Bats do not live in my house, according to the bat man. They’re not sleeping in the attic right now and they’re not going to leave this evening, come back a couple hours later with bellies full of bugs and poop on all my attic stuff. That’s not what’s going on.
Less than 24 hours ago I was bent over an exam table in the ER getting a rabies shot in my left butt cheek. Interesting fact about your butt: if you stand pigeon-toed and bend over, you can’t flex your glutes. (The nurse who was pinching my butt and stabbing me there learned that in the Service.) Anyway, a deep muscle shot is slightly more pleasant if you’re not flexing the muscle while it’s happening.
I got a shot in my right cheek, too. And in both shoulders and my right leg. That was Day Zero. There’s also a Day Three, Seven and Fourteen.
I do not have rabies.
More than 24 hours ago, Mrs. Bacon and I were watching TV when a shadow flew past the couch. “A bat!” I yelled. I may have yelled “A fucking bat!” I was definitely thinking, “There’s a fucking bat in our house! What the fuck?!”
When you have a bat in the house, it’s appropriate to throw around f-bombs like so much confetti. If you look up WTF in the dictionary, you’ll see a picture of a bat in a house.
When you have a bat in the house, it’s perfectly acceptable to panic. It’s not like having a bird in the house; birds flap around and make a lot of noise and they’re easy to find. Eventually, after following them around for a while, you’ll shoo them out a window. A bat is utterly silent when it flies and disappears when it lands. Furthermore, after landing and vanishing, it might go to sleep for 16 hours. It’s horrifying.
When you have a bat in the house, it is correct to get angry at your spouse for not knowing exactly how to get a goddamn bat out of the house.
Fact: Bats are the ugliest animals on Earth.
A lot happened before I had the bat cornered between an open door and an open window. A LOT. I knocked over some dishes drying next to the sink. Mrs. B kicked a flip flop at me. When I finally had the bat cornered, I sighed in relief. It was just a matter of time before it flew out.
I’ll never forget watching the baby bat detach from its mother. “Did. You. See. That?” I asked Mrs. B. She had not. She’d been hiding under a towel for several minutes at that point because my description of one bat becoming two was “like dialog from a horror movie.” While the mother was swooping around the confined upstairs hallway, I was at the bottom of the stairs looking up at the foulest baby animal in the universe clumsily slithering and clawing along the trim above my bedroom door.
My bedroom door.
I can’t believe I’m about to say this, but I lost track of the baby. The mother would occasionally fly down the stairs and look at me, which kind of broke my concentration. I can tell you, however, that at some point the baby was nowhere to be seen. The mother came down again and was low enough that I was able to stare her directly in the eye and deflect her out the door with a towel. I slammed the door shut with my foot and that was that.
Except, of course, that there might be a baby bat upstairs. I crept up the steps and looked around. There was literally nowhere for it to hide, and it was gone. Did it re-attach to its mom before she flew off? Probably. Did it fly out the open window at the top of the stairs? Could be. Did it fall on the ground and crawl under a bedroom door? Jesus, maybe.
So, like I said, I do not have rabies. Did the bat bite me? No. Did it scratch me or spit on me? No. Did I touch it? Not really. So why am I getting vaccinated? Because every year, one or two people in the US die of rabies and it’s always because they came in contact with a bat and didn’t even know it. I know I came in contact with a bat (sort of). Plus, rabies is absolutely horrible, 101% fatal and completely preventable. I’d feel pretty stupid if I died of rabies in a month because I didn’t feel like getting vaccinated.
There could be a baby bat under my bed right now.