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Fraudulent Fertilisation

Episode 79

Ricardo Ludovico Gulminelli
Smaller text sizeDefault text sizeBigger text size Add to my bookshelf epub mobi Permalink Ebook MapMar del Plata, Bosque Peralta Ramos
Monday 19 February 1990, 23:30

“Friends... Thank you very much, that’s all I can say to you, I can’t think of anything else... Having your friendship has been, and is now, invaluable... I suggest a toast for my supposed son... That boy will have a lot to thank you for...”

Accepting Roberto’s offer, they all raised their glasses and gave a happy, “Cheers!” to celebrate the success of the search. Roberto had convened those responsible for the triumph at his house; there were his three unconditional friends, Fernando Ridenti, Adolfo Bernard and Federico Lizter and also his dear and efficient lawyer, Rocío Bareilles.

Adolfo commented, “I can’t forget Álvez, you should have seen him, he looked like a traffic light! He changed colour every so often, although red was the predominant colour... He didn’t know what to do, his world came tumbling down.”

“He deserves that and a lot more besides,” said Roberto. “What he did is unforgivable. We mustn’t think it’s all over. I’d like someone to tell me what we’re going to do now?”

“Wait a bit,” said Federico, “that is, for the criminal proceedings. We have to check that the sample deposited in the laboratory is your semen; if it is, I think the circle will close once and for all. Álvez won’t be able to justify custody of your sperm. I would recommend taking maximum precautions, make sure the material does not deteriorate or get lost. If you don’t object, tomorrow morning I’ll go to the court with a specialist in genetics and artificial insemination. He knows how to conserve the sperm properly; he could even advise the judge. Of course, afterwards an official test will be done, but in the meantime we can move on. Is that OK?”

“It can’t do us any harm,” said Adolfo, “there’s no harm in repeating it. There’s no doubt that the deposit is the dose of sperm obtained by Alicia...”

After mentioning the girl’s name, Adolfo regretted it, it wasn’t the right moment, with Rocío there, but it was too late...

Rocío Bareilles was too clear-sighted not to notice, and she felt obliged to speak:

“Well, you can’t deny the girl made up for her mistake, let’s face it.”

She smiled at Roberto and he responded with an affectionate gaze.

“She deserves our respect,” she went on saying, “meanwhile, let me make it clear: I haven’t got anything against her... To be honest, we might have something in common,” she added, caressing Roberto’s right hand.

She smiled again, surprised at her own frankness. She felt like a new woman, more understanding, more human. Inadvertently, she had grown affectionate towards Roberto’s friends; it was gratifying to be honest before them.

Fernando Ridenti said, “The first thing we have to do is to hurry up the carrying out of the biological test, the one Doctor Zimbrein is doing. Tomorrow we’ll have to phone him; he said he’d have the result on that date; it’s fundamental, the boy might not be Roberto’s...”

“That would be a laugh,” said Burán, “it’s unbelievable, but at this point I wouldn’t like it if they said he wasn’t my child. In a way, I’ve grown affectionate towards Agustín, he hasn’t got a middle name, has he? Even if the father was someone else, in a way he already belongs to me. Do you understand?”

“Of course, Roberto,” said Rocío, “you’re an exemplary dad. The important thing now is that Zimbrein passes judgement before the deadline to tender a plea. I’d like to present Doctor Bisson with a complete overview of the current situation.”

“What’s your idea, Rocío?” asked Federico.

“To tell the truth. That’s always the best policy, without exaggerating of course. We won’t say we gave Estela Cáceres incentives, that would be childish. We’re aware that we acted in good faith; the judge is not stupid, she’ll know which party is lying... I think we should stick to our plans. We don’t have to contradict ourselves at all, fortunately... Supposing that Zimbrein’s test is positive, we’ll acknowledge paternity and the rights it implies.”

“Will you try to take the child away from Juana Artigas?” Fernando asked her.

“Of course, that has been our steady obsession ever since Roberto decided he wanted to assume the responsibilities of fatherhood... I think it’s possible; after our plea, we’re going to take action against Artigas. I hope to deprive her of custody of the baby once and for all... This is not going to be decided now, of course, it will have to go through a lengthy process. But meanwhile, I’ll request the suspension of the exercising of custody of the mother; we’ve got solid elements that will weigh heavily in the request.”

