Continuing my author’s journey of nourishing seeds of inspiration, I’ll share the second person who cultivated my interest in suspense and the protective services industry: My neighbor.

When I was nine, we moved to a new home. My neighbor was a busy working professional, his wife was unfortunately bedridden, and their children lived out of state. But they also had a cat. Since they were not able to give their pet the time and attention that they wanted to during the day, my neighbor asked me if I’d like to earn a little money pet-sitting. To a nine-year-old, especially one who loved animals, this was like striking gold. Though I probably only made a dollar a week, I eagerly accepted the challenge and set to work on my new “pet-sitting” project.

This is where the inspiration comes in. 

My neighbor was a former special agent for the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI). At the time, I really didn’t understand what the FBI was or what my neighbor did, but I was fascinated by his “family room.” That space served both as a learning lab and an author’s inspiration.

Keep in mind, I was pet-sitting a cat. So, I didn’t really have that much to do—the cat didn’t want to go on walks, it preferred the indoors, and was adorably lazy. Other than cleaning the litter box, filling the water bowl, and opening a stinky can of food and dishing it into the cat’s bowl (yes, I can still smell that horrid food—what were they feeding her?), I didn’t have much to do. I do however, remember, walking around the house with the cat in my arms as I visited with his wife and talked to their pet. 

This gave me a lot of time to look around their “family room,” and boy, what a sight!

From the Presidential Seal rug in the center of the room, to the photographs of my neighbor with former presidents and dignitaries, to the case of guns, accolades of service, and other related honors and memorabilia, it truly was an FBI museum. Of course, this spiked my curiosity and led to me asking a “ton” of questions (that poor man). Still, he was gracious enough to share with me stories, anecdotes, and insights. 

However, what I saw, what he shared, and what I experienced on that innocuous pet-sitting expedition, stuck with me for a long, long time. It also fueled my interest and inspired this author’s journey. Talk about cultivating and inspirational happenstance. Thank you RE! 

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