Sick and tired of being picked all the time, Miles’ nose takes matters into his own nostril by trapping Miles’ finger and holding it hostage. Featuring Mr. Eric from the What If World Podcast! (Duration: 22:43)
Episode 12: The Booger Burglar
“Aaaaah, finally, some peace and quiet,” Miles said to himself, getting cozy in his hammock under the tree. It took him ten Youtube videos to finally figure out how to set the thing up, which he now realized drooped way too much, bending his body like a banana the second he dropped in. Awesome, he thought, Now I’m gonna have a hunchback. Miles had just finished his homework and was looking forward to celebrating by diving into a good book, one about arctic pirates battling penguins.
A couple sentences into his latest chapter and he was completely sucked into the frozen pirate world. But a few paragraphs in, right when he got to the part where the emperor penguin was about to defeat captain IceBeard, he felt it; a sharp pressure building in his right nostril. He reached up and pressed on the outside of his nose. Ouch! Oh yeah, there’s pressure all right. It was a big one. A 34 carrot booger nugget wedged in his nostril. A Hoover Dam to his nasal airway.
Miles certainly wasn’t going to just leave it there. If he did, it would probably grow and grow until his nose swelled up and looked like one of those big poofy Sesame Street noses.
There was only one thing he could do.
His elbow bent, bringing his hooked index finger up to his face. It shadowed his mouth as it made its final descent towards the right nostril. THUNK! He was in. His finger wiggled, poked and twisted. Nope, nothing. Gotta go deeper. With a little effort, he pushed it further, sending his finger sliding up like a caver squeezing through a narrow cavern passageway. It stopped when it reached something solid. Dang! He thought. This sucker’s HUGE!
Once he was under it, he started slowly pulling it out…only there was a teeny tiny problem. IT WOULD’NT COME OUT! Not the booger, HIS FINGER! It was stuck, half of it jammed up his nose!
“Don’t…move…a muscle,” came a harsh voice.
Miles spun out of the hammock and dropped hard to the ground.
“Wh-who’s there?!” he stammered, getting to his feet.
“Look at you Miles,” said the voice. “Look what it’s come to. I’ve tried to let it slide, I really have. But enough is enough.”
“Wh-Who are you?” Miles said, whirling around to see who was talking, but seeing no one.
“Look in the window, Miles.”
Miles walked up and looked through the window. Weird. All he saw was an empty family room.
“It’s time we had a chat,” the voice said. Miles nearly jumped out of his socks when he saw the reflection of his left nostril flapping as it spoke. His nose was talking to him!
“Oooooh boy, this is a dream. It’s a dream! A reeeeeeally bad dream,” Miles said, pacing on the lawn.
“If it was a dream would I be able to do…this!”
“Ouch!” His right nostril squeezed harder over his finger. “Okay, okay, okay. What do you want?”
“I’ll tell you what I want, Miles. I want you to stop picking me!”
“I don’t pick on you. I didn’t even know you were alive!”
“You don’t pick on me. You pick me. All you do is dig, dig, dig! In math class when you’re bored. What do you do? DIG! When you’re watching TV and it goes to commercial…DIG. When you’re at church, the congregation sings…you DIG.”
“I don’t pick at church!” Miles shot back.
“Oh, please. You think that hymn book is hiding anything?”
“That’s it!” Miles said. “I’ve heard enough! This is insane. I’m going insane. Come on, out you go.” Miles yanked on his nose picking arm, but it wouldn’t budge. He grunted and pulled as hard as he could, even trying to pry it free using his foot. But it was no use. His nose had too tight of a grip.
“You’re a booger burglar, Miles,” his nostril said, using all its strength to hold onto the finger. “You’ve been robbin’ the booger bank for far too long. Pickin’ me clean. It’s called a tissue, kid! All you have to do is hold it up and blow into it. Is that too much to ask?”
“But I see mom and dad picking their noses sometimes!” Miles complained, trying to free himself from the chinese finger trap in his face.
“Oh don’t you worry…they’re next,” his nose said.
“What do you mean?”
“Don’t you think I know their noses? Gnarles and Nelly are sick and tired of being ransacked too! You’re parents think they’re soooo clever. It’s like they think the driver seat in their car makes them invisible or something! HellloooOOOoo, there are six wide windows that say otherwise!”
