The Emporia Gazette newsroom was the scene of a bat terrorization Friday morning.
An employee who arrived early noticed the oversized and obviously well-fed bat on the ceiling when she went to the copy machine. A recent water leak had loosened some tiles in the ceiling.
“When I looked up to the ceiling to see what happened, I noticed a fat bat,” Features Editor Regina Murphy said. “We affectionately named him ‘Bat Albert.’”
News and Online Editor Zach Hacker — a self-described chiroptophobe, or someone who fears bats — tried to go about his morning deadline duties, but was clearly distracted and unnerved by the fat bat, who was just hanging out on the ceiling.
Hacker decided to call animal control, and Officer Mark Miller arrived on scene with a butterfly net. After setting up a ladder, he was able to capture Bat Albert in the net. The success was short lived, as Bat Albert had other ideas and quickly escaped the net.
Several staff members avoided the flight of his path as Bat Albert zoomed across the newsroom and onto the ‘Wall of Fame’ so he could admire the many awards The Gazette has received over the years.
Ad Rep Cassi Ellis-Olinger narrowly escaped the flightpath, yelling “Every man for himself!” before hitting the deck and crouching under Publisher Chris Walker’s desk.
Miller followed the bat and quickly ‘canned’ him with a Crisco can against the wall. Designer Dan Ferrell, tried to offer assistance by offering Sports Writer Dylan Sherwood’s calendar to Miller to close off the top of the can.
“Don’t use my calendar,” Sherwood snapped. “Not my calendar!”
Miller secured the top of the Crisco can with a lid and was able to contain Bat Albert, much to the delight of the employees.
“The bat will be safely relocated to Jones Park,” Miller said, who gained hero status among Gazette employees.
Murphy added, “There is never a dull day at The Emporia Gazette.”