8/14/2005

Brave Girl

All through school I killed spiders, moved snakes and put funny bugs in jars for show and tell. I handled all the stuff that scared the other kids I hung out with and never cracked a sweat.

Then I noticed the first sign of my weakness. It was when we were in the white house. One night, the folks were gone, we had a 15 year old babysitter. She was great fun and we liked her. She was not, however, very brave. She was afraid of lots of things. We'll call her Freaked out Francis.

layoutWe had a lovely black, sleek, male cat at the time. I think his name was Tom. Baby Lion had passed on a while earlier. He was an inside and outside cat, as most of mine are. We were playing race cars in the back room. It was getting pretty loud and silly. The little cars were shooting off the dog leg curve and flying into whoever was sitting there. Between bouts of bouyant laughter we heard the cat scratching at the door.

Freaked out Francis was closest and she reached over to pull the door open. That cat slunk into the room with something in his mouth! He stood right by the door with it, his head hanging low, protecting his kill, when one of the little girls squeeled, "Oh NO! Tom's got a BIRD!"

Freaked out Francis reached down to bravely rescue it from him. Then she screamed, stood up and ran out of the room freeking,"It's a BAT!", leaving the five of us, four of us long haired blonds, alone with it.

That lasted about 2 seconds. The cat jumped when Freaked out Francis screamed and lost his grip on the NOT DEAD bat. As it flapped across the room to land on the window curtain the five of us shrieked in loud unison, the cat skittered out of the room and we followed.

The other girls grabbed their hair and raced for the kitchen! The Boy started to cry. I had thought I was going to open the door and shoo it out with a towel, which was my first thought, when I realized I was screaming, had my hair wrapped around my hand and was running after the others. I couldn't stop myself, I was terrified! I was also surprised that I was afraid. When we hit the tile in the kitchen we skidded into a turn and headed for the further safety of the dining room with me bringing up the rear.

Mom had just finished bringing in the laundry before she left. One of the things we were supposed to do before she got home was put our clean clothes away. Like typical kids, we were putting this off until the last five minutes before they got home. There were baskets on three of the chairs in the dining room. This was just bad luck for the Mom.

I don't know where we heard about bats getting tangled in your hair but even the youngest girl knew it and was clutching her hair close to her neck. When we caught up with Freaked out Francis she had a towel over her head and was under the dining room table. She had stopped screaming but was breathing hard and sobbing.

Knowing a good idea when we saw it we all lunged for the laundry. We all took the first thing big enough to cover our heads. This meant some digging because the socks and undies were on the top of each load. Socks flew and undies draped everywhere! In under 20 seconds all five of us had our heads covered and were under the table with Freaked out Francis.

The screaming and sobbing slowed slowly when we realized the bat wasn't chasing us. We must have really interfered with it's audio as we screeched in the high decibels. Freaked out Francis talked us back to calm and we drew up a game plan.

She was going to get the broom, I would take the mop, the little girls would get fly swatters, The Boy would stay there and Vee would go call our folks. Gripping our tightly twisted assortment of slips, towels, and skirts to make sure our hair was covered, we moved out two at a time. Freaked out Francis got the broom, bristles up and I took the mop, also topsy turvey and we stalked toward the back room.

I was shaking and biting my lip to be brave in front of the other kids. I was really terrified! I knew bats could carry rabies and rabies shots were bad. Francis and I peeked around the door frame and tried to spot the bat. I could hear V on the phone and was reassured that Dad would come save us soon but the bat was still here now and there were only us kids to deal with it.

Freaked out Francis spotted him first, on the back door frame. She pulled back the broom like a ball bat and took two tiny steps into the back room. Wham! She missed, the bat fluttered in the air around the ceiling, she ran back to the kitchen.

I had kept my eye on it and now the little girls were on the other side of the door watching it, too. The bat landed on the window curtain across the room. I shuddered around the door, held the mop like an ax, lined up on him from as far away as I could and SWUNG!

Crash! The curtains came down, I ran back to the kitchen, the bat followed me! The other girls screamed and we all ran back to cower under the dining room table, gripping out hair covers firmly and leaving our weapons scattered in a trail behind us.

Various sorties were made by one and another of us with all taking a turn, even The Boy, now that he stopped crying and entered the spirit of survival that was motivating us. We learned we couldn't hit the side of a barn from the inside. The bat evaded us over and over again then chased us shrieking back to our bunker.

Dad and Mom got home about 20 minutes later. Talk about relieved! Poor Francis was so glad to see them she started crying again.

Dad saw us all crouched under the table wearing clothes on our heads and noted the scattered weapons all over the place then he started to laugh. He had a big "Ha ha ha ha" laugh in a deep tone. We felt pretty sheepish.

We watched as he went to the kitchen, got a towel and a canning jar, walked right up to the nasty beast where it perched on the kitchen curtain, held the jar under it and snapped it with the towel. He hit it right on the head and it dropped into the jar! Man, he was SLICK! And the whole time he was laughing his head off at us.

Now that the monster was caged we crawled out and Mom started directing the re-folding of the clothes, the replacing of the weapons and the washing of faces and brushing of hair that followed every upset in our home and helped Francis get calmed down.

Dad wandered off outside and let the bat go. They went back to their card game. We went back to racing slot cars. I didn't see the cat again till bedtime. Tom was hiding under The Boy's little bed. I could just see the tip of his tail twitching spastically still. He never brought another animal into the house - ever.

And I knew I wasn't "girl fear" proof. I felt like such a sissy! It took me a long time to get over the loss of self confidence it caused.

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