Bat Update

The saga continues.
Last night I awakened to a sound I cannot even describe, then a noise like crinkling cellophane. Oh great, a bat and the cats got it. I opened the bedroom screen at which time the bat got away from the cat so I grabbed her and out we went.
I seem to have some type of flu…….maybe rabies; won’t know till I start to bite people. My inhaler, aspirin, phone are in with the bat. GREAT.
The cat wants to get back in the room with the bat. I know she is just doing what cats do. Cannot sleep due to the cat scratching at the door and me telling her to stop; thought about putting her in a cage…..just too weak and tired.
Morning arrived, now I am willing to sound like a helpless female and call a friend to help evict the bat.
As I left the room with meds and phone in hand I spotted a bat on the top of the door. It’s a large ledge due to the age of the house.
Half and hour later my friend arrived armed with a step stool and broom he entered the room; cat close behind. A few moments later out he came with two dead bats. He looked around the ceilings and could find not cracks and yet when I showed him the house exhaust fan vent I explained I did not want to turn it on for fear of a scene from the Omen.
Let’s hope it is all over or I will have to put the Bat Terminator and Bat Cat back on the job.

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About 10 p.m. Monday evening I thought I saw something flying in the hall outside my bedroom.  Half awake I wondered if I was dreaming.   Birds do not fly in the darkness, that means it has to be a bat.  I called a friend, as I was speaking to the voice mail I realized that 50 years had dropped away and I was a scared little 9 year old girl.

Being very tired, I shut the bedroom door and went back to sleep.  I don’t think I quite realized how real the situation was.  So many times I have heard myself say:  “I haven’t lived in some of the roughest neighborhoods on the West Coast to allow myself to be frightened by this little crap.”  So wrong I have been.  All day long I’m looking around the ceilings and dark areas of the house for this bat.

Last night 1:30 a.m. I am awakened by the sound of the little bell on my cats collar.  I look over and she is looking round and round at the ceiling…..glancing up I see it….A BAT!  It was real.  Half awake I turned on the light and went to open a window screen then I was going to shut the bedroom door.  Too late, the light seemed to scare it off and down the hall it went.  I saw it go into the servants quarters so I shut the door.  This is an old house, 1897, I do not have servants.  I went downstairs, closed the kitchen and dining room doors to confine the bat to a specific part of the house.  The servants quarters have a back stairway that goes down to the kitchen.  I went back upstairs to calm myself when it came to me….open the back door maybe it will find it’s way out.  I took my big snapping dog down with me if anyone tries to get into the yard I will know but I’m sure they will get one look at Buddy and change their mind.

The cat and I curled up and went to sleep.  At 5 a.m. I am awakened by the sound of rain so I carefully go downstairs looking everywhere for this bat and feed to cat.  I shut the back door and went to my room, next thing I hear click……the cat and dog had come up the back stairs and opened the door to the servants quarters ran in and jumped on my bed.  The dog was asleep instantly.  He had a big night. We awoke again at 8 a.m. it is now light and yet I’m looking everywhere for the bat.

My friend is coming by tonight to see if he can find the bat and look in the attic to see how it got in and if there are more.

I sure hope it flew out last night.

Posted on by Gail Morris | 1 Comment

Poncho and Lefty

Dynamite comes in small packages; that was the perfect description of Sonny.  We were an odd couple at best.  He was 5’4″ 120 lbs. sopping wet; me 5’9″ 140 lbs.  I could pick him up and hug the stuffing out of him.

Poncho, Sonny’s dog was a “bandit boy” from day one in that Sonny stole him from a shelter.  Poncho looked like a bunch of dog parts thrown together and yet Sonny looked like a bunch of human parts thrown together too.

Sonny and I met in a music store and instantly clicked. From that day forward we were together nearly every day.  He was 7 years older than myself yet looked like he could have been my father.  Quick witted with a great sense of humor (a real plus in my book) you just never knew what to expect from him.  We could walk thru the worst neighborhoods in town, no one would bother us; try to sell us drugs but we passed thru nearly unnoticed.  He was loyal to a fault.  I was having trouble with a neighbor coming to my apartment drunk, this was a big guy.  Sonny took him on, I never had the drunk as much as look at me again.  How?  Not a clue.

Hot Sacramento nights we would pick up sodas and go to his place to make pizza or whatever else was on hand.  There was this big field behind his house where we would walk Poncho and watch the cars pass on Hwy. 99.  We would sit up to all hours listening and singing to records, he had a huge collection.  Willie Nelson was one of his favorites.

You may be wondering how Lefty fits into this.  Poncho of course but?  Sonny’s real name was Clair but I called him Lefty after the song and the fact that he was a South Paw.

I loved this man like life itself and yet I knew his time would be short.  He had a bit of a drug problem……..Meth.  He fought long and hard against this addiction, life with him was great when he was clean.  As the years passed the times clean were much less and his health began to fail after Poncho died.

We met when I was 28 now at 42 older and wiser I had to walk away.  Not being part of the solution I was part of the problem and yet I would not change a thing.

“So the story ends we’re told”.  Lefty won his battle at the age of 58 in the Spring of 2005.  Poncho and Lefty are together again.  “And Gail split for Ohio.”



