That's a Bat, Not a Cicada

5 years ago

In every marriage, there's a moment in which you get to be the one who is right. My moment came on Saturday night.

On Saturday, a series of events led to my victory.

  1. A two-week heatwave was flaming out in a 105-degree burst of glory.
  2. My brother- and sister-in-law and their two daughters were staying the weekend.
  3. A door between the garage and the house was left open.

When I realized the door had been open, I went to look for Petunia the Cat. She's never left the garage before, but she has visited it when I've left the kitchen door open, and on the night in question, both doors to the garage were open in an attempt to release the atomic air trapped inside. Since Petunia is terrified of my youngest niece, I assumed she'd be hiding out in the basement. 

Halfway down the stairs, I saw something flutter. No, FLAP.

I ran back upstairs and yelled to Beloved there was something with WINGS in the basement. 

Beloved: Wings? Really? Are you sure it's not a cicada?

I may not be in Mensa, but I know the difference between a cicada and a bird or bat (I wasn't sure which one it was at the time.) There's a slight size differential

gardener41 on Flickr

This is a freaking bat. Credit Image: blmurch


He dropped whatever he was doing and went downstairs. Seconds later, we heard a loud crash from the basement. 


(I may have allowed myself a smile)

I went to get a broom to join my knight in shining armor downstairs. He was crouched in front of the door to the half-finished bathroom, which leads to a half-finished, well, room room that we use as a tornado shelter. Nothing in our basement is finished, so we don't spend a lot of time down there. 

Beloved looked back at me, sheer panic in his eyes. I could see the bat flying back and forth between the room-room and the bathroom, looking for all the world like the bat on a string you see on The Muppets.


Beloved: I think he's getting tired.

My BIL came down the stairs and I sent him for a weapon. Then I gave Beloved my broom, because the man was trying to catch a bat with a toy butterfly net. I headed up to re-arm myself when I passed my BIL storming down the basement carrying a shovel. I was pawing through the garage when he reappeared. 

BIL: He says we need something softer.

Me: Is he worried about the bat?

BIL: No, he's worried about the walls.

I handed my BIL two plastic baseball bats and grabbed a bucket. As we re-entered the house, we heard Beloved yelling at the top of his lungs.


We rushed down the stairs, baseball bats swinging, to find Beloved crouched on the floor. Just the tiniest bit of webbed claw showed out from under the broom and butterfly net. BIL and I stared in shock. The bat was chittering away like a pissed-off rat.

Beloved: GET THE BAG!

I had no idea what he was talking about, and neither did BIL. Then I noticed a paper bag behind BIL. I tried to hand Beloved the bucket, as it seemed way more useful and user-friendly than a paper bag, but Beloved had gone to a place that doesn't hear reason. He is not fond of bats.

Finally BIL handed Beloved the bag and they got the bat out into the yard, where PETA will be glad to hear it was released. I admit at the point at which I heard it cursing us out in bat language, I wasn't too keen to kill it, but I was also thinking CHILDREN RABIES CHILDREN RABIES CHILDREN RABIES, as mothers are wont to do.

The next morning, the bat was gone, so we believe he lived to tell his story on his own blog.

AND I WAS TOTALLY RIGHT. Not a cicada, honey. 


Rita Arens authors Surrender, Dorothy and is the editor of the award-winning parenting anthology Sleep is for the Weak. She is the senior editor for

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