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Fraudulent Fertilisation

Episode 77

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

“Yes? What happened?” Adolfo asked hurriedly.

“Nothing,” answered the judge, “negative result. No evidence related to the reported events.”

Álvez had heard, his face let his recovered composure show. The untimely presence of those men had disturbed him, now everything was getting back to normal...

“Right,” concluded the judge, “it would seem there’s no evidence here. I apologise for the inconvenience we’ve caused you, Doctor Álvez, sign this document please.”

“I’ll sign,” said the gynaecologist with a shrug of displeasure, “but we’ll see what my lawyer advises, whether your apology is sufficient. Someone has to compensate me for the unpleasantness you’ve made me go through... All for an absurd , unbelievable accusation... Who’d believe it, in this country innocent people are treated as if they were thieves. Meanwhile, the real criminals walk free...”

Santini moved towards the door and before going out, said:

“Doctor Álvez, I forgot. I inform you that we’re going to search the flat at 3012 Belgrano Street, flat 7A. Of course, you can come with us...”

“What has that apartment got to do with me?” exclaimed the doctor, affected by a sudden pallor.

“I don’t know,” said the judge, “if there’s any relation, we’ll see. You’re under no obligation to come with us. If you say you’re not renting it, or you don’t occupy it, you can stay here. Why would you be interested in taking part in the procedure?”

“No, I’ll go with you,” said Álvez, trying to avoid a slight twitch on the left-hand side of his lips, “I’m the tenant of that apartment. I use it to isolate myself when I want to and for private activities. It’s an abuse that you want to go to that place, it’s a great bother for me...”

“Doctor Álvez,” stated the judge, “I’m doing my duty, don’t make my task more difficult. Keep your comments to yourself, later you’ll have at your disposal all the legal arms you think appropriate. Meanwhile, just ensure everything which appears in the documents we prepare is true... Is that OK?”

“It’s not my intention to fall out with you, Doctor Santini, I don’t want to be accused of obstructing justice, but you’re going too far...”

“In that case, what are you going to do?” asked the magistrate.

“All right, go on,” accepted Esteban Álvez, “I’ll go with you. Could you wait while I make a telephone call?”

Adolfo thought he was trying to phone someone trustworthy so that they could arrive first at the place of the search, so he said, “Doctor Álvez, there are two policemen at the door of your apartment; they won’t allow any strangers in. I beg you to hurry up, it’s not right for you make us wait, is it?”

“Damned worm!” thought Álvez, looking at him scornfully, “how I’d like to give him a thump! In these circumstances, I can’t! It’s best to keep quiet, but I’ll get that bastard...”

They arrived at the flat in Belgrano Street twenty minutes later. The policeman who was guarding the entrance and Doctor Carlos Guerrino were waiting for them. The secretary had come directly from Juana Artigas’s house; Álvez opened the door for them. His redoubt had three rooms, a combined lounge and dining room and two bedrooms; only one of them had carpet, the rest was parquet floors, except the kitchen and bathroom, which had tiles. They got to work, searching everything meticulously. First they searched the fridge, which was empty. Half an hour later, they had accepted defeat. They hadn’t found anything. Álvez again looked at them reproachfully; events seemed to prove him right. Adolfo and Federico felt depressed when they saw that all their efforts had been in vain.

“What could have happened?” Adolfo asked Federico, “Could Estela Cáceres have lied to us? That wretch...!”

“Don’t blame her,” answered Lizter, “the safe existed, she gave us a key, the apartment is real. What more did you want from her?”

“If you ask me, Álvez was forewarned,” said Adolfo Bernard, “there’s no other explanation. We didn’t even find one miserable bit of paper, he was expecting us... He’s hoodwinked us, we’ve got to admit it...”

Federico nodded and said, “Could be, it’s certainly looking grim...”

Santini moved towards the door and said to them, “Doctors, we’re leaving, there’s nothing for us to do here... We’ve exhausted the search.”

They heade out. The judge looked very serious. The search had been a complete failure for him, he didn’t look at all good ethically, he could be reproached for having made a mistake, because there hadn’t been enough circumstantial evidence to search the addresses. Everyone would think that Burán had lied; however, the judge’s intuition told him that Roberto’s story was true, that it was highly unlikely he’d dare to make it up. They closed the door of the flat, walked towards the lift and pressed the button. Before going in, Doctor Santini asked a question:

“Doctor Álvez, did you rent the flat fully furnished?”

“Yes, that’s right, why?”

“Nothing... When did you rent it? Have you got the contract and inventory handy?”

“I’ve had it for ten months, I didn’t sign a contract,” said Álvez, “the owner is a very good friend of mine.”

“What does your friend do?”

“He’s a trader,” answered Álvez, “he sells cleaning equipment wholesale.”

“Does he come here often, Doctor Álvez?” the magistrate went on asking.

“Not much, two or three times a week.”

“I see... And tell me, was the carpet here as well?”

“Yes,” answered Álvez, “why do you ask?”

“I’m surprised,” said Santini as if thinking aloud, “it looked new, recently laid... It didn’t have any marks, no dirt, there was no difference of colour, it’s a carpet that hasn’t been walked on... I don’t know, I’d like to go back to the apartment...”

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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