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20 January, 2012

We all have our little talents in life, and Billy “Booger” Halsey had his.  Some of these talents are profitable, some useful, and others merely outrageous.

In the third grade there was Norm Peterson.  Norm was a sort of geeky-looking kid who could put both legs behind his head, stand on his hands, and walk around.  He looked like one of the little robots in the movie version of Slaughterhouse Five.  It was a small school, so Norm usually made the finals of PTA talent shows, but I don’t think he ever made any money from his talent.

In the fifth grade, there was a new kid — Mark Peltzer – who was so double jointed that he could scratch the back of a hand with the thumb of the same hand.  The tips of the index and middle fingers of his left hand could bend back so far that when he “let his fingers do the walking” they were complete with big, pink feet.  Peltzer never made the talent shows, possibly because his art was a miniature one, ill suited to the stage.  On the other hand, Mark was smarter than Norm and picked up a few pennies here and there on bets about his hand-scratching talent.

Ah — but then in the sixth grade there was “Booger” Halsey.  The only time be made the talent show was when some of his rowdier classmates started stomping and chanting “Boo-GER, Boo-GER, Boo-GER!”.  Booger couldn’t resist a command performance.  He raced the full length of the gym, vaulted on to the stage, and did his thing.  Three room mothers and one teacher barfed on the spot — and on their neighbors (you can always spot the professionals).  Mrs. Peltzer passed out, legs askew.

Booger was suspended for a week, and his stunt went down in the Louis French Elementary School Gross-out Hall of Fame.  As far as I know, he never made any money either.  If his high beams had worked, he probably could have extorted money in the cafeteria at lunch time by jumping up on a table and threatening an encore.

Peterson and Peltzer both owed their unusual talents to unique anatomies.  So did Booger.  He had a very large nose with nostrils the size of a penny, a sinus condition, and long, slender, spidery fingers.  By the time he was in the third grade he could get an entire little finger up his nose.  He used his abilities mainly to gross out the girls and an occasional unwitting adult, like the lady in the ticket booth at the theater.

It seems that we males, at least, used to do some bizarre things in efforts to come to grips with our bodies and their products.  Distance peeing contests seem to have been pretty universal.  Maybe it was only at our school, and maybe Halsey inspired it, but booger-pulling was popular at times, especially during the cold season.  Booger-pulling a had simple rule: The booger had to remain connected between the nose and the drawing finger.  (“Dangles” didn’t count, though Booger held the unofficial record for that as well.)  Booger held the grand champion record for booger pulls, having stretched one to a full seven inches which didn’t even take into account the elliptical sag in the middle.

It was, however, in the eighth grade that Booger Halsey achieved the ultimate in nose fingering.

A bunch of us were hanging out at his house one day after school.  We had gone through the entirety of his ADAM magazine collection, spun his radio dial back and forth to produce sounds like a tape recorder on fast forward, and mooned his sixteen year-old sister.  (Truth is, I had a horrible crush on that girl, but she was an “older woman” and was dating a senior — no chance for a kid like me.)  In sum, we were bored to an intensity that can only be achieved by fourteen year-olds.

I don’t remember who it was that got desperate enough to invite Booger to do his thing, but I will never forget the hour which followed.

Halsey obligingly put the full length of his little finger up his right nostril.  His treasure hunt was something less than spectacular, producing only a small, greenish booger.  We razzed him and urged him on to higher achievement.  For some reason, he took this hard, and personally, at the moment.  He surveyed his hands, holding his right little finger up to the middle finger of his left, studying and comparing them as one might do with a drill bit and a screw.

Without a word, he disappeared into the hall bathroom, and returned with a jar of petroleum jelly.  Using his little finger, he greased his right nostril well, right up to the base of his little finger.  Like some old world craftsman, he likewise carefully greased the middle finger of his left hand from base to tip.

We were beginning to catch on, but could only exchange open-mouthed glances at each other as Booger got ready for the ultimate in nose picking.  Satisfied with his preparations, Booger sat down, took one last look at his glistening middle finger, and went to work.

