By C.L. Beck
Spring is coming, the sun is shining, the daffy-o-dillies will soon be blooming— and the bats will be returning. If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that you can’t live in rural Utah without having a run-in with a bat.
One summer, I was sitting near the door that leads down to the furnace room, when I heard a “scritch, scritch”. Thinking it was Slippers, our cat, I ignored it and continued with my vastly important project of checking email.
Pretty soon, “scritch, scritch, shuffle, shuffle” caught my attention again.
“Slippers, I’m not getting up to let you out. Just sit in the dark and dream of mice.”
Normally that “meow” wouldn’t have bothered me, but it came from the couch. If Slippers was on the couch, who was scritch-scritching on my landing?
I opened the door to the stairway, and aaawk! There, four feet above my head, was a bat.
I slammed the door shut, and did what every woman does in an emergency. I emailed for help.
“Russ, HELP! There’s a bat in the downstairs. A beady-eyed, black bat!”
My ever-so-thoughtful husband immediately sent back an email joke about old bats and flying monkeys.
So I sent him another note, “This is not funny. It’s flying around in circles, bumping into things. Every time I open the door to peek in, it hungrily looks me over with its beady little eyes.”
In return, Russ emailed me a picture of myself dressed as the “Krazy Krispy Kreme Baker”. In it, my hair was frizzed out, purple circles darkened my eyes, and I held a donut infested with plastic spiders. Underneath he’d written, “And exactly why would someone who looks like this be worried about a bat?”
Really, it’s unfair for a husband to take pictures of his wife at Halloween and then use them against her years later, when a 15 foot bat shows up in the house.
I wrote, “Your shoes are in the downstairs. If all you’re going to do is make jokes, I hope it lands in one of your Nikes.”
Russ made the drive home in record time. When he got in the house, he cracked the downstairs door open, while I peered over his shoulder. Yup, the bat was still there—hanging upside down, squeaking, and scratching its head.
All of a sudden, it took off and headed towards us. I’ve never seen a man shut a door so fast before.
Russ went into the kitchen and returned armed with a piece of beef jerky, a towel, and a broom. What was the jerky for, I wondered—to entice the bat over so he could catch it?
That just shows you the differences in the way men and women think. The broom and towel were for the bat. The jerky was for Russ.
After gnawing on the boot-leather meat, Russ opened the door and slowly moved the broom handle towards the bat. It spread its wings. I ducked, screamed, and covered my head with my arms … and it crawled onto the end of the broom.
Gee, if I’d known that’s all it took, I could have done it myself.
Scrambling to the front door, I threw it open and Russ took the dangling bat outside. The story should end there, but some people have all this curiosity that gets them into trouble. Especially when those people are not only writers, but also photographers.
“Wait, I want to take a picture of it,” I said. You never know when a photo of a bat might come in handy, right?
I dashed inside, grabbed the camera, and got ready to take the shot. “Now tell me if it starts to fly, so I can duck,” I said to Russ.
There’s no point in taking a picture of a bat from five feet away. I got closer until the bat was 12 inches from the camera. I adjusted my focus and …
In a flash, the ungrateful thing unfolded its wings and flew straight for me. Its bloodsucking fangs glistened in the sunlight. Its beady eyes tried to hypnotize me.
I squawked—not from fear, but because I was engulfed by a dilemma. I only had a microsecond to decide. Should I run or shoot the picture?
Well, I certainly don’t have bats in my belfry. It was an easy decision.
I shot the picture ... and then ran like a bat out of ... well, you know where.