A repost from September '04 for a new friend.
True story, retold. Granny is my mummy.
Like many of us, Granny likes to leave her doors open sometimes to let the cross breeze through. The problem is that she doesn't have screens on her doors. (Why doesn't she have screens on her doors? She just doesn't, all right? The story would never work if she did.) Anyway, with the house open to the elements, occassionally Granny gets unexpected visitors. One time Granny was sitting on the sofa and a cat walked in the back door.
"Eek!" said Granny.
The cat didn't reply. It didn't even look at Granny. It just continued on its way to the front door, where it made a serene exit, never to be seen again.
Granny's never had a squirrel. Squirrels make a terrible mess, so the rumor goes. Granny sincerely hopes she never gets a squirrel, though they are fun to watch when they are outside.
But sometimes birds come to call. They like to hang out on the branches of the chandelier. If Granny turns out all the lights, draws all the shades, leaves the doors propped open, and goes on to bed, well, they are almost always gone by morning.
Except for one. This bird stayed.
How did Granny know? Well, it flew around her bed one night. Not that she could see it, mind you. Granny doesn't sleep with a nightlight. And she couldn't hear it because it was deathly silent. But she could sort of feel it there above her bed, moving a little bit of air on its nighttime foray around her room.
During the next day when the sun shone in the windows all sparkly-like, Granny turned on all the lights and looked for the bird. No bird on the top of the drapes, no bird in the light fixture over the dining room table, no bird on any of the headboards.
Must have flown out, Granny thought. And that night she went on to bed with the house locked up tight.
But that night something again moved in the air over her bed.
Now Granny isn't easily frightened. Easily startled perhaps, but not frightened. So she got up again, opened the doors, and went on back to bed. The next day she checked again in all the usual places. Double-checked. No bird.
It's finally gone, Granny thought.
After the third night with a bird flying overbed, and after the third day of looking and finding no bird, Granny began to get annoyed. Where in hay was it?
Dusk was just falling, and Granny was watching tv in her flannel robe and nightgown (even though it was warm enough to have the doors open, Granny gets chilly easily) when something... something, but she didn't know what, made her look up. Granny's family room has a vaulted ceiling with dark beams. Very attractive, actually, in a seventies sort of way.
There was a dark lump on one of the beams. Granny squinted. Was that a...
"Bat!" said Granny. "Eek!"
"Eek!" said the bat.
"Get out!" said Granny.
"Eek!" said the bat (which means No! in Bat.) The bat held its ground on the beam.
"What did you do then?" I asked Granny as she told me the story.
"What could I do? I got my Swiffer and I knocked it down."
"Yes. I knocked it down. Its awful little round mouth opened and it squeaked at me, but I smashed it with the Swiffer until it was D-E-A-D." (There were children present at the recounting.)
"No!" I tried to picture Granny, robe-tails flying, smashing a bat with her Swiffer.
"Yes," said Granny.
"Why did you have to k-i-l-l it?" I asked. I thought it was the thing to ask, albeit naive, since I've never faced down a bat in my jammies armed only with a Swiffer.
"Because I didn't want my obituary to read, 'Bitten by rabid bat.'"