Thursday and Friday. Greg is thrilled by the news that the students will have a substitute teacher in history class, since he thinks subs are easy to play pranks on and thus are “comic gold.” However, he is horrified to find out the next day that the substitute teacher is actually his mom, who likes to get involved at the school.
Greg is dismayed to find that he can’t play pranks on the substitute teacher—because the substitute is his mom. His embarrassment at his mom’s presence suggests that he has the usual adolescent desire to have a space free from parental interference, even as he still needs his mother’s support in some situations.
Wednesday. Greg had resigned as school cartoonist after Mr. Ira’s intervention, and he is shocked to see that his replacement is none other than Rowley. The “Zoo-Wee-Mama” strip is incredibly popular with students, who laugh over it during lunch. Greg is jealous that Rowley is getting “all the fame that was supposed to be mine.”
In an ironic twist, the “Zoo-Wee-Mama” strip is very successful, proving that Greg might have real talent at cartooning. His anger at Rowley’s newfound popularity, however, shows that Greg is still fixated on social status as a metric of his self-worth.
Monday. Greg confronts Rowley and accuses him of stealing the “Zoo-Wee-Mama” idea, but Rowley refuses to put his name on the comic as co-creator. As they argue, a group of kids gathers around them and starts urging them to fight. Both are clearly unwilling, and before anyone throws a punch, a group of teenagers pulls up in the parking lot. Greg realizes with horror that these are the same teenagers that chased him and Rowley on Halloween.
Greg and Rowley are pressured by their classmates to fight, although neither of them seem inclined to do so—showing that peer pressure has a great deal of power in the school. But this bullying behavior pales in comparison to the teenagers who pick on younger kids for their own amusement.
The Cheese is only a few feet away from where they’re standing on the basketball court. One of the teenagers drags Rowley over to the Cheese and makes him eat it. They try to make Greg eat it too, but Greg thinks quickly and claims he is lactose-intolerant. After making Rowley finish the Cheese, the teenagers drive away, and Rowley and Greg walk back without saying anything.
The teenagers bully Greg and Rowley by coming up with a punishment that combines physical intimidation with social humiliation. By eating the Cheese, Rowley is not only doing something disgusting but also condemning himself to social outcast status, since touching or eating the Cheese gives him “the Cheese Touch.”
Tuesday. At school the next day, the students quickly begin speculating about how and why the Cheese vanished. Greg suspects that some of the students will eventually figure out that he and Rowley had something to do with it. Rowley starts to panic, knowing that the social consequences for eating the Cheese will be severe. But Greg steps up and takes the blame, telling everyone that he was the one who threw away the Cheese—even though this means he now has the Cheese Touch.
For once, Greg puts another person above his own self-interest. By telling everyone that he was the one who touched the Cheese, he protects Rowley at the cost of exposing himself to bullying and exclusion. This demonstrates significant personal growth, since until now Greg has never made a decision that considered anyone’s interest but his own.