Yuck’s Big Booger Challenge
“Stop picking,” Mom said.
Mom looked around from the front seat of the car.
“Yes you were. I saw you.”
“I wasn’t doing anything,” Yuck said.
Polly Princess was sitting next to him.
“You’re disgusting, Yuck,” she said.
Dad was driving. Polly reached over and tapped him on the shoulder.
Dad glanced in his mirror. “Yuck, stop picking your nose!”
Yuck wiped his finger on the car seat.
Just one more pick and . . .
“Use a tissue!” Mom told him.
“But Mom . . .”
Mom opened her handbag and rummaged for a tissue.
Yuck had just enough time to slip his finger up his nose.
Nearly got it. Just a little bit . . .
The booger was on the end of his finger.
The booger was in his mouth.
“Yuck! That’s revolting!” Polly said. She turned away and looked out the car window.
Nice, Yuck thought, rolling the booger with his tongue.
“You are absolutely the most repulsive brother ever,” Polly muttered.
Chewy, Yuck thought, pressing the booger between his teeth.
“Dad, did you see what Yuck just did?”
But Dad was busy driving.
Mom reached around from the front seat with a tissue in her hand. She pinched it over Yuck’s nose.
“Blow,” she said.
“Yuck, do as your mom tells you,” Dad said, turning the corner into their street.
Yuck huffed once into the tissue.
“Blow properly,” Mom said.
Yuck huffed again.
“It’s not fair,” he complained as they pulled up at the house. “Why can’t I pick my nose?”
“Because I said so,” Mom told him.
Yuck decided that when he was EMPEROR OF EVERYTHING, everyone would have to pick their nose—it would be THE LAW. He’d collect all the boogers in a great big booger pit, and anyone found with a tissue would be dunked into it head first on a big booger bungee jump.
Mom opened the car door and marched Yuck to the house.
At home that evening, she kept a close eye on him.
She caught him picking his nose behind the sofa.
She caught him picking his nose in the tree house.
She caught him picking his nose in the closet under the stairs.
And when it was time for bed, she burst in on Yuck in his bedroom. He was hiding under the covers in the middle of an experiment, trying to get two fingers up one nostril. They were halfway up and about to pull out a long, stringy booger.
“Don’t you dare!” Mom said, lifting his blanket.
Yuck groaned and pulled his fingers out slowly, trying not to snap the booger as it stretched. It pinged loose from his nostril. But just as he was about to eat it, Mom wiped his hand with a tissue.
“Skids!” Yuck swore. He’d been growing the booger for an hour.
“Put these on!” Mom said.
She handed him a pair of red mittens.
“But I’m not cold,” Yuck told her.
“They’re not for the cold. They’re for nose pickers.”
Yuck put the red mittens on. His fingers were trapped.
“They’re itchy,” he complained.
“They’re to stop you from picking your nose.”
Mom put a box of tissues by the side of Yuck’s bed and went back downstairs.
But the red mittens were no match for Yuck. . . .
That night, he dreamed he was inside a nose as big as a cave. It was full of huge green booger boulders. He pushed one and rolled it away, and from underneath it two red snakes appeared. They coiled themselves around his hands. He pushed and fought, wrestling the snakes to the ground and rolling the booger boulder to the front of the cave.
In the morning he woke up sneezing. His nostrils were stuffed full with red wool. His fingernails were covered in woolly boogers. He’d picked his way right through the mittens!
Yuck wiggled his fingers.
“Rockits! What a pick!”
He hopped out of bed, threw on his clothes, and went downstairs for breakfast.
“What happened to your mittens?” Mom asked. She grabbed his hands and inspected them.
“It wasn’t me,” Yuck said. “It was moths—mitten-eating moths. They attacked in the night. They must have flown in through the window.”
“You’ve ruined a perfectly good pair of mittens, Yuck!”
“Honest, Mom. It wasn’t me. I’ve stopped picking my nose.”
“He’s lying!” Polly said.
“Really, Mom. From now on I’m using tissues.”
Dad looked at Yuck and scratched his head. “What did you say, Yuck?”
“I’m never going to pick my nose again, Dad,” Yuck promised.
“Don’t believe him!” Polly said. “He’s lying! Once a nose picker, always a nose picker.”
“Not me,” Yuck said.
From his pocket he pulled out a tissue and blew his nose on it.
“Well I never,” Mom said.
“It’s a miracle,” Dad said.
“He’s up to something,” Polly whispered.
Yuck made a face at Polly and, as she went to eat a mouthful of cereal, he showed her the contents of his tissue.
“Go away! You’re gross,” Polly told him.
“It’s okay, Polly, I know you’re just jealous.”
“Jealous? Why would I be jealous of you?”
“Because you want to share my reward.”
Polly looked at Mom.
Yuck quickly shook his tissue over Polly’s bowl of cereal.
“That’s right,” Yuck said, sitting down in his seat. “My reward for not picking my nose for a whole week.”
“And what’s that, Yuck?” Mom asked.
Yuck looked at Mom hopefully.
Mom looked at Dad.
“A whole week?” Dad said. “That’s impossible.”
“Okay, Yuck, one whole week of not picking your nose and you can have a jumbo scoop of candy from Candy Joe’s,” Mom said.
“Rockits!” Yuck said, pouring himself a bowl of Monster Snaps.
“But one pick and the deal’s off,” Dad told him.
“And what about me?” Polly moaned. “I don’t ever pick my nose but I don’t get a reward.”
“You can have a scoop too, darling,” Mom told her.
