The Spook

It was early summer, and George sent out one of his more intriguing group text messages to everyone living at the Farm: New resident Larry Cherkov will be moving in this week and sleeping on the couch in the dining room. Larry is a retired CIA agent working for the Boundary County Sheriff’s Department. Please make him feel welcome.

Everyone’s radar went off the map. George’s background checks usually consisted of a look in the eyes and a handshake, and, as a result, roughly nine-tenths of the Farm’s residents could more than likely be traced to having a more than colorful past and/or present. Half of George’s tenants had a felony somewhere on their record, and just about the only person who abided by George’s no drug policy was George himself.

One time, field agents from the county tax assessor’s office had come by to take pictures of the property and measure all the old barns, and the two workers ended up being pointed down the long driveway with a shotgun and told to not come back. Even more, we’re talking about North Idaho here: the region is a part of the Inland Northwest called The Redoubt – an area teeming with reclusive, paranoid preppers holed up in backwoods bunkers and disgruntled patriots poised for battle for the forthcoming revolution, whenever that might be. A few of them had even come and gone from the Farm in great haste after discovering the outright lack of privacy and preparedness.

But dear old George was oblivious to it all, and simply couldn’t say no. He never even gave a second thought about inviting someone from the other side to crash on his dining room couch, no questions asked.

What could possibly go wrong?

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