Linda Wood Rondeau

Snark & Sensibility

THE OTHER NEIGHBOR
Friday, January 11, 2019 by Gail Sattler

 

PLEASE WELCOME

GAIL SATTLER

TO

FLASH FICTION FRIDAY

 

 

EXCERPT FROM THE OTHER NEIGHBOR


When he first joined the FBI, Steve Gableman had anticipated a life of action and intrigue. International espionage. Secret missions. Dangerous Liaisons. But this wasn’t one of them. After the fallout from his last assignment, he’d been downgraded. Just surveillance.


Although, he couldn’t complain. It wasn’t often an agent got running water with indoor plumbing on a stakeout, much less a whole house with comfortable furniture, a full fridge, and not a rodent in sight.


An elderly lady had called the FBI’s tip line after a bomb threat at her grandson’s school, saying the teen tried his luck on the Internet to see how difficult, or easy, it would be to build a bomb.

While researching, the boy read a post from Jeff Schuster, the owner of a hydroponics store, also asking questions on building a bomb and then planting one. Except, unlike the boy, Schuster’s Inquiries were serious. The FBI sent a mole into Schuster’s store, confirming that Jeff Schuster was indeed collecting the components to construct a bomb.


However, so far they hadn’t uncovered his target or his timeline.


When the FBI began their surveillance of Schuster’s home, they’d observed a group of four men who visited him at least three times a week, using different cars on rotation. They came and went quietly, returned a few days later in a different car, and the cycle repeated.


Schuster’s cohorts were quite an eclectic group. A couple of them had prison records, and only one had a real job. Steve’s team had a number of good leads, and they were following them.


Then there was Schuster’s neighbor, Cheryl Richardson, in the other half of Schuster’s duplex. Every second day, Schuster quietly knocked on her door and gave her a bag of unknown contents from his store. She always accepted it then quickly went back inside.


It had taken a month, but Steve finally managed to discover the contents of the bags.


Tomatoes. Grown in his hydroponics store to demonstrate his equipment.


She wasn’t helping Schuster make a bomb. She was making a salad. His surveillance of her showed that other than accepting the unknown bags from Schuster, she led a clean and relatively boring life. She was a florist. She went to church faithfully. The highlight of her week was taking her small, fluffy dog to the library.


Tonight, here he sat, alone in a dark house, documenting the cleanest suspect he’d ever had the misfortune to be assigned. His report concluded that Cheryl Anne Richardson had no part in the operation. He could now re-join his team to research the real suspect.


He checked the monitors one more time. He'd planted two surveillance cameras to watch her, both planted in his own yard, so he had visual, but not audio. The camera in the front caught both Cheryl and Schuster's front doors in front of the duplex, allowing both Steve and his team, depending on who was on duty to watch, to capture images of who came and went. The second was mounted on a tree in his back yard, for now aimed both rear patio doors which exited to the shared porch. Cheryl Richardson had gone back in the house, and the pattern of lights turning off showed that she’d gone to bed.


He would complete his report in the morning.


His head had barely touched the pillow when his monitor beeped. Steve grumbled and trudged to his display to see what she was doing. The panel indicated movement, so he flipped on the view screen. The sliding door to the back yard was open. Cheryl stood in the gap, bundled in her housecoat. He turned the camera remotely, to watch the same thing that he did every night at this same time. Her fuzzy little dog made his way to a tree in the middle of the back yard,  did his business, and hobbled back into the house.
Steve nearly groaned. The most exciting thing the woman had done in twenty-four hours was let the dog out.


When the door closed, he reached to aim the camera back at the house, and then he'd turn off the monitor. His finger had begun its downward path to press the button when the light on the motion detector flashed again. He froze. He couldn’t see what, but something in the yard had moved, and it wasn’t her dog.

 

ABOUT THE OTHER NEIGHBOR

 

Cheryl Richardson doesn’t know that her landlord who owns the other half of the duplex where she lives is plotting to build a bomb—but the FBI does. In order to discover what her landlord is planning to blow up, agent Steve Gableman moves next door to get closer to Cheryl to learn what she knows, namely the target and motive, so they can stop it. But when Steve involves himself in every area of her life, including her dog, will Cheryl be the one to explode?

 

Link to The Other Neighbor at Amazon.com - https://www.amazon.com/Other-Neighbor-Gail-Sattler-ebook/dp/B07J6RD2W5/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1546971401&sr=8-1&keywords=sattler+neighbor

 

ABOUT GAIL SATTLER

Gail Sattler lives in Vancouver BC Canada, where you don't have to shovel rain. When she's not madly writing (Gail Sattler has over 40 published novels and novellas, plus a few works of non-fiction) she plays bass for an Elton John tribute band as well as a community jazz band, plus she plays piano for a smaller private jazz band. When she's not writing or making music (or at her day job) Gail likes to sit back and read a book written by someone else, along with a good cup of hot coffee.

 

Visit Gail's website at www.gailsattler.com

Gail Sattler's blog - What Goes On In The Mind Of A Writer - http://www.gailsattler.com/category/new/

Facebook  - https://www.facebook.com/gail.sattler.3

Gail Sattler's Facebook author page at https://www.facebook.com/Gail-Sattler-author-568988573496833/?modal=admin_todo_tour

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