Working at a summer camp puts you in touch with nature. There are the usual animals that come with a camp; cats, dogs, horses and goats, but one also encounters animals of the more wild variety, moose, rabbits, owls, frogs and unfortunately, way too many rodents.
During my last summer as program director I decided it would be a good idea to relocate the recreation office from one part of the complex to another. The room was a cluttered storage space for all the camp’s recreation equipment, balls of varying shapes and sizes, archery equipment, hockey sticks and of course baseball bats. I had most of it cleared out. All that remained to be moved were several large storage cabinets and I had arranged help in moving them with a couple other staff. The three of us were big and burly boys so moving those final items should not prove to be difficult.
The last cabinet was the largest and as the three of us were guiding it away from the wall, wondering how we would fit it through the door, one of my large fellow co-workers unexpectedly panicked. Screaming like a little girl, he dropped his corner of the cabinet, abandoning us and ran squealing out the door. “It’s a mouse! It’s a mouse! It’s a mouse!” Outside the office he stopped and turned around to point back inside room past the cabinet at the same time nervously dancing a jig from one foot to the other. The two of us still in the office carefully looked behind the large piece of furniture and there in final repose, stretched out on its tiny back, lay a very dead little mouse.
We assured our dancing furniture mover that the rodent was dead. Unwilling to believe us he picked up the aluminum softball bat that was leaning against the wall outside the office door. Feeling somewhat protected he slowly tiptoed back into the room, nervously asking, “Are you sure it’s dead? The last thing I want is a stupid mouse running up my leg!” Standing behind us he peaked around the corner of the cabinet ready to swing his bat if need be. It surprised us at how such a big man could be so frightened of a such a dead mouse. “It l-l-looked alive to m-me!” We could see his grip on the bat tighten.
I reached for an unstrung archery bow hanging on the wall. Hoping to assure my terrified friend I attempted to relieve his fears “Don’t worried, that mouse is definitely dead. It’s been dead for a long, long time. Watch.” I poked the deceased creature with the end of the bow.
The dead mouse opened its beady little eyes in anger and glared. Opening its mouth it bared a set of needle sharp fangs and hissed venomously at us. It spread its tiny forelimbs wide and the creature seemed to grow before our eyes revealing a pair of hideous leathery wings. It furiously flipped over off it’s back and made a tiny desperate lunge on the carpet towards the three of us, as if determined to feast on whichever on of us was slowest.
Three big burly furniture movers fought to elbow their way through the small door at the same time, all screaming like little girls. “It’s a bat! It’s a bat! It’s a bat!”