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FuNnY OfFiCe: How to Trap a Bat

Updated on August 19, 2012

This story was written months ago, before the recent tragedies in Colorado and Washington D.C. I hope those who read it receive it in the spirit in which it was meant -- as a commentary on corporate America, particularly the security vulnerabilities of many office buildings.

In many workplaces, what I set forth as fiction is actually true -- employees must look out for one another, because their employers make little or no effort to ensure workplace security.

House of the Flying Bats

Acme was an old-fashioned corporation that hewed a little too much to the idea of individual responsibility.

The company had only two safety mottos:

  1. Run for your life, and
  2. the devil take the hindermost.

We held no fire drills and had no emergency evacuation training. We hadn't seen an OSHA inspector in over two years, probably because Mr. Acme had bribed him to stay away.

Acme had also endured more than its share of employee drama.

It seemed that we were averaging three mental health emergencies a month, most of them anger management crises.

How to Trap a Bat

We had expressed our concerns, but in an answering memo, management had replied that Acme employees were expected to "get out of harm's way in a timely fashion."

My supervisor was planning to retire on the Reckless Endangerment lawsuit she was building against Acme, but the rest of us had more short-term goals.

Primarily, survival.

Freakout Fighters

Every month the secretarial pool met in the basement after hours and conducted Freakout Drills, complete with football helmets, lacrosse sticks and catcher's vests.

Our manual, "How to Trap a Bat," was written by a secretary who had put in 20 years at Acme and had been instrumental in the capture of a dozen raging co-workers. It read:

Step 1. Surround the trapee in a loose circle. Make waving motions and confusing sounds to distract from capture attempt.

Step 2. Lead trapper and two assistants prepare the net while the others distract.

Step 3. Trappers release the net.

Step 4. Assistants secure the weighted ends.

"How to Trap a Bat" stressed that humane capture should always be attempted first, but if steps 1-4 failed, Step 5 read: Prepare Tazers.

Fearless Hunters

I joined the Trap Team when my supervisor informed me that I had joined. The team was made up mostly of women and led by Hector Finch-Jones from Accounting.

Mr. Finch-Jones was an enthusiastic hunter.

During my time on the Trap Team, we successfully trapped five Acme employees in full freakout mode.

One of them had been convinced that his secretary's desk was the last rowboat on the Titanic, and threw her out onto the floor so that he could climb onto it. Two others had been convinced that the Mayan apocalypse was imminent and hired two priestesses to stand on the roof and wave feathers over the building as the afflicted employees wailed and threw dust on their heads.

We netted them all without incident, unless you counted Mr. Finch-Jones, who kept volunteering to bring his gun and had to be voted down repeatedly.

"It's lots of %&^##% work for nothing, running through the halls with all these heavy nets. I could bring the *%$8%%#s down in an instant with my .45

"What say we bring our guns next time?"

Red Alert

Our record of unbroken success might have made the Trap Team a tad complacent when a real emergency struck.

Or, it might have been that five overweight, mostly middle-aged desk clerks didn't run fast enough to keep up with an insane person. Everyone knows that a lunatic's zeal gives him the strength of ten and the ability to climb up the wall like a fly and to run ike an Olympic hurdle jumper.

The Trap Team learned this sad truth firsthand.

My supervisor burst into the secretarial pool one morning.

"Quick! Get the nets! There's a man downstairs who's screaming that he's going to kill Mr. Acme!"

She shoved me out into the hall, pushing the lacrosse stick into my hand. "I'm calling the others. He's heading toward the elevators!"

By the time we reached the elevators a knot of shaken bystanders told us that the man had been screaming threats and had just taken the elevator to the executive floor.

Mr. Finch-Jones arrived. "Trap team, hoist the nets! We're going to take that $%&^# down!"

I suggested that we call the police instead, but Mr. Finch-Jones wouldn't hear of such a chicken-hearted idea, and we took the elevator to the 50th floor.

Bat Crazy

When the doors opened at last Mr. Finch-Jones shouted: "There he is! Get him, get him, get him!"

We surged forward, unraveling the nets and huffing down the corridor as fast as we could run. The man was a twentysomething who looked wild-eyed even from a distance of 100 feet.

"I'm going to kill you, Acme! Prepare to die!"

Mr. Finch-Jones sprinted ahead and cornered the man against a wall. "Quick! The net!"

We tossed the net, but the man darted under Mr. Finch-Jones' arm and sped away down the corridor.

"Oh no, he's headed for Mr. Acme's office! Gather up the net, let's try again!"

Bat Attack

Mr. Finch-Jones shouted a warning, but the young man reached Mr. Acme's office door and kicked it in.

"Hurry, hurry, he's gotten in!"

We ran full-tilt down the long hall as enraged shouts and the sounds of heavy fighting raged inside Mr. Acme's office.

A sudden, bloodcurdling shriek tore the air.

"Get him off of me! Help, help!"

We burst through the office door to be met by a shocking sight.

The young man, not Mr. Acme, was the one in danger. Our CEO was beating him smartly about the head and shoulders with a small baseball bat.

"I'll teach you to threaten me, boy! I'm going to beat the crazy right out of you, you little 8%&#@% &# &^#$@!"

The young man took to his heels and fled, followed closely by Mr. Acme.

The tables were so unexpectedly turned that some of us actually trailed out into the hall after them, protesting weakly, "No, Mr. Acme -- don't hit him again! Ooohh...Mr. Acme, think of the don't want a murder on your conscience -- do you, Mr. Acme?"

Boss Bat

Anyone who had studied him would tell you that self-reliance had always been the genius behind Mr. Acme's remarkable business success.

However, even those of us who'd worked with him for years were startled by how far he was willing to take the idea.

