An Unusual Suspect

Dear Diary:

One recent morning, I woke up to a masked face that wasn’t a burglar.

As though opening my eyes each day at 5:30 a.m. like clockwork wasn’t bad enough, I became particularly irritated by the incessant “crying,” from what I thought was my window ledge, that managed to drown out the daybreak choir of garbage trucks and store grates being lifted.

“What is that?” I demanded to know of my husband, Neil, as I nudged him awake.

“Probably a pigeon,” he mumbled before rolling over.

“I can’t stand this,” I announced as my feet hit the floor and stomped over to rap on the window to shoo away one of New York’s many cooing menaces.

“It’s a raccoon,” I shrieked, as its gray- and black-striped tail swished in my face. The nocturnal creature was inches to the left of my fourth-floor bedroom window, stranded on the ledge of the adjacent brownstone.

Not only did Neil get up, he called to our 17-year-old son, Luke, “Come see.”

As big and furry and snarly as these animals are, I felt sorry for the little masked marauder as he paced, screaming. While Neil called down to the doorman to alert the super, Luke and I watched as “Rocky” got too close to the edge and slipped off, not even his long claws able to save him. Luckily, his fall was broken by the scaffolding (another New York City menace) erected in front of the building.

By the time the super came on the scene, the raccoon had escaped, only to return later when it was caught trying to climb into a ground-floor window. The police showed up and released it in Carl Schurz Park. After that, it was spotted once more by the building, this time eluding capture.


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