“Good. Then I’ll get lots of candy and Yuck will get none because he’ll NEVER manage to stop picking his nose!”
Yuck giggled. His nose twitched, and the Nose-Pick Challenge began. . . .
On Saturday morning, Yuck watched Grossout! on television. In the afternoon, he counted his scabs, and in the evening he won three extra lives on Skid Wars. All day his nose tingled, but he didn’t pick it—just as he’d promised.
What no one knew was that he didn’t blow it either. Yuck was a Boogerman with a Boogerplan—he was going to grow the world’s biggest boogers! He’d get his candy and he’d get his revenge too—SWEET REVENGE!
All day the snot built in Yuck’s nose, and that night his boogers began to grow. He dreamed he was in BOOGERLAND. He wore booger shorts and booger shoes, and snot instead of socks. He drove a booger car over booger roads and lived in a booger house. He had booger chairs and a booger bed and even a booger cat.
And everything was pickable!
By Sunday morning, a whole night’s worth of gunk had collected in Yuck’s nose. As the gunk dried, it turned crusty and began to itch. His Boogerplan was hatching.
All morning Polly Princess spied on him, desperate to catch him picking.
When everyone sat at the table to eat their Sunday lunch, Yuck noticed her watching him. He waited until Polly was looking, then pinched a pea between his fingers and slipped it into his mouth.
“Mom, Yuck just ate a booger. I saw him!” Polly said.
“No I didn’t!”
Yuck opened his mouth for Mom to inspect.
“It’s a pea,” Mom said.
Yuck stuck his tongue out at Polly. “Serves you right for spying on me,” he told her. And he grinned and went upstairs to his room.
That afternoon, Yuck busied himself by drawing a Booger Chart. In bright green pen, he wrote the days, 1 to 7, down the side of a piece of paper.
Next to day 1 he wrote TINGLY.
Next to day 2 he wrote ITCHY.
Suddenly he heard a knock.
“Is everything all right in there? Are you being good?” Dad asked from outside Yuck’s door.
“I’m just blowing my nose,” Yuck called.
He pretended to blow into a tissue, making a loud raspberry so Dad could hear.
“Only five days to go until Candy Joe’s,” Dad said.
Five days seemed a long time. But at least tomorrow, at school, there would be no one spying on him. At least that’s what Yuck thought.
But on Monday, everywhere he went, Polly went too. Every corner he turned, there she was, spying on him in hallways, spying on him on the playground, spying on him in the cafeteria.
Juicy Lucy and Madison Snake were helping her. They giggled each time Yuck passed.
“Boogerboy,” they whispered.
Yuck wanted to pick his nose and rub his boogers into their hair, but he stopped himself.
He had to stick to his plan. He didn’t pick and he didn’t blow. And his boogers kept on growing!
“Well, Polly?” Mom asked, when Polly and Yuck got home from school.
“Nothing,” Polly said, disappointed.
“Hold out your hands,” Mom said to Yuck.
Mom checked under his fingernails for boogers.
“Well I never. They’re clean. I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes. That’s three whole days without picking,” Mom said.
Yuck stomped up to his room and gave his nose a scratch. He was desperate to pick it. It was filling up like he had a cold. With his green pen, next to day 3 on his Bogey Chart he wrote GOOEY.
By Tuesday, there was so much snot inside his nose that it was bubbling from his nostrils, pushing its way out like toothpaste from a tube. Mom tried to grab him and wipe it, but Yuck ran into the bathroom and sniffed the snot back in, then blew a raspberry into his tissue.
“All clean now,” he lied.
And all day at school the spies were watching him as he sniffed.
He chewed his fingernails.
He had a lick of earwax.
But he never picked his nose. He was determined to win.
And by the time he got home, his nostrils were so full that he had to plug them with modeling clay to stop the gunk from leaking out.
Next to day 4 on his Bogey Chart he wrote GUNKY.
By Wednesday, day 5, his Boogerplan was taking shape. At the back of his nostrils Yuck could feel two lumps—two magnificent boogers growing in size.
He almost lost one of them playing soccer.
Frank the Tank was in goal. As Yuck shot to score, a booger the size of a brussels sprout dropped from one nostril. It hung on a string of snot three feet long.
Just as the string of snot was about to snap, Yuck gave an almighty sniff. The booger shot back up his nose like a yo-yo.
“Goal!” Little Eric shouted.
Next to day 5 on his Bogey Chart Yuck wrote STRINGY.
His plan was working.
By Thursday, his boogers were massive. He looked in the mirror. His nose was bulging on both sides, as if he’d stuffed socks up it.
“What’s the matter with you?” Mom called to him as he ran out of the house.
“Bees. I got stung by nose-stinging bees,” Yuck told her. “They must have flown in the window with the mitten-eating moths.”
And all day at school he could hardly breathe through his nose, and his voice sounded funny when he spoke.
Polly and her spies teased him.
“Sore nose, Yuck? Dat’s derrible. Why don’d you pick id?”
But Yuck didn’t. He wanted his boogers to grow even bigger.
Next to day 6 on his Bogey Chart he wrote LUMPY.
Only one more day and SWEET REVENGE would be his!
That night, Yuck dreamed he met Candy Joe.
The candy captain was wearing black licorice shoes tied with strawberry laces and a fudge cap on his head. Candy Joe gave Yuck a gummy snake that wriggled in his hand. Fizzing saucers whizzed past Yuck’s ears and chocolate bombs exploded all around him. He sledded, mouth first, down a mountain of ice cream, and splash-landed into a sea of caramel. . . .
It was CANDY-TASTIC.