To read the story from the beginning, click here or go to Fable on the menu.
I hit the email icon and turned toward Wylie. “Come on, give me a break. We went over it before. This time, you’re going.”
“Look, what good would it do if I went with you? You have the tool you need to find Ludwig, and I would only be in the way.”
“No, four eyes always see more than two, and you have an eye for detail.”
As Wylie cleared his throat to come up with an answer, I went back to the email account. The note from Kojak hadn’t come in yet.
“Hold that thought,” I said to Wylie before he even opened his mouth, “I want to send Lily a message. If she has some free time coming up, I want her to meet us in India as soon as Ludwig is with us and out of any danger.”
“You want to do what? It’s not enough for you dragging me into a no-win situation, now you want to lure your own wife into it. You’re something else, you know.”
“Hey, don’t get all upset. I’m thinking of inviting Lily to a luxury resort over there for a short vacation so we can spend some quality time together. I’m sure it would make her happy. This long-distance marriage is for the birds. We haven’t seen each other for a while, and this would be perfect for a romantic and exciting getaway for Lily and me.”
“Ah, you fooled me. That is a cool plan, and Lily will love it. But it’s also another reason for me to stay home because I would be in the way. You both don’t need a chaperone, and Ludwig will very likely want to head home as soon as he can.”
Ignoring his lame excuse, I composed the email to Lily, briefly explaining the circumstances of my upcoming trip to India and letting her know about the arrangements I’ll be making for both of us over there as soon as I have access to a phone or computer.
After I read what I’d written, I kept my paw hovering over the send button. An image had sprung into my mind. India was so far away, Lily wouldn’t be able to keep track of me. I could leap at the chance over there … visiting a few poodle clubs … what Lily didn’t know wouldn’t hurt me. I pushed the delete button.
“Why did you do that?” Wylie asked. “It was such a sweet note you’d put together.”
“You wouldn’t understand. Let’s forget it. There’s Kojak’s email, it just came in.”
Before I could open it, Wylie interrupted me.
“I saw what you intended to tell Lily, that I would be going with you to India, but what if I get lost on the way?” he said matter-of-factly. “You’d have double the headache you have now.”
“Running the risk of getting stranded comes with the Internet travel. You just have to find a way out of it if it happens.”
“Does that mean you would let me fight my own battle without your helping me?”
“Nonsense, of course not.” I was reaching the end of my patience with his refusal to travel with me, but then, I remembered my latest resolve. “On second thought, it might be better if you stay home. It would be beneficial to have you here as an intermediary if something does go wrong in India.”
To be continued
Hobo: Living forever through his adventures
Wylie welcomed my change of plans to travel to India without him. “That sounds more logical,” he said. “Whom do I contact in an emergency?”
“Kojak. I hope there’s a return address on his email. But first, let’s see what it says.”
I quickly opened it. Another weird combination of letters and numbers with an in. somewhere in between filled the text box. It was an URL for India.
While I copied it for pasting it into in the address bar as soon as I was ready to leave, Wylie affirmed that Kojak had left a return address. I glanced at it, and deciding it was a legit one, I logged out of the email account.
“Go back to the email and print the whole thing out after I’ve left,” I said to Wylie, “and hide it where no one else can find it. And email Gato to let her know what’s happening. Then, delete everything.”
“You’re leaving right away? How do you know your tag is already working again? Kojak didn’t mention it. You told me Henry had warned you that the temporary tag would be good for the Internet only for one exit and one entry.”
“I guess sending the email and the URL was his confirmation of it. I just have to believe that. I’m running out of time. You never know when Dad might wake up, and you have to get at it, print out the email and send the other one.”
Wylie made room for me to reach the computer and gave out a deep sigh. “Good luck then, Brother.”
“Thanks, I need it.” I entered the copied India URL in the address bar and scurried under the desk. As always when I was in a hurry, it seemed to be a tighter fit than usual to get close to the USB port.
