While I was visiting the FBI headquarters in St. Louis, a pesticide guy went through the security check and entered the glass enclosed waiting area where I was waiting to be collected. He was carrying his equipment and of course my imagination went wild as to what could really be in that big cylinder. I really wanted to include him in the story, and wrote the scene below, but in the end I opted not to include it, because I decided Sylvie (who in final edits became Zoe) wouldn’t go to Serena’s office to spill what she knew.
The scene begins with Serena being called to the front reception to receive a visitor.
A male colleague traipsed after me, straightening his collar and buttoning his blazer. “Is this Sylvie a friend of yours?”
“A single friend?”
I shoulder-bumped him. “Not you too?” Ever since Nolan in accounting got hitched to the friend I’d introduced him to, half the single guys in the building had asked me if I had any more friends. The other half joked they were holding out for me.
“Hey, she’s pretty. Can’t blame a guy for trying.”
I chuckled. “I’ll let her know you think so.” I used my electronic key card to enter the waiting area, where Sylvie sat on the couch watching the security guard in the glassed-in front entrance wave a metal detector wand over a pest control service guy who must’ve set off the stationary detector. Her chestnut-colored hair was feathered around her face in a blunt cut that did nothing to soften the worry lines pinching her lips.
She started to speak, but I motioned her to wait as the glass door opened and the pest control guy sauntered in, palming the pump trigger of a large container of pesticide. Reflexively, my hand went to my sidearm. Apparently my morning bout of paranoia was still unabated despite already pulling a gun on my litter-scoop wielding super. But that oops didn’t halt images parading through my mind of how bad guys might modify the spray trigger into a gun. Or worse, spray us with a wicked neurotoxin.
From the way Sylvie stiffened, she hadn’t missed my reaction either. As the guy tapped on the bulletproof glass housing the receptionist, I motioned Sylvie to a small room off the left side of the waiting area. “Let’s talk in here.”
As I passed the pesticide guy, my pulse inexplicably ratcheted up. Maybe because his uneven eyes and crooked nose reminded me of Baldy’s sidekick.
A small table and two chairs filled the closet-sized room I entered behind Sylvie. I pushed aside the lie detector kit lying on the table. “Have a seat.”
Sylvie paced. “They didn’t want me to come.” Her voice was…
“Who didn’t want you to come?”
“The Art Museum’s board. They’re afraid if word gets out, our benefactors will think twice about loaning their personal pieces for the big show next month.”
©2014 Sandra Orchard