The afternoon skies went dark as an estimated 14,653 bats swarmed above the State Capital building in Providence, RI.
“At first it looked cool,” said Melford Glum, a tourist visiting the Ocean State from Shrieve, UT. “The kids were laughing and pointing. Then, when the bats started dive-bombing us, it felt like the Apocalypse.”
Ordinarily, bats are peaceful, feeding off moths, beetles and mosquitos. These hoary bats (Lasiurus cinereus), seemed interested in human prey. According to eyewitnesses, the bats were organizing.
“They were flying in these complex patterns,” said Dempsey J. Codswallop, a former Special Forces Latrine Engineer. “Beta 7 and 9. Delta 6 strafing runs. I hadn’t seen anything like it since ‘Nam.”
“The bats were aiming for my eyes!” cried Jane “Double-Tongue” Marsh, a practicing Wiccan, who had been protesting for the legalization of hallucinogenic mushrooms as a sacramental tool. “I tried to get into the building, but the Capitol police had locked it down. Great Cthulhu curse them! We hammered on the door, but they wouldn’t let us in!”
Commenting later, Sgt. Ronnie Blunderbus explained, “Our policy is to protect lawmakers and property first. The public would never forgive us if we lost a legislator to an airborne rodent insurrection.”
Seagulls Save Sprog
Within minutes of the infestation, Providence police, fire, and animal control converged on the State Capital, but chaos reigned even as the officers drew weapons and fired into the sky.
All this law enforcement proved useless as a cluster of 27 bats lifted a small child off the plaza.
Wails of, “My baby! My baby!” were heard as the gunfire quickly stopped.
And then, as all seemed lost, a flock of great black-backed gulls (Larus marinus) appeared and began plucking the bats out of the sky like they were French fries at the beach.
“It was like a hailstorm of falling bats,” wailed a tearful Wanda Washington. “One of them got stuck in my hair and wasn’t quite dead! I’ve gotta go for a rabies shot now!”
Bystanders grew frantic as the bats flew the infant higher and higher, but one lone seagull floated down and began cawing and flapping, forcing the cluster back toward the ground.
At any moment the bats might have dropped their fragile captive on the pavement, but for the quick thinking of Daniel J. “Diggah Dan” Duggan, who had just finished selling a bushel of littlenecks at a local farmer’s market.
The grizzled clammer used his ever-present bull rake to snag the baby’s jumper and pull it to safety.
“I just made the catch,” Duggan modestly said. “If it wasn’t for Cyril the Seagull, it might have gone horribly wrong. That bird’s a pest, but he’s also a hero.”
The child’s mother declined to be interviewed for this article.
Almost as quickly as it started, the melee ended as the flock of seagulls chased the bats out of hell away from the City of Hope.
Guano Clean Up?
The bats and gulls were gone, but the Capitol Building parking lot was littered with corpses. The winged combatants had also deposited more than 532 gallons of guano. A grey, white and black blend of pungent bird and rodent feces splattered the dome.
“It was like Jackson Pollock met Hannibal Lecter,” said RISD historian Art Thowimprezd. “That’s how it’s described in my forthcoming documentary, Gullible Politics.”
The Governor, after he was awakened from his nap, called up the National Guard and put impressed prisoners from the ACI to work, rubbing off the Independent Man, and rappelling down the side of the dome for an emergency whitewashing session.
According to the Department of Environmental Management, the bats emerged from a fissure next to the Providence River.
Working all night and collecting double overtime, the Department of Transportation used decontaminated fill to seal the crevasse.
“We think the colony was hibernating in the Combined Sewage Overflow Tunnels,” said DEM Spokesperson Ima Freud. “There was a minor earthquake, the ground under Parcel 42 shifted, and Bob’s your uncle. Lord knows how many lives would have been lost if we’d actually built a skyscraper on that plot.”
“As for the flock of seagulls?” Freud continued. “They flew… They flew so far away.”
The city of Providence sleeps safe. For now.
Note: This column is satire, not fact-based reporting.