Last Wednesday night I was hunkered down in my living room, watching a late-night August hockey game, when the peace was disturbed by the arrival of an Indiana bat.
He zoomed overhead, looped around the room, fluttered into the dining room and made the downstairs loop complete by sailing into the utility room, re-emerging into the hallway and back out for another lap of the living room. I had no clue what I was going to do.
He made another run, almost baiting me with his precision flying, missing lamps and the chandelier by fractions of inches.
By the next time I had my size 12 blue sneaker ready to swat him down. But his internal radar avoided that like some intergalactic missile as he made another pass over my head and my lunging sneaker.
Making a dash for the kitchen, I pulled a broom from the pantry and awaited his next attack. Here he came, but this time as I attempted to swat him down, he veered right, into the pantry and down into the basement. I assumed that’s where he had come from, somehow making entry into a 90-year-old house that offers a number of idiosyncrasies of its own.
After that adventure, I’d come home each night, cautiously peek into the dark corners of my rooms and look for an insectivore lurking therein. After a couple of nights without another air raid, I’d completely forgotten about my intruder and lapsed back into the safety of my recliner.
Ah, but at a bit before 1 a.m. Monday, just as I was getting ready for bed, the bat returned from hibernation, swooping through the living room to buzz me where I sat like he was part of the Indy 500 flyover.
Now before we get too far, I know the Indiana bat is an endangered species and all, so don’t go all nature lover on me. I kept the back door open for an hour, trying to veer him outside, but that just didn’t work. And besides, all bets are off when there’s one in your house. It’s like shooting a home intruder. Justifiably malicious.
Monday morning was a little different than the earlier sortie he engineered. This time, my bedroom door was open and I’d see him swing in there and swoop back out down the hallway and into the utility room. When he failed to re-emerge, I got my chance.
Armed with my dollar broom from Dollar Tree, I peeked into the utility room and, found the bat tucked into the corner doing his hanging-upside trick. Reaching with the broom handle over a pile of laundry and an ironing board I haven’t used since 2016, I poked the bear -- I mean the bat -- and he started buzzing the room, circling four or five times before I could get my bearings and my timing.
I swung once and tipped him. Foul ball. Swung again and missed. Strike two.
So I choked up, as any good hitter would do. As if the voice of Mel Gibson of “Signs” were whispering in my ear, I was hearing “Swing away, Merrill, swing away” as I swatted at him again.
This time I connected, sending my unwanted guest into a spin atop clean laundry heaped on the dryer. I knocked him to the floor with the broom, grabbed a Kroger bag and scooped his ugliness up, tossing him out the back door.
He was gone the next morning, either recovering his senses or becoming a nocturnal snack for another of nature’s creatures.
Peace and sanity restored, but leaving me with a new Clue ...
Harried homeowner. In the utility room. With a broom.