Batten Down the Hatches   Leave a comment

John tut-tutted as he re-arranged the ware in the dish-washer. His wife Sonia sighed as she watched him from the sitting-room. Next he picked up the dish-cloth and smelt it. Sonia chuckled to herself, as John sneezed violently. Once he had disposed of the dish-cloth into the laundry basket, John started checking the kitchen cupboards and fridge to make a shopping list for the next day.

“Sonia, you never turned the page on the calendar,” John called as he glanced at the noticeboard.

“Sorry John, I forgot,” she replied meekly. “Control freak!” she muttered under her breathe.

Eventually John sat down to read the Sunday newspaper. He seemed to be very intrigued in one particular article. Sonia passed behind him on her way to make a cup of tea, and took a peek over his shoulder. It was an article about a small number of bats who had been found to be carrying EBLV, which is a rabies like virus. One had been reported about a hundred kilometres away.

When Sonia came back and handed John a cup of tea, he was staring into space and had gone very pale.

“Are you all right? You look like someone has walked over your grave,” Sonia enquired quizzically.

“What? Oh, I was just wondering about this article about bats.”

“What about it?”

“Well, what would we do if one got in here? What if the bat is rabid?”

“As if!” laughed Sonia.

John just went quiet, and Sonia could tell that he wasn’t comfortable all evening as they sat watching TV. Usually John would be criticizing, and giving his own opinions on everything. Over the years Sonia had learned to tune him out. She began to feel uneasy herself. Then she remembered she had left the bedroom window open. She decided not to tell John, because he would only start lecturing her about wasting heat, and go on about fuel bills.

“Just going to the loo, John,” she said as she crept upstairs.

As Sonia entered the bedroom and turned on the light, something small and dark flitted across the ceiling, flicked off the light shade and skimmed over the top of Sonia’s hair. Sonia screamed with the suddenness of it all.

“Whatever’s the matter Sonia? What are you doing up there?”

“I think there’s a bat up here, something is flying about.”

“What? A bat! Oh my God! What if it’s rabid?” John started wailing.

“Where is it exactly? Can you see it?”

Just at that moment the bat flew out of the bedroom door and half-way down the stairs. John screeched, “Oh my God! You stupid woman! Why did you let it out?” Then he started crying hysterically.

“John, for goodness sake do pull yourself together! Maybe we can get the bat out of here.”

“We mustn’t touch it. It might be rabid!”  John squealed in a high-pitch voice.

Sonia crept downstairs keeping her eye on the bat. She could hear her heart thumping as she did so. With a sigh of relief she hurried past John and into the sitting room. Then she heard an almighty shriek in the hallway and then the sitting room door was slammed shut. A key was turned in the lock. Next John appeared at the glass doors that separated the sitting-room from the kitchen, and locked them tightly.

“John, have you gone mad? What are you doing? Sonia demanded.

“The bat flew into the sitting-room behind you,” said John pointing to the wall above the fireplace.

Sonia turned around slowly, and saw the bat resting there.  She froze in horror, but realised she would have to take charge, because John had gone to pieces.

“Get the telephone directory John and see if you can find an exterminator who’ll come out on a Sunday night” Sonia said as calmly as she could. The house phone was in the hall-way and she had left her mobile in the kitchen.

John nodded his head, and meekly went off to find the directory. Sonia went and sat down on an arm-chair to keep an eye on the bat. She tried to do some breathing exercises she had learnt before. Sonia had never seen John like this. He usually took command of things, and didn’t even listen to her when she made a suggestion.

Sometime later John appeared at the glass doors. “I got someone at last, but he’ll charge more because of it being a Sunday night. But that doesn’t matter, I’m just glad to get someone.”

John has never said he was willing to pay more for something, Sonia thought. “That was a good idea. Thanks Sonia,” he added.

Sonia smiled back.

The exterminator came and dealt with the bat, releasing Sonia from her incarceration. When he was gone, Sonia poured two stiff drinks, and sat down beside John. She took his hand. He squeezed her hand and looked at her beseechingly.

“Sorry, I guess I never told you about my phobia. You must think I’m a mouse not a man.”

“Just listen to me a bit more in future, and trust me to get some things right.” Sonia said, feeling an emotion for him that she had forgotten.

Posted February 10, 2015 by eileenmoynihan in Uncategorized

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