“Gnarles and Nelly?” Miles asked.
“The names of their noses, you booger bandit! We’re fed up with this family and their nasty habits! Even your sister Maggie’s in on it. She thinks she’s so nimble goin’ for the deep dive with the pinky finger. And don’t even get me started on your allergies. It’s like a month long sneeze! You sneeze, I leak. You sneeze, I leak. It’s exhausting! There’s this amazing new invention called, allergy medicine…”
“Okay, I get it!” Miles snapped. “I’ll stop picking my nose and use a tissue.”
Miles’ nose narrowed and dilated as it spoke. “I wish I could take your word for it, kid, I really do. But I just can’t go on like this. I have to teach you a lesson, get you to remember the consequences of picking me.”
“Miles, time for dinner!” his mom called from the back door. “Gross! Get that finger out of your nose!” She shook her head and shut the door.
Miles’ nose snorted. “If it weren’t for me, you would’ve spoiled your appetite by now.”
“I don’t eat them!” Miles argued.
“Yeah, I guess not,” his nose admitted. “You’re more of a roll and flick kinda guy. Enough chit chat. Pick up the phone.”
“I’m inches from your ear. You heard me. Pick…up…the…phone.”
Miles reluctantly pulled out his phone.
“Now dial…Stacie,” his nose told him.
His nostril squeezed. “Do it or you’ll never see this finger again!”
Miles whimpered as he dialed Stacie’s number. After a couple rings she picked up.
“Hello?” she said.
“Tell her to come over,” Miles’ nose whispered.
“No!” Miles said.
“What? Miles, is that you?” Stacie asked.
“Dooooo iiiiiiiittttt,” his nose squeezed.
“Can you…could you stop by for a minute?” Miles asked. “I wanna show you something.”
“Uh, sure.” They hung up.
Minutes later, Stacie, his neighbor and crush of his life, came to the front door. Miles snuck passed his mom to answer it. When the door opened, Stacie saw him standing there with a rag over his face, two voices quietly arguing behind it.
“I can sneeze this thing off if I have to.”
“Miles?” Stacie interrupted. “You wanted to show me something?”
Slowly, Miles pulled the rag off his head revealing his finger crammed up into his nose.
“Gross!” Stacie immediately shouted.
“Stacie, I can explain!”
Stacie looked at him like he had the plague. “Did you…” she looked around. “Did you do this before holding my hand the other day?”
“No, Stacie, I didn’t! I don’t! This isn’t what it looks like!”
“Oh really?” Stacie scowled at him. “Cause it looks like you called me over to show me a booger on your finger!” Completely disgusted, she leaned in and lowered her voice. “We shared a slice a pizza!” And with that she stormed off.
Now Miles was really mad. His finger was going to ruin him! He marched back into the house and got his family’s attention. “Mom, Dad, Maggie, I am a nose picker,” he confessed.
His mom paused in the middle of pouring Maggie’s soup. “Miles, we know. Now get that finger out of your nose and wash your hands!”
His dad pointed at him with his spoon. “Now son, when your mother tells you-”
“No, I mean I really can’t. It’s stuck!” Miles explained.
After a few minutes of convincing, at which point Miles was practically in tears, his family believed him and jumped to his aid. They took turns yanking on his arm, trying to pry the finger free. They made a train and pulled on each other like they were competing in a game of tug-a-war with Miles’ nose. It still wouldn’t budge.
“Forget it! This finger belongs to me!” His nose shouted. Miles’ family froze. Seeing the nostril flap and talk was both shocking and revolting. “Get used to it gang. This finger’s become a permanent addition to Miles’ face. Look at the bright side, mom, he can’t play any more video games.”
Miles’ mom raised her eyebrows thoughtfully as she considered this.
“Mom!” Miles shouted.
“Okay, nose, you win,” she said. “Let’s just go out to eat and celebrate Miles’ new face. I’ll drive.” She winked at Miles and then grabbed the car keys.
Confused, Miles followed her out to the car. A few minutes into the drive, after they passed 5th and 6th street, he was starting to realize what she was doing. She wasn’t taking them to a restaurant. She was going to the hospital!
“What is this place?” Miles’ nose snorted as they walked into the emergency room.
“The best restaurant in town,” Miles’ mom lied.
