Out here at the farm, in the sticks, the boondocks, there’s usually one thing you can count on to be lovely. And that’s an evening of rain.
But, like the incidence of rain itself, rural Australia is a fickle mistress.
Listening to the storm outside, I was happily holed up in my bedroom, watching back seasons of the American Bachelor (it’s not sad!) when I received a text from Charlie in the living room.
“Is your door closed?”
I panicked, because this type of random, enigmatic question is exactly what Charlie does when he doesn’t want me to panic.
“YES WHY WHAT IS HAPPENING?”
There was a very long pause while I stared intently at the three dots flashing on messenger.
“There’s a bat inside.”
It must be a joke! A bat? A bat. A BAT. I typed furiously back.
“Is this a joke? It IS NOT funny.”
Dot dot dot.
“It’s not a joke. There’s a bat.”
Unable to restrain myself, I opened my door a crack and said, hopefully, “Is this a joke?”
At that moment I saw something small and black looping swiftly in a figure-eight around the room.
“Can you see it?”
Shit, yes, I could see it! There was no denying it now! It was flying EVERYWHERE. It wouldn’t stay in one spot! How were we meant to…I don’t know…throw a sheet over it and smuggle it outside?
After many, some might say, pointless, recriminations about who left the front door open for too long, Charlie bravely crossed the living room floor and opened our sliding doors. Within ten minutes or so, he declared our living room a bat-free zone. With the panic dying down, I decided to cognitively rehearse should I ever encounter a bat again. They’re just puppies with wings, I told myself, as I googled how critical they are to our ecosystem.
Some days later, the horrific bat incident behind us, Charlie and I were about to go to sleep. Tucked up safely into bed, I heard the comforting pitter-patter of rain on the roof. How lovely-
“ARGH!” I screamed and immediately dived under my weighted blanket. Yes! It was the BAT! In our bedroom! It flew right through our bedroom door and dived around the room! The nerve!
“Don’t move,” Charlie said soothingly. Then he added, less soothingly: “Just…um…stay under the blanket.”
“Is it on me?” I yelled from beneath the cover of darkness. “Is it on my feet?”
“It’s…just stay under the blanket. Don’t move. Just stay right where you are.”
I heard Charlie get up and after several soul-destroying minutes, he returned to the bed.
I peeked out from the blanket. “Really?”
“How did it get back in?”
At that moment, Charlie chose to tell the truth, which is commendable, but I would never have blamed him for lying. “I don’t think it ever left.”
We did consider finally selling up the funny farm and accepting ourselves as the city folk we really are. Yet we realised it was likely that the rain confused the poor bat, which hid in our chimney flue and ended up inside somehow.
One quick trip from my local pest man later, armed with mesh for the roof and chimney, and a really tall ladder, fixed the problem.