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Fraudulent Fertilisation

Episode 73

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

“I think I know where Esteban keeps the sample of Burán’s sperm.”

This had an impact on both Alicia and Fernando; the situation could change radically with this proof.

“Where is it?” he asked anxiously.

“I’m not completely sure, but I think he keeps it in a rented apartment. I found out by coincidence. He was talking to Juana Artigas on the phone, he told her not to worry, that nobody knew about that apartment. He added something that I didn’t understand at that time, he said it was ‘nice and cold and safe’. Now I suppose he was talking about the sperm.”

“Do you know where the apartment is?” asked Alicia.

“Yes, thanks to a community expenses invoice, I saw one in the practice. Could it be useful to you?”

“Wonderfully useful,” he said. “Look, Estela, if we get the sperm, I’ll give you three thousand dollars more, regardless of the result. But there’s something missing, the most important thing. You’re prepared to make a statement about everything, aren’t you? Your testimony is vital for us.”

“Isn’t the information I provide enough? I’m terrified of Esteban...”

Alicia intervened:

“Think, Estela, he might find out anyway and suspect you, the penny would drop in the end. I think it’s in your interest to face him head on.”

Fernando added, “We’re not asking you to tell lies; on the contrary, we beg you to tell nothing but the truth. Obviously you won’t be able to say we’re paying you, that would be absurd. Not only would it damage your patrimony, but your testimony would be disqualified as well. I’m all ears, are you in?”

“I’m very frightened, I don’t know what to do...”

“Listen to me, Estela, with ten thousand dollars you’ll start a new life. Remember, it’ll be thirteen thousand if we get the semen. Regardless of the trial outcome, think about that child, giving him the possibility of an honest life. Don’t let Juana and Esteban make a mockery of Roberto Burán, and you.”

“Well, it’s in God’s hands, I’ll run the risk. What do I have to do?”

“Listen, on Monday morning,” Fernando explained, “I’ll expect you at Doctor Adolfo Bernard’s practice. He’s an intimate friend, here’s his card with the address on it. There we’ll draw up the penal accusation, requesting a search of Álvez’s practice and his apartment, you must sign it. At he same time, we’ll hand over ten thousand dollars, which you’ll sign for. Is that OK?”

“Yes,” she answered.

“Perfect,” went on Fernando, “take these hundred dollars for a special lunch for your mother tomorrow. And one last piece of advice: don’t mention this to anybody, without exception, understood? Any leak could ruin the plan; think that your future is also at stake. It has been a real pleasure meeting you, I assure you that you’re never going to regret having helped us. We know how to show our gratitude, don’t ever doubt it...”

Estela Cáceres withdrew quickly, looking around; she relaxed when she saw that, out of the few people that were in the patisserie, she didn’t know anyone.

Fernando took Alicia home. Both were upbeat, full of enthusiasm, they could see a hopeful light at the end of the road. Before saying goodbye, Fernando said, “Alicia, thanks for everything, Roberto will be very pleased when he hears what you’re doing.”

“He deserves this and much more besides, until now I’ve only brought him trouble. The least I can try to do is put things right. Don’t you think it’s my obligation?”

“Are you prepared to confess the whole truth before the judge? Aren’t you worried about damaging your reputation?”

“Honestly, not at all. I don’t give two hoots what others might think, I care about what I think. I can no longer bear the feeling of guilt, I have to do something fast, otherwise I’ll make myself ill. Mabel shares my decision, she’ll declare everything without worrying about the consequences, nothing serious can happen to us... Mum will have to understand and, if she doesn’t understand, I’m not bothered. To change the subject, tell me, how is Roberto? Is he going out with anyone?”

Fernando knew that something was afoot with Rocío, but he didn’t know that she and Roberto had become intimate. He thought it was prudent to say nothing, there was no point hurting Alicia. Besides, he knew feminine psychology and didn’t want to run the risk of her changing her mind. It was best for her feelings towards Roberto to remain stable.

“No,” he said, “he’s not going out with anyone, he’s very lonely, you’ll have the chance to meet again. You must wait awhile, until the circumstances are more appropriate, I know that he loves you...”

Alicia opened the door of Fernando’s car and said from outside, “Even if he doesn’t love me, I want the best for him, don’t sugar the pill...

She leaned over and kissed Fernando on the cheek.

“Ciao,” she said waving with her right hand.

“Ciao,” he answered.

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