Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Chapter 10


Squatters rousted from local ranch
Shots fired

By: Neil Owens
Northern Idaho Sentinel

May 29 - Sheriff's deputies removed a small band of squatters from a local ranch yesterday. Three men and two women from Los Angeles claimed that they had a right, by possession, to forty acres of the Lazy T ranch, ten miles east of Hayden.

Deputy Bob Wheeler noted that the group even had a clipping from a California newspaper to back up their claim. After checking with authorities, the deputies
informed the group that they were trespassing on private property, and would
have to leave.

One of the men in the group attempted to pull a gun on the deputy. In the process, the gun discharged, wounding the man's foot. Sheriffs arrested the man, and sent to Kootenai Medical Center in Coeur d'Alene, where he is listed in stable condition.

Deputy Wheeler warned, "Don't be fooled by fictitious stories. There isn't much free around here, and you will be arrested if you trespass."

Copyright, 2001, Northern Idaho Sentinel. All rights reserved.

Outfitting Meyer in western wear took up the first hour after breakfast. We managed to find him a few pair of stone washed jeans, and some faded plaid shirts so he wouldn't look like too much of a tenderfoot. I drew the line when it came to getting him fitted for boots. We spent the extra money for a pair of Tony Llama's in soft gray sharkskin. Looking funny is one thing sore feet are another. A warm sheepskin coat finished off the list. He put his city clothes in a bag, and wore the new outfit for our drive in the country. It was clear that he was enjoying his new persona.

"Well podner, whacha think?"

"Meyer. I think you should lose the affectation. For the same reason, I didn't buy you a ten-gallon hat. In contrast to the stereotypical western man portrayed in Midnight Cowboy, people out here just don't talk, walk, dress, or act that way. Jeans aren't a fashion statement. They are what you wear to be comfortable. If you can't get into a place wearing jeans, then it probably wasn't somewhere you wanted to be anyway."

"Ok. I'll behave. What do you think our next move should be?"

I took one look at the hurt expression on Meyer's face and said, "Well, I reckon we should saddle up and mosey on out of town." He could have lit a candle with his smile.

"On a more serious note M, have you heard anything about the computer tinkering we did?"

"No. I really don't expect to. I left several presents on their system. The first one has already been opened. It was a denial of service attack on CERT, the people who keep track of Internet attacks. The next attack should come any time. Mr. Gates has a very low opinion of people who attack his kingdom. In both cases, the FCC and the FBI will track the offenders down to a machine in northern Idaho."

We drove in silence for fifteen beautiful miles. The hillsides were covered with the deep green of pine trees, and the valleys the lush green meadows. A clear blue sky set them both off. We did fine for that short while, and then things got a bit tense.


Larry Sikes looked at his new partner. The man was an animal. He even ate like an animal. His name was "Berg," as in Iceberg. He was big, blond, and greasy. Two weeks ago, the Fremont County Jail had sent Berg walking down the road on his own recognizance. His Brotherhood connections on the inside had landed him a job on the compound as a guard. In Sikes' opinion, they should have let him keep walking.

"What the fuck are you doing Berg? We're supposed to be guarding the gate."

"You guard it wimp. I'm busy."

"Boss man ain't goin to like it."

"Boss man ain't goin to hear about it."

"Look, Berg, put the girly-magazine down and pick up your rifle. We got a job to do here."

"You dissing me boy?"

"No, Berg, I'm trying to help you."

"I think you're dissing me." Berg said getting to his feet. "You want some of me right now pussy?"

"Not now, there's a car coming. Get your goddamn rifle and get over here."

"Fuckin pussy."

Sikes chambered a round in his rifle and stepped out to stop the Jeep.


"Who are you and what do you want?"

"I guess I might be wondering the same thing about you." M said. "Hunting season hasn't opened yet."

"I ask you a question mister. I expect an answer." With that, he leveled the rifle at M.

"Whoa. Slow down there partner. My name is Murphy. We're looking for land in the area. No reason to get alarmed."

"Well, there ain't no land in the area. Turn your ass around and get out of here."

"No problem. If you'll point that thing somewhere else, I'll back this around and we'll leave."

M had just looked over his shoulder to back up when Berg came up to the side of the Jeep. He reached in through the driver's window taking M by the shirt.

"You fuckers want to play? Come on out here. We'll play a bit."

Without missing a beat, M dropped the gearshift into drive, then took a tight grip on Berg's hand and floored the gas pedal. The Jeep lurched forward, throwing Berg sideways into the other guard and knocking them both to the ground. The tires spun, shooting gravel into the pair as M pulled hard on the wheel to do a U-turn. "You might want to get down Meyer. I believe we are about to be shot at." The first blast took out the rear window of the Jeep, exiting through the left side.

"Can you see where we're going while you're scrunched down like that?" Meyer asked.

"No, but I don't expect much traffic." The next round ricocheted off the blacktop as they raced down the highway.

After a minute, M eased up in his seat. "I think it's safe to get up now."

"Tell me M, now that we've seen the enemy what are your plans?"

"Well, my immediate plans are to drive back to the hotel for a lunch. We're expecting guests."

"How can you think about eating at a time like this? We've just been shot at!"

"Yah, but I don't think they really meant it. Besides, after people shoot at you for a while, you learn to eat and sleep when and where you can."