According to history, bats have variably been referred to as flutterers, bald mice, old batters, fleder mauser, slang bats, vagabonds, and my personal favorite, flitter mice.
To two grown adults hiding under a table and four others trying mercilessly to get one out of a rented mountain cabin – blood sucking tiny Dracula fixated on raising hell and spreading disease. Who knew moments after the last remnants of our COSTCO lasagna supper would turn into a family reenactment of the Rescuers Down Under?
It all started with a harmless bit of post-dinner conversation.
“You absolutely must go to the Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico. There are amazing hikes through the caves with flashlights!” said Uncle Bud.
Peter took one look at me – his loving girlfriend who takes a broom with her to take the trash out at night – and promptly answered with a crooked smile, “She would never be up for doing something like that.” To which I agreed, “Yeah, because of the bats!”
On cue, as if a powerpoint presentation of my biggest fears were being projected on the ceiling above, a bat soared across the room above the dinner table.
I pointed and yelped “BATTTTTT.” Everyone laughed until the bat came swooping back across the room. We all threw our chairs back and jumped into action. Some of us made it no further than refuge underneath the table. I’ll admit, I spent most of my time here once things started really heating up. Peter immediately googled “how to get a bat out of the house,” and we quickly begin following the helpful, but cryptic set of instructions.
Windows and doors were opened, rooms were closed off and lights flipped on. Peter’s dad Jim grabbed a broom, Uncle Bud, his fishing pole, and Peter a handful of Sungold cherry tomatoes. The rapid ritual of tapping on the wooden posts and hurling projectiles at the creature above began.
In an unfortunate twist of chromatic ambiguity, the bat blended in quite swimmingly with the dark knots in the blonde wood of the vaulted cabin ceiling. Once Tiny Dracula was finally spotted, all bases of the great room were covered. Jim dangled the broom over the lofted banister, Uncle Bud whapped his rod between the far wall and the column reinforcing the middle of the room.
Peter took a more direct approach. It only took one throw to realize cherry tomatoes weren’t the best choice of weapon. Quick on his feet, he grabbed some chocolate-covered almonds off the dining room table. Thwaap-thwaap-thwaap. Aunt Jennifer was upstairs coo-ing positivity “Here, here little bat. The window is over here.”
The poor thing was probably more scared than we were (but maybe not).
After about 45 minutes, we were all near the point of total exhaustion. In a moment of slow motion, Tiny Dracula headed towards the back patio door, and with every flap of it’s tiny wings, the hope in our tired hearts grew bigger. Like the scratch of a record, real time resumed. It dove low, avoided the door and nearly missed Peter’s head. Spooked, he flew backwards and toppled into the chairs, ass first and feet above his head. After Peter’s mom, Lisa and I recovered from cry-laughing, I realized we had a long night ahead, so, naturally, I crawled to the kitchen to make us another round of pomegranate-cherry margaritas.
What started as an innocent dinner became a true example of leadership, accuracy, hand-eye coordination, and family bonding. Jim Secan, atmospheric physicist, grandfather, father, husband, and bat whisperer extraordinaire – saved the day. With one last-ditch swing from the balcony, the bat’s wing was clipped with the bristles of the broom. Down it went, wings tucked securely at its side. Bud quickly scooped Tiny Dracula up in a soft dish towel and took him outside to set him free.
Thank god we’re safe! Now what do we do about those mosquitos?