I embarked on some painting and remodeling shortly after moving into the Villa. I had a guy helping me, and one evening I noticed he’d left a dirty little rag on one of the cupboards. That wasn’t like him — he cleaned up every day before leaving — and right before I touched it, I noticed this dark little rag had a face!
I called a friend who lived nearby. “Save me from a little critter!” I said, clearly implying that a Real Man wouldn’t leave a damsel in distress. He came over, we made a net out of a pillow case and a hanger, and sure enough, he was able to gently scoop the bat in, and take it outside to release it. The friend moved away shortly thereafter; I’m sure there was no connection. Yah.
Three years go by. I was in the living room watching tv with a guy I was dating; we’ll call him Milton. Suddenly a little bat swooped across the room in front of us! My dog and I ran for the bedroom with Milton at our heels. “Wow,” he said, “What are you gonna do?” he asked. Is he kidding? As I shoved him through the door, I said, “I’m going to wait here while you get rid of it!” (What is it with guys nowadays? They have to be goaded into chivalry.) Many minutes of grunting, running, panting, and cursing went by. He finally knocked on the door, and I opened it to find him puffed with testosterone.
“It’s safe to come out now,” he said. “I think it flew out the window.” “You think it flew out the window? Or you know it did?” “I’m sure, come and look. He’s gone.”
It was gone. That should have been the end of The Tale of Bat Two. But it’s not. Fast forward about five years. My parents are again visiting, and we’re watching Antiques Roadshow. My dad commented that he’d always wanted to learn more about Grandma’s Big Vase, which has sat on top of my corner cabinet since I moved to the Villa. He thought it was worth a lot of money.
“No, Dad,” I protested, “I’m almost sure that it’s post-war Japanese. I don’t think it’s that old.” “Let’s see if there’s a mark on it,” he said, and pulled a chair over to reach the vase. As he tipped it upside-down to check for a manufacturer’s mark, out tumbled… a skeletonized little bat.
With gloves, plastic bags, and manly bravery, Daddy made the little skeleton go away. I had to endure just a tiny bit of teasing about my housekeeping skills. But I haven’t looked in the Big Vase since then, and I’m sure not going to now.