I've been pretty much curled up in a tiny-ish ball for the last two days. I can't stare at the television any longer and I need to take a little break from Stephen King. I decided to write...but what about? I thought about writing of being sick as a child, but the only one that came to mind as worthy of sharing took place in my ballerina year and I don't think you want flu ridden, tutu wearing images of me dancing in your heads. I decided instead to write the first in a series I'd like to call Lakeside Stories.
I grew up...well, really I only a third grew up, between two homes on North and South Twin Lakes near Inchelium, Washington. I was a very lucky kid. Growing up as I did, with so much outdoorsy goodness right outside my front door, I feel as if I had a particularly adventurous childhood compared to kids today.
Ahem, we're going to pretend that didn't make me sound old.
It wasn't always rainbows and puppies. No, I am not about to talk of walking barefoot, uphill both ways. I took a bus, though the walk from the stop to our house wasn't short, it was flat, and I always had shoes even if I chose not to wear them.
If any of you know me, you know I am just about scared of anything that crawls, has big claws, or tries to dive bomb you from the sky. The cabin we lived in had an abundance of all of these things. As a matter of fact, I blame most of my fears on those years by the lake.
One day that stands out in particular I like to think of as the day of the bats.
Our cabin had a huge bat problem. They lived in the little arches of our metal roof, and you could hear them in the low hanging ceiling of our bedrooms. The squeaking was enough to drive you crazy. You couldn't help but wonder if that one right by your head had figured out a way inside.
My mom repeatedly had an exterminator to our house, but the suckers just weren't dying. When confronted by my mother, the exterminator actually replied, "it's not a tumor, I'll be back"...no just kidding, but he did say, "you want me to kill them?" He argued that bats eat bugs, and are therefor good things. My mother informed him that they were not eating OUR bugs, as will be revealed to you in a later story, he was then told that as an exterminator he was expected to exterminate.
He applied this goo into our roof. The goo would get on a bat who would carry it back and the others would clean him and the goo would spread. But, the goo was not lethal, it got in their wings and kept them from flying. Our job was to bop them on the head and scoop them up into garbage bags.
I was the designated bag holder.
This worked for a while, until they moved from the roof of our house to behind the backboard of our basketball hoop, into the eaves of our garage.
At least we didn't have to fall asleep counting bats anymore.
One bright, sunny day, my mom and dad told my brother to go outside and put a hose behind the backboard to flush out the bats.
Now, this particular big brother looks the least Native out of all of us, reddish hair, freckled up the wazzoo (just an expression, we aren't those kind of rednecks) but he did things according to Indian Time better than Sitting Bull himself. Everything in good time seemed to be his motto.
So, my mom and dad decided they could wait a while before going out to help him, because it wasn't as if time was of an essence. Then they heard screaming.
My brother had decided the best way to go about this was to climb the ladder and stick the hose in with the water already running. As soon as he did so, bats came flooding out of the rafters.
Now, I don't really know if I was there. This story has been told and retold so many times in my life, it becomes hazy as to where exactly I was while all of this was happening. But I remember it as if I was standing in the center and everything was happening in a slow motion, floaty sort of way.
My brother was screaming and waving his arms, "BAAAAATTTTTTSSSS!!!"
My mother was waving a broom, her weapon of choice, as you will also learn in another story.
My sister was yelling and waving a baseball bat, which we were ducking along with the winged kind.
My dad was calmly standing there, his arms raised to try and ease our stress saying, "everyone needs to just calm down, they're just bats. Just calm down."
My mother points to his chest, "Bob..."
Stuck to my dad's chest was a big, black bat. Had it been back lit in yellow, he would have looked JUST like Batman, except for the sheer look of fright in his unmasked eyes.
Here I remember my dad screaming in a much higher pitch than I am sure is accurate while saying, "get it off! GET IT OFF OF ME! GET IT OFF, PLEASE!!!"
My mother brushed the bat away and by this point, the bats had fled to the trees. When we all looked around we realized that the entire resort, which our cabin neighbored, was standing along the fence line watching the spectacle. Perfect.
This may be why, while camping or whatnot, whenever I hear that familiar squeaking coming from the trees, I may say, "they're just bats" but the calmness doesn't quite reach my eyes.
Because it's only a matter of time before someone gets a purple nurple from Dracula.