Hi there. Good morning, how are you? 

So, you may have noticed that I’m walking kind of funny. I’m limping just a tiny bit, favoring my left leg like an old man who suffers the aches of age but who desperately doesn’t want to show it. 

I admit it, though, I’ve got pain in what I call the charley horse position because I have no idea what that leg muscle is called. It’s a battle wound, this pain. It’s the result of a Melvillian war between man and beast and I wear it with pride. 

OK, that’s a lie. I wear it with embarrassment because no matter how I try to spin this tale, the sad truth is that I got my butt kicked by a bat. It wasn’t even a big bat, by bat standards. He was just a little guy, but quick? I hope to tell. 

How the little bloodsucker got into the house is a mystery. All I know was that at about 5 a.m. Friday, as I wandered the house in my usual insomniatic daze, that flying rat came whipping out of the darkness and went right at my face, probably on account of me being so handsome. 

Startled by this assassin-like attack on my person, I did what all defense-minded men will do when faced with an unexpected threat: I said “What th…” and promptly tripped over an office chair, knocking it over and falling head first into a house plant. 


The war was on. 

Now listen up, animal lovers. Bats are among my favorite creatures on earth. Considering the hours they keep, I consider them my spirit animals. I definitely have no interest in harming a bat. 

But I also have two cats I didn’t want getting bitten (I didn’t have to worry; those cowards fled for cover almost immediately) and a wife I didn’t want woken up. Plus, the way I figure it, by using some form of bat judo to fling me into that house plant, Mr. Bat had started the fight. 

The bat drew first blood, Col. Trautman. Not me. 

So, by the time I pulled myself up and scraped the potting soil out of my ears, the bat was in the kitchen, flitting about in those crazy parabolas bats like so much. It would swoop this way and that way, always seeming to go straight for my face before darting off in a different direction. 

At this point, I was still optimistic that this matter could be resolved without further shame and plant abuse. 


“I shall open the door and simply invite the bat to leave the premises!” I thought, inspired. 

I flung the door open, but the bat basically said ‘nah, bruh’ and went off for a tour of the living room, instead. Strategically speaking, this was a wise move on the bat’s part. The living room is full of all kinds of obstacles, including about 900 plants that my wife has hanging all over the #@!#!!# place. If you’re a flying rodent trying to wear down your human adversary, the living room is a good choice in battle grounds. 

“Verily, there is no need of further violence,” I declared, finger upraised to the heavens. “I shall procure a net, simply swoop it down over the critter and escort him outdoors!” 

So, off I dashed to the basement to dig out a comically large fishing net — it has a pole that expands to six feet and a basket a foot-and-a-half wide. Why with that sucker in hand, I could probably catch a whole colony of bats. 

I had to fight about six spiders to get to the net, but those were easy scraps compared to what awaited upstairs. 

Back to do battle in the living room, I donned gloves, a hoodie to protect my scalp and sunglasses (because I couldn’t find the regular #@!#!!# safety glasses) to protect my eyes. Safety first, people! 


At the sight of me, the cats, who had already fled once due to my mishap with the office chair, went scrambling all over again, looking for even deeper cover. They wouldn’t be seen again for about 12 hours. Natural hunters, my butt. 

The bat was now swooping freely between the living room and my wife’s sewing room, or whatever that vast space full of weird gadgets is called. At one point, it began flying in neat, tight circles, almost as if to mock my lack of bat-catching prowess. 

But by now, I was growing confident once again that I could capture the creature with little effort. With the bat flying in circles the way he was, all I had to do was insert the net in his path and he would fly right into it. Why, it’s simple physics! What could go wrong? 

I lunged to get my net into position. It would have worked, too, but some fool (I think it was me) had left a paper bag lying in the middle of the floor. My foot fell on the bag and my leg went sliding out behind me, causing me to perform one of those cheerleader-style splits that always makes us guys inwardly cringe. One of my legs went north, the other went south and the pain was exquisite. 

“#@!#!!#,” I cried, and I meant it. 

The bat, tittering wildly (I assume) made for the living room again, swooping so close to my head that I could hear the silky whisper of its wings. It flew into a cluster of hanging plants, no doubt knowing that I wouldn’t risk smashing those plants with the net even if I might want to. Probably wouldn’t risk it, anyway. 


I took a few more swipes at it with the net, but they were halfhearted swipes. I was winded, my groin hurt, and I could barely see because the #@!#!!# sunglasses were steaming up. On top of all that, there were breakable objects at every turn; dainty things I had never really noticed before, but which now seemed extra huge and extra fragile. 

The bat kept on swooping, absolutely free to dart at my eyeballs without consequence, while I pondered my next move — you read all these dismissive (and vaguely snooty) tips on how to catch a bat that gets into your house. 

“Why, just wait for the creature to land, my good man. Sneak up behind it and trap it with a colander or some other suitable accoutrement. I dare say, tis not rocket science.” 

Thank you, Steve Irwin. But what do you do with a bat who obviously went to combat fighting school and just refuses to land at all? 

I’ll tell you what you do. You knock over a bunch of lamps, bang both shins on the edge of a coffee table, invent nine new swear words, and just keep swinging that net even though by now, the bat is openly laughing at you and probably thinking that he’s going to live here forever just because it’s so gosh darn fun. 

Mock me all you want, bat fans. But the fact is that with one final, desperate sweep of the net, I did manage to snare the bat right out of the air. It wasn’t an elegant move, but it had worked. I captured my prey long enough to look down on it as it struggled against the net webbing. 


“Why, it’s just a wee little thing,” I muttered. “It’s not a monster with the three-foot wingspan after all. It’s so tiny, in fact, that it could easily slip out through the gaps in the…” 

Off flew the bat, presumably cackling even louder now after pretending to be captured. I just stood there, panting in the living room and glaring at the net that had betrayed me. The thing was clearly meant for massive trout and salmon — fish that I would never catch — and no use at all at bat wrangling. 

“#@!#!!#,” I said one more time because, really, it just summed up my thoughts so well. 

The battle waged a little longer, but in the end, the bat showed mercy. Clearly exhausted from all the gut-busting laughter, it retreated into a crevice behind a toy sewing machine set up on a high shelf. There, it appeared to go to sleep and flew no more. 

With help from a cranky and bleary-eyed wife (some people are so delicate, they can’t even sleep through outright war in their living rooms), the bat was plucked out of the crevice, swept into a jar and escorted to the backyard. 

By the way, did you know that bats can’t take flight from the ground? Neither did I, but somehow this one eventually managed to get on his way.  I imagine these days, he’s hanging out at some bat club, doing a stand-up comedy act about his utter humiliation of a human.  


And good for him, I say.  I’m walking with a slight limp and my cats no longer respect me, it’s true, but all things considered, no real harm was done.  

So, after surviving the Battle of the Bat 2022, I got to chatting with super animal controller stud Rich Burton about it. He had no critique of my bat handling skills, thank God, but he did offer one bit of unsettling news: “Where there is one bat,” he told me, “there are many.” 

To which I replied: “#@!#!!#” and started sleeping with my motorcycle helmet on. 

When he’s not doing battle with the animal kingdom, Mark LaFlamme is a crime reporter for the Sun Journal.

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