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Friday, August 12, 2011


August is Bat Month.
At least it's considered that by some slightly batty friends, all of whom, including myself, have had Close Encounters of the Bat Kind. Bats, like many college students, pick up a lot of steam in summer and right about now engage in swarming behavior, which basically means that they fly around in large groups dive bombing everything in sight (differing from the college kids because the bats are not bombed). 
And since they can weasel their way through the smallest cracks, well, you get the drift.
Merlin the Bat Cat
My cat Merlin undoubtedly holds a dubious history within the local environmental department, having caught eight (count 'em) bats in mid-flight and presented them to her favorite human, still alive, of course. One of the last times I took the living critter in a mayonnaise jar (more on that later) for rabies testing (it wasn't) and the officer, on hearing my street address, said jovially, "Oh, yes, you're the lady with the bat situation." 
I was a situation?
That honor should belong to a friend's mother, who I will refer to as M. Years ago a bunch of us were on the porch when a blood boiling scream came from the house interior, and we looked up just in time to see M running through the dining room with a solitary bat flying circles around her.
Bats in that house were a customary enough sight so that the family had its act together. Another night we were again hunkered down on the porch (it is a cool spot) and spotted, well, you know what we saw. There was no cell phone (this was back in the Dark Ages) so we slithered out of the house and went to a pay phone and my friend C called her father.
The conversation went something like --
Pause. "It's me." 
Pause.  "I'm fine, I am just down the street because there's a bat in the house. You have to catch it."
We ran back to the house in time to spot B, C's brother and M's son, bolting down stairs in his official Bat Fighting Gear: a vintage pith helmet over which he had thrown mosquito netting, a plunger, a mop and a large, empty mayonnaise jar. (Now you get it?)
After a lot of thumping and fumbling and thwacking, the unfortunate bat was ensconced in the aforementioned jar (holes on the top so it could breathe) until we could go to a nearby park and set it free, far from the house.
But somehow the jar ended up in the trash, and the following morning the creature had managed to escape and was making its way up the side of the barrel. 
More screaming.
The most recent escapades occurred about a week ago, the first at E's house -- B's daughter and C's niece. This one was flapping around her bedroom until she managed to shoo it away.  Meanwhile A (who is related to this motley via someone named Pinhead -- don't ask) reported that there were bats "flapping and crapping" at the church where she works. 
Yes, this is one batty bunch. 
I'm keeping an eye on Merlin, too, since Bat Love Potion Number 9 might put me over the edge.
Amen, and pass the mayonnaise jar.

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