After turning this way and that way and stooping and stretching, I finally heard one of the tags touch the port. My trip to India had begun without giving me time to agonize about where I would emerge.
Total silence and blackness greeted me when I touched ground. I was sure I had my eyes open but didn’t see a thing, not even a shadow. There was no faint glimmer from the electronic device I’d emerged from, which could have been a smart phone or laptop with the lid shut and on standby mode. I also could have landed quite a bit away from either of them or a computer, bursting out of it but not feeling the impact. I should have felt it, though, because the floor was hard, like concrete or asphalt.
I blinked several times. It was no use. My eyes still didn’t detect any outlines to drop me a hint about where I was. My nose, however, told me I was someplace fogged up by a potpourri of scents. Most of the smells were new to me, and I couldn’t distinguish the rest as it all blended in.
Without having any references, I blindly staggered ahead and soon bumped into what felt like a wall. I used it as a guide and crept alongside it. The sudden end of it brought me to dead stop. I pricked up my ears and tried to catch a whiff. I didn’t hear anything, and my nose was no help. Veering to the right, I crawled inside the empty space.
To be continued
Foreign business affairs
A fable by Bruny Hudson
The more you love a memory, the stronger and stranger it is.
The trip home was the usual ride through the wringer. Bushed and groggy, I scrambled to my paws after popping out of the computer. My head bumped into something hard but cushioned, and I yapped. Even before I heard the voice answering my growl, I knew I’d tumbled against my dad’s legs. The smell of his pipe tobacco always gave him away.
“OMG, Hobo? Is that you?” Dad bent down and picked me up. “Where in the world did you come from? We have been looking all over for you.”
While I sat on his lap and enjoyed his petting, he called out to Mom that I had appeared under his desk like magic. Mom came galloping into his office, snatched me away from Dad and checked me out from head to tail, all the while talking a mile a minute about how happy she was to have me back. Each time her hands came close to my collar, I wiggled out of her caress, afraid she’d notice the Searcher or the second tag.
I felt kind of guilty for having tormented my parents by going missing, and I wished they would become more tolerant of my occasional disappearing acts. When Mom had calmed down, Dad suggested we all eat lunch, and on cue, Wylie showed up at the office door. Eying me, he simply gave out a short bark and led the way into the kitchen.
We all filled our stomachs, and then, Wylie and I had our run in the backyard, supervised by Dad. After Dad had lain down for his siesta and Mom had retreated to her office, I finally had a chance to fill Wylie in about my misfortune in Russia.
“Didn’t I tell you it would be trouble?” Wylie smirked at me. “But no, you wouldn’t listen to me. The whole venture was doomed from the beginning.”
“It was nothing but an unfortunate turn of events that brought it all crashing down,” I said. “It was a legal enterprise. I’d jumped in where I saw an opening to fill.”
Wylie shook his head. “As far as we know, the export of caviar, for the most part anyway, is forbidden by people operating in Russia, and it’s supposed to be illegal for people to import wild caviar to the United States, from any country, it doesn’t matter which. Now, how do you deem legal what you were doing?”
“You just said it, twice, people. Here’s the thing. My attorneys Pocket and River Song, who took over the law office from their sister, Ms. Foley Monster who has become a judge at Rainbow Bridge, counseled me about the law. Since we dogs are considered chattel and are denied our own personhood, whatever we do is not subject to the law of the United States or of any other country, and thus, we dogs are exempt from any wrongdoing that constitutes an illegal act for humans. As a result of all this, we can import from another country stuff that falls under an embargo without having to worry about any repercussions.”
“Well, I admit that sounds convincing, but …”
“There’s no but. And we don’t have time for a deep discussion about it. We have to get ready to travel to India as soon as I get Kojak’s email. Let’s see if it came in yet.”
I scurried into the office, with Wylie on my heels, jumped onto the chair and logged onto the computer.
“You’ve got it all wrong again,” Wylie said as he hopped up and down to reach the edge of the desk with his front paws, “you are traveling. I’m not going.”
To be continued