You know how sometimes your life falls into a simple, uncomplicated rhythm? Go to work, come home, have dinner, etc? And how sometimes that gets old and you wish something unexpected would happen?
If you are anything like me, when you send that thought out into the Universe, what you mean by “unexpected” is that you would be excited to win the lottery. Even a small one, shared with a dozen other people. Or that you would be gobsmacked to find yourself the first heir in line to the throne of Slovenia. Or that it would rock your world if your kid brought home straight As and the good citizen award.
What you do not mean, and you assume this is obvious, is that the Universe is welcome to smack you up side the head with, say, a terminal illness, a tax audit, or a creepy unwelcome visitor in your home.
One morning, awhile back, I got up at my usual time to shower. I was still partially asleep as I started the water running, undressed, and stepped into the spray. I should mention now that the drain in this shower was very slow and in need of a good plumber. As a result of the slow drain, the floor had collected a two-inch deep pool of cold water.
I reached to the floor for the shampoo bottle. As I lifted it, I noticed a dark shape in the corner. My very first thought was, “ARRGGHHHH SPIDER!”, but I quickly dismissed that thought because my brain could not process my body being trapped in a small enclosed space with an over-sized spider. My brain would have completely shut down, leaving me brain dead, if I forced it to compute something that traumatic. Instead, my brain efficiently moved on to scenario number two: A wash cloth? Beanie Baby? Something safely inanimate? My brain and I liked this scenario, but unfortunately this lump was moving.
Brain moved on to scenario number three: “B-b…b…b…bat??? Batty-batty-batty-batty-bat?” thought brain, wildly, disbelievingly. Brain quickly decided we didn’t need clean hair today and sent a message to my hands, arms and legs to calmly and slowly open the shower door, step outside, slam the shower door with Herculean force, and run, naked and wet, to the relative safety of the other side of the bathroom, where, Brain pragmatically decided, we should hyperventilate for three minutes and try not to throw up. I was completely with Brain up to that point.
But then Brain decided we should go back, open the shower door, and have another peek.
“Brain! Are you fucking crazy?”, I asked. Nicely.
“Chicken”, Brain said, “BigB is sleeping and you know how he hates bats. Do you really want to wake him up to come deal with this creepazoid? Would you want him to wake you up with this delightful news?”
“Well. No. I guess not, but it’s really scary, Brain. What are we gonna do? What are we gonnadowhaddarewegonna…”
Brain gave me a mental slap. Bastard.
“Here’s what we’ll do. The thing is practically drowned anyway. All we need is something to scoop him up and then we can dump him outside and BigB need never know.”
“Ok. Ok, Brain! Let’s do this.”
We went downstairs where we located a dustpan and a plastic grocery bag.
“Brain!”, I said, “What if it tries to bite me or fly in my hair?”
“Good thinking” Brain said, “Let’s get you some protection.”
I donned BigB’s gloves, pulled on one of littleb’s snow hats, and my parka. I tip toed back up the stairs.
I eased open the shower stall door. It was still there. It didn’t look so good.
“Piece of cake”, Brain declared. “Now scoop it up and get rid of it!”
I lowered the dustpan to the bottom of the shower, maneuvering it slowly towards the bat lump. Suddenly, the lump started swimming ferociously towards the dustpan. Brain and Chicken quickly convened and decided to get the hell out of there. “Save yourself”, Brain screamed. I ran.
I was crouched on the stair landing, breathing hard, half-dressed in a parka, snow mitts and littleb’s snow hat, when BigB opened the bedroom door.
“What the hell are you doing?”, he asked, reasonably enough.
“Um, there’s a bat in the shower”
“What? What did you say? Did you say a bat? Where? Awwwww shit… whatthefuck!”
BigB was suddenly very awake. Did I mention he hates bats? At least this time he didn’t demand that I wake littleb and take him to a hotel until he had the premises secured.
With a heavy sigh, he went downstairs to find a weapon. I sighed, too. A sigh of relief. I could now retire to the living room and be a girl.
BigB traipsed back up the stairs with a plastic container. I listened for his battle cry. A scream of fear. The agony of defeat? I heard….nothing. By this time, Teenager Who Lives in the Basement (TWLITB) was also awake.
“What’s going on?”, he asked, after noting my unusual morning attire. Then, apparently thinking better of it, he said, “Never mind, I’m going to take a shower.”
“Good idea”, I said, “But you’ll need to help BigB first.” And I quickly laid out the scenario. “Are you fucking nuts?” TWLITB asked? “I’m not going up there”.
“Language, TWLITB! It is your duty to help BigB take out that bat.”
“What? I’m a kid. That’s abuse. You help him.”
“No, TWLITB, I am overseeing the situation, but from a distance, see? My safety is paramount. I’m the brains of this operation. Plus I do all the cooking. BigB is Chief of Security and you are his deputy. Go be a man, TWLITB. And then you can tell all the girls at school how you saved your mother from a bat. A rabid bat”.
“The bat is rabid??? I’m not going up there, Chicken!”
“TWLITB! Get up stairs RIGHT now. I mean it!”
I checked on littleb who was, unusually, still sound asleep. By the time I came back, BigB had taken down the vicious intruder while TWLITB watched his back. From the doorway.
And that was how our morning started that day, with an unexpected buffet of shock, fear and loathing. In my shower. If that bat could blog, I’m sure his tale would be a story told to all little bats for years to come. The moral of that story would be stay the fuck out of Chicken’s shower.