Kathleen, the Little Brown Bat

chiaroscuro bat - 2018 - 7x5
Eduardo Suré; Chiaroscuro Bat, 2018; Graphite

I know what you’re asking yourself as you walk through this cave. No; not, “Why did I pay to walk through a dirty hole?” – the other thing! You’re asking yourself, “Where are all the bats?”

If you look up, you’ll see me hanging from the cave’s ceiling. I’m the little brown bump and you can see a shadow behind me when your light source hits me. I know I look like I swallowed a golf ball – and I’ll address that later – but my species is called little brown bat.

So let’s get back to the question, “Where are all the bats?” Well, I murdered them.

I’m only kidding! But really, they’re all dead.

Take a seat on the floor covered by my soft guano, and I’ll tell you what happened.

Has your momma ever told you, “Stay away from those broad nosed, rat faced, mangy furred boys?” Well, that’s what mommas around here used to say when they were around. I think too many girls didn’t listen to their mommas.

One night, the bug eating was so good that I stayed out until dawn. That’s when I met a smooth talker named Nic. He had the blackest eyes, sleekest wings, and a neck tattoo. It was really just a birthmark, but the aesthetic effect was the same.

He looked at me. I looked at him. I flew SMACK into a tree. I was out cold.

Nic came to my assistance. That’s when I knew I wanted him to be mine. But I should have listened to my momma.

I knew something was wrong sometime between September and May. Come to think of it, it was in May. So; on Cinco de Mayo, I woke up.

I know it doesn’t sound like a bad thing, but it was: I wasn’t done hibernating. I was woken when I coughed. As I breathed, the air going in and out of my throat flowed through mucous. I felt fluid in my lungs.

So, there I was: hanging from the ceiling, full of postnasal, tired, hungry, and ready to get me some breakfast insects.

I let go of the ceiling, dropped into flight, and flew out of the cave. I saw trees, bare trees, no bears though, but snow on the ground, and no insects. That’s important: there was nothing to eat! There were as many insects outside as there are people who look good wearing a fanny pack. Did I mentioned it was still cold enough to freeze to death?

My father always said the best time to give up on your goals is when they’re killing you. So, I flew back home.

As I flew through the cave and back to my spot, I saw Nic roosting at the top of the cave. What a fine piece of bat! I thought I would surprise him when he woke. I hung upside down next to him. I looked at his handsome sleeping face. And there was rabies on that face! I nearly fell all the way to the ground before I took flight. I should have listened to my momma!

Later, I found out Nic didn’t actually have rabies. I found out from some humans. They walked through the cave one day looking at us. They shone their lights at us as we slept. Like jerks. Like creepy jerks – watching us sleeping! One of them flashed a light on Nic. I heard the person say Nic had something called white-nose syndrome.

White-nose syndrome comes from a fungus. It stresses a bat while she sleeps. Eventually, she dies.

I was not going to die! I was not going to freeze! I was not going to starve! I was not going to get back together with Nic!

If there was no food outside, I had to conserve my energy. The best way to do that was to sleep. I had to sleep through the hunger. I had to sleep through the congestion. I had to sleep through the rotting egg smell from thousands of bats farting in their sleep.

I am not going to candy coat it: it was horrible. The fungus was eating through me. It was draining the life out of me. So, I drained the life right back into myself. I saved myself with gluttony. As soon as there were bugs outside to eat, I pigged out! That’s how I survived: by replacing everything the fungus drained and more. Many bats weren’t as lucky.

So, now you know why I’m alone, but present, fat, alive, and single. You can turn off your light and get out.


8 thoughts on “Kathleen, the Little Brown Bat

    1. Thank you, Graham! I tried to only sketch in the dark values, but my hand smeared the graphite. An electric eraser would have been handy! To regain the white, I tried a kneaded eraser first. If it didn’t work, then I tried my little block of vinyl. Not always effective…

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, katemantis! The drawing and the story were both experiments. The sketch was a black-and-white study. The story was supposed to be a comedy. The truth is sad: I was recently in a cave with only one bat hibernating where there used to be thousands.


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