This story is disgusting and juvenile. It’s stupid. Offensive. It demeans reader and writer. The title should have told you all that, but just in case you thought it was a trick, it’s not. It’s snot.
If you read this story all the way through, let me know. Leave a comment, or hassle me on Twitter. I am @lordjuiblex and I post stupidity a lot.
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Cooper sat naked on the toilet when he was overcome with an urge to pick his nose. This impulse would eventually kill him.
He’d been out all night with his friends, drinking in the woods behind the high school. It was something Cooper did every weekend in the summer. That started when he was 14. He and his bros, in the woods, pounding beers. Bros being bros. It made him smile to think about it. Sometimes babes would join them. Sometimes babes and bros would make out. A few memorable times, the babes would make out with other babes, put on a show for the guys. That was hot. (But bros never kissed bros, because that was gross faggot shit.) They’d make a fire. Someone would play music on their phone and some wireless speakers. It was a good time, being in the woods with babes, and bros, and beers.
Now he was 18. He’d just graduated from high school three weeks ago. Black gowns, prom, all that shit. They were all adults now. Not kids anymore. Jesus, it was hard to believe he was an adult. In order to celebrate, just one more time, they’d hit the woods again. He’d drunk a few more beers than usual. Some vodka too. Booze, beers, babes, bros. Another sweet summer night. Good bros. Man, he loved his bros. He hoped every summer would be like this, forever.
These were Cooper’s thoughts as he sat naked on the toilet at 2 o’clock in the morning. His plan was just a quick pee before bed. Only, now he had a mission. The inside of his nose was itchy. He had work to do.
Cooper was profoundly stupid. His idiocy was somewhat concealed by the way he copied others. How he dressed, how he spoke, the opinions he held – everything about him was lifted from his peers. You could almost say that Cooper hid himself inside a shell of stolen pieces. But there was nothing to hide in the shell. There was no part that was uniquely him. He was just imitations. Cooper, himself, was nothing.
The tip of Cooper’s right index finger rose before him. He stared at it, like it was a snake he was trying to charm. It wobbled and danced. He thrust it up inside his right nostril and got to work, digging around.
His parents were wealthy, thanks to their own consulting business. Cooper didn’t understand what they did to make money, exactly. But the reality of it was simple enough. Consulting is acting as a blame magnet. Scared to make a decision? Hire a consultant. They’ll tell you what to do. If the plan succeeds, you accept the success. If the plan fails, you get to blame the consultant.
Without Cooper really understanding it, his mom and dad protected him. They used their money to buy a big house way out in suburbia. They gave Cooper a nice big room, with his own private bathroom. They sent Cooper to a good catholic high school. When Cooper failed all his classes, they quietly bullied the teachers into giving him passing grades. Straight D minuses, except for gym, where he got a C.
In different circumstances, Cooper would have spent his life in special classes, wearing a hockey helmet, and riding the shortbus. But he’d managed to fake it enough that people saw him as just a lumbering “bro”. Never mistaken for an intellectual, but never openly accused of being “mentally challenged” — Cooper stumbled his way through a quiet suburban life. If he did something particularly daft, people assumed he was drunk or stoned.
“Well, he’s a bit of a party boy,” people said. “We all go through that phase. He’ll straighten up soon enough.”
Cooper heard this said about him and believed the lie. That’s how he graduated high school with no idea that he was a moron. He thought everyone just imitated their friends. He thought he got mediocre grades because school just wasn’t his thing, right now. Maybe if he applied himself, he’d be better. In university, maybe. Yes, in some distant future, his true gifts would become apparent and life would make more sense.
But that wasn’t it at all. Cooper didn’t know it, but his parents were brother and sister.
Tabby and Wayne started fooling around as kids, then got caught. They fled the small town where they grew up, moving from the United States to Canada. They decided they were in love. They changed their names, got married, and no one was the wiser. It was surprisingly easy.
Then Tabby got pregnant. They knew the risks, but decided to embrace them.
