Cuckoo’s Nest: Wet Blanket

In the beginning, everyone figured she was dead, leaving George widowed to take care of the 160 acres by himself. She appeared in a few old family photos hung up around the house and was vaguely known by name. But George, presumably distraught over her loss, never said a word about his long-time wife, Gabriella.

That summer, he had been seeking the companionship of a lady friend. The dating pool in Bonner County is notoriously shallow, referencing both the actual depth of available options and the inbred quality of its limited prospects. Any single person living in the area can attest to this. And so, his daughter, Sage, helped him set up a profile on Country Kiss, an online dating site. Steward of the Family Woods, his ad began, Looking for a Nice Country Gal. He had Sage take a few candid shots with him sitting on the tractor and standing with the cows, grinning proudly with his gap-toothed smile.

This aw-shucks approach had then backfired in a big way. George, having no clue about how the internet world works, or of the existence of porn bots named “Melissa” and gold-digging whores, became financially entangled with an enterprising young woman from Spokane. He ended up renting an apartment for her after only two dinner dates and then found himself slapped with the balance of the one-year lease after she disappeared. After that, George resigned himself to more traditional methods of courting, focusing his attention on various women right at his own farm.

Eva was working in the garden one day when an unknown older woman was seen milling around down by the old farmhouse, digging through boxes of family belongings. Eva walked over to investigate and approached the woman, now standing still and staring up into the sky murmuring to herself.

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