Another of our favorite stories was about the time in Damville,
when we moved into a not-so-fancy apartment with cobwebs on
the ceiling. Upon seeing the cobwebs, Ryan relayed another story to
me about one of his early assignments. In Ryan’s earlier days, he had
been working in South America for the CIA, helping to destabilize
the economy of a certain country. He and other covert agents travelled
through the country’s rural areas on horseback carrying cases of
dynamite. They would enter into remote village’s banks and literally
blow up the money so that no one had any to spend. The central
government could not print and distribute new money fast enough
for anyone to use, ultimately bringing about an economic collapse.
Ryan told me how he and the agents would retire to mountain caves
in the evenings to rest, but the caves had a lot of cobwebs, so they
made torches for light and to burn the cobwebs out. In, perhaps, a
more comical moment Ryan wanted to demonstrate this technique
to me in our new Damville apartment. He took a straw broom,
poured lighter fluid over the bristles, and pulled out a lighter. I told
him that I did not think that was such a good idea, but he insisted
and lit the broom on fire. Although he certainly did get rid of the
cobwebs, he left soot all over the white ceiling and set off the fire
alarm. Needless to say, the apartment manager was not impressed.

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