“Just one child,” Wayne said. “Just one. I know it’s not right, but I love you so much.”
“Okay,” Tabby agreed. “One child. I love you too, Wayne.”
And they had Cooper. And they protected him and kept him safe. He was their secret blessing and their secret shame.
It is possible to have a child of incest that is healthy, stable, and normal. No such luck with Cooper. Beyond his mental impairments, there were subtler physical problems. For example, his bones were soft, almost pliable. His skull was particularly malleable — about as firm as a stale marshmallow. Which is why, as Cooper dug around in his nostril for snot, his fingers went deeper and deeper into his face.
“Man, that snot is way up there,” Cooper muttered to himself, as he worked a third finger into his nostril. Pretty soon, most of his fist was inside his face.
Cooper’s parents kept him away from doctors. They knew their special child had problems. Any doctor of repute would soon suspect what was going on. Maybe Wayne and Tabby’s secret would get out, and they’d have to run away again. Only this time, there were things they couldn’t just leave behind. Their business, their house, two cars, and other important assets. So they simply kept Cooper away from doctors.
“You’re a good, strong boy,” they told Cooper.
“Walk it off,” they advised.
“Just wait, and the pain will go away,” they said.
He fell out of a tree once — just childish hijinks, playing, then something went wrong. His parents were pretty sure he’d broken his leg. Even pliable bones sometimes snap. They did nothing. They told Cooper to quit his crying and just wait and it would fix itself. And it did, sort of. Along with Cooper’s stupidity came a kind of numbness. He didn’t feel emotions, thought, or physical sensations the way other kids did. The broken bone hurt, but not all that much. The left leg mended on its own, but it turned out a little shorter than the right.
The important thing to Wayne and Tabby was the family secret stayed secret.
Cooper’s entire hand wriggled its way into his face. His right nostril was distended and tight, like a pink wristwatch. The sensation of progress was extremely satisfying. Cooper sort of understood this experience was unusual, but now he could scratch and clean the inside of his sinuses in a way he never had before.
There was something itchy, way back there in his head. He almost had it. Just a few more inches. His marshmallow skull softened and moved aside as Cooper worked his wriggling fingers deeper into his head. His wrist moved back and forth, and the hole in his face grew bigger. The questing digits were working their way closer and closer to the final goal. Soon he would have hold of it.
There are medical conditions where the size and shape of the human brain varies greatly. For example, there are cases where the brain tissue is a rind of grey matter around the inside of the skull, and fluid fills the centre. Surprisingly, people with this condition are of reasonable intelligence, functioning quite normally. Admittedly, they can be somewhat eccentric. In Cooper’s case, his brain was the size of a plum. It sat in the back of his head, anchored to the rear curve of his skull, connected to his body by clouds of loose, ropey nerves.
Cooper’s questing fingers located this gray lump of tissue. Believing it to be the booger he’d been looking for, his fingers now set to scraping it loose. Cooper’s fingernails worked like tiny scalpels, picking and slicing at the base of the brain, ripping it off its moorings. Each attack at the lump sent weird flashes of light through his vision, but Cooper didn’t pay any attention. The task he’d set for himself was taking all of his focus. He had to get this itchy, dirty lump out of his body.
All of Cooper’s friends were going to university in the fall. He was convinced he was going too. He had imitated them his whole life. He assumed he would continue to do so. When they’d all applied to go, he hadn’t. When they got letters of acceptance, he was glad for them. Cooper assumed his parents had applied for him, had received his letter, and were organizing everything. That’s what they always did. They kept him on track. They made sure he did the right thing.
Tabby and Wayne were dreading the inevitable conversation. Cooper wasn’t going to university. It was one thing, pressuring a small catholic high school into giving their “special” son a diploma. No reputable university would cave to that kind of pressure. Even the local “last chance” university was unlikely to play ball, awarding a functionally illiterate manchild a degree.
