It was Friday night. Johnny Cash died and Dennis and I were looking forward to heading out to a downtown club where various bands would be doing a tribute to the Man in Black.
Because we are getting old, preparation for going out on a Friday night after 9pm includes taking a nap. I took a short nap, as Maggie, the Hound from the Pound, feels that I, like she, napped all day and now it's time to PLAY! I was a little irritable but I decided to go ahead and take my bath. I was almost finished with the jungle that was the hair growth on my right leg when I heard an odd sound from upstairs.
The sound was loud, a bit high pitched and followed by the sounds of many footfalls, like maybe a 190 pound man was running for his life. This alarmed me enough to put the machete down, grab my towel and go see what the matter might be.
"Honey? Everything okay up there?"
Dennis replied, "There's a...*shriek*...a bird...*pant gasp*...flying around up...oh Jesus! *stomp stomp stomp stomp stomp*...here!!!"
I took a couple steps back, away from the stairs, eyes turned upward. "Are you sure it's a bird?" I asked. I must admit, somewhere in my mind, I seriously considered just closing my door and letting him work it out on his own. "Turn off your ceiling fans so it doesn't get hit, okay?"
"I think it's...ohfuck...a bird..."
".........How big is it?"
"Fucken big enough!" This last followed by the sounds of more running.
"Do you want me to come up?" I asked. After all, he's my soulmate and stuff and I should not close my door and pretend he's not fighting for his life and home up there, right?
But, instead of answering, he came down the stairs, ever looking over his shoulder as if the killer avian might just follow him down. His face was red from all the running and somewhere along the line, he'd skinned his knee. He was sweaty and breathing really hard.
Huddled at the bottom of the stairs, we surmised how it might have gotten in. We discussed whether it was really a bird. We wondered if maybe Grace (his clawless cat) would catch it and what sort of mess that might make.
Once, I had a bird in my apartment. My sister and I were able to throw a sheet over it, catch it, and take it back outside without harming a feather. Having shared this story with Dennis, we went back upstairs together.
I was standing by the hallway closet near the stairs as Dennis went room to room to find this mystery dive bombing bird. Grace huddled near my feet and I assumed she was there because she was pretty freaked out. Dennis is not one to run around the house shrieking and waving his arms like a maniac on fire. Grace must have been traumatized having been a witness to her Master's sudden change of personality.
"I can't find it," he told me. This did not bring me any comfort as I would rather having it flying about and KNOW where it is than to think it gone only to find it unexpectedly while I'm peeing or something equally vulnerable. Then he asked the question that would forever change our lives and mar us for eternity.
"She's right here in the closet...."
Gracie has it! In the closet!! And I am as far from that friggin closet as I can get in record time. I think I took one large leap and I was 10 feet away. I was all about getting the hell away from the killer avian.
The first wave of the willies pass over me and I have a momentary return to sanity. This moment was all I needed to think to get the flashlight. I return to the closet with said flashlight to find Dennis seriously contemplating moving stuff out of the closet and removing the bird with a towel, a broom, and a dustpan.
Grace seems utterly disgusted with our interference with her little science project and slinks off to the dining room. I shine the flashlight to the lump in the back corner. The second wave of the willies pass over me and I turned to Dennis to say, "that is not a bird. THAT - is a bat!".
We wig out for a few moments, eyes never leaving the lump in the closet that is now Enemy Number One. It does not move. It does not twitch, nor does it bleed or make a sound. Maybe it's dead, we both think. That would make things a little easier, now wouldn't it?
He takes this moment to explain these strange turn of events. He was in the dining room, reading his email when he noticed Grace circling the room with a fast clip. He thought maybe a moth or something had gotten in. Then he felt the flutter of wings near his face, hence the first shriek of "OHJESUS" *stomp stomp stomp stomp stomp* I'd heard while clearing the jungle from my leg.
Dennis starts moving things out of the closet. I hold the flashlight on the bat and it still has not stirred. The closet is deep and it has shelving and no door. Dennis kneels down and tosses a towel toward the unmoving lump. He misses by several inches but still the bat does not move. Time for the broom and dustpan. Except when he touches the broom to it, we hear a clicky hissy sound and I scream and he yells, "OHSHIT!".
He stops with the broom thing and we laugh because we believe not only do we have a bat in the closet, we also have a clicky hissy bug.
Back to the bat with the broom. But this time it DOES move and guess what??? That clicky hissy sound?? That's not some bug in the closet; it's coming from one very alive bat! I scream and he screams and we scurry on hands and knees away from the closet.
We are SO brave.
The bat comes OUT of the closet and starts flying all over. We are ducking and running and screaming like school girls at the sight of a snake, falling over each other in our need to be NOT where the bat is. The bat flies into the living room and we close the two doors that will isolate him to that room. Skulking and scurrying, we open the windows and the screens. Our hope is he'd rather be out than in. We come downstairs and try not to think about the bat.
We fail miserably and trudge reluctantly back up the stairs. The bat is now clinging to the mini blind, his wings spread out and Dennis says something about "big rat with wings" for the hundredth time. "Rats are much bigger than this bat," I keep reminding him.
The bat is SO close to the open window, so close to it's freedom and the end of it's reign of terror against our household. I talk Dennis into using a box to cover the bat. Then, we can just slide the box down to the open window and out it'll go! Right?
The bat disliked the box so much, rather than fly into it, it crawled OUT of it as I was moving it downward. Again with the screaming and shrieking and running in all directions as the bat takes flight again. By now, Dennis has apologized to me for being so afraid almost as many times as he's referred to the bat as a "big rat with wings".
Again the bat lights and this time it's in the bedroom. The new plan is to get it on another flat surface and throw a sheet over it. I hold the sheet in front of me like some protective shield as Dennis pokes at the bat with a broom. It flies and Dennis runs, all skinned knees and elbows past me into the bathroom. The bat lands on the floor, menacingly spreading out it's wings to look as big and scary as it can for a creature weighing less than a pack of cigarettes.
I'm ready with the sheet, not having moved since the blur that is Dennis went rushing past me. I am about to launch the sheet over the bat when Dennis decides to pull me into the safety of the bathroom with him. I believe he thought I was paralyzed with fear. I screamed and the bat AGAIN took flight, this time right at us into the bathroom. I think it was getting sick of the screaming and running. I dove onto the bed, Dennis ran the other way into the hall. The bat dove around my head and I was laughing/crying/screaming and I ripped out of the bedroom and took cover in the bathtub. I sat there for a very long time, laughing hysterically.
By this time, Dennis and I were just exhausted. It was too late to go out now as we'd both need to shower again and the bat was holding Dennis' clothes hostage in his bedroom. We closed off the bedroom and headed downstairs to my apartment. The windows and screens in his room were open. The lights were all off. The cat couldn't get in, neither to eat the bat nor to jump out the windows.
We slept in my apartment. The next morning, a thorough yet guarded search of the upstairs bedroom revealed no bat. Victory was ours!