Nobody had a big toe like Hayden's. 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 fair1).
I reached Hayden's house at around seven in the morning and banged2) on his bedroom door.
"Time to go, sleepyhead," I shouted. "The Gramps3)-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 up4), Rick. Forty-eight, forty-nine ..."
I walked around the bed and stopped short5). His right pant leg was rolled up to the knee, and on the end of his big toe was a plastic weight from his dad's weight-lifting6) set. Every second or so7), Hayden flexed8) 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. Toeriffic9) Competition?"
Hayden sighed and stopped counting. 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 logo10). "But, Hay11), there must be thousands of great toes in River County. How are you going to win?"
"I've been practicing twenty minutes every day, and soaking my toe in orange juice. Vitamin C keeps you healthy."
Hayden and I inspected12) his big toe. It did look healthy.
Outside, a horn blasted twice. Hayden grabbed his gym bag, and we raced downstairs. The Gramps-mobile sat in the driveway. Grandma and Grandpa grinned and waved at us from the RV's13) high front seat.
"You boys make yourselves comfortable," said Grandma as we scrambled14) in. "We'll be there in an hour or so." The inside of the Gramps-mobile was fixed up like a little house, with a kitchen, a living room, and a bedroom. Grandma handed us two glasses of apple juice and a plate of warm blueberry muffins15).
For the next few minutes we munched16) on muffins and stared out the window at the farmland. Then Hayden pulled a bottle from his gym bag. He unscrewed17) the cap and gave me a sniff. Phew! It smelled like gasoline and flowers mixed together.
"What is18) that?"
Hayden rubbed the liquid on his big toe. "It's supposed to keep your joints from getting stiff. I figure judges like toes that are kind of springy." Finished, he pulled two socks over his foot.
By the time we reached the fairgrounds and Grandpa bought tickets, Hayden was so excited he was jumping up and down.
"Hold on there," said Grandpa. "Where's the fire19)?"
"I've got to sign up for the Big Toe Contest," Hayden explained.
Grandma smiled. "Goodness, Hayden, I didn't know you had a big toe. Are you sure yours is ready to be judged?"
Hayden patted his bag. "Of course it is. I've been taking care of it for a whole month." The other Big Toe contestants were a lot older than Hayden, but he wasn't worried. "I bet they haven't been lifting weights," he whispered, climbing onto the stage. He stood between a man wearing overalls20) and a woman in a red-flowered dress. All the contestants were carrying small bags or boxes.
Two men with badges clipped to their pockets walked onstage.
"We'll get started in a minute," one said, "but first we'd like to say a very special hello to our youngest contestant, eleven-year-old Hayden Tucker."
Hayden grinned as the crowd applauded.
Then the judges announced, "Contestants, display your big toes," and craziness hit the stage like a thunderstorm as people dug into their boxes and bags. I lost sight of Hayden. Then I heard Grandma gasp. A little girl next to me giggled.
"Mommy, look at that boy!" she squealed21).
I looked. Hayden was sitting on the stage with his right foot stuck high in the air, his naked big toe wiggling22) like mad23). The other contestants still had their shoes on. Each of them was holding up a small pickle24). It was a West India gherkin25), Grandma told me later. Folks around here called them "big toe" pickles because they grew short and stubby26), just like a lot of people's big toes.
At that moment everybody was busy laughing—except Hayden. First his face turned red, then green.
But all of a sudden he must have decided the whole thing was pretty funny because he started grinning. Then he wiggled his toe again. The crowd laughed louder.
Eventually, the judges stopped laughing and started judging. Hayden didn't win the fifty dollars, but he did get a ribbon for having the funniest big toe in River County.
On the trip home, I couldn't resist teasing27) him.
"Boy, toeday sure was toeribble," I said. "Hope it wasn't toe hard on you." 28)
Hayden just grinned. "Wait until next month," he said. "My aunt's dance troupe29) is looking for toe dancers30). I can't wait to try out."
I groaned. Hayden Tucker's big toe in a tutu31)? It was toe32) horrible to think about!
1. county fair:<美> 县集市(通常每年于固定地点举行，展出各种农产品和家畜并评选优劣)
2. bang [bæŋ] vi. (砰砰)猛击
3. gramps [ˈɡræmps] n. <口> 爷爷；外公
4. mess up: 干扰
5. stop short: (使)突然停住
6. weight-lifting [ˈweɪtˈlɪftɪŋ] adj. 举重的
7. or so: ……左右，……上下
8. flex [fleks] vt. 屈曲(四肢、关节等)
9. toeriffic: 这是文中的“我”用toe和terrific两个单词编造出来的词语，这里是对海登为了参赛进行大脚趾练习的一种戏谑。
10. logo [ˈləʊɡəʊ] n. (广告等用的)标识；商标
11. Hay: Hayden的昵称
12. inspect [ɪnˈspekt] vt. 检查；审视
13. RV: Recreational Vehicle，休闲车，其内部通常设有卧室、客厅、厨房和卫生间等居家的便利设施。
14. scramble [ˈskræmb(ə)l] vi. 仓促行动
15. muffin [ˈmʌfɪn] n. 松饼
16. munch [mʌntʃ] vi. 用力咀嚼；津津有味地嚼；出声咀嚼
17. unscrew [ʌnˈskruː] vt. 旋松卸下；把(瓶等)的螺纹盖旋开
19. fire [ˈfaɪə(r)] n. 热情；激情
20. overall [ˌəʊvərˈɔːl] n. [～s] 工装裤
21. squeal [skwiːl] vi. 发出长而尖的叫声
22. wiggle [ˈwɪɡ(ə)l] vi. 扭动；摆动
23. like mad: 疯狂地；拼命地；猛烈地；极快地
24. pickle [ˈpɪk(ə)l] n. 腌渍食品；腌菜，泡菜(尤指酸黄瓜)
25. gherkin [ˈɡɜː(r)kɪn] n. 西印度黄瓜(指植物或其果实)
26. stubby [ˈstʌbi] adj. 短而粗的；矮壮的
27. tease [tiːz] vt. 戏弄，逗弄
28. 此处的toeday、toeribble和toe意思实为today、terrible和too。由于在发音上toe与to、te和too比较相近，这里叙述者为了表示对海登将the big toe contest简单地误解为“大脚趾比赛”的一种嘲弄，不停地提及toe这个音，试图使他难堪。中译文试图用“天”“透”和“太”来模仿英文toeday、toeribble和toe中toe的读音，但却无法通过“脚趾”这个词进行嘲讽。这就是翻译中的不可译之处。
29. troupe [truːp] n. (尤指巡回演出的演员、歌手等组成的)团，班，队
30. toe dancer: 指芭蕾舞蹈中的跳脚尖舞者，这里为了表示海登对这个词语的误解，特意直译为“脚趾舞者”。
31. tutu [ˈtuːtuː] n. (芭蕾舞女演员穿的)短裙
32. toe: 这里的toe实为too。