A true encounter I had as a meter reader. Written a couple years back while I still worked in the field at Duke Energy, but modified for our journey together in this blog.
I go in a lot of basements for my job. A LOT of basements. And 96.7% of the time it's just me and my flashlight in the dark, damp, disgustingness looking for a meter. The things I see on a daily basis I'm not sure you'd believe, but today took the cake.
Its Kentucky. This state is old. And so was the musty, trash filled, dirt basement today that I slithered into. My trusty old battery powered friend, Mr. Flashlight always leads the way. He’s kind enough to “take one for the team” when there’s spider webs or other “icky” things that go bump in the night. The ceiling of this basement had to be only 4 feet tall, so I’m virtually army crawling to the meter. Just another day living the dream. Can you imagine the fun yet?
Now I’m an experienced meter reader. I can find meters with my eyes closed. And I'm inclined to believe that's what happened here. I closed my eyes and found the meter. Why I might think that you ask? Well, you ever just get that feeling like you know there’s a pair of eyes on you when there shouldn’t be? Or like someone gently blew a stream of cold air across your neck that runs down your spine to your toes? It was THAT feeling that immediately washed over me upon entering this tomb disguised as a basement.
I finish reading the meter and I stand up (best I can) to dust myself off a bit, and as I slowly shine Mr. Flashlight into the abyss I stopped breathing and moving all at once. Dust falling through silence like leaves in autumn. I found myself suspended in mortal fear. A slow motion heart attack. One where you can actually hear your pulse slowing to a halt. In front me now, in a narrow beam of light, a giant hoard of bats all angrily awakened and all eyes glaring in one direction, MINE! I exhale and all hell breaks loose! Winged assassins flailing wildly around in the dark spaces outside the reaches of Mr. Flashlight. So he 💩 his pants and dies. 🙄 Can’t blame him. The first of what I’m sure will be two casualties here (and two piles of 💩).
The squeals of flying rodents now flooding my ears as I go into full on survival mode. Lucky me, I'm at the furthest point from the door, in complete darkness, with only my lifeless companion to use as a weapon.
I screamed like a little girl who had just won her first pageant, and then got disqualified. Hit the ground like an anvil when the first terrorist hit me, crawled half way through the muddy bog until I began getting dive bombed one after another. I stood up, cracked my head on the ceiling with a THWACK! The creatures all screeched in a joy filled chorus of horror. Their feast just got a concussion. Somehow amidst the flurry I manage to crawl out with my head covered by muddy arms, and emerge on a stranger's lawn like I was Andy Dufresne at the end of the river of 💩 at Shawshank prison. I can still feel those flying rats screeching by in the dark while I scrambled for the door. I somehow made it out unscathed minus the self inflicted abuse.
Once outside (and breathing again) I checked myself to make sure I still had all my blood. Thankfully I did. But I will never forget the day I unwittingly entered Dracula’s castle and made it out alive.
Listening to: "Bat Out of Hell" by Meat Loaf