18 December 2012

So Far in December ...

1. I've bought some gifts. Gone to some parties. Also ...

2. I have been hissed at by an angry bat.

A first and, I hope, a last! I was on a weekend writing retreat near Front Royal, VA, and the bat was quietly sleeping on a window cross-beam of the house the group was renting. He looked sort of like a knot in the wood (he was like 20 feet up). I stared at him for like two hours one afternoon as we writers chatted, until finally I voiced my concern that the knot in the wood might be a bat. Chaos ensued.

How does a group of writers handle a bat in the house? Well, one of us hid in the closet (you know who you are!). One of us (not me) very calmly phoned the owner of the house, who told us he couldn't send his handyman over until tomorrow, and then Animal Control, who told us they had no one to send either.


Once we determined that help was decidedly not on its way and that the sun would go down soon, making it imperative that we get the bat outside before night fell and we were stuck in a house in which only a single bedroom was actually closed off entirely from the rest of the house (not a design I'm a fan of, btw!), we created a complicated Plan.

In this Plan, someone (me) would nudge the bat off its perch with stalks of decorative bamboo, and then the others would try to shoo the bat out the opened doors, and perhaps throw blueberries through the doors in an effort to fool the bat into thinking the berries were bugs and that he/she should chase them outside. This was an excellent plan. No laughing!

Snowflake PJs make the best
bat-fighting gear.
Blueberries were distributed, doors were opened, and the decorative bamboo was retrieved from the ludicrously large vase in the corner of the room.

After putting on gloves, a hoodie and my pajama pants over my yoga pants in case the bat decided to attack me, I stood on a table by the windows and attempted to launch the bamboo sticks harpoon-like at the bat. However, my terrible hand-eye coordination is why I played soccer in high school instead of, say, softball, so the bat stayed asleep.

We taped two of the bamboo stalks together, and determined that this new weapon was, in fact, long enough to reach the bat directly. We took our places. Braced for Bat Attack.

I raised the bamboo and nudged.

The bat ignored me, so deep in slumber was he. I got more insistent, poking him rudely until he finally raised (well, he was upside-down, but you get the picture) his little furry head, opened one wing, and hissed! There was also this horrifying clicking sound, but yes. The hissing! I cowered by the window, weak-kneed, but the bat didn't actually fly off the wall, so after a moment I had to keep poking him.

This was pretty terrifying, because the bat kept hissing and clicking, but finally he launched himself off of the wooden beam, wings outspread. Cue everyone ducking for cover, totally forgetting about the blueberries-as-bugs plan. Instead of flying at us, though, the bat landed on the carpet and lay there. One of us (not me; I was still cowering on my table by the window) had the presence of mind to throw a blanket over the bat. Success!

We started moving everything off the carpet so we could drag it and the bat outside, but just then a nice man from the sheriff's department arrived - the Animal Control people had found someone to send after all!

He told us we'd done exactly the right thing (we did not exactly paint the picture of me whacking the bat with a bamboo stick though, just said we threw a blanket over him). He then put on big leather gloves, carefully picked up the bat in his blanket and, with very little fanfare, walked outside.

The bat flew free, thankfully unharmed by my assault on its nap. After seeing the nice Sheriff's Department guy off we rescued the writer in the closet, celebrated with a stiff glass of spiked cider, and agreed to name the bat Bart.

Merry Batmas, Bart!

Anyway. What else happened this month?

3. Nope, nothing's gonna top the bat story for me.

Happy holidays, everyone :)

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