We were having dinner. My Mum and Dad, and Samuel my younger brother, and me. And Dad was telling us a story.
"When I was a boy," my Dad was saying, "there was this joke about a tramp who'd come to a door and ask for some salt and pepper. When the woman, or whoever answered the door, asked him what he wanted it for, he'd say it was for his cow-pat, which he was going to have to eat because he was so hungry!"
"Must you talk about this at the table?" Mum asked.
I and Samuel my brother didn't mind. We liked revolting things. The revoltinger the better!
"Did the tramp eat the cow-pat?" Sam asked eagerly.
"Of course not!" said Dad." It was just a trick. The tramp knew the woman would feel so sorry for him she'd invite him in for a real meal."
"I bet he got lots of good feeds with that trick!" said Samuel.
"He sure did!"
"Could we talk about something else now?" Mum asked.
"Do you think people could really eat manure?"
"Sam!" said Mum. "That's enough!"
That's when I had the idea. We could have a gross-out competition, and see who could eat the grossest thing. Yeah!
First thing the next day I told my mates.
Patrick was all for it. He was used to doing gross things. Like he'd eat little slugs in his marmite and lettuce sandwiches, even when he knew they were there! And Alan was keen too. Samuel had to be there because he was my brother, and we managed to rope Brick into it.
None of the girls wanted to compete. Funny that.
"We'll need advertising!" I said. "Posters to go round the school so people will know where to come to watch!"
"I'll draw some," volunteered Alan.
"I'll ask Mr. Harris, and see if we can get the middle room?"
"When is it?"
"How about Friday, four o'clock?"
And wouldn't you know it, just at that moment Ditto came over to listen. Ditto (I don't know how he got his nick-name but it seemed to suit him in a strange sort of way) was the biggest boy in the school. He must have eaten ten meals a day to get as big as he was! And he was dumb too, real dumb. He knew every way there was to annoy us kids. He was an expert at butting in, and he was good at ruining a game by booting the ball over a fence, and he did all this stuff on purpose. His main enjoyment in life seemed to be making our lives a pain!
"What sort of competition?" he demanded.
"A gross-out competition."
We explained it to him, and he listened with as much concentration as a goldfish, then he shrugged.