3 June 2011

Bad Landing

As I was driving I saw a strange thing:
From the trees blew a leaf that bounced off the radiator grille and landed in the middle of the bonnet with a thud that was slightly too loud to be the noise of a leaf landing on a bonnet?
Still driving, I squinted through the windscreen at the leaf caught motionless in that eddy caused by the sleek Landrover streamlining, once stopped I cautiously prodded the bat hoping it was not bleeding (or would make me bleed in revenge for driving in to it then poking it).  Happily nothing other happened than the furry matchbox shuffled its wings back in to order.  Studying it by the light of a torch beam I could see a delicate transparent membrane poking from below its nose, the membrane was part of the bats precise ultrasonic echo location, I guessed. Incorrectly. As the bat came to its senses it finished chewing the insect it had been chasing and ate the wing that was hanging from its mouth.
Unblinking, it fixed me with tiny black crystal eyes then maybe because I had just blinded the nocturnal creature it started off on a circuit of the bonnet moving with a surprisingly efficient shouldery crawl on its elbows (wrists? or some other anatomical adaption).  After I picked up the bat its hooked ‘feet’ helped make rapid and determined progress up my arm until I couldn’t hold my nerve any longer and scooped it off my shoulder.  I’m not sure what passing drivers thought about the figure standing in the dark with one arm raised like a Nazi salute but the bat hung upside down from my finger for a while then flapped off back in to the trees.

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