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The Little Visitor

About a week and a half ago a little visitor invited itself to spend an evening in our apartment. No, it wasn't a baby or the Tooth Fairy or a mouse or a waterbug or even a cockroach. It was far, far worse than any of those.

It was a bat. Furry, with leathery wings. In our apartment. Flying.

We were eating dinner in the living room in front of the TV, as usual. We had gotten about halfway through our chicken stirfry when something cast a shadow over the couch. I instinctively winced while Avery shouted "Oh my god it's a bat! There's a bat in here!" Before you could even blink, we had run into the bedroom and slammed the door shut. Both of us were panicking at this point: what the hell were we supposed to do now? Since Avery's mom had had a bat accidentally fly into her apartment the week before, we decided to call her for advice. Seems that we were supposed to open a window, which would require one of us to leave the room, rip the window fan out of the window, throw open the window and remove the screen. There were no volunteers. Plan B?

Plan B was to call my mother, who told us to call the landlord. Ah ha! Reinforcements. Very wise. The landlord and his wife were here in 10 minutes, armed with a basket and a rake. Problem was, we had scared the damn thing away with all of our screaming and door slamming. The bat was nowhere to be found. Avery helped them search for 30 minutes, to no avail. I stayed in the bedroom, communicating through a crack in the door. The landlord's wife told me that I "had to get over my fear." Ha! Can't we start with talking about my fear? Do we really have to skip ahead to the direct confrontation part? Guess so.

Since no one could find it, we nervously assumed that it must have gone out the way it came in (however that was&#41 and the landlord went home. We watched TV until 11:00 PM and, thinking all was safe ("It definitely would have been flying around if it was still in here…"&#41, I went to do the dishes. 5 minutes later, I happened to glance to the right just in time to see the bat come flying around the corner and into the kitchen RIGHT AT MY FACE! Goddamn, I'll never forget that image. I immediately dropped to the floor and did a duck-and-cover, screaming at the top of my lungs. "It's in here, it's in hee-ee-re!" I screamed to Avery, who was surfing the internet at the other end of the apartment. Avery came into the kitchen and signaled it was safe to run back into the bedroom. I scurried across the floor on my hands and knees. (Many days later, Avery told me that while I was in the duck-and-cover position on the floor, the bat was behind me, hanging on the doorjamb of the bathroom door, "trying to blend in." When I started to make a dash towards the bedroom, it flew after me, presumably because it thought I would be trying to get out of this damned apartment as well. Avery nobly fought it off with the rake, though, kind of like a crazed jousting match from the depths of hell.&#41

Now we were really panicking: sweating, shaking and getting a little desperate. We tried to call our downstairs neighbors. No luck. Avery snuck out of the bedroom to run downstairs and knock on our downstairs neighbors' door. No luck. We even tried calling the dog warden, hoping that the city would have some kind of Pest Control and Removal Department. No answer. (It was midnight, after all.&#41 My mother called back to report that they had just printed out some information from the internet about Bats and How to Catch Them.

Avery eventually managed to open the living room window. All right. Any minute now. An-n-ny minute. We were going to sit here in front of the bedroom with a rake all night if we had to. We both watched the window, waiting to witness the bat actually exiting the apartment. The thing was hiding again. As the minutes turned to hours, we both started getting more and more pissed. Don't these things have sonar? Aren't they supposed to sense that there's a window open. This goddamned bat. Fucking bat! We have work tomorrow! I'm still hungry! I just want to go to bed! Wah!

The silence was becoming more scary than helpful (we originally thought that having the TV on would distract the bat&#41, so Avery turned on the TV. All of a sudden he leapt up, ran over to the window and slammed it shut. The bat had somehow gotten between the windowpane and the screen, and was hanging upside down between them. Oh, this bastard of a bat was going to leave, all right. Avery shined a flashlight on it (now it was more like science, but still gross&#41 trying to get it to leave. That did nothing, so we held the lamp up to the window ("It's just turning away from the light."&#41 Hairdryer? Nothing. Rubbing two Japanese knives together to make a distasteful sound? Nothing. The only thing that made it leave (at 2:00 AM, I might add&#41 was us leaving the room.

Needless to say, I found it impossible to sleep that night. I was nervous for days afterward, thinking that any minute another one would fly into the room. My mind started thinking paranoid thoughts: was that the original bat between the window and the screen? Or was it a companion bat, coming to rescue the original bat? Did the bat actually fly outside when we left the room, or did it come back into the apartment? Was it just hiding again? Is it still in here? Will it come back? How did it get inside in the first place? I went to work the next day thinking that I'd tell my story and would get some "yeah, that happened to me once" sympathy. Instead I got, "Oh my god, that's my biggest fear!" and "Of course I've never had a bat in my house!" My mother suggested that they might be going into our apartment to roost. What a lovely thought.

My biggest fear used to be the chairlifts at ski slopes. Now my biggest fear is the chairlifts at ski slopes tied with having a disoriented, freaked-out bat flying around my apartment. I feel the urge to write into the Sassy-now-Jane magazine column: "It Happened to Me": "I never thought in a million years that I would have to worry about not just bugs, but bats — hairy, scary bats — sneaking in between the open spaces of the plastic window fan…"

Posted in Scowls.

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