After dinner, Linda and I decided to drive down to McDonalds for one of their chocolate dipped ice cream cones. As we furiously licked the quickly melting frozen custard, she drove up to the Community and Technical College (where she works) so she could show me the major work being done on the entrance and parking lot off College Drive. After a pass around Central Park, we headed on home for the evening. I had left my cell phone at home, and it was ringing as we walked through the back door. It was my son, Jay, from New Orleans. Linda had walked on into the kitchen and was pouring a cup of coffee as I greeted Jay, only to be interrupted by her scream - "There is a bird or a bat flying around in the living room!"
Having made that announcement, she immediately headed for the basement, pulling the door closed behind her.
There is a big difference between birds and bats. Basically I like birds. Bats, not so much (after all , they are flying rodents! I have always had a healthy respect for both species, and have a live and let live attitude toward all living things. However, both and bats and birds completely creep me out when they get loose in a house! I quickly saw that this particular intruder was, indeed, a bat - which gave me a case of the wiggles.
"How did it get in here?" Linda called from behind the basement door. I allowed that I had no idea, but was more concerned at the moment about getting it out!
I quickly donned a hat. Don't laugh, that really was my first course of action. I think there is an old wives tale about bats getting into your hair, so on went the hat. My grandson, Quint, (who once laughed uncontrollably, when he found out I carry a comb in my pocket) would think that hilarious - seeing that I am increasingly more follically challenged each day. Once I had donned my safety hat, I called for my assistant to come out of the basement and bring me a broom. Many years ago in the early days of our marriage, I had bludgeoned an intruding mouse in our home with a golf putter. It's airborne cousin tonight called for something with a little wider head - thus the broom. I had no illusions about killing it with the broom, but I thought I could possibly steer the intruder to the open front door by waving the broom furiously.
I was mistaken.
He flew wildly around the living room, going tantalizingly near the open front door, only to make a sudden 180 degree turn and zoom directly toward me. He would then make an immediate 90 degree turn and repeat the process. This went on for what seemed like an eternity. The bat flapping furiously around the room at various levels, and me bobbing and weaving while swinging that broom like Adam Dunn swinging at a major league curve ball - with the same futile results. The bat took refuge behind the sofa in a dark corner of the floor. While he took a well deserved breather, I thought about the danger of it getting loose upstairs, where there was a myriad of potential hiding places. I quickly ran to the top of the steps and closed the doors leading to the bedrooms and the bath. Now I knew if the devilish rodent flew up the stair well, it would be a dead end trip.
By this time Linda had made it back into the living room. She asked me where it was. I pointed it out in the corner and she made a quick retreat to the kitchen yelling, "Get it out of here!" After poking at it with the broom handle, the circus was on again. When the bat took another break, I walked over to the open front door and saw several of my neighbors, curiously watching the spectacle from the street. God only knows what they thought must have been going on in here.
Patrick, the high school student who lives next door was standing there next to his 20 year old uncle, T.R. who lives directly across the street.
Patrick called out, "What's wrong C.J.?"
Lest they thought I was beating my wife with a broom, I quickly announced that there was a bat in the house. He sagely advised me, "Those things are dangerous!"
Duh! I had already just about destroyed the living room.
"Do you want me to get my grandmother?" he asked seriously. "She knows how to kill them. They had one in their house about a week ago and she got him."
Considering Linda's reluctance to enter the fray, I was ready for any help I could get. So Patrick called out to Becky Hush, who strode confidently across the street and into the living room, asking, "Where is he?" Before I could answer the question, the bat took off from his hiding place and round fthree was under way. With four people now flailing away in the living room, and Linda calling out instructions from the kitchen, things were really beginning to heat up. With that, the bat flew up the stairwell. We waited, but he didn't return.
What a time for the stairwell light to be burned out!
T.R. and Patrick called for flashlights, preparing to make an excursion into hostile territory. By this time, Patrick's mom and dad (Billy and Jane Williams) had also entered the room. Becky's younger daughter, Opal, watched with interest from the front door. T.R. said he needed something to hit the thing with, and Linda handed him a lid from a small plastic cooler that happened to be in the kitchen. The two young men ascended into the darkness, with flashlight beams moving all over. Billy followed close behind on the stairs. T.R. called out that he had found it lying on the carpet on the landing at the top of the stairs.
The next sounds I heard were the "whap, whap, whap" of the cooler top hitting the soft carpet, the squealing of the rodent, the sound of flapping wings, and the thunderous noise of three rather large men, climbing over one another trying to get down the steps. Billy, who was bringing up the rear, was first to the foot of the steps, but tragedy ensued, when he stepped onto the rug on the hard wood floor in the living room. As the bat flew by them all, Patrick and T.R. fled in different directions. Billy's feet shot out from under him and he fell, face first, out the front door. He lay there motionless, half in, half out, gasping for his breath that had been knocked out of him as his ribs hit the threshold - hard!
The bat again took refuge somewhere behind the sofa.
After Billy was able to catch his breath and determine that no ribs seemed to be broken, Becky announced, "It's in this room and we have to get it tonight."
"Amen to that!" I thought silently. I wasn't about to go to sleep tonight with the whereabouts of that furry demon unknown.
By now Linda had again joined us in the living room. The furniture was in disarray, rugs turned up, and curtains and wall hangings askew. By now, eight of us had joined forces to extricate the beast. The young men pulled the sofa away from the wall and turned it on its back.
No sign of the bat.
We hit at the curtains with the broom, but the varmint had seemed to have vanished.
As we stood there, scratching our heads, Linda crept through the seven of us looking suspiciously into the dark recesses of the corner of the room. She pulled away a small octagonal end table by the sofa, screamed, "There it is!" and fled to the kitchen, pulling the basement door behind her again.
Billy seized the moment and pinned the bat to the hardwood floor with the broom. The bat squealed, but he was temporarily trapped in the bristly prison. Becky quickly instructed Billy to drag the broom (and the bat) toward the front door. As he complied, the bat, now somewhat addled, came out from under the broom. In one fleeting moment, Becky flipped one of the area rugs over it and with four powerful stomps, dispatched the rodent into eternity.
And with that, the saga ended as quickly as it had begun. I only wish we could have caught the operation on video.
That is what we did tonight.
How did you spend your Friday evening?