Chapter Two Thousand Two Hundred Seventeen
18th May 1973
Kat knew that Zella had done several of these video documentaries over the last few years. While ARD still used them to fill otherwise empty time slots, the ones that had Zella’s name attached drew a guaranteed audience and her success had inspired a number of imitators. The fact that she had featured the Moondogs, Simon & Garfunkel, Bob Dylan, and Andy Warhol before they had become famous had proven to be quite a feather in her cap. Today, what Kat was watching was footage from the latest documentary that Zella was in the process of editing. Like always, Zella was trying to edit a vast amount of material into something that would fill an hour.
Zella had agreed to let Kat watch it when she felt like she was close the final cut. Sitting in the alcove that Zella worked out of while she was in the Studios, various members of the staff shuffled by nervously. Zella had joked that the presence of an apex predator had that effect on people, earning a dirty look in the process. Kat really did hate it when people made those jokes about her. She had then handed Kat a pair of headphones and when back to updating her notes. As she did that, Kat realized that Zella had already watched this footage dozens of times and had recorded much of it.
Kat was required to watch with typewritten in her hands so that she would know who was being interviewed because the graphics explaining that to the audience hadn’t been added yet. There were occasionally odd jump cuts and Kat could tell that music for certain portions had not been added yet. There were things that emphasis was placed on. Sophie riding her bicycle with her little dog in the basket in front of the handlebars. Gabriele, or Gabi for short, playing the piano, or if she wanted to torture her mother, a bass guitar. Both girls were given an equal amount of time for the audience to get know who they were. Their keen intelligence and inquisitive natures were on full display. Exactly what Zella was driving at was unclear until about halfway through the documentary when it was revealed that Sophie and Gabi were half-sisters, having the same father. Mercifully, Zella had not delved into just who he was. That would be pointless to add, both Gabi and Sophie were good people despite that man having spent his life as little more than a waste of oxygen.
The interview turned to how the girls had chanced upon each other, how they had lived different neighborhoods of the same city only a few kilometers apart and what they thought of that. Sophie had told Kat that she was worried that Gabi didn’t really like her, which was something of a constant worry of hers. That wasn’t the case as Gabi had nothing but good things to say about Sophie who she found to be kind and accepting. There were also appearances by Gabi’s mother and Franziska Böttcher, talking about what their discovery had meant to their wider circle of friends and family.
“This is wonderful” Kat said as the show ended.
“I was afraid that you might consider it a bit too saccharin” Zella replied, “There is no great conflict here, just the story of Gabi Scharnhorst and Sophie Sommers.”
“They are teenaged girls, Marcella” Kat said, “If you want conflict just wait a few minutes.”
“My God, how on Earth have you been able to stand having so many girls through your house over the last thirty years?” Zella asked.
“I have found it rewarding” Kat replied, “Watching what all of you have made of yourselves has more than made up for the difficulties that each of you have presented.”
“I was only in your house often when Kiki lived there” Zella said, “So, I am hardly one of your girls.”
“Your parents would disagree” Kat replied, “I can recall many times that your mother called me, exasperated by some foolish thing that you had done and was asking for my intervention because you weren’t listening to her.”
Zella tried to unsuccessfully to hide her annoyance at that. The battles between Maria Acker and her daughter had dragged on for years, from the time she was a child right up the present. Everyone was hoping that now that Zella had moved into her own place, having a little bit of space between them would improve their relationship.
“It was something that I didn’t mind doing because, as I said, I got to see what you’ve made of yourselves” Kat finished with a smile.
“I think I would have turned out alright” Zella said. She always had been stubborn, just like Maria when came right down to it.
“With your propensity towards violence?” Kat asked, “And the poor judgement that you have displayed at times? The total wild child that you were as a teenager? I fear that you would have gotten into far worse trouble than you can imagine.”
“Next you’ll suggest that say Kiki would have gotten herself into trouble too” Zella said. The idea that Kiki was in many respects the ultimate good girl was something that she had made comments about for years. It just went to show that Kiki didn’t tell her best friend everything and that Zella was unaware of just what Kiki was capable of if she were pushed.
“The trouble that Kiki had was that she tends to withdraw into herself” Kat said, “Without my intervention she would have allowed her mother to push her into making some extremely poor choices.”
“You are suggesting that you encouraged Kiki to hit her mother?” Zella asked, “She was exiled to Japan for a year because that happened.”
“I didn’t encourage her to do that exact thing, but because she did, she has a life of her own, a career, and a loving family” Kat replied, “I only need to point you towards a tabloid newspaper featuring the latest antics of the Prince of Piedmont to show you what the alternative is.”
Zella didn’t have an answer for that last point.