|“Hey, Tops!” Turvy McCoon said. “Do you want to sleep over at my house today?”
Topsy O’Possum nodded happily. “Sure! I would love to. Do you have a low branch in your tree? I always sleep upside down from a low branch.”
“No problem, Bro! Come on over now, it’s almost daylight.”
Turvy’s tree was by the stream where they first met. “I didn’t know you lived here,” Topsy said. He stopped to listen at the sparkly water.
Turvy disappeared and reappeared a moment later with two apples. He gave one to Topsy and started washing the other one in the stream.
“Why do you wash your apple, may I ask?” Topsy said mockingly. “It’s not dirty.”
“I know. It’s just a habit we raccoons have. We wash our food, dirty or not.”
Topsy shook his head and bit his apple.
After their bedtime snack, Turvy settled on his regular high branch. Topsy chose a lower one to hang from. They chatted and told each other stories for a while. Just as the sun was beginning to rise, Topsy yawned.
“Good night,” Turvy said sleepily, rolling into a ball.
Topsy started his bedtime ritual. First, he swung back and forth five times. Then, he twirled his left ear with his right paw fourteen times.
“What in the world are you doing?” laughed Turvy.
“Me? Nothing. I just… I had an itch. All better now!”
“No problem, Bro. ‘Night!”
Topsy tried to sleep, but he couldn’t. He had to swing, twirl, and wiggle in order to fall asleep. He waited to make sure Turvy wasn’t looking, and started again: swing five times, twirl fourteen times, and…
“You’re doing it again!” Turvy exclaimed. “Are you uncomfortable on this branch?”
“Uh… yes, that’s it. I need to find a better branch.” Topsy scooted to a branch hidden from Turvy’s view.
Topsy counted to twenty for good measure, and started his routine again. Swing five times, twirl fourteen times, and wiggle from side to side seventeen times with his eyes closed. He was about to drift off to sleep, when he heard, “I don’t believe it! Fascinating!”
Topsy opened his eyes and saw two big raccoon eyes looking at him from a higher branch. He got so startled he did a summersault and landed next to Turvy. “Don’t scare me like that! Are you spying on me?” Topsy said angrily. He blushed brightly at the thought of his friend knowing about his secret habit. He had never told anyone about it.
“What’s that thing you just did?” Turvy wiggled his chubby body and twirled his ear at the same time, with a mocking smile.
“No, that’s not how you do it. First you… Oh, why bother? You wouldn’t understand.”
Turvy came closer and put a paw around his friend’s shoulders. “Aw, come on, Pal! That’s all right, I understand. I really don’t, but that’s okay!”
Topsy smiled. “There’s nothing to understand. That’s just a thing I do before sleeping. If I don’t swing five times, twirl my left ear with my right paw fourteen times, and wiggle seventeen times, I can’t sleep.”
Turvy nodded. “It’s a habit, just like me washing my food.”
Topsy stared at Turvy. “Exactly!” he finally said. “Just like washing a perfectly clean apple.”
“Hey,” Turvy said, “are you making fun of me?”
Topsy winked at his friend. “Good night, Turvy!”
“Good night, Topsy!”
Topsy went back to his lower branch. He turned and looked at his friend just in time to see him suck his thumb to sleep.