I just started a new job at a local convenience store. I’m told the coffee is the best in town, I sure do make a lot of it.  In a small town (15,000 approx.) I swear I have met about half of the town in a month.
I was cutting thru the crowd to get back to the kitchen when this man, about 40 said: “Gail, how long have you worked here?” I had no idea who he was and I replied: “About a month”. He looked confused.
He told me he had not been into Greenville in about 10 years. The last time he was here a friend who looked just like me with the same name worked here. “Don’t you remember me?”
I explained that I had only lived in town for 6 years having moved here from California. He expressed that we had been good friends. I told him I was sorry but I just did not know him.
This is far from the first time this has happened to me.

I lived in Sacramento for 25 years.  In the late 80’s thru the mid 90’s people would come up to me at the bus stop and start talking to me as if they knew me.  I was making a bus transfer, as I boarded the bus the driver looked at me strangely.  He said:  ” I just dropped you off two blocks back.”  Two of the passengers shook their head yes.  Well, I could not run that fast even 25-30 years ago.  Another time a well dress woman made mention that I had lost a great deal of weight and “got my waist back”.  I was a bit insulted until I remembered the dopelganger.  I ask her if we knew each other, she said of course we did,  and I worked at the Holiday Inn.  No I worked for a Microfilm company.

The last time the mistaken identity occured was once again at a bus transfer.  The bus had to be taken out of service so the driver came out, sat down next to me and began talking to me like we were best friends.  I let this go on for a while, I did’nt want to embarrass him.  I informed him that people from time to time think I am someone else.  Do we know each other?  He was shocked and started talking about the times we had seen one another.  I told him I knew the “other” worked at Holiday Inn and I showed him my work ID.

I wanted to go to Holiday Inn but never did, I’ve heard it is bad luck to see your dopelganger.   I purchased a car so I did not need the bus anymore.  That was the end of that until the other day at the convenience store.

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Château Despair V

About a month after meeting my future ex-husband Alex I had my first experience with the purse snatching dog.

It was a foggy October morning, 6 a.m.  Preparing to pull out of the car port to take Alex to work I notice movement across the street.  This big black dog is whipping it’s head back and forth tearing up a clutch bag.  Not the oddest thing I had seen in this neighborhood, but close.

The fog gives everything a surrealistic appearance as we maneuver down Broadway.   I begin do discuss the dog across the street when I’m interrupted by the shine of eyes in the road.  I brake so hard the front end dives barely missing this little mutt.

We turn onto Franklin Blvd. when I tell Alex what I had seen, he informs me he had seen that dog tearing up a purse about a week ago.  Out of the corner of my eye, the headlight reflect off what looks like a satyr (half man half goat).   My imagination is getting the best of me this morning, it’s just a man walking a long-legged dog beside him.

When I returned home, all evidence of the purse was gone.

The weeks passed, I saw the dog from time to time, wondering  why the dog catcher had not picked him up.

It was a hot Sacramento day, coming up the stairs after work I heard this man screaming something across the street.  As I headed to the safety of my apartment door this man started running full speed up the stairs and head butted the solid oak door so hard he knocked three little windows out of it.  He was passed out cold on the porch by the time I got inside.  Enough is enough, I called the police.

While I was explaining to the police what I had seen there was more yelling and screaming going on and what did I see in the crowd of people; the purse snatching dog.  The police officer ask if I though the head butting man needed medical assistance and I explained I would if I did that, I also ask if they could send animal control out for the dog.  Now I’m explaining the saga of the purse snatching dog to the police.

The police came and went, the ambulance took the injured man away.

About a week later I saw an animal control man with a long pole; he was after the dog.  This man who lived in the apartment came out and started yelling at the man with the pole and next thing you know he’s beating the daylights out of him.  Back on the phone with the police.

The police took the dog owner away, the ambulance took the animal control man away.

I never saw the dog again but the man who owned/trained the dog came back in a couple of years.

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Welcome Spring.

Last Winter was a rough one for me.  My husband moved to Florida, ice storms and then my 19 yr. old cat Rose died.  I must admit I miss the cat the most.  Oh well.

Yesterday was warm with a nice wind, Buddy the Wonder Dog and I went out to work in the garden.  I composted and pruned the grape vines, weeded, then planted lettuce and radishes as Buddy ran around chasing birds and barking at everything that moved.

I had a great crop of dandelions, so now it’s time to mow.  I gas up the mower and prime it, luckily it started with only 3 pulls.  Out I went to mow the parking strip.   Living on a corner I like to keep that neat and tidy.  As I started to mow my head hurt so badly I thought I was going to have a stroke.  Back into the garage with the mower, leaning up against a car to catch my breath I realized I had not pushed a mower in 40 years.  I hired the nice young man next door.

This morning we had a nice gentle Spring rain; just enough to moisten the seeds I set in.

I’m starting to rebuild my life.  So lucky to live in a friendly little town.  I’m making new friends and renewing old friendship from long ago when I lived in the Pacific Northwest.  All in all, oh well.