Adolfo said, “That means Roberto...”

“Exactly,” said Rocío, guessing his question, “Roberto will have custody of the little one. If necessary, we’ll offer to take him several times a day so he can be breast fed.”

“It would be an emphatic victory,” commented Fernando.

“It would,” said Roberto, visibly emotional.

“But there’s something we mustn’t forget,” added Federico, “the problem doesn’t end with the gaining of custody... We must demonstrate the guilt of Juana and Álvez. We must follow the lawsuit through to its final consequences.”

“Do you think they could save themselves?” asked Fernando.

“I hope not,” answered Federico, “there’s lots of evidence, everything coincides with our accusation, even Alicia’s letter... Álvez won’t be able to provide a coherent explanation for it. If it wasn’t connected to the insemination, why did he keep it there? The designation of him as guardian by Juana is also significant, although its legal efficiency could be disputed.”

“Why?” exclaimed Roberto in surprise.

Federico explained:

“Because if she dies, you’ll be left; in that case you’d have the right to your son. That Juana has designated Álvez as guardian wouldn’t have been much use to him. But it’s great for us: it demonstrates that the relationship between the doctor and his patient is very suggestive. There’s no need to say that her will would no longer be relevant. A magistrate who didn’t notice the fraud would mentally myopic. Fortunately, Doctor Santini isn’t like that, and neither is Doctor Bisson.”

“Let’s not forget there is more evidence,” said Adolfo, “the desk diary is substantially important. It gives details of the monitoring of Juanita’s pregnancy from an insemination. A calligraphy test would easily identify Álvez’s handwriting, there’s no way out for him... He won’t be able to deny his authorship, it’s impossible to explain, it’s too obvious. Meanwhile, there isn’t a single contradiction between our statements and the elements found, everything demonstrates that our version is true.”

“Now then,” said Fernando, “there’s still the fundamental piece of evidence, the material deposited in the laboratory. If we demonstrate that it’s Roberto’s semen, Álvez is done for.”

“To think that we were already on our way out,” recalled Adolfo, “Santini did well, he was great! I don’t know how the penny dropped; evidently experience helps. All because the carpet was brand new... What’s more, finding the apartment was a defining moment, Estela Cáceres saved our skin.”

“Definitely,” said Roberto, “Álvez never imagined that we could find out he rented a flat there. Estela saw the expenses invoice by pure chance. Remarkable, isn’t it? An apparently irrelevant slip-up by Álvez was his undoing.”

“And he was well prepared!” said Fernando. “He’d emptied his safe. No doubt he was suspicious; if he’d been a bit smarter he would have destroyed everything that referred to the fraud.”

“Or he would have kept it in a safer place,” said Adolfo. “A safe in a bank, a friend’s house, I don’t know, somewhere untouchable.”

“There’s no such place,” stated Federico. “Lads, let’s be honest, we were incredibly lucky... What happened was almost miraculous.”

“You’re forgetting something,” added Rocío.

“What?” asked Fernando.

“The professional ruling,” she answered, “I’ve got some news for you, I’ve known Doctor Dickinson since I was a little girl, he’s a great friend of dad’s. His signature is on the report that Álvez was hiding, do you remember? Well, I went to the trouble of phoning him at home. He remembered the case perfectly, because it struck him as strange... Approximately a year and a half ago, an individual presented himself and identified himself as Eulogio Farías, an engineer. He requested a very thorough analysis of his situation, identical to that which Roberto went through, even in the tiniest details. He wanted to exhaust the matter, regardless of the price. It’s clear that Álvez knew what he was doing; the legal part held no secrets for him, that’s why he was so confident. But that’s not the end of it, I asked him what Farías was like and he gave me a faithful description of Álvez: there’s no doubt, they are one and the same person. Dickinson assured me that he would recognise him in any circumstance... Another of the partners and an employee can also attest to the same thing. Álvez adopted the name of Eulogio Farías in order to leave no trace. I suppose he will have saved Dickinson’s work to remind himself of the legal aspects of the matter. As you can see, our friend is in the pillory, what do you think of that?”

Roberto stood up and gave her a noisy kiss on the cheek, which made her blush in spite of the intimacy she felt.

“That deserves another toast,” proposed Adolfo, “to Rocío!”

In unison, they all repeated:

“To Rocío!”

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