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Fraudulent Fertilisation

Episode 61

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

Roberto was paralysed, suddenly he had news about the beautiful girl.

“Why did she come and see you?”

“She wanted to tell me herself what had happened. She was waiting for you to get over the initial pain to give you all the explanations you wanted. She said she was at your disposition. I believe her story, I think she’s honest. I neither justify nor condemn what she did, perhaps she didn’t have any choice. She sold the apartment you gave her for thirty thousand dollars. She says the housing market is very bad, that bearing this circumstance in mind she got quite a high price. She’s very grateful to you for giving her a flat, but she can’t keep it. She thinks you’ll understand. She apologised for having made you suffer so much and swore that it was never her intention, that she didn’t tell you the truth because she was scared of losing you. She says she had no choice, that she was forced to lie... I’ve got the dollars she gave me at home, I’ll give you them tomorrow.”

“I would have preferred her to keep the apartment,” he said, “now she’s out in the open again, economically speaking. She’s a good girl, she deserves a bit of luck. What else did she say?”

“That her dad died,” said Julieta. “She’s no longer scared of him finding out the whole truth. She told Mabel everything about Álvez’s extortion. They’re both ready to declare in court, telling everything that happened. Their offer is unconditional, including the confession of the abortion...”

Roberto was pensive. He ordered two more coffees and then spoke.

“It’s praiseworthy that they offer to help, but it’s useless... In the first place, it makes no sense to talk about Mabel’s abortion, because nothing can be proved about that; it would be their word against Álvez’s. What’s more, we have to show that they took my semen, the other circumstances are unimportant. I talked about this with the lads when I came back from Aluminé. No judge would attach importance to the testimony of my ex-lover. Mabel only knows about her abortion, she never knew the rest. Neither would her statement be relevant, although it could serve as ancillary evidence, of collateral incidence in the trial, but it wouldn’t be decisive. In any case, I’m glad they’ve offered to help, I think they’re both good people. When did Alicia’s father die? I didn’t hear about it.”

“Because he didn’t die here, it was in Ayacucho, a month ago, at the house of some cousins. The wake was held there, so as not to transfer him to Mar del Plata. The whole family travelled to attend the wake; she didn’t tell you so that you wouldn’t feel under duress.”

“She did me a favour, I don’t know what I would have done,” he said. “Didn’t she tell you anything else?”

“No, not that I can remember.”

“Right, Julieta, I’ll have to start getting ready; now the kid’s been born we’ll soon hear from them. They’re bound to bring a lawsuit to get me to acknowledge filiation. According to what Allegri told me on the phone, they’ve got the document ready.”

“Did he phone you?”

“Yes, he wanted to speak to me to make me a concrete offer. It seems that Juana Artigas wanted to ‘give me the opportunity’ to reach an agreement. They lowered their demands to eight hundred thousand dollars; if I pay immediately, they’ll drop their charges and sign whatever I want... They led me to believe that they would return the leftover sperm. But it’s not that easy; the child’s rights cannot be waived. They could get the money and then make the same approach again. The subject is complicated, what’s more, I don’t want to give in to their sort, it would be degrading. I know it could cost me a lot of money, but I’m ready to run the risk.”

“What are you most worried about, Dad? The money?”

“Look, at first I thought it was fundamental. It was awful to think that I was being the victim of fraud, that I had lost Alicia, that my life could become enormously complicated. The economic damage also hurt me. What I wasn’t very worried about was the kid. To be honest, I hadn’t really realised that he would be mine. As time went by, I got used to the idea. Gradually I took on board that the kid needed my support, that I couldn’t ignore him. It was difficult for me, because accepting it straight out meant subjugating myself to the lowly designs of his mother and Álvez. In Buenos Aires, with Doctor Bareilles and his daughter, I found out that I wasn’t prepared to give the child up, let alone abandon him to his fate, to the manipulation of Juana Artigas. What do you think? Do you think I’m doing the right thing?”

“I didn’t expect anything else from you, dad, although I admit that on the one hand it bothers me, it’s as if there was an intruder in the house. Knowing that half of his blood is from that bitch disgusts me. But because of the fifty percent that comes form you, he deserves our affection. I don’t think we can close our eyes to this fact: it’s not the child’s fault. I agree totally with what you’re doing; as for the economic part, I can’t say I like them taking a swipe at what was supposed to be my inheritance. I’m not that altruistic, but I try to be less selfish. After all, it’s your money. If you acknowledge the baby, it’s logical that he should have the rights of a son. The only thing is, I hope they don’t go on getting other women pregnant. There’s a limit to everything. If ten more little brother come along, I don’t think I could be so reasonable. Do you think they’re capable of that?”

“I doubt it, Julieta; according to Bareilles, it’s very improbable, because that way their version would be less believable. I hope he’s right. Meanwhile, Álvez and Juanita want to get an astronomical sum out of me. I’d have to sell some land to pay it. There’s something I want to warn you about, dear: I’ve received telephone threats. A man spoke to me, I suppose it must have been Álvez, because he advised me to accept Allegri’s offer, the eight hundred thousand dollars. He told me that if I didn’t, I’d have to face the consequences. He said he was going to impregnate other women to make me suffer, so that there would be several children of mine in the world. He laughed, saying that he already had some candidates and that I should take care of my daughter’s health. Do you see, Julieta? We can’t be too trusting... I don’t want to rule out any possibility, including an attack on our lives. Don’t forget that that way they’d increase the child’s inheritance. So I’m asking you to take special precautions over the coming months. Don’t ever go out alone at night or go to dangerous places. Don’t be frightened, but it’s better to be prudent. Is that OK? Promise me you’ll look after yourself...”

“I promise,” said Julieta, “although it’s difficult not to be frightened. Those guys are capable of anything.”

“It’s better to think like that,” he said. “Well, dear, we’d better get back, it’s late.”

She stopped him, saying, “Wait, I’ve forgotten something: Alicia said two things to me before she went. One of them, that she was at your disposition, or that of the police, to give details of what happened. The other thing, that if you were thinking of checking things out about Álvez, Estela Cáceres could be the right person.”

“Who’s she?”

“Álvez’s secretary,” answered Julieta. “It would seem this woman doesn’t get on very well with her boss. She didn’t give me any details, but she gave me the impression that she is resentful and could be a good contact. This employee sympathised with Alicia and in the end was very nice to her. She told her that Álvez was a bad person, that he treated her very inconsiderately.”

“I’ll bear it in mind,” he said. “Shall we go?”

“Yes, let’s go,” agreed Julieta.

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