Sunday, September 11, 2022

Assault and Battery by Charlie Brice

“Sweetheart,” my darling wife said, “There’s 
a bat in our bedroom.” She’s finally gone batty, 
I thought, awakened as I was out of a dead sleep,
but then, when I sat up in bed, a bat flew by. 

A battalion of ideas blitzed through by head.
“What should we do?” I asked. “Call the police,”
the love of my life commanded. “And tell them what? 
That we are being battered by a be-winged rodent?”

Two cops arrived and caught our version of Spike 
from Buffy or Bela Lugosi with a collapsible 
laundry basket. Three months later, our son Ariel,
airily approached me in our kitchen. “Dad,” 

he said, “there’s a bat in the dining room.” Was he 
bat-shit crazy? No. A bat the size of a cigarette package
had settled on our China cabinet for a snooze. “What
should I do?” I asked the joy of my loins. Adorned

in winter parka, baseball cap, Covid plastic face
visor, and oven mittens, Ari looked like a bewildered
beekeeper or a psychotic, middle-aged, batboy 
for the Pirates. He gently placed the collapsible 

laundry basket over the somnolent beast, pealed it
off our cabinet’s wooden trim, and threw it and the 
basket into our front yard. Most importantly, I held
the front door open for him—most importantly.

Despite this rousing success, I began to awaken
at night hearing a battery of noises: a bat flying,
a bat crawling, a bat perching, squeaking, chirping, 
or whatever terrifying sounds they make. Since 

it was too large to keep under my pillow, I placed
the collapsible bat basket next to me in bed. I had 
become a basket case! I called an exterminator and
agreed to spend thousands over the next few years

to batproof my home. A horrible decision that keeps
me awake at nights now as much as batworry did.
The bats are batting a thousand while I, once as 
mighty as Casey, have, like him, struck out.

Charlie Brice won the 2020 Field Guide Poetry Magazine Poetry Contest and placed third in the 2021 Allen Ginsberg Poetry Prize. His fifth full-length poetry collection is The Ventriloquist (WordTech Editions, 2022). His poetry has been nominated twice for the Best of Net Anthology and three times for a Pushcart Prize and has appeared in Atlanta Review, The Honest Ulsterman, Ibbetson Street, The Paterson Literary Review, Impspired Magazine, Muddy River Poetry Review, and elsewhere.

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