#85 Now I’ve Heard Everything by Bonnie Schroeder

“What kind of dog is that?”

“German shepherd.”

“Naah—they don’t come in black.”

“Well, that’s what she is. Recessive gene.”

“Huh? No, she’s a mutt, Lady. You got gypped.”

“Oh, all right—I’ll tell you the truth. She’s an Arcanian Bat Hound.”

“Wow! Really? I’ve never seen one before. Uh—where’d you get her?”

“I had to import her, got special permits and all. Arcania doesn’t export them normally.”

“I bet. Uh—where’s Arcania?”

“Eastern Europe. Tiny country. You’ve never heard of it, right?

“Right.”

“That’s because it’s a shadow state—keeps its existence a secret.”

“How come?”

“Well, before the Iron Curtain fell, Arcania was one of the richest countries in the world. They have a ton of Rare Earth mines. But because it’s so small, Arcania’s king was afraid they’d be invaded, so they developed a cloaking mechanism.”

“You mean, like on Star Trek?”

“Sort of. See, the other unique thing about Arcania is the Arcanian Bat.”

“Bat?”

“Yeah—because of its location and climate, bats in Arcania get huge—about the size of a Cocker Spaniel.”

“Gross.”

“No, it’s really good for Arcania. The bats are tame—and, well, you know bats have an internal sonar mechanism, right? They don’t see real well, but they can find things by radar.”

“Okayyyyy…”

“The Arcanian Bats have better vision than your average bat—because of their size—and they’re really good at finding the Rare Earths inside their caves. And when they find a rich vein, they squeak—like that sound a squirrel makes when it sees you with a bag of peanuts. Only louder. And that tells the miners where the Rare Earth vein is.”

“Amazing.”

“Right. Also, because the bats are so big, the Arcanians made them into pets. And they discovered something really surprising. The bats’ internal sonar could be turned outward to…well, this gets pretty technical, but I’ll try and explain. The bats’ sonar interacted with the earth’s magnetic field at the exact latitude and longitude where Arcania is situated, and—poof! As far as the rest of the world was concerned, Arcania disappeared.”

“Awesome.”

“Yeah. The only downside was—the bats disappeared as well.”

“So the miners couldn’t see them.”

“You got it. Now, the only way they were able to find the bats was—can you guess where I’m going?”

“The dog!”

“Right! These dogs have incredibly sensitive noses, and they can smell Arcanian Bats at a hundred feet, even if they’re invisible. So you can see how valuable they are.”

“That is so amazing.”

“Truly.”

“Hey, if they’re so rare and valuable, how’d you get this one?”

“Well, that’s a whole other story. You see, my husband is distantly related to the royal family of Arcania. He had to flee the country during the war, and he settled here in Pasadena—that’s how we met. And even in exile, he kept in touch with . . .”

© Copyright 2019 Bonnie Schroeder. All rights reserved.
Photo: Tine Ivanič/Unsplash
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Bonnie Schroeder is the author of the novels Mending Dreams and Write My Name on the Sky.

14 Responses to #85 Now I’ve Heard Everything by Bonnie Schroeder

  1. Sometimes when people would ask what kind of dogs our two mixes were, I would tell them “Guttersnipes.” One man said he had heard of that breed. Ahem.

    Love this, Bonnie. You sure do know how to spin a good yarn!

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