The World's Worst Mothers

The World's Worst Mothers by Sabine Ludwig Read Free Book Online

Book: The World's Worst Mothers by Sabine Ludwig Read Free Book Online
Authors: Sabine Ludwig
They were not only beautiful, but intelligent – two characteristics that were seldom found together in a person made of flesh and blood.
    Kruschke went back into the warehouse area and slipped through a semi-transparent plastic sheet that curtained off a section of the warehouse. There they were – his Annas! Whenever he was troubled by doubts, he went and took a look at them. Each one. From Anna 01 to Anna 25. To an outsider, they all looked exactly the same. But he could tell them apart. Anna 12 had a little dimple in her chin. Anna 07 a tiny mole under her left eye. Anna 25’s ears stuck out a little. But they were all very beautiful, with their smooth faces, long blonde hair and slim figures. Each one was wearing a flowery skirt, a white blouse and a light blue cardigan. Ramona Bottle had chosen the clothes, and Kruschke thought they were absolutely spot on: not too old-fashioned and not too modern.
    Kruschke patted one of them on the arm, stroked the hair of another. He pulled a seam straight here, buttoned up a cardigan there. He could hardly wait to bring them to life, to give them speech and movement.
    None of them could hold a candle to Sarah, of course. His Sarah. Kruschke sighed.
    At seven o’clock, the workers gathered in Wohlfarth’s office. Sven-Ole was still wearing his paint-spattered overalls and seemed to be the only one who was in good form. Any work was better than transporting bleating sheep to the slaughter.
    Wohlfarth drummed his fingers on his desk. ‘Has anyone seen Kruschke?’
    â€˜He has to fix something,’ said Vibke Paulsen.
    â€˜I’ve just thought of a great joke, boss. Kruschke puts me in mind of it,’ said Sven-Ole. ‘A blonde says to her admirer, “How come you’re looking at me so strangely?” The admirer says, “I have an artificial eye.” The blonde says, “What’s it made of?” “Glass,” says the admirer, and the blonde nods. “Oh, yes, of course. After all, you have to be able to see through it.”’ Sven-Ole slapped himself on the thigh with laughter. ‘Isn’t that a good one?’
    When he saw Kruschke, who had just come in, he said quickly, ‘I didn’t mean to be offensive.’
    â€˜I don’t know why blondes are supposed to be so funny,’ said Ramona Bottle, twirling a lock of hair.
    Wohlfarth didn’t seem to have been listening. ‘Everything under control, Kruschke?’
    â€˜Of course, boss,’ said Kruschke, sitting on a little chair and giving Sven-Ole a look that would have killed anyone else.
    Wohlfarth’s waste-paper basket was overflowing, and on his desk was a pretty small pile of questionnaires.
    â€˜OK, well, I’ve checked them all and there are just seventeen that are at all suitable.’
    â€˜That’s terrific, boss,’ said Sven-Ole.
    Ramona Bottle said, ‘It’s definitely better to start small, don’t you think?’
    Wohlfarth turned to Kruschke. ‘How many Annas have we got?’
    â€˜If we include Prototype 3131 –’
    â€˜Which is probably lying on some sandbank, frightening the seals,’ Wohlfarth interrupted.
    â€˜Well, then, it’s twenty-five,’ said Kruschke as calmly as possible. Only his red face betrayed that he was anything but calm.
    â€˜That’s good. That means we have a reliable reserve of eight. You never know what might go wrong.’
    Wohlfarth pressed the questionnaires into Kruschke’s hand. ‘You have exactly a week to prepare.’
    â€˜A week!’ cried Kruschke, horrified. ‘It takes at least two days to program each one.’
    â€˜One week and not a day longer,’ said Wohlfarth. ‘If we take any more time, we run the risk that the information in the questionnaires is no longer valid. I want the Annas to be ready for work within ten days at the latest.’
    â€˜But … will everyone not notice that these

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