The Bat Saga

Ned Hardy, Editor-In-Chief

Bats are great, normally. They’re a lot of fun to think about and even more fun to see outside: they fly around, eat bugs, have an exciting nightlife, and really just love being themselves.

Bats are not so great, however, when one of them is living in your house and you can’t find it and it may or may not be rabid but you’re leaning towards the “Mom, it’s definitely rabid” side of the issue.

For my family, it all started in mid-October during the second presidential debate. While listening to the complaints of voters who were somehow “undecided” a mere three weeks before the election, my mind began to wander. As I gazed into the kitchen, I noticed a dark shape flying towards me.

“How strange,” I thought. “I wonder if that’s a bat.”

It was a bat.

As Candy Crowley moderated, my mom, dad, and I jumped up and began to scream. Comments included gems like, “How is there a bat in the house?!” and, “Mom, get under this blanket!” Expletives abounded. Aren’t presidential debates fun?

We raced to open the front door and chased the bat around the house for a bit, which was sort of like playing a friendly game of tag against a potentially-dangerous winged mammal. At one point, my dog tried to eat it. The bat finally landed a foot away from the open door but proceeded to pivot, rocketing towards us once again. Eventually, the bat flew down the hall and disappeared. We searched the room it seemed to have entered, but found no sign of our furry friend.

Thoroughly frightened, we went to sleep. In the morning, we called All About Bats, Inc. to see if there was anything we could do. The company advised us to create “safe places” by keeping our bedroom doors shut at all times, explaining that the average bat typically dies within a week if trapped inside a house. However, we were cautioned that if one of us were to wake up with the bat in our room, getting the rabies vaccine would be highly advised, as it’s hard to tell whether or not you’ve been bitten and/or attacked by a bat while sleeping.

Days passed. Our home became a war zone, and we began to live in fear of the bat. As the sun fell each evening, so did our spirits. It was a dark time.

However, the novelty of   being held hostage in our own house soon began to wear off. On Friday, after four days of not seeing the bat, my parents decided to loosen up.

“There’s nothing to worry about, Ned,” they said. “Either the bat left the same way it came in, or it died somewhere in the house.”

The next day, after much convincing, I agreed to open my door — bat be damned. I felt like a free man. Life appeared to be back to normal. Visions of the creature that had once consumed my mind started to fade.

At 2:35 a.m. on Sunday evening, after a particularly rigorous homework session, I went to bed. While lying in the dark, I heard a slight scratching noise above my head. Intrigued, I turned on my light and looked up. There it was, on a bulletin board right above my pillow, less than a foot above my head.

The bat.

I jumped out of bed, slammed my door shut, and ran into my parents’ room.

“Mom! Dad! Mom! Dad!” I screamed.

“What? What’s going on?” said my mom, sitting up.

“Just let me freak out for a second!” I responded. “The bat—it’s back—above my bed.”

“You’ve got to be kidding,” said my dad.

I wasn’t kidding.

Indeed, at 3:00 a.m. on Oct. 22, 2012, the universe had decided to let us have another go at Trying To Catch A Bat Late At Night. A combination of adrenaline, fear, and fatigue prompted me to find a tennis racquet and a shoebox. I was ready to kill or be killed.

I asked my mom whether swearing at the bat would be appropriate. She sighed, reluctantly agreeing to my request. Ecstatic, I stood a few feet away from the motionless bat and called it a number of unprintable expletives. If there’s one thing I’ve learned, bats tend to bring out the worst in people. They also tend to bring out the rabies in people!

I never did get the chance to take a swing at my winged nemesis with the ol’ tennis racquet. Instead, my parents put double-sided duct tape on the end of a broom, and we trapped the bat and brought it outside.

In the morning, All About Bats, Inc. arrived to take the now-dead bat away for rabies testing. I went to school fully traumatized, believing that I had been bitten and contracted rabies. I couldn’t eat breakfast. I could hardly speak. My hand shook while taking a physics test.

But the test results came back negative. The bat wasn’t rabid. I wasn’t rabid. Today, I feel great.

But I think I’ll pass on coming over to watch Batman.