Editorial License

Rob Hammerton, music educator etc.

You Have My Permission To Die

This post would represent a first on many counts. First post to focus on pests, at least the pests that a pest control company would deal with. First post to practically require a soundtrack (this or this). First post to be specifically requested (in this case, by a stalwart reader).

Only I don’t know whether it’s interesting enough to merit that last, but what the heck. We aim to please.

<throat-clearing noises>


Fast-rewind back several years. I had just returned from my annual summer pilgrimage to West Chester University. I dragged my luggage, largely full of “DMA-experienced” clothing (eww sweaty), into my house, set the washer and dryer to their appointed task, and plunked myself down in front of the television. My goal was to decompress for a couple of hours, get some sleep, and hop right out again the next morning. After all, the UMass version of DMA was starting the next afternoon. Must be ready to kick it into gear.

I had been sinking slowly into the couch for about ten minutes when I would swear a shadow crossed through the living room. I had looked away from the TV for just a moment, and thought maybe a reflection from the TV had played tricks with my vision.

Then I thought, “oh. Hell. Bird.” I’ve had two experiences with birds trapped in a house before, and they mostly resulted in long, nearly-fruitless efforts to convince a terrified bird that all it had to do was Fly Out This Foolish Open Door!!! And Be Free!!! To Fly Another Day!!!

So I stood up and looked toward the curtain rods near the ceiling, sighing, resigned to a bit of a long evening ahead.

And the shadow flitted past my head, again.

Being the brave, bold and resolute person I am … I ducked and blanched, pretty firmly. And then realized that I was about to spend a little while as the main character in a movie thriller. (I was not thrilled.) Because that was no bird.

That was a bat.


Great. In twelve hours I have to be back on the road … and suddenly it’s pretty likely that I will spend at least ten of those hours tracking down, somehow, a flying critter. Because I don’t want to leave the house in the hands of this little guy for five days, do I?

Where’s my broom?

Because that, of course, will be both a good offense and a good defense. Maybe.

Hey, if you’re grazed by a bat, it’s not a good thing, is it? Lemme see if I can remember what the consequences are… rabies, do I recall correctly?

Maybe I’ll get my gardening gloves, too. And a hazmat suit.

All the lights in the whole house went on. Because of course bats work best that way.

One trip around the first floor (living room, dining room, kitchen) yielded no sign of the thing.

Two more trips. Nothing.

I just knew that if I actually sighted the thing, I would be instantly on the attack. There would be no coaxing the thing out a door; there would be only the putting-you-out-of-my-misery.

And, quite probably, broken lamps. And such.

Two more trips, this time in the opposite direction. Who knows; the thing could be hiding on the other side of a chair that I hadn’t inspected going clockwise, right?

All this, I did with the dim suspicion that I was going to turn a corner and get hit right in the snout by this panicky flying creature.

Still nothing. Except the blathering of the TV baseball announcer.

Right. Upstairs.

Still brandishing my broom like some impoverished lacrosse defenseman, I ascended the staircase. Every stretch of wall, every patch of ceiling, every inch of carpet … held the potential to be the launch pad for a leather-winged nightmare. I still had no sense as to just how large a thing I was hunting.

Let’s just say I was glad that I didn’t suffer from high blood pressure already.

Lights on in the … GUEST ROOM!


Lights on in the … BATHROOM!


Lights on in the … MASTER BEDROOM!


Lights on in the … OFFICE!

Noth– … oh. Not nothing.

Up there. In the corner of the room, parked daintily very near the join of two tangerine-colored walls (not my choice of paint) and the ceiling.

The bat’s folded-up wings measured only about four inches long, top to bottom. It hung there, looking very bat. Which is to say, it moved not at all, but somehow I knew … that it knew … that I knew … that it knew … that it was in fact watching me very, very, very carefully.

I have no scientific evidence to back this up.

But neither do movie thriller heroes. That’s what the incidental music is for.

In order to GIT this thing, I was going to have exactly one shot. And I was going to have to deliver a killing broom blow in the exact right place, not glancing off one wall or the other, but right on target. No second chances; all the motivation in the world not to let this critter off the hook. I had no interest in chasing him (her? it) around the house all night long. I had places to be in the morning.

The windup … the pitch …


To this day I will swear to you that I executed an inhumanly accurate strike directly to the head of this creature. With enough force to end its poor, unfortunate life with one swift stroke.

You can imagine my disappointment when, instead of being a rather ugly mess on the wall, the thing flopped to the floor and flapped a bit.

I am not (as has been claimed here recently) a violent person. But the ancient caveman instinct kicked in, good and loudly, and I quickly overcame my disappointment. I delivered a series of downward strikes on this thing that would have made John Henry’s blue ox take a good-sized step back.

Wham wham wham wham wham wham wham.

I don’t remember what exact shade of red the haze of vengeance was that filled my vision.

But, and forgive me for this, the little tiny stain of bat blood remains on the carpet in the corner of my office, serving as a warning to any other winged creatures that might try to invade.

Like that’ll work.


This morning, some nice men from the pest control company came to my house and did lots of work to seal up the various places where bats were probably getting into my attic and congregating. Yes, the time that has passed since my moment of bat-bludgeoning can be measured in years, not days, and you’d think that I would be foaming at the mouth to get those things gone.

Well, no more bats have ever actually worked their way into the actual house; and other life issues intervened, and, well … it took until my termite guy came by awhile ago and, while making a general sweep of the house, mentioned that there were examples of what is known as guano on the floor in the attic, and asked me if by chance I had a butler named Alfred helping me out at all…?

Well, better late than never. By the end of the week I’ll have my attic back, anyway.


There is something out there in the darkness, something terrifying, something that will not stop until it gets revenge … me.” -Bruce Wayne


April 18, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | 1 Comment