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So I'm driving back to Arizona on two-lane SR95, southbound about 9 miles south of Searchlight. It's about 8:45pm, things have cooled a little, window's open (cos the heater's still running, see?).

Suddenly, something hits me in the side of the head. Hard.

After the initial shock abates, I know immediately what it has to be. I'm just hoping it hasn't broken my skin. I can feel moisture on the side of my face.

Was you ever head-butted by a dead bat?

Can't recommend it.

I pulled over as fast as I could and jumped out. It could still be in the cab.

It was.

But it was daid. Poor little guy committed suicide by flying smack into my skull.

From a flat to a bat: It's a speleological Dr. Seuss.

Worst of all (from my point of view, anyway, not the bat's), my Shady Dell t-shirt is ruined with batguts ...

Well, better a head-on with a bat than a car.

Update 2005: Turns out, this is something that, like, happens:

(Thanks to Yma)
You did not know there was a Wyatt Earp, California.

Don't you lie to me.

From a bat to a rat: mammal central in Deuce of Clubs cold storage.

You may be thinking: A bat, ok. But a rat? You also have a rat in your freezer? Why a rat?

(What're you, Groucho Marx?)

Left the playa at 7am Monday; arrived in Tempe at 3am Tuesday. That's a twenty-hour straight run, taking time out to almost have a head-on collision and also to be smacked in the head with a member of a species known to commonly carry rabies. Obviously still on Burning Man Time.

For the last time.

Once home, remembering that the air-conditioning had gone out the day before I left for Burning Man, I slept in the camper.

Knowing the predilections of Deuce of Clubs pal Dr. Brody Culpepper, we knew the bat would be of Interest to Science. We wrote to Dr. Brody & asked whether the California Academy of Science would like a small contribution. His response:


Dead Bats? YES! YES! YES! We love 'em here at the California Academy of Sciences. Now follow these steps:

  1. Put bat in zip-loc in freezer.
  2. Put a slip of paper in bag with ALL of the information you can remember: date, locality (as specific as possible), etc.
  3. Put bag with bat and tag in small box.
  4. Freeze box.
  5. Send frozen box via next-day air.
Then, we'll prepare the bat, and put it into out collections. The next time you visit, you'll see the little bat with its data tag, saying, "collected by Deuce of Clubs".


Dr. Brody

We were concerned about meltage. No one, not even a Postal Worker, wants to handle bat spew. We queried the Doctor.


Thanks for your dedication to the Natural Sciences.

What I am aiming for is to send the bat in the least amount of time as possible. It doesn't matter if the bat defrosts enroute, but what I don't want is to have the darned critter broiling in some hot post-office in Yuma for a week. So, what I've had Max do with critters her cat has killed is to freeze it, put it into one of those cardboard blue & white 'Next Day Air' boxes at the post office, and send it next day air mail. It should arrive in good condition and I can prepare it.

Great! Your name will be in our computer database with other famous mammalogy researchers.

Thanks, and write if you have any questions,

Dr. Brody.


The bat has arrived! And not too smelly at that! Give me a bit of time to identify it.

Dr. Brody

So, yeah, dead bat. That's where it ends. Make an image out of it, one that represents our no-longer-going-back-to-Burning-Man decision. It's summertime, school's out, take a moment and think. Think. You can do that.

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