A wayward bat was located today on the fourth floor where I work. It reminded me of another bat story I have…from way back in 2006. But I remember it like it was yesterday.
I had just moved into a new apartment in an old house downtown. I had been there for maybe a month. One morning, i awoke to a weird buzzing or chirping sound in my room. I looked and looked but couldn’t find it. And then…I realized the sound was coming from my bed. I know! So I flipped up the bedspread and there, clinging to the side of the mattress like a tiny rock climber…was a bat.
Well I freaked right out. I’m not good about bugs and I’m not good about mice or rats or any other wild animals that might find their way into a house. I ran from the bedroom to the living room and tried pretty unsuccessfully to collect myself. As I sat there, I swear I saw the thing flying back and forth in my room…waiting to attack. I found a long-sleeved shirt and a stocking cap and put them on.
In the end, after some feeble attempts to capture the bat, I decided that I didn’t have time to do anything about it because it would make me late for work. So I ducked, sneaked in and grabbed some clothes from my room as quickly as I could, got dressed in the living room, and left.
When I got home from work that night, I could still feel the presence of the beast. I didn’t see her right away, but I knew she was still there.
I went to my couch and put on a long-sleeve shirt and stocking cap…they were still lying where they landed when I quickly changed clothes after that morning’s extraction attempts. I went to the cupboard and grabbed the only bat-catching weaponry I own…a colander and a Tupperware lid. Utensils in hand, I was ready to face the creature.
But I couldn’t find her. I kicked my bed and I once again heard the death-chirp. I ran back into the living room like a little girl. I collected my wits and went back in. I lifted bedding…eventually pulling it all off the bed, one piece at a time, trying to expose the creature. Nothing. I checked under the bed. Nothing. I retreated to the living room (this time I walked like a grown man might).
I grabbed a 4 foot-long dowel which I decided to use as a potential hiding-place poker. I re-entered the bedroom, poking at everything. The bed. The pile of clothes in the corner. The clothes in my closet. The bed again. The dresser. I banged on the wall. I used the stick to turn on lights. Nothing.
Was I making it all up? Did the beast exist? Did I imagine the death chirp when I first kicked my bed?
I called Alison. She’s a naturalist. At 4’11”, she’s a pint-sized naturalist, for sure. But surely a little naturalist would be better than having no naturalists at all on my bat-herding team. Plus, she lives right around the corner and could be on the scene in fairly short order. And really…if anyone was going to be acting like a little girl in this situation…I figured it might as well be a little girl.
To my surprise, Alison arrived with new weapons: a broom, two flashlights, and a fitted sheet.
She took the poking device and started poking. She poked the bed. Nothing. The pile of clothes in the corner. DEATH CHIRP! Oh. My. God. Now there were two people running around like little girls instead of one. My plan was falling apart before my terrified eyes.
But at least we knew where the bat was. It was in a pile of about a dozen folded t-shirts sitting on a nightstand in the corner of my room. Flashlights were useless…she was somewhere IN the pile not ON it. I was certain she was pooping in my Harley t-shirts and building a nest to raise her family of man-eating beasts.
After about five minutes of debate about who would act on behalf of the humans, I put on leather gloves and grabbed the fitted sheet. I decided that I would scoop up everything with the sheet and carry it outside. Alison stationed herself in the bedroom doorway…ready to “run like hell” on my orders. I set the sheet on the pile of clothes…silence. I started to tuck the sheet around the pile. DEATH CHIRP! DEATH CHIRP! “Oh my God oh my God…it’s in the sheet it’s in the sheet,” I croaked. I looked to the door to see a little cloud of dust and hairpins floating in the air where Alison had been standing. I continued to tuck, gently but as quickly as possible, until I had the whole chirping package wrapped up and ready to go.
“What’s going on in there?” Alison hollered from the porch.
“I got it I got it I got it,” I said, high-stepping through the apartment (which is thankfully very small) carrying the package like I might carry a very dirty diaper or nuclear waste, keeping it as still as possible while I high-stepped through the rooms. I got outside, kicked the chair which was propping the door open, and gingerly tossed the t-shirt/animal pile into the front yard.
The poking device then became a package-opening device. I flipped over the pile. Chirp chirp. I started flipping t-shirts over until I finally exposed her. She was tucked between a fender t-shirt and a shirt that read “chicks hate me.” “Appropriate,” I thought to myself.
There we stood, Alison and me circling this pile of shirts. I with a dowel and she with a broom…waiting for the bat to get up and go. I’m sure this animal was annoyed to say the least…her warm, safe hiding place had been moved, flipped, and exposed in daylight (which I don’t think bats like). A truck pulled up to the curb and a couple asked what was going on (we must have looked ridiculous).
“Oh, there’s a bat in that pile of clothes…it was in my house,” I said.
“Oh, we thought it was a snake or something.”
“No…that would make sense, though. It’s just a harmless bat and I’m a wimp.”
“Oh…ok…have a good day.”
“You too…thanks for stopping.”
As Alison and I were considering poking more to make her leave, she started to crawl around, leaving me more poop as a parting shot. (Note: if you’ve never seen a bat crawl around on your clothes…it’s pretty creepy. And then when you think about that bat creeping around on your bed while you’re sleeping…that’s really creepy. And then, if you think about it all enough, you’ll realize that you’ll probably never comfortably sleep in your new apartment again.) Eventually, she took off and flew into the tree across the street, where I assume she’s waiting to see me walking the streets at night so she can swoop down to make me scream like a little girl again…just like old times.