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Rated: ASR · Short Story · Crime/Gangster · #2127048
Response to prompt: The guy in the high rise apartment across from you commits a crime.
I'm Jane Yarbrough, and I'm what you call a remote administrative assistant. It was early one morning when I opened my curtain to let in some sunshine. For some reason, I work better with natural light. As I sat down at my computer with my coffee, something caught my eye.

"It might help if you put your glasses on," I mentally chided myself. Straightening my glasses, I squinted at the window across from mine. To my dismay, Ken, my neighbor, had his hand balled into a fist and seemed to be yelling at someone. (I had never liked that guy anyway. He was always complaining about something. The pizza wasn't hot enough, or the neighbor kids were too loud.)

I watched for a few minutes between sips of coffee. Ken seemed to have a visitor, but I couldn't see the door from my window. What I did see, however, spurred me to act.

"Great," I blurted. "Guess this spreadsheet isn't getting done this morning." Keeping an eye on my neighbor, I picked up the phone.

"911; what's your emergency?" the icy female voice inquired on the other end.

"You're going to think this is crazy, Ma'am," I began. "You know where the Montague apartment complex is, right?"

"Yes, of course."

"I live in the new building. Anyhow, I think the guy across from me is up to no good."

"Go on," the dispatcher prodded.

"I'm not sure, Ma'am," I answered apologetically. "I just saw him pull out a pistol."

"Is he doing anything with the gun? You're sure he's not just reloading it, correct?"

"I'm sure. He's hollering and pointing it at someone."

"Can you see the other person?"

"No, I just see my neighbor's face turning red. Now he's waving the gun around."

"Keep watching him. I'll send an officer out."

It was a matter of minutes before Corporal Miller and Sergeant Ames were at my door.

"Ms. Yarbrough?" the corporal began. "I just got your report. What's happening?"

I led the officers to my window, where I had been watching my neighbor. "There! That guy was waving a pistol around and screaming at the top of his lungs."

"Uh, what guy?" Sgt. Ames asked, straining to observe. "The curtains are drawn."

"I'm telling you, that guy had a gun pointed at someone. The police have been over there before. Don't you remember?"

Cpl. Miller turned on his smart phone and began sifting through the long list of complaints. "Most of these are noise complaints." He cleared his throat. "I don't like being sent on wild goose chases."

"I'm telling you, I saw something."

"I can't do anything if the curtain's drawn," Cpl. Miller sniffed impatiently. How do we know you actually saw anything?"

"Why would I waste my time and yours calling about something that didn't happen?" I insisted.

At that moment, Sgt. Ames's smart phone buzzed. He raised his eyebrows. "Now this is interesting," he murmured.

"What's interesting?"

"This noise complaint just came in. I don't know why it took so long for me to get it, but it's about your neighbor across the way."

Feeling vindicated, I nodded. "So now you're going to follow up, right?"

"If you'll excuse us, Ms. Yarbrough," Sgt. Ames nodded briskly, double checking his information on his way out.

I watched out the window, hoping that Ken was finally going to get what he had coming to him. An hour later, Cpl. Miller and Sgt. Ames led the man out in handcuffs. Sirens blared, and curious neighbors gathered around to see for themselves. It took a while, but the crowd finally dispersed as the squad car took the suspect to the police station.

Since I'd had enough excitement for one morning, I closed the curtain and got back to my spreadsheet. I thought I was making pretty good progress, at least until someone knocked at my door. Sighing, I poured out my cold coffee and answered the door. "And you are...?" I asked the woman who now brandished a microphone in front of my face.

The woman smiled brightly as she directed cameramen to focus on me. "I'm Cindy McCauley from Channel 8 News."

"Why are you here?" I wondered, now confused.

"Ms. Yarbrough, our viewers want to know what you saw that led to the arrest of your neighbor across the way."

As I told my story, the reporter and her crew took notes and videotaped our interview. Once I finished, Cindy turned to the camera and intoned, "Ken Harris was arrested this morning for the murder of his ex-wife. A tip from a neighbor led police to his apartment, where they found the murder weapon and the body of Wendy Harris."

Once Cindy and her crew left, I once again sat in front of my computer. "What a day," I sighed.

But the excitement, if you could call it that, wasn't over yet. Just as I had gotten into a rhythm on my spreadsheet, someone else knocked at the door. "Sergeant Ames?" I began curiously. "What brings you here?"

"Well, Ms. Yarbrough, you might have seen the reports on TV. We've been looking for Wendy Harris's murderer for several days now." He paused for breath. "We couldn't investigate her ex-husband because we didn't have probable cause to search his apartment. He was, of course, a person of interest."

"So who was he arguing with this morning?" I wanted to know. "If Wendy Harris has been dead for several days...."

"That was someone he'd paid to help him move Wendy's body," the sergeant explained. "Cpl. Miller's questioning him right now. Seems he got cold feet and didn't want Ken's money."

"I see. That's why Ken was waving that pistol around?"

"Exactly." As he turned to leave, he reached into his pocket and handed me an envelope.

"What's this?" I wondered.

"There was a $500 reward for information leading to the arrest of Wendy Harris's killer," Sgt. Ames explained. "It was your tip that made it possible for us to arrest him." He nodded. "Thanks again. If you'll excuse me...."
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