The dearth of drosophila in the Harkness Commons dining area this past week is not due to increased cleanliness or better refrigeration, according to one self-described “Hark barista,” but to the arrival of a new scavenger.
The worker said she saw the creature in the food prep room last Monday morning. She was alone, busily sampling muffins, when she saw a dark shape rise from the trash bin, spitting coffee grinds.
“It was a skinny black rat or bat with pointy teeth, practically the size of a person, and it was shrieking something awful,” said the coffee lady, who declined to disclose her identity. “I was alone, but I stood my ground, and managed to chase it off with my giant spatula. I haven’t seen it since, or any fruit flies-the critter scared [th]em all off.”
Preposterous as her tale sounds, sightings of a humanlike bat creature are being reported across the HLS campus. Shaw Hall resident Naeun Rim, a 1L, recalls encountering a pair of black beady eyes, a large overbite, and lots of body hair when she stepped out of the shower last Thursday morning.
“I’d heard about the peeping Tom incidents that happened last year, and I thought the school had heightened bathroom security,” Rim said. “I don’t know how this dude got in.”
She admitted to initially feeling violated, but says she now believes the trespasser meant no harm.
“I don’t think he even knew where he was. He was holding a fistful of tampons, and frankly, he looked confused,” Rim continued. “I felt pretty sorry [for him], but I still booked it out of there.”
The bony creature has been dubbed “Bat Boy” by students and locals alike. The first sighting was reported two weeks ago by Professor Charles Nesson, who claimed he had seen a bat-child pirouetting through the tunnels under Hauser Hall. Dean Kagan and other administrators initially dismissed Nesson’s account.
“Charlie likes to hit the wacky weed every so often, so I chalked the whole ‘Bat Boy’ business up to that,” admitted Dean Kagan with a chuckle. But her expression then turned somber, fearful. “I’ve since seen the monster for myself.”
On Oct. 31 at about 6 p.m. Dean Kagan left her office dressed as Kevin Federline for impending Halloween festivities, and was walking toward her car when she heard behind her a “guttural, beseeching scream.” She said she turned and was face-to-face with the Bat Boy.
“I nearly collapsed from fright,” the normally stolid Kagan said. “I’m convinced it would have attacked me if I hadn’t been wearing my costume. I’m sure I scared the thing as much as it scared me.”
Not much else is known about the animal, although his diet is clear: the Bat Boy eats raw flesh. Over the past couple of weeks, maintenance crews have found the carcasses of skunks and pigeons strewn about Holmes Field, across the Hark patio, and even on the front steps of Langdell Library.
Harvard scientists and anthropologists have split over whether the Bat Boy presents a real danger to humans. Professors of biological sciences have largely argued that, if hungry and provoked, the creature will readily attack.
“This is a carnivorous beast we’re dealing with, and he’s not picky,” said Andrew A. Biewener, Chair of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology at Harvard College. “If you have blood running through your veins and he’s looking for a meal, you could become a target.”
Others, many of them anthropologists, believe that the Bat Boy will only hunt small game, such as rabbits and squirrels.
“My colleagues and I believe that this Bat Boy is just as much boy as he is bat,” said Arthur Kleinman, Chair of Anthropology. “And I don’t think cannibalism is in the creature’s nature.”
Many individuals at the law school have taken to carrying around pocket-sized cans of Raid or cloves of garlic to ward off the blood-slurping fiend. The mood on the campus has been tense, and the administration has all but admitted that it is powerless to control the situation.
“I’ve been praying really, really hard,” 2L Drew McLelland said. “I even started sleeping with an extra crucifix, in addition to the three I normally wear to ward off vampires, around my neck.”