We had ourselves a little adventure this evening. The Hatchling and I were on our way home from a playdate, and we were just pulling up to the house when I got a call from Mr. Squab on my mobile phone. “There’s a bat in the basement,” he said somewhat breathlessly. Mr. Squab, he no likey the bats. “I was bringing some laundry down and I saw something swing out of the corner of my eye, but I thought it was a spider or some trick of the light. About 1/2 way to the washing machine, I turned around and the bat flew right at me! I ducked and ran the hell up the stairs and closed the door. You gotta get that bat out of there before Gary comes.” (We were expecting a visit from our contractor about some possible work on the house.)
“Well, holy shit.” I said. “I think Gary just pulled up behind me. Why don’t you open the side door?” (There’s a door on the side of the house that opens onto the landing of the basement steps.)
“YOU open the side door! I’m not going down there!”
Now, I don’t have a phobia of bats. Spiders and centipedes freak me the FUCK OUT, but bats and other rodents, I actually kind of dig. I know, it’s weird, but I think they’re kind of cute, close up. However, it’s one thing to think bats are groovy in their natural environment. It’s quite something else to confront a freaked out and possibly rabid bat in the confined space of your basement. I figured we’d try opening the door and see if that worked, and if not I’d try my dad’s trick of coming at the bat with an open paper bag; either you trap the bat in the bag and then release it outside, or you sort of steer the bat in the direction you want it to go. I’ve seen my dad do it maybe three or four times, but … I was really hoping for the door thing to work. I slowly went down the basement stairs, keeping my eyes peeled for flying rodents. Just as I was leaning over to unlock the side door, our winged tenant flew over to the bottom of the stairs and then circled back into the basement proper. It was a big bat, y’all. Most of the bats I’ve seen up close (except at the zoo) have been little brown bats, which are pretty small and cute. But this bat was … not small. I mean, it wasn’t pterodactyl-sized or anything, but it had a wingspan of maybe a foot and a half. I was a tad unnerved, I must admit. I quickly unlocked the main door and pulled it open, figuring I’d open the screen door from outside. The Hatchling was bawling like I’d abandoned her, so I grabbed her and took her outside with me to open the door … which was latched from the inside. Of course. I yelled at Mr. Squab to just run down and open the damn latch already, it would only take 2 seconds. He convinced Gary to do it. (We like Gary.) I pulled the door open, carefully keeping it between us and the hopefully soon-to-be-fleeing varmint. I think it took all of about 10 seconds for the little critter to find the way out. He took off like a … well, you know. We last saw him careening over the treetops, 1/2 way down the block.
Mr. Squab is still recovering from the trauma. He was keyed up (“on adrenaline”) for most of the night, and has now decided that he’s taken the first step towards being Batman. (A traumatic experience with bats being the first step, apparently.) We took a walk this evening and he most helpfully identified several locations on our path that were “total bat-lairs” using his new, trauma-acquired “bat-sense.” Me, I’m hoping the independently wealthy part kicks in soon.