The federal government shut down again on Monday at 5 p.m. when a bat was spotted flying around the inside of the U.S. Capitol building. Legislators, fearing they may be attacked by the bat, have suspended all governmental activity until it flies out a window, is shooed away by someone with a broom, or is ultimately done away with by U.S. pest control experts.
“The bat gave us a good scare,” said Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole (R-KS), who is waiting on the steps of the Capitol with other lawmakers until the bat is removed. “There’s no way in hell I’m going back in there,” he said. “He might get into my hair.”
House Speaker Newt Gingrich agreed that there is “no chance” Congress will begin working on vital issues such as rebuilding our infrastructure and cutting taxes for working families until the bat has flown away. According to Gingrich, “Is he still in there? Somebody go see if he’s still in there.”
Added Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI): “Bats bite, don’t they?”
The bat was discovered by Senator George Klwertyuo (D-VT), who happened to be looking up during a debate over a budget appropriations bill. He noticed the pint-sized beast flying in a swooping, figure-eight pattern, seeming to be headed straight for a wall or ceiling, then veering away at just the last moment in an eerily unpredictable fashion.
Klwertyuo screamed, “Bat!” and pointed upward. All heads craned to see the flying vermin. The debate instantly halted as all eyes followed the bat flapping back and forth aloft in the legislative chamber. Occasionally a few gasps were uttered as the bat swerved frightfully close to ground level and senators instinctively shielded their heads and faces from potential attack.
Senator Milton Hershsod (R-MO), a decorated World War II combat veteran, noticed that the bat had stopped flying around and was perched on an out-of-the-way banister. The senator came at the bat with a paper bag, attempting to capture it and set it loose. But, according to witnesses, the bat emitted a terrifying shriek, causing Hershsod to run away and dive under a nearby table.
Legislators, gripped by panic, sprinted out the door, screeching in a manner similar to young children.
Pest control units scrambled from nearby Quantico, VA, and hope to have the bat safely removed from the chamber by mid-February. The bat represents the biggest pest-related government shutdown since late last month, when a silverfish was spotted on the wainscoting of the Senate Finance Committee offices.