Everything was so normal. Wei and I were about to go to bed for good. We had been listening to The Kleptones. I decided to go upstairs to my third-story office to fetch something, or turn something off. I walked up into the office and turned on the light and there was a bird flying around and around the room in a big circle. A bird. The room is a fairly large room but it has a middle portion that rises almost to the ceiling. The “bird” was circling around that.
I realized that it could not be a bird because of its strange wing-flap-cycle. Also, a bird would not go in circles like that. It would panic sooner. This creature was rather implacably flying around and around, right by my head, in fact right past my hand when I raised it in its path, unswerving, never breaking stride.
I saw that it must be a bat.
How the hell did a bat get in here? We live in a normal hundred-year-old house in the middle of a big city, Cleveland.
I was not scared. I have faced off with much deadlier beasts than bats, and in fact I have faced off with a bat before. My main thought was, 1) how to get him out, and 2) how to make sure no more came in.
I still do not know how he got in nor how to prevent later invasions.
I stood and watched him fly past my face over and over, and pondered what I might have on hand to catch him without hurting him.
I drew a blank.
I raised my hand, and on his next pass I swatted him.
He hit the wall behind my recording-machines table and fell to the floor. I looked down there. It’s a hard place to get to, but I could see him. He was struggling fitfully at first and then he collapsed. I figured I had probably broken the poor thing’s wing and given him a pretty good concussion too, if not worse.
I looked for something to pick him up with and something to put him into. I had a nice paper sack to put him in, but no “reaching tool” on hand. I pulled all the stuff blocking access to behind the media tables out of the way — a shotgun, a big rolled-up Dobbshead in a tube, a few other tubes, a box of art I’m supposed to return to various people.
He was now not moving. I wanted a tool to put him in the bag with… a pooper-scooper! Yes, a pooper-scooper. BUT THERE IS NO POOPER-SCOOPER HERE!
Wei was just falling asleep, but I asked her about various tools until she became awake and horrified. In the end we decided on a simple broom and dustpan. By this time she was getting pretty grossed out. Nonetheless, I handed her our little camera and asked her to videotape the process.
I crept behind the recording-devices table and bent down with the broom and dustpan and started to scoop up his little broken and withdrawn figure.
BUT HE WAS STILL ALIVE!!
He started flapping and I caught the tip of his wing between the broom and the dustpan, and lifted him over the open paper sack I had prepared and dropped him in. The innocent, blameless creature of God.
Wei was horrified. She has not had to deal with the carcasses, much less the struggling wounded bodies, of anything, whereas I have had to do that with dogs, cows, birds, squirrels, mice, cats, you name it, I’ve put it out of its misery and buried it. I’ve spent a lot of time in “the country.”
I wrapped up the bag and thought, “Shall I just KILL HIM by force, stepping on the bag, and putting it in the trash, all done, clean and neat, or should I let Nature take its own wise course, by dumping this crippled thing out of the bag onto my lawn?
I did the latter. I tumped the bag out into the back yard and let the pathetic little huddled-up insectivore either live or die. If I know my neighborhood cats, and the fate of our briefly-adopted baby bird Jay 2PayZ,* that little bat is in some happy puddy-tat’s tummy by now. On the other hand he might be flitting through the neighborhood again, killing and eating bugs using his uncanny radar. Or he might be pulling himself painfully across the yard with two broken wing/arm-bones. I don’t know.
I let Nature take its course — after I batted it with my hand and put it outside.
Could I have saved the bat by capturing it, imprisoning it in a cage, nursing and feeding it, turning it into a pet?
I am not that cruel. I will not do that to even a dog or a cat these days, that’s how I feel about keeping animals. A cow? For slaughter? Sure. A goat? For slaughter? No prob. A bat? Or a poodle? As a pet? I just don’t want to be part of the perversion of those creatures any more.
I will be interested to see if there is any sign of the bat tomorrow. If it’s able to fly then it’s probably fine. If it’s not, then Rainy, the neighbor’s cat, probably tortured it slowly and then killed it and left parts of it in her owner’s house-slipper.
Nature. The Circle of Life.
Whatcha gonna do? Eh? Whatcha gonna do?
I am sitting in that third story office again and I hear things throwing themselves against the windows, even though the curtains are drawn and there is no way in.
No way in. I checked. That was the first thing I did, before dealing with the invader. And then afterwards I checked again.
I have no idea how he got in, none at all. As far as I know, his secret ingress is still there and his brothers and sisters can still come in and lay eggs in my hair, a la Deputy Barney Fife’s worry about bats. I can find no hole. But then I am not a bat. Bats have their own kind of secret smarts, obviously, and we cannot pretend to know their tricks.
* A louder tale to be told by an idiot in due course.
The very short video:
The (much longer) audio:
[Flying bat image via Shutterstock.com.]