BLOG: 6's & 7'S
It's bad enough I have to be on alert for the badger that I know is stalking me on my morning run, but now I have another problem.
Yes, those creepy little flying rodents apparently have found a home somewhere in my neighborhood, and last week, I ran in to a colony of them (I was looking down trying to avoid a badger attack) and they weren't too happy about it.
Remember Hitchcock's The Birds? Imagine it with bats, and me running through the neighborhood at 5 a.m. screaming at the top of my lungs while bats dove on me, surely intent on sucking the life force from me, or at least messing up my hair. Forget the school children. I set a new record for my 3 miles that morning. Go Me.
Of course, the intelligent thing to do when you know there is a colony of bats in the neighborhood is to avoid their nesting area at dawn. However, in my family, we have a saying: If you didn't take a picture, it didn't happen.
So I went back.
I thought about dressing as Batgirl to convince the bats that I was one of their own and hopefully they wouldn't attack. However, running in the boots proved to be too difficult and purple isn't really my color. Oh well, it's just one picture, and I knew to stay far enough away that I could outrun them if they noticed me, so what could happen?
The colony, I noticed, consisted of a few adults and mostly babies. Babies learning to fly, most of them not very good at it. Cute, in a freaky flying rodent kind of way. I got as close as I thought I could, grabbed my camera and aimed.
Flash or no flash at dawn?
Contrary to myth, bats are not afraid of light. However, a sudden flash of light for new babies learning to fly in the pre-dawn darkness is startling, and although the babies were already uncoordinated, the addition of a flash was more than a few could handle. I heard one squeal, just before he hit a tree. I assumed he was laughing.
Mother Bat did not find it funny at all.
They say bats don't attack humans. Well, I know they chase humans, I proved that last week. And if they don't attack humans, what exactly was Mother Bat's intentions as she flew straight toward me, her wings spread to a good twelve feet (estimating), her mouth open and her claws sprung? I don't think she was posing for a picture.
And then I heard 'the words' that told me it was time to break a new speed record. As a mother, I can translate those words from any language: French, Spanish, Bat.
"YOU MESS WITH MY KIDS YOU MESS WITH ME!"
I ran like, like, like....A bat out of Hell.
And made it home again with my eyeballs.
Bats 1. Kelly 1.
I was willing to call it a tie. Until this morning.
I grabbed a cup of coffee and went to sit on my back porch with my dog.
I looked up and my pine tree was covered. With bats.
They found me.
This war is on.
Driving home from work last night, something ran out in front of my car. I live in an area that has been over constructed, forcing a lot of animals to be displaced from their natural environment, so seeing a random coyote is not unusual. Rabbits and quail are common sights, and of course, a rattlesnake every once in a while. But this was none of the above. I'm sure it was a badger.
"Mom, badgers do not live in the desert," my son said.
"Well, they are evil, and I don't want one hanging out in my neighborhood."
So I Googled it. That's right, when in doubt, Google. Badgers do live in the mountains around the desert, however, the Googlexperts said "they are uncommon in Vegas, so don't expect to see one." Yeah, well, they don't know me. If a badger is to be seen, it will be on my watch. And to make matters worse, I read this about badgers:
Badgers eat anything that doesn't run faster than they do.
I guarantee I am slower than a badger.
This was all I could think about on my morning run. I picture myself jogging along and suddenly being attacked by a badger, being slashed by its little creepy claws and eaten alive or dragged back to its cave to be shared at the family picnic. I could have sworn I saw a line of little red eyes watching me from the side of the path, a recon team, watching my movements, laughing, probably, at how easy this catch was going to be.
Then I thought, what if it is a honey badger? Sure, they aren't supposed to be in the desert either, but, looking at the pictures, I'm now convinced it was a honey badger that ran out in front of me. It stopped briefly to sneer at me. Which is really bad. What kind of animal thinks it's so bad it can sneer at a moving vehicle? Honey Badger, of course. And according to my friends at Google, they have been known to dig up human corpses. They wouldn't even have to dig me up, just run me down.
So now when I run, I will not only be on the lookout for rattlesnakes and coyote, but the dreaded Desert Honey Badger, which I am sure exists.
Rattlesnakes are kind of slow, coyotes are easy to scare, but Honey Badger don't care.
I don't stand a chance.
Take a writer, particularly one that lost that little filter thing years ago, throw her in the middle of a writing retreat, and stand back. Last week, Beth Garland and I enjoyed a few days at the When Words Count Retreat in Rochester, Vermont. Looking back, I have to say I found a common theme for the trip: Beaver. Yes, beaver, and it’s many definitions.
One of our new writer friends, Bill from Statten Island, New York, has that classic New Yawk accent that I love to listen to. While he was telling us about his trip to “Chin-er”, I couldn’t help but interrupt and ask, “Do you also say vagin-er?” One of those things I’m sure everyone would like to know but were afraid to ask. He says no. I don’t believe him.
About ten miles from the retreat is Granville, Vermont. It is here, I was told, that I could see the local wildlife. I met Jim, an elderly gentleman, at the local General Store and asked him where I could find moose. He gave me a detailed mental map, and yes, I saw a moose. Excited, I went back to the store and thanked Jim. My thank you went something like this:
Me: That was amazing? So how about some beaver?
Jim smiled: Sounds good to me.
(It’s a good thing I saw a rooster without having to ask…)
On the plane ride home, I sat next to an older woman who noticed I was reading “Writing Erotica.” She was delighted and asked me if I would name a character after her. Then she asked if I wrote poetry, well, maybe, and she decided she would much rather have an erotic poem with her name in it. Esther.
I’m not much of a poet, but rhyming with Esther? Fester? Molester? Jester? Pester? Maybe if I task this to Bill he can rhyme it with Fiest-er? Considering her age, maybe Siest-er? Or even Vaginer?
So I’ve decided to leave the poetry to poets, the beaver hunting to Jim and the vaginers to Bill.
And next time I go on a writing retreat, I'll spend more time writing and less time letting my mouth get me in to trouble (No I won't. )
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