Status: Finished

Genre: Literary Fiction



Status: Finished

Genre: Literary Fiction



Shortly after Doctor Michael Barnes agrees to become the interim Director of the Harry Hope Fertility Clinic, odd people along with bizarre circumstances land him in the sights of a worldwide billion-dollar black market organization peddling superior sperm---from, Michael discovers, his Clinic.
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Shortly after Doctor Michael Barnes agrees to become the interim Director of the Harry Hope Fertility Clinic, odd people along with bizarre circumstances land him in the sights of a worldwide billion-dollar black market organization peddling superior sperm---from, Michael discovers, his Clinic.

Chapter41 (v.1) - CRUNCH TIME

Author Chapter Note

Now comes crunch time. Christian and Melinda are confronted and advised by Michael and Fiona.
Meanwhile, Tom Bubb is sailing very close to the wind in his relationship with Electra as he tries---very delicately---to tell her that her family---as well as Christian's family---are peddling superior sperm and killing any interlopers. Sweet.

Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: February 02, 2017

Reads: 68

A A A | A A A

Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: February 02, 2017




A Serial

Nicholas Cochran

Chapter Forty-One


I think it was the ‘accessory to murder’ charge that finally shook the truth out of Uncle Christian and Aunt Melinda.

Up to that point, Fiona’s recitation of the possible as well as the probable charges that the two could face elicited nothing but smiles of comprehension or some other emotion which I could not divine.

“And the charges against Tony—maybe even against Samantha—would contribute to the fall of the house of Wales,” Fiona pressed on, “with your standing in the community you would all be a Judge’s or a jury’s delight . Make an example of you. Despite your vast wealth, we are still a nation of laws, not of men—or women,” she added with a minor nod to Melinda.

Christian heaved a mighty sigh as he lolled back in the largest armchair in front of the open fire. “I supposed it wouldn’t last—at least, not the secrecy of it all.

"May I call and invite Tony and Samantha to join us?”

“Of course, Uncle. Better that way. Samantha can act as your informal attorney if you like.”

“Absolutely,” added Fiona, “I think they would be a good addition to this discussion.”

Melinda rose with a faint whimper to find a phone and call her children.

“Well, there’s no need to wait on some of what you’ve told us,” said Christianwith a weak smile,

“Melinda and I have been favored at every stage of our lives—and don’t suppose that we have not realized this. We never forget it, either.

"Despite our wealth and position, ‘what have you done lately’ put a lot of pressure on us to give back. And we have. As you noted in your beginning, Michael, we have donated untold millions to everything from the Street Sheet to entire hospitals. No; we have never forgotten our good fortune in the community. We fully understand that being ‘favored’ is definitely a day-to-day thing."

He stopped as he stared into the flames. “However, none of us thought it would come to this. Murder, attempted murder, assault with intent to harm—or kill . . .” He shook his head.

“I could quote some lines from “Judgment at Nuremberg,” Uncle Christian but I’m sure you know them; the ones about ‘not knowing it would come to this’, but you are correct—at least as far as Fiona and I have been able to discover.

"All sins—if there were any—before the murders, were questions of morality; perhaps even questions about civilized living.

"Put bluntly: Is it immoral or otherwise uncivilized to allow a particular donor to father thousands of children worldwide? I personally think it’s very risky from a genetic point of view but when I consider the staggering heartbreak suffered by thousands of couples who are unable to have children, I quickly come back to the purpose of fertility clinics and in that light, I see neither sin nor criminality. On the contrary. I’m very proud of the fact that not only can we provide childless couples with children but also with respect to the Harry Hope Clinic, children with extraordinary genes that are tweaked by an astonishing invention of our employees.”

I knew that I was about to go on and on but Fiona jumped into my pause and took up a different thread.

“I agree with all of you from a legal point of view. I’ve also read all the law as well as the Clinic’s bylaws, and so far I’ve found nothing to place either Michael or his Clinic in any legal danger. But in your cases—and particularly in Tony’s case—there are definitely ties to the organization, and their problems could very well spill over onto the both of you.”

Melinda returned. “They re both coming over. Shouldn’t be more than a few minutes.”
She sat with a smile of resignation playing about her cheeks. “Have I missed anything?”

Uncle Christian told her what we discussed in her brief absence. It appeared to me to be a sigh of relief that she gave as she moved back into the most comfortable area of her chair.

Fiona and I had agreed to keep the fates of both Bill and Brett from my Aunt and Uncle at this point; until the parameters of this billowing nightmare were finally determined and we could all decide what was best for ourselves as well as children and careers.

“What do you know about the organization, Uncle?”

Christian pursed his lips as he inhaled through his nose. “I knew something was going on even before I met your Aunt. College days. I think it was after a few beers when undergrads begin to voice their hopes and their fears but most of all, their curiosity.

"I remember Dave Reardon brought up the subject of making some extra money at a fertility clinic. Of course we all laughed when he told his job, and kidded the hell out of him until he told us how much money he was making. That got all of our attentions.”

Christian Wales narrowed his lips for a moment before resuming. “My brother and I were in the same classes of course as well as the same Fraternity and pretty much the same everything else, including beer busts where this idea of Reardon’s took hold of a number of us.”

Without my Uncle being able to see me, I raised my eyebrows at the use of the word “us” in that context.

I thought I’d wait to see if Uncle was nearing a confession or if his use of “us” was merely a broad term for the entire group of drinkers.

