Wednesday, July 9, 2008

The Bat

The latrine near the factory is a small, mud brick structure with a neat, rectangular hole cut into the floor. The chamber beneath is fairly large and apparently cave-like enough to have attracted an inhabitant.

The other night, a bat flew out of the hole in the floor when I came in to squat. I remember childhood stories playground friends used to tell about a snake that had once found its way into a toilet. That story hadn't ended well. Terror seized me to think about the damage that a furry, winged mammal could do. They have teeth and little claws right?!

I vowed to never return at night…

…Until the next night when digestive troubles once again had me bolting for the latrine. Out of bet! Headlamp! Toilet paper (I’m so glad I brought extra)! Off I go!

Trousers were around ankles before I remembered my furry friend below. With great effort, I paused for a few precious moments to investigate. Sure enough, as the light of my headlamp shone through the floor opening, I saw him flit about beneath. Running out of time, I frantically grabbed a piece of straw from the thatched roof and waved it through the opening. But he wouldn’t leave.

I was out of time. I dropped into my back-catcher’s stance and could do nothing but hope. There aren’t many things I really, truly, miss from home. Most of our creature comforts are surprisingly easy to do without. But this instance, as I squatted, racked with anxiety, had me truly craving a ceramic, flushing, bat-free, American Standard™.

I thought I was home-free until I sensed it. A chirp, a slight gust of wind and he was out! With unmatched agility, the creature navigated the narrow space between floor and bare hide to escape from his cave. Instantly standing at full attention, I was done; it scared the crap out of me.

I haven’t been back yet at night, nor do I plan to if I can help it. Ever.

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