— Freddie Burdon
He looked older than he actually was. He was thin, had nicotine stained hands, grey skin and wore a worn jacket and trousers.
The letter, the Fund and Maria
He received a letter from the Fund when he was 17, at about the same time as Maria Valienté (aged 14) got hers. The letters contained the other’s name and address, as well as a cheque and the promise of more if they met one another, got to know each other, married, and had a child.
Broke at the time, he thought it didn't hurt to meet the girl, cashed in the money and traveled to Madison to meet Maria. However, when he arrived he discovered that she had run away from her family. He was able to track her down at an orphanage ran by nuns called the Home.
He pretended to be her cousin when the nuns greeted him but it didn't work out. Motivated by the money that was promised to him, he wasn't about to give up so easily.
One day, he saw her come back from school and fell for her, prompting him to try harder to get in touch. He managed to contact her by bribing a cleaner and took her out a couple of times until on fateful night in the summer of 2001 when, both drunk on whisky, they ended up having sex.
When Freddie learned that she was pregnant, he ran away and never looked back, thinking the nuns would take better care of her than a seventeen year old teenager who could barely support himself.
He trained as an elecrician but never got a qualification, and so drifted from job to job. After Maria, he never had family.
On Joshua's fiftieth birthday, in 2052, Nelson Azikiwe offered to research and track down his father. Joshua accepted, and, several years later, met Freddie for the first time in spring 2058. He was living in a charity retirement home in New York West 5.
Father and son discussed for a while and Freddie told Joshua everything he knew about the circumstances of his birth.