Tuesday, October 31, 2006

where's Miss Fairweather when you need her?

I was over at the SP's house last night. He was installing a counter in the kitchen, I was eating a sandwich in the living room, away from the noise and sawdust.

My cat is currently residing at the SP's. You Rudy-fans out there will be glad to know he's settled in very well; he's got the run of the house and the SP's really good with cats. Rudy's earning his keep by diminishing the cricket population in the house: the basement is populated with these scary prehistoric-looking monstrosities that look startlingly like the bugs from Starship Troopers. My fierce fat neutered killer lapcat likes to pull the legs off them and bat their writhing carapaces around on the hardwood floors until they expire. Eat your heart out, Casper Van Dien.

But last night Rudy ran up against something he wasn't prepared for. He was nosing around the edge of the couch when suddenly he jumped back and something flew up in the air. I thought at first it was that pair of socks he'd been tossing around, but the thing went up and up and kept circling. It made no sound whatsoever, and neither did Rudy: he hopped up on the couch beside me and tracked its laps around the ceiling.

I confess I yelped a couple of times--part startlement and part nervous laughter. My SP had warned me that bats got into the house sometimes. This was a good-sized bat, too, about six or seven inches in wingspan. It's a freaky thing, the way they swoop and dive at you but veer off at the last second--this little dark shadow making no noise in the corner of your vision.

My SP's house is old; it has doors between every room. I grabbed Rudy and shuffled him into the dining room and closed the pocket doors so the bat would stay in the front room. I even opened the front door, hoping the bat would find its own way out--but alas, it was too disoriented and could only circle. I went and fetched my Sparring Partner, who has experience with this sort of thing. He said the only way to deal with it was to chase it around until it was exhausted and then try to scoop it out the door.

We proceeded to do this, with a broom and a fluttering newspaper. The bat tried to land a couple of times--on the doorjam, on top of the curtains, but we routed it out and made it fly until it finally collapsed on the mantle. I actually knocked it out of the air a couple times, which made me feel bad because I didn't want to hurt it, but it only collided with the newspaper and landed on the futon, so I don't think it was too badly hurt. When it landed on the mantle the SP grabbed his welding gloves from beside the woodstove, and nudged the bat into a five-gallon paint bucket (the kindling from said paint bucket was unceremoniously dumped on the floor). The bat was too tired to fly by this time but kept eluding him behind the knickknacks on the fireplace, then climbed down the wall beside the mantle. It was fascinating watching the little bugger climb, with his little clawed toes and webby legs.

The SP nudged it into the paint bucket and then leapt for the front door, bounded down the porch stairs and deposited der fledermaus somewhere in the wild suburban night while I doubled over laughing in mingled humor and relief.

Ok, yes, they're small and easily damaged, and afraid of humans. But they're just plain freaky, the way they swoop and make no sound. It's bad enough having something flying at your head and know it's armed with teeth and claws and habitually carry rabies....

Now I'm thinking I shall have to get the cat vaccinated, dammit. More money down the drain.


Shara said...

My college impov team found a bat on the sidewalk. The boys "eeked" and ran. Us girls nudged the little thing onto a notebook and deposited it in the bushes so it wouldn't get trampled. (We were very careful not to touch it.) I think they're cute, but probably less cute flying at one's head. Hey, but very appropriate for the holiday!

Anonymous said...

Yup, removing bats from buildings can be heartbreaking. Once I swatted one with a yardstick, shearing off a wing in the process. Of course the victim had to be euthanized. Didn't I feel about two inches tall?

Glad to hear that Rudy's doing well. Recently a big grey tom adopted us. We call him Phantom; hungriest critter you ever did see.