“Mr. Black, Anna Hetch is here.”
“Send her in, please.”
Anna was a tall blonde with big brown eyes full of focus, small freckles in the corners. She was carrying two purses and a leather-bound notebook. She said hello and took a seat in front of him.
“Mr. Black, I went over what we already have and it’s great, but it’s all very sterile. It’s just facts, and that’s fine, but to make your biography complete, we need some emotions.”
“Sentiment. I have heard of that,” he joked morbidly. He was always serious, even when he was being funny. Women usually found this very attractive.
“You are considered one of the most powerful men in history. And we do not want you to come across as a mannequin. A statue of a god. So we need to add some personal touch.”
“Very well, what do you have in mind?”
“Let’s begin with your childhood. You were raised in an orphanage. What about your mother. Did you miss her when you were a boy?”
“No, I did not. A boy misses comfort, but not a particular person. If it is the mother that gives him comfort, that is what he misses,” he said. “My mother was fifteen years old when she had me. She died at birth. She had been beaten by my father and went into labor. The injuries and the strain of childbirth were enough to kill her. I was adopted by the nuns.”
“That was in,” Anna went through her notes, “Tangarog. In Russia.”
“What else do you know about her?”
“She was an acrobat at the circus. She was addicted to morphine. There is nothing more to tell.”
“I see,” Anna finished writing and looked at him for a minute. “So how do you know all this?”
“Does it matter? It is good stuff, right? The rest you can make up yourself.”
She squinted in disbelief. He gave her a brief smile, the first she ever saw from him.
“You must forgive me now. I am very busy.”