got. If I disposed of my assets, I would invest the money obtained in bank accounts with secret codes. It wouldn’t be difficult to transfer it abroad, I’ve got contacts. In that way I’d discourage these criminals. I’d like your opinion, doctor...”

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