- The Snot Shovellerby snodlander
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Why some mornings your nose is blocked up
Tales to Terrify Tots
: The Snot Shoveller by snodlander

Annabelle has blackmailed the Bogey Man to read her bedtime stories, but the Bogey Man still needs to get a scream, one way or another

The Bogey Man came out of the wardrobe, dressed in matching shirt and shorts.  The pattern on the shirt and shorts showed palm trees and beaches, bright blue sea and bright blue sky.  He wore sun glasses and a straw hat.
“Hello,” he said.  “Brrrrr, isn’t it chilly in here.  I can’t wait to arrive somewhere hot and sunny for my holidays.”
“You’re going on holiday?  I would never have guessed,” said Annabelle, sarcastically.
“Yes, I expect it will be somewhere exotic.  The council will be so pleased with me.  I can’t think of any other Bogey Man that gets a little girl to scream for her Mummy and Daddy quite so often.  How are they, by the way?  Have they lost a lot of sleep running into your bedroom?”
“Oh, ha de ha.  Very funny, I don’t think.”  Annabelle could be very sarcastic indeed, when she put her mind to it.
“I could do with a holiday, actually.  I think I’m getting a bit of a cold.  Probably flu.  Maybe even pneumonia.”  The Bogey Man gave a dramatic shudder.  “I hope the Snot Shoveller leaves me alone.”
“Ew!  The what?” asked Annabelle, then immediately wished she hadn’t.
The Snot Shoveller (as any child knows, who has listened to her teacher at school) the Snot Shoveller is a creature who, well, shovels snot.  Tons of it, every night.  Have you ever gone to bed, your nostrils as open as a road tunnel, your breath howling through your nose like the wind, not a blockage in sight?  But then, when you wake up the next morning, your nose is so full of snot you can hardly force a finger up there to pick it all out.
“That’s horrible.  This is going to be one of those gross stories, isn’t it?” asked Annabelle, revolted.  The Bogey Man just grinned.
Well, that’s because of the Snot Shoveller.  It’s his job to make sure that the snot is evenly distributed around the world.  He runs around with a wheelbarrow full of snot, taking some from the noses of people who have too much snot, then stuffs them up the noses of those that have too little.
He has a special snot shovel.  Actually, he has hundreds of them.  They are so small and delicate, they keep breaking, so he has a warehouse full of them.  You might have seen them.  When he has used a shovel a few times he sells it.  You wouldn’t want him to use a snotty shovel on your nose, now would you?  So he sells the snotty ones to ice-cream manufacturers, who then stick them to the tubs of ice-creams as a spoon.  They like the Snot Shoveller’s snot shovels, because they don’t have to buy any glue to stick the spoons to the ice-cream lids.
“I don’t believe you!  Ice-cream makers wouldn’t be so horrible,” cried Annabelle.
“No, I’m sure you’re right,” said the Bogey Man.  “You’re almost certainly right.  Probably definitely maybe almost right.  You enjoy your raspberry ripple next time you’re on the beach.”
Anne went to bed, one dark, cold winter’s night.  Her nose was as empty as a baby girl’s head.
“I keep telling you, I’m not a baby!” exclaimed Annabelle.
“I’m sorry, I’ll change it,” replied the Bogey Man, sniffing.
Anne’s nose was as empty as your head.  It was as clear as a classroom at midnight.  It was so clean you could have eaten your dinner out of it.  So she drifted off to sleep without a snort or a snore.  Unlike certain people I could mention.
“I don’t snore!” retorted Annabelle.
“Have you stayed awake to listen to yourself sleeping?” asked the Bogey Man.  And while Annabelle tried to work out what he had just asked, he continued.
Unfortunately for Annabelle, various coincidences coincided that night that spelled disaster for her.
The first coincidence was that the Snot Shoveller on duty that night was new to the job.
“Like certain people I could mention,” interrupted Annabelle.  The Bogey Man ignored her.
It was his first night out alone.  He really should have been with someone experienced, who knew all the ins and outs of snot shovelling.  But they were short staffed.  It might surprise you to learn that not many people leaving school want a job as a snot shoveller.
The second coincidence was that the sudden cold snap in the weather had given a lot of people the sniffles.
The Bogey Man sniffled again, then dragged his nose the length of his sleeve, leaving a silver trail on his holiday shirt.  Annabelle screwed up her nose in horrified fascination.
The third coincidence was that Anne’s house was the last house on the Snot Shoveller’s round.
The Snot Shoveller, new as he was, started his rounds by ensuring that the regulation amount of snot was in each person’s nose.  He didn’t notice that he was taking out more than he was putting in until it was too late.  By the time he got to Anne’s house, his wheelbarrow was full to overflowing.  Have you ever gone out into the garden first thing in the morning and seen silvery tracks on the lawn?  Does your Mum tell you that they were left by slugs and snails?  No.  They were left by the Snot Shoveller’s wheelbarrow sloshing snot over the side.
So when the Snot Shoveller realised that Anne was the last person on his round, and that his wheelbarrow was full, he panicked.
First, he started to shovel snot into Anne’s nose.  But the shovel was so small and the wheelbarrow so very full that it was taking too long.  The sun was nearly peeking over the horizon.  So then he started to get great handfuls and threw them up her nose.  Of course, even her nose wasn’t big enough to cope, so that it started to run down the side of her face and into her hair.  It ran into her eyes and into her ears.  But still there was more.
The Bogey Man paused, and put his finger under his nose.  “Aaaaah … Aaaaaah …”  Then he stopped.  “No, no sneeze.  April fool!”
“It’s not April Fools Day!” said Annabelle.
“Of course not.  If it was, you’d be expecting it.”
Anne’s head became glued to the pillow, and still the Snot Shoveller shovelled his sticky mess of snot.  Anne woke, but she couldn’t open her eyes.  She tried to call out, but she couldn’t open her mouth.
The Snot Shoveller was so frightened at this point he just tipped up the wheelbarrow and poured the contents all over Anne, pinning her body to the bed under a mound of congealing snot.
Suddenly the Bogey Man’s head shot backwards.  “Ahhhhhhh …”  Then his whole body flipped forward as he gave a monstrous sneeze.  “ … Chooooo!”.  He buckled forward so far and so fast that his mouth and nose landed on Annabelle as he shouted the choo, so that he gave Annabelle a wet and tickly raspberry on her tummy.
Annabelle screamed, again.  The Bogey Man wiped his nose on her pyjama top.  “Bless me!” he said.  Then skipped off into the wardrobe.

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