Tuesday, July 30, 2013

dynamite's in the belfry, playing with the bats

Note from JPiC:
In case you missed the beginning, read fly on, little wing and its follow-up, i'm fixing a hole where the rain gets in. Then you'll be ready to read — what I hope — is the final chapter.

Are you kidding me? Are you fucking kidding me???

On Thursday evening, I was sitting on the den sofa, dozing. I was half-paying attention to the pathetic Phillies as they limped their way through the final game of what would be a series sweep by the St. Louis Cardinals. Mrs. Pincus was in the third floor office, either answering business-related emails or playing Candy Crush... or a little of both. As my eyelids slowly sealed me off from the television, the room lights and the world around me... something flew an inch or so above my head. Something unnervingly familiar.

My wife heard me emit (as my people call it) a geschrei (Yiddish for "shriek"). From one floor above me, she knew that sound could only mean one of three things:
  1. The Phillies had committed an amateurish error or had just lost another consecutive game
  2. I was experiencing the excruciating discomfort of another kidney stone
  3. There was some sort of wildlife critter in our house
Mrs. P briefly analyzed the tone and volume of my cry and settled for choice number three. She was correct. She stood sheepishly at the top of the stairs and peered down, just in time to see me feverishly slam the door to the guest room. I was hunched over, hands on knees, huffing and puffing like a 51-year-old, out-of-shape freight train.

"What was that?," Mrs. P, asked, knowing full well what it was.

"A bat! Another fucking bat!," I replied, slowly regaining regularity to my breathing, "I have it trapped in the guest room. The door is shut, so I'll deal with it tomorrow."

"TOMORROW?!?," my wife protested, "I am not sleeping in this house with a bat flying around."

"Well, what should I do?," I questioned rhetorically aloud, not really wanting a list of suggestions. When the previous "bat episodes" occurred, I handled them myself. Now, echoing the words of Danny Glover in Lethal Weapon, I'm getting too old for this shit. I was content in having the bat sequestered in an 8' x 8' room until I was fully rested and could think clearly. Mrs. P felt otherwise.

My wife suggested that we call her father. I considered that adding a less-than-agile, 75-year-old to the mix would not be a wise decision. I nixed the proposal. She next suggested that I call the police.

"Yeah!," I thought, as a wave of relief flowed over me, "The police! We pay taxes! I'm calling the police!" I decided that my bat-killing days were behind me and I would leave the next ones to someone better equipped and with better training. Art school didn't teach stuff like this.

As my spouse watched the shadows flicker from beneath the closed guest room door, I dialed up the local law enforcement/animal apprehension bureau. After several recorded prompts, my call was answered by a live dispatcher. I hesitantly asked if this was the right place to call for my particular situation and I was assured that they do, indeed, handle such ... such ... natural inconveniences. The friendly dispatcher took my name and address and told me that an officer would be at my house shortly. Before he ended the call, he told me to "try to stay away from the bat." I told him I had no intention of going anywhere near it. We watched the street for the calvary to arrive from a second-floor window, just two rooms from the imprisoned, airborne mammal.

A township police cruiser pulled up and parked across my driveway. I ran downstairs and greeted the officer as he walked towards my front porch. He smiled and listened as I babbled about my winged intruder. I directed him up the stairs to the guest room. He pulled some official-looking gloves onto his hands as I wished him luck and bolted downstairs. I anticipated gunshots and the sound of exploding mirrors and bullet-impacted furniture. Instead, we heard a little bit of clattering and some tinkling of glass. Then the officer cracked the door slightly and asked for a large towel. When he opened the door to make his request, the bat escaped and flew across the hall into the den. A second request — this time for a step ladder — came from the officer from behind the closed den door. I ran down to the basement and returned with a small ladder and a beach towel that my wife said she wished never to see again. Through a minimal opening of the door, I passed the items to the officer. With the door slightly ajar, I winced as I observed the policeman daintily ascend the ladder, delicately unfurl the towel and trap the offending beast — who, by now, was perched in an uppermost corner of the room — within its folds. The officer cradled the small, towel-enveloped being in his gloved hands and carried it downstairs. Once outside, he snapped the towel open and the bat flew off into the night. I received the towel with a waiting trash can.

My wife and I thanked the officer many times over. He smiled and muttered something about "duty" and "most excitement of the night." Then he jotted down my name and address in a small, spiral-bound notebook and jogged back to his vehicle.

My wife cautiously climbed the stairs leading to the second floor and keenly scanned the den and the guest room. She meticulously closed every window and checked the already-closed ones. On the other hand, I went right to bed and made a mental note: "Next bat, call cops."

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