2012.12.19 The Lord of Laundry

Written by David Green.

Who has time to write a column? I had some 20 years ago when this one was written. It’s good time anyway because I recently heard what must have been a bat in the basement.

 By David Green

I think I was reading a newspaper when all the ruckus began. The kids were spread across the living room with me, reading and playing games. We knew our wife and mother, Colleen, was in the basement getting a load of laundry started.

That’s when the yelling began, followed by the sound of objects scattering akimbo (that’s Japanese for “falling every which way”). Then came what seemed to be the sound of someone falling upstairs. Sixteen steps is a long way to fall up.

[Excuse me a moment. I have to go turn back the washer for another short rinse cycle.]

We all jumped up to investigate, but Colleen was there  in front of us before we could get out of the room. “There’s a huge bat in the basement!” she explained.

It looks like it’s becoming a tradition: a bat for Thanksgiving.

Actually it was two years ago that we had a bat for Thanksgiving. Maybe that’s the cycle they follow. It worked out well for us that time: my sister-in-law Ginny had just arrived and she caught it in a box. She let it out the back door and we watched it fly off toward the neighbor’s house. I think they needed a bat for Thanksgiving.

Our current resident is known by me as the Stealth Bat. No one can see it but Colleen. I don’t know how we’re missing it, because she says it has a wingspan of at least a foot. That’s not bad for a basement bat. You’d expect to see one that big in the bedroom, maybe, but not in the basement.

Colleen’s very disappointed in herself. She really didn’t want to exhibit batophobia on her next close encounter. She had just read a book to the kids about bats and she learned anew how to appreciate those cute little mammals. Amazing critters, and very useful in the Big Picture of animal life.

But you know how it is. They’ve got that weird, floppy flight. They swoop and dive and almost run right into your face as they circle past the furnace and come around for another fly-by. You just know they’re going to burrow into your hair and have babies.

I’ve spent quite a lot of time searching for our guest. I’ve gone around the perimeter of the basement with a light while the kids follow with laundry baskets over their heads. I’ve peered into ancient duct work from heating systems of lost civilizations. I’ve poked around boxes of mildewy books and fuzzy LP records. But it’s all hopeless because there are thousands of places to hide.

While sitting in the living room yesterday afternoon, Ben claims to have heard a noise and then the sound of breaking glass. I couldn’t find anything. When he escorted a friend to the basement last night and shut the door behind her, he claimed to have heard a noise in a corner.

But in my many loads of laundry, I haven’t spotted so much as a fang. Yes, the laundry’s all mine now. Why do you think I’m trying so hard to find the thing?

Colleen’s greatest fear is to lift a shirt or a pair of pants from a laundry basket and uncover the furry little beast. It will fly right into her hair as if a bat magnet were turned on.

The laundry is piling up, but I’m doing my best. And besides, its only a few days until Thanksgiving and Ginny’s coming again. We’ve already called her and she seems delighted. It’s been two years since she served as the Bat Exorcist. Two years since I was last the Lord of Laundry.

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