As a child, my favorite story was Thurber's "The Night the Bed Fell." As an adult, I've always had an interest in investigating strange sounds in the night.
Tonight I came back from a long day in San Jose, miserably sick with a cold. I lured all the cats indoors and got into a nice hot bath with a mystery novel. Almost immediately I heard a strange sound outside the bathroom window. It was midway beween the squeak of an animal and the shriek of a car beeper. It would sound a couple times, then be quiet for five minutes, then sound again. After about a half hour of this, I was getting concerned. The house next door to us is in-between owners, and unoccupied, and I wondered if an animal were stuck in the house, or in a trap. Finally I got out of the tub, put on a fleece robe and sheepskin boots, armed myself with a large flashlight--and woke up Zorg. He put on sweats and slippers and we crept down to the basement and out through the laundry room to the backyard, making sure none of the cats followed us. As we stood in the side yard under the bathroom window in the freezing cold, shining the light around, I felt like an idiot. Then, we heard it.
But it was much quieter, a good distance away. We went out to the driveway, and heard it again. Finally, I shone my light down the alley and there they were: a pair of gigantic raccoons, now growling and muttering as they scampered off down the road. Zorg believes that I interrupted their Valentine's Day celebration. I think they should go celebrate somewhere else. I suspect they are the same raccoons who rampaged through the garage and ate the cat food last week.