: views from the Hill

Friday, August 18, 2006

... and the night visitors

The neighbors in the two top floors immediately south of us were burgled in January. The same burglars tried to break into our place but were put off by the burglar alarm setup they noticed when they took a screen off a window.

We found the screen tilted up against the wall the next morning and wondered who had done what and why. We thought maybe our youngest had been mucking with the screen but we never got around to asking him.

A couple days later we heard about the neighbors' burglaries. We figured we must've been out gallivanting and away from home when the burglars paid us a visit. We assume that they started in the then-vacant top unit just north of us, hopped over onto our deck, hopped over to our neighbors, and then over to the next building down.

We hadn't really thought about it before, but the burglars only took jewelry and small items from the neighbors. Of course! we realized. Who'd want to drag TVs or stereos up the path, up the stairs and over to wherever they'd found a place to park. Easier to take jewelry and cufflinks and stuff their pockets full, then saunter away.

Night before last, after dinner, we were sitting at the table reading papers and magazines. I heard some distinct thumps from upstairs. Then some more. Thumps from something heavier than the cat, who has a distinct thump all her own when she jumps off the bed so you won't catch her where she's not supposed to be.

The thumps sounded like they were coming from our deck, on the top floor, two floors above us -- the deck with the window the burglars had tried to enter through in January.

Um. I said. How about those noises?

Some more thumps followed and a noise that sounded like someone had stumbled against some of my potted plants.

His nibs went up to investigate.

"Come up here, Sal. Come up here RIGHT NOW!"

I raced up the stairs and had made it one floor up when his voice floated down. "Oh, too late."

He came down the stairs to explain what he'd seen. I followed him back up. He'd turned the lights on on the deck. One last BIG FAT RACCOON was staring in at us, then waddled away and disappeared down the fire escape.

Seems there'd been at least five raccoons, big raccoons -- REAL BIG RACCOONS, his nibs said -- (the one I'd seen was the smallest of the lot and was still three times bigger than our cat). The raccoons had been wrassling around up on our deck. Thump. Bump. Crash.

They'd scattered when his nibs turned the lights on.

Those raccoons had lumbered up a spiral fire escape staircase FIVE STORIES HIGH just to wrassle on our deck.

Why? Your guess is as good as mine.

The cat? She'd gone missing and didn't turn up again until much much later. Probably hid under the bed until the excitement was over.

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