The Bat and the Pangolin. A short story by Gill Chedgey

Hearken. I am not here from choice. Where I come from there is no choice. We do or we do not. I am comfortable with that because I know no different. You, on the other hand, find that concept inconceivable. And therein lies the problem.
Many of you are not in denial of the idea that there is life in the universe, beyond the confines of your little planet. But those who do believe are convinced that other life will visit in some kind of fuelled craft that will penetrate the atmosphere of Planet Earth. Wrong. Life from other systems have been visiting your earth for millennia and will continue to do so. Some of us stay. It depends where we are from in the first place. And what our purpose is. We’re all among you. Inside you, even. Yep, that’s taken you all aback a bit hasn’t it? I don’t mean to laugh. You’re having a tough time right now. 

I could go on at length giving you a history of where I come from but there’s no time. I need you to listen and to listen good. I am a tiny organism that can self replicate. And I arrived when the word was precellular. That’s a long time ago. That’s all you need to know for now. I am old. I am not from this planet. There are a lot of me about. You’re only interested in one of me at the moment!

Because I’m small I can move about easily. Because I self replicate I can stay in one place and travel to another. What I’m about to tell you starts in one place. We’ll call it Asia because you know whereabouts on the planet I mean. And we’ll call it China because you seem to need these subdivisions of land mass. I don’t know why because it causes you immense problems. And then we’ll pinpoint a place you call Wuhan. 

In my travels I’ve seen all kinds of practices. I’m shocked by many of them. The eating of animals is one. I just can’t believe you do it. You were never designed to, did you know? Your species. You don’t have the dental doohickeys for a start! Take a look at your incisors? What incisors, I hear you say? Exactly! You got chewers and grinders aplenty though. You’ve no claws or talons. These fingernail things are pretty much useless. You don’t have the speed to catch prey. And finally your digestion system is the digestive system of a herbivore not a carnivore. So you were always asking for trouble by eating meat. 

Here’s the thing. Sometimes I need to travel. I need echolocation. I need to know the size, shape. location, distance, direction or objects. I need sonar when I need to communicate. So I work closely with Chiroptera. You call them bats. They’re also helpful to me if I want to replicate and spread quickly. You recall that earlier I said I did not chose what I do. I do it. I didn’t chose to be the one to teach you all a lesson. Okay? 

But here’s what I did not chose to do. I’m inside the bat, replicating. That’s me. The bat takes a dump and one of me is in the bat droppings. It’s not as bad as you seem to be thinking. It’s done all the time. By you. By every species that excretes. You don’t even know it’s happening. So there am I in the bat dropping. Along comes a pangolin sniffing away. Pangolin has a good old sniff at the bat dingleberries, sticks his nose right in and away I go with the pangolin. So now I’m inside the bat, in the faecal matter and in the pangolin. 

None of this would have happened if you didn’t eat animals. But you do. And some of you eat pangolins. So this pangolin, with me inside, gets hunted, caught, killed. Served up in a street market in Wuhan and eaten. So now I’m inside a human. The rest is history isn’t it?

Oh, did I forget to mention that when I’m inside your species I make you sick? Sorry. Yes, I do. But it’s not as random as it may seem. I didn’t choose to make you sick. It’s what I do. 

Listen. We tried. We’ve been trying for millennia. We’ve sent floods, and fires and plagues of locusts and pestilence but you JUST WON’T LISTEN. And this here’s your last chance. 

There’s too many of you. You won’t share. You won’t live cooperatively. You won’t look after this planet. But you need to. You have to. So, some of you are going to get sick and die. Where I come from we don’t get the death thing. If there are too many we just stop. But I get how upsetting it is for you, and I’m sorry. Those who remain, you have to work together to keep from getting sick any more and to stop the planet from getting sick, or should I say sicker. What were you thinking filling up the sea with plastic? Chopping down the trees? Killing each other? We’ve discussed it at length and none of us out here in the universe gets it. None of it makes sense. So we gotta draw your attention to how dumb you’ve been somehow. We gotta wake you up. We gotta shock you. ‘Cause this is your last chance. screw this up and you’re doomed. 

Listen to what you’re being told. You’re gonna spend a lot of time alone. And you need to use that time to think. Think about how you can make the world a better place. Think about others. Think about how what you do affects others. Make a plan to start living as a society. Put the planet and others first.

Will you try that? Remember you have a choice. I don’t. Who am I ? Didn’t I say? I’m sorry. COVID-19. That’s my name.


Book blogger and scribbler.


  1. Dear Covid-19, thank you for sharing. I hope we do use this time to think about all the stuff you said. Dear Gill Chedgey, great story. Well done.

    1. Thank you so much for reading and commenting.

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