“I’m really going to try,” Cooper had told his parents. “I’m gonna go to university, and get a degree in busy-ness admin. Then I’m gonna work for you at the consulting company! It’s a family busy-ness, and we are a family. Right, mom? Right, dad?”
His parents winced every time Cooper brought it up. The only job he was suited for was licking stamps in the mailroom. And there was a machine that did that. Still, that’s where he was headed. Some token menial job in the basement of the building. That was the plan. Support their son as best they could, give him some pointless chores, provide for him, care for him, and give him a fairly normal life.
The plum-sized brain now floated loose in Cooper’s skull. His fingers swished around in the cerebral fluid, trying to catch hold of it. This booger sure was slippery, but he knew he would get it. He stuck out his tongue and bit down on it — as he did when faced with anything challenging. When he finally caught hold of the lump, squeezing it between thumb and index fingers, he grinned. Again, there were weird light flashes before his eyes. And his body kind of tingled all over. The loose and lazy nerve endings connecting his brain to his body swished around like spaghetti in cold water. Cooper slowly drew his brain out of his nose and into the open air.
While working his hand up into his skull, his fist had acted like a plug. Now that he worked his hand out, pulling out his own brain, all the cerebral fluid started to rush out of his nose. It started as a trickle, and then a gush. When he triumphantly pulled his brain out of his head (balanced delicately on the tips of two fingers) the fluid spurted out his face and ran down his naked chest. Cooper momentarily blacked out. But he came to a few minutes later. The loose and floppy nerve endings were still tied into his brain. He could still see, move, and (in his own limited way) think.
“Must of puked,” he muttered to himself, justifying the wet cerebral fluid dripping down his belly. “Too much to drink, I guess. Yeah.”
Cooper loved booze. This was because his friends loved booze. What they loved, he loved. There was the added bonus that, when his friends were drunk, they were truly his friends. It was then that they all shared the same level of intellectual competence. Cooper’s own body processed alcohol quickly. He never really got drunk. While his brain was a miniscule lump easily mistaken for snot, his liver was strong and healthy. And, strangely, his limited brainpower made it so the alcohol swirled around in his bloodstream without really affecting his mind. The bar can’t be lowered any further when it’s already lying on the floor.
Cooper’s friends assumed he was an alcoholic. They’d noticed his stupidity, his lumbering nature (one leg shorter than the other), his goofy and grinning face. They assumed he was perpetually soused. When they got together, he certainly guzzled far more than his fair share. Instead of hating him for this, they loved him. Cooper was their idiot mascot. Their bumbling, drunken fool. They were protective of him, working to keep him safe. He was like a kid brother you have to watch out for. Much like Cooper’s parents, they gave him the kind of love destined to keep him ignorant forever. No one ever called Cooper on his bullshit.
The sight of his brain-snot made Cooper smile. It was a really big booger. And he’d pulled it out of his head. He’d done it. This felt like an incredible achievement. He marvelled at the lump. Should he name it? No, that was stupid. Boogers don’t have names. He was being silly. Had there ever been a bigger piece of snot? Was this one for the record books? Cooper thought it might be. Wait. Did they even list that kind of thing in the Guinness Book of World Records?
Everyone picks their nose. This is an open secret. It’s what we do with our snot afterwards that determines who we are as people. Do you wipe it into a tissue? Discretely flick it onto the floor? Are you one of those disgusting people who wipe it on the wall, creating a landscape of gray and green crusties for others to boggle at in a public bathroom stall? Or are you the worst type of nose picker that there is — do you eat your own snot?
Cooper was an eater. And today was no different than any other day. He popped his brain into his mouth.
The right nostril was a gaping hole in his face, like a black crater — a toothless mouth of blackness, oozing a bit of blood, dripping with cerebral waters. White spaghetti nerve endings hung out of this nose hole. They drooped down Cooper’s face, then came back up, over his chin, into his real mouth. The brain-snot sat on Cooper’s tongue. It tasted salty and fatty, like the rubbery end of a bad steak. He didn’t chew. This kept him alive. Even the stupidest human beings have some instinctual drive that keeps them from rushing headlong into death.
