The bat and the mayor – a random page from Two Old Fools in Turmoil, the next book in the Old Fools series, to be published this year. *fingers crossed*
Something black shot out, swooped round the room and clung sootily to a picture frame.
“Aaaagh!” I yelled. “It’s a bat!”
I’m not at all frightened of bats outside in the fresh air. I think they are wonderful creatures, and they certainly did a grand job of devouring El Hoyo’s flying insect population. I loved the way they flitted round the lamp posts, and their tiny squeaks made me smile. But I have to admit, I don’t like the idea of bats flying round my head indoors. Specially scared, sooty bats.
“Quick, open the front door,” Joe ordered.
I flung the door open but the bat was too frightened to move, and merely blinked.
“Perhaps we should throw something over it,” I suggested, using the royal ‘we’ as I had no intention of doing it myself.
“Hmmm… Good idea,” said Joe, grabbing my favourite white T-shirt which I’d foolishly left lying around.
He hurled it at the poor creature, but the bat sat tight, its tiny hands gripped around the picture frame, its eyes regarding us over its shoulder. My T-shirt slid to the floor, soot-smeared.
“I know, I’ll get the little fishing net, if I can find it. Stay there, Vicky, and watch the bat. We don’t want it hiding somewhere in the room and coming out later.”
“Can’t I go and look for the net?” I argued, but Joe had already gone.
“Right, Batty,” I said quietly. “Just you hang in there and behave until Joe comes back with a net. We’ll soon have you outside.”
But the bat was restless. To my horror, it looked around, twitched, then sprang into the air.
“Aaaagh!” I yelled, crouched down and covered my head, trying hard to follow its flightpath as it circled the ceiling.
I must have jumped a foot in the air.
“Beaky! What are you doing?”
A figure stood in the doorway, blocking out the light. I knew that voice. It was Pancho the mayor. I half-straightened, my eyes searching the ceiling, but in that fraction of a second when I’d been distracted, the bat had disappeared.
“Poor Beaky!” said Pancho, walking into the room. His English was good, but his nasal voice always made my name sound like Beaky. “Are you sick?”
“You must not be afraid, there is nothing here.”
“Why were you crouching on the floor, poor Beaky? And why do you keep rolling your eyes to the heavens?”
“I’m not rolling my eyes!”
“Poor Beaky,” said the mayor, taking my hand and raising it to his lips. “You look pale. I am thinking your husband does not look after you properly. Perhaps he would let me take you out for a soothing drive. Or a quiet drink in my office at the Town Hall.”
My mouth dropped open. Where was Joe with that wretched net?