Ashes to Ashes

The last time I encountered a bat in a house was 1988. I may be off by a year in either direction but that’s pretty close because my family was living in a particular house (a duplex from the 1800s) in a little ol’ town in South Jersey.

ashes to ashes | a post from
The 1988 (bat) house was like this, but with less wood and more brick. [image by xzmattzx via]
We noticed the bat hanging from some curtains in the front room. Mom hurried my sister Z and I into the middle room (it was one of those long, narrow places with many stories of three rooms, arranged front-to-back), called one of her brothers since Dad was unavailable, and then we waited. Mom and her bro used a broom and a trashcan to take care of the bat. I have no memory of whether it was killed or released. Just that this was a chase fraught with tension and a significant level of fear. Bats are tricky.

ashes to ashes | a post from
Almost exactly what we saw – we may have even had lace curtains at the time. [photo from]
Last night I had my second bat-in-the-house experience, this time at a friend’s house out in the boonies. We’re sitting at her dining room table, working on some web stuff. Her youngest boy is watching HIS shows – blissfully unhampered by his older brother who is away with dad. Friend and I are chatting away when suddenly she stops, grabs my arm firmly and states,

There’s a bat in my house.

I look around and, sure enough, catch a glimpse of a bat circling into the next room. I turn back to my friend and say, “I need a broom and a trashcan.”

ashes to ashes | a post from
Too good not to share, even with the Shutterstock watermark.

She starts to rise but stops midway up and commands me, with the kind of presence and authority only a terrified mother can muster, “You have to kill it.”

She then rushes into the farthest room in the house, bringing her son with her. I get a broom, a trashcan, and eventually a sheet to block off one doorway that has no door. Then I go to work.

I took a life.

ashes to ashes | a post from
There it is, up in a corner. I took this picture with my phone, to document my second ever bat-in-house encounter.

I’m not going to go into details other than to mention that I said, “I’m sorry” to the bat about 15 times. It was traumatic – bats are noisy creatures even in the best of times, and this was not a good night for the bat.

My final notes on the subject are as follows:

  • the broom was necessary
  • the trashcan was not necessary
  • a tennis racquet might be less traumatic (for me)
  • this was a terrible week at work and beating something to death, though traumatic, was highly cathartic

2 thoughts on “Ashes to Ashes”

  1. Good story. Congratulations. My first thought was to bring in the dog and then the cat. Neither were interested in this frightened squealing creature circling our living room. We did hit it with the broom and stunned it. My brother swept it into the dust pan, covered it with the broom, and released it outside. Adrenaline and laughter. 🙂

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