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Bat Out of Hell

April 3, 2009

My blog laziness continues as I cull up an oldie-but-goodie from my files.  As promised, here is the story of the fateful bat assault from May 2007.  It’s funny–especially in retrospect.

I would like to include the following disclaimer: I do not condone the senseless killing of animals, including my flying rodent friends, the bats.  Bats play critical roles in the ecosystems of which they are a part.  We should do our best to preserve their habitats and to respect their important role in our environment.  Even if they look, move, and sound like Satan on PCP. 



I awoke one Monday night to find a shadowy figure circling over my head.  It grazed my face, darted to the corners of the room, and flitted about in a way that I can only describe as bone-crushingly evil.

My first groggy thought was, “Hmm, that’s smaller than the cats.”  My second, more lucid thought was, “HOLY CRAP, THE CATS DON’T FLY!!!  WHAT THE $%&# IS THAT?!”  I quickly (and violently?) woke up my husband, Tim, we turned on the light, and we discovered that the flying offender was a bat.  In our bedroom.
We let out a few blood-curdling screams and raced out of the room.  (Blood-curdling shrieks is more like it.  We sounded like a couple of little banshees squealing on hell’s playground.)
After Tim closed the door, we realized that our cat Mikey was still in the room.  We (and by “we,” I mean Tim) returned to the bat cave in an attempt to rescue  Mikey, but our brave little cat was duking it out quite ferociously with the bat.  He wasn’t about to stop either.  I felt like an awful cat-mommy, but I also knew that we had to leave him locked in the room.  Self-preservation makes me a bit…well, selfish, but I also didn’t want to risk exposing our sleeping 17-month old child, M, to the potentially disease-ridden rodent that was now not only flying but also singing his devilish and squeaky bat songs in my bedroom.

Tim and I then made a fairly logical decision.  Call them archaic, but phonebooks can come in handy when you are in desperate need of “bat removal.”  Sure enough, right in the “B” section were two listings for bat removal.  In fact, much to our excitement, both business (claimed that they) offered 24-hour services!

We (and by “we,” I mean Tim) called the first number, only to reach an answering machine.  But we were not easily discouraged!  Although we tried our best to remain optimistic as “we” dialed the number of the second bat removal specialist, our optimism plummeted as the man on the phone offered some lame (and forgettable) excuse as to why he could not help us.  He did, however, give Tim some sage advice about how we (again, “Tim”) should go back into the bedroom, open all of the windows, and try to “encourage” the bat to fly back outside.  When Tim asked if there was anything he should wear to protect himself, the 24-hour bat removal-evader suggested that Tim wear a hat.  Always one to follow directions, Tim hung up the phone and put on his ball cap.  
Tim soon recognized the lack of protection afforded to someone wearing only a ball cap and boxers.   But he couldn’t put on any of his other clothes since they were in our bedroom with the bat and the ninja-cat.  Thinking on his (bare) feet, he reached for the nearest article of clothing that he could find: my teal green peacoat. 

Imagine, if you will: ball cap, grey boxer-briefs, and a woman’s teal green peacoat that was a few sizes too small.  Tim is not the heftiest man in town, but it was still reminiscent of the “fat man in a little coat” scene from Tommy Boy.  Those tight sleeves gave him “limited mobility,” to say the least. 
Just as I was about to hyperventilate from fits of uncontrollable laughter, I remembered that there was an effing bat whizzing around my bedroom.  Tim couldn’t be an efficacious bat-remover with “limited mobility”!  At that point, I recalled that upstairs in our guest bedroom, I had some black sweatpants stored away in the dresser.  Some small (as in “women’s size S”) black sweatpants.  Some small black sweatpants that were so tight on Tim that they hugged his legs and rode up his butt so far that they gave him a permanent wedgie.  On my courageous husband, these pants were almost as sexy as the peacoat ensemble.

So, with his skintight black sweatpants, a black windbreaker (which, even when zipped, exposed his chest hair in a way that rivaled those disco kings of the ’70s), a ball cap, a pair of tennis shoes, and a red towel on his head for good measure (don’t ask), my very own Batman returned to our bedroom to save the day.
I sat at the top of the steps and winced with every squawk, yelp, and “ohmygoditscomingrightforme” that emanated from the bedroom.  About an hour later (seriously), I heard Tim say, “I’ve clipped its wings with the broom.  It can’t fly out of the window.  Should I kill it?” 

We deliberated for about ten minutes, and then we decided that it would be best to end old batty’s life: both to put it out of its misery, and to keep it on hand so that the health department could test it for rabies.  We felt awful, but in the moment, we also felt that it was the right thing to do.
As I waited for the execution to begin, I prepared myself to hear something like a broom hitting the floor.  It was a logical, rational inference.  In fact, I can even trace the roots of this inference: 

Tim entered the room with a broom as his tool/weapon of choice.

Tim needs to kill the bat.

Tim will probably (here was my mistake) use said tool/weapon of choice to kill the bat.

Ergo, the sound that I hear when he kills the bat will sound just like a broom hitting the floor.  Or the wall.  Or the ceiling.  Or whatever.

But instead of hearing the heavy-handed swoosh of a broom coming in contact with a hard surface, I heard a deafening BOOM..BOOM…BOOM…BOOM…BOOM!!!!!!  This was no broom-banging.  It was a nuclear bat-attack. 

“What in the hell was that?!” I asked Tim.
“The ironing board.”
“The WHAT?!”
“The ironing board.”
“Do I even want to know…”
“I trapped the bat under the ironing board, and I jumped on it.”
We called the health department the next morning, and they asked us to bring the bat in to test it for rabies.  They reassured us that killing the bat was the right thing to do especially since people who have woken up to bats in their room have often (yet unknowingly) been bitten

Two days later, a nurse from the Center for Disease Control called to let us know that the “condition” of the bat made it impossible for it to be tested.  (She laughed hysterically when I told her how Batman “ironed out the situation.”)  This meant that Tim and I needed to start the rabies vaccine immediately.  So we did. 

One dead bat, two batty adults, three hours in the emergency room, and four shots: one in the arm, one in the leg, and two in the butt.  After four additional shots over the next month, our bat encounter came to a close.

The other “characters” in this story remained unscathed.  Mikey had his rabies booster in September of 2006, so his scuffle with the bat didn’t pose any health risk to him.  M was fine as well: miraculously, he slept through the whole ordeal.  Moreover, his door was also closed the entire time, so he shouldn’t have been exposed to the bat.  (Two years later, I can safely say that M did not contract rabies, although I have described a few of his tantrums as “rabid.”)

And while I honestly respect the role that bats play in the ecosystem of Central New York and across this beloved country and throughout our glorious earth, I only feel the slightest regret and remorse over our decision to end the life of our mammalian intruder.  (If we angered the rodent gods, then I hope that the rabies vaccine series can serve as our penance.)  Nonetheless, it is with the aformentioned regret and remorse that I shall state:

RIP, Bat.  I hope you’re now a bat outta heaven.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Paul R permalink
    April 6, 2009 9:56 pm

    Heart pounding man versus beast action, contour hugging costumes, and a excessive use of force… sounds like a great summer movie.

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