Suspended Aggravation


Editor’s note: Suspended Aggravation is an original, Wheeling-centric novel by Nora Edinger and is published exclusively through Weelunk. While some of the places mentioned in Suspended Aggravation are real (or nearly real), the storyline and most characters (with the exception of a few cameo appearances by actual city residents) exist only in the author’s imagination. For the backstory, read our Q&A with the author.


Location: Gabe’s house in Woodsdale, 40°04’33.9″N, 80°41’04.1″W

Emotion: “I always feel like somebody’s watching me.”

Gabe got the call the next morning before work. It was from one of a handful of men he would have preferred to never hear from again. 

“Mr. Morelli,” the man said, drawing out the syllables so that each sounded like a word in its own right. “It seems we’re picking up Internet chatter with your name all over it.”

That got Gabe’s attention. His mind raced over the possibilities. One in particular stood out as something particularly not good. “Starting when?”

“Since you and Goldie showed up all over the ether. As you have already guessed, my friend. I distinctly recall you saying you wanted to disappear into the hills when you left the District. Your definition of ‘disappear’ is clearly different than mine.”

“It was an accident,” Gabe said. 

“It wasn’t the first photograph. It was the second one. Your face is apparently rather memorable. Now, whoever might possibly be interested has a name and an address to attach to it. That’s a pretty powerful reminder for some, perhaps an incentive for others.” 

The man paused as Gabe processed this new and potentially dangerous reality. “You’ll have company for a while. Goldie, too.”

Gabe didn’t like what the man was offering — or ordering as was the case. He didn’t like how he was offering it. But, he couldn’t really refuse if there was even a remote chance Allie was involved. “Discreet company?” he asked, even though he knew such a question was ridiculous.

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“Mere shadows. You will know. Goldie will not.”

“I can live with that,” Gabe conceded.

“That would be my intention.”

Gabe gritted his teeth and reluctantly added something he knew the man would be surprised to hear from him. “Thank you.”

Whatever the man thought, he didn’t answer. He simply hung up.

Gabe breathed deeply. It would be OK. They would be OK. Allie still didn’t need to know. She really didn’t.



The District, of course, refers to Washington, D.C., a popular destination for West Virginia youth in search of adventure and specific kinds of opportunities. Wheeling’s mayor, attorney Glenn Elliott, was among them, for instance. Earlier in his career, he worked for the late U.S. Sen. Robert C. Byrd, D-W.Va.

• Given their close geographic proximity and a mountain-culture tendency toward secrecy, the relationship between the capital and this state is tight in numerous (and sometimes mysterious) other ways. The best-known example is that, for decades, a secret bunker large enough to house all of Congress sat in perpetual apocalyptic readiness beneath guests at the pricey Greenbrier Resort. The bunker itself — outed by a, well, outsider — is now a museum. The resort is owned by the governor.



• A long-time journalist, Nora Edinger also blogs at and Facebook and writes books. Her Christian chick lit and faith-related non-fiction are available on Amazon. She lives in Wheeling, where she is part of a three-generation, two-species household