Booger turned his head down and to the left.  He rotated his left hand to a palm-out position, grasping it with the right to assist in his drilling operation.  Ever so slowly, he began pushing the greased finger into his right nostril.  He paused at the first joint, and began easing his finger upward again.  He was about halfway through the second joint when he let out a grace note of pain and reflexively jerked his finger out of his nose.

There was a tiny hint of blood under the fingernail.  Booger set about re-greasing both nostril and probe with an odd look of combined determination and concentration.  Finished, he proceeded to push the finger back into his nose to nearly the same position that had triggered his withdrawal previously.  He closed his eyes and took several slow, deep breaths, visibly relaxing his whole body as much as possible.  I was suddenly aware of the incredible silence in the room.  We could all hear the quiet hum of the refrigerator out in the kitchen as Booger began to inch his finger upward again.

Booger was down to the second joint when he let out a muffled “uh”.  His hand quivered briefly, but he held his position this time.  After more deep breathing and body relaxing, he resumed his quest.  It was like watching the minute hand on a clock — movement that was barely perceptible but steady.  We stared transfixed, faces grimacing and working along with Booger’s own.  For my part, I seemed to be absorbing the body tension of which he had let go..  The back of my neck was starting ache a bit.

Over what seemed an eternity, Booger worked his middle finger into his nose right up to the knuckle.  What followed I shall never forget.  His brow furrowed, he carefully began twisting his finger and head around — fishing, probing, touching.  Suddenly, his eyes popped open and a look of surprise widened his face.  Squinting and moving again, he fished some more.  A single droplet of blood trickled out of his left nostril.  I wish we had stopped him then, but we didn’t.  We just watched as people watch a body pulled from a fatal wreck, some base, perverse curiosity holding us in thrall.

Booger’s face transformed into the mask of an Olympic weight lifter holding a record snatch-and-press.  His mouth stretched back and down, the tendons in his neck standing out like guy wires.  His hand began to jerk a bit spasmodically.  As his hand quivered, his distorted mouth shifted into a sardonic smile.  With a guttural “ungh”, his back arched, his mouth flew open and a look of bliss spread over his face.  Blood started to flow in a steady trickle from his nose.  I think I tried to cry out, but, to be honest, I don’t really remember whether I really said “Booger!” or not.  Booger’s chest heaved with rapid breaths and sweat broke out on his brow.  As if triggered by a relay switch somewhere in his brain, his hand jerked to action again – only more obvious and frantic this time.  There was a soft, muffled crunch as he broke through the thin plate of bone separating his nasal passages from his brain.  He began ramming his finger upward so hard that the side of his nose came within millimeters of hitting his right eye. Blood flowed freely from his left nostril and spread over the front of his shirt.

“UNGHHH!”!  Booger’s cry blew red bubbles and little clots from his nose.  His back arched, pulling his shirt from the front of his pants.  His bloodied hand shook, and his legs stiffened and vibrated.  A small stain spread in his groin, just above the erection that had, until then, passed our notice.

The ambulance arrived after Booger’s awesome convulsions had quieted.  He was sitting limply in the middle of the floor, looking up at us with wildly dilated eyes and an insane grin, as the attendants came in through the door.

I only visited Booger at the locked facility once.  His hands were secured in something that looked like boxing gloves without thumbs.  It seems that William Booger” Halsey had gotten himself one more gigantic orgasm before they wised up.  He had the same insane grin on his face that he had the day I had seen him last, and the same wild eyes.  He had also taken to drooling a lot.

I read later, in a college psych class, that some dude name Olds had inserted wires into a certain location in rats’ brains — something he called the “pleasure center” — and connected them to a lever-like switch which allowed them to stimulate themselves as much as they wanted.  They did so until starved, dehydrated and exhausted, forsaking everything for their electronic fix.

But humans will go even farther.  Ah, yes; MUCH farther.


From → Stories & Poetry

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