Clair McFarland: There's A Guy Here Eating All The Food

Clair McFarland writes: "I haul the massive creature to jujitsu. My car shudders when he jumps out of it. I call out, 'Play nice now dear!'"

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Clair McFarland

March 10, 20245 min read

Clair new column shot

There’s a guy here eating all the food.

He’s pushing six feet in height, he’s crunching a raw potato.

Guy sightings are rare. I only spot him at dawn when he can’t quiet his “GOOD MORNING.” When his footfalls hit like cannonballs.  

He also appears at dusk when he morphs from a swimmer into a jujitsu combatant.

If I wait in silence and cook a pound of steak, he’ll materialize and riddle me with paradoxes, like “If Pinocchio says ‘my nose will grow now,’ is he lying? But if he were lying, his nose would have to grow, in which case he’d be telling the truth.”

Inside my head, a flash flood drowns my last few brain cells.

That’s when the full-grown paradox dude notices I’m smaller and weaker than he is. His head lurches and his eyes flare in shock.

“Here,” he says, “I’ll teach you a few self defense moves since you’re so fragile.”

I shake my head. He insists.

“Punch me,” he says.

My right fist shoots forward, as if on its own.

He intercepts my punch, twists his arm around mine, forces my elbow behind my back and folds me in half.

Staring, winded, at the floor, I realize he was eating Fritos throughout the maneuver.

“And that’s how you block a punch!” he booms.

“Please,” I pant, “no more lessons.”

He says I need to learn at least one more lesson so no one can steal me and turn me into a pot pie.

“That’s OK,” I say. “I’ll just die.”

He doesn’t hear me. “This time, kick me,” he says.

But I’m halfway to the kitchen sink, where he’s left a nonstick skillet, a mug, a plate, a steak knife, a vat, a cheese grater and an apple peeler for me to wash. The mud his leather boots sloughed earlier grinds under my bare feet.

I haul the massive creature to jujitsu. My car shudders when he jumps out of it. I call out, “Play nice now dear!”

Back at home, I’ve got enough time for a shower. In a curious impulse, I use the dude’s icy-scent shampoo-bodywash combo, and I come out of the shower smelling like I’m not going to call you back.

When I retrieve the guy two hours later, he’s too weary to spew paradoxes but still energetic enough to rattle off a list of eighth-grade girls who know how to country-swing dance.

“Except they play a lot of techno crap at the dances,” he grumbles.

“What about rap crap?” I counter.

“That too,” says he, cradling his giant man head in his giant man hands.

Life is so melancholy when you know how to country swing but can show off for absolutely no one.

“What about line dance?” I ask, remembering how my own boot heels clicked in the air during Brooks n’ Dunn’s 90s heyday.

He rolls his eyes, but he’s an amateur at that and it looks like he’s having a seizure.

“Only GIRLS line dance,” he says, his forehead cinching.

I scoff. “That’s nonsense.”

He slurps from an open can of beans. “It’s not the 90s, you know.”  

It’s not the 2010s, either. There’s no pudgy little boy here mashing daintily through a bowl of applesauce. There’s no piping voice asking for a Komodo dragon for Christmas.

There’s no one asking me to read “Green Eggs and Ham” and there’s no one rocking in my arms, in a stiff-backed rocking chair I stole from my front porch to fill up a baby’s empty room.

There is, however, this bear-boy who makes me laugh. Who teaches me self defense. Who thinks he’s my only hope of surviving an approaching and brutal dystopia.

“Hey, Mom,” says the behemoth.

“Yeah, bud.”

“You know, there’s no chin behind Chuck Norris’ beard.” His eyes gleam. “There’s only another fist.”

I don’t mean to get older; I don’t mean to have a man-child; I don’t mean to let Time win, and I don’t mean to laugh.  

But I do all of those things at once.  

Clair McFarland can be reached at clair@cowboystatedaily.com.

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Clair McFarland

Crime and Courts Reporter