*  *  *

“Ellie I can only be absolutely honest with you about this. I have newer lied to you but I have not been forthright with you,” grimacing, “that sounds chickenshit,” pausing, “I have been using you to find out about who tried to kill Bill Richardson.”

Ellie raised her head while her eyes narrowed slightly. Tom rushed on. “But I never did anything that would harm you; I never told you a lie and I never asked you to do anything at all to help find out who tried to kill Bill.”

He stopped to look into her eyes where he hoped he would discover some gauge of how she was receiving his revelations. So far, he reckoned that she was still on his side—but barely.

“It all revolves around the Harry Hope Fertility Clinic run by Doctor Barnes—Michael Barnes. Somehow—and I have no idea how—the sperm donations of a few individuals are apparently off the charts by way of genetic results for the donees.

“The kids from these donations have turned out to be far superior to the rest of the others. A pattern was detected and followed that clearly shows that the sperm from these few guys  are through the roof. Then there is a Doctor  . . . Brand, I think his name is. Well, he and his assistant have developed a method to not only keep sperm for years in good condition but also to tweak certain aspects of the sperm to create a . . . well, I guess you’d call it a super-sperm, but you know what I mean,” looking down, “sounds like some damn Nazi experiment in a way.”

Ellie took Tom’s hands and smiled a beatific smile at her lover-to-be. “So far, darling . . . my darling Tom, I understand everything and I’m not in the least offended—or even surprised. Doctor Barnes‘s Clinic is apparently known all over the world as the leader in fertility products. 

"But, I don’t see why you’re afraid that I might be offended by this.” She stopped to stare into Tom’s grey eyes with love and consideration.

Tom noticeably gulped before taking off on the rough part of the Clinic Revelations.
“Well, Ellie, so far Michael’s—Doctor Barnes’ wife Fiona, the lawyer, has not been able to find any laws that have been broken by the Clinic. 

"They both think there is some moral question as well as a real problem with one guy fathering thousands of kids over thirty plus years. But now comes the tough part—for me, that is, because I never entered the picture until things became a bit dicey, and then they became dangerous.

"Suddenly people were getting killed over the control of the distribution of the sperm. The amounts of money involved became huge. So big, that killing became a manner of doing business.”

Tom took another bite of his second Cobblestone and a few swallows of coffee. Ellie offered to get some hot coffee and Tom agreed. She insisted that she go. 

The moment she got up to go to the counter for fresh hot coffee, he wondered if he should just leave. Now. Go. Vanish. Take his money and buy a one-way ticket to Australia and the Gold Coast, where he could surf, drink beer, read all day, and hit a board for a couple of hours of surfing ‘in the warm evening Australian sun’.

He immediately chided himself for thinking of such a cowardly path to his own pleasures while leaving Ellie without any explanation. His moral character took control and cemented him to the bench.

When Ellie returned, he gave her his loving smile while she placed his hot coffee before him. She smiled her love back at him.

“Okay, Mr. Tough Guy; lay it on me. What is this big secret that you think will push me away form you; no—make me sprint away from this table, from this bakery, from this area, and never see you or want to talk to you again?”

She gave him her taunting smile surrounded with creases of joy, which heightened the seductive aspect of her persona. For a second, she thought she would come around the table and kiss him forever.

Tom sipped the new brew, chewed a finger-sized bite of his Cobblestone and summoned all his Hells Angels fearlessness. He was ready.

“Well, Ellie, as I was saying, all this was humming along very nicely over the years before someone saw the obscene amounts of money that could be made by selling the superior sperm to powerful, extraordinarily wealthy men around the world.

An organization was formed a long time ago. It was a family business. The head of the organization is unknown. Anyone who claims to have seen him says he wears a long black coat, boots, and mask. All very spooky. And he talks through some device. Apparently, sounds like DarthVader. But we all think that's a crock; the whole description. 

"Anyway, the major members of the business are from your family: your father Maxwell, your brothers Bart and Andrew as well as Tarquin and his wife June.

"Then there is Tony from Christian and Melinda’s family and maybe one or two more children of those people.

“The best we can figure is that the head of the organization must have a facilitator; someone to work with people in the Clinic to select only the top one percent of donations and then sell them to these fabulously rich people worldwide.”

Ellie’s eyes widened while Tom spoke each name from her family, participants in the organization. Nevertheless, she exhibited no fear or displeasure with what she had heard thus far. Nor was there any sign Tom could read in her manner that would indicate to him that her ardor for him was cooling at a rapid rate. On the contrary, she smiled love at him with her eyes as well as her lips.

Tom continued. “Things started to heat up shortly after Doctor Barnes agreed to fill in as a temporary Director of the Clinic. Apparently someone,” here Tom looked deep into Electra’s green eyes, “decided to throw a monkey wrench into the whole enterprise and word got out that there were, well—was—one donor in particular that the whistleblower claimed had been fired or retired. The guy even had a number, 713. Odd, because they don’t use numbers at the Clinic. By the way, Ellie, I’m getting all this from Doctor Barnes, Fiona, Bill Richardson, Brett and anoth . .”

“I thought he was dead,” Electra broke in, “certainly everyone in the family thinks he is.”

She looked up sharply into Tom’s loving eyes. Her smile disappeared. A chill fell over her features.

“So he isn’t dead?”


End of Chapter Forty One

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