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Château Despair IV

What in the world is that sound? It’s the middle of the night and a noise is coming in thru the kitchen window. I get up and look down at the common area between the two buildings and see nothing. It’s not safe to go outside to investigate. I shut the kitchen window and go back to bed.
The closest thing I can compare this noise to is a wild animal noisily eating it’s prey. I live in Downtown Sacramento, this is not possible.
The noise gets louder, then I hear a thumping sound. OK, time to call the Police. A few minutes later the Police pull up and take this frail looking woman away in handcuffs. She is flailing around and that sound is coming out of her. Poor dear, they must be taking her to the Psych Ward.
A few days later I’m coming home from work and see the woman from the night before coming out a downstairs apartment. She locked the dead bolt so she must live there. I talked to Lawence next door and found she had just moved in, her name was Shella.
The following weekend I was going to do laundry and Shella was standing in front of the laundry room door, it had a large pane of glass in it. She was making those strange noises and banging on the glass at her own image. This woman can not take care of herself, I call the Police again. Poor dear must be schizophrenic. The Police remove her and then I call the landlord.
Yes Shella is schizophrenic I was told, her parents kept telling her not to take her medication because the voice she hears is God.
Two or three years passed and myself and the other tenants tried to keep an eye on her. Make sure she was eating and all. One day Shella was gone, just disappeared.
I called the landlord to ask what had happened to her. I was told that Shella called and said the building was possessed and she had to leave.
A few weeks later I saw Shella while I was waiting for the bus. She was pushing a shopping cart and ask me for money. I gave her all I had except for bus fare home. Such a small thing, but that’s all I could do for her.

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Château Despair III

I’m not going to get into all the jokes about small apartments, I think we have heard enough of those. There is a certain decorum one must use when living so close to one another.
Much to my dismay I discovered when you opened the medicine cabinet you could hear everything being said in the apartment on the other side. I figured the opposite was also true.
I never knew this neighbors name but he was a real popular guy. Party central right next door.
Many times I would try to reason with this man and yet it never seemed to work. I became devious and decided to give him a little of his own medicine.
The party went on until 3 am, I had to leave for work at 6 am. Our front doors were right next to one another so instead of banging on his door at 5 am and risking a real nasty confrontation, I just banged on my door so hard it rattled in the frame. Next thing you know I can hear footsteps next door, his door come open……….he was probably still drunk from the night before. Of course no one was there.
I prepared for work, about a half hour passed and I started banging on my front door again. Next door neighbors door comes open, this time he started swearing and running around on the stairs to see who was doing this. I had to bury my head in a pillow so he could not hear me laughing.
A few minutes later I quietly opened my door and left for work down the back stairs.
The following night the party started up again. I waited until they passed out and went downstairs, shut off his master breaker and put a padlock on the fuse box.
Needless to say, the guy next door was gone in 30 days.

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Château Despair II

I was so tired after moving, I fell dead out asleep amid the freeway noise, sirens, gun shots and hamburger orders shouted thru the drive up speaker.

The apartment complex had ten units in two buildings. I rented a well appointed studio in the older building which appeared to be constructed about 1920.  Lovely hardwood floors, plenty of storage and doors everywhere.

At one time this was a fashionable neighborhood. Long ago the streetcar tracks ran in front of the building.  A half block away on Broadway the tracks split one way to Curtis Park (still a nice neighborhood) the other way to Oak Park (now a great place to buy drugs).  Oak Park being the first suburb of Sacramento it even had an amusement park, Joyland.  The streetcar tracks and Joyland are gone, I guess they call that progress.

I needed supplies so down to the Market.  This is one of those old grocery stores with the creaky hardwood floors.  They print the specials of the week on butcher paper in blue and red ink then hang them in the front windows.

All unpacked, the weeks passed, I settled into a routine.  The laundry room was under my apartment, I could hear no one was down there so, perfect timing.  As I was about to go back upstairs a door in the other building came open.   I could see directly into the apartment.  The tenant was using a Nazi garrison flag as a room divider.  This was the first time I saw Neo-Nazi Ken, Jack boots and all.

Little did either of us know; we would end up arch enemies.

To be continued.

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Château Despair

It was the first of November 1986, misty rain and cold; just perfect for moving.  Exhausted, I was setting up the bed when the fight broke out.

A young woman with a baby was also moving in two doors down from me.  The men she had with her looked like they had just been released from San Quentin.  Their upper torso’s were grossly over developed, heads shaved and tattoos on their faces.  This was well before tattoos were a fashion statement.  They appeared to be Aryan Brotherhood vintage.

At first it was just a verbal altercation which quickly became so violent they pushed the air conditioner thru the window to my floor.  We were upstairs, I was afraid one would throw the other over the railing, even if I had a phone these were people you don’t call the police on.  Backlit by the street light, thru the curtains I could see them throwing punches at one another and then it just stopped.

Knock, knock, knock.  I was afraid to open the door so I opened the front window instead.  As if nothing had happened one of the men ask if he could put my air conditioner back in.  “Yes, I would appreciate it”.

The apartment was between an elevated freeway and an ambulance service.  Across the street was a 24 hour fast food restaurants drive up speaker.  The rent was quite reasonable.

To be continued.