Still, I had to admit a sneaking admiration for his sand. Mr. Acme had defended himself with a zeal that proved fiercer even than the fires of insanity. He gave his would-be attacker such a whaling that the young man actually begged for the police to take him away.

The Trap Team was so impressed by the strength of Mr. Acme's aggression that we made him the head of our group. We decided, going forward, that if such a crisis should happen again, we will go into battle behind our excessively angry leader.

After all -- when trapping a bat -- it helps to have one with you.

Have you ever worked with someone who you believed had dangerous mental health issues?

See results

If so, did your employer address the situation?

See results


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    • mollymeadows profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Strain 

      6 years ago from The Shire

      Thank you, Integrity! I'm glad you liked it. :-)

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      It definitely made me smile, Molly.

    • mollymeadows profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Strain 

      6 years ago from The Shire

      Hi Midget, I appreciate your visit! Thank you for commenting. I think there are many workers who struggle with mental health issues, and I think there are far too few programs in place to help them. Which in practical terms means that the chance of a breakdown at work becomes more likely. Thank you for your kind words -- stop by anytime!

    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 

      6 years ago from Singapore

      My grandma used to have bats visit her mango tree. They'd hang upside down for hours!! Fascinating to see them. I voted yes on your poll for working with someone with mental health issues. A friend of mine has schizophrenia!! Another had a bad nervous breakdown. Thanks for the great write, Molly!

    • mollymeadows profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Strain 

      6 years ago from The Shire

      Hi Teaches -- thanks for visiting! Oh, good heavens, neighbors...if you were in doubt that yours were crazy, you're doing better than most!

      This was our street after dark....

      ^^ ^^ ^^ ^^ ^^

      ^^ ^^ ^^ ^^

      ^^ ^^


      Thanks for your support. I appreciate your kindness!

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      6 years ago

      I am glad I caught this before heading for bed, I needed a light look at life's events. Believe it or not, I used to have neighbors that resemble this story -- were they crazy? You never know!

    • mollymeadows profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Strain 

      6 years ago from The Shire

      Hi Gypsy! Thanks for visiting! Yes, Mr. Acme has yet to meet his match. He's always the most aggressive person in the room, and some would add, the craziest.

      Alas, you're right about the loons with guns and knives. That's why a (formal!) workplace security plan is so important. Otherwise, you get the "devil take the hindermost" security plan, or possibly, a Wild-West shootout in the office when "Mr. Finch-Jones" pulls out his pistol and returns fire.

      Thanks for looking in! I appreciate it!

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 

      6 years ago from Riga, Latvia

      Voted up and funny. That young man got what he deserved. lol Love the image of Mr. Acme whacking him with the bat. Now if it all could be that simple but we got looneys running around with knives and guns.

    • mollymeadows profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Strain 

      6 years ago from The Shire

      Always, thanks for looking in. Yes, Acme is a crazy company, based on some of my past workplaces.

      I once worked with a woman who kept talking about "Baby." I thought she meant her dog, but then she said, "Let me show you Baby," and she pulled out this honking gun. She'd brought a gun to the workplace. Another co-worker at the same place (sadly, my immediate boss) believed in space aliens and was literally awaiting the arrival of the Mother Ship.

      I count myself lucky that there was not a mental health meltdown while I was there, because I think there were several candidates for that, and many of my co-workers were armed. :-0

      Thank you for following my stories!

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      6 years ago from Southern Illinois

      OMG, This is hilarious. What a nutty place to work..HaHa

    • mollymeadows profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Strain 

      6 years ago from The Shire

      Hi Integrity! Thanks for your kindness! I hope it made you smile. :-)

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      That is another great one, Molly. WHOA!

    • mollymeadows profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Strain 

      6 years ago from The Shire

      Hyph, thanks for looking in this afternoon! And I'm sorry your former workplace required that kind of planning. I've worked at some places that had me making those mental calculations as well!

      I really should add a poll to some of these stories. I wonder what the response would be if I asked a question like, "Have you ever worked with someone that you believed had serious mental health issues?" Followed by: "If so, did you tell your employer and how did they handle it?" These stories are silly, but I hope they inspire people to proactively ask those questions.

      Thanks for your support, Hyph, I appreciate you!

    • Hyphenbird profile image

      Brenda Barnes 

      6 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

      Oh how this brought back memories. I used to plan hiding behind my office door if a freaked out employee or angry customer went amok. Seriously. It is one reason I lost weight. Yep it helps to have a bat close and we had an office full. This Acme series you have going is incredible great and funny. People who have never worked for crazy people just do not understand!

    • mollymeadows profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Strain 

      6 years ago from The Shire

      GTF, you just made my day :- )) Thanks for following!

    • mollymeadows profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Strain 

      6 years ago from The Shire

      Thank you, Faith! You're always so generous. I'm glad this silly story made you smile. :-)

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Claudia Mitchell 

      6 years ago

      Another Funny office hub. Love this series!

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 

      6 years ago from southern USA

      Ha, "freak-out drills" that is so hilarious. I had been waiting for your next episode of Funny Office. Thanks for the great laugh today. In His Love, Faith Reaper

    • mollymeadows profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Strain 

      6 years ago from The Shire

      Thank you, Drbj! It's always my goal to keep my readers awake ;-) Thank you for your kindness!

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 

      6 years ago from south Florida

      This is a gem, molly. I read it last night before bedtime and couldn't sleep all night because constant laughter kept waking me up. Who was laughing? Me!

    • mollymeadows profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Strain 

      6 years ago from The Shire

      Hi Bill! Thanks for looking in! I'm glad it gave you a chuckle.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      LOL what a great place to work! I swear there would never be a dull moment working with you. Great hub and thanks for the laugh before bedtime.


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