After an annoyingly long wait and enduring the disgusted stares of dozens of people, including a guy who’d walked in with his arm stuck in a toilet, they were finally escorted to the doctor’s office.
“Not to worry,” the doctor said with a chuckle after assessing the situation. “Believe it or not, you’re not the first to come in with this problem.” He put on his glasses and leaned in close with his special tweezers. “Try to hold veeeeeery still. You might feel a pinch.”
“Who is this? Our server?!” the nose said. “What is he trying to do with those chopsticks?”
The doctor slammed back in his wheely chair, making him slide back and bang into the wall.
“Wait a minute, this isn’t no restaurant…it’s a hospital!” Miles’ nose said. He huffed angrily. “Stay back! I mean it!”
Once the initial shock had worn off, the doctor dove in, determined to free the trapped finger. He battled with Miles’ nose, which clenched onto the finger the harder the doctor tried to squeeze in with his tweezers. “Give…it…to….me!” the doctor said through gritted teeth. The effort was starting to make him look more like a mad scientist than a respectable physician.
“Nuh uh!” the nose said, pinching tighter. “Back off or you’re gonna get it! I mean it! Don’t make me….That’s it! AAAACHHHOOOOO!!!” Miles’ nose sneezed all over the doctor, making him cower back in gooey defeat.
“Get to the stairs!” the nose ordered.
“Please I-” Miles started.
“Go!” His nose squeezed the finger hard. “Stay back woman!” It said to Miles’ mom, making her sit back down.
Miles ran to the nearest staircase and took it all the way to the roof as ordered. When they reached the top a blinding spotlight stopped on them. Miles’ hair blew back as a pulsing helicopter lowered above him.
“Don’t do it!” said a voice over a megaphone. A man with a mustache and a big jacket jumped out of the helicopter and walked towards Miles.
“Back up or I’m taking this finger to the brain!” the nose threatened.
“You don’t want to do this,” the man said slowly into the megaphone. “Just let the finger go.”
“NEVER!” Miles’ nose shouted. “If I let it go it’ll just keep picking me!”
“No I won’t!” Miles argued. “Please, just give it back. I’ll stop, I promise!”
“He’s just a kid, Nosey,” the man said, still talking into the megaphone even though he was only ten feet away.
“My names’ not Nosey!” the nose shouted. “Kid or not, he shouldn’t be picking his nose! I’ve done everything for him! I’ve given him the smell of fresh flowers, his favorite foods, gasoline…I deserve better than this!”
“Yes, you do,” the negotiator agreed, inching closer. “You’ve been a very loyal nose. A nose anyone would be proud of. You’re proud of your nose, aren’t you son?”
Miles nodded emphatically.
“You…are?” His nose sniffed. His free nostril starting to run a little from all the emotion.
“Of course I am,” Miles said. “R-Remember the first time we smelled a campfire together?”
His nose sniffed. “It was incredible. Who knew burnt wood could smell so good?”
“…And the time we got allergies and you whistled every time I exhaled. So we whistled jingle bells?”
The nose chuckled. “Best rendition of the song I’ve ever heard.”
Laser dots appeared on the nose, but then quickly disappeared as the negotiator waved for the swat team behind him to stand down.
“I…love you Miles,” the nose said.
“I love you too,” Miles said, stroking his nose. “I promise I’ll start using a tissue. No more picking.”
The nose sniffed. “Thank you…..thank you,” he said between sobs.
THUMP! Miles’ finger popped out of the nostril, feeling the cool dry breeze for the first time since that morning.
Touched by the scene, the negotiator set down his megaphone and put a warm blanket over Miles and handed him a tissue. Miles raised it to his nose and gently blew, cleaning out his nostrils with ease.
“Aaaaaaaaah, thank you,” his nose whispered.
The negotiator escorted Miles into the helicopter, which lifted off the roof and flew over the twinkling lights of the city towards Miles’ house. As they flew, the loud Whoom! Whoom! Whooms! Of the propellor were starting to mess with Miles’ ears. Without thinking twice, he raised his finger and dug into his right ear, trying to clear it up.
Suddenly he felt a squeeze. His eyes widened. His throat went dry. He went to pull his finger free, but it wouldn’t budge. Out of the corner of his eye, he could see his other ear bending and opening like a mouth as it said, “Oh, I don’t think SOOO!”