"There is a bat in the hallway."
He announced it matter of factly to the teacher, and my ears perked up immediately. Bat? No, the kid must be joking. He's told me sort of fantastic stories before, I don't believe this one. Bats. I've never seen a bat in the hallway. I've never see a bat. Okay scratch that, I have seen live bats-thousands of them in fact, fluttering in the entrance of Carlsbad Caverns on one of our road trips. But here? Na. Never.
In 18 years that I have worked in schools, I have seen a deer run across a playground full of children, mother bears with cubs cross the field, coyotes hang along the edge of the grounds, but never bats.
Still, I couldn't resist looking into the hall. Bats? What's he talking about? There's no bats here. I walked around the foyer, looking down the halls and about to walk back to class, I turned and something black caught my eye. Something....flappy. Something BAT-LIKE.
I stood still, watching in horror as it gently fluttered across the foyer and into the boy's bathroom, where a grade 10 student had just entered moments before.
Close the door! Trap the bat! Oh but...wait! Warn the student before something flies around and scares him!
"Uh.... Mike? A bat just flew in the bathroom. When you're done, just make sure you close the door, okay?"
Hysterical laughter ensued. Mike obviously thought this was funnier than I did.
"Don't let it touch you! Bats bite! They carry rabies!"
The bathroom secured, I ran to the office.
"So, um, there is a bat in the bathroom. Like a live, flying, furry BAT." Nobody looked up.
"Oh there's a net behind the door there. You'll need it."
"Wait," I recoiled in horror. "You don't mean...I can't. Catch it? Are you kidding?"
"Well someone has to. You have it cornered. Go ahead, you can do it."
And this is how I was nominated as the bat removal person. I'm such a sucker. Do I look like someone who corrals wildlife? I mean sure, I DID participate in the rescue of a Mama duck and her ducklings awhile ago, but that was different. They weren't flying.
I stood outside the bathroom door, clutching a long handled net that looked more like something I'd catch butterflies with, and an atlas that I happened to grab from the staff room.
Taking a deep breath, I stepped into the bathroom. The bat was fluttering in circles above the stalls.
Okay, let's see if...DAMN! Wait! Try...wow, these things are faster than I thought! No! Stay over there! Don't come near me! Don't...!
The bat made a dive for my head.
Flailing my arms in protest, I had visions of being attacked by a rabid bat.
Swing, duck, cringe in horror..
"IS SO NOT.."
Swing, duck, scream..
"PART OF MY.."
Swing again...oh, almost had it that time!
Finally, I accidentally smacked the bat with the side of the net and it fluttered to the ground.
I clamped the over the bat as it fluttered on the ground, slid the book under the open part of the net, and took the whole thing out the front doors.
"Okay, bat, off you go."
Shake, shake. Why wouldn't the bat go? What the..?
The bat was tangled in the net. Squeaking, like it was dying, or perhaps I was torturing it, or something. Oh, GOD. I've killed a bat. Would PETA come after me? Or animal rights people? Wasn't it my husband who had the t-shirt that read, "Bats Need Friends Too?" And there I was, corralling and ousting a bat from the school?
My karma was SO screwed. More shaking, more untangling, a few pokes with an atlas, and finally the bat lifted into the air and flew away.
Just when you think you've seen everything.