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Fraudulent Fertilisation

Episode 78

Ricardo Ludovico Gulminelli
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Álvez became rigid and tried complaining:

“But, Doctor Santini, don’t you think it’s too much?”

The magistrate didn’t answer, they all went in again and, going into the doctor’s bedroom, they started checking the carpet carefully, but they didn’t find anything. Adolfo and Federico were on the way out when the judge stopped them.

“Wait a moment, help me move the bed.”

When they did so, the judge saw that in the wall, just beneath the headboard of the bed, there was a small space without any skirting board. Although the floor was covered in carpet, it had not been stuck down at this point. He put his hand in that section, and noticed that the parquet and part of the false floor had been removed. He found a small cavity, a square of approximately sixteen inches across, and inside found a brown envelope. Santini took it, while Álvez blushed and sweated, showing the desperation that was invading him. He wanted to complain, he protested between stammers, but then chose to remain quiet. Santini opened the envelope. It was large. Inside were several papers. He said aloud:

“Gentleman, notice is hereby given of what we have found. Take note, please, Doctor Guerrino... Here we have a will signed by Ms Artigas... Doctor Álvez is the beneficiary in case of the death of the woman, it designates him as guardian of her son. Note everything down.”

Adolfo and Federico embraced, overcome by emotion, while Álvez visibly crumbled. The judge took out a second instrument and said:

“We also have a professional report from the Suárez-Medellin-Dickinson legal practice, which consists of twenty sheets... It is addressed to the engineer Eulogio Farías, about a specific consultation made by him. The matters covered are: filiation action, rights of the child, biological tests, particularities in the case of artificial insemination. Are you writing down al the details, Doctor Guerrino?”

“Yes,” answered the secretary.

“Good, write,” he ordered as he took out a third document, “it’s handwritten letter, a private one. It’s addressed to Esteban Álvez, Miss Alicia Sandrelli is the sender, she asks the doctor to perform an abortion on her sister, who is a minor.”

Then he took out a little notebook, in which there were notes made in Álvez’s handwriting. The magistrate said, “I hereby give notice that there was a personal notebook with handwritten notes. Apparently it is the monitoring of a pregnancy, starting with an artificial insemination. The patient is called Juana... I think that’s all. No! There’s something else, a little piece of paper... It’s an invoice from the González-Bouchez laboratory. It records the deposit of a sample described in quotation marks as ‘oncological’, of ‘confidential’ character, to be conserved in nitrogen...”

The magistrate looked at his watch and directed an order to his secretary:

“It’s seven o’clock, they should still be open. Here’s the address, go immediately, Doctor Guerrino, there’s not a moment to lose. If they don’t want to attend you, delay them a bit, I’ll finish the proceedings. Don’t let them close the establishment until I arrive. Any questions?”

“I’ll go immediately,” said Doctor Guerrino obediently.

Álvez reacted at that moment, saying, “I’m going, Doctor Santini: this is now offensive.”

“No!” answered the judge, “you’re staying here.”

“Officer! Arrest Doctor Álvez! Until we finish the investigation, he will remain under your control, is that clear?” In any case, come with us now, then take him to the police station.”

“Yes, your honour,” said the policeman respectfully, “leave it to me.”

Fifteen minutes later they had arrived at the laboratory; Doctor Santini asked to speak to the manager of the company. They were attended by an old man with a very respectable appearance who, despite showing his surprise, did not stop treating them courteously. The presence of a criminal judge imposed respect.

“Santiago Díez,” said the man, “how can I help you?”

Santini showed him the invoice for the deposit, asking him, “Do you recognise this?”

“Of course,” answered the old man who was attending them, “it’s from our company, it’s no secret.”

“In that case,” asked the judge, “could we have access to this material now?”

“No, that’s impossible, look careful, it says that it’s confidential... I can’t do it without a court order...”

“I’ll write it right here,” said the magistrate and, taking a blank piece of paper, rapidly prepared the search warrant.

A few minutes later, Santini handed the order to Santiago Díez and said, “As you see, I stipulate that this business be searched; I place it on record that it is carried out outside the permitted timetable because a delay could be dangerous. You cannot refuse to comply with this order.”

“What do I have to do?” asked Díez.

“We wish to see the sample that Doctor Álvez left you,” explained Santini, “we’ll leave it here duly sealed. It’s fundamental that it be conserved in good condition, no one should touch it, I will hold you personally responsible for any deterioration or change that the material suffers. I imagine that you realise what responsibility this implies, don’t you?”

“But it’s not fair to put me in such a position,” said Díez, showing his opposition, “it’s got nothing to do with me...”

“If you like,” offered Santini, “ I can have an officer placed here, order him to stay all night to make sure no one touches the sample. It’s a greater guarantee for you, how does that sound?”

“I’ve got nothing against it,” answered the old man, “that way I’ll be more relaxed.”

“Me too,” said the judge.

Everything pointed to the material deposited by the gynaecologist being Roberto Burán’s sperm. Things had come full circle. Adolfo and Federico left there bursting with enthusiasm, they felt like shouting out with joy. Meanwhile, Álvez was gripped by anxiety. Suddenly, his sinister plan had collapsed. He was not a man of law, but he didn’t need to be in order to understand that the evidence against him was overwhelming. With his head bowed, he hid his failure and shame.

Santini said to Esteban Álvez, “Doctor, you’re under arrest; you must make a statement in the case against you for fraud and you will be incommunicado. Officer, accompany the doctor to the police station, tell the superintendent that he should be absolutely incommunicado, that I personally will verify that this order is obeyed. I’ll phone him later, and go to the police station personally to take his statement. Doctor Guerrino, please ensure that police officers are sent quickly to the laboratory. I also request that you order the arrest of Juana Artigas; this must be done immediately. Inform me of the results, please.”

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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