Night falls and the waves crash against the shore in the distance. It’s Julian’s last day on his business trip, but he can’t seem to find his wallet, which includes not only his credit cards but also his plane ticket back home— rookie mistake. It’s his first business trip flying solo, and he already screwed up. All Julian wants is to do is find his wallet and scratch this arduous, uneventful trip from his memory.
Julian retraces his steps back to the restaurant he ate lunch at, but finds no wallet. He walks the paved path adjacent to the shore, listening to the waves and wind as if they’re going to tell him where his wallet is. Julian remembers he spent some time swimming earlier that day and purchased drinks at the pool bar located inside a cave.
He made his way to the pool bar. The string lights and tiki lamps were still lit, but since it was after hours, the bartender was no longer there. The decor lights illuminated the bar itself, but the rest of the cave was still dim. Using a tacky tiki lamp, he searches behind the bar and the surrounding area . No wallet here.
Julian shudders as he hears a loud screech from the upper right corner of the cave. He quickly shines the lamp to see a little bat hanging in the corner.
“May I help you?”, says the bat.
“Uhm… yeah actually. Have you seen a wallet around here?”, Julian replies. This was his first interaction with a bat, and though this one seems awfully polite, he hopes it’s his last. Julian tries to keep his cool and not to agitate the creature, as he doesn’t recall “bat attacks” being covered by his company’s insurance policy.
“Why yes, I did see a wallet here earlier.”
“Great, do you think I can have it back?”
The bat swoops down to perch on a beer tap handle. “You can have your wallet back if you help me first.”
Julian thought, What could a bat possibly want from me? He tried to get out of it. “Look, it’s kinda late in human time, and I have an early flight in the morning so can I please just have my wallet back?”
“I need your help. It’s of the utmost importance. You must help me first, and then I’ll give you your wallet.”
“Is it blood? I can’t give you my blood, you don’t want my blood anyway. I have cholesterol—”
“No, no it’s not blood. I don’t know why we get tagged as blood sucking monsters.”
“Then what is it? What do you need help with?”
“Well.. it’s kinda embarrassing, but you know Valentine’s Day is coming up. And I really want to do something special for this bat I’ve been trying to mate with. I’ve been hissing and buzzing at her, some of my best calls, but I don’t think she reciprocates my affection. I’d really like to make a grand gesture, you know? Something that says ‘You’re the most beautiful bat I’ve seen in my lifetime’. Do you think you can help me?”
“Bats celebrate Valentine’s Day?”
“We’re not monsters, of course we celebrate Valentine’s Day! Now, what do you think I should do?”
Julian leans against the bar and looks at his little bat friend. “Hmmm… Maybe you can give her a necklace? Do bats wear jewelry?”
“No, we’re bats”.
“Oh right okay. What if you sang her a song? Or performed a musical number for her?”
“Sing her a song?These are terrible ideas. I can’t see myself doing any of these things, and I don’t think she’d enjoy my horrid singing voice.”
Julian was running out of patience. He really just wanted to get his wallet and his plane ticket, sleep for a few hours, and get on his flight back home.
“Look, Dracula, I’m trying my best here. I’m tired and I just want to get my wallet back. Work with me. What are some things that bats like? Like any foods or beverages?”
The bat pauses to think for a moment. Julian impatiently shakes his leg and rests his head on his hand.
“Lemons. We like lemons.”
“Lemons? Bats like lemons?”
“Yes, they’re very tasty to us. Almost like a candy or dessert.”
“Ok what if you get her a box of lemons shaped like a heart? Or a bouquet of lemons?”
“Yeah.. yeah that can work. Go on…”
“Go on? What else can a bat want?”
“She’s not just any bat; she’s different from the other bats. She deserves so much more than just lemons. Get thinking— your plane takes off in less than five hours”
Julian was frustrated now. This bat was relentless. “Ok well what are things that you like to do, things that you like?”
“Why would it matter what I like?”
“Valentine’s Day isn’t just about others. It’s also a day for you. A day to take care of and love yourself. You should take time to do things you like to do, eat foods that you like to eat, even buy yourself a gift. Plus, if you really love this bat, she should love you for your authentic self.”
The bat pauses to think about Julian’s definition of Valentine’s Day. He never thought about it like that before. “Huh… I’ve never heard anyone describe it that way. In terms of things I like to do, I recently started drawing portraits… I’m not too good at it though, but I enjoy doing it.”
Disregarding the logistics of how a bat can hold a pencil, Julian was excited that they were making progress. “There we go! Now we’re getting somewhere! So you give her a bouquet of lemons and a nice, talon-drawn portrait. She’ll love it, even if it’s the shittiest drawing she’s ever seen. And if she doesn’t appreciate it, then I’m afraid she’s not the one, and you can do better, King.”
“Oh sorry. People refer to each other as kings and queens casually; it’s like a compliment.”
“Oh I see. Thanks! I think this plan might work! You’re also a King, Julian!
Julian let out a laugh that echoed throughout the cave. “HA did you just reference Madagascar?!”
As promised, the bat gives Julian his wallet back, and the two part ways. The bat flashes his wings open and flies into the night. Julian, ever-so happy to have his wallet and plane ticket back in his possession, takes a few sips of whiskey and heads back to his hotel room.
He takes a brief nap before he has to get up, check-out, and take a cab to the airport. Julian boards his flight and locates his assigned seat. The flight attendant walks through the aisles, checking everyone’s seat belts, windows, and trays. Check, check, check. Ready for take-off.
Once flying at a steady pace, Julian reclines his seat and shuts his eyes. As exhausted as he is, he can’t fall asleep. His mind keeps diving back to his little, lovesick bat friend, and their master plan to woo a bat with lemons and a drawing that will likely look as if someone stuck a pencil up their nostril, tied their hands behind their backs, and tried to draw a portrait.