Vampire bats and a Cleveland Cop

She was attractive enough, as far as those things go.

She and friends were loud. It was like, when they were children, no one listened to them. So they just began to talk louder and louder until, one day, one of their parents yelled, “Shut up!” And they felt strangely warm inside because they had finally been noticed. A member of the family, at last.

We were camping with our neighbors. The father was a cop that worked in the worst part of Cleveland. He had been shot a few times and liked telling us kids those stories.

He was always the first man in after the door was kicked down. Once he was shot 3 times in one incident. We went to visit him after he got out of the hospital. My mother brought him a large 3-pound rock with a hole in the middle that she ran a rope through and told him it was a good luck charm. He wore it around his neck the entire afternoon as my mother, father, the cop that got shot and his wife all drank beer and talked, on the front porch.

We were walking through the woods near the campsite and we could see a swarm of bats flying above us. One of the neighbor kids (a girl I would later buy  my pot from) pointed up and her father (the cop who was always getting shot) said they were bats and that when he was a kid, walking through these same woods, a bat flew down and started biting his friend. He said they had to pry the bat off  his friend’s chest with a crowbar.

I must have looked terrified. I couldn’t have been more than 10 years old. My father looked back over his shoulder and said, “That never happened.”


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