Cooper swallowed his brain whole. Flashes of colour danced before his eyes as his throat squeezed his brain down into his stomach. It was trippy and weird. His arms jerked uncontrollably for a second. That was trippy and weird too.
Even as the seat of his very consciousness cooked in Cooper’s stomach juices, the nerve endings did their job. The long, loose nerves were now pulled a little tighter. But there was plenty more stretch and give available. The nerves were much like rubbery dental floss, spooling out endlessly from the container of Cooper’s head. With a skull so empty, there had been plenty of room for these spaghetti strands to grow — pointless spirals of tissue filling up the murky water.
But now, the stomach acid roasted his brain. It did make him just a little bit dumber. But the dense rock of tissue was surprisingly resilient. Only the outer layer was cooked. The inside remained raw and living. Some nerves cooked and snapped, but most held out. The rubbery white fat that coated them grew a little yellow and cracked, but refused to give up completely. The end result of this brain roast was Cooper’s mouth fell open and a little drool spilled down his chin. The hazy cloud of his perception just got slightly more hazy. His left eye wasn’t seeing so good, all of a sudden, and his left leg kept twitching.
“I musta drunk a lot,” Cooper whispered to himself, with an odd sense of pride.
He couldn’t remember feeling this way before. It had to be the booze. What else could it be? Cooper associated drunkenness with being an adult. So, if he was really drunk — drunker than ever before — it meant he was becoming a full-fledged grown up. He beamed at the thought. Yes, he was finally becoming the man he was supposed to be.
A human brain can only take so much abuse. Cooper passed out on toilet for an hour or two. He slumped against the wall, and this kept him propped up upon his toilet throne. His left eye filled up with blood, turning a bright red. He snored and whistled happily.
As he slept, Taco Bell that brought about the next stage of this tragedy. Through a coincidence of timing, bad food, and a lot of cheap alcohol, Cooper’s guts decided to empty themselves. His stomach spasmed. But he didn’t vomit. Fluids didn’t go up and out, but down and in, pulling everything deep into Cooper’s intestines. Then his intestines spasmed, pulling everything towards Cooper’s asshole. The nerve endings, like fierce tapeworms of the intellect, held on to Cooper’s little brain with all their might.
Cooper awoke with a start. There was a pang in his side that told him he was about to have a tremendous shit. He looked around and realized where he was. On the toilet. So need to rush anywhere. Phew.
It did seem weird that he could only see out of his right eye. His left eye wasn’t working at all. His thoughts were disjointed and funny. Like he had a fever or something. Cooper began to wonder if maybe something was wrong. His tongue felt floppy and uncontrollable. His left arm wouldn’t move. Maybe it had fallen asleep. He flopped it a few times to get the circulation going, without any luck.
Well, whatever, he decided. Probably the booze.
When he let out a fart, Cooper giggled. The sound was very strange to his own ears. He could barely hear it. His hearing was all weird. Huh. Maybe he’d drunk himself deaf? Was that a thing? He had no idea.
Then the diarrhea started. Slightly less funny, but still, Cooper found it kind of funny. Without being aware of the significance, Cooper shat out his own brain. He thought it was just a pebble of poo in the mix of all that diarrhea. It slipped out and hung there, like a pendant on a chain, as diarrhea sprayed over and around it. The brain-turd danced and wobbled in the flow of liquid feces. When the brown juices finally stopped spraying, the brain hung out of his rectum, coated in half-digested taco meat.
The yellow, cracking nerve endings were heroic in their fortitude. Think of it. They ran from the tiny brain, into the rectum, all the way up the intestines, through the stomach, up the throat, out the mouth, up into the gaping right nostril-hole, and into the empty skull. Somehow signals were still coming and going. Cooper still had a kind of consciousness. It was incredible. Yes, the nerves were close to giving out. But it was a miracle that they’d stretched so far in the first place. Had science been given an opportunity to study these fatty strands of tissue, cures to many diseases could have been found. They could have been a real boon to medicine. They deserve much praise.
The brain slowly drifted down into the cold toilet water. It descended with all the grace of a spider sliding down on a thin thread of web. When brain touched water, Cooper’s consciousness sparkled and shimmered. It was dazzling. Like TV static viewed through a kaleidoscope. He almost felt a kind of spiritual awakening. Then it all settled down to a low shimmer.
The smell of shit filled the bathroom. Cooper inhaled the scent through his left nostril. (His right nostril was utterly destroyed.) The odor was incredibly pungent. Even with what little sense he had remaining, the smell disgusted him. Such is the power of Taco Bell.
“Holy crap,” Cooper attempted to mutter to himself. The words didn’t come out. His jaw muscles and his tongue refused to respond. While this was alarming, he was too far gone at this point to care or understand.
He instinctively wanted to do something about the smell. His left arm was useless. He couldn’t even make it flop anymore. But his right arm seemed to work okay. Sort of. It was more like a flipper than an arm now. Cooper lifted his hand. He saw it more than felt it. He found the handle of the toilet and flushed.
The water swirled and sucked, pulling Cooper’s brain into the pipes. It went down a good two feet of pipe when the heroic nerve endings finally gave out. They snapped. One minute, Cooper was there on the toilet, flushing his brain away. The next he was gone, dead. The reaction in his body was tremendous to see. His body jerked up straight on the toilet, taut and trembling with shock. His arms pressed tight against his sides. His legs slammed together, crushing his cock and balls between his thighs. This response was created by a final jolt of electricity running through his body in a panic. Every muscle in him was rigid, fierce with strain. Then they muscles relaxed, went floppy forever. Cooper fell forward off the toilet. His big, naked, lumbering body hit the floor with all the power of a falling tree. It sent a tremendous boom echoing through the large suburban home.
“What was that?” Tabby gasped. She had been sound asleep. The words were out of her mouth before she was even fully awake.
“What?” Wayne said, slowly coming to. “What? What is it?”
“I heard a noise, I think,” Tabby said.
“I think, maybe, I heard it too.”
The two of them sat up in bed, listening. There was nothing. Not a whisper. But something felt wrong. They both sensed it in the air.
“Let’s go check on Cooper,” Wayne said slowly.
“Oh,” Tabby cried out softly. “Oh no. Oh, something is wrong, isn’t it?”
“Let’s just go check on him,” Wayne said.
There is no need to describe the parental hysterics, except to say it was shockingly short lived. Wayne and Tabby always knew something like this could happen. They realized, after the tears were wiped away, that they’d half expected it all their lives. Though they would never admit it out loud, Cooper’s death was probably for the best.
What does one do in a situation such as this? What do you do when you realize your son picked his nose so hard that he pulled his brain out of his face, ate it, shat it out, and flushed it down the toilet?
You cover it up as best you can. You practically bankrupt the family business as you pay off the police, the ambulance attendants, the paperwork people, nearly everyone involved in the grizzly business. You make sure the body gets cremated as quickly as possible. You have a funeral that’s mostly about Jesus Christ and not really about the life that was lost. Bible passages are perfect for moments like these. They’re little meaningless riddles that distract people from thinking.
When people speculate that it was a suicide, you let them. It gives your son a depth that was never there. Perfect. Better their dark whisperings than the horrible truth.
After the funeral, you wait a few months and clean out your son’s room. You turn it into a study, or a library, or a sewing room. All the photographs of your son go in the trash. All evidence he ever existed disappear. All the badly done crayon drawings, the participation hockey trophy, the halloween costumes — bag it, chuck it on the curb.
You do everything in your power to hide the evidence of your fucked up, incestuous, unholy, idiot child, who died by flushing his own tiny brain down the toilet. You hide all evidence of the secret shame. It’s dead, gone. There will be no more mistakes.
But maybe you forget to pay off the coroner, and he just has to tell somebody.