GIRL ON FARMER By Celia Beresford I was mowing my lawn in the dark this evening and a big rock hit me in the leg. The rock just flew out the back of my electric mower. I have feared this kind of thing for many years. Here I am, innocently mowing the lawn, trying to be neighborly and cut my weed fi eld into a semblance of a yard, and boom! Some random projectile flies into my eye and that’s that. Down from two eyes to one. Just like that. Since I couldn’t fi nd the headlamp, I wrapped a freshly charged string of solar lights around me for guidance. It seemed like the smart-person thing to do, but it was still kind of dark. The next bright light came from something I ran over that made a big spark. I was scared to keep mowing. Not for some rational reason, like “this doesn’t seem to be very safe.” Instead, I was concerned that I had spent so much time thinking about the injury of a projectile that I was now tempting fate from said projectile gods. In fact, I was so scared that I almost didn’t tell you about it, in case the universal overseer of flying things could hear me or read my thoughts. Or the rock or twig, or whatever it is, knows I am avoiding it. I’m thinking, great, I’ll write about this, then the underground league of flying things will hear about it, and next week I’ll get speared in the eye by a falling twig or a rabid bird with excellent aim. (Note to self: do not leave house without safety goggles.) I am actually terrified writing this right now, but I’m not sure why. Well, I know why, but it’s ridiculous, because what happens and whether or not I mention it will not affect anything. Right? So you think! Call me superstitious, I guess. No, really, do call me that, because I am. In college I was convinced for two years I was hexed. Even before that I was always concerned with black cats, big fl ocks of birds, walking under ladders and that sort of thing. Scarecrows—no thanks. Laugh at me now. Just be careful when they pop out of the cornrows and climb into your bedroom window. My fear of non-human things being able to read my mind and/or inflict their will on my life got an early start. In seventh grade I slept over at my friend Zara Stone’s house. Earlier that day, her mom had told me about a bat that had it in for her—I mean a bat, like the mammal. What happened was, earlier in the 38 JAVA MAGAZINE
I was concerned that I had spent so much time thinking about the injury of a projectile that I was now tempting fate from said projectile gods. In fact, I was so scared that I almost didn’t tell you about it, in case the universal overseer of flying things could hear me or read my thoughts. week, Liv, Zara’s mom, had shooshed a bat away from the yard, afraid it would roost in one of their hollow trees. Liv sensed that the bat was not happy with this and was out for revenge. The more she thought about the bat doing cruel and creepy things—like getting its little claws caught in her hair or taking a bath in the toilet—the more she was sure it would happen. The bat sensed it. She kept a vigilant look over her shoulder and made sure to close the door. Her children, Zara included, mocked poor Liv. So, maybe their insolence provoked the bat even further. That night when Liv came home from work, she heard a little cheeping sound in the bedroom. When she peeked in, the bat was in the corner. But it wasn’t flying or roosting or doing bat things, it was just standing there. Liv freaks out and closes the door screaming and trying to figure out what to do. Zara, her sister and brother run into the living room while their mom is pointing at the door yelling “Bat! Bat!” Now, Liv has been known to have a few cocktails, but it was a little too early for the bat apparition to be blamed on booze. Still, Zara reassured her mom the bat was not in there. It was all in her mind. This is when the scritchy scratchy noise started. A bat’s claws will not make a sound on fluffy carpet, which was exactly the flooring situation at Zara’s. But they will scritch-scratch when they are clawing the door. Especially when they are doing a smooth pancake breakdance move to sneak out from under the door. This is what the Stone family told me. They all swore that they saw the bat slide under the door and walk out into the living room. Once he made it out from under the door, he had an attitude. He had a Frankenstein-ish walk, with his wings out, and he kind of dipped from side to side, almost as if he were tip-toeing. It sounds unbelievable. But they swear it’s true. In fact, they all swore separately and independently. We were in seventh grade, so you know I made them swear all over the place, on everyone’s life, grave and future lives. I believe it. That bat knew what he was doing. And I’m not just saying that in case the bat hears about this. But if he did, I’d want him to know. (I did not laugh once at the part where he slid under the door.) So remember to think nice thoughts about your animal friends. And wear eye protection when mowing the lawn. I’ll see you around—hopefully with both eyes.