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Fiction Story #1, A Genuine Life

Zara tossed the plastic bottle into the recycle bin at the Nestle Factory. It was the twenty-sixth escapee bottle for the day. Not good. Zara's boss wanted her to keep it under twenty. Her nine hour shift was almost over. The thought of melted Gruyere cheese for supper energized her movements.

Zara grabbed her knapsack, threw her blonde hair over her shoulder and biked the six miles home. Her chalet sat among several fir trees and overlooked Zurich's finest church with the bronze steeple. Zara led a solitary life, or so her friends and neighbors thought. Sprucing up a bit, she headed back into town for supper.

At the Maison Cafe, Zara wove her way past several tables and dove into the window seat beside her friend, Layla.

"Good evening princess, how are you?"

Layla laughed, "I don't feel the princess part, but meeting you here tonight makes my day!" The two friends were coworkers at the Nestle factory. Zara packaged water bottles and Layla packaged chocolates so they didn't meet up often. They laughed and talked over fondue and sausages. Nearing the end of their meal, a gentleman approached them.

"Good evening Brielle, may I congratulate you?"

Layla looked bewildered. Who was the man talking to?

"I've heard the request to fund the eBook program at your library was received."

Zara laughed, "Thank you Broden, I'm thrilled as well."

Broden offered small talk a little and then left. Layla demanded, "What is up Zara! Why did he call you Brielle? You acted like you knew what he was talking about. A library indeed. You're an old maid who works at the Nestle Factory."

"Don't worry Layla, its nothing much. And you're right, I'm just an old maid working at a factory. I'm going to pay the bill, meet you outside!" Zara thought to herself, I sure couldn't avoid that awkward moment.


"Good evening Zara," neighbor Emilie said as she stepped inside Zara's chalet with a bag of potatoes and carrots.

"Hello back to you Emilie," Zara said glancing up from her writing table.

"What are you working on tonight? You work such long shifts at that Nestle factory, I'm sure you don't have time for anything else!"

"I'm just doing a little writing, that's all." Zara actually was working on the last five lines on the script for Conrad the Brave, the new show in town that was about to debut.

"You're a writer? I didn't know that."

"Nothing much, Emilie. I just like to putter around." Emilie had grabbed a flyer from the table.

"Is this the new theater show I keep hearing is going to come out soon? Are you going to attend?" Emilie asked.

"I might. We'll see."

"Maybe you need something exciting in your life Zara. All work and no play makes Zara a dull girl you know!"

Zara laughed and took the produce Emilie offered.


"Hello Zara, who do you have with you today?" Pastor Gabriel asked as the two met at the apple bins in the shopping market.

"Hello Pastor Gabriel, meet my friend Morgan, from America. She's here on vacation."

"Pleased to meet you Morgan."

To Pastor Gabriel, Morgan managed a stiff hello.

"Some vacation," Zara heard Morgan mutter under her breath, the insult aimed at Zara.

"Bring Morgan to church on Sunday. I'm sure she'd enjoy hearing the pipe organ."

Zara replied, "yes, we have the most fabulous organist, don't we? Check out these Arlet apples that just came in. Aren't they beautiful? Have a good day Pastor!" Zara put several Arlet apples into her basket and headed toward the checkout line.

Once outside, Morgan declared, "I am not going to church. My father may have wanted me to break my phone addiction and forced me to hang out with you, but I am not getting religious while I'm in Switzerland!"

Zara mildly replied, "visiting a church for one Sunday would make you a religious person?" Then she laughed and asked Morgan to race her to their bikes. Morgan's eighteen year old rebellious attitude dissolved a bit as they spent the rest of the afternoon hiking up the tough slopes of Brezener Rothorn Ridge. The apples, cheese, cider, and crackers Zara packed provided the perfect refreshment.

"Morgan, what is the hardest thing you've done in the last two weeks since we've met?"

"Memorizing your John 14 and reading To Kill a Mockingbird."

"If your father gives your phone back, what do you think will be your biggest temptations?"

Zara continued to draw out Morgan's thoughts and feelings as they sat overlooking the blue water under the clear blue sky. Morgan had been a difficult client, but Zara loved the challenge. As always, Zara had a knack of being straight forward, curious, warm, but unrelenting with her clients. Zara smiled to herself as she thought of Morgan's assumption of all counselors when they first met. Sickly sweet, unpromising, unhelpful, and just plain "meh". I wonder if I fit the stereotype, Zara thought.


Conrad the Brave was big news in town. Zara's friends urged her to attend the show. She remained noncommittal, but finally told Layla she'd meet her if she sat toward the back. "My shift doesn't end till two hours before the show starts. I barely have time to get home and get back there."

The rain flowed down Zara's raincoat as she biked to the theater that night. Her heart pounded from more then the exercise. She loved plays, but hearing her own poetry and script always startled her. Zara barely got in the door when the theater manager motioned wildly for her to come over to his desk.

"You're late, the show is about to begin!" Broden reprimanded.

"My shift was later today, its all right. I'll just slip in the back. I'm meeting a friend here."

Broden grabbed her elbow and pushed her through the back opening.

The lights had already dimmed. Just as Zara started heading toward Layla, the loudspeaker announced, "Good evening ladies and gentlemen! Welcome. Tonight we are proud to announce that our new show Conrad the Brave has received a literary award. It's author is our very own Zara Brielle Keller! Poet and library founder. In her honor, the Swiss Library Foundation will fund the eBook program at Zara's Northeast Zurich Library. Congratulations Zara Keller!" Zara wanted to disappear into the carpet. No wonder Broden was worried about her being late. She had no idea she would receive an award! It must be Broden's doings. At least he doesn't know I'm also a counselor.

While the audience wildly applauded, her mom's advice thundered in Zara's ears. "Don't ever try to be famous, Zara. Just be genuine. Make a difference in the world by genuine living."

As Zara fumbled into the seat beside her friend, Layla's arms were around her.

"Zara! You have an awful lot of explaining to do to me. Zara Brielle indeed."

The show began.

As Zara walked out after the show, someone tapped her on the shoulder. It was Morgan, with her father."This show is your life story in disguise, isn't it? You're the real deal Zara. Thanks for showing me what genuine living looks like."

-Jennifer Yoder

Ps. In doing this exercise, I was not trying to write a perfect polished piece. I wanted to flex my writing mind and produce a fictitious story. Thanks for reading. Honorable mention must be given to my husband for his helpful expertise in working the plot a bit.

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