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(Appeared in Highlights for Children/Illustrations by Blanche Sims)

Hayden Tucker is my best friend, but he gets weird ideas. Like the time my grandpa and grandma took Hayden and me to the county fair.

I reached Hayden’s house at around seven in the morning and banged on his bedroom door.

“Time to go, sleepyhead,” I shouted. “The Gramps-mobile will be here any minute.”

Not hearing anything, I opened the door and went in. My friend was sitting on the bed, counting.

“…forty-five, forty-six–”

“What are you doing?”

Hayden glanced at me. “Shhh. Don’t mess me up, Rick. Forty-eight, forty-nine…”

I walked around the bed and stopped short. His right pants leg was rolled up to the knee, and on the end of his big toe was a plastic weight from his dad’s weightlifting set. Every second or so, Hayden flexed his toe up, then down.

“Get your toe stuck?”

“No,” he grunted. “I’m training for an important event.”

I laughed. “What event? The Mr. Toeriffic Competition?”

Hayden sighed and stopped coutinging he pulled a piece of paper out of his pocket and waved it at me.

“I am preparing for the River County Fair’s Big Toe Contest,” he announced.

I snatched the paper in mid-wave. Sure enough, in big blue letters it said:

     The Big Toe Contest – $50 First Prize

“Nobody’s going to give away money for people’s toes,” I argued.

“They will too. Says so right there. ‘Prize money offered by the River County Fair.”

He was right. It even had an official-looking logo. “But, Hay, there must be thousands of great toes in River County. How are you going to